Archive for April, 2008

Siesta Fiesta Registration

Ladies, the Siesta Fiesta is less than four months away! We are getting super excited about it.

I need you to know that we had a little problem with our Siesta Fiesta registration. Remember how we had all of you who were going to attend send an email with your contact info to a certain address? Well, unfortunately, all of that information was swallowed up in a black hole. Let me put this in Jackson terms: Bye bye contact info. All gone. Yes, there was weeping and gnashing of teeth. We are so sorry.

The good news is, there is plenty of time to start over. Between now and July 22 (one month before the conference), we desperately need all of our blog readers who are going to attend the Living Proof Live event in San Antonio, Texas, on August 22-23, 2008, to re-register for the Siesta Fiesta.

Here are some details for you.

WHO: LPM Blog readers + Beth, Amanda, and hopefully Melissa

WHAT: An LPM blog reader meet-up following the Living Proof Live event in San Antonio, Texas

WHEN: August 22-23, 2008

WHERE: The Alamodome

WHY: So that we can fellowship with our siestas in person!

HOW: Registration is now closed.

*In August, everyone who has registered for the Siesta Fiesta will receive an arm band that will get them into a reserved seating section. (This is in addition to the arm band you will receive when you register for the conference itself.) About an hour after the conference ends on Saturday, we will have a reception on-site at the Alamodome with all the Siestas. We absolutely cannot wait to meet everyone! We will be in touch with more details in early August.

*Two siestas, Patty and Kim, have created a blog to help the siestas communicate with each other about the weekend. Thanks, ladies! Patty and Kim are not employed by LPM or by LifeWay, but we do think they are amazing women. We’re grateful that they are helping everyone make the most of their opportunity to fellowship with each other during the big weekend. Visit www.thesiestafiestablog.blogspot.comto see what they have going on.

I think that’s about it for now! We can’t wait to meet you!

P.S. Leave us a comment after you’ve registered!

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S.O.S.

Y’all, I’m having serious blogger’s block. Someone help a sister out with a some good ideas. Otherwise I’m going to resort to posting random pictures of Jackson sleeping.

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You’re Killing Me

OK, so I just got back from the Kroger where I, under the terrible sway of Christian peer pressure causing a wretched relapse into approval addiction, attempted to get the ingredients (I hate that word) for an impressive (so-easy-anybody-can-do-it!) recipe. I not only want y’all to like me (y’all nearly killed me this week). I want Melissa to like me. And right now she likes cooking. Hence, my trip to the grocery store. Here are just a few of the things that happened to me while I was there:

1. The recipe was, of all things, in a Bible study (is nothing sacred?? The Bible study I’m taking is another story and something I’ll tell you about soon. Now is not the time. I’m too traumatized). SO, rather than copy the recipe on a shopping list (who has time for that?) I had the Bible study propped open in the grocery basket, pushing it around and staring at it all bug-eyed like I was in a nervous trance. A little while later I realized that several people were staring at me (the butcher, for one, watches on Wednesdays) and, as if those people don’t think I’m a big enough freak, they now think I can’t even go to the grocery store without doing Bible study. Deep sigh.

2. I’ve never bought a sun-dried tomato in my life and couldn’t find them for the life of me. I finally called my friend, April, who happens to be friends with the person who wrote the recipe and tried to enlist her able assistance. She produces music videos and was currently wrapping up a shoot with Miley Cyrus, to which I said, “Miley Schmiley! I’m cooking here! Get off your Hillary Duff and help me!” She did. I finally rounded up seven varieties of sun-dried tomatoes and ended up so confused that I bought all of them just in case.

3. I got so nervous and undone that I began perspiring and inexplicably felt compelled to do that thing the woman used to do on Saturday Night Live when she’d put her fingers under her arms. (No, I didn’t do it but I wanted to. And, no, I don’t watch it. I only know that scene by hearsay. I have a close relative who will remain unnamed that used to imitate her doing that under-arm thing to make me laugh. Well, every now and again I sometimes watch that “Best of SNL” show during prime time but I hold the remote control in my hand and prepare on an instant’s notice to push mute. I’m sorry. I talk too much when I feel compulsive.)

4. I then got so baffled at my own ignorant self that I started laughing out loud which, added to the Bible study open in my basket, made people nervously stand back and offer me full sway of the pickle aisle. (I was there looking for chopped black olives)

5. I bought my first Romano Cheese of my whole life. I then bought three containers of feta cheese because I didn’t know how much was enough. I then bought two jars of pine nuts because April said they’re easy to burn and I’m easy to burn things. They were a stinking fortune. A pine nut! A PINE NUT!

6. After spending an hour in the grocery store getting things I’ve never gotten in my life (pepper corns, for instance), I sped recklessly though the frozen goods and grabbed a package of Skinny Cows. Clutching them in my arms, I took a cleansing breath, reaching deep within for someone I thought I knew.

7. As if I hadn’t been through enough, an old man then flirted with me in the check-out line. Mind you, I don’t care to be flirted with by anyone but my man but this nearly put me over the edge. He had white hair and his golf shirt was tucked into a pair of sky-high-waisted blue-jean shorts which were accessorized with a leather belt that could have stood to be one notch looser. (Where was his wife when he left the house?) I think he had on dark socks and light tennis shoes but I was scared to confirm my suspicions with a stare. And all the while, he would not quit talking to me. The worst part is that I think he thought we were the same age. And I had flat-ironed my hair, for crying out loud! Where has he been? The experience was so troubling that I’m probably going to have to take something tonight to sleep. I’ve never been more thankful for my man.

8. To top it off, my checker rang me up at a whopping $168.76. Are you kidding me????? I was so upset that I almost left my Bible study in the cart. A startling thought that sent a shock-wave of adrenalin through me because I’ve written some private stuff in those blanks that I’m not ready for the Wednesday-watching butcher to get hold of! A woman’s Bible study is sacred! And there’s enough material in there for a whole season of “All My Children.”

9. By the time I got my groceries into my car, I was almost too exhausted to take my cart to the “Return cart here please” section. Alas, I did roll my weary self over there. After all, I’m a rule keeper.

It was a terrifying trip but then God did the nicest thing in the world to take the bitter edge off. I called Melissa to tell her that I’d gotten all my groceries for a new recipe so she’d be all proud of me and, before I could tell her, she said (brace yourself now because this is really good. The climactic part of this blog entry really), “Hi, Mom!”

“Watcha doing, Baby?” (Small talk before trying to impress her. Telling myself not to be too anxious.)

“I’m studying my Greek.”

I was awash with emotion.

God is better than He has to be.

PS. Making dish now. Wasn’t Al Dente the name of a Christian contemporary artist back in the 80′s?

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Just Back From Nashville

Hey, Siestas! My man and I hopped on a plane yesterday afternoon for Nashville and we’re already back for crying out loud. It was meant to be a quick trip but it flew so fast that I’m not sure I didn’t dream it. Travis, our LPL praise team and I were asked to be part of the Sunday morning worship service for the beginning of this year’s GMA Week (the Gospel music thing that hosts the Dove Awards, etc.) When I got on the plane yesterday, AJ said to me on the phone, “Mom, come back with some blog-able moments. Remember your blog girls while you’re up there. Remember your blog girls!” And I did! I never forgot you! The problem is, I didn’t stay long enough to have something earth-shatteringly exciting happen BESIDES OF COURSE that I did get to serve servants in the merciful Name of Jesus which is a privilege I don’t take lightly. I’m not exactly sure WHO I served because the lights were so dim on the audience and so bright on the stage that I couldn’t see a soul. For all I know, Keith was the only one out there and I’m not sure he didn’t go to Starbucks for a grande Americana with an extra shot while I spoke then haul himself back in there before I finished the last eighteen lines of my final poem (JK. Didn’t really throw a poem on them). I think Travis escaped with him.

Keith and I did get to hang out in the lobby of the Renaissance Hotel and people watch for a few – I do mean a VERY few – minutes. And here are a few people we did not see.

Amy Grant. I’ve always liked her and kinda grown up with her through her music but I fell head over heels in love with her when I got to sit behind her at a Women of Faith conference a few years ago. Not only was she maybe the most humble, approachable person I’ve ever never expected to meet. She also had two very simple barrettes in that long gorgeous hair of hers and they didn’t match. I was endeared forever. But I think she has forgotten that we are BFF.

Nicole C. Mullen (and, as her personal trainer, I really needed to check her progress)

Third Day. That’s because I left on the First Day. I’m so bitter.

Casting Crowns. If we are the Body, where is the LOVE???

Michael W. Smith. I don’t even get to call him Smitty.

Mandisa. She hates me.
Not really.

Kirk Franklin. Don’t get me started. I did, however, hear “Stomp” playing over the speaker in the elevator of the hotel. It was the next best thing to seeing him live. I was coming down from the 20th floor so I got to answer the “GP, are ya with me?” Oh yeah… No one else in the elevator even sang it. I don’t think they’d had much sleep.

Stephen Curtis Chapman. His wife and I are both “Beths”. Does that count for a dang thing?

Most of the artists I did see were like twelve years old but I liked them. I liked them a lot. I wanted to be their friend. I liked their hair. And I wanted them to like me. But I don’t think they did. I think it was my hair. I almost had really cool hair today though. When I got out of bed this morning in the hotel room and stumbled into the bathroom, I glanced in the mirror and, had I gotten a level three Mystic Tan instead of a level two, I would have SWORN I saw Prince. Not A prince. Prince as in the artist formerly known as. My hair looked exactly like his. I thought about just spraying it like that but then again, I didn’t know if Keith wanted to escort Prince to speak at the worship service. I felt a sense of loss when I brushed it out though.

My personal highlight is that I really did get to hang around today after the worship service and hug women’s necks (willing women, that is. I don’t maul anybody unless she has popcorn) and get pictures made and, most of all, boast in the Lord and lay hands on a few and pray. The hardest part of the events being a little larger through this season is not getting to hug a whole passel of women and hear their God-stories and tell them eye to eye how much they mean to me. How dearly Jesus loves them. How He WILL redeem every loss. Every ounce of pain. Every season of sin. If we’ll let Him.

But I sort of get to do that here. All but the hugs. But, then again, sometimes you give a hug and sometimes you write one. Consider one written.

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A Stringy Blue Bracelet and the Old Rugged Cross

A move always unearths interesting things. Curtis and I have spent the last month getting settled in our new house and unpacking everything from junk to earthly treasures. I found numerous unopened bottles of baby shampoo and lotion I didn’t realize we had. I also found photo albums that I thought had been eaten up by a black hole. One of the albums is from my trip to Israel with my mom in 1997. I was very relieved to find that. I happily unpacked this beautiful Lladro’ figurine that my dear Mrs. Mary Helen gave me when Curt and I got engaged. I’ve never had the proper place to display it (fearing destruction by a naughty cat or by a curious toddler), so I have been saving it for the right time. I finally have the perfect spot for it in my new house. One thing I was hoping to find but that hasn’t turned up yet is my Aggie Ring – a prized possession for any graduate of Texas A&M University. It went missing two moves ago when I was great with child and wasn’t wearing it on a regular basis. Only the Lord knows where that thing is.

Your Living Proof sisters are still in an unpacking frenzy. I went to work in the new office for the first time yesterday and things were in high gear. There was a large team of volunteers helping get the resource area in order. LPM has about thirteen paid staff members, but we have many, many more people than that who are critical to the operation of this ministry. That includes each and every one of you who prays for us, even though we don’t have the honor of seeing your sweet faces each week!

While I was at the office, I found some garments of praise (outfits for praise dancing) that someone had sent to us. Someone else found a box filled with hundreds of blue yarn Believing God bracelets. We did Believing God in the fall of 2002, so those babies are more than five years old. We wore the bracelets during the Bible study to remind us to believe God. My mom got the idea from Numbers 15:37-41. (The blue yarn frays at the ends and makes tassels.) The original bracelets we wore have long since fallen off, but when we need to focus intensely in prayer on a particular matter, we don’t hesitate to tie new ones on our wrists.

Curtis must have uncovered some bracelets during the packing phase because I noticed he had one on his wrist one day after work. “Yes,” I thought, “he is one of us now!” Over the weekend we both noticed that the bracelet had fallen off. Sometimes the yarn stretches out. You really have to tie it on tight if you want it to make the distance.

Last weekend the weather was incredibly beautiful and we felt inspired to go to the Texas Bluebonnet Festival in a tiny country town called Chappell Hill. The bluebonnet is state flower of Texas, in case anyone wanted to know. I bought a really neat, rather large wooden cross at the festival and Curtis and I took turns carrying it around.

Fast forward a couple of days. I hadn’t hung the cross on a wall yet and I picked it up to move it to a different spot. Something dark and stringy fell from it and imagine my surprise to find that it was Curtis’ Believing God bracelet! It was attached to the cross the entire time…just where it should have been. If our faith isn’t attached to the Cross of Christ, we’re hanging on by a thread.

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LPM’s New Home

Ladies, this is what I was talking about back in November when I asked you to pray for something cool going on at LPM. We are so excited to finally share this with you! Interestingly, when I wrote that original post, Twinkle left a comment saying “Ok, I’m just guessing but I think this teaser might have something to do with couples or men.” At that time we did not know what God had up His sleeve for Curtis. Twinkle, you were really in the Spirit that day! God began opening up that door just a few days later. I have thought about it many times since. But that’s not the point of this post. I just wanted you girls to see what you were praying for and rejoice with us in God’s sweet provision! Thank You, Lord! We are filled with joy!

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God Is On The Move!

Hey, you most darling of all Siestas! I hope you guys are doing well and seeing some fresh revelations of Jesus in His Word and in the blooming Spring. In my own quiet time this morning out on my back porch, God spoke to me about getting the “full measure” (those are the two words I kept hearing in my spirit) of God out of every trial or season. In other words, if I have to be in it, I want every drop of God I can get out of it. Milk that thang, Girls. Milk that thang. He didn’t allow you to be in that situation for nothing.

I am writing to let you know that this is a huge week for Living Proof. We are moving from the office building where we’ve been for many years to a free standing building that God has provided for the ministry. We are ecstatic! So humbled and thankful to God. And we are also practically out of our minds with all a move entails. Poor Curtis. I told him yesterday that I bet he wished he’d started at Living Proof AFTER the move. He’s the only man in the ministry so he’s been put to some use! He said he was glad to be there for the transition, however, and goodness knows he’s certainly had a chance to bond with his coworkers. They have all worked so tirelessly and joyfully. They are the most terrific staff in the world.

It seems like just yesterday our modest hand-me-down dining room table was stacked to the ceiling with research books while a very blonde-brained young woman tried to hear from God from 8:00 to 3:00 sharp and seek a divine touch in the daily-ness of carpools, basketball games, volleyball games, fusses and fights, and budding hormones. There at that same table I labored away at the Tabernacle series, the David series, Jesus the One and Only and Living Beyond Yourself. All of those were written in their first forms right in that spot while clean clothes piled to Heaven on my breakfast room table. And I was ruined for life.

I’ll be back at that table someday – don’t know if it will be sooner or later – with those of my generation and you young things will be doing all the break-neck studying and serving and laboring that we older things had been doing. And will still be doing in whatever form God directs. I don’t believe in retirement but I do believe strongly in transition. In moving. And in also knowing when to MOVE OVER and let the next generation do what they’re meant to do. With much help. Much love. Much blessing. That’s God’s way.

But for now, Lord have mercy, we’re moving all right. Boxes to the ceiling. Knees to the ground. Pray for us! And more than anything, pray for God to fill this new house with His great glory. He’s met with us many times in our old building. I want JESUS more than I want any surrounding. Any new carpet. Any fresh paint. I want HIM. Ask Him to baptize that place in His Presence and let me love Him more within those walls. We hope to grow in the depth and breadth of serving Jesus to you as we move with the cloudy pillar of His Glory to this place. You are so dear to us.

I love you!
beth

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Living Proof Live – San Diego

FYI, this is the song Travis sang in Melissa’s wedding. It’s “Forevermore” from the album Found. Thank you, Rich, for another amazing recap!

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The Weakness of Will-Powered Living

Holiness, the Holy Spirit, and James Coney Island
by Curtis Jones

Last night I swore off fast food. I’ve been having some stomach pains and a few days ago I ran out of Zantac. It’s not the first time. A few years ago I noticed I was starting to develop sharp pains in my stomach. Since I’m a male, I didn’t do anything about it. One day I was on the way to eat lunch with a friend and the pain was so unbearable I made him turn around and take me to the doctor. The problem was, since I am a male, I didn’t even have a doctor. So I looked one up in the yellow pages. I arrived at the doctor’s office, told him the situation, and waited as he ran some tests. He was perplexed, so he told me about Zantac (praise God), and scheduled me for an ultrasound the next morning. I was a little embarrassed to be having an ultrasound since the only people I knew who received ultrasounds were pregnant women. I was confident I wasn’t pregnant. In high school my youth pastor told us that if we filled out a True Love Waits card we didn’t have to worry about getting pregnant. It turned out he was right.

When I showed up for my appointment, I was escorted into a small dark room and asked to slip into one of those paper gowns. Then they made me wait as if it were some twisted joke among the staff. “The guy in room 1b is wearing the paper gown! How long should we make him wait?” Eventually, a woman came in and told me to lie down on the table. She took a wand and rubbed it around my stomach. I tried to peek at the screen, at which time she informed me that I wasn’t allowed to see it and then moved it out of view. While she did veil the screen from my eyes, she failed to veil her amusement at the state of my stomach. I’ll spare you the diagnosis, but suffice it to say that I needed to cut out soda and French fries.

Last night my gastrointestinal misery led me to proclaim to Amanda that I was done with any food you can get through a window. She seemed unmoved by my new commitment, probably because it is not the first time she has heard it. No doubt she knew I couldn’t, wouldn’t follow through. Turns out, she was right. Only thirteen short hours after my resolute decree I found myself in the drive-thru of James Coney Island (home of the best chili dog in Houston). They have the freshest buns, the juiciest hot dogs, and cheese that comes out of a gun. I was bewitched. I couldn’t resist the siren’s call. And I’m weak.

I’m the king of commitments. My specialty is spiritual commitments. I’m going to read through the Bible in one year. I’m going to share my faith every day. I’m going pray with my wife every night. You name the commitment and I guarantee I have made it. And broken it. Each time I come with good intentions, a pure heart, and an intense desire to do what is right, but rarely does it work.

Will-powered faith is the worst kind of faith. A relationship with God that is rooted in our ability or strength is doomed to fail for two reasons. First, a will-powered faith will result in self-loathing. We make commitments, try our hardest, give it our all, and fail. So we try again…and fail. And the only person we have to blame is ourselves. Some of us suffer from a spiritual depression because we have lived in a cycle between trying and failing for so long. Second, if our will-powered faith doesn’t end in self-loathing it is because it ended in self-righteousness. We make commitments, try our hardest, and we succeed. We congratulate ourselves on a job well done. Then we look around and notice that other people are not experiencing the same success we are. Why don’t they try as hard as me? Maybe they are just not as godly. Self-loathing or self-righteousness—God hates both.

That’s why he sent us a Helper. And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another Helper, to be with you forever, even the Spirit of truth, whom the world cannot receive, because it neither sees him nor knows him. You know him, for he dwells with you and will be in you (John 14:16-17, ESV). Jesus said it was to our advantage that He went away so He could send the Holy Spirit (John 16:7) to rescue us from the inevitable cycle of human strength-centered living. He will give us the help that we cannot give ourselves. Now to him who is able to do far more abundantly than all that we ask or think, according to the power at work within us, to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, forever and ever. Amen. (Eph 3:20-21, ESV). The Holy Spirit’s power at work within you, the same power that raised Christ from the dead (Romans 8:11), is able to do for you supernaturally what you could not do naturally: live for Jesus and resist fast food.

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A SUNNY DAY!!!!!!!

SHE’S HOME! SHE’S HOME! PRAISE JESUS, SHE’S HOME! CAN YOU BELIEVE YOUR EYES??? THANK YOU, THANK YOU, A MILLION TIMES THANK YOU FOR YOUR PRAYERS! LONG STORY OF HOW IT ALL CAME TOGETHER BUT ESSENTIALLY THIS IS IT: AMANDA HAD CALLED VET CLINICS AND ONE CALLED BACK AT THE END OF THE DAY PUTTING PIECES TOGETHER OF A WOMAN WHO’D BROUGHT IN A LOST DOG THIS MORNING. THEN, MELISSA PUT UP SIGNS AND THE TEENAGE DAUGHTER OF THE WOMAN WHO’D TAKEN HER TO THE VET SAW THE SIGN AND CALLED, SAYING SHE MAY HAVE HER. KEITH, LIS AND I WAITED ON THE CURB AND UP THE GIRL DROVE, SUNNY’S HEAD OUT THE WINDOW GRINNING EAR TO EAR. WE ARE ABSOLUTELY BESIDE OURSELVES. HAPPY OUT OF OUR MINDS. BEANIE IS ECSTATIC! YOU ARE THE BEST PRAYER WARRIORS IN THE WORLD. WE ARE SO GRATEFUL AND LOVE YOU A JILLION.

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