Listen to the January 28th interview with Walt Maciborski and Tammie Jo Shults.
1 hour interview.
Listen to the January 28th interview with Walt Maciborski and Tammie Jo Shults.
1 hour interview.
Like most organizations around the world, Cru City Austin has had to find new ways to connect to people during this time of COVID19. Until March 2020, 90% of our contacts with people were face to face. Since COVID19 struck, we have had to pivot and use social media and the internet to connect. In a matter of weeks, we turned our small groups, seminars and even our outreaches from live events to online webinars and Zoom calls. Our mission and vision are the same —“To connect people to Jesus and develop spiritual leaders who will advance the mission of Jesus to impact Austin and the world”– but our strategies had to drastically change to connect with people during the pandemic.
In early September 2020, we held our first webinar with speakers Dr. Joe and Cindi Ferrini, who shared tips on “Fighting Fair.” Our webinars are designed to give people helpful information on growing personally, professionally and spiritually. The Ferrinis gave great advice on how to avoid fights (by listening and answering facts with facts, and emotions with emotions) and shared the importance of inviting God’s spirit into each disagreement.
In October, we hosted Dr. Tim Muelhoff virtually twice in one week. His talks, “Hard Conversations – Part I and Part II,” generated a large number of comments and questions from the 140+ participants. One of them later shared that she took the notes from Dr. Muelhoff’s webinar and shared them with a group of young leaders in her high-tech workplace and got great feedback. Another participant wrote: “I almost didn’t sign up to this webinar today but was so, so, SO thankful I did. This was a jewel of help about difficult topics and I am looking forward to the next one.”
One attendee who indicated that she was interested in growing spiritually has since come to faith in Christ after going through a basic Bible study with a local staff woman. A couple wanted more information about the local Cru ministry and started going through the same Foundations study with Cru staff and are now growing in their faith.
Because these webinars allow us to reach almost three times the number of people who attended our past Austin “in person” events, we will continue to use this powerful new tool that God has made available “for such a time as this!” You can click on the links to hear the Ferrini’s talk and Dr. Tim Muelhoff’s webinars one and two.
Many private equity firms during this time of COVID19 are working hard to help their companies maintain, if not prosper, during the severe economic downturn. In addition, they want to assure their investors and management teams that this crisis will someday end and business and investment activity will resume. Financial advisors realize that people are fearful about their lives and investments as well as shell-shocked about how these unusual circumstances have disrupted their world.
A local private equity firm in Austin, TX is offering an additional way to serve their partners during this stressful and fearful time. Since the lockdown began, the principals in this firm have offered daily prayer for their community of partners, investors and service providers by sending out an email invitation to their entire network.
The leaders of this firm have often felt led to pray, but the current pandemic spurred them to action. They responded out of obedience to the Lord. Prayer is a positive step they felt led to offer to their whole network of 200-250 people. This unique situation of Covid19 was an impetus to step out in faith and make public what they believe.
One partner wrote in a company-wide newsletter, “Quite candidly, we can think of no better way to serve you as our partners….Our belief is that the weakest prayer is far more powerful than the boldest wish, so our senior leadership has decided to set aside time every business day to pray for you, our partners, sponsor firms, investors, and service providers along with your families, companies, and teams.”
In the initial email distribution, clients were sent a list of Bible verses that offered encouragement to pray as well as input on prayer. Everyone was invited to email prayer requests as well as join in the live call any weekday. This prayer effort communicates that those who are handling their finances are not only seeking God for wisdom in making wise financial decisions for them, but they are also praying for their personal and family needs. They take seriously the Biblical question noted in Matthew 16:26 “For what will it profit a man to gain the whole world and lose his own soul”.
Every Monday morning a reminder email is sent out to their network with the prayer option. Then each workday at noon, the leaders of the firm meet over Zoom for 15 minutes to pray for the personal and financial needs of their partners and investors. The outcome has been very positive. Prayer requests are being tracked and answers posted.
The partners intend to keep this time of prayer as a normal part of their business week even after the virus becomes less of a threat in our city and country.
In addition, one partner stated a positive result of this new paradigm, “Offering prayer will give us more opportunities to talk about our faith when we see people in person.” That’s an investment that is assured to have a lasting ROI.
Quite a few years ago I tried to hide from God while in a relationship I knew was wrong. John was a tall, athletic, good-looking college student from a well-to-do family who swept me off my feet. He had a way about him, making me feel like I was the only girl in the room. Everything he said or did seemed so romantic. I enjoyed being adored. So, I let my guard down and fell in love.
My parents were concerned and wanted me to slow down – I wouldn’t listen. John would not go to church with me. I told myself it didn’t matter because he was a good person. All I wanted was to be with him; however, he wanted more than kissing and holding hands. As a Christian who believed in God’s Word about waiting until marriage, I struggled to maintain sexual purity with him. We dated for about a year and talked about marriage. I was afraid he would leave me so I took our relationship to the next level. After all, the plan was to marry him and make it right.
When I became pregnant, the love of my life didn’t want me because I was “damaged goods” (which he took part in) and a baby didn’t fit into his plans. I was shamed, rejected, scared, crushed and now alone. I was too afraid to talk to anyone about this, especially my parents, and fearful of being cast out of my position at church. I was supposed to be the “good girl” in my family with a “good head on her shoulders”!
I panicked and couldn’t think straight so I hid… the first thing I hid was the pregnancy. Then I hid the abortion. These were not easy choices and I knew they were wrong and could spiritually break me but I did it anyway because of my pride.
John sent me money because he wanted me to get rid of “it.” I went to the abortion clinic alone. The doctor was cold and calculating. After the procedure he looked down in the trash can and said under his breath “hmm a boy.” I began to quietly cry uncontrollably; the doctor gripped my knee and said in a stern voice “stop crying” and left the room. I had to lie in a recovery area with other women who were crying. I had to stay until the bleeding stopped which took a few hours. The staff expressed irritation when I was the last to leave (I would have stayed all night just to avoid an empty apartment) so I drove myself home.
The moment I lost my child I started losing myself. Not only was my womb empty but my heart seemed barren as well. My moral compass began to slip away. I became obsessed with staying busy so I worked three jobs and skipped church. If I wasn’t working, I was going out and partying or dating just to forget. I had nightmares of a baby crying for me or crawling into danger when I fell asleep. So, I tried to stay awake as long as I could which began to destroy my health. I had suicidal thoughts at least twice a day.
I just wanted to stop hurting and be loved but random dating didn’t seem to help. I was so messed up physically I didn’t think I would ever be able to have children in the future. Yet God knew where I was the whole time through those 5 years of hurting and hiding! I was afraid of being seen as a fraud, dirty and broken – I wanted to be clean and whole. All I had to do was “want” to be found.
Finally after those few years of physical, emotional and spiritual struggle I threw my hands up and cried out. God heard my plea! Counseling ministries for post abortion “just happen” to come to our church and I attended every counseling session I could. I felt like the prodigal child who was coming home and my Heavenly Father ran to me and threw His arms around me! I finally felt safe again. That’s when the healing began. I am forgiven and I have learned how to forgive myself. I learned that I needed to grieve and my Gracious Heavenly Father has turned my mourning into dancing. I am Free because of God Almighty and I am His!
“For I will be merciful and gracious toward their sins and I will remember their deeds of unrighteousness no more.” Hebrews 8:12
*Lisa has been happily married for over two decades with two wonderful sons.
If you would like additional help and/or to confidentially talk with Lisa, please email Teresa.Snow@cru.org. Teresa can connect you with Lisa.
Additional resources are The Source, https://www.thesource.org/regions/austin
and Her Choice to Heal, https://herchoicetoheal.com/.
“She had taken her own life only moments before we walked in.”
Preston Graham with Jeff Grant – March 21, 2019 – 3 Minute Read
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