Archive for August, 2008

Siesta Fiesta Recap Video


SiestaFiesta 2008 San Antonio from Rich Kalonick on Vimeo.

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Amanda’s Siesta Fiesta Recap

*Update*
Here are the username and password so y’all can see Rich’s pictures until we get the slideshow up and running. Thanks!
username: siesta
password: fiesta
(lowercase)

Rich just sent me this panoramic he made of all the Siestas together.

Hi Siestas!
I have a couple of links for you today. First, for those of you who attended the Siesta Fiesta, go here to download the group pictures that Rich Kalonick took for us. They are full resolution and printable. Use the username and password you were given on Saturday and make sure they are typed in lowercase letters.

Second, if you have written a Siesta Fiesta recap on your blog, you can put a link to your post on the LifeWay All Access Blog or on Kim and Patty’s Siesta Fiesta Blog. It’s been really neat to read all the posts about the weekend and see pictures.

I honestly don’t know where to begin when it comes to my own recap of our big weekend together. I could not have imagined how fun it was going to be to meet all of you in person. What a thrill! I left with a big smile on my face and an ache in my heart for MORE TIME.

So here’s my play-by-play. Mom and I flew into San Antonio and immediately met up with Melissa. We went to lunch at J. Alexander’s at the Alamo Quarry Market (such a neat place!). After that, Rich and Ron drove us to the Alamodome for Mom’s sound check and prayer time over the arena. When we walked in the dome, I honestly got dizzy and nearly fell over because of how massive the place was. Luckily the team had set up the event in one end of the dome and because of some giant curtains, it seemed like the appropriate size. I can’t even imagine that place filled to capacity.

A few minutes later we checked into our hotel room. We happened to run into Melanie/Big Mama while we were unloading the car. She is so much fun. We had a little problem with my mom’s room because, hello, the people wouldn’t check out of her room! (And it was well past checkout time.) So she had to hang out with Melissa and me for a while. This was not a good thing because she needed some solitude to prepare for that night. Melissa needed a nap (having not slept at all the night before), so I called Melanie and asked if I could come hang out in her room for a while. We got to chat for a while about everything from how potty training is the great equalizer to her husband’s and my dad’s love of Texas Trophy Hunters magazine. I enjoyed it so much.

Then it was time to get ready and head over to the Siesta Fiesta check-in! It was so exciting to walk up and see everyone in action. I got to meet Patty, whom I have corresponded with for about six years, for the very first time. How fun! I loved getting to meet so many Siestas as they checked in. What a joy to connect a face with a screen name! It seemed like just the blink of an eye before I was whisked away to dinner. Y’all know Pregnant Girl can’t skip a meal. I have to feed the fig/lemon/Nutter Butter/apple/baby!

The conference began at 7:00. I have to say that the praise team was so anointed the entire weekend. Wow. I asked Travis at the end of the conference, “If y’all can sing like that, what must God sound like when He sings?” They led us right to the throne to worship the Lord.

Mom taught on the theme of Inheritance. There are so many things she said that I can’t stop thinking about. It was a feast of the Word and personally, I left the conference feeling so loved by God.

After the third session concluded, our family got to have a very quick lunch and prepare to meet with our Siestas. The Alamodome catering staff served us THE best quesadillas I’ve ever had in my life. Seriously. What is sad is that I can never go to a restaurant and find these quesadillas again. Travis was sitting next to me while I went on and on about their goodness and he said, “I am witnessing a blogable moment right now.” Truly. Travis, I hope I did not disappoint.

The clock struck one before we knew it and it was time to begin! We went out into the arena floor where the Siestas had already gathered. They were arranged in smallish groups and Mom, Melissa and I just jumped in to each one while Rich did his magic with the camera.

For the rest of the time, the Siestas sat in a section of seats and Mom, Melissa and I sat on three chairs on a platform. We gave away some door prizes and in the process met a Siesta who had flown in from Tokyo(!!!), a Siesta who had been married 58 years, a Siesta with eleven children, a Siesta with my same due date, a Siesta who got engaged on Thursday night to a great guy on the Event Team, two Siestas who had road-tripped from Wyoming with “Miesta Moose,” a newlywed Siesta, and several Siestas who celebrated birthdays that weekend. We also got to meet three Siestas whose hard work, creativity, and leadership made the weekend all that it could be. We spent the rest of our time doing a Q&A session. I don’t know what it was like to listen to from the Siestas’ end, but we had a lot of fun doing it. And I will always remember that Baby Jones #2 received his or her first gift at the Siesta Fiesta. It is a very soft and very precious blanket with little giraffes on the four corners. It is monogrammed to say, “Shh… I’m taking a Siesta.” How fun is that? I will treasure it forever.

Before we knew it, our time was up. We had to get in the minivan and head to the airport. The Four Original Moores talked all the way home about the great weekend God had given us. He was so faithful! Thank You, Lord!

Huge thanks to our ministry director Sabrina and to all of our co-workers who helped us through the registration process amidst my transition to working part time. Thanks to everyone at LifeWay who put many extra hours of work into planning and executing the Siesta Fiesta. You girls (and guys) were incredible. Thanks to Holly for making the amazing cookbooks that contain tons of recipes from this blog and that will help drill a water well through Life Outreach International. Last but certainly not least, thank you, thank you, thank you to Kim and Patty and their team of volunteers who did everything in their power to help the Siestas make the most of their weekend together. T-shirts, tote bags, lunch, a riverboat cruise, sign-in, name tags, the pajama party…oh my word! We Siestas are so blessed by you! We appreciate the untold hours of planning, work, and prayer you invested in our weekend.

And thank YOU, Siestas near and far, those we’ve met and those we haven’t yet, for enriching our lives so much. We love all of you to pieces!

P.S. I just spoke to my mom and she sends all her love. She says she keeps picturing your sweet faces!

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Living Proof Live – San Antonio


Living Proof Live – San Antonio from Rich Kalonick on Vimeo.

*We had an incredible weekend in San Antonio with “The Lone Star” of the Lone Star State. Praise God! Thanks to everyone who was praying. We’ll have pictures from the Siesta Fiesta on Tuesday night or Wednesday morning. I’ll have more to say by then but I am still recovering! My parents are on vacation this week. They need it so bad. Thanks so much AGAIN, Rich! Have a blessed Sunday, everyone.

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It’s Finally Here! The Siesta Fiesta!

Yahoo-Jah! Amanda and I are packing a few last things this very second and Melissa is already at the airport in Atlanta. It’s Siesta Fiesta Time in San Antonio, Texas!! We are beside ourselves to see all of you who can come and will miss every last one of you that can’t. We’re going to raise the roof of praise in the Alamo Dome, do some synchronized diving into the glad river of Scripture then hug us as many Siesta necks as we can at our Saturday afternoon gathering!

We promise to bring back plenty of pictures so all of you can see some of the faces of sisters you’ve been blogging the faith with. (We blog by faith. Not by sight.)

Until then, the most important thing you could possibly do to lock arms with us is PRAY and, needless to say, not just for your dear Siestas but for every single person God will draw into His Presence. He has given me Ephesians 2:21-22 to pray for this event. I’d be so honored for you to agree with me in it:

Lord, cause the WHOLE BUILDING to join together and rise to become a holy temple in You. And in You let us all be built together to become a DWELLING IN WHICH YOU LIVE BY YOUR SPIRIT!

Wave the banner of Jesus’ Name over San Antonio, Abba Father.

I love all of you so much. Fight the good fight, young ladies. Fight the good fight!!

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Keeping it Real & Reverence for God

So, I’ve been reading Leviticus. Yep, you read that correctly, Leviticus.

Many of you have graciously inquired in your posts about how I approach biblical research. At some point, I would love to type out a step-by-step process and post it for you, but for now I will simply say that my first step before consulting any biblical resource is always to read the book of the Bible that I am studying in full, all in one sitting. Sometimes I even read the text aloud. I do this because I find that I gain a much better comprehension of the book if I read it all in one sitting than if I break it up into little segments over a longer period of time. After I read the whole book in its entirety a couple of times, I go back and study the chapters, then the verses, and finally the various phrases and words. In brief, my methodology being a very simple-minded woman is to start with the whole so that I can understand the parts.

Well, the last couple of nights I have read Leviticus in full because for the life of me, I cannot remember the last time that I read it. I think it was during my first year at Moody Bible Institute in Old Testament Survey. And mostly I was reading it to get the grade, if you know what I mean. Okay, I was only reading it to get the grade! Anyway…I know reading a book of the Bible in its entirety might sound daunting at first, but ya’ll, Leviticus is only 27 chapters, which means that it took me less than two hours to read it the first time and just a little over an hour the second time. This is not that much time if you think about it, considering we spend at least two-three hours a day feeding ourselves and almost half that much time blow-drying our hair and putting on make-up. If a book can’t be read all in one sitting, then the next best thing is to break it up over two sittings. You get my drift!

Back to Leviticus…Since we are living on this side of the cross of Jesus Christ and are not “Levites” per se and are certainly not camped out in the Sinai wilderness, what relevance does Leviticus have for us? Perhaps the main theme of Leviticus can point us in the right direction as to how we can apply this significant text. In quick summary fashion, the book of Leviticus gives instructions to the Israelites about how to be holy before a holy God, and how to live amongst the people of God and even foreigners in a way that reflects this holiness. The Hebrew noun that is rendered “holy” in our English texts is used in its various forms over 120 times in Leviticus. Since I am a little slow sometimes, I really love it when an author slams a term, phrase, or theme over and over again so that I simply cannot miss it or disregard it. But, what does it mean for God to be holy? I love how one of my favorite professors, Dr. John Walton puts it: “God’s holiness is not a separate attribute but the result of the sum total of all of his attributes- including but not limited to his sovereignty, omniscience, love, and righteousness. Holiness is a term that implies comparison. God is holy in relation to the people he created. When God asks his people to be holy as he is holy, he means we are to maintain distinctions between ourselves and the world around us by imitating God himself” (The Essential Bible Companion, 19).

I am sure there are a number of good applications that we could make from Leviticus, but I can only mention a few that hit me between the eyes as I re-read Leviticus. First, Leviticus reminds us that it takes incredible sacrifice to eliminate or wipe away the effects of our sin so that we can be in the presence of God. Bottom line: Sin is serious. This is convicting to me personally because somehow over time I have worked-up a nonchalant relationship with my sin. For example, when I sin I tend to do so in a way that deliberately predicts the grace that I will receive immediately when I confess. I personally do not have to participate in any intricate process for my sin to be obliterated, so I think to myself, “there is now no condemnation for those of us who are in Christ Jesus” and that nothing can separate us from the love of Jesus Christ (Romans 8). While these things are certainly true, the New Testament reiterates that grace should never cause us to feel some sort of stagnant peace with our sin (see Romans 6:1,15; Hebrews & James, also). As Christians each of us have been given the confidence to enter the “holy place” by the blood of Jesus (Heb. 10) and though we may not offer up grain offerings or animal sacrifices like the ancient Israelites did, we do well to recall often that our merciful standing before our holy creator God required the sacrifice of Jesus Christ’s flesh. Texts like Leviticus 10:1-3 provide a good corrective to my inappropriate abuse of God’s grace through Jesus Christ. If you don’t have a Bible with you, that text presents two sons of Aaron as offering unwarranted incense before the Lord. Aaron’s two sons, Nadab and Abihu, were immediately consumed (a.k.a killed) by fire that came out from the presence of the Lord. The Lord’s words that follow directly after this incident give me goose-bumps. He says, “By those who come near me I will be treated as holy, And before all people I will be honored.” And then the text follows, “So, Aaron, therefore, kept silent.”

I’m just relieved Aaron kept silent.

Sometimes we can get so comfortable in our theological constructs that we need to read something shocking to awaken us from our spiritual slumbers. One of the things that the wonderful and legendary Dr. Greg Beale used to say in class at Wheaton was: “Sometimes you need to comfort the afflicted, but other times you need to afflict the comforted.” I have this phrase written in the front page of my Bible because I have found it very useful in my own walk with the Lord. Sometimes I am so broken and so desperate for hope that I need to meditate on a comforting passage in Scripture, but other times these dry bones need a rebuke so that they can dance once again.

My second application is perhaps a little more questionable, maybe even controversial, and has proved difficult for me to form into words. Forgive me in advance for my lack of precision. It tends to characterize my generation more than it does my Mom’s generation. It has to do with my generation’s all-too-often nonchalant relationship to our holy Creator. While I am sure we could exposit this for hours, I just want to give one main example. Lately I have overheard several staunch believers publicly utter words like “I am so ticked off at God” but the word used wasn’t ‘ticked’, if you know what I mean. I’ve heard even more crass statements than that one to describe this same sort of thing but do not feel comfortable quoting these words on a blog because most of them involve swear-words. I am sure you can imagine the type of thing I am referring to. Most of these people connect their confession of anger toward God with “being authentic” and “keeping it real”. I am getting the feeling that there is some sort of underlying and unquestioned assumption that “keeping it real” and “being authentic” means sharing and expressing to others most everything that our soul emotes, even in its darkest and most wicked places. A few times I have actually gotten the sense that some might even parade their anger toward God as some sort of boast of their own authenticity. Something about this makes me unashamedly queasy. One of the reasons crass comments like “I am so ticked off at God” bother me is that they sound suspiciously similar to the rants of the rest of the world which continually condemn God for everything gone wrong, minor or major. We should be set apart from the world, especially in our confessions of God’s faithfulness and justice.

Having said all of this, I do think my generation’s love and passion for authenticity is tremendously commendable, I am just not sure it is always fleshed out appropriately. I think the reason we prize authenticity is because the temptation of the generations before us might have been toward quietly bottling up their anger with God while serving Him ingenuinely in their local churches. But, I guess my question is, in our desire to “keep it real”, “to be authentic”, and to flee far from hypocrisy, are we disrespecting our God? And if so, where is the line?

I don’t think there are any simple answers and I am certainly not out to offer solutions, because I simply don’t have them. I do think, however, that the thin line here lies somewhere between the paradox so eloquently described in Matt Redman’s words in the song “Face Down”. The lyrics go something like this, “Welcomed in to the courts of the King, I’ve been ushered in to your presence…Lord, I stand on your merciful ground, yet with every step tread with reverence.” The paradox that we experience as a Christian is this: we may stand on merciful ground, but we do so ever mindful of God’s other-ness. The paradox gives us the luxury to confidently pour out hearts before our God who is our refuge and with whom we have a personal relationship through Jesus Christ. The paradox, however, never allows us to do so in a crass or unacceptably colloquial manner that undermines the holiness of God. The hard truth is that we are going to endure times that we feel God is absent or even that He is forsaking us in a certain situation but we should be careful how, when, and to whom we verbalize it. Perhaps, in smaller matters that mostly have to do with our distrust in God, we may need to repent of our unbelief. In matters of great disasters that leave our heads completely spinning in devastation, perhaps we should first confess to Him our anger and grief in our personal prayer lives or maybe even with an individual and very trusted accountability partner. He obviously knows when we are angry with Him, so we should confess this to Him, plead with Him, and pour out our hearts to Him in truth, but must we always publicly express our displeasure toward God? Perhaps you have better answers and solutions than I do, but I do fear that our crass expressions may expose our disrespect for an almighty God more than they expose our personal authenticity.

Jesus promised that in this world we will have trouble, so let us hold fast to the confession of our hope without wavering, for He who promised is faithful (Heb. 10). And when those moments come that we feel abandoned by God, let us take heart knowing that for now we see in a mirror dimly, but there is going to be a day when we will see face to face. Yes, sister, one of these days, we shall know fully (1 Cor. 13:12). God simply has not revealed all of the information we need to be able to judge and assess all the trials in our lives and all the suffering in our fallen world. We may never understand the trials we go through on this side of glory. Consider Job’s sufferings and how he never once knew the reality behind his suffering. We, the readers of Job know why he suffered, but he himself never knew and after forty chapters of questionings and turmoil, all Job could do was utter to God: “Behold I am insignificant…” and “I know that Thou canst do all things…I have declared that which I did not understand, Things too wonderful for me, which I did not know…But now my eyes see Thee, Therefore I retract and I repent…(Job 40-42). I believe that when we know in full, we will declare God just and true, and that perhaps we will wish that we hadn’t been so quick to condemn Him for all our earthly trials.

“Great and marvelous are Thy works, O Lord God, the Almighty; Righteous and true are Thy ways, Thou King of the nations. Who will not fear, O Lord, and glorify Thy name? For Thou alone art holy; For ALL THE NATIONS WILL COME AND WORSHIP BEFORE THEE, For Thy righteous acts have been revealed.”
Revelation 15:3-4

Anxiously waiting for ALL of God’s righteous acts to be revealed,
Melissa Moore Fitzpatrick

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Letter From Your Terrific Teacher, Kelly Minter

Greetings Siestas! (I’ve always wanted to say that).

I can’t tell you how blessed I’ve been to be a small part of your online journey. When I heard Beth was going to facilitate “No Other Gods” this summer on her blog I was thrilled and simultaneously ignorant. I had no idea what this meant, and I can assure you I never entertained thoughts that included hair tips, how to protect my neck from the sun, or creative ways to use your oven mitt. But, alas, this is why we admire Beth – for her love for the Word and her knack for the unpredictable. So… many thanks to Beth for being the catalyst behind this amazing summer experience.

I also wanted the specific opportunity to thank all of YOU who have spent time with God this summer through the study of Scripture. Your dedication and comments have been inspiring! It has been a blessing for me to watch your fortitude in dealing with truly un-fun things like, well, idols. I understand that it’s not the feel-good-study-of-the-year but the blessings that come from obedience and surrender are immeasurable…

Several years ago when the Lord began to deal with some of the false gods in my life, I wanted nothing more than to cling to the very things He was asking me to relinquish. Perhaps you can relate. A lot of the verses and passages of Scripture that helped me let go were the very ones I used in the “No Other Gods” study – my prayer is that they encouraged you as well. Since having written the study I wanted to share something that has been a new reality for me – living in the purpose of freedom. For so long I simply wanted to be free from the things that controlled me. What I didn’t understand was what that freedom was for. Although I am still very much learning, I wanted to tell you that God frees us from our idols so we can be free for His purposes. We get free so we can move and be and do the things of God. I am now doing things that I simply couldn’t have done before because I was tied up by my false gods (and please don’t think necessarily grandiose things – they are humble and quiet things, but they are awesome and they are things I am thrilled to be part of).

I hope this makes sense, as it’s an infantile understanding that’s still forming inside me. I just wanted you to know that saying goodbye to our false gods offers a tremendous freedom that is not simply for the sake of hanging out with our “new free selves”, but it’s a freedom that allows us to engage in the moment by moment things of Christ. Keep pressing forward no matter how awkward the journey. We have a jealous God, and I will gladly take jealous over passive any day. It is for freedom He has set us free!

Thank you Siestas for blessing me so much this summer and honoring me by your presence.

-kelly

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Final Roll Call for Completed Summer Study!!!

Hey, Siestas! It’s time for that final roll call I told you last week to expect! Today I’d like every INDIVIDUAL who finished all her “No Other Gods” homework to sign in with her name and location. THE ONLY COMMENTS TO THIS SPECIFIC POST ARE THOSE CHECKING IN TO SAY THEY FINISHED. My goal is that the number of comments we have to this post will be an accurate count of the women who completed the study. Again, no condemnation for those who didn’t! Just want to give a huge shout out to those who did. It’s kinda like getting your “A” at the end of the semester.

THE NEXT POST, however, is for EVERYBODY who participated in any portion of the summer Bible study whether or not you completed your homework. It’s a letter to all of you from our beloved teacher, Kelly Minter. You are welcome to respond straight to her on that one and I feel confident she’ll grab a Starbucks and drink in every word. Be sure to watch the length so they’re reader friendly.

While you’re at it today, enjoy this picture of those darling women with perfect attendance from Washington State who “won” all the kitchen goodies. Aren’t y’all just the cutest things? Would you believe that God was so fun to make their prizes arrive on the Bible study day when I showed you all the items on video? I love Him like crazy.

I’m so not kidding when I say that I love you.

PS. As I prepare to leave work, we’ve already had well over 300 Siestas answer the roll call to say they finished! WAY TO GO, Girls!!! I’m so proud of you I can hardly stand it. You have God’s promise that not one word will return void. Keep signing in, Siestas, until we have a final count so our spirits can be encouraged and our celebrations sweet!

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Just Catching Up

Hey Siestas! I haven’t had a chance to just shoot the breeze with you lately. It’s Friday night and Keith won’t be home for a while. I’ve got the Olympics on and my feet propped up and I thought I’d touch base with some of my favorite girls on earth. Here are a few random things going on in the life of your very own Siesta Mama.

1. Keith and I are totally in love with our puppies! If what we were looking for was some high life in the Moore home, we certainly got it. Most of the time our house looks like we run a daycare center. Between Jackson and 2 puppies, we have toys from pillar to post. Star and Geli are crazy about each other and most of the time insist on playing with exactly the same toy, one biting one end and the other biting the other end. They even like to share the same chew. I’ve never seen anything like it. Geli stays with Keith during the week days and Star goes with me to work so we have a very enthusiastic reunion every workday evening. We still miss our old girls so much. I bawled about Beanie again just a few days ago. But we are so thankful to have these new babies to spoil. Geli is honestly one of the cutest puppies you’ve ever seen in your life. I’m talking ADORABLE. Star, on the other hand, is the smartest. (And, yes, she’s mighty cute, too, but Geli honestly is gorgeous. German Shorthairs are beautiful specimens.) You can’t believe what my little smarty pants has accomplished in three and a half months however. She can sit, fetch, jump, walk on a leash, bring me the leash, and come give me kisses when I ask her to. She constantly tries to anticipate what I’m about to do. Every morning when I grab the keys, she heads to the car and hops right up in her seat. Loves to even sit in Jackson’s carseat in my SUV so that she has a good view. Danged amazing. I’m nuts about her. She is the mascot of Living Proof Ministries. My whole staff loves her. She knows exactly who offices where. When she’s full grown, I’m going to get her one of those capes like the mascot at Texas A & M wears only ours is going to have “LPM” on it. Yep. She’ll be darling. As it is, she wears a different color bandanna every day. I have lots of nicknames for her: Starry Starry Night, Rock Star, Starlet, Stardom, and on patriotic holidays, Stars and Stripes. If she’s running really fast, she’s Shooting Star.

2. I am getting to catch my breath for five minutes after a hard summer. I appreciated one of you commenting that I seemed rested or peaceful (you used the word “soft” – I’m going to take that as a compliment as long as you don’t mean my arms) in the most recent Siesta video. You were so sweet to notice. It has been a difficult couple of months for a number of reasons and what you discerned was that I’ve recently come out from under a considerable measure of the stress. We are putting the final editorial touches on Esther and, before we know it, it will go to print after eighteen months of work. I will miss it so much but I will also be very relieved to see this baby girl birthed. I am never happier (ministry-wise) than when I’m working on a Bible study because I so love the process – hard as it is – BUT wrapping one up and getting it to print on time and in tact is always extremely stressful. Add to that about a dozen other things – some of them personal and painful – and you’ve got yourself a challenging summer. Thank you all for your prayers. You will never waste one on me. Please say another for me and for all of us who will seek the Presence of the Lord next weekend in San Antonio. I want to see Him there so badly.

3. Curtis, Melissa, and I are doing the neatest thing this Fall. The sanctuary at our church has been under reconstruction all summer. Since we weren’t positive they’d finish on time for our Fall study, we decided we better do something smaller for one semester so we weren’t dependent upon the sanctuary. For the last year or so the fire’s been burning in us to construct and teach a Bible intro class to a smaller group we could really invest in. I want to know my class members names, for crying out loud! I’ve been dying to teach my own rendition of the series I took years ago in my twenties that lit such a passion in me. And I don’t even have to tell you that this subject matter is right up Melissa’s alley. When we considered that we might not have access to the sanctuary in time to begin, we knew the time was NOW. We’re calling it “Lit” based on the verse out of Jeremiah where the Lord says, “Is not My word like fire?” We’ll teach things like where the Bible comes from (transmission) and what on earth you do with it (Bible study methods). We’ll go back to some basics and actually learn the Books of the Bible (yes, to a song, and, no, not by ourselves in front of the class!) and find out all sorts of cool things about how the Word of God got into the hands of regular people. Melissa and I are team teaching a “graded” class of 18-25 year-old young women (she’ll be able to make 5 of the 10 classes) and Curtis is teaching the same material (one week later) to an ungraded class of both men and women. I’ll be looking in on his class and getting to know them a bit and he’ll be looking in on mine and doing the same. The whole semester will be a team effort. We kept the classes small so we can really invest in these lives. It’s a free course but we took sign-ups this time since we had limited space. Both classes are full (which surprised me, by the way. I wasn’t sure how many people would be interested in a Bible intro course) but I thought you’d get a kick out of knowing what we’re doing and might stop and pray for us. We’ll wait and see if God has any further plans for this concept. I don’t know if we’ll end up working it into a series to be published or not. We’re just going to give our all to these two groups and let God take it from there. Oh, Sister. God completely changed my life with the study of His Word. I want every person on earth – particularly every woman I encounter – to know the transforming power of Christ and the Truth that sets the most hopeless captive free. It was the turning point for me. Even this morning in research for this course, I wept over the beauty of Christ displayed on the pages of Scripture. I am convinced He will give ANY willing soul an insatiable love for Him and His Word…a spirit of wisdom and revelation to know Him better.

Well, Starzy (my favorite nick name for her) is about to wet her pants (no, she doesn’t really wear any. She’s smart but not that smart) so I better sign off and go out in the backyard with her. It’s been storming so she might need some moral support. You know how women are about going to the ladies’ room in groups.

Oh, and our Little Fig is a darling little Lemon now! Amanda’s feeling better every day. Thanks for praying! We are already falling in love with that precious one and can’t wait to hold a newborn in our arms again.

I love you guys so much. Have a great weekend! And believe God for something BIG. He’s so capable.

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Another Great Scripture Video

I was telling my NOG group last night that every time I go over my memory verse I picture or hear in my mind about four different videos that you ladies sent in for our contest. They really did help me! I had many favorites, but I think this one might have been my ultimate favorite. I’ll let y’all guess why. Thanks to Jennifer Kittredge and her Florida Siestas!

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Our Final NOG Session

Can you believe our final gathering has arrived? The summer flew by, didn’t it? As I told you in this video, you’ll make your usual comments to this entry after your gatherings but watch for a final roll call one week from today. I’m going to ask every single INDIVIDUAL (each solo participant or member of a group) who completed all her homework to sign in with her first name and location NEXT TUESDAY. You’ll recall that we did this as we launched the study and we’ll do it again next Tuesday to give a shout-out for those who made it to the last page. (No condemnation to the ones that didn’t! These kinds of disciplines can be extra challenging in the summer which is precisely why we did this.) Because we want to set up as many people as possible for victory, we’re putting off the roll call for one week to offer a little grace period to finish. You can do it!

OK, so here are our discussion questions or statements for our final gathering:

One from Week Seven:
1. On the bottom of p.148 and in the context of promised blessing, Kelly writes, “Sometimes the Lord immediately replaces what we have left [as in, said good-bye to], and other times we are left feeling empty for a time.” At several very important seasons of my own life I believe God deliberately let me feel that empty space for a while before He filled it…even with Himself. If you’ve had a similar experience, share it and discuss what purpose God might have had in it.

This line of discussion also brings to mind the segment of Jeremiah 15:17 that Kelly shares on p.167 in Week Eight: “I sat alone because Your hand was on me.” Keep in mind that God created each of us to be a very plugged-in part of the Body of Christ. We were created for relationship but sometimes God draws us into a time of aloneness with Him so that He can work something IN US that He desires to later work THROUGH US. If you’ve had a season like I just described that had a pretty profound effect on you, share it briefly with your group.

The next three from Week Eight:
2. The intro to Session Eight was so powerful and dead on. Revisit the testimony about the married friend realizing she needed to get rid of the cards, letters and emails from the first guy she ever loved. Another friend shared a similar story with Kelly that she references on p.178. We can hang on to all sorts of things from the past besides old boyfriends and, often, until we really say goodbye, we can’t say hello to something wonderful God has for us. As Kelly’s been telling us for weeks, we’ve got to make ROOM. Discuss a time you came to a similar conclusion and acted on it. OR, if you haven’t let go of something but you know you need to, ask your group members to hold you accountable and pray for you to have courage to follow through.

3. I loved Day Three! Revisit Kelly’s first paragraph on p.173. What is the “bridge between the old and the new”? THEN, take a good look at Deuteronomy 6:23 in the margin of that same page and note Kelly’s abbreviation of it in the second paragraph: “He brought us out…to bring us in.” Girlfriend, that statement deserves an index card! Why is it so critical to keep that concept (not the index card but the abbreviation!) in mind?

4. The last two days of study out of the Book of Ruth were so good. Didn’t you love the last line of Ruth 1 (V.22) where we learn that Ruth and Naomi, devastated and grieved, entered Jerusalem, just “as the barley harvest was beginning”? Read John 15:8. As we draw our journey to a close, having moved out some idols to make room for Christ, encourage one another to believe God to move in powerfully and purposefully. Speak these words over one another, emphatically and with authority: “Your harvest is just beginning!”

As you conclude, please thank God for Kelly and pray His richest blessings over her.

I’m so proud of you, Siestas! Thank you for taking this journey in the Word of God with so many of your Siestas. We made it through the summer without a famine of the Word sending us into the emotional abyss! I sure love you.

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