Archive for February, 2008

LPL – Vancouver

In the first picture you will see the event team, praise team, and sound/lighting/video team – basically everyone but our friend Rich, who is responsible for taking these great pictures. Thanks, Rich! And congratulations to the Living Proof Live team on ten years of serving Christ together!

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Just Dreaming?

Hey, Siestas! It’s Bible study day and I don’t have three minutes to spare but I had a thought I wanted to quickly share with you. I’m sitting at my breakfast room table with my Bible, books, and notes, putting the last few sentences on my message for tonight. (Can’t sit outside because the wind is whipping so hard that I can’t keep my notes on the table! It’s nearly blowing the feathers off my blue jays!) Keith is out and about, leaving the house nice and quiet so I can prepare – which was going well until I got distracted by a particularly silly birddog.

Beanie is sound asleep on the couch but must be dreaming she’s chasing a rabbit or a squirrel. She’s barking in her sleep the way she does when she’s chasing a critter and all four legs are going back and forth as if she’s running like the wind. It’s the funniest thing you’ve ever seen. She does it periodically so maybe one of these days after I master the camera, I can move to video and catch her in action.

Every time she does it I think the same thing: is that what we’re doing? Are we just snoozing our way through (purposeful) life and day dreaming about how we’re going to chase down what Christ chased us down for – or are we going to wake up and actively pursue what God has created us for – even when the path gets rough? I ask the question because I’ve faced the dilemma. See if you can go here with me a minute: We get some vision from God and get pretty jazzed about it then, as God leads, we start taking steps that direction and suddenly the path gets hard. Or LONG. We wanted to leap there. Not crawl there. Somehow we weren’t expecting it to be like this. We were thinking it was going to be fun. Always fulfilling. And, for crying out loud, not so dad-blasted hard and irritating. We didn’t want to have to learn it or live it. We just wanted to do it. NOW.

So we retreat and decide we dreamed it all up – just like Satan was hoping we would. We don’t understand that the pressures we face getting to our places of full-throttle effectiveness in Christ are crucial for developing the muscle to sustain ministry there. He’s developing the character the calling requires. The Apostle Paul knew better than anybody what the path to Christ-ordained effectiveness required. In 1 Corinthians 16:8-9, he told of a “great and effectual door” that God had opened for him in Ephesus and in the same breath mentioned the great opposition he faced there. Let me echo here on this blog again and again: Satan will never oppose us more than when he thinks we’re onto our callings. Bet on that. As L.B. Cowman said in Streams in the Desert, “Both in the physical realm and spiritual realm, great pressure means great power.” (p.9)

Read these words from Paul with a fresh application to your significant life:
“Not that I have already obtained all this, or have already been made perfect, but I press on to take hold of that for which Christ Jesus took hold of me…Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus.” (Philippians 3:12-14)

Let nothing – no obstacle, opposition, pressure, PAST, or passage of time – stop you besides Christ Himself. And if HE does, stop immediately. It will be only for your good and your clarification. You will know the difference as you lie on your face before Him and ask Him. To double check that we ourselves have not inadvertently caused a delay, let’s be sure and turn dramatically from pride and every hint of selfish ambition so that Christ can entrust us with power from on high…

“For the vision is yet for an appointed time, but at the end it shall speak, and not lie: though it tarry, wait for it; because it will surely come.” Habakkuk 2:3

“Wake up, O sleeper, rise from the dead, and Christ will shine on you”! Eph. 5:14

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First Event of 2008 and A Party for the Tods

Can I just say that I’m so glad we have our first Living Proof Live event of 2008 this weekend? It is going to be in Vancouver. After the last event of 2007, I felt like the blog’s right arm was in a sling. We’ve had no commissionings, no video recaps, and no before and after comments from the local siestas! I’m ready for my mom to get back to doing her thang!

Since the conference is still a few days away and my mom is getting ready for Bible study this afternoon, I will share some pictures from Jackson’s second birthday. (Well it looks like we were blogging at the same time!) When I wrote the date in my prayer journal this morning, I realized it was my old due date. I don’t think about it much because 2/17/06 was The Big Day, but I did cling tightly to 2/26/06 for nine months. It will always be special to me. It was also the date of a very large, sold-out conference in Birmingham, Alabama. Lord, help us! Well, He did help us! God worked it all out and everyone was there for Jackson’s birth. I can’t complain!

We had a birthday feast for Jackson at Pappasito’s the afternoon after Melissa’s wedding. The servers brought out a sombrero and a brownie sundae to celebrate. They even sang him a song. At the very end when everyone clapped, he looked at me and said, “Mommy? Mommy? Whaaaaaaa!” It was so tragic. But he bounced back.

Then we played in a park.

You can walk a bit taller when you’re two.

Here are some pictures from Jackson and Ella’s joint birthday party at Pump It Up on Saturday. They are only two days apart and have all the same friends, so it worked out great!

Me and my boy in a bounce house.

Curtis and Jackson shooting hoops.

Jackson on a slide.

Janelle and I got a sneak peek of the party room before it was taken over by toddlers.

Do I even need to tell you who this is? In case I do, it’s Pablo from the Backyardigans.

A toddler birthday party takes a lot of moms working together.

Ella and Jackson having a snack.

Jackson really just wanted to play with the balloons.

We couldn’t wait to take a picture of the Tods in this fun chair. They were not as enthused about it.

Janelle and Ella, Jackson and me, and Sunni and Ava

We played hard.

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Glad I’m a Woman

OK, I just have a sec but I’m so amused by something that I have to tell you about it. I am at a coffee shop close to Melissa’s apartment. The movers packed her stuff yesterday and are putting it in the truck as we speak. I’d been perched on her back porch but they needed to move that furniture, too. Besides, it’s cold here today and my hands were freezing. All that to say, I had to find a place close by and, as God would have it, it has wireless internet. The place was packed when I came in. Really cute decor with a half a dozen small round tables surrounded by four wing back chairs. By the time I ordered my coffee, several people departed and I threw my stuff in a chair as fast as I could. In a few minutes, two men – I think in late thirties – couldn’t find a place to sit so they asked if they could sit at my table. I told them to be my guest. They’d not distract me at all.

I totally lied.

Watching those two men try to do coffee was the most awkward thing I’ve ever seen. They couldn’t have been business associates or, goodness knows, they’d have talked business. And I would’ve been relieved. Instead, for the life of them, they could not think of one single thing to say. And, no, they weren’t trying to be quiet for my sake. The whole establishment is abuzz with conversation. One of them tapped on the top of his cup. The other made a few attempts at sentences starting with, “SO…” It was pitiful. Worse than pitiful. It was painful. I cannot tell you how tempted I was to help them. They needed rescuing in the worst way and I had at least five topics for conversation on the tip of my tongue: weddings, up-dos, grandboys who have learned to talk in full sentences, women’s Bible study, and baby girls moving to Atlanta with new husbands. But somehow I got the feeling they didn’t want my help. I tried not to look at them. It would have been too humiliating for them. So there I sat, pecking away on my computer, acting like I had no idea that they were having the world’s most awkward cup of coffee. Anyway, I don’t even think they were real coffee drinkers. Out of the corner of my discerning eye, I saw no pause for reflection after a single sip. Dead giveaway that they were posers. That was their first problem.

And here I am, communicating with a whole herd of women I’ve never even met with names that, five years ago, would’ve sounded like cartoon characters and about all manner of personal thing happening in my family’s life.

Yep. I love being a woman.

PS. I like to have died (that’s how my people always talked. I really do have some education. I just don’t sound like I do) over Mommy Dot Com sharing that she’d been nominated as “customer of the week” at her neighborhood Starbucks and nearly started crying when they announced someone else as the winner. Laughing my danged head off. You are customer of the week to all your siestas.

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It’s All About Taste

I was putting on my mascara in front of the den mirror so I could watch Good Morning America when Keith looked up at me and said cheerfully, “Well, isn’t that a cute little make-up frock.” (I think he meant smock.) I looked back at him, using my mascara wand like I pointer and said, “Honey, this is a dress. It’s what I’m wearing to work.”

“Oh!” he said.

“What’s wrong with it?” I asked.

“Nothing’s wrong with it, Baby. I see exactly what you mean now. It’s not a frock for putting on make-up. It’s a dress. And you’re wearing it to work,” he replied. He quickly went back to his newspaper.

I went back to my mascara. And then, for some reason, I got tickled. Tickled enough to nearly have tattooed my hairline with L’oreal Volume Shocking Mascara: Blackest Black. “Poor man,” I thought. He meant to come up with somebody so different than me. But, then again, this entry is not about marriage. It’s about different tastes between people who, ironically, have a strong taste for one another. Keith and I did not start out with one single shared taste. Not one. Not in denominations. Not in vacations. Not in friends. Not in hobbies. Not in jobs. And most assuredly not in wardrobe. And that one, like most of them, never changed. He is all western. I am…not. I don’t know what I am. Neither does he. No big deal except that Keith likes to buy me clothes because that was his sweet daddy’s love language to his mother.

For the first 15 years of our marriage, Keith took every special occasion to dress me like a business executive. Lots of black or navy suits with white blouses. Expensive things for our tight budget. I loved him so much that I acted thrilled but my inner man was asnore. I’d imagine how many conglomerations from Weiner’s (a low-budget, high-clutter department store back in the day) I could’ve mixed and matched for that kind of money. A whole closet full of frocks! He’d interrupt my thought process with stuff like, “I got you this because I never see you in anything like it and thought you could use it.” Where? Taking the kids to MDO? But he was so precious, I couldn’t resist him. I’d think of places to wear it, especially when I had to go somewhere I didn’t want to go. That way I could offer a sacrifice of praise.

The second set of fifteen years, he gave up on the executive look for me and took a giant step upward to western wear. Between the wide open cactus-lands of West Texas and the cold mountain air of Wyoming, my well-worn boots and scruffy leather jackets testify to his celebratory success…in the casual-wear genre. The problem is, he doesn’t just have casual western wear in mind for me. I have a closet full of fancy jackets with studs and fringe on them (a few look to have been be-dazzled) as well as a multi-colored assortment of broom skirts. Though I’m tempted to stop here and make several comments, I’m going right on to the next sentence. What doesn’t help Keith’s shopping variety is his strong propensity to be in West Texas just prior to every special occasion we have: Christmas, wedding anniversary, you name it. Since he’s not one to shop in advance, he invariably panics on the way home then, thanks-be-to-God, remembers that great Texas icon, the D&D Western Store on Interstate 10 at Seguin. (Good Heavens, I just had a flash back to all Keith has taught me about Texas hero Juan Seguin and the history of that town and actually came within a dot of thinking you’d care to hear it.) Awash with relief, Keith eagle-eyes the exit in the horizon and flies so fast that Beanie’s birddog-lips nearly wrap around her head. He then, the way I picture it, commences to have the sales woman ring up everything fancy in my size. Another occasion saved.

And sometimes they’re just darling.

And other times only he is. Every time I see one of the less worn western frocks in my closet, I feel really guilty. Right then I wish I fished or something.

Keith has a small measure of mercy on my lack of good taste since it wasn’t my fault. It was my parents’. They took too long to get to Texas. Back where I come from, western was something you were for Halloween. In Keith’s estimation, tastes are developed early which is precisely why Jackson has had a wide assortment of camouflage in every size from newborn on. Keith intentionally waited to purchase the boy’s first western wear until just last weekend, however, because it’s more sacred. He believes a soul ought to be old enough to appreciate the privilege. He walked through the door from out of town with an arm full of boxes and presented Jackson his first ensemble: a snap-up western shirt, Wranglers and Justin boots. I could have sworn I saw a tear in his eye. (Not Jackson’s. Keith’s. But I’ve had tears in my eyes on my own occasions.) Keith awarded him the prize with all the pride and emotion of a Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo first-place bull rider. Praise God, it wasn’t wasted on the boy. To his Bibby’s delight, he is big on enthusiasm. Though he walked a bit strange in his boots at first (kinda like he was walking in meadow of fresh cow patties), Jackson clearly knew he was a stud. He’s already worn the ensemble to church. Amanda says he loves to put the boots on but they have to make sure they’re going somewhere he can mosey since he has to stop every few steps to stomp one foot. And make sure everybody’s watching. Especially Ella or Ava. It just makes a woman swoon every time.

I know because I did.

But that doesn’t mean I have a mind to wear them.

My make-up smock.

The big day.

Trying to get a picture of the all-important Wrangler tag.

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Q&A Part 2

Now, from AJ.

Where do you enjoy going on vacation and what you like to do?
Our whole family loves to be in the mountains. Believe it or not, I didn’t see a real mountain until we took an unforgettable summer trip to Colorado when Melissa and I were teenagers. Most of our vacations up to that point had been to beach towns on the Texas Gulf Coast. (That’s what happens when your dad loves to fish. No complaints here though!) So there’s a very big part of me that needs to spend quality time at the beach every summer. I am not one to lay out for hours in the sand. I like to swim in the waves and catch hermit crabs. In the mountains, my mom and sister really enjoy hiking but I would prefer to be on a horse going through those trails with my dad. In the winter, Curt is the only one in the family who skiis but we all like to snowmobile.

What is your favorite place to eat out in Jackson Hole?
My favorites are The Virginian for breakfast, Billy’s Hamburgers for lunch, and The Mangy Moose restaurant for dinner. Sweetwater is another good place if you want to eat girly food. It depends on when you go because some of these restaurants close during the “off season.”

What Bible study software does Beth use that has “talking Strong’s”?
Beth constantly uses WORDsearch 7 (there is now a version 8). Another Bible study software tool with talking Strong’s is Bible Explorer Premium 4.0. If you are only looking for talking Strong’s, which will teach you how to pronounce the Greek and Hebrew words, Bible Explorer’s lower price might make it the best choice. Both of these can be found at www.wordsearchbible.com.

How do I leave a comment on the blog?
See if this helps.

Is Beth almost done writing the Esther study?
Beth’s deadline for this study is in June. She is currently finishing Week 5. This brings me to another question, which is “How can we best pray for Beth?” She covets your prayers for this project!

When Beth has her quiet time by the fire, is it a wood burning fireplace or gas logs?
It was a wood burning fireplace up until two years ago when my parents remodeled their house. Now they have gas logs. This is very good for me because my son has a deep longing to play in ashes.

Can Living Proof develop an online community for the Siestas?
This is a very good question that I have received through email a number of times. LifeWay hosted a Believing God community for us five years ago when that Bible study was published online. It was a great experience for that season and we absolutely loved having that kind of interaction with women around the world. However, it required a lot of work, training of staff and volunteers, and constant observation. LifeWay even carried the larger load for us since they took care of the technical side of things. At this point, I think it would take at least one full time worker to oversee an online community and to take care of the technical aspects. Even with a full time employee taking care of this, it would generate another handful of work for Beth. And there are only two hands! I’m not sure we could sustain a blog and an online community and still have her writing Bible studies and teaching at conferences.

Has Beth read the Mitford series by Jan Karon?
My mom was obsessed with the Mitford books. She even had an audio version of one that she lent me for a road trip.

By the way, Beth, that is one gorgeous little Tod you have! How will you EVER say “no” to those beautiful big eyes?
Recently I saw a little boy in a Spiderman suit out in public with a woman who I assumed was his grandmother. Immediately I realized that one day my son would go out in public, under the supervision of his grandmother, dressed in anything he wanted to wear. Because she could not say no to the big blue eyes. The only difference is, my mom will be dressed up with him.

In what order should the Bible studies be taken?
There really isn’t a suggested order. I think for someone in the very beginning of their walk with God, Jesus the One and Only and Living Beyond Yourself are great places to start. Believing God is an excellent follow-up to Breaking Free. Other than that, I think someone should start with whichever study seems to interest them most or however the Spirit seems to be leading at that time. If you really, really need some direction, it wouldn’t hurt to do them in the order they were written.

What does Keith do? We know about all his caveman adventures, but what was/is his job?
Keith ran the family plumbing company from the mid-1980’s until just a few years ago when he sold his share of the company to his partner. Since then he has been extremely blessed with lots of freedom to live out his caveman adventures, manage the Moore household, and take very good care of his woman. My parents are especially grateful that my dad can be an active part of her ministry through the TV program, Life Today with James and Betty Robison. (She can be seen on the program every Wednesday teaching Bible study.) He is present for every filming and has accompanied her on both mission trips to Angola. I think it’s fair to say that their lives have had an extra measure of peace since my dad sold the company.

When are you going to have another baby?
Right now we’re only planning to have one more child, so we want to be good and ready before we expand our family. I was sick for the first trimester with Jackson, so I want to really want it before I go through that again. Aside from the morning sickness, I want to savor everything about being pregnant and having a newborn again. I look forward to being more confident the second time around and hopefully being able to enjoy it more, knowing that it goes by so quickly. Of course, God is sovereign and only He knows how the expansion of our family will go.

Do you get bombarded 100 times a day with “Can your Mom come speak to…”?
I used to get asked that a lot but not as much anymore, for which I’m thankful. It’s hard to say no to a friend, so I usually let Susan do that for me! Susan is my mom’s assistant and she has the very tough job of being the protector of Beth’s time. Every “no” she says to an extra opportunity is a “yes” to our family. “Yes, you can come down this weekend for a visit. I’m dying to see my grandson.” “Yes, Dad and I can come up this weekend and hear Curtis preach.” “Honey, there’s an opening in my schedule and Dad and I are heading to the mountains for a week.” We do not take no’s and yeses for granted.

Melissa and I used to function as Mom’s assistants when we were younger. The Lord knows how many messages we took on scraps of paper (with markers) in the kitchen for speaking engagements here and there. If any of you had to deal with our seven and ten-year-old selves on the phone, I’m so sorry! There’s no telling what we said!

As a Mom, are you able to get your quiet time in EVERY day? What is your way of doing quiet time, journaling, reading a study or just reading the Bible?
It took me a long time after Jackson was born to get back on track with my quiet times. I finally found a routine that works well for us. When we wake up, I give Jackson a cup of milk to drink while I make breakfast. Then I pull his high chair into the living room where he can eat and watch Noggin. I sit right next to him on the couch, eat my breakfast, and have my quiet time. That gives me about 20-30 minutes before he is ready to get down and run around the house. I like to journal my prayers because it helps my mind to stay focused. The last two devotional books I used were David: 90 Days With a Heart Like His and Jesus: 90 Days With the One and Only. Both of those have built-in prayer journals. I am biased because my mom wrote both of them, but I thought they were excellent. Right now Curtis and I are using Devotions for a Sacred Marriage: A Year of Devotionals for Couples by Gary Thomas and we are loving it. You’re only supposed to do one a week, but we are cheating and doing one every day. I would highly recommend it. I definitely have days when I miss my quiet time, especially if we are traveling. I struggle when I’m out of my morning routine.

How does one get on the Deeper Still blog?
The Deeper Still blog is temporarily suspended due to the gap of time
between events. LifeWay is currently looking at the possibility of restarting
it for the 2008 locations.

Can you recommend a child-raising book or author who you believe gives Biblical advice?
Someone mentioned this in a comment, but I read James Dobson’s Bringing Up Boys and I learned a lot from it. I haven’t read many parenting books yet, but I will say that I love to listen to radio programs like Family Life Today and Focus on the Family. I always learn something and feel encouraged when I get to tune in.

Why does God wait so long to let some of us ladies get married?
I do not know the answer to this question and I wish there was a good explanation. Sometimes I think we would all benefit from going back to arranged marriages and getting married around the time that teenage hormones kick in. Call me crazy, but I have a whole argument for this in my head.

How do you live a normal life? Can you go to the mall without being swarmed?
I don’t think there’s ever been a “swarm” at the mall. Usually we get to meet a couple of Bible study sisters and that’s fun. I was sorry I missed getting to meet Jen the Newlywed a couple weeks ago when she ran into my mom and sister at Willowbrook Mall.

Any thoughts on a study on Job? I’ve been reading and re-reading Job lately, and it really just moves me. God says SO much there….
Check out Yet I Will Trust Him in our online store. It was recorded at a Living Proof Live conference in New Orleans in, I believe, 2002.

What is your very favorite worship song?
Curtis and I are currently obsessed with Savior King by Hillsong United. It really takes off halfway through, so be sure to listen to the whole thing.

How did your mom pass on her passion for Christ to you girls?
More than anything, I think we saw her abundant life and knew that it was because of her commitment to and love for Christ. We also spent lots of time talking about the Lord and worshipping Him together through contemporary Christian music. (Much of this happened while we were driving in the car. That’s one reason I can be thankful for Houston traffic.) I always had lots of spiritual questions and we had some awesome conversations about the Lord through those. One of the main things she taught me was to submit myself to Christ every single day so that I could be dead to my flesh and alive in the Spirit. In other words, have my quiet time! (See Galatians 5:16-18.)

Melissa and I both went through a time when we had to make our faith “our own” and choose for ourselves whether we would continue to follow Christ when our parents weren’t there to direct our steps. I think we both got a taste of the world and learned the hard way that abundant life was only found in Christ.

What is the best advice your mom ever gave you?
Choose joy.
“This is the day the LORD has made;
let us rejoice and be glad in it.” (Psalm 188:24)

What Bible studies or books do you recommend?
Someone asked how you define ministry. I learned from C. Gene Wilkes’ book Jesus On Leadership that ministry is simply service. “Minister” is just a fancy word for servant. This is definitely a study I would recommend to anyone. Another book I absolutely love to recommend is The Prisoner in the Third Cell by Gene Edwards. If you have felt disappointed by God recently, get this book!

Has your family been attacked by the enemy because of your ministry?
Without a doubt. And so have the Gates, Hamm, Harris, Kirby, McClure, Mattingly, McMahon, Meyer, S. Moore, and Riley families. When we get to hear testimonies from women whose lives and whose families’ lives have been changed by power of God’s Word, we get a glimpse of what is at stake in the heavenly realms. Whatever we are allowed to go through for the sake of the Bride of Christ being prepared for her Groom, it will be more than worth it when we see His face. We consider that our present sufferings are not worth comparing with the glory that will be revealed in us. (Romans 8:18)

“For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms. Therefore put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand.” (Ephesians 6:12-13)

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Q&A

Hey, Siestas! So much love to you! I pray Christ is revealing Himself in unmistakable ways right now and showing up smack-dab in the middle of the most mundane tasks. Before I get to some of your questions, I’ve got to give a huge shout-out to God lest a rock cry out in my place. Can we say there ain’t no high like the Most High to Ocean Mommy’s 90 year-old grandmother praying to receive Christ on Thursday? That, you darling things, is something to celebrate!

All of your questions were terrific! Thanks so much for caring to know. I am answering a bunch of them here and hope to answer a few others in the weeks to come. If your question doesn’t show up here or in the next few weeks, it’s not because it was dumb or inappropriate. I probably felt like I couldn’t answer it well, sufficiently, or briefly in this format. If your questions were posed to AJ, watch for her to answer those in the days to come as well. These are just a number of the ones directed specifically to me. I may have paraphrased your question to make it a little shorter. OK, here goes!

*What’s the best way to show love to an “unlovable” husband? My darling sister, you be sure and get your cup filled to overflowing every single morning by Christ because the only way you’ll emotionally thrive under those conditions is to love him out of the overflow of Christ’s love for you. Something we learned in LBY is to Pour-Out/Pour-In. This is how it works: Pour out all of your concerns and hurts and confessions to Christ every single morning – don’t let them mount up or they will turn toxic and bitter on you – then, emptied before Him, ask Jesus to fill you back up with His Holy Spirit. See Psalm 62:8! You need Somebody you can tattle on your unloving person to and Someone who can also enable you to miraculously demonstrate love to him. Truly, it is the Most High Calling – see Luke 6:32-36. All of us are called to love people who “hate” us. We just may not be married to one. Also remember that love is not always a feeling. Sometimes when I’m dealing with an unloving person, I have to demonstrate the love of Christ and later my feelings tend to catch up with my actions. I am a big believer in solid godly counseling. Seek it if you need extra help. Also, I’m assuming he is not physically abusive to you. For any of you out there – married or single – who are being physically abused, GET TO SAFETY IMMEDIATELY AND GET PROFFESSIONAL HELP. If you are a mom, get your children out, too, and pray for the crisis to bring your abuser to repentance and the professional help he needs.

*Do you guys still have a relationship with Michael? On occasion and in some seasons more than others. I still have hopes that a day is coming when we can have a healthy, consistent relationship, but we’re just not there yet.

*What books are you reading? I almost always have what they call a “Christian inspirational” book of some kind and a Christian novel going at the same time. I just finished reading the novel Same Kind of Different as Me and I loved it. My favorite Christian inspirational book recently is Eat This Book by Eugene Peterson. In addition to those, needless to say, I am buried in commentaries and resources for Esther and have a tall stack for the session revision of Breaking Free, too. Since I got the question, “What are some of your favorite books?” I’ll go ahead and answer that one now, too:

I read constantly and enjoy lots of diversity in my reading. Therefore, I have to be willing to sift through doctrines or perspectives I may not share if I believe I’m going to discover treasures or even insights. I’m just giving you a heads-up that, just because I may be about to mention someone doesn’t mean I’d line up on every point of doctrine with him (nor him with me, goodness knows). It’s just that I’m old enough now (smile) and have studied long enough to not be at as high of a risk of getting tripped up as I might have been fifteen years ago. That said, if I’m researching an OT Book of the Bible, I always get works by Jewish scholars (I like to see their take on it) as well as Christian scholars. I’ve read many works of Jewish rabbis (love the late Abraham Joshua Heschel) as well as some Catholic monks. In the narrower mainstream, I love tons of authors and this, obviously, is where I spend most of my reading time. Some of my contemporary favorites are Philip Yancey, Mark Buchanan, Ravi Zacharias, Nancy Pearcey, Erwin McManus, and John Piper (I particularly love his devotional books and so loved his poetry book based on the Book of Job). I almost always read anything John or Stasi Eldredge put out there.

As far as novels are concerned, a couple of my favorite authors are Robert Whitlow (I’ve read everything he’s written) and Joel Rosenberg (I try not to read his stuff before going to bed or I’ll never sleep). I was very impressed with Joyce Meyer’s maiden voyage into novel-land. I thought The Penny was fabulous. (Jumped back on to add another author that I can’t believe I forgot to mention: JAN KARON and especially her Mitford series! One of you mentioned it in a comment and I hit my head like I shoulda had a V-8! That series is one of my all-time favorites! Floored I overlooked it!)

*What are your favorite Bible studies by other authors? I bet I don’t have to tell you how much I love and appreciate works by Kay Arthur and Priscilla Shirer. I have also done every Bible study Mary Kassian has published. If you haven’t done Conversation Peace, you just must. I love Jennifer Kennedy Dean’s works on prayer as well as Jennifer Rothschild’s works on ANYTHING. I devour anything by Anne Graham Lotz that I can get my hands on. I so appreciate Angela Thomas’s works. I totally dig Randy Alcorn’s Heaven.

*Who do you like to listen to on tape or CD? Actually, you didn’t ask me that. I made up the question myself. Grin. I just thought it would be fitting as an insert right here while we were on this subject. My favorite preaching to listen to on CD (besides my own pastor, of course) is Dr. James McDonald out of Chicago. I’m nuts about his style and the man knows his Scripture.

*What are some of your biggest challenges in ministry? Time, schedule, stress, NERVES, and thinking I just did a terrible job with a message and yet having to go right back out there again. Also just being scared to death I’ll blow it and hurt or offend the Body of Christ somehow.

*Two weeks left before there is one less (with the name) Moore. On the peace and calm meter, how are the four (original) Moores faring with Melissa’s wedding coming up? I loved this question and had to laugh. I don’t think you could necessarily characterize any of the Moore’s as calm at almost any time. Not one of us is laid back. We are passionate about almost anything and have lots of feelings about everything. Any peace we ever have truly is peace like a white-water river and not remotely like a pond. I have to tell you something we all howled our heads off about. Some weeks ago one of you left a comment on the blog asking – in your own fun words – if AJ and I were about to drive Melissa crazy over wedding stuff. It was about the same time another of you commented on Melissa being the quiet one of us Moores. Let me be joyfully and lovingly clear: we all dance circles around Melissa and there is nothing vaguely quiet about her. Remember, she’s the one that used to walk down the stairs when she was four years old and ask me first thing in the morning, “Are you going to boss me today?” Amanda is the closest to quiet in our family and, believe me when I tell you, she holds her own. Lis and I would both tell you that Amanda is by far the sweetest and wittiest of us. (She truly has one of the sweetest, most loving hearts of anyone I’ve ever known and is also incredibly clever.) Melissa is the wildest and funniest. Very, very affectionate, thank goodness, and disarming. She keeps all of us honest. Keith and I? We are simply certifiable. It is a very lively family. And Melissa is the boss. Just so we have that straight.

*If you could live your life all over again, what is the one thing you would do differently? The tears are stinging in my eyes and I’ll have to try hard to keep from sobbing on this one. The list of things I’d do differently is so long, I couldn’t pick one out and the worst of it so appalling that I wouldn’t share it anyway. I have been so stupid. I was so messed up and clueless that my healing took a long danged time. I am as true a testimony of the forgiveness and grace of God of anyone you could know. He has been utterly unreasonable in His love and patience for me and I will love Him forever for it. To love much after I’ve been forgiven much is my hope. I do, however, want to try to satisfy the question if I can with one thing that comes to mind: I wish so much I’d gone with my spiritual “gut” in a situation years ago where the Holy Spirit was warning me to stay back from something. Someone very godly talked me into not backing off. I just wasn’t ready to handle a situation like that and tremendous anguish resulted. Ironically, God also performed one of the biggest works of my life through it. He is such a Redeemer. His sovereignty is my only peace.

*If you could only give one piece of advice to your daughters, what would it be? To pray every day to love Jesus more than anything else in all the world and to deliberately practice abiding in His love for them. Hands down. No contest.

*How do you love someone in your extended family that passively or actively rejects Christ and mocks your walk with Him? I had this exact situation and I can’t guarantee this for everybody but, over time, God worked a miracle in our relationship. One of the things God taught me was to be low-key on the “Christianese” (religious vernacular) around him, but to be high-key on authentic love and joy – to live what I believed in front of him more than to talk about it. I have not won him to Jesus and I don’t know if he’ll ever budge from his belief system but, slowly, God allowed me to win his respect. He loves humanitarian work just like I do so we have that in common. He no longer seems to scorn Christ or believe that all Christians are hateful. I love him so, so much and would give virtually anything to spend eternity in the same place with him.

*Are you just exhausted after Tuesday night Bible study? Yes! And so is my beloved staff! We often get very little sleep when we get home that night because we’re so wound up. It’s a very long day for all of us but it’s the most important thing we do here in Houston, so literally no one complains. Thankfully, we get off on Wednesday afternoons after staff debriefing lunch. The exhaustion after Tuesday nights is nothing like after a conference, however. By the time a Living Proof Live event is over, I am – as my grandmother used to say – as limp as a dishrag. I feel almost bruised. God is so worthy though and so faithful to restore me and get me back on my size 7’s pretty quickly.

*I’m one of your BF posts that had an affair in the past. My husband and my God have forgiven and restored me. But I still have trouble with guilt around those who know about it. Any help? Yes. Trade the guilt around those people for humility. And don’t trade back. Also soak yourself in God’s Word so He can speak louder to you than anyone else. Memorize Scripture and when that condemnation comes upon you – from the inside OR the out – start rolling that Scripture around in your redeemed head for all your worth. Let the pain of every consequence lead you to deeper and deeper sanctification and knowledge of His Truth. And, as the Book of Jude says, after all you’ve learned and all you’ve suffered, if you see someone about to make the same mistake, do everything you can to snatch that stick from the fire. (VV. 22-23)

*Where was “Stepping Up” filmed? In a studio in Nashville and the audience was primarily made up of women who either worked at LifeWay (in all sorts of positions like customer service and editing) or had husbands who did. Some of the others were in ministry and just needed to be ministered to. It was a way we could give a small gift back to those who have partnered with us behind the scenes.

*I have always been taught that Jesus is the SON of God but I am so confused because I hear people referring to them as the same. This sounds dumb, but please clarify. You posed an important question! The Godhead – Father, Son, and Spirit – is three in one. All three were active even in the creation account (compare Genesis 1:1-3 that immediately distinguish between God the Father and the Holy Spirit as He hovered over the deep THEN see Colossians 1 where Christ’s activity in Creation is recorded.) That Christ is absolutely divine is clear in many Scriptures but here are a few: Colossians 1:19, “For God was pleased to have all His fullness dwell in Him.” Colossians 2:9 “For in Christ all the fullness of the Deity lives in bodily form.” In John 14:9,11 Christ explained, “Anyone who has seen me has seen the Father…Believe me when I say that I am in the Father and the Father is in me.” John 20:28 also tells us that after Thomas saw the resurrected Christ and touched His wounds, he called Him, “My Lord and my God!” Hebrews 1:3 is one of my favorite verses of all about Christ: “The Son is the radiance of God’s glory and the exact representation of His being, sustaining all things by His powerful word.”

*Any chance you’ll do a study on Romans? My beloved editor, Dale McCleskey, needles me often about it but, no, I don’t anticipate it. I haven’t been very qualified to write any of the studies, truth be told, but I am vastly unqualified to write on Romans. I taught the entire book for a year in my last Sunday school class (only a few years ago) and those CD’s are available through LPM. I’m betting that’s as close as I’m getting to a study. Romans 9 nearly killed me. Then again, never in a million years did I picture writing a study on Daniel.

*Do you just humor us when we ask about that outfit or that pair of shoes or what kind of make-up you wear? Girlfriend, what are you smoking? Are you kidding me? I love it. I’d ask you the same kinds of questions in a heartbeat if the tables were turned. Right after Bible study. And while we’re on the subject, one of you asked about my favorite lipstick. (I just went and got my cosmetic bag. It has at least 10 lipsticks or glosses in it.) My favorite drugstore variety is Revlon’s “Moon Drops” Line in the green tube with the gold band. For those with my coloring and penchant for bright, the shade I wear most often is Peach #704. My favorite more expensive variety is “Dior Addict” that you get at Sephora. It hurts my pocketbook every time I splurge but it is gorgeous on. And, of course, I love me some lip plumper! But Sally Hansen on the drugstore counter makes about as good as any, at least in my and Melissa’s opinion. (I don’t think we’ve ever won AJ over to plumper. She thinks it stings. We think it’s worth it.)

*And, for all of those who hated that last question, this one’s for you: What do you like to do for fun? I am an avid dog lover and I could hike mountain trails until my legs were nubs. And I pump iron. Don’t even think of treating me like I’m just a set of shiny lips. Heehee.

*Beth, why do you love Siestas so much? Because they love Jesus like crazy and make me want to love Him more. And they can like their servants without putting them on pedestals. And they ask lots of good stuff and start lots of good discussions. That’s why. And I made that question up, too.

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An Off Week

I don’t want to sound like Queen Compalainy from the Hawhiney Islands, but this week is not one I’d like to do over! I know lots of us are leading Bible studies or ministering in tons of other ways, so I’m thinking there’s a good chance that a few of my siestas have also had an “off week” where serving the Lord is concerned.

On Wednesday night I hosted a shindig at my house to welcome our college girls back from their long winter break. I went to Central Market and bought all kinds of goodies to snack on – California rolls, chips and salsa and guacamole, and chocolate chip cookie dough. I know, it was a very weird assortment of food. I put The Tod to bed, rearranged our furniture to make room for a crowd, and waited for knocks on the door. Well, I got two knocks on the door. Thankfully, that was a total of four girls. But still. I normally have about fourteen on a Bible study night and I was expecting a comparable amount. (I guess it’s a good problem to have that your college girls would rather study the Word than hang out!) Do y’all have any idea how much sushi is in my fridge? And that’s not the kind of thing I really want to eat the next day. *Grin*

Today I drove out to Fort Worth to meet a new friend from church for lunch. This friend is in the area temporarily while a loved one is receiving treatment at a local hospital. Well, of all things, I drove out to the wrong medical center. I was supposed to have been in Dallas! Thirty minutes away! How in the world had I turned that around in my mind? We ended up having to reschedule.

Then, if that wasn’t enough, I went to meet my husband for a spontaneous lunch at The Black Eyed Pea – comfort food at its best. And I needed some comfort. I’ll spare you the details, but a toilet exploded water all over me. The bottom of my jeans are still wet. Please, someone put me to bed and let’s call it a day!

My mom shared this little tidbit with me and it looks like I might not need to go straight to bed afterall.

One thing is for certain: if we’re looking for a position with automatic and instant affirmation, we might not want to go into ministry. God always blesses but He often applies the Law of Sowing and Reaping and sometimes it takes a mighty long time for that plant to show.

Well, amen, Mama!

“Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up. Therefore, as we have opportunity, let us do good to all people, especially to those who belong to the family of believers.” (Galatians 6:9-10)

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Questions? You’ve Got 30 Minutes!

Comments closed! See below!

Good morning, sisters! My mom already spoke to this in a little paragraph she added to the previous post, but I want to say that I was blown away by all the amazing testimonies of freedom that we shared! We were astounded at how they ministered to the first group of Breaking Free comments. I could not keep from praising our Savior. He is so mighty! There were several comments that addressed things I was dealing with that very day and they gave me an extra measure of faith to believe God for my victory. Thank you to everyone who shared and most of all, thank You, glorious Jesus, for setting us free!

Whew! Okay! Now for a breather! Mom and I thought it would be fun to do a Question and Answer post. We are going to open up comments for thirty minutes and see what you girls come up with. So if there’s something you want to ask, bring it on! I’m sure we won’t be able to answer every one, but I think it will still give us lots to talk about. Here’s a hint: we are hoping to give lots of shorter answers rather than a few very long ones. Okay, you’ve got thirty minutes! One, two, three, go!

TIME’S UP! Can’t wait to see what we’ve got! Watch for answers over the weekend! You guys are such a blast!

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