by Liz Bailey
Fall 2013

Who is this coming up from the wilderness leaning on her beloved? Place me like a seal over your heart, like a seal on your arm; for love is as strong as death, its jealousy unyielding as the grave. It burns like blazing fire, like a mighty flame. Many waters cannot quench love; rivers cannot sweep it away. —Song of Songs 8:5-7

I was Christian for a long time before I really knew what it meant to say that I was the "bride of Christ." I had heard it, sung it, probably even declared it, but I never completely understood the significance of Jesus the bridegroom, and me, His bride. To suddenly come face to face with the reality that we have a God whose love for us is not only sacrificial but relentless, jealous and unyielding, was, for me, mindblowing. I understood better the fullness of my inheritance in Him, and that He was pursuing me in love. When the Lord began to open my eyes to this reality, everything changed. There was a dramatic shift in my heart, my attitude, my behavior, my…everything. What I thought about today, as it was happening, no longer had the same meaning, and the way I looked ahead, at tomorrow and beyond, was dramatically different. There was a desire in me that had never been there before. My heart softened to Jesus in a way that I had never experienced. It was from this place of longing and pursuit within me that gave way to a genuine excitement and expectation of what the Lord had planned for our 3rd annual Women's Conference.

The Captivate 2012 Women's Conference last year exceeded all of our expectations. We gathered together in mid-September to take an intimate look at what it truly means to be the bride of Christ.

There is nothing, in my opinion, more beautiful than watching the Holy Spirit at work. There is a promise in Scripture that when two or more are gathered in Jesus' name, He will make His presence known. (Matthew 18:20) That promise is what keeps us at CHM going; it is why we continue to host conferences. There is something so unique and powerful about a unified body of believers coming together and calling on the name of Jesus. Beyond that, what is most rewarding is the reality of another promise from Scripture—that because of Jesus' work on the cross, we are transformed more and more into His likeness. The more we behold Him in His beauty, the more like Jesus we become! (2 Corinthians 3:18) At CHM, we see this promise fulfilled at every event we offer, which means we've got the best jobs in the world!

To say that the Lord "showed up" at Captivate 2012 would be an understatement. As we gathered to seek the face of Jesus, He made Himself known—to us corporately and also to each woman individually in very deep, personal and intimate ways. From the moment worship began on the opening night, the presence of the Lord was tangible. One conference attendee wrote to us recently and said:

      "Kelanie (Gloeckler) reminded us over and over in worship 'I know the end of the story, I come up from the wilderness leaning on my Beloved.' And this was only the first evening! The hope of leaving my wilderness—how could this be? So many years of being lost, broken, less than…and now suddenly redeemed."
Since September, we have heard countless stories similar to this one, and as we reflected on the conference, we realized that Jesus completely prepared us for Captivate 2013. The common thread that we observed was that people found joy that they never knew was available to them. Joy is an interesting thing because it has absolutely nothing to do with our circumstances or our emotions. True joy that is given from the Father is supernatural. It has the ability to lift us above what is happening in the natural. I know in my own life, I have experienced intense joy in seasons in which you would think I should be experiencing the exact opposite…which in the natural makes no sense. How in the world do we find joy when there's no money in the bank? Or relationships are falling apart? Or upon receiving a bad medical report? Or when the evening news opens our eyes once again to the dark, fallen and painful world we live in? The answer to this question is found in Jesus. Jesus, who is the giver of life and of every good and perfect gift, has the ability to release healing and freedom and joy into places our humanity tells us are impenetrable…simply because He is good and He desires to lavish His love on us.

I recently heard an interview in which someone was asking a worship leader how to define joy, and she said something that struck a chord with me. She explained, with great humility, that she feels like she is still discovering what true joy is. The Lord has taken her on a journey of understanding that true joy is not related to our emotions or our circumstances. She went on to say that some of her greatest times of joy have been in the middle of pain, hardship, lack, and longing for breakthrough. And then the Lord highlighted Psalm 16 to her:

      The Lord is my chosen portion and my cup; you hold my lot.
      The lines have fallen for me in pleasant places; indeed, I have a beautiful inheritance.
      I bless the Lord who gives me counsel; in the night also my heart instructs me.
      I have set the Lord always before me; because he is at my right hand, I shall not be shaken.
      Therefore my heart is glad, and my whole being rejoices; my flesh also dwells secure.
      For you will not abandon my soul to Sheol, or let your holy one see corruption.
      You make known to me the path of life; in your presence there is fullness of joy;
      at your right hand are pleasures forevermore.
      —Psalm 16:5-11
She finally concluded that the definition of true joy has to do with proximity to God…because in His presence we find FULLNESS of joy. What's more, in the presence of the God who embodies joy, there is Jesus at His right hand, which also happens to be the place in which we discover our inheritance—pleasures forevermore.

I believe with all my heart that when this truth takes root in us, we change. Our focus shifts away from our immediate circumstances and the way they make us feel—suddenly our attention is no longer simply on the here and now, but on eternity and our inheritance in God. When our gaze is fixed on Jesus and we really start to look into His eyes—the eyes that burn with love for us—there is a shift in the way that we respond to our present circumstances. When the word of God and phrases such as "I shall not be shaken" and "my flesh also dwells secure" really begin to take root in us, our nature begins to line up more and more with the nature of God, who is unshakable. The fruit of that is, no matter what is going on around us in the present, we are able to not be rattled by it, to see beyond it, and most importantly, have an assurance that regardless of what it looks like, the Lord will see us through. It is from that place that true joy is released in us.

There's a chorus of a song that has ministered to me so much over the last couple of years that says, "When all I see and all I feel is empty, I turn my eyes within me. I find I'm right by the River flowing down from the true joy giver." When we are so immersed in the Lord's presence and His unfailing love and anchored in His Word, the natural and genuine response from within us is gratitude and joy. I feel so certain that this is what happened at Captivate 2012—we found ourselves so nestled in God's presence, very near to His heart. So many women connected with the Father in that intimate way and experienced the presence of God in a way that opened them up for the Lord Himself to minister healing and release freedom. As prayer ministers, we hardly had to do anything except agree with what the Lord was doing! And then…joy came. As women continued to press in to His presence, chains were broken, bodies were healed, hearts were mended, and joy was poured out. The remarkable thing about joy is that it is contagious! An army of laughing, dancing, joyous women was released from Captivate 2012 and we are still in awe of what God did.

As a result of the great outpouring of joy that we experienced last September, we are eager to press in for more—which is why the theme of Captivate 2013 is Fullness of Joy. We will be taking a deeper look at what true joy looks like and feels like—and we will explore the heart of God in ways that guarantee an even greater outpouring of joy.

It is our JOY to extend an invitation to women of all ages who are hungry for more, and who are eager to embrace the fullness of God's joy that is available to all of us. Joining Judith MacNutt as a special guest speaker will be Michele Perry, founder of Iris Ministries Base Camp in the South Sudan. Michele brings the light, life, love and joy of Jesus wherever she goes. Additionally, she will amaze you with her stories of life among the poorest of the poor and the ways she has embraced joy in the most horrific of circumstances. You will truly be blessed by Michele. Joining us again to lead us into the Lord's presence through worship will be Kelanie Gloeckler. Kelanie is a prophetic singer/songwriter based in Jacksonville. She is on staff at New Life Christian Fellowship and is the chief musician at the International House of Prayer in Jacksonville. Kelanie has quite an anointing to take us straight into the Father's Heart and we are thrilled to welcome her to our Captivate 2013 team. We are certain that the Father has something special in store for each woman who plans to attend. Please mark your calendars now for September 19th through 21st and join us for Captivate 2013: Fullness of Joy!

*All quotes taken from Captivate 2012 attendees and used with permission.

Liz Bailey Fall 2013 Issue

Liz Bailey is the Events Coordinator for CHM.