LPL Columbia, MO Recap and Printable

Hey you guys! I asked my good friend and LPL colleague Stephen Proctor if he would throw us together a print-out to help us remember our 5 Spiritual Fitness Resolutions from LPL COMO. I wanted one myself because I don’t want to forget them and thought perhaps some of you might want one, too. I will think of you with love and joy every time I see it. I had a blast with you. Jesus is so worthy, Sisters. Let the words said by the Apostle Paul be true of us, too, when our earthly lives draw to a close: “I have fought the good fight. I have finished the race. I have kept the faith.”

Download the Printable Here.

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Sisters Series: Episode 1 (Tuesday Prayer Hour)

Happy Monday Sisters!

Today we’re taking the Sisters Series through our very own Living Proof office for a little glimpse into our Tuesday Prayer Hour.

Every Tuesday, from noon to 1 p.m., we open the doors of our ministry for any woman or girl that wants to stop by for prayer. We get the privilege of praying over a variety of requests with so many spectacular ladies, and we just love it.

If you’re in the Houston area, please don’t hesitate to swing by during our Prayer Hour. We’ve got your back in prayer if you need it.

Tuesdays
12-1 p.m.
12131 Malcomson Rd. 
Houston, TX 77070
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Summer Online Bible Study: The Quest!

Hey, you guys! If you haven’t done The Quest, come do it with us and finish the summer strong! It’s a 6 week series where the whole point is increasing intimacy with God. I think you’ll find the subject matter relevant for the turbulent world we live in.  Life is incredibly hard but so much of the grind gets exchanged for divine glory when we embrace life as Scripture presents it to the Christ follower: nothing less than the greatest quest a human being could ever discover. A quest where questions aren’t only allowed. They are encouraged. Come and see.

Grab a study journal, your Bible, and join us!

Click here to sign up:
https://blog.lifeway.com/womenallaccess/2018/06/27/the-quest-online-bible-study-sign-up/

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Join us in prayer for LPL Columbia!

Prayer warriors, we would love it if you would join us with some mighty prayer.
From power outages to snow blizzards, the last few LPLs have stacked up some difficulties. Nonetheless, the Lord has shown up and moved powerfully! Please join us as we pray against any and all opposition to the Word being shared at these events. Specifically, help us pray over LPL Columbia, MO this weekend.
We trust He will shine!
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LPL Columbia, MO Scholarship Tickets!

 

Hey Columbia, Missouri! This weekend Living Proof Live is coming to you!

The last time we saw you was in 2003, so we couldn’t be happier to return to Columbia as we continue celebrating twenty years of Living Proof Live.

Have you ever had the chance to see Beth live? If the answer is no, here’s what you might expect at a Living Proof Live event…

  • Hear a unique message specifically prepared for your city.
  • Worship with Dove Award-winning worship leader Travis Cottrell.
  • Laugh, pray, and study scripture with thousands of women from all walks of life.
  • Leave with a renewed sense of calling, purpose, and love for Christ.

We have a handful of scholarship tickets to share especially for first-time attenders.  If you have never seen Beth teach in-person, we would love to help you attend the event this weekend. All you need to do is give Kimberly Meyer a call at our office and she will set you up: 281-257-3344.

We sure love Jesus and His Word, and want you to fall more in love with Him, too! He is our great hope and joy. For more specifics about this weekend in CoMo, visit LifeWay.com here. We are praying that God’s presence would be powerful and undeniable this weekend.  There will be a group of ladies excited that you are in the room.  Come join us!

 

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Introducing…The Sisters Series!

 

Share your questions with us here! https://bit.ly/SistersSeriesForm

Hey, Everybody!

God has been so gracious to keep us caught up in Him at Living Proof and inspired to do – or at least try to do! – new things. He’s added some of our very favorite things to LPM this year like Tuesday Prayer Hour, for instance, where we open our ministry doors and pray for anybody who walks through them every Tuesday at noon and like Invited, our monthly worship gathering for women. He’s also added incredibly gifted women to our staff who bring all sorts of new elements and opportunities to serve you. All of our staff members are so gifted and serve women actively and tirelessly in ways you may never see up front but they are part of every event and every opportunity we have. Not one is dispensable. We don’t have extra staff around LPM. Every employee plays a critical part in the ministry. In recent years it’s been impossible for me to miss that God is increasingly bringing us staff members who are gifted not only behind the scenes but also, I believe, in front of the screen. You’ll be meeting them more and more over the coming months.

Nothing excites me more than seeing women develop as communicators of the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ. I have been very reluctant in past years to throw employees up in front of the screen or on the blog for several reasons. First, the more out front we are, the more of a target we become for criticism and ridicule and it’s just not fun to watch people I employ get subjected to that.  It’s flat-out unavoidable in our current culture. Second, I have enough trouble just answering for myself. Being responsible for every syllable that comes out of another mouth publicly at LPM seemed daunting to me. But I’m over that now and I’ll tell you why. Nobody gets it right all the time. Everybody has to have space to grow. Everybody at times says more than he or she knows. Our mouths inevitably overshoot our knowledge. If we’re only allowed to put people out there who can keep everybody pleased, then we need to close the doors at LPM and vacate the building because we’ve got no one to offer.

But what we DO have to offer is a team of women who really, really love Jesus, who have lots of joy amid lots of legit troubles, who have active prayer lives and believe with all our hearts that the primary way to get to know God is through the study of His Word. What we DO have is a team of women who are willing to step out there into the unknown and serve you at the risk of missing it at times. What we DO have is a team of women willing to do just about anything to serve you well and absolutely anything to be obedient to the leadership of the Spirit.

Today it is my tremendous honor to introduce you to one of our very willing team members. Please meet Selena Schorken. She’s been at LPM for almost a year and I was captivated by her the first time I met her. If I recall correctly, she’d only been with us a couple of months when I pulled her aside and asked her if she’d ever consider coming on screen with me. It’s not often that I have a fellow ham at LPM (I don’t know if “ham” translates to all of you but think the reverse of spotlight-shy) but these days, I have a few of them, and you can bet sooner or later you’re going to meet them.

Selena and I are teaming up together to bring you a new little element that we hope will serve you even if occasionally all it serves you is some clean ridiculousness. We are calling it “Sisters Series” where we talk about what you want to talk about. These will be 15 minute (or less) videos where we take questions or subjects you’ve suggested and Selena and I take them on. Our ages are separated by nearly 4 solid decades and that’s one of the things that we think might make it extra fun when it’s more lighthearted and give it more dimension and complexity when the subject is a little heavier.

So, what kinds of questions and subjects? You tell us! That’s where YOU come in. Think more in terms of conversations between sisters than teaching segments because of the time restriction but that doesn’t mean there will be nothing taught. We’ll let it go where God takes it. Just think in terms of entries that lean more toward mentoring questions or sister-like questions or very specific Bible questions or meaningless-but-fun personal questions that could be answered in a fifteen minute or less time frame.

You’ll find your link for entering questions right under the intro video above and, if you’re willing, we’d love to be able to say your first name and what city you’re from and your basic age group so that you become part of that segment, too. If you are entering a question that you want to be kept anonymous, be sure and tell us!

We love serving you guys. We hope this will be some edification and encouragement in a social media world where manure is constantly flying. To duck it for just a few minutes seems like a respite to us. That’s what we’re hoping for our new Sisters Series.

With much affection,

Beth

 

 

 

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LPL Calgary Recap!

Living Proof Live Calgary 2018 | Recap from LifeWay Women on Vimeo.

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Canadian sisters! LPL Calgary, AB Scholarship Tickets!

 

Hey Calgary, Alberta! This weekend Living Proof Live is coming to you!

The last time we saw you was in 2012, so we couldn’t be happier to return to Canada as we continue celebrating twenty years of Living Proof Live.

Have you ever had the chance to see Beth live? If the answer is no, here’s what you might expect at a Living Proof Live event…

  • Hear a unique message specifically prepared for your city.
  • Worship with Dove Award-winning worship leader Travis Cottrell.
  • Laugh, pray, and study scripture with thousands of women from all walks of life.
  • Leave with a renewed sense of calling, purpose, and love for Christ.

We have a handful of scholarship tickets to share especially for first-time attenders.  If you have never seen Beth teach in-person, we would love to help you attend the event this weekend. All you need to do is give Kimberly Meyer a call at our office and she will set you up: 281-257-3344.

We sure love Jesus and His Word, and want you to fall more in love with Him, too! He is our great hope and joy. For more specifics about this weekend in Cowtown, visit LifeWay.com here. We are praying that God’s presence would be powerful and undeniable this weekend.  There will be a group of ladies excited that you are in the room.  Come join us!

 

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In Response to the SWBTS Board of Trustees Decision

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Like many of you, I was taken by surprise by the May 30th release of the statement by the SWBTS Board of Trustees Executive Committee concerning the termination of Dr. Paige Patterson in its dramatic contrast to their previous decision. I do not know what the new allegations were or what added information brought them to this decision. What is clearly stated, however, is that they came to their decision unanimously and took action immediately and did so in order to be consistent with the biblically informed core values of SWBTS. They did so in order to make crystal clear that the Seminary stands and will stand against all forms of abuse. And they did so to grieve for individuals wounded by abuse. For these reasons, I deeply respect their decision and applaud their tremendous courage in what has surely been a brutal process. The committee members, too, should be in our prayers.

 

These are sobering days. These are days for each of us to go on our faces before God, searching our own sin-prone hearts, repenting for our own transgressions and asking God to dislodge planks out of our own eyes. We can and often do hold to attitudes so long that are so wrong, so skewed, but shared by so many people with tattered Bibles, marked by highlighters and sketched with margin notes that how could we be wrong? Especially after we were right about so many other things?

 

These things ought to scare us to death. These things are presently scaring me to death. Only a fool gloats when others fail. He or she is surely next. The mighty arm of God is swinging. He is so patient, merciful and kind. I do not doubt that He has urged and urged these matters to repentance and transformation only to be resisted and now, no less out of His mercy, grace and love for the church, He is coming swiftly. All those standing, beating their chests, are at a dangerous altitude for getting hit. The only safe place for any of us right now is down low. From there God will set us back on our feet in due time, freshly humbled and, therefore, ready for greater works to come as we carry the torch of the gospel in an increasingly dark world.

 

I without hesitation fully support the Trustees’ removal of Dr. Patterson but without pleasure or personal satisfaction. I only have sorrow for the excruciating pain the Patterson family is surely enduring. They will be in my prayers for a long time. So will those who have suffered the double heap of pain in having been hurt then unheard, particularly by those who were in positions to be protectors. There are many matters outside my realm of experience but, having served women for thirty-five years, this is not one of them. I am very familiar with the ravages of sexual molestation, harassment, abuse, assault and rape. I am very familiar with the demoralizing numbers of victims within our church culture silenced by fear, intimidation, shame, bullying and such manipulation of biblical submission as to border on pathological. These are acts of second-wave abuse, beyond civil action in court perhaps, but not beyond the court of the Ancient of Days. May He have mercy on us all.

 

Here is what I also know. I know how much healing can come when those who added to the hurt and did not act faithfully – or rightly repent when confronted with such – ultimately repent then, rather than shrinking back in shame, become an active part of restoration. My deep hope is that Dr. Patterson will take the necessary time to heal, reflect, seek counsel, as so many of us have, to determine what went wrong and why, then become active in helping create a healthier culture for both men and women marked by Christlikeness. What full redemption that would be. What honor and dignity.

 

What outshines this present darkness is the stunning number of courageous people who gleam like stars in the sky, holding firmly to the word of life in a warped and crooked generation.

 

*People like Megan Lively, who valiantly came forward, giving the Seminary the gift of opportunity to act rightly in the surfacing knowledge of woefully long-wrongs. There are others whose names are not public who also showed tremendous courage in telling their stories to those in positions to affect much needed change.

 

*People like the SWBTS Trustees who worked tirelessly and prayerfully to come to the right decision under terribly difficult circumstances.

 

*The burgeoning number of pastors, ministers and brothers in Christ who have spoken up and are presently speaking out against the abuse and misuse of women and girls and calling for the dignity and honor to be given them that Christlikeness demands. I have no words big enough to express my gratitude to God for the brothers who were simply never part of the disesteem in the first place.

 

*The countless women who have simply hung in there and served God through their churches. Also, the women who have been called into the ring at significant personal expense to fight lovingly and brilliantly for change. Karen Swallow Prior cannot go without mention among these. She is too good for this world but, Dear Lord in Heaven, how grateful we are that she is still in it.

 

The winds of change have been blowing for a while. But these winds have been upgraded to a hurricane. A holy hurricane. And what you do after a hurricane – I know this for a fact – is roll up your sleeves, love like you’ve never loved before, prepare for a long haul of healing, run first to the aid of those with the most destruction then to the larger community hurting, survey the damage, clean out the mud and debris and start rebuilding on solid rock.

 

“and on this rock I will build my church, and the gates of Hades will not overcome it.” Matthew 16:18

 

 

 

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A Letter to My Brothers

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Dear Brothers in Christ,

A few years ago I told my friend, Ed Stetzer, that, whenever he hears the news that I’m on my deathbed, he’s to elbow his way through my family members to interview me about what it’s been like to be a female leader in the conservative Evangelical world. He responded, “Why can’t we do it before then?”

“Because you know good and well what will happen,” I answered. “I’ll get fried like a chicken.” After recent events following on the heels of a harrowing eighteen months, I’ve decided fried chicken doesn’t sound so bad.

I have been a professing Evangelical for decades and, at least in my sliver of that world, a conservative one. I was a cradle role Southern Baptist by denomination with an interdenominational ministry. I walked the aisle to receive Christ as my Savior at 9 years old in an SBC church and exactly nine years later walked the aisle in another SBC church to surrender to a vocational calling. Being a woman called to leadership within and simultaneously beyond those walls was complicated to say the least but I worked within the system. After all, I had no personal aspirations to preach nor was it my aim to teach men. If men showed up in my class, I did not throw them out. I taught. But my unwavering passion was to teach and to serve women.

I lack adequate words for my gratitude to God for the pastors and male staff members in my local churches for six decades who have shown me such love, support, grace, respect, opportunity and often out right favor. They alongside key leaders at LifeWay and numerous brothers elsewhere have no place in a larger picture I’m about to paint for you. They have brought me joy and kept me from derailing into cynicism and chronic discouragement amid the more challenging dynamics.

As a woman leader in the conservative Evangelical world, I learned early to show constant pronounced deference – not just proper respect which I was glad to show – to male leaders and, when placed in situations to serve alongside them, to do so apologetically. I issued disclaimers ad nauseam. I wore flats instead of heels when I knew I’d be serving alongside a man of shorter stature so I wouldn’t be taller than he. I’ve ridden elevators in hotels packed with fellow leaders who were serving at the same event and not been spoken to and, even more awkwardly, in the same vehicles where I was never acknowledged. I’ve been in team meetings where I was either ignored or made fun of, the latter of which I was expected to understand was all in good fun. I am a laugher. I can take jokes and make jokes. I know good fun when I’m having it and I also know when I’m being dismissed and ridiculed. I was the elephant in the room with a skirt on. I’ve been talked down to by male seminary students and held my tongue when I wanted to say, “Brother, I was getting up before dawn to pray and to pore over the Scriptures when you were still in your pull ups.”

Some will inevitably argue that the disrespect was not over gender but over my lack of formal education but that, too, largely goes back to issues of gender. Where was a woman in my generation and denomination to get seminary training to actually teach the Scriptures? I hoped it would be an avenue for me and applied and was accepted to Southwestern Seminary in 1988. After a short time of making the trek across Houston while my kids were in school, of reading the environment and coming to the realization of what my opportunities would and would not be, I took a different route. I turned to doctrine classes and tutors, read stacks of books and did my best to learn how to use commentaries and other Bible research tools. My road was messy but it was the only reasonable avenue open to me.

Anyone out in the public eye gets pelted with criticism. It’s to be expected, especially in our social media culture, and those who can’t stand the heat need to get out of the kitchen. What is relevant to this discussion is that, several years ago when I got publically maligned for being a false teacher by a segment of hyper-fundamentalists based on snippets taken out of context and tied together, I inquired whether or not they’d researched any of my Bible studies to reach those conclusions over my doctrine, especially the studies in recent years. The answer was no. Why? They refused to study what a woman had taught. Meanwhile no few emails circulated calling pastors to disallow their women to do my “heretical” studies. Exhausting. God was and is and will always be faithful. He is sovereign and all is grace. He can put us out there and pull us back as He pleases. Ours is to keep our heads down and seek Him earnestly and serve Him humbly

I have accepted these kinds of challenges for all of these years because they were simply part of it and because opposition and difficulties are norms for servants of Christ. I’ve accepted them because I love Jesus with my whole heart and will serve Him to the death. God has worked all the challenges for good as He promises us He will and, even amid the frustrations and turmoil, I would not trade lives with a soul on earth. Even criticism, as much as we all hate it, is used by God to bring correction, endurance and humility and to curb our deadly addictions to the approval of man.

I accepted the peculiarities accompanying female leadership in a conservative Christian world because I chose to believe that, whether or not some of the actions and attitudes seemed godly to me, they were rooted in deep convictions based on passages from 1 Timothy 2 and 1 Corinthians 14.

Then early October 2016 surfaced attitudes among some key Christian leaders that smacked of misogyny, objectification and astonishing disesteem of women and it spread like wildfire. It was just the beginning. I came face to face with one of the most demoralizing realizations of my adult life: Scripture was not the reason for the colossal disregard and disrespect of women among many of these men. It was only the excuse. Sin was the reason. Ungodliness.

This is where I cry foul and not for my own sake. Most of my life is behind me. I do so for sake of my gender, for the sake of our sisters in Christ and for the sake of other female leaders who will be faced with similar challenges. I do so for the sake of my brothers because Christlikeness is at stake and many of you are in positions to foster Christlikeness in your sons and in the men under your influence. The dignity with which Christ treated women in the Gospels is fiercely beautiful and it was not conditional upon their understanding their place.

About a year ago I had an opportunity to meet a theologian I’d long respected. I’d read virtually every book he’d written. I’d looked so forward to getting to share a meal with him and talk theology. The instant I met him, he looked me up and down, smiled approvingly and said, “You are better looking than _________________________________.” He didn’t leave it blank. He filled it in with the name of another woman Bible teacher.

These examples may seem fairly benign in light of recent scandals of sexual abuse and assault coming to light but the attitudes are growing from the same dangerously malignant root. Many women have experienced horrific abuses within the power structures of our Christian world. Being any part of shaping misogynistic attitudes, whether or not they result in criminal behaviors, is sinful and harmful and produces terrible fruit. It also paints us continually as weak-willed women and seductresses. I think I can speak for many of us when I say we are neither interested in reducing or seducing our brothers.

The irony is that many of the men who will give consideration to my concerns do not possess a whit of the misogyny coming under the spotlight. For all the times you’ve spoken up on our behalf and for the compassion you’ve shown in response to “Me too,” please know you have won our love and gratitude and respect.

John Bisagno, my pastor for almost thirty years, regularly said these words: “I have most often seen that, when the people of God are presented with the facts, they do the right thing.” I was raised in ministry under his optimism and, despite many challenges, have not yet recovered from it. For this reason I write this letter with hope.

I’m asking for your increased awareness of some of the skewed attitudes many of your sisters encounter. Many churches quick to teach submission are often slow to point out that women were also among the followers of Christ (Luke 8), that the first recorded word out of His resurrected mouth was “woman” (John 20:15) and that same woman was the first evangelist. Many churches wholly devoted to teaching the household codes are slow to also point out the numerous women with whom the Apostle Paul served and for whom he possessed obvious esteem. We are fully capable of grappling with the tension the two spectrums create and we must if we’re truly devoted to the whole counsel of God’s Word.

Finally, I’m asking that you would simply have no tolerance for misogyny and dismissiveness toward women in your spheres of influence. I’m asking for your deliberate and clearly conveyed influence toward the imitation of Christ in His attitude and actions toward women. I’m also asking for forgiveness both from my sisters and my brothers. My acquiescence and silence made me complicit in perpetuating an atmosphere in which a damaging relational dynamic has flourished. I want to be a good sister to both genders. Every paragraph in this letter is toward that goal.

I am grateful for the privilege to be heard. I long for the day – have asked for the day – when we can sit in roundtable discussions to consider ways we might best serve and glorify Christ as the family of God, deeply committed to the authority of the Word of God and to the imitation of Christ. I am honored to call many of you friends and deeply thankful to you for your devotion to Christ. I see Him so often in many of you.

In His great name,

Beth

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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