Lori McDaniel is a mom of three children, a pastor’s wife, speaker and a church initiatives leader with the International Mission Board (IMB) of the Southern Baptist Convention (SBC). She has previously served with her family as a missionary in Africa before returning to plant Grace Point Church in Bentonville, Ark., where her husband, Mike is the senior pastor. She started and led the church’s women’s ministry for 12 years.
Lori will be a worship speaker at the 2018 N.C. Baptist Women’s Retreat on Oct. 26-27 at Caraway Conference Center in Sophia. She recently took some time to answer the following questions about her walk with God and what she plans to share at this year’s retreat.
Q: Why do you think it is important for Christian women to understand that God views them as “holy, chosen, and beloved?”
A: What a great worth and undeserved value has been attributed to us as Christ-followers! If we don’t get this down clearly, we will miss completely the purpose of being chosen, loved and set apart. God in His goodness chooses for His glory, people that He treasures as His possession and for His purpose. I know that my human experiences too often discount what it means to be chosen by God.
Because worth, value and identity are incredibly important, we exhaust ourselves attempting to untangle our feet from the trap of feeling unseen, unchosen, or unloved. If we are honest, we are really not OK with being small.
Yet, in Deuteronomy, it’s quite clear that God didn’t choose people because of their greatness, He chose them in their smallness because He loved them; when we rightly attribute value as being chosen by God, then it’s no longer about me and being chosen, rather it’s rightly about the One who in all His love and for His glory did the choosing.
Q: How do you remind yourself of your identity in Christ? How does this affect you every day?
A: I love this question because it assumes proactivity. I can tell you that without being intentional with this, it doesn’t just magically happen. I have to be incredibly practical with it, too. If I don’t intentionally and daily get into God’s Word, I find myself spiritually dehydrated. And it’s not complicated. Every morning, I’m digging into God’s Word and journaling what He’s teaching me.
I spend time in prayer each morning, but I also utilize my phone throughout the day to remind me to stop and pray. I have preset alarms on my phone that go off reminding me to set my mind on the Spirit and not on the flesh. If I don’t, my mind is too easily swallowed up in anxiety. That may sound a bit crazy, but I’m aware that my day will spin out of control, and I’ll lose those powerful moments of breathing in God and then breathing out His work.
I know that God in His sovereignty chose me before the foundation of the world to be “holy and blameless,” yet there is still continual human responsibility required to put off the old and put on the new.
Q: This year’s N.C. Baptist Women’s Retreat theme is focused on “Holy. Chosen. Beloved.” from Colossians 3:12-14. How do you plan to unpack this for the women who will attend the retreat?
A: We are in good company. Throughout all of scripture, we see people whom God loved, chose and set apart for His glory. We could nearly close our eyes, open the Bible, place our finger on a page and land on a story of God choosing people to do something great for His name. Together we will allow the Word of God to dwell in us richly as we unpack what being chosen means and relook at the One who does the choosing.
Q: Why should women attend this retreat? What do you hope they will take away?
A: Who doesn’t need time to reset and recalibrate? Me, me, me! Retreats are purposeful opportunities to withdraw, reset and realign. Peter and John, who shared the gospel, were put on trial, stood firm and then released. (That’s a really fast summary of Acts 3-4.) I’m completely fascinated that once they were released, they “retreated” and gathered with believers to worship and celebrate and then prayed that they would go back out and “continue to speak with boldness” about Jesus Christ.
They gathered to go back out. They retreated to re-center and then re-enter the places in which God had called them to be.
I’m already praying that this time would be a great gathering of women who retreat to recenter and then go purposefully re-enter the places where they live, work, learn and play for one purpose – to make His glory and His name known.