LPL Cincinnati, OH Scholarship Tickets

Hey Cincinnati! Beth and the Living Proof Live team are ecstatic to see you in just a few days! No two LPL events are exactly the same, so we can’t wait to see what God will do this weekend in your city.

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.

Sound good? We have a handful of special scholarship tickets to share.  If you’re a first-time attender and you’d like to join us but can’t swing the cost, one of them has your name on it.  All you need to do is give Kimberly Meyer a call at our office and she will set you up: toll free 888-700-1999 (Not an 800 prefix.)

We love Jesus and His Word, and we want you to fall more in love with Him, too! For more information about this weekend in Cincinnati, visit LifeWay.com here. We’ll be so excited to worship with you. Come join us!

Leave a comment here. | Share with Others:
Share

LPL Green Bay Scholarship Tickets

“I am elated to be heading to Green Bay this weekend for Living Proof Live! We are studying totally different verses but make no mistake. This event is a do-over! Our 2018 LPL in Green Bay is the only occasion in all my years of speaking and teaching and in the 22 years of Living Proof Live that we have ever had to cancel halfway through. A blizzard hit Green Bay that APRIL Friday and, though we made it for the one evening, the entire city shut down the next morning and we couldn’t finish it. The event center literally could not open because none of their employees could make it to work. It was the wildest thing ever. Not to be deterred, we built a small set and I taught the rest of the material straight to camera and the worship team sang and we released it to whoever wanted it. Talk about making a memory! So we declared, God willing, that we would head back the next year. Please notice that we chose August. This coming weekend. We cannot wait!!!!! Green Bay, let’s ask God to give us what the devil stole from us in double portions! I cannot wait to see you. I have thought about you for 16 solid months.” – Beth


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.

If you’ve never been to an LPL before, or you can’t quite swing the cost of a ticket, give Kimberly Meyer a call at toll-free: 1-888-700-1999. Or for tickets, visit registration on the LifeWay website – and we will see you there!

Leave a comment here. | Share with Others:
Share

The Luke Challenge

Hey, everyone! This is a challenge I pitched out to the attendees of Living Proof Live Eugene, Oregon because it corresponded with our concept but anyone is invited to participate! Here’s a bit of background:

At our Living Proof Live in Eugene, we studied the repetitions of the powerfully placed words “this Jesus” in the Book of Acts, particularly in the first and second chapters. Under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, Luke was intent on the reader understanding that the one who is both Messiah and Lord is “this same Jesus” (1:11 CSB/NIV) who was arrested, beaten, crucified, raised from the dead, who ascended to the Father in Heaven and who will descend again to earth in like manner. The challenge is to know “this Jesus” not second hand but straight from the pages of Scripture. While He can be found in the full stretch of Scripture, what He was like when He took on human flesh and blood and walked among us can most clearly, concentratedly be seen in the canonical Gospels.

My objective was to keep it completely uncomplicated even in the title. We’re simply calling it The Luke Challenge.

All you need is a Bible, a pen and a simple spiral notebook.

Write on the front of it with a marker: In Search of This Jesus

Choose a 30-day period of time in which you commit to read the book of Luke, 1 chapter a day, for all 24 chapters. Your 6 extra days are there when you miss and need to catch up. Start at any point but don’t leave it open ended. Really try to conclude in 30 days so you don’t lose momentum. Leave a comment to this post on the day you’re beginning as a means of strengthening your commitment with a bit of accountability. I don’t know about you but that always works better for me.

2 ground rules:
1. PRAY: Each time before you read, ask Jesus for two specific things: A) to open your mind to understand the Scriptures and B) to fill you with His Holy Spirit.
2. WRITE: Take notes and make comments on each chapter with particular emphasis on who Jesus was/is and what He was like. Freestyle anyway you wish and get as detailed as you like but here’s the catch: do so in dialogue straight to Jesus. Your notes, in effect, become prayers. Communications. He speaks to you through His Word. You speak back through your pen. For example, “Lord, I’m seeing these characteristics in you in Luke 4” and “I wonder what was going through Your mind when Peter…” and “this about you is particularly confusing/fascinating/troubling/comforting/exhilarating to me,” etc. Get the idea? Record what seems to draw Jesus near to a situation and also note what seems to repel Him. Recount to Him what you see happening around Him in the scene. Record how people responded to Him, both positively and negatively. Describe Him to the degree Scripture describes Him. Record your responses to Him. Do it any way you wish but make this an exercise entirely between you and Jesus.

One of our major points at Living Proof Live was that there is a difference between knowing about Jesus and actually knowing Jesus. This 30-day period focuses on knowing “this Jesus” who is both Messiah and Lord.

Anyone can do it with you and anyone is welcome to participate.

THEN, watch for a blog to follow this one in 30 days so that you can report having completed it and share your primary takeaways. THEN!!! If you liked it, DO THE SAME THING WITH THE BOOK OF ACTS! Luke wrote it, too, and it’s the perfect follow up.

We’re so happy to serve you here at Living Proof. We exist entirely for this purpose: to encourage people to come to know and love Jesus Christ. THIS Jesus of Scripture.

Enjoy Him!

P.S.  Our comments are all moderated so don’t panic if you don’t see yours show up right away. It’s there! You’ll see it on the next work day!

Leave a comment here. | Share with Others:
Share

LPL Eugene, OR Scholarship Tickets

Headed Northwest this weekend, Beth and the Living Proof Live team can’t wait for LPL Eugene

If you’re in the area, come hang out with us Friday night and Saturday for a time of fellowship, worship, and teaching from Beth.

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’re believing God for a weekend of refreshment and growth, and we would so love to see you there.

If you’ve never been to an LPL before, or you can’t quite swing the cost of a ticket, give Kimberly Meyer a call at toll-free: 1-888-700-1999. Or for tickets, visit registration on the LifeWay website – and we will see you there!

We’re counting down the days to see you. It’s going to be a blast!

Leave a comment here. | Share with Others:
Share

Why I removed some of my commentary from a chapter of Praying God’s Word

Comments Off on Why I removed some of my commentary from a chapter of Praying God’s Word

For those needing further information on the removal of some of my words (not God’s words but my own) from the chapter I’d written on “Overcoming Sexual Strongholds” in the prayer book Praying God’s Word:

When I wrote PGW many years ago, I exceeded Scripture and singled out same-sex sin as particularly satanic.

As the years passed, I increasingly winced at what I’d conveyed but the basic rule of thumb in authorship is that it is better not to go back and edit an old book but, rather, let it just phase out and simply don’t make the same mistake in the future. The problem was, because PGW is a handbook and not a regular nonfiction book, it didn’t phase out in the same way. I have had many years to test the fruit of what I wrote and have seen over and over again that numerous readers, who had gone to this chapter with their struggles, came to my words and proceeded no further. My words had kept them from God’s words. That, to me, is a pretty serious stumbling block.

I also heard from some heartbroken mothers about their kids who were having a hard enough time feeling ostracized as it was. This prayer book sits on the bedside tables and on the shelves in many Christian homes. Picture a 13 year old struggling with an onslaught of sexual feelings and temptations who has no idea what to do with them. The child picks up the book and reads my words, only, in this case, comes to the conclusion that he or she is particularly demonic. Not only is that devastating to the child. It is not even biblical.

I hold firmly to a traditional Christian sexual ethic and continue to believe the Bible sets apart marriage as a covenant between a man and a woman. But I also believe that Scripture clearly teaches that all sex outside of marriage is contrary to God‘s will.

Here is what I would want that 13-year-old to know:

I want that kid to know that the author of that book, Praying God’s Word, has been forgiven for more sins than that kid can fathom. I want that kid to know my gracious and merciful Savior, Jesus, and that I would have had reasons in my past to have been thrown out of the camp under Old Testament law if not stoned to death. By the power of the cross of Christ, I live. By His grace alone, I serve.

This may not have been the action you would have taken. I understand. But I came to a place that I believed it was the best action for me to take and I stand by it. In the words of the apostle Paul in Phil.2:11, we’re all faced with working out our own salvation in fear and trembling. None of this has been void of fear and trembling before God.

Lastly, I must tell you that I’m weary of our blind spots. Weary of my own. Here is what I no longer have the stomach for after the last several years: the hypocrisy burgeoning from hyper fundamentalist Christianity. I do not lack a Scriptural view of sin. I just believe in a longer list of serious sins than some.

“Now the works of the flesh are evident: sexual immorality, impurity, sensuality, idolatry, sorcery, enmity, strife, jealousy, fits of anger, rivalries, dissensions, divisions, envy, drunkenness, orgies, and things like these. I warn you, as I warned you before, that those who do such things will not inherit the kingdom of God.” (Galatians 5:19-21)

In Christ,

Beth Moore

| Share with Others:
Share

LPL Lincoln, NE Scholarship Tickets

Living Proof Live is about to roll into Lincoln, NE! Come join us this coming Friday night and Saturday for a time of fellowship, worship, and teaching from Beth.

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’re expecting the Pinnacle Bank Arena to be fully prepared with the presence and power of God, and we would so love to see you there!

If you’ve never been to an LPL before, or you can’t quite swing the cost of a ticket, give Kimberly Meyer a call at toll-free: 1-888-700-1999. Or for tickets, visit registration on the LifeWay website – and we will see you there!

We’re delighted to serve you. We don’t take a single one of you for granted.

Leave a comment here. | Share with Others:
Share

Staff Features: Koinonia

Hi, I am Evangeline Williams, and I am on staff with Living Proof Ministries. It’s my honor to share a word the Lord placed on my heart.

Do you have a word that is sacred to you in this season?

I do.

That word is “koinonia,” which means fellowship or to have things in likeness.

One truth to this fellowship is we cannot have fellowship with one another if we do not have fellowship with God.

The Bible tells us, “That which was from the beginning, which we have heard, which we have seen with our eyes, which we looked upon and have touched with our hands, concerning the word of life—  the life was made manifest, and we have seen it, and testify to it and proclaim to you the eternal life, which was with the Father and was made manifest to us— that which we have seen and heard we also proclaim to you, so that you too may have fellowship with us, and indeed our fellowship is with the Father and with his Son Jesus Christ. And we are writing these things so that our joy may be complete.” – 1 John 1:1-4 (ESV)

So, how we have fellowship with God is only through Jesus Christ. He put on our humanity that we may take on His deity. This fellowship is to be enjoyed in Christ; therefore, our joy is made complete.

Psalm 16:11 says, “You make known to me the path of life; in your presence, there is fullness of joy; at your right hand are pleasures forevermore.”

I have experienced many beautiful moments of koinonia. One of the ways I have experienced this fellowship is with the Word of God:

Philippians 2:1-2 declares, “If you have any encouragement from being united with Christ, if any comfort from his love, if any fellowship with the Spirit, if any tenderness and compassion, then make my joy complete by being like-minded, having the same love, being one in spirit and purpose.”

Koinonia is agreeing with one another, being united in purpose, and serving alongside each other. Our koinonia with each other is based on our common koinonia with Jesus Christ. I most certainly have experienced it during our Prayer Hour at Living Proof Ministries, during the time that our staff joins together before praying at noon with ladies that have come to receive prayer. When each person shares their Scripture, it blesses my heart to be aware of the reality of being in agreement with each other at this moment. Our koinonia with each other is being shared often with those who come for prayer. Jesus is brilliant.

Another way I have experienced this fellowship is communion with God. When coming to the Lord’s table of communion, we are sharing the Lord’s body through the breaking of bread and drinking the wine. Because Jesus died, was buried, raised from the dead, ascended into heaven, and is now seated at the right hand of the Father. He now forever lives to make intercession for us, Hallelujah!!!

My husband and I get to share the moment of giving communion every first Sunday.  Often, I have experienced koinonia as I hand out the elements to those partaking in communion. I am very intentional in that moment; my eyes lock with their eyes as I say, “this is the Body that was broken for you sister (or brother).” You see, to me, these very words are the conviction of my heart coming alive as I hand out the bread. I am so aware of my brokenness and so grateful to the one and only Jesus Christ that loved us so much He said yes to God so He could fellowship with us.

I pray the Lord will lead you all to experiences of being in fellowship with one another. You will realize the beauty of what this fellowship brings.

 

Leave a comment here. | Share with Others:
Share

LPL Roanoke, VA Scholarships!

While Living Proof Live has been to Virginia a handful of times before, we are so excited to serve for the first time this weekend in Roanoke, VA! Come join us this coming Friday night and Saturday for Living Proof Live!

We’re expecting the Berglund Center to be fully prepared with the presence and power of God, and am thrilled about the area of Scripture God has set aside for us for this event. We’ve also got some pretty fun additions to the weekend but you’ll have to come to find out what they are. We would so love to have you join us!

If you’ve never been to an LPL before, or you can’t quite swing the cost of a ticket, give Kimberly Meyer a call at toll-free: 1-888-700-1999. Or for tickets, visit registration on the LifeWay website – and we will see you there!

It is our great honor to serve you. We don’t take a single one of you for granted.

Leave a comment here. | Share with Others:
Share

We are ecstatic to get to be in Memphis, Tennessee this coming Friday night and Saturday for Living Proof Live!

So grateful for the privilege of having this LPL at Bellevue Baptist Church among many friends. We’re expecting that sanctuary to be fully prepared with the presence and power of God, and absolutely love the segment of Scripture God has set aside for us for this event. We’ve also got some pretty fun additions to the weekend but you’ll have to come to find out what they are. We would so love to have you join us!

If you’ve never been to an LPL before, or you can’t quite swing the cost of a ticket, give Kimberly Meyer a call at toll-free: 1-888-700-1999. Or for tickets, visit registration on the LifeWay website – and we will see you there!

It is our great honor to serve you. We don’t take a single one of you for granted.

Leave a comment here. | Share with Others:
Share

My Message From GC2 Summit on Responding to Sexual Abuse and Violence

Comments Off on My Message From GC2 Summit on Responding to Sexual Abuse and Violence

GC2 Summit December 13, 2018

Message Three: Dear Church Leaders

“Here’s What You Need to Know About this Movement in Your Churches”

 

(As you read this message, keep in mind it was one of many messages delivered yesterday. We each had 25 minutes and were asked to address different parts of the conversation. This is by no means comprehensive nor was the conference. What we hope, by work of the Holy Spirit and the grace of God, is that it was a step forward.)

 

We who claim Christ as Lord and surrender our lives to the work of His gospel don’t have the luxury of choosing the times in which we serve but, to be sure, we are chosen for them whether or not we feel up to the task. He is Lord not only over time but over timing.  “Go,” He said, “into all the world and make disciples.” The doors of last century’s world are cemented shut to us. All that is left open is its history and to that, if we are wise, we look and learn. The doors of the world a century from now are not yet open. They will have only our history and, to that, they will surely look and we are left to wonder what they’ll learn. This is the only world we have, fallen as it is. Fallen as it has long since been. Fallen as it will still be until He who will come with the clouds, shall come.

History will shape the face of this generation with a handful of prevailing features but perhaps none more distinguishing than the cause and crisis that bring us to this gathering today. For now the face is still clay. Still malleable for a few more fleeting moments. Sooner than we wish, it will be concrete. A monument to who we were. We must decide now who we will be in this crucial space entrusted to us. As for the world, it is not burying its head in the sand.

Time Magazine’s Person of the Year for 2017 was not one person at all. It was a collective of women Time Magazine named in its cover article, “The Silence Breakers.” 

MeToo Movement, created by Tarana Burke in 2006 as part of her own advocacy work, went viral in October 2017 as a hashtag in the aftermath of the Harvey Weinstein scandal.

Just a few days ago on Monday December 10th, the 2018 Nobel Peace Prize was awarded to Dr. Denis Mukwege and Nadia Murad, both shining light on survivors of sexual violence. To quote Berit Reiss Anderson, chair of the Nobel committee, they were selected “for their efforts to end the use of sexual violence as a weapon of war.” Mukwege, a gynecologist who set up a hospital in the Congo and treated thousands of rape survivors who’d sustained traumatic injuries from militia released this statement:  

“I dedicate this Nobel Prize to women of all countries in the world, harmed by conflict and facing violence every day. … To the survivors from all over the world, I would like to tell you that through this prize, the world is listening to you and refuses to remain indifferent. The world refuses to stand idly in the face of your suffering.” (https://www.cnn.com/2018/12/09/opinions/mukwege-murad-nobel-peace-prize-lemmon/index.html)  

But shall the church stand idly by?

We assume few of us would have stood idly next to such acts of violence as Mukwege and Murad exposed but I’ll submit for your consideration today that, while intensities obviously vary, there is no such thing as a nonviolent sexual crime. The body need bear no bruise or tear for a soul to suffer violence. Each month brings further exposure of sexual misconduct, crime or cover-up in parachurch organizations and institutions, in ministries, on Christian college campuses, seminary campuses and in local churches, the latest being the Star-Telegram Investigation report, released last Sunday concerning widespread abuse within independent fundamental Baptist churches.

So, the question comes again, “Shall the church stand idly by?” I’ve been told by a number of fellow Christians, “I just don’t read articles like that. I don’t want to know.” But I believe we will be held responsible for knowing. All that is left for us to hide behind in the midst of all this exposure is a blindfold we wrapped around our own heads. The film Spotlight tells the story of a team of journalists with the Boston Globe who investigated manifold cases of child sexual abuse by Roman Catholic priests. You’re probably familiar with the quotation from a scene between Mitchell Garabedian, the lawyer representing the victims of abuse, and Michael Rezendes the investigating journalist from the Globe. Garabedian states emphatically to him, “Mark my words, Mr. Rezendes, if it takes a village to raise a child, it takes a village to abuse one.”

For a growing number of Jesus-followers, the answer to the question, shall the church stand idly by is becoming, “No. God forbid it.” Nor shall we mistreat it by lightly treating it. Through the prophet Jeremiah, God charged the leaders of His people – priests and prophets alike – with grievous wrongdoing saying, “They dress the wound of my people as though it were not serious. ‘Peace, peace,’ they say, when there is no peace.”

We must dress and address this wound to God’s people with seriousness. 

Light that spares itself awareness of the darkness has moved from the doors and windows to airless inner offices where it becomes nothing more than a florescent bulb, turned on and off by a switch, possessing not a whit of holy fire. The light of Christ is not fragile. It is bold. Bright. His light “shines in the darkness and the darkness has not overcome it.” To His followers He said, “You are the light of the world.” Not of the synagogue or sanctuary. Of the world.

In a vision God gave to the prophet Ezekiel in the 8thchapter, he told Ezekiel to dig a hole in the wall of the sanctuary and behold the atrocities going on behind it. It seems like such a peculiar passage with little or no relevance to us, the Temple in Jerusalem so long gone. Then roll in the last few years and months and weeks and maybe we get the feeling. It feels a little like somebody’s digging holes through our walls.

We are here to gather our courage.

We are here to face that some of our systems have created susceptibility and, unanswered, culpability. We are here to face that, without clarity of teaching and due diligence in training, we have on our hands environments where victimization thrives. Victims fear incurring the wrath of God over distortions of verses like Ps.105:15 that reads, “Do not touch my anointed ones or harm my prophets.” They fear losing the only community they have. They fear being the downfall of the church. They fear not being believed. They fear being blamed and shamed and named. Their fears have too often proved founded.

We are the family of God. As in any family when secrets surface, we have several options before us. We can have the stomach to deal with them and get to the healthy side of them or we can deny and ignore them or we can admit them and sink into despair over them and hemorrhage faith and ultimately exit community.

The only thing we’ve got to lose here that is so prized among us is inordinate power but, in exchange, we will reclaim the power that Christ promised us in Acts 1:8. “But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes upon you, and you will be my witnesses.” 

I can’t help but wonder if part of our reluctance to deal with sexual abuse is, for some of us, tied up in our own guilt over sexual sins. Our unwillingness to address these matters head on has left us oddly paralyzed to distinguish between sexual immorality and sexual criminality. Because many of us have been sexually immoral, the kind of sin often viewed as the most shameful of all, how dare we point out those who have been sexually criminal?

We dare indeed and not only because it is the law in these United States but of exceeding importance, we dare because it is right and the only Christlike response of a people who bear His name. The tasks before us are enormous but, heads together, we are well able to take them on. I have so much to learn. We have so much to learn. There is no magic wand to wave over this. But there is the Holy Spirit to invite fully in to empower and equip us. There is wisdom to be gained from those who have been trained in the trenches. Knowledge to be attained from those who were not caught off guard. We can learn. We are disciples, after all. Learning is what we do.

A steeple may fall. A building may crumble. A congregation may disband. But there can be no Ichabod written on the church at large because the church, His Bride, belongs to Christ. He is intent not only on her fidelity and purity but on her flourishing, on her joy, affection and fruitfulness in enduring witness. In Revelation chapters 2 and 3, Jesus is depicted walking among the lampstands symbolizing the seven churches. He still walks. He has promised never to leave or forsake His followers. “Surely I am with you always,” He gave us His word, “to the very end of the age.” Galatians 1:4 calls it “the present evil age” and we have seen it live up to its name. Jesus has not forsaken us to it but I think few of us doubt He is cleaning house.

In Jeremiah 8, Jeremiah wept bitterly and cried out words so familiar to us. Since my people are crushed, I am crushed; I mourn, and horror grips me. Is there no balm in Gilead? Is there no physician there? Why then is there no healing for the wound of my people?” Is there no balm in Gilead?

Words of old belonging to a people of old under a covenant of old but there is another question we could pose among us: Is there no balm in the gospel? Is there no great physician?

There is a balm in the gospel for what ails us. We do have the remedy for this woundedness. By His own wounds we are healed. By the life, death, resurrection, ascension and reign of Jesus Christ. By the power of His indwelling Spirit. By His Spirit working through individuals trained and equipped to counsel. (I’d add here, through medical help and treatment.) By the renewal of our minds. “You shall know the truth,” Christ said to listeners self-deceived, “and the truth shall set you free.”

We have good news for the sexually abused and assaulted. “The man of sorrows, acquainted with grief” who “has borne our griefs and carried our sorrows…He [too] was oppressed and afflicted.” “Out of the anguish of his soul he [has seen].” In the same chapter of Isaiah it is written, “There was no deceit in his mouth.” What do we have of more consequence to the abused than a God who cannot lie. A God who is light and in Him is NO darkness at all? Even the best of humans have the capability of the worst of sins. We will fail people but Jesus is not like us. Jesus has no dark side.

We have good news for the repentant, the broken and sorrowful over their sins. No transgression exceeds the power of the cross. In Him there is redemption, the forgiveness of sins. In Him there is transformation. In Him, restoration. And, with Him, there will always and ever be fruit of true repentance evidenced in brokenness, humility, meekness, accompanied by coinciding actions and conduct, wholly absent of entitlement. We are terrified of proving gullible to those who feign repentance. Rest assured there is fruit of repentance.

I have seen glimpses with my own eyes of what a church can do for victims of sexual abuse and assault. I am a survivor. My home was my unsafe place. My church was my harbor. My church was the place I saw watercolor pictures of Jesus surrounded by happy, playful children, unafraid. My church was the place I saw authenticity and healthy affections in Sunday school teachers, mission leaders, pastors, student and music ministers. Home was not where I thrived. Church was. Still, I had a terrible secret and nowhere to take it. That secret would haunt me and harass me, coax me into copious poor decisions and nearly kill me before I’d finally spill it and fumble my way in the haze to a road that would lead to healing.

I have often wondered what a difference it might have made if that safe harbor had not only been a place to hide but a place to heal. What if I’d heard my pastor or my teachers or any of my leaders address what I was going through, call it what it was, say that I wasn’t to blame and not to be ashamed? What if they’d shared a safe place I could go to tell what I’d endured? What if I’d known I wasn’t alone? What if I’d known there was help? What if tens of thousands of us had?

Many people have not had the positive experience I had in church life. For mind-numbing numbers of women and girls, men and boys, the church has been an unsafe place. Should that not change with all we know, with all that has been revealed, with all we’ve seen and heard, God help us, for judgment begins with His house.

We all know the story of Jesus entering the temple, driving out the merchants and overturning the tables of the money-changers and flipping the seats of the pigeon salesmen. Most of us could recite exactly what He said to them and with no low volume, “It is written, ‘My house shall be called a house of prayer,’ but you make it a den of robbers.” That is Matthew 21:13. What often goes unnoticed is what happens next without a single intervening word. Matthew 21:14 reads, “And the blind and the lame came to him in the temple, and he healed them.”

Right there among the overturned tables, amid birdcages strewn and unlatched, pigeons flying, feathers floating, right there where coins had scarcely quit rolling, Jesus healed.

He is turning over our tables. He is flinging what we’ve too often been found selling – that the favor of God can be bought by those with clout and that sin-infected systems can be protected – and He’s setting the pigeons we’re selling to flight. Oh, don’t think Jesus can’t make a mess. He can. He’s making one among us now. Turning things upside down to put things right-side up. But right there, next to all that He’s strewn and flung to high heaven, Jesus heals if we, the blind and lame by our own admission, would draw near.

Several years ago after an event, I met a young mother who introduced me to her darling 10-year old adopted daughter. I love preadolescent girls so much and immediately leaned over to talk with her when her mother interjected, “She has a background like yours.” A knife went through my heart because I knew what she had to have meant.  I looked at the child’s face and she nodded timidly and I knew, as much as I wanted to weep, this was no time for that. It was not what she needed from me. “Oh, my goodness,” I said. “I am so sorry. But do you know what that means?” She shook her head no. “That means you get to learn how to be strong in Jesus in a way maybe lots of people won’t. You get to learn who you are in Him and how precious you are to Him because people like you and me have to in order to have healthy happy hearts. We get to know Jesus like some people may never bother knowing Him. Somebody very wrong made us feel really small, but now we get to learn how to stand really really tall.”*

And none of that was pretentious or overblown. Don’t tell me there’s no balm in the Gospel. Don’t tell me there’s no Great Physician. I know better. We know better. Let’s do better. 

 

 

*The little girl was blessed to have a very wise mother who was proactive in every way (medical doctors, professional counselors, etc.)  in regard to the child’s road to healing. I asked the mother those questions immediately after speaking with the child.

| Share with Others:
Share