The History of Chosen Women
Susie recalls how the Call to host a stadium event began
In 1988, while praying for repentance, revival, and unity of heart for the Church, I received a picture of women with raised hands worshiping the Lord together in a large open place. It was an important vision, but it was impossible to take any action to try to bring it about without the Lord. There had never been a stadium event for women, and Promise Keepers had not happened yet, so the idea of something like that seemed impossible. I tucked the vision away in my heart knowing if it was from the Lord, he would let me let me know what to do with it.
It started with a longing, a deep ache and a desire to see women come together in unity to praise and worship THE LOVER OF OUR SOULS—OUR LORD AND KING—CHRIST JESUS. Our Lord under-girded this longing with a passion for REVIVAL. Little did I know the Lord placed that longing in me to be used of Him to ''birth'' a stadium event for that exact purpose.
In July 1995 the Lord implanted the vision of Chosen Women through the seed of scripture and prayer. He led me to 2 Chronicles Chapters 29, 30, 31 and the book of Nehemiah. All we did concerning the stadium event was viewed from the grid of these scriptures.
It was important to me to have the vision confirmed by the Holy Spirit, my husband, the NEWIM board and my pastor. In every situation, the Lord confirmed what He had placed in my heart.
Then came a time of waiting as the Lord began forming the vision into substance. The focus during that time, which continued through the events, was deep personal cleansing and discovery of His will. It was also a time of exploration of how to accomplish His will. For instance, He secured an invitation for me to go to Promise Keepers. That is where the reality of what He was asking me to do set in. He also showed me who He had selected as speakers, where the event was to be held and who would help bring it about.
He also brought to my mind two memories of when I was a very little girl. First, I remember sitting in my mom's car in front of a gift shop. She was preparing me so we could go inside. She told me this was a special shop because it was filled with beautiful things but that I needed to be very careful because everything inside was breakable. She said if I kept my hands to my sides and followed her, she would be quick to do her errand and I would be fine. I was so excited to go into a grown-up place that had so many beautiful things that I kept my hands to my sides and followed Mom down the very narrow aisles. She completed her errand and we turned around and left. It all went great! I was obedient and Mom was very pleased.
The next memory was a few years later when Mom and I went back to that same gift shop, only this time, we lingered. We went up and down the aisles and I got to see the glassware, crystal and china up close. As we browsed, there was one thing that caught my eye: it was a tea cup and saucer. I had never seen anything so beautiful. Mom said I had good taste and she placed the tea cup and saucer in my hands. It felt so delicate, but Mom taught me how to handle it with great care. After all, it was not mine. When I had finished looking at it, she helped me put it down. It recently occurred to me that Mom took quite a risk to place that tea cup into the hands of her child. If I had mishandled it, dropped or chipped it, she would have had to pay the price for damaged merchandise. The Lord used these memories to teach me my responsibility and how I was to handle this work of His.
We then worked very hard to get the word out through the churches. This was before social media marketing and the Internet. Colleen, Sharyn and I went to churches up and down the West Coast, and talked with the press so women could hear and respond to the Lord’s invitation to come and experience Him in a new way.
We also worked on details (like how do you order lunch and dinner for up to 100,000 people, where do you find thousands of volunteers, secure hotels, hire security, provide parking, meet special needs, etc.) It was exhausting, but the pain of the work was overshadowed by the joy and excitement of birthing this event.
The heart of Chosen Women came from 2 Chronicles 29-31
It was these chapters that God used to guide Susie and it was from these chapters that she shared as she went from church to church inviting women to come.
1. Hezekiah becomes king of Judah and in the first month of his reign, he called the priest and Levites together and instructed that they set themselves apart, dedicate themselves to God and remove all defilement from the temple.
a. Though this scripture refers to the priest and Levites and the temple in Jerusalem, may I remind you that in 1 Peter 2:9 it says... "You are a chosen people a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people belonging to God, that you may declare the praises of Him who called you out darkness His wonderful light.”
b. And in 1 Cor. 3:1: “Don't you know that you yourselves are God's temple and that God's Spirit lives in you?” Because we are the temple of the Holy Spirit shouldn’t we also set ourselves apart to God and remove all defilement from our temples?
2. Hezekiah declared the sin of the people by telling them that their Fathers were unfaithful to God. That their fathers only did what was right in their own sight, they lived life as they pleased. They turned away from Him and didn't worship God with hearts that were yielded to Him. Because of that, the anger of the Lord fell on their nation. God made them an object of dread that is why there was violence and bondage towards the people.
a. I would like to suggest that we too have been unfaithful to God and live life as we pleased. Instead of a relationship and fellowship with Christ, we have replaced Him with busy schedules and entertainment. We build our self-image by doing things in God's name but without asking Him if it within His will for our life. We have neglected to depend on Him for direction and power, that He might be glorified. In our churches, we have exchanged God's power for programs. We depend on marketing tools instead of prayer and waiting for the movement of God. Though God has given shepherds the responsibility to discipline in love, often, sin is overlooked within our congregations—the rate of divorce and family abuse in the evangelical church now exceeds the national statistics.
b. Is the church today an object of dread and scorn? Absolutely! This is because of the way evangelicals are portrayed as right-wing extremists and how churches experience moral failure; the flip side is elders are removing pastors for no other reason than wanting larger attendance. Many churches ignore God’s word for political correctness. There is in-house fighting, church splits and churches being burned to the ground. Are non-believers flocking to the churches because they want what we have? Or is our nation rapidly losing moral and spiritual ground?
c. Are believers in bondage? Yes! We are being held captive by sin, abuse, emotional despair and spiritual bondage. We have become powerless, many times without a struggle.
3. Next, Hezekiah sent out an invitation to all of Israel and Judah to come together to worship and celebrate Passover. It was a bold invitation: “People of Israel, return to the Lord, that He may return to you. Do not be like your fathers and brothers, who were unfaithful to the Lord, so that He made them an object of horror, as you see. Do not be stiff-necked, as your fathers were; submit to the Lord. Come to the sanctuary. Serve the Lord your God, so that His fierce anger will turn away from you. If you return to the Lord, then you will be shown compassion, and be set free from your captors, for the Lord your God is gracious and compassionate. He will not turn his face from you if you return to Him.”
a. The Lord has sent out His invitation to the women of this generation to come together for the purpose of praise, worship, surrender, commitment and celebration.
4. The huge Passover celebration was to last 7 days but they agreed together to celebrate an additional 7 days. “There was great joy in Jerusalem, for since the days of Solomon there had been nothing like this.” It was a huge assembly. Those who did not know God but desired to, attended and were also blessed. During that time the Lord healed the people and brought forth revival.
a. The Lord has invited us to celebrate for 2 days and I pray that there will be great joy in Pasadena like never before and should it please the Lord, I pray that He would bring about healing and revival for His daughters and salvation to those who seek Him.
5. When all had ended the people went home to live holy lives unto the Lord. They were a changed people with a heart to please God.
a. We have been given an opportunity by God to begin tonight looking at our lives and ministries through His eyes. If we will humble ourselves by surrendering to His standard of holy living and repent from those things He reveals to us as sin, He will heal us and set us free from those things that have taken us captive.
Susie shared how the Lord was using this passage in her own life
From Susie's "One in Heart" talk in 1997: This last year and a half the Lord has been teaching me how I became accustomed to my sin and He challenged me to examine all I am, and all I do, from His perspective. I did not intentionally set out to sin against God, but over time I neglected my relationship with God, and the light of Christ within me was covered up.
- My vocabulary betrayed my heart. I would talk about “my ministry” as if it was mine.
- I complained about how Chosen Women had taken over my life, and that after Chosen Women was over I would have my life back.
- He had me look at my relationship with others and with Him: self-centeredness and pride were ruling.
- He showed me how I focused on hurt or anger versus focusing on forgiveness
- I saw that I was focused on my rights versus being a servant
- I was living in fear or at times complacency instead of depending on Him for peace and boldness.
To my shock, He showed me the true condition of my relationship with Him. I had become distant, I used busyness as an excuse to ignore Him. I only talked to Him when I wanted or needed something and was no longer spending time at His feet to experience Him. I neglected the command to stand firm against the enemy. I even saw prayer as an inconvenience and was irritated when God sent me a prayer partner to come once a week to check on my spiritual life and pray for me. “I didn’t have time for that, after all, I was putting together a stadium event.” And, it was for certain that I didn’t want someone to ask probing questions and discover my true spiritual condition. On the outside, I looked and acted like a spiritually mature woman but on the inside, there was a hardened heart.
Dear sisters, I know I am not alone in this condition and invite you to join with me in learning what it is to be a growing, committed servant of Jesus Christ. Let’s begin to experience Him not just use His name.
A Prayer of Confession and Surrender
Susie led the groups she spoke to in a prayer, a time of confession and to ask God for His forgiveness, and an opportunity to publicly surrender all to God:
Lord, we come together as a part of your church to confess our sin against you. Because we are blinded to our disobedience will you give us your heart to pray?
Hear our prayer O God and forgive us our sins for they are many.
We confess that we have rebelled against you by exchanging your power for programs, we depend on marketing tools instead of prayer. We have taken control of ministry instead of seeking and waiting on you for direction. We care about numbers and dollars more than people. When we pray we do not wait, look or thank you for your answers. We have replaced a relationship with you for busyness and ignore you. Because of that, we are blinded to your working among us.
We have replaced intimacy with you for sexual immorality, divorce, substance and family abuse and abortion and are a complaining, divided people.
We are NOT known as your servants because we make excuses to remain comfortable in ministry instead of accepting the costs that come with becoming a servant. Instead of dying to self we are quick to claim our rights as individuals.
We have ignored your command to love one another as you have loved us. Because of that, we build walls of division instead of seeing you in our brothers and sisters. We have missed the blessing that comes from learning from one another.
Oh Father, forgive us our sins. In the name of Jesus, we ask that you break the bonds of sin between your church and the enemy. Please Lord, give us your servant's heart that all who know us will know You. Lord, we cry out to you to begin revival here in our hearts. We now choose to surrender to You as Your daughters. Amen.
in the Press, "The Lord Reigns" talk, Testimonies
Photo Gallery - Chosen Women, Rose Bowl 1997
The Tommy Coomes Praise Band led the worship at all of the Chosen Women stadium events, and Jim Resha Precision Events did all of the staging.