UPDATE: Here’s a link to on-line registration for the Simple Compassion seminar, which will be held Saturday, Feb. 20, 2010, at Breakthrough Urban Ministries in Chicago. click here to go right to the registration page.

I watch the devastation in Haiti, played out for me in living color on CNN, and find myself asking–God, what do you want me to do? How should I respond to this crisis, this suffering? Send money? Take in refugees? Go on a rebuilding mission? These are the kind of questions we’ll be wrestling with in an upcoming one-day seminar on Simple Compassion.

This seminar for women will be held Saturday, Feb. 20. Just attending will be an exercise in building a heart of compassion, as it will be held at the inner-city ministry headquarters of Breakthrough Urban Ministries. We’ll look at how we can show compassion not just in response to large scale disasters, but also right in our neighborhood, our church, our city. I’ll be teaching four sessions, but we will a lot of time for discussion and processing.

The seminar will be held from 9 to 3 p.m. Feb. 20. cost is just $35 and includes lunch and a free copy of my book Simple Compassion.

To register, email your name and contact info Mike Murphy at mmurphy@breakthrough.org, and put “Simple Compassion seminar” in the subject line.  He’ll get in touch with you to give you details.

Here’s a more detailed description of the four sessions:

1.       Compassion Begins with You. every woman matters to God, whether she’s in Sierra Leone or San Diego, in a slum or a suburb. We’ll look at some biblical women who stepped up to be difference makers, and how we can follow their lead. God has a unique calling for each of us—how do we discern that? It starts by letting go of our “little old me” syndrome and believing that God actually is calling us to be his hands and feet in the world. Even small acts of justice and compassion matter, because even if you only help one person, that person matters!

2.       Compassion Grows in Community. The Christian life was never meant to be lived on our own. We were made for community—and sometimes, the people in our closest circles are the ones who are challenging to love.  How can we extend compassion to the people closest to us—whether they are family, church members or next-door neighbors? This session focuses on making a difference right where you are, and why you need others to come on the journey with you.

3.       Compassion Extends Beyond Our Comfort Zones.  Although we can make a difference no matter where we are, God calls us to truly see injustice around us, and not insulate ourselves from it. There are people who need God’s love and tangible help—things like food, clothing and shelter—within an hour of your door. This session will look at women who are making a difference in the Chicago area, and offer some next steps for getting involved with ministries here in the area.

4.       Compassion Offers God’s Love to the World. It is impossible to talk about God’s heart for the poor without looking at the situation in the developing world. We will look at some big issues like human trafficking, poverty, lack of clean water and others. The goal is to see these issues and see how we can take very small steps to make a difference by both what we do, and what we decide to stop doing. We’ll look at some women who have focused their energy on one global issue and are making a difference in that area.