Who’s ready to talk Summer Bible Study?

Our friends at Lifeway are hosting another online Bible study this Summer! Will you join us?

Watch this quick video from Beth to catch the details.

7 week Bible study
Begins June 9 – July 21
Register online at:  www.LifewayWomen.com/OBS

 

Let’s stay in the Word together this Summer.  See you online!!

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LPL Norfolk Scholarship Tickets

LPL_box_leaf_LONG 2016

Good morning! This weekend Living Proof Live comes for the first time to Norfolk, VA!

Beth and the entire Lifeway team are looking forward to serving you in worship and the Word.  Pray for all, and for Beth as she prepares her teachings, would you?  We prepare to gather in unity for one distinct purpose:  Taste and see that the LORD is good! 

 

We would like to help you go if you are in the local Norfolk area.

 

This year, our scholarship tickets are set aside especially for first-timers!
We have fifteen (15) tickets to share with you for Norfolk: first come, first served.

If you have never attended an LPL, or if the cost would keep you from coming, one of these tickets is for you!  Newbies, just give Kimberly a call at our office and she will set you up. Toll-free 1-888-700-1999 (NOT 800).

We sure hope to see you this weekend! To purchase tickets, or for detailed information about this weekend, visit Lifeway.com here.

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LPL Omaha Recap Video

Living Proof Live Omaha 2016 | Recap from LifeWay Women on Vimeo.

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Living Proof Live: Omaha Scholarship Tickets

LPL_box_leaf_LONG 2016

NEBRASKA! This weekend Living Proof LIVE is headed to Omaha! Who is coming?

If you are new to Living Proof LIVE, we want you to know that you can count on a fresh word this weekend. Our teacher is diligently seeking God (as she does for each event) to know what message He would have her share with you. We have a good Father, and He sees and cares for each of you.

This year, our scholarship tickets are set aside especially for first-timers!
We have fifteen (15) tickets to share with you for Omaha: first come, first served. If you have never attended an LPL, or if the cost would keep you from coming, one of these tickets is for you!  Newbies, just give Kimberly Meyer a call at our office and she will set you up. Toll-free 1-888-700-1999 (NOT 800).

We sure hope to see you this weekend! To purchase tickets, or for detailed information about this weekend, visit Lifeway.com here.

Come, as Beth opens up the Scriptures, taste and see that the LORD is good!

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LPL Miami Recap Video

Living Proof Live Miami 2016 | Recap from LifeWay Women on Vimeo.

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LPL Miami Scholarship Tickets

LPL_box_leaf_LONG 2016

What a grace privilege from the Lord that we have the opportunity to minister within the culturally diverse community that is Miami. The last time the feet of Living Proof Live were in the S. Florida sand was 18 years ago at the first LPL in Ft. Lauderdale!

 

We will gather in unity for one distinct purpose:
“Prueben y vean que el Señor es bueno!”
Taste and see that the LORD is good!

 

We would like to help you go if you are in the local Miami area.

 

This year, our scholarship tickets are set aside especially for first-timers!
We have fifteen (15) tickets to share with you for Miami: first come, first served.
If you have never attended an LPL, or if the cost would keep you from coming, one of these tickets is for you!  Newbies, just give Kimberly a call at our office and she will set you up. Toll-free 1-888-700-1999 (NOT 800).

We sure hope to see you this weekend! To purchase tickets, or for detailed information about this weekend, visit Lifeway.com here.

 

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What the Cross has Meant to me

My assistant, Kimberly, passed a message to me from TBN at the end of last week asking if I might be willing to share what the cross of Christ has meant to me personally. They weren’t requesting a teaching. They were requesting a testimony. I couldn’t remember ever being asked for precisely that in those exact words.

Beth, what has the cross of Jesus meant specifically to you? 

Since I would have been writing a post for Holy Week anyway, I decided to try to articulate my response as best and as briefly as I could. What I know for certain is that my finite mind lacks the elasticity to stretch without snapping to the bounds of what the cross has meant to me. A vertical log with a reach “as high as the heavens are above the earth, so great is his steadfast love toward those who fear him.” A horizontal crossbar with a stretch “as far as east is from west, so far does he remove our transgressions from us.” Who can estimate this side of the cloudy sky all He has saved us from and saved us for? All He has fought for us and won for us? And not the cross itself, of course. Our faith has no reliance in relics. Those two pieces of wood possessed no personhood, no atoning power. It was Jesus alone, hammered beyond recognition and nailed to them.

But within the limitations of my understanding and the language of story, what has the cross of Jesus meant specifically to me?

I have no memory of innocence. As young as I can remember, I bore an indefinable but unshakable sense of shame, guilt and anxiety. I do not know exactly what happened in those earliest days to bring such a cloud over a child so young. It was not until I was victimized a little later in my childhood that I was bombarded with silent horror by a sickening sense of familiarity.

Green kids

I have no memory of Jesus-lessness. The custodian of First Baptist Church of Arkadelphia, Arkansas rarely unlocked that east entrance to the public that the Green family, party of eight, did not pile out of a blue and white van and walk through them. We went to Sunday school and worship service on Sunday morning. We headed to choir late Sunday afternoon then stayed for Sunday night church, where our pastor delivered a different message from the one he’d given earlier. On Wednesday late afternoon, we headed to church after school and attended world mission classes (in our church a child’s first words would have been ma-ma, da-da and the-Great-Commission) and afterward we skidded down a linoleum floor to Wednesday night supper in our fellowship hall. I can still picture just exactly how that food was arranged on that plate: sliced ham (anemic pink) with a side-slice of deep red cinnamon apple. Same circle every time. Perfect hole where it had been pre-cored. Next to it were approximately 27 green peas – a little wrinkled but still well able to roll off the plate and onto the floor where all glad congregants could wear them home on the soles of their shoes – and a barely-browned dinner roll that split right down the middle like Baptists have a mind to do.

The moment Wednesday night supper was swallowed, prayer meeting up and followed and right there in that same fellowship hall. The plates clacking loudly in the kitchen became rhythmless percussions and the flatware, musical spoons, to an overture of the same deep, familiar amens voiced somewhere from the back. Strange how a disembodied voice could bring considerable comfort. In a world of disturbing undependability, we could depend on certain things around there like Brother Humphrey’s seven syllable a-a-a-a-a-a-mens. I went to Vacation Bible School every summer where my mother always served and, by the sixth grade, I helped in this class or that. We suddenly picked up – lock, stock and barrel – and moved to Houston, Texas when I was 15 and I continued the same pattern at a nearby church and would not miss a summer of VBS until I was 37. And lo, how it pained me to break that record. If I were given to lying in a testimony, I’d lie right now and tell you I hadn’t missed one yet. A person with my background wants in the worst way to have just one perfect record to humbly boast.

I accepted Jesus as my very own Savior around eight years old – Lord, how I wish I knew the exact date – and made it public before my church at nine. We stood up front in those days when we made decisions like that and congregants stood in line to shake our hands. I cried like a baby, face as red as a beet, caught completely off guard by the humiliating eruption of snot and tears. Those Arkansas gray-hairs, though. They understood. I know that now by the way they nodded their heads and smiled warmly at me. “Yep. We get it,” maybe the women were trying to say with the lipstick bleeding in the cracks of their mouths. “You’ll feel that way a lot of times and, by the way, this will be the best decision you’ll ever make.” Yes. I’ll give a thunderous seven syllable amen to that.

Our family had yet to suffer our peak years of instability. Those would come when I was in junior high and high school.

Madness.

This was my life. This parallel existence, tiptoeing, knees shaking wildly, on the tight rope hung between love and lunacy, where I was too terrified of heights to guess which way I would fall.

But fall, I did. At first just into occasional ditches. Then into an abyss so deep it seemed to have no floor. I tried to will myself into a reversal of gravity. I tried to repent my way into a reversal of gravity. Though I was utterly repentant and miserable and spotlessly forgiven by a merciful God, I continued to freefall, limbs flailing, and sanity teetering. I knew no other way. My theology had yet to collide with my reality. The belief in my heart had not yet jumped to life in my bones. I had been sorry before. Truly sorry. But I eventually returned to the same defeated pattern. I had a heart for God. I’d been mesmerized by Jesus since childhood. But I had a mind bent with torment. My battle would not have been obvious to most observers. I had been a successful student and an overachiever in endless organizations through both adolescence and young adulthood. But a reckoning had come. My past had come to reckon with my present and it would have a titanic effect on my future. How, as I free fell further and further into that black canyon, only time could tell.

I no longer knew who I was. If this Alice could have peered into a looking glass, the person she would have seen bore no resemblance whatsoever to the person she thought she was. She was dying. My infirmity, vulnerability, weakness and sin had joined forces and done me in. Life as I had known it was over. I, as I had known myself, was dead.

Hopeless.

And that’s when it happened. With the hardest jolt of my life, I fell with a deadweight thud into the arms of Jesus.

The person I had been before would twitch here and there for just a little while like there was just a little life left in her but, like a hen losing its head to a farmer’s ax, the old me finally gave up the protest, accepted she was dead and dropped to the dirt where she belonged.

Many years have come and gone since then and life has never lost its sharp, mean edge but I have lived adventures – some that are none of your business – with the One who caught me. He fought and won His bloody way to the incomparable love of my life and is, to date, the solitary good that dwells in me. He is a greater reality – this unseen Savior – than any human form I can see with natural eyes or touch with the skin of my fingertips.

I thought and, in many ways was taught, that the power of the cross was only for the lost. And I praised God for it and was awed by it and deeply thankful for it. I am still unspeakably grateful for it. Life with Jesus begins no other way. The lost must be saved. The sin-wrecked must repent. Eyes blinded to the Gospel must, by the work of the Holy Spirit, come to see. This is death to life for us all. Those who come, come this way alone.

But, the power of the cross has only begun to have its full sway when a man or woman is born a second time and, not by natural means but, by the Spirit. I got up again this morning by the power of the cross. I opened my Bible this morning and received the living, breathing word of God by the power of the cross. I prayed this very morning for impossible things to happen and had the guts to thank God in advance for miracles by the power of the cross. I came to my feet and proclaimed his greatness and his holiness and his power and his favor and his future over my family by the power of the cross. I kissed my husband of 37 years for the umpteenth time this morning by the power of the cross. My children love me and do not think me a fraud and, I promise you, only by the power of the cross. A few days ago I hugged a total stranger, a young mom named Lisa, tightly like she’d been my kin for years on end, right there in a grocery check-out line by the power of the cross. She told me with tears in her eyes how many times we’d  studied the Bible together. My memory of sin completely intact, the divine wonder of it was not wasted on me.

office verse her many sins forgiven

 

 

This coming Sunday at my church, by the power of the cross I will walk to the front and receive the elements from a man and a woman holding them out tenderly, accessibly.

Miss Beth, Christ’s body broken for you. Miss Beth, Christ’s blood shed for you. And I will want to cry. And  probably will.

I will sing what He has done for me. I will proclaim that I once was dead and now I live. And I will do so by the power of the cross.

Any and every victorious moment I ever experience is by the power of the cross. That the enemy did not and still has not destroyed me is by the power of the cross. The power of the cross saved me as a child and it saves me as an adult. It will save me in my death and, through its crimson gate, His glorious resurrection will raise me in God’s presence.

There I will see the face I long to see. There I will see the arms that caught me. There I will see the scars that saved me. There I will see the Lord’s Christ and know as I’ve been known.

Oh, that my words were recorded, 

that they were written on a scroll, 

that they were inscribed with an iron tool on lead, 

or engraved in rock forever! 

I know that my redeemer  lives, 

and that in the end he will stand on the earth. 

And after my skin has been destroyed, 

yet in my flesh I will see God; 

I myself will see him 

with my own eyes—I, and not another. 

How my heart yearns within me! 

Job 19:23-27


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An Outcry for an Uprising of Faith

I have one main job. It is to encourage people to come to know and feverishly love Jesus Christ through the study of the Bible. God called me at 18 between my freshman and sophomore year of college, started teaching me how to get up in front of a group and communicate between that time and my mid-twenties then, at 27, He set a torch in my chest for His Word. That fire has burned in me for 30 years. It is my whole ministry life. I love those pages more than I love a sizzling skillet of great food. I love the One who breathed those words on the page, taking His own sweet time, over centuries strewn mysteriously with periods of divine silence. From the very beginning, God called me to serve interdenominationally. I have been part of one denomination since the cradle roll but I have had the privilege and clear insistence of the Holy Spirit to serve all over the Christian spectrum where people would have me. I will serve any group of people anywhere my schedule allows as long as I don’t have to compromise the message of salvation through faith in Christ Jesus alone and the exhortation for people to come to love and know Him and serve Him through the ongoing study of Scripture.

I serve Baptists, Lutherans, Assembly of God and everything around them and in between. I serve both cessationists and charismatics. I serve people who raise their hands and people who sit on their hands. Doesn’t matter to me. I’ll serve anybody. It’s not everybody’s calling but it’s mine. I may feel less comfortable some places than others as Jesus opens gates to new fields but I cannot find a single place Jesus commanded us in Scripture to go where we feel most comfortable or where people already agree with everything we have to say. I love the Body of Christ in all its diversity. I am not blind to our flaws and sins and imbalances but I still believe in the power of Jesus Christ to save and deliver through the gospel invading this globe.

Here’s why I’m writing today. We are in colossal need of a collective uprising of faith even amid our differences of opinions on other matters. Faith is still the paramount response God requires from His people. We want so much for it to be our righteousness because it feels more secure and reliable and tame and God knows it looks better out there in front of people. You will get no argument from me on that one. Make no mistake, our pursuit of righteousness is crucial. Carnality kills our witness and quenches the Holy Spirit. It destroys our relationships and unravels our effectiveness. But God has a greater priority even than our righteousness. He wants our FAITH. We don’t get to make the rules. We don’t get a vote. God is sovereign and this is the way He’s chosen to do it: Our faith is counted to us as righteousness. Of Abraham, Paul wrote in Romans 5…

20 No unbelief made him waver concerning the promise of God, but he grew strong in his faith as he gave glory to God, 21 fully convinced that God was able to do what he had promised. 22 That is why his faith was “counted to him as righteousness.” 23 But the words “it was counted to him” were not written for his sake alone, 24 but for ours also. It will be counted to us who believe in him who raised from the dead Jesus our Lord, 25 who was delivered up for our trespasses and raised for our justification. 

Without faith, it is still impossible to please Him. (Hebrews 11:6) Jesus can do anything He pleases but He is still the same Savior who worked few wonders where He saw little faith. (Mark 5:5-6) He is still the same Son of God who stated unwaveringly, “According to your faith be it done to you.” (Matthew 9:29)

We need God’s intervention in our day. Our nation needs His help. Our globe is quaking with oppression and darkness. People are lost, suffering, starving and dying. People in nearby cubicles at work feel despair and hopelessness. Many within a few miles of each of our front doors are contemplating suicide. We need doors open for the gospel that are shut so tight, the best evangelical strategies will not budge them. We need God’s wonders to be renewed in our day. (Habakkuk 3:2) Even if you believe wonders largely ceased with the completion of the New Testament canon, I’m wondering if perhaps you might be willing to cry out for the sake of this broken world and ask God to have mercy on us and intervene miraculously in our midst.

The common bond for all of us truly in Christ is our faith in what He has already done through the power of His cross and resurrection. That is nonnegotiable. But is He not also calling us to faith in what He has yet to do in fulfillment of His own prophetic word? What He might currently do if enough of us were willing to lay down our differences and our comforts to fall on our faces and ask? This is not about spiritual gifts if that is an issue that makes you resistant to believing God for wonders in our day. This is about supernatural power. And we are desperate for it. We need wonders of salvation, deliverance, freedom, rescue, repentance, revival, reconciliation, forgiveness. We need healing from bitterness and offense. We need miracles of unity in a fractured church. We need holiness and wholeness. We need mighty servants of God raised up all over the world to serve Him, to teach and preach His Word. We need boldness and fearlessness. We need supernatural strength to suffer well when suffering is imperative to His glory. We need to love people we hate. We need miracles.

To those of us who are willing to keep believing Him, God has promised the immeasurable greatness of the very power He exercised to raise Jesus from the dead. (Ephesians 1:19-20) He is able to do immeasurably more than we could ask or think but He commands us to both ask and think, and to pray and believe, to seek and beat the door down.

We are here such a short time. You and I will stand in that great cloud of witnesses in the blink of an eye. We want to be among the generations of whom Jesus can say, “I got to do great and mighty things in that era right there. Those people had some kind of fiery faith.” Oh, make it so, Lord Jesus. Let it be. Revive us again.

 

“Nevertheless, when the Son of Man comes, will He find faith on earth?” Luke 18:8

 

 

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LPL Waco Recap video

Living Proof Live Waco 2016 | Recap from LifeWay Women on Vimeo.

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A Novel: The Undoing of Saint Silvanus

Release date: September 20, 2016

Tyndale House Publishers

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