Archive for March, 2011

Meet A Friend + Fresno Ticket Giveaway!

Hey, Siestas! Boy, have we had some blog issues since I talked to you last! Remember that server transition I warned you about? Whoa. That thing has been a beast. If you find this posted, you know that it’s mostly cleared up. You’re kind of a big deal around here to us (grin) so you can know we’ve been chasing our tails trying to get everything fixed.

I have two really fun reasons to be on here today. First of all, we are beside ourselves to head to Fresno for our Living Proof Live this weekend! It’s time for our Siesta Scholarship Giveaway to any Siesta who wants to come but can’t afford the event ticket. We will fix up the first 20 of you who call 1-888-700-1999 and ask to talk to Kimberly or Susan. Remember that we are CST (2 hours later than West Coast) and our office hours are 8:30-4:30. Lunch is the usual 12:00-1:00.

Michelle and I will actually head out to California tomorrow afternoon so we can have an extra night to get adapted to the time change. This will be a sweet trip for Michelle (aka: Hawk) and me. It is our last official one together as LPM coworkers. Our two-year time period with Michelle comes to a close next week. We have always known our time together was this length so, although we will be so sad to say good-bye to one another, we are not taken by surprise. I have very little doubt that Michelle will always be in my life in one way or another. We were friends before she came and will be friends when she moves on to her next post. If we get a chance next week, I’ll ask her if she wants to get on here and say anything to you guys before she goes. She has loved Siestaville and has been the one to organize our group pictures at all our events for the last year. She’s a prize. I love every single person that walks through our LPM doors and look forward to what God is going to do next for her and for us but I have had a blast with Michelle. She’s quirky like I am and we have howled our heads off.

And now for the last reason I’m on here today! I have a friend I want you to meet. She’s a brand new published Bible study writer that I have known for a long time. I love to let you know what’s up out there in Bible study curriculum land. I will give you one heads-up before you watch our conversation. My bangs are going to drive you crazy. I cut them myself with a pair of paper scissors after I saw this. I was only three days from a hair cut but I couldn’t stand it anymore. Think of it as a blond eye patch and I think you’ll be able to handle it better. We’re trying to get better at our amateur video tapings. We have better sound this time because we actually have lapel microphones now but the light is so bright, we almost look like apparitions. I pray it’s the anointing you’re seeing shining on our faces but I think it’s just a bright, sweaty light.

Hey, while we’re at it, let us know of some young women Bible teachers you’ve really been blessed by! Let’s spread the word about what God is doing in women’s ministry in the Body of Christ. And, we who are older, let’s embrace these young teachers and let them teach us some things and let’s encourage them and give them lots of room! We need them and they need us! I want us to celebrate the generations around here and sow into one another actively. This is God’s way, Titus women.

I love you guys so much. I’ll talk to you again on the 1st for our Siesta Scripture Memory Post. Please pray for all of us in Fresno this weekend! Thank you, Sweet Things.

Jesus, come into our midst with power and authority and an affection so strong and evident that we’re healed by it.

Introducing… from LPV on Vimeo.

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Pop Quiz!

****UPDATE: Hey Siestas!  Our blog maintenance has been moved and will actually happen tomorrow, Friday, March 25 at 8:30AM.  Thank you for your patience!

****QUICK HEADS UP: Thursday AM, March 24 (tomorrow) at 8:30, our LPM blog will be shut down for what we anticipate being only a couple of hours. (Hopefully at most.) We are remaining right here on WordPress and right here at exactly this same address but we are switching servers to better accommodate our high volume of activity and comments. SO, if you try to get on after 8:30 AM Thursday morning and can’t connect to the page, you’ll know why. Sometimes the transition can take even a day or two but they are not anticipating that length of time. One thing is for sure, we’ll be back the moment we’re up. Until then and after then, go right ahead with your rich comments to this post!

 

OK, Siestas! It’s time for a pop quiz! We haven’t had one in a while. This quiz is for those of you who read many of the comments from our previous post about the moment or season of your life when you had your biggest “HE IS REAL” revelation. (The post is named “For Real” just so you can be sure you’re reading the comments to the right one.) The question conveyed on the post was about the time when you moved from believing God exists (Hebrews 11:6) to knowing (2 Timothy 1:12).

Here are the instructions for the comments to this post for those who want to participate in our pop quiz: (No other comments besides these please on this one post. This is a test. Grin.)

Write 2 observations you find yourself making based on all the testimonies you read under the post called “For Real.” There is no right or wrong answer. No pass or fail. You’re just simply saying, after reading so many of those comments, these two things seem clear to me. I’m asking for 2 observations. Not 1. Not 3. But 2. (Can you hear the classroom teacher in me coming out to play?) Testimonies are powerful things. We’re meant to be effected by what we read. So, how were you effected?

NOW, here is the very important catch: YOU MAY NOT READ ANYBODY ELSE’S OBSERVATIONS BEFORE YOU WRITE YOURS. In other words, don’t look at the comments to this post until after you’ve written your own answers. These are meant to be your observations and no one else’s. Your reflections. Your take on those testimonies. Not another Siesta’s. You are all great thinkers. Think for yourself.

I absolutely love this community. Go at it, Girls! Students, come forth!

 

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For Real

Hey, Everybody! I was thinking about something early this morning that turned my thoughts toward you. I’d just been going over my memory verses and started reflecting on the whole journey of faith. The ups and downs, the twists and turns. The pain and then sometimes the dullness that scared me twice as much as the pain. Then something would happen and revival would come and back in the saddle I’d go again. His Word would jump back off the page at me and I’d feel fully alive and wonder why I’d doubted. I rewound even further back to the years that I hoped so much that this God I’d been told about was real. I needed Him so badly. I found my heart believing and I deliberately placed my faith in Him. Then I thought about a specific season through which I went from hoping He was real to knowing He was real. Don’t get me wrong. I am still challenged to faith in many other matters and always will be, because “faith is the reality of what is hoped for, the proof of what is not seen” and “without faith it is impossible to please God.” (Hebrews 11:1,6) But I seldom sit around and wonder if God exists and still speaks and still acts. Like you, I still see as in a mirror darkly and I wonder why some things happen the way they do and how it will all work out and what some things in Scripture really mean. But “I know the One I have believed in.” (2 Timothy 1:12)

We have so many new believers and even a sizable population of seekers in this community. Praise God, we do! We need to question our effectiveness the moment we don’t. So many of them would probably like to ask us how we “know” this God is real. So I ask those of you today to whom this applies to share a season in which you became convinced to the marrow of your bones that this is FOR REAL.

Think it through and be deliberate in your testimony. Please limit your story to one meaty paragraph so that we can read as many as possible. I can hardly wait. Let’s testify, girlfriends.

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Living Proof Live – Tacoma, WA

Living Proof Live Tacoma 2011 by David Lowe from Rich Kalonick on Vimeo.

Special thanks to David Lowe for this great recap video.

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2011 Siesta Scripture Memory Team: Verse 6!

Hey, my dear, dear Sisters. I thought about you so much while we had the privilege to serve in Washington State. We cherished every second we were there and God was so gracious and merciful to us. He could not have given us a more wonderful group of participants to kick off the 2011 Living Proof Live schedule. We lapped up every second with them. They were so full of praise and expectation for God to speak and so rowdy and fun. I would have brought every single one of them home with me to Texas if I could have.

I want you to know that you sowed very direct seed into that event. On Friday afternoon my notes were, for the most part, ready to go but I just sensed a desire to seek something more from God. I knew in my heart that it involved prayer so I got down on my knees again and prayed but I got back on my feet still not quite feeling the breakthrough that I was hoping for. The thought came to me, I believe by God Himself, to get on the blog and scroll through all the comments to the Tacoma Ticket Giveaway post and look for entries where Siestas had prayed specifically for the event. I hit a gold mine. I stopped at each one of them and actively agreed and received all that had been prayed. The breakthrough came! It was God’s good pleasure to raise up seed-throwers from spots all over the United States and Canada to sow into the Tacoma LPL harvest. I can’t express to you how deeply and profoundly it hit me. Sometimes I feel like I harass you guys half to death for prayer but we are so desperate for it. I knew this weekend that it is God’s way. Profit sharing. Oh, how I pray that we might be able to believe God for a 2 Corinthians 4:15 work as we partner together:

All this is for your benefit, so that the grace that is reaching more and more people may cause thanksgiving to overflow to the glory of God.

I think God particularly blesses our seed sowing when we have no direct involvement at the event or gathering. No personal gain except the glorious nod of God. I’m actively praying for Priscilla Shirer’s simulcast in several weeks even though I’ll be in Fresno. I don’t doubt she’s praying for us, too. I can’t wait to hear the report of all God is going to accomplish through that mighty servant of God as she teaches and as her brother, Anthony, leads worship. This is the will of God for us in Christ Jesus. One Lord. One Body. One Spirit. If the grace of God through Christ is “reaching more and more people,” our thanksgiving overflows to the glory of God!

The group in Tacoma exceeded our expectations in so many ways. Their outpouring for Japan moved us so deeply. Our wonderful brothers and sisters from Samaritan’s Purse were swamped. They were so overwhelmed at the break that we had to keep them open after the event and position them at exit doors They counted dollar bills all afternoon to the tune of $66,025.25. As soon as the horrific tragedy occurred, we asked Samaritan’s Purse if our offering for that LPL could go specifically to relief for Japan and they complied joyfully and set up an immediate fund. (Any of you are welcome to get on their website and also contribute if you feel led and aren’t already giving through another organization. No pressure. Just opportunity.) We are all stunned and heartbroken over the devastation in Japan. It’s just incomprehensible. The images are more than I can wrap my mind around. May “the Lord, the Lord, the compassionate and gracious God, slow to anger and abounding in loyal love and faithfulness” show Himself in every possible and undeniable way. May one of those ways be the banding together of His Body around the world to be His hands and a healing balm within them. They need our help.

It’s time for Siesta Scripture Memory Team Verse 6! Ready, Sisters?? Stay with it! I’ll give you my sixth verse (it reminds me of you) then show you a small handful of pictures I took over the weekend on my iPhone.

Beth, Houston. My goal is that their hearts, having been knit together in love, may be encouraged, and that they may have all the riches of understanding of the knowledge of the mystery of God, namely Christ, in whom are hidden all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge. Colossians 2:2-3 The NET Bible

OK, here’s some pictures from Tacoma if you want a peek before you chime in with your verse.

This was my one glimpse at The Mountain. We had rain most of the time and, mountain girl that I am, I just kept looking out of my hotel window for a glimpse of that famous sight. While I was studying, I felt a tugging at my heart and I jumped up in hopes that the clouds were lifting somewhat and sure enough, there that bad boy was. I was so happy, I cried.

This was the sunrise the next morning. I was always an early riser as a kid and, now that I am an adult, I know it nearly drove my mother crazy because she’d have preferred her Folgers by herself. (This helps explain to you why I was a coffee drinker by the ripe old age of six.) My dad used to take up for me and say, “The early bird gets the worm!” Well, when I caught a glimpse of that sunrise in Tacoma Saturday morning and fifteen minutes later it was pouring down rain, I knew my Daddy was right.

I can’t believe I’m about to let this come out of my mouth but I had some of the best Mexican food on earth there in Tacoma. I was baffled. Someone had recommended “Masa” (on 6th Street) to us but Michelle and I looked at each other like, “Texans better not try it. We better leave that to the Tennesseans. They might not know better.” But, after the event, we were about to have a meltdown for hot sauce and decided to cave to the pressure. It was so good I couldn’t believe my own taste buds. We started with this unbelievable Bean and Queso dip then, because cheese enchiladas weren’t on the menu, I decided to get Vegetable Fajitas. I’ve never tried them before but I’ve been with Travis and Angela when they’ve ordered them. (And I looked with contempt upon them.) They were unbelievably good. Really fresh – chunky and  grilled and topped with cheese. Side of rice and beans. Sara was our waitress and took such good care of us. She’s expecting little Christos in a few months and we loved getting to talk to her. We saw a couple of tables of women from the LPL event, too, and so loved getting to hug their necks.

As if the Mexican Food wasn’t good enough, there was a Stumptown coffee bar attached to it. Talk about the ultimate way to end a meal! I have become a fan of Stumptown through our dear Kelly Minter who considers it a friend that sticks closer than a brother. (My words, not hers.) Michelle has been ordering it for me for a year or so and it’s what I grind and fix about twice a day in my office at LPM. Darla was our barista at the coffee bar in Tacoma and, as I live and breathe, the woman was an artist. Look at this crema. That is not whipped cream. That is how she finished off a Latte with plain-old low fat milk. UNBELIEVABLE. I was so impressed. I wanted to ask her how she dealt with her pride but she seemed astonishingly humble for such a craft. Almost like she didn’t notice she was a rock star.

These were two of the most wonderful women we had at the Tacoma Dome. (Blood) sisters Roxana and Christine sat down nice and close to the front and gave God considerable glory in my earshot. They and their small group wore tiaras to the event so we were blessed to no end by every glimpse of them. That is, of course, Michelle in there with us.

 

This last picture is of a group of really young women that were having coffee at the Starbucks we went to several hours after Stumptown. (No coffee for me that late. I’m saying that because I know somebody’s going to get into my business. I got Blueberry water but I didn’t want to. I drank four sips.) One of these darling things is getting married next week and had a little veil on. They were so cute we could hardly stand it. Just as they were getting up to leave, one of them looked over at me with wide eyes and asked if we were we.

WHY DIDN’T YOU COME TO THE EVENT??? We asked.

Because we couldn’t afford it!

Then I said: NEVER let me hear you say that again!

We do anything possible to get our college girls tickets to LPL’s. For crying out loud, if somebody’s broke, it doesn’t matter what age they are, we try to get them tickets if they really want to go. LifeWay, too! They are tremendously tenderhearted and willing to do whatever they can to minister and disciple. Tons of tickets were given away to that event in Tacoma. You have no idea how much we’d like to do it for free.

This was my view from the airplane seat just as we were about to put our tray tables up and our seat backs forward for departure. I wanted you to see my cute rain boots peeking out from the bottom. I’ve had them for a couple of years and worn them about a thousand times but they were for such a time as Tacoma.

Well, I’ve rattled your ear off. You guys are important to me. I love you. I think of you everyday. Now, cough up your sixth verse!

Hold tight to Jesus in the ebb and flow of this temporal world. One sweet day this convulsing earth will be made new. The skies will tear open like a veil and every eye will see. Come quickly, Lord Jesus.

 

 

 

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Tacoma Living Proof Live Ticket Giveaway!

Hey, Sweet Things!

Right this very minute, I am sitting in my dear hair stylist’s chair getting some fresh color. (Oh, I do dearly love fresh color.) That’s what I do for special occasions (and half inch-long roots) and going to Tacoma for our first Living Proof Live of 2011 is a SPECIAL OCCASION. We are excited, nervous, and anxious (and very busy preparing) to see Christ revealed in the Tacoma Dome tomorrow night and Saturday. Please all of you pray for us. I am hopping on a plane this afternoon so that I can get a tiny jump on the time change. Michelle will join me tomorrow.

Because of our wonderful Siesta Scholarship Fund, we have the great joy of offering comp tickets to the event to the first 20 Siestas who call our Living Proof office today during business hours. (Remember Central Standard Time! We are two hours later than you in the West! If you happen to call during the lunch hour, leave a voice mail and they will call you back.) If you would like to come to the Tacoma Dome this weekend for our Living Proof Live but can’t afford a ticket, call toll free 1-888-700-1999 and ask for Kimberly or Susan. And tell them I told you how much I love them and appreciate them when you call.

You guys are my favorite bloggers in all the world. Your mama loves you like nobody’s business.

STAY IN THE WORD!

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Itchy Feet: Tap Dancing Toward TACOMA!, Fresno, and Little Rock

Hey, Darling Things!

With great joy the Living Proof Live team and I hit the road again for our 2011 dates starting next weekend and we are revved up and ready to jump on anything with wings. Over the last eighteen months I’ve tried so hard to make some wise changes to my (almost literally) back-breaking schedule. One of the biggest alterations is that we decided not to launch the LPL travel schedule until the end of our Tuesday night series so that I wouldn’t be trying to juggle sixteen gillion things at once. It was a really great decision and I have never enjoyed my Tuesday night group more. They’ve gotten to be the chief focus at LPM for weeks and I will be so sad to see the series end. The only downside to the decision is that I have been off the road for longer than usual and away from my beloved praise team and LifeWay event team. We are all really good buddies so we are itching to be together again and do what God has called us to do. I got to have Travis and Angela and part of the team for a great Tuesday night here in Houston or I wouldn’t have made it but I haven’t laid eyes on the rest of group since the first week of December. I’ve missed them so much.

We are BESIDE OURSELVES to start our 2011 schedule in the Great Northwest. We will hit Tacoma next Friday, March 11th, as one very happy group of Jesus freaks. (My printed calendar actually said Seattle but God knew!) God began speaking to me just three days ago about the subject matter. In fact, I have a white envelope that I keep in my car console for blotting my lipstick (it wasn’t premeditated) and God started  pressing on my heart so strongly about that event that I pulled it out at the stop light and started jotting down themes right there between four shades of pink. Michelle saw it when she was helping me get all manner of stuff out of the car and made a funny face. I said kind of sheepishly, “Notes for Washington.” She grinned and said, “I get it, Ma’am.” I love it when God starts shedding light on the messages because that’s when I know for certain – for absolute certain – that He scheduled the event and it wasn’t we. Lord, have mercy. That’s our worst nightmare. Nothing like showing up and He doesn’t. That’s when you know you missed something.

So, Tacoma first.

Then we break April open with a trip to Fresno, California on the 1st and 2nd. We love us some California! We are looking forward to a whole lot of Jesus, some gorgeous weather, great worship, lots of Bible study (please, Lord), and at least two rounds (and probably two pounds) of In-N-Out Burger. Seattle-country makes me think coffee. California makes me think Animal Style Fries. I have some great friends coming to that one that I’ll get to see afterward. (I am no fun in advance. Too intense. You never have to worry whether or not we take our jobs seriously. There is considerable angst involved. But afterward, if we’ve had time to catch our breath and get something in our stomachs, we are free to laugh our heads off and rejoice in God’s grace.)

THEN, we head to Little Rock. Back home to Arkansas. Both of my sisters will be at this one. So will some of our childhood friends. More than anything, I want to meet Jesus there. Just where I first met Him many years ago. My heart is especially tender toward this one as those rolling hills draw my soul. I think about it almost every day.

So, it’s almost time to pull out the LPL suitcase again and I’m just weird enough to be glad. It’s been so good to have a nice long season at home and I will definitely do it again next year. But somewhere in the distance I hear a voice saying, “Please make sure that all carry-on items are stowed either in an overhead compartment or completely beneath the seat in front of you. If you are seated in an emergency exit row, please read the information on the passenger safety card which is located in the seat back pocket in front of you. If you do not meet the criteria for seating in this row, or if you do not wish to  assist in an emergency (you lame gnat), let a crew member know and we will be happy to re-seat you. Prior to departure from the gate all cell-phones must be turned off and stowed. Once again, we welcome you on board.”

Ah, yes. And that’s when I shoot out my last text to AJ and Lis and try to power down before I get in trouble.

I’m so hoping to see some of you Siestas in one of those three great cities. Anybody planning to head either direction? Even if these events are way off your radar,  I’d give just about anything if you’d take a moment and pray for our 2011 Living Proof Live events. It would make a world of difference. Oh, man, we so want to honor God and give Him great glory and spread the fame of Jesus Christ. We want to keep learning and keep growing and keep seeking and keep finding, alongside every woman He sends our way. We have nothing without Him. Not one thing. If we quench Him, we’re croutons. Please pray for our hearts to be pure and our egos to be small and for our God to be huge and make His praise glorious.

I love you guys.

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2011 Siesta Scripture Memory Team: Verse 5!

Hey, my dear Siestas!

Knowing I had to pop out of bed this morning to post for SSMT, I actually dreamed about you guys last night! We were at the celebration on a break between sessions and it was wonderful, beautiful chaos in the halls and teeming joy in the hearts. Now, that’s the kind of dream I want to have. I so hope you are well and that God’s Word is alive on your tongue and thriving in your everyday experience. Remember, He sends forth His Word to accomplish something. It’s meant to have effect and I pray you’re feeling the vivid power of it. I can’t think of the last time my memory verses came to me with more pure conviction. I can feel the friction they’re causing internally and the jagged edges they’re sanding externally.

Our minds are already four Scriptures stronger than they were when we broke open 2011 and that, my darling sisters, is a great accomplishment all by itself! I noticed we dropped back well over a thousand on the last SSMT entry and that’s completely normal. There’s no condemnation here. The natural tendency will be to have less and less participants as we have more and more verses to memorize. But I want to encourage you to stick it out if you possibly can because we’re not restricted to normal.  The Apostle Paul claimed in 1 Corinthians 3:3 under the inspiration of God  that we are more than “mere men.” In 2 Corinthians 4:7, he said we are jars of clay encasing the unspeakable treasure of the knowledge of Jesus Christ and that, through this treasure we “show that this all-surpassing power is from God and not from us.”  A long way from normal. I always thought normal was overrated anyway.

I stared at the calendar yesterday almost with disbelief as February peeled off the page and I turned to March. As I glared at the word “March”, I thought to myself, “Not a bad theme for the month.” March, as a matter of fact, is a very Biblical word. The thought caused me to smile and then to look up every single occurrence of the word in Scripture and, there in those verses, the Lord spoke a fresh word to me. Maybe you could use it, too. Here are a handful of “march” Scriptures with a few thoughts that spun around in my bleached blond head:

Joshua 6:4
“Have seven priests carry trumpets of rams’ horns in front of the ark. On the seventh day, march around the city seven times, with the priests blowing the trumpets.”

 

Perhaps it won’t surprise you that the word “march” makes regular appearances in this book of the Bible so, if you’re in the wilderness longing to cross that river of fear and enter a land of fruitfulness, you might venture a fresh look at it. Here’s what hit me about Joshua 6:4 –

Marching tends takes a heap longer than we expect and a different form than we might rationalize. Think how odd all that marching-around-in-circles must have been to some of those Israelites. On top of that, consider that God never instructed another group of people to take exactly that same approach again in the pages of Scripture. He told Abraham to do one thing. Moses, another. Joshua, another. David, still another. All were in keeping with His will and His character but the variance in prescribed acts of obedience reminds us that God is resistant to our relentless pursuit of formulas.  God knows, if we could rationalize it, we’d institutionalize it. We’d have 2500 satellite locations of the “First Church of Seven Circles.”

 

In case I’m losing you, or the whole idea of marching through March is too much for you, I’ll speed up.

 

In 2 Samuel 15:22, David told one of his mighty men: “Go ahead, march on.”

Point? If God is saying go ahead, then GO.AHEAD.

 

I like that. Nice and simple. If go, then go.

 

Maybe what you need most of all this March is for God to march right through your wilderness and rain down showers upon it from the seas in His hands. Think of praying this segment today over the 30 days ahead.

 

Psalm 68:7-11

7 When You, God, went out before your people,
when You marched through the wilderness,
8 the earth shook, the heavens poured down rain,
before God, the One of Sinai,
before God, the God of Israel.
9 You gave abundant showers, O God;
You refreshed Your weary inheritance.
10 Your people settled in it,
and from Your bounty, God, You provided for the poor.

11 The Lord announces the word,
and the women who proclaim it are a mighty throng.

 

(I love the part about refreshing the weary inheritance. Is that you, perchance?? It’s certainly been me at times over the last year. And how about V.11? Does that sound a little like Siestaville?? It blessed me to think maybe so.)

 

How about one more?
Isaiah 42:13 – The Lord will march out like a champion, like a warrior He will stir up His zeal; with a shout He will raise the battle cry and will triumph over His enemies.

 

And so, with all this March madness in mind for this month, could anybody use a really brief verse this go-round to help you catch up? Then I have just the March verse for you:
Judges 5:21b  (NIV) March on, my soul; be strong!

 

Let’s hear it, Siestas! First name, city, verse, translation!

 

Beth, Houston. Think of how we regard as blessed those who have endured. You have heard of Job’s endurance and you have seen the Lord’s purpose, that the Lord is full of compassion and mercy. James 5:11 The NET Bible

 

Amen to that. March on, Sisters! Your God is for you!

 

I love you guys.

 

PS. For all you Houston-area girls, Kari Jobe is our guest worship-leader tonight at Bible study. Come help me welcome her. We only have two more Tuesday nights in this series and you don’t need any background whatsoever to receive from our subject matter tonight. We’d especially love to have you if you’ve never been before. Let someone on my sweet staff know you’re there for the first time. They’ll make sure you feel welcome. See you at 6:30!

 

 

 

 

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