Archive for November, 2008

A Grateful Heart

Happy Thanksgiving, My Dear Siestas!

I got up early this morning and recited to our gracious Abba a long list of things I’m thankful for today. Important things like the laughter and love of family. Like lives of purpose even in pain and relief to our insufferable egos that it’s not all about us. Like fellow sojourners who make me want to love Jesus more. Like favorable prognoses for a couple of loved ones recently diagnosed with cancer. For heroic determination to bring glory to God in the lives of several others with less favorable prognoses. For the steel resolve of people I know who are determined to fight the good fight of faith even if it kills them. For four generations of Moores that will celebrate Thanksgiving together today. For our only missing loved ones, Melissa and Colin, and the joy of picturing them gathered around the table with Travis and Angela and Jack and Lily Kate and Levi Cottrell. For two six month-old puppies that bring so much life to this house and for the great relief that they’ve finally quit trying to dig up Beanie and Sunny. For a Texas Chocolate Sheetcake cooling on the counter and the heavenly scent of our very own Natalie Mikles‘ Buttermilk Pie baking in the oven. (Siesta Fiesta Cookbook, p.277!)

Oh, mercy. And for you, Siestas. And for you. I am so thankful for you. You have grown so dear to me this year. Such a blast. Such encouragement. Blessed Community. Day before yesterday I was on a walk with God at our cactus-ranch with my Scripture memory index cards in tow, reciting them to the One who wrote them. This is one of my favorite memory segments of the last year and with deep sincerity and teeming love I speak it over you this special day:

“I always thank my God for you because of the grace of God that was given to you in Christ Jesus. For you were made rich in every way in Him, in all your speech and in every kind of knowledge (dig Paul’s inspired concept of real riches! these riches are already yours! claim them and put them to use!) – just as the testimony about Christ has been confirmed among you – so that you do not lack any spiritual gift as you wait for the revelation of our Lord Jesus Christ. He will also strengthen you to the end, so that you will be blameless on the day of our Lord Jesus Christ. GOD IS FAITHFUL, by whom you were called into fellowship with His Son, Jesus Christ our Lord.” 1 Corinthians 1:4-9 NET

We are rich in every way.
Nothing makes us richer than the knowledge of Christ and the everyday-speech to share it with a hurting, wandering soul.
We do not lack a single spiritual gift we need to fulfill our destiny.
We will be strengthened by God to the very end then we will flat-out see Jesus.
He will never – not ever – be unfaithful to us.

Yep. That makes for a mighty happy Thanksgiving. Do not under any circumstance let Satan steal your joy and your gratitude today. Get down on the floor of the bathroom at your relative’s house if you have to and grab it back in Jesus’ Name. Give not one inch to your betrayer nor trust his lying tongue. Love the Truth today more than your turkey and dressing and gratitude will flood your heart.

Thank you for being such a sweet part of my life and my pursuit of Jesus. We are a mighty cloud of witnesses. Let’s cheer each other onward, Dear Ones, for the joy set before us!

I lift you to our Father with joy and gratefulness today, Siestas. Thank you for everything.

Yahoo BookmarksDeliciousTwitterFacebookGoogle BookmarksPrintFriendlyStumbleUponShare

Happy Thanksgiving Week!

Let the giving of thanks and the feasting begin! Happy Thanksgiving week, everyone! LPM is closed for the week, so I’m not sure how much activity there will be on the blog. I definitely want to take advantage of our five days off. What a blessing! You know what is so awesome? My hubby has these five days off, too! So for the first time in our marriage, we have a whole week off of work to just spend at home. We are normally in Wyoming or Missouri for Thanksgiving, but this year we just get to have a staycation.

I feel certain that these three things will happen this week:
1) Our Christmas lights, Clark Griswold style, will go up. Curtis normally does this over a span of several days. Our little oak tree was completed last night. I’m looking forward to seeing his “vision” for our new house come into fruition.
2) I will make butterscotch haystacks with the intention of taking them to our neighbors. Hopefully I won’t get lazy and keep them all! That would not be good for Pregnant Girl’s figure.
3) We will get some work done on Jackson’s big boy room and the baby’s nursery. And by work I mean we will order some furniture, which we should have done long ago.

As for the rest of the Moore clan, my parents have been at their ranch since Friday. I spoke to my dad this morning and he said they weren’t ready to come home and, in fact, they just wanted to live there forever. (My mother later debunked this statement. They’re coming home tomorrow.) I simply cannot imagine my mom living in a place where there are no people to witness her good hair days and well accessorized outfits. She needs witnesses! And I’m not talking about deer, steer, and wild hogs.

Melissa and Colin are saving their travel days for Christmas, so they are not coming home for Thanksgiving. We’ll miss them so much, but they will be spending Thursday with some dear friends and will have a blast.

Also – this is so exciting – Curtis and I are expecting to get a phone call any day that his sister is in labor with her firstborn. We can’t wait to meet our sweet little nephew.

Have a great Monday, friends!

Yahoo BookmarksDeliciousTwitterFacebookGoogle BookmarksPrintFriendlyStumbleUponShare

Intro to Esther

Some of our LifeWay peeps let us know that as of yesterday, the Intro Session for Esther was the number 1 Christian “album” on iTunes. Isn’t that wild? Way to go, Mom! Lissa and I always knew you were a rock star!

Yahoo BookmarksDeliciousTwitterFacebookGoogle BookmarksPrintFriendlyStumbleUponShare

Jackson’s Red Banoon

Yesterday after church, Curtis, Jackson and I had a yummy lunch at Luby’s Cafeteria with all the other church-going folks on this side of town. As we were leaving, Jackson was given a big red balloon on a string. It was his joy and his delight. Let me just say that his joy and delight are fragile things. Having seen this particular joy swept away in the wind too many times before, I tied the balloon onto his clothes to keep him from losing it. Of course he had a fit about that. My banoon, Mommy! My banoon! He wanted all the control in his sweaty little hand! To my very great surprise, the balloon actually survived the trip home. It was still intact this morning and he enjoyed several more hours with it. He loved it so much. I cringed though, seeing my son get all of this happiness from something so fragile and temporary. It would only be a matter of time before it popped or sprung a leak out of nowhere. Then I’d have a sad, sad boy on my hands.

I think God must look at me in the same way when I’m trying to get my joy and happiness out of earthly things. I wonder if He thinks, Oh, baby girl, that is so temporary. It’s already got a leak in it – you just can’t see it yet. Find your joy in me! I’m everlasting! My unfailing love it what your heart truly seeks.

So today I’ll remember that my beautiful white house, compliments I may get because of this or that, my cute new maternity clothes, the holiday atmosphere that will soon surround us – all of these things I like and love so much – are about as safe for my heart to depend on as a simple latex balloon. These things add color and festivity to my life, but they are not sturdy enough to support my soul. There’s only One who is, and He’s more than willing to do it for me! He wants to! Thank You, Lord!

What a man desires is unfailing love; better to be poor than a liar. (Proverbs 19:22)

I wait for the LORD, my soul waits,
and in his word I put my hope.
My soul waits for the Lord
more than watchmen wait for the morning,
more than watchmen wait for the morning.
O Israel, put your hope in the LORD,
for with the LORD is unfailing love
and with him is full redemption. (Psalm 130:5-7)

But the eyes of the LORD are on those who fear him,
on those whose hope is in his unfailing love. (Psalm 33:18)

In him our hearts rejoice,
for we trust in his holy name.
May your unfailing love rest upon us, O LORD,
even as we put our hope in you. (Psalm 33:21-22)

Yahoo BookmarksDeliciousTwitterFacebookGoogle BookmarksPrintFriendlyStumbleUponShare

Last Day of Filming and Help With Your Questions

Woo hoo! The Moore family is celebrating today because we are getting our wife/mom/Bibby home tonight! Today is the last day of taping (intros and outros) for Breaking Free. Mom told me that the weather has been absolutely perfect for the intros and outros, which have been filmed outside. So that is a big praise. Thank you – each and every one of you – for praying for this taping. It has been a big undertaking and the Lord has shown His sufficiency and supremacy.

It helps to go over blog housekeeping guidelines periodically since (thankfully!) we have new readers joining us all the time. Your sisters at LPM are happy to help answer your questions as best as we can, but the blog is probably the least efficient way to do that. So if you have a question about anything, please use the Contact Us page on our web site instead of asking it in the comments section. There is a permanent link to it on the left side of our blog for your convenience.

I hope you all have a beautiful, peaceful, Christ-filled Monday!
Love,
Amanda

PS – I thought you might like to see the little diva boots that Aunt Melissa got Baby Girl! They’re so adorable!

Yahoo BookmarksDeliciousTwitterFacebookGoogle BookmarksPrintFriendlyStumbleUponShare

Power Outage

UPDATE: The power is back on! Praise the Lord! Thank you for your prayers!
Prayer Warriors, there’s been a power outage in the sanctuary at Franklin Avenue Baptist Church. It happened in the beginning of the filming of Session 9. They’ve sent everyone away for an hour. Please pray! Thanks!

Yahoo BookmarksDeliciousTwitterFacebookGoogle BookmarksPrintFriendlyStumbleUponShare

Melissa’s Fall 2008 Top Ten

Greetings blog-land! I do believe it has been months since my last entry and I could not wait another minute to say hello. Seriously, I miss all of you fine women! Unsurprisingly, my Mom has been working me harder than ever before over the past few months. The name of the game has been ‘focus’ and ‘more focus’ and so unfortunately my blog time was obliterated. So, in an effort to catch up with you, I’ve composed a list of my top ten Fall 2008 highlights. You’ll find that they are in completely random order. I know, how predictable, right? So here goes:

1. Living Proof Christmas Pictures. Have I mentioned how awful our Christmas pictures were last year? They were beyond hideous. The weather was so humid in Houston that not even photo-shop could cover the multitude of our hair sins. Well, this year we were determined to have better results. All was going well until my Mom looked at me half-way through and said, in front of everyone, “Melissa, check your barn-door.” This was my Mom’s archaic way of telling me that my zipper was wide open. Yes, apparently, my fly had been open throughout the entire first half of the photo-shoot. So much for earning respect from my fellow LPM staff!

2. Seeing a true Autumn season for the first time in my life. I walked around my neighborhood in Atlanta last weekend with tears in my eyes. The trees were raining leaves in all kinds of glorious colors. I will ponder that moment in my heart for as long as I live, a moment when I was content with merely having a set of eyes to see the beauty of God’s creation.

3. Reading Simply Christian: Why Christianity Makes Sense by N.T. Wright. What a great and refreshing read. Here is just one quote I love, “the Bible isn’t simply a repository of true information about God, Jesus, and the hope of the world. It is, rather, part of the means by which, in the power of the Spirit, the living God rescues his people and his world, and takes them forward on the journey toward his new creation, and makes us agents of that new creation even as we travel” (191). Just a glimpse into this wonderful book.

4. The Siesta Fiesta in San Antonio still makes the list! Not only did I have such a wonderful time seeing many of you in the flesh, but I am still pondering the profound implications that the theme of inheritance has for us as the covenant people of God. I have a feeling that we have barely scratched the surface of that one. What a great time of fellowship, worship, and the Word!

5. Walking into my home in Atlanta last week to find an embarrassing display of flowers and a new sweater from Colin Fitzpatrick. The best part was that it was completely unexpected. I mean, we weren’t in a fight or anything! I never knew that a little bouquet of flowers could mean so much. I’m learning more and more that little thoughtful things make the big things in marriage a whole lot smoother. I love my husband madly and I’ve had so much fun settling down into ‘normal’ life with him.

6. Auditing a Hebrew Reading class. We have translated Deuteronomy, some of the Psalms, and are scheduled to translate some of 1&2 Kings for next week. That is a whole lot of Hebrew, let me tell you! It has been so fun to be back in the formal classroom. My strength as a Biblical Research Assistant would be greatly diminished if I did not keep up with my Hebrew and Greek reading skills.

7. Driving to Macon, Georgia to visit our very own Georgia Jan. She is even more charming in person than she is in blog-world. We ate at a quaint little French-country restaurant called “The Back-Burner.” If you live near there, I strongly recommend it. Georgia Jan is my kind of woman- she can cook and talk some Scripture. A rare woman, indeed.

8. Teaching LIT. My Mom and I have been co-teaching a class for 17-25 year old women. This Bible Study is unlike anything we’ve ever done at Living Proof. For better or worse, I planned and outlined the study. It has been fun to actually see it run its course, in spite of how absolutely over-ambitious it was. I am really proud of my Lit ladies. They’ve paid attention to all kinds of tedious things, including transmission issues, translation theory, and biblical genres. And that is only a start. Just in case you may be interested, we asked them to do the following for their bonus project:

  • Choose any passage (about 5-9 verses) of interest, preferably a passage that you are not overly familiar with.
  • Read the passage several times, at least twice out loud.
  • What book of the Bible is your passage in? Who is the author? Who are the Recipients? What is the occasion and genre of the book?
  • Compare your original Bible translation (whether it is NIV, NASB, etc.) to other translations- use at least three or four translations. Make note of the significant changes/differences in a chart or some other helpful way.
  • If there is a word that sticks out to you in your original Bible translation, use a concordance to do a word study on that word. What is the Hebrew or Greek word that your English translation is rendering? Where else is it used?
  • Are there any topics/places/concepts in your passage that are unfamiliar to you? Use a Bible Dictionary to look up unfamiliar concepts and to answer general questions.
  • After you have done as much of the leg-work as you know how or have time to do, then consult one or two solid commentaries on your passage.
  • Conclude with how these resources contributed to your understanding of the passage. (P.S. I just noticed that I created an outline within an outline. I am annoyed by my own self. Anyhow, I really am so proud of the Lit girls. Some have already turned in their assignments. I could have cried reading one of them today. I was astounded by the spiritual insight. We all bring something important and different to the interpretive table, with our various experiences and backgrounds. It is beautiful. I can’t wait to read the rest of them.)

9. Making the entire Thanksgiving menu in Mid-October for our next-door neighbors. I made my very first Turkey! I labored for two days straight. I stuffed it with fresh sage and quartered onions and all kinds of stuff. I also made two different kinds of stuffings, a traditional cornbread stuffing and an apple-rye stuffing. Both were divine. Did I mention that my husband has gained ten pounds since we got married? Blush. I’m so proud.

10. Waiting in anticipation for my sweet niece that is coming into the world this February! Glory to God in the highest! I got her the cutest little diva boots. I am not sure Amanda went for them, though. Boo. (Amanda says: Whatever! I LOVED them!)

Enough talk about me, though, what the heck have y’all been up to? What have been the highlights of Fall 2008 for YOU? So please, de-lurk and tell me how you are, if only for the sake of proper social reciprocity!

Much Love,
Melissa

Yahoo BookmarksDeliciousTwitterFacebookGoogle BookmarksPrintFriendlyStumbleUponShare

Message Preparation

Hi friends. Mom and I have been sending text messages back and forth for the last few minutes. She’s having to prepare four messages today to get ready for tonight’s and tomorrow morning’s sessions. I don’t know how she does it! Only the Lord! If you wouldn’t mind, would you lift up this preparation time to the Lord?

After these sessions, she will stay in New Orleans and film intros and outros until Monday. Looking at it that way, she is about halfway through. I’m sure she could really use a big gust of the Spirit’s wind to carry her on. Thanks for investing in this taping with your prayers, sisters!
We love you,
Amanda

Yahoo BookmarksDeliciousTwitterFacebookGoogle BookmarksPrintFriendlyStumbleUponShare

You’re Such A Part of This Taping!

My dear Siestas, I had to fly on here as fast as I could so that I could tell you that I am using something from your input in EVERY SINGLE SESSION! I’m steadily using excerpts from your testimonies on the surveys I took months ago on bondage and freedom when I was first revising the series AND I’m using the hilarious stories you just gave me. Both kinds of input have been PRICELESS to me and to this revision. The humorous side helps lighten up very heavy subject matter and the group has gotten such a kick out of your stories. I wish I could use tons of them but I’d overdo it and it would lose its effectiveness. I just wanted you to know that all your material is right here with me in my hotel room and I’m looking at your examples every day as I prepare.

I know I’ve told you this before but one of the things I battle most these days in ministry is a personal feeling of isolation and the fear that I will lose touch with people. Life is temporarily complicated in that respect. If not for my staff at LPM, this sanguine literally could not take it. In the old days, I could hang around after events and talk with people and pray with people. For this season, that’s not possible and the loss of one-on-one with the women I serve out and about has been titanic. YOU ARE THE NUMBER ONE WAY THAT GOD HELPS ME KEEP IN TOUCH WITH WHAT’S GOING ON OUT THERE. I feel a peculiar closeness to you. A true sense of community. One of our Siestas who also attends my home church hugged me on Sunday and said, “Beth, I love the blog…and what I get the biggest kick out of, is that I think you love it, too. I think you really do.”

Oh, Girls. I really do. You have become such a big part of this ministry. I could bawl about it. But I don’t have time. Gotta get back to it. May God invest back into your sweet lives 100-fold what you pour into mine and others. He has made you a gift. I hope we’re together for a long time.

Yahoo BookmarksDeliciousTwitterFacebookGoogle BookmarksPrintFriendlyStumbleUponShare

New Orleans Update

I just got to talk to my mom and wanted to give everyone an update. It sounds like things are going very well so far at the Breaking Free re-taping. Mom said it was a true miracle of God, possibly even a sign of the return of our Lord, that she has stayed within her 60 minute time limit for all three sessions. (Kidding. Let’s not get a letter circulating!) That has never happened even one time in all of her tapings! When she goes over her allotted time, it always makes things harder on the editors and on Beth herself because they have to hack away at the lesson. So praise God with us for this miracle and let’s ask Him to keep it up!

One prayer request for today is for plenty of energy and rest. Mom slept very little last night. She went to bed around 11 p.m. and woke up at 2 a.m. and couldn’t go back to sleep. She really struggles with sleep after she teaches at night, whether at a Living Proof Live event, a taping, or even Tuesday night Bible study. She gets really wired and her mind can’t stop teaching. She is teaching two sessions each evening for this taping, so it’s twice as challenging. Even though she’s tired, she is in very good spirits and is believing God to give her everything she needs for tonight.

Please ask God to keep her in good health. Also pray that all 11 sessions will have the full energy of the Holy Spirit. Pray that not one of them will drop, in Jesus’ name!

Several of our siestas are attending the taping, including JennyHope, who keeps everyone in stitches. I’ve even heard a rumor that she may have bequeathed a jumbo pencil and back scratcher to Beth. (Maybe she will enlighten everyone who wasn’t at the Siesta Fiesta as to the significance of this gift.) If any of our other siestas attending the taping are online today, let us know you’re there. Mom wants a list of names!

Y’all should know that my husband Curtis is normally the first person to complete my mom’s Bible studies (that we know of), but we think JennyHope is going to have him beat on Esther. Jenny has confessed to having stalked her LifeWay store until she got her copy. I’m not sure Curtis is going to do Esther: It’s tough being a woman. But if he does, he can write “It’s tough being married to a woman” on the cover.

Thanks for your prayers, ladies! They really do make a huge difference. We love y’all!

PS – We should be hearing from Melissa soon!

Yahoo BookmarksDeliciousTwitterFacebookGoogle BookmarksPrintFriendlyStumbleUponShare