Archive for January, 2013

“A Word From My Pastor” Got One??

Happy Wednesday, you lovely things!

Today I thought we’d do something that could really build us up as women of faith as well as charge us on as members of a local body of believers. If you have been around here a while, you know how strongly we believe in the investment of our lives in a local church. Oh, I know, I know. I’ve heard the whole “they’re just a bunch of hypocrites” thing a million times but I can tell you that some of the loveliest, most genuine Christians I have ever known, I met at my local church amid all the flaws and occasional dysfunction. We can get over thinking we’ll ever find a perfect church and, anyway, I always think to myself that, if I could find one, I’d mess the thing up by walking in the door. I am convinced way down in the marrow of my bones that we cannot grow up into full-throttle effectiveness in our callings without being in the framework of a Word-oriented body of believers. This is true even if you and I often minister outside those walls. My home church profoundly affects what I do in ministry on the road and I rarely make a really big decision outside without running it by the leadership inside. This segment of Ephesians 4 is probably the biggest reason why I believe so strongly in the framework.

11 And He gave the apostles, the prophets, the evangelists, the shepherds and teachers, 12 to equip the saints for the work of ministry, for building up the body of Christ, 13 until we all attain to the unity of the faith and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to mature manhood, to the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ, 14 so that we may no longer be children, tossed to and fro by the waves and carried about by every wind of doctrine, by human cunning, by craftiness in deceitful schemes. 15 Rather, speaking the truth in love, we are to grow up in every way into him who is the head, into Christ, 16 from whom the whole body, joined and held together by every joint with which it is equipped, when each part is working properly, makes the body grow so that it builds itself up in love.

The Holy Bible: English Standard Version. 2001 (Eph 4:11–16). Wheaton: Standard Bible Society.

That’s a powerful segment, isn’t it? Listen, I know some of you have been badly hurt by a grossly unhealthy church. In case nobody ever said it to you, your sisters here are so sorry that such pain came to you within a local body. It shouldn’t have. But, Sister, there’s another one out there for you. Don’t shut yourself off. You need a community of believers and not just your small group Bible study or accountability group. For it to function as the assembled church Christ ordained, it needs to be one that operates with leaders and shepherds and teachers like Ephesians 4 describes. Don’t misunderstand what I’m saying! I love communities of women in small group Bible study! You know I do! I’m just suggesting that they don’t replace a functioning assembly of believers where the broader gifts are practiced for the growth of those members.

Anyway, I’m just here to say that I really love my pastor. And, yep. He is my son-in-law but I told Amanda and Curtis recently that, this far in, I would have wanted to go right there to that church even if I didn’t know them from Adam. I am growing and meeting many new people. I’m being stretched. I’ve been kicked way out of my comfort zone. I love ministering to the children and helping hold doors and give hugs. And, Sister, I GET A WORD. Some of the most powerful things God has done in my life in the last year came from a seed sown in me through one of Curtis’s messages. (If you were part of the simulcast, that whole message about the Widow’s Oil and the jars developed from a question Curtis asked us the day he taught from 2 Kings 4.)

SO, this is what we’re doing today! We’re going to share ONE (just one please!) of the most important or memorable words God has ever spoken to you through your present pastor in a sermon. If you can do it succinctly, you can also tell us why, but it’s perfectly fine if you simply share the word. If at all possible, please give the text reference. You don’t have to write the verses out. Just the address is fine.

Here’s what I’m going to do for my entry. I want to share with you a recent sermon of Curtis’s that really ministered to me. Many of you probably won’t have time to listen but, for those of you who do, stay with it all the way to the end. His wrap up left me in tears. Perhaps it will be meaningful to you, too. To get to the sermon, click the following link. It will bring you to the Bayou City Fellowship podcast page. Look specifically for the title “What is to Come.” It will be the second one listed there, I’m almost positive. It’s free, of course. I’m not trying to get you to buy something here today. I’m also not selling churches. Laughing. Just hoping this might bless somebody.

Click here to download the podcast on iTunes. Remember, the title is “What is to Come.” If you have any  problems connecting with the link provided, you can also search for “Bayou City Fellowship” in iTunes either online or on your computer if you have iTunes loaded there.

Your turn!!! Let’s share some words we’re getting, Sister! I love you dearly. I mean that. You are on my heart every day.

 

 

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A Little Weekend Homework Assignment

UPDATE: I was floored by how many of you jumped into the classroom and participated in this assignment! (As of noon Monday, several hundred have yet to be moderated but you’ll see them posted soon.) Your papers were FABULOUS. You did exactly what we hoped. You gave the assignment thought and authenticity. My tremendously busy weekend only afforded me a perusal but I look so forward to getting deeper into the stack. You are amazing women. You blow my mind over and over. I wish so much you could all have been at staff prayer today because each coworker brought her homework for us to discuss. We also had a particularly fun and unique translation addition (remember how you were to check 3 translations?)  because I asked Melissa if she’d read it to us in Hebrew. We got such a charge out of it. It truly was beautiful. To me, one of the most intriguing insights from many of your papers was the varied forms fleeing can take. Those differences were also articulated in our staff circle today. Running takes all sorts of forms, doesn’t it, Sisters? Here’s what we can know: Only when we’re fleeing from God can the enemy catch us. And even then, if we’re in Christ, he cannot have us. Nor can he keep us. Our God be praised. Gotta get back to work! Bible study tomorrow night! I love you, Sisters! And I think about you daily. THANK YOU FOR PARTICIPATING!!

 

 

Happy Friday, you wonderful things!

As soon as I push publish on this post, I’ll be heading out the door to the airport. I have a Life Today taping this weekend for the Wednesday program. (Two sessions tonight. Two in the morning.) Please pray for Jesus to fill us, teach us, heal us, and thrill us and that the group will be greatly responsive. Thank you! I do not know where I’d be without prayer. What I’m asking for in this Bible study ministry as a whole is something only Jesus can do. I need Him so much.

OK! So, this morning God impressed something on me in prayer time that I became convinced over the next hour He wanted me to share also with you. It’s coming in the way of a homework assignment I want to offer to any of you who’d like to participate. I have to be sparing in my words this morning because I have very little time but my heart is tremendously enlarged over it.

Here’s the ground rule: Please complete your assignment without reading any of the comments. Let’s resist any comparison or competition. Everybody who participates gets an A+. So you’re not tempted and so that you don’t get well into the assignment and lose your connection and your work, do it first on a Word document or the equivalent and then copy and paste it into your comment. I’m not looking for smart or scholarly sounding responses or ones that demonstrate impressive and great Spiritual prowess. I’m just looking for thought-out answers that are real.

You game? Me, too! OK, here goes. You do not need to include the questions or instructions in your answers but, for the sake of organization, please do list them by number. (1-6)

1. Please go to a website like Bible Gateway or to your Bible software if you have it and look up Isaiah 30:15-18. Please read it thoroughly in 3 different translations. In your response to this first exercise, please tell me what 3 translations you read then copy and paste the one that spoke the most blatantly to you. (In your answer you will have the abbreviations to three translations and then the full text in one of them. Make sense?)

2. Look up the word “threat” in any good English dictionary and write the full definition. After you write the definition, please share how it hits you and how you feel most threatened in this season, if at all. Keep in mind that nothing trips the switch on our insecurity like feeling threatened. Be careful as always in this community not to over-share by telling things about other people who wouldn’t necessarily appreciate it.

3. What does “fleeing” tend to look like in your life? In other words, how are you most prone to flee? And, are you in fleeing mode right now?

4. Compare or contrast the Isaiah text (30:15-18)  to 1 Peter 5:8-10 and James 4:7.

5. One of my translations this morning for this text was The Message. Here it is on the card I wrote out.

Do you perchance need to hear the words “settle down!” as much as I do? If so, why?

6. Finish your assignment with any particular personal insight you gained from it and, most of all, what you discern God is saying to you through it.

I love this kind of thing! If you don’t, I still love YOU. I will look so forward to reading many of your “papers.” Girl, I do dearly relish a classroom, and from both sides of the desk. Lindsee will be in town moderating your comments then I will start looking at them as soon as I finish up in Dallas.

PRAY FOR US! I LOVE YOU!!!

 

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Because sometimes you just need to laugh…

I’m not sure how many of you have jumped on the Pinterest bandwagon, but it’s a fun website that, in my words, can only be explained as an online cork-board. (You “pin” things you’re “interested” in on boards you’ve created. Confused yet?) Does anybody still actually own a cork-board? You might be my hero if so. Truthfully, it is one of those websites that if used in moderation or correctly, it’s very neat, but on the flip side, it can easily become another waste of time, or worse, a comparison trap to make you incredibly discontent with the things you don’t own, the way your house isn’t decorated, the clothes you’ll never own, or the recipes you’ll never master. You’re also liable to sit down and browse and the next thing you know, you’ve spent two hours pinning items you’ll never look at again.

In fact, I saw this definition of Pinterest on Pinterest and I couldn’t help but laugh.

Funny.

Here’s the deal, I’m not dogging Pinterest in any way, shape or form, I have my own account that I am very fickle with. I’ll go weeks without ever logging on, and then in a split second, I’ll waste two hours browsing one day. I need some pinterest balance in my life. We just all have to remind ourselves that it is simply a fun website. One day, honestly, it will be non-existent.

However, there have been times when I’ve been going about my Pinterest business, and I’ll run across the most hilarious picture or quote. It makes me terribly happy. Because after all, sometimes you just need to laugh. Amen?

So today I thought we all could use a laugh or two, so without further ado, allow me to share a few pins off of my “Makes Me Laugh” Board.

I sure hope it makes you laugh, too.

I only wish my mom had originally sent me this text. Brilliant. And had me rolling.

If you have a preschooler, you get this…

Being a chocolate chip lover myself, this speaks my language.

Caution: Ankle Biting Snakes

This here picture needs no further explanation.

Truth. If only I could wash my face as graceful as the models do. It’s an impossible task.

Admit it…

Happy Thursday, y’all.

 

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Let’s Talk About Bible Study!

I started this post out by typing, “Good Monday morning, ladies!”, but then I realized it was Martin Luther King day, so instead I’ll say, “Happy Martin Luther King day, friends!”

I imagine many of you are at home enjoying some snuggles with your little ones who are out of school, or maybe you’re a teacher who is loving spending a Monday at home as opposed to at school, or maybe, just maybe, you’re like those of us at Living Proof and you made the typical drive to work this morning. Either way, I hope your morning has started out peacefully and wonderfully! A few weeks ago our fearless leader reminded us that working is not a curse! Working is a good thing. So if you’re fighting thoughts of envy today, remember it’s a blessing to be working. Work with some excellence today, despite the way you feel!

Anyway, I completely sidetracked. Typical.

We are in full Tuesday night Bible study mode around here! I promise we’ll try not to wear you out talking about it, but I think it’s safe to say it’s high priority around here, and we joyfully get to serve. But, it got me thinking about you! I know for a fact many of you also started your Spring Bible study here recently and I’d love to hear what you’re digging into this semester. Plus, posts like these always benefit the reader that is looking for a study to do but just needs an idea or two.

So, let’s make our comments easy peasy. I’ll start:

Name: Lindsee

City: Houston, TX

Bible Study: I am participating in the Tuesday night Bible study, Children of the Day, but I am also taking a group of high school girls through Believing God written by our Siesta Mama, Beth Moore. 

What are you most looking forward to? I am looking forward to watching these young girls learn the five statement pledge of faith and also being reminded of them myself. Praying we would all believe God for immeasurably more this year!

Your turn! No pressure to answer each of the questions, but it adds a little spice, doesn’t it? However, for sure add the Bible study and who it’s by so that if someone is interested in that particular study, they won’t have any problem finding it!

Oh, and I couldn’t log off without sharing a glorious picture with you all from Tuesday evening. I can take zero credit for this picture because someone actually texted it to me after Bible study that night, but I thought it was too fun not to share. Thank you for praying for our first evening! Praise God alone for a room full of ladies studying 1st and 2nd Thessalonians. You would not waste a prayer on our Beth as she concentrates on all things involving this study!

We love y’all so very much.

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What I Would Have Told Myself 10 Years Ago

The other day I received a notification on facebook inviting me to join a group for my high school ten-year reunion.

Initially, I shuddered.

Before I go any further, I do realize that I am still young and have years ahead of me, God willing, but a ten-year high school reunion seemed light years away when I graduated. So, the fact that it is very much upon us is straight up weird to me. And yes, I just said straight up.

The little red notification box got my mind spinning in all sorts of directions.

One very interesting thing about my generation is that facebook was released the year we graduated. Although I didn’t actually get a facebook account until a couple years later, I’ve essentially had facebook since I graduated.

That means that not a lot is left to my imagination. Since I walked across that stage to accept my diploma, I know who has gotten married, had babies, started their own businesses, traveled the world, moved to a different state, gotten divorced, and even, sadly, passed away. When you graduate in a class of 700, a lot can happen in ten years. I don’t often wonder about my fellow classmates because I see their faces pop up on my news feed.

However, if I’m being really honest, the other direction my mind immediately went was negative.

I’m pretty sure if I dug around enough, somewhere I could find a paper written on what my ten years after graduation would look like. I know without a doubt it included a husband and kids on there, and here we are ten years later, and that’s a far cry from reality.

What is it about having a spouse and kids that make you feel validated in front of others and worthless if you don’t? Oh, the enemy sure is crafty.

Do I know better? I absolutely do. I know from the depths of my soul and heart that a spouse and kids are simply a gift from God, same as having a job, or a ministry. If I put my identity in those things alone, I’m bound to lose my identity at some point.

But the weirdest thing for me is that I was that girl in high school. I was the girl that didn’t date at all, and in my ugly flesh, I wanted things to be different ten years later. But they’re just not. And that’s what rose up in me as I clicked on that notification.

Did it wound my pride just a little? You bet it did.

Because the truth is, inside every grown woman, there’s still a 7th grade girl that wants to be the pursued, adored and chosen one. As girls, we want to feel special and loved. As grown ups, we still have crushes, we just don’t admit and giggle about them like we used to.

This past Tuesday night we launched Bible study! It was an amazing night with an exceptional word. Because of a few jobs I’ve been given for those specific evenings, I am unable to take notes. This note-taker about had a fit when I realized I wouldn’t be putting any pen to paper, but once I got over it, I was able to listen and receive. Although I tend to have an elephant brain, there is still so much I don’t remember. But one thing I know for certain is that not one of the 4,000 ladies could have walked out of there without the faithful truth that we are chosen and loved by God.

That isn’t just a mushy, make you feel good comment, it’s a fresh, biblical reality we all needed to hear.

I would know, because I’m that grown woman who desires to be pursued, chosen and adored. And the truth is, according to 1 Thessalonians 1:4, I already am.

If I could go back, I would have told myself ten years ago that although in ten years life may not look like I dreamed or expected, the way the Lord has engineered my circumstances up until now are better than I could have engineered them. I would have told myself to chill out, that having a husband and children, though a legitimate desire of my heart, doesn’t mean I’ve arrived. I would have told myself that God indeed writes a better story than I can or ever will.

Every time I’ve tried to go after something myself the past ten years, God has thwarted my plan. Every time I’ve tried to hold onto something that wasn’t of Him, He’s snatched it right out of my hands. Every time I’ve pretended to be in control, He’s proven to me that He is faithful, and I’d rather Him be in control, even if I’m perplexed by what He’s doing. Every time I’ve doubted His goodness, I’m reminded that even when circumstances aren’t necessarily good, He is working all things out for the good of those who love Him and are called according to His purpose. (Romans 8:28)

I don’t know if I’ll attend my ten-year reunion. To be honest, I’m still that insecure high school girl that is waiting to see who ends up going, and then I’ll make my decision. Husband-less. Child-less. I still have a God who’s been exceedingly faithful to me even when I’ve been completely faithless.

It’s been a good ten years.

I’m praying for immeasurably more to the glory of God for the next ten years.

Only the Lord knows what I’ll be writing then.

Hindsight is always 20/20, is it not?

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2013 Siesta Scripture Memory Team: Verse 2!

We’re off and running, Sweet Things! And 11,000 strong!!! Oh, how I pray that God will grant us the divine favor and indwelling power to keep it up month after month and finish 2013 in the multiple thousands. What joy He and we would have! For now, we take it step by step, one verse at a time. Don’t get caught up wondering how in the world you’re going to memorize 24 verses when you’re having a hard time memorizing the first one. That will sink your Scripture memory boat for sure.

I make you this promise based on my experience and the experience of many others: the more you memorize, the more you’ll get the hang of it. I was going to say that the more you memorize, the easier it gets but it’s not easy and that’s part of what makes it such a victory to celebrate with Jesus. I do believe I can tell you with confidence, however, that your tenth verse will very likely be easier to memorize than your first one. By that time, you’ve quit letting your nay-whining old nature tell you that you can’t do it and you shouldn’t have even tried. A big part of the battle in the first month is simply telling that self-destructive echo in our heads to shut its mouth. It’s replacing “I knew I couldn’t do it” with “Oh, yes I can. I can do all things through Christ.”

Persevere! Let’s not be quitters! God would rather us make it to the end of the year still stumbling over some words than throwing our hands up and quitting at the first imperfect recitation. Even if we don’t get our verses down perfectly, the pursuit itself is the very art of meditation. Nothing about it is a waste of time. Just think of how it helps to break the mental loop of rehearsed offenses. We’re going to be fixated on something. That’s how our minds often work. But we get to choose what.

So, right now say verse 1 out loud the very best you can.

Tremendous job. Now, let’s add our second one to it.

I totally love my verse this time around! It came up in my Scripture reading during my quiet time early Sunday morning. Here it goes:

Beth, Houston. All your children shall be taught by the LORD, and great shall be the peace of your children.” Isaiah 54:13 ESV

Isn’t that fabulous? I’m choosing this verse specifically so that I can turn it into intercessory prayer. Mind you, I’m not “claiming” it like I’d be apt to do with a promise more clearly obvious under the New Covenant. I’m reluctant to claim the fulfillment of a promise made straight to Israel for myself or people in my world unless I know that we have a coinciding New Covenant promise.  I’d have to see consistency to pray it as one fervently counting on it. Isaiah 54:13 carries obvious elements that are very consistent with the promises of Christ to us. He promised that the Holy Spirit will teach us all things and He blatantly gave us His peace but where I’m asking God to do an Isaiah 54:13 work in my family is the emphasis on ALL my children. I want every single one of them to be students of Christ Jesus, to love His Word and His ways with a passion beyond the natural realm, and for His peace to be great upon them and contagious. If you’ll look in the Scripture’s context in Isaiah 54, especially in verses 11-17, you’ll see that V.13 is within the promises God made specifically to Israel and scheduled for fulfillment in a time yet to come. So, no, I’m not claiming it, so to speak, BUT, I am indeed asking for it. That’s fair game.

God is not obligated to say yes to promises like those in Isaiah 54 this side of His Kingdom’s full revelation but, as I persevere in prayer and faith, He will indeed hear me and I believe be pleased that I had the boldness to pray it. He is not blessed by our small, vision-bare petitions anyway. I’ve thought for a long time that God would rather hear His children voice outrageously large prayers of faith even if He has to say no on occasion than hear our pale, timid, tepid requests for things He’s already given us anyway. For instance, if we belong to Him in Christ, He is indeed going to “bless us” and “keep us.” So, I’m adding Isaiah 54:13 to my spiral and planning to reword it often into a request. I’m going to take the risk that He may indeed perform generational miracles with a family tree sprouted from the soil of disease and brokenness. Make us oaks of righteousness, Lord,  for the display of Your splendor. (Isaiah 61:3)

This I know for sure: we often have not because we ask not. (James 4:2)

I love something else about Isaiah 54:13. I love that the word translated peace in English is the word “shalom” in Hebrew. The Hebrew word blows the doors off of our usual concept of peace. When I ask God for great peace to be upon my children, I have no interest in a trance-like state of passionless nirvana. I want God’s brand of peace: lively, vivacious. Here’s what the Theological Wordbook of the Old Testament has to say about it:

“The general meaning behind the root š-l-m is of completion and fulfillment—of entering into a state of wholeness and unity, a restored relationship.”

It means to be intact, healthy, sound. It means wellness of soul. It conveys the idea of God prospering His child. He describes His peace like a river: moving and running. His peace is no pond. I read the verse first out of The NET Bible that sits open on my desk at home. Isaiah 54:13 is worded this way on its pages: “All your children will be followers of the LORD, and your children will enjoy great prosperity.” Right that moment I jotted the verse down in my journal and, under it, asked the Lord (with enough zeal to imprint it on the next page) to prosper my children and their children and their children and their children in the way that really matters: grant them lives that bear much fruit – I said MUCH FRUIT -  for THIS is to our Father’s great glory. May they blatantly show themselves to be Christ’s disciples. (That’s John 15:8 and, if you haven’t memorized it yet, it is a must! Prioritize it early on in your year if God causes it to leap off the page with you.)  With all my heart, I want God to use this lineage He is redeeming to prosper His Kingdom.

So I am really fired up about my verse for our next two weeks and hope to still be saying it and praying it for the next generations of this family line when I’m about to see Jesus. If you don’t already have a verse selected, you are welcome to share it and make it your own with Jesus. Choose any verse that He’s using to speak to you right now. Remember, that’s what will make it stick to your ribs. It needs to mean something to you!

Hit it, Girls! Remember! Only your names, cities, verses, references, and translations! You are stellar, Sisters. I love you so much.

Edited to add: Information on how to download your Android or iPhone application!

I know many of you have been asking if we are going to have an app this year for your smart phones, and we have both good news and bad news. The good news is YES, we ARE! We have created an app for both Android and iPhones. The bad news is, the Android app is ready for you, but if you would be so patient with us, we’ll have the iPhone app ready for you in about five or six days. Does that sound good?

So, excuse me while I get technical for just a minute!

For those of you that still have the old application on your phone (and this goes for both Android and iPhone users), you would most likely have received a notification about the availability of this new one, but if not, and you are currently using an android, simply click here to download the app. (This link is for Android users only.) Android users, if you’re having issues with this link (and it’s currently working fine on this end), you can search “Living Proof Ministries – Scripture Memory Team – 2013″ in your phone under applications. (I have very little knowledge about Android phones, so forgive me if my wording is wrong.)

When the iPhone app is ready, I’ll update this post for those of you who would like to download it with all the instructions you’ll need. However, I do know upfront you’ll be able to find the app in the iTunes store via your phone or computer.

Once you have the application, it is very user friendly. You’ll be notified the 1st and 15th of every month with the new blog post that will land in your application (you will only be notified if you have turned on notifications for this specific app), you can share the post, and then you can also store your memory work in there. It will also act like your spiral. You may want to use both your spiral and the app to have on hand in case you lose one or the other!

I hope that helps! Doesn’t this make it so much more fun?

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Let Tuesday Night Bible Study Begin!

*Update: Lindsee here! Just wanted to let you ladies know that I added the Bible study image to the bottom of the post. Just a little eye candy for you visual folks. Grin. Feel free to pass along!

It is the time of year that all our Living Proof staff and multiple volunteers get most fired up about: TUESDAY NIGHT BIBLE STUDY!  Girl, we are gearing up. We start tomorrow night and, if you’re in the Houston area, you are wholeheartedly invited. Let me also tell you something God has placed strongly on my heart. I’m really praying for many women to come who have never been to a Bible study. (It’s lecture only at this time so she doesn’t have to jump straight into hours of homework.)  If you’re a veteran, bring somebody brand new who is open but unfamiliar. I keep getting a sense from my preparation for these two brief books of the Bible that they might offer someone new a taste of Scripture that is both personal and prophetic and that speaks to both now and later. It has an intimate yet pretty exciting feel to it, if you know what I mean.

Here are the facts:

*It’s for women only. Please respect this. Since we speak to all manner of topic, it’s seriously not the place for children either.

*We’re studying 1 and 2 Thessalonians and calling it “Children of the Day.”

*We’re meeting for eight Tuesday nights, focusing on one chapter each Tuesday night.

*We start worship at 6:30 PM then move into our study time and the evening concludes right at 8:30. We go for it on Tuesday nights.

*It’s an interdenominational, nondenominational, any-woman-welcome-no-matter-what kind of gathering. Sadly, we cannot offer childcare. We wish so much we could provide it but we have no way of knowing how many to provide for!

*It’s at Houston’s First Baptist Church at 7401 Katy Freeway at 610 and I-10. We are so grateful for their love and support. They are tremendously dear to us and we always hope and pray that God will bless them for being so gracious to house us.

*Carpool, carpool, carpool, carpool, CARPOOL!!! The parking lots at HFBC do not support a full house well. Since it’s free, of course, and no registration is required, we simply have no idea how many to plan for. Just in case, get there early if possible. Supper can be purchased in the Fellowship Hall but it would be best to get there pretty early those first few weeks.  If you arrive closer to 6:15, you might be wisest to bring to-go food and just eat it there in the Fellowship Hall without stress or lines.

*For more information, by all means please check out www.lproof.org/houstonconnection

*LPM staff and volunteers will be all of the place that evening to direct you or to answer your questions.

We would love to serve you! If you’re not in our area, please pray for us as we gather. Pray for Christ to be so present and powerful that we cannot help but be altered by Him. We are passionate about the privilege in Christ to serve our own city and everything about our Tuesday nights encapsulates what we feel most called to do at LPM. We are jazzed. Pray for us to be servants in every way.

I love you guys so much! Houston girls, we’ll see you so soon!!!

 

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Back in the Saddle

Hi Friends! It feels like a century since I last talked to y’all. I realize it’s only been two weeks, but it’s been two weeks too long.

Christmas day I hopped on a plane at IAH headed to Colorado to trade the stormy weather in for some more wintry weather. It was heavenly. And well, needless to say, very cold. This wimpy Houston girl went from 70 degrees to ZERO degrees in one day and my body was in shock. However, when enduring zero degree weather among snow, it makes it much more enjoyable and endurable.

Although we spent the greater half of our day traveling, we had a lovely Christmas. Unrelated detail, for a couple of reasons I had to fly a different airline and flight from the rest of my family and landed about an hour ahead of them, so while I was waiting I grabbed a bottle of water and some peanut M&M’s (Christmas meal of champions, mind you) and after purchasing said snackage, I told the lady Merry Christmas and she lit up. It was early afternoon, but you would have thought I was the first person who told her Merry Christmas all day. Made me think of not only of everyone who had to work that day for whatever reason, but also how easy it is to make someone’s day by saying one simple, kind word. Let’s commit to looking for ways to be kind in 2013. Deal?

Once the rest of my people arrived in Denver and gathered all of the belongings, we made the trek to my grandparent’s house where we were greeted with warm hugs and smiles. It’s not every year that we get to enjoy a holiday with our extended family, so it’s always a gift when we do get that opportunity.

We were also greeted by this breathtaking scene.

And this one.

No dreaming of a White Christmas for yours truly, I was living in a White Christmas.

For the next six days we soaked up every minute with our family possible, watched movies, made taffy from scratch, baked everything imaginable, shopped, enjoyed a bit of sledding, ate a TON and just did what you do on vacation, rested. One might assume we hit the slopes to ski, because a family that skis together stays together, but truth be told, we are sadly not a skiing family.

Oh, but cousins that sled together stay together. Here’s some proof:

Sometimes you just have to photo-bomb your little brother. Laughing.

I was in my happy place.

I left the blankets of snow a day earlier than the rest of my family to head to the big Atlanta for Passion 2013. I was pumped and could not wait to be there!

If you were there, you might be able to help me sum up what the Lord can do in a week with a dome full of hungry college students, but I’m here to testify that what happens in the Dome is supernatural, anointed and favored by God.

Yesterday at lunch I was telling some co-workers that I was searching through the archives of this blog a couple of days ago trying to find something, and I read a post our Beth had written about Passion 2011. She mentioned that a gathering of 20,000 college students is undeniably a work of God, and it dawned on me that just two years later, 60,000 college students gathered to hear a Word from the Lord, worship Him, and fight to set some captives free from slavery. Y’all, the word huge just doesn’t do it justice. But that’s HUGE! I don’t know about you, but I WANT our college students to get it, to hear it, to DO THE THING. And lest you think that generation is lazy, you need to get yourself to Passion. It’s rejuvenating, refreshing, energizing and so much more. When you leave you feel like you’ve been near God. And the nearness of God IS our good!

Because words fail me when it comes to wrapping up what the Lord did at Passion and all He spoke over us, Louie Giglio’s gift of pulling it all together with a pretty bow never ceases to amaze me as he brings a strong Word for the last session every year.

It would be safe to say that a major theme at Passion this year was to believe God for “immeasurably more” (Ephesians 3:20) in 2013, so when Louie pulled out Isaiah 61 that last morning to “proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor”, he challenged us by asking the question, “If it’s the year of the Lord’s favor, what would you like? What would you ask for?” At that point, my mind was spinning a thousand different directions. The dreams and desires in my heart are often times hard to articulate (and it would make this blog even longer than it already is, bless my heart), but I’m believing God to give me not only a vision, but also the words to articulate it and make it happen.

As my pastor (Curtis Jones) said on Sunday morning, fired up after also being at Passion, 2013 is the year for getting things done, why? Because He is able, you are able according to the Spirit and He gets the glory. Amen.

Just a little peak inside the Dome. (Please forgive the quality, as these were all snapped with my iPhone.)

I’ll never tire of getting to worship under Christy Nockels. What a gift she is.

Our Beth teaching.

The table.

Getting to meet with the 2,000 girls LPM sponsored. Definitely a highlight.

Each of the girls repeating a commissioning to one another.

A few brave girls got to share their story with us and why they wanted to come to Passion. Can you say courageous?

This is truly the one time at Passion we all get to serve together. Isn’t that so bizarre? I love them.

A sweet girl we had the privilege of sponsoring, Shaci, happened to be on the plane ride home with us.

You know we had to snap a few pictures. Bless her heart, she still had two more flights to go once we landed in Houston!

So, let me as you the question, if this is the year of the Lord’s favor, what are you going to ask for? What is going to bear fruit? In 100 years, our fruit will be what matters.

It’s going to be a GOOD year, girls.

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Wanna Get Together Wednesday? Let’s Meet Up For Lunch and Livestream!

I MISS YOU GUYS!!!! Much to catch up on! You guys want to get together for 30 minutes and livestream? And how would it be to actually know a day in advance this time?? SO, if you’re available, mark it down somewhere, jot it on a post-note or tell Siri on your iPhone to remind you to meet up…

Wednesday January 9th (tomorrow) at straight up 12:00 noon Central Standard Time. We’ll say hello, catch up a bit, grab hold of a Scripture, pray together and get you right back to your day in a flash.

To join in with us tomorrow, simply click on this link a minute or two before we air and you’ll be good to go. For you early birds, if you arrive too early, you’ll see that it is password protected. This is so that we can get it set up and ready to go without an audience. Grin. If you’ll be patient with us, we will remove the password about ten minutes prior to going live. So don’t let the password mess with you! It will come down right on time.

If you’ve having a problem accessing the livestream channel through the link provided, you can also find us by simply typing “Living Proof Ministries Livestream” into Google.

I love you guys! See you tomorrow? And pray for me to be able to serve you diligently and filled with the Holy Spirit. God can do a lot in half an hour. I do want to have fun but I don’t want to take it lightly.

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2013 Siesta Scripture Memory Team: Verse 1!

Finally!!!!!!!!

Are you ready, Sisters? Do you hear me cheering?? I have never been more excited about doing this.

I am on the verge of doing about 10 backward flips on my hardwoods. I said on the verge. Not quite doing it. Well, I’m doing it in my heart. That counts for a lot around here.

SO LET’S DO THIS THING! Now, promise me this! Promise me you will read this entire post before you leave a single comment. I know you’re about to burst and I am, too, and, for that reason, I’ll keep it as short as possible. It’s so important that we get our ground rules firmly established so that we’ll have a fabulous experience. Remember, hundreds of our participants this time around are brand new so let’s make sure everybody’s on the same page.

A few things you absolutely MUST KNOW:

*Your comment to this post is your official registration onto the team. Everybody starts at Verse 1 no matter when they begin the process. (Word gets around and we often still have people joining in with us even in March and April. We don’t mind how late they begin as long as they can catch up, memorize their verses, and document each one of them on the proper post as an official participant.) This launch post will remain right here in this January 1st 2013 slot all year long and each new person will need to make her first entry here. This is how we track who signed up when we get to the end of the year and it’s party time.

*Your comment must be strictly limited to the following 5 pieces of information: name, city, verse, reference, translation. I’ll say it slower now for those brand new to the process:

Your name (or first name if you prefer), city. Your verse for that two-week period written all the way out, the reference for it (where it is found in the Bible: Book, chapter, verse) AND the *translation you’ve taken it from.

(*For instance, is the Bible you’ve pulled the passage from a KJV, an NAS, HCSB, NIV or NLT? Or is it The NET Bible, The Message or another similar version? The translation almost always appears on the outside spine of a Bible. If not, you will find it on the first few pages. If you’re looking on line, you’ll get an option to choose a translation. Do so as it speaks most clearly to you. We aren’t fussing over translations here in our memory work. You also do not need to stick with one version throughout.)

Just those 5 pieces of information!  They will comprise every comment to this post. And the moment you start scrolling through all of them, you’ll see why. Page after page after page after page of Scripture and each one telling a reader exactly where to find it. It is the most powerful sight to behold. This invites people who are not participating in the memory work to reap tremendous benefits by just reading the comments and taking strength from verses they may not have known existed. This way it has the potential to bless our whole community or any weary visitor to our blog. I’ve been in crises before and gotten on the comment pages and scrolled from Scripture to Scripture and practically wept with relief and fresh courage or revelation. That’s why it’s best to keep the SSMT comments as succinct as possible. If you’ve got an exclamation in you that you just can’t hold back, you can occasionally make the briefest comment like, “I really need this one!” or “I’m sharing so-and-so’s verse” but, please, no more than that.

Comments other than the verse-entries on the 1st and 15th of each month can’t be approved. I’m so sorry and I hope you’ll understand. Thousands of us will be doing this together so the moderation process is monumental from the administrative side. The verses will be all Lindsee and I can handle in the comments for our two SSMT days per month. Keep in mind: NONE OF THESE INSTRUCTIONS PERTAIN TO THE OTHER BLOG POSTS HERE AT LPM. We will be completely free to do our regular thing on all other posts! The really stringent rules are only for the 1st and 15th of each month in 2013 and in reference to Siesta Scripture Memory Team. I hope that makes sense!

*Your comment may take 24 hours to get moderated (or posted if you’re new to the blog process) and sometimes a bit longer if it falls over a weekend. We try our hardest to stay up with it but on those days when 500+ come in at once, it’s quite a task! But we love it! It just requires a little patience on all sides! Before you assume that your entry somehow vanished and you’re tempted to write it again,  give it one full day and see if it shows up. Keep track of what time you posted it and double check the comments around that same time.  The accidental repeats make it much harder to track participation through the course of the year so always double check. If you don’t find it a day later, by all means, post it again!

*Remember that you get to choose your own verse! That’s really important! The ease with which you can memorize a verse is greatly impacted by how much it means to you. The more you need it or want it, the more you’ll absorb it. If you come up dry at times, no problem! You can either share my verse or another in the comment line that really speaks to you.

*PRAY that God will bless you in this endeavor and will enable you to memorize His Word! Ask continually throughout the entire year! When I get stuck and frustrated that I can’t get my words in order, if I’ll stop what I’m doing and ask God to supernaturally infuse me and help me to concentrate, you would not believe how quickly a breakthrough will come.

Are you about to stuff a sock in my mouth?? I’m about 2 seconds from stuffing one in my own mouth. Melissa gave me two new pair of boot socks for Christmas so at least I have fresh choices.

All right, already! Here goes mine! In honor of our process ahead and how willing the Holy Spirit is to help us…

Beth from Houston Texas, But the Counselor, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, will teach you all things and will remind you of everything I have said to you. John 14:26 NIV84

Here’s one more alternative if you’ve never memorized it for a new year! I just love it for January 1st:

You crown the year with Your bounty, and Your carts overflow with abundance.  Psalm 65:11 NIV

May God’s grace abound to you, Sweet Thing. WELCOME! We have such a fabulous challenge ahead of us. GOD, GRANT US YOUR GOOD FAVOR!

So…what are you waiting for??? SIGN IN WITH VERSE ONE!

 

PS. I thought you guys might find it a bit amusing that I brought in the first 300 comments in the CAR on the way to the airport to catch my Atlanta flight for Passion 2013. Laughing. You keep your blog mama busy. I love you so!

 

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