Archive for the ‘Bible study’ Category

Siesta Summer Bible Study Information! And Giveaway!

Okay Girls! Lindsee here and I have chosen our 11 winners at random! If you would all email me (blog@lproof.org) as soon as possible, that would be so helpful so we can get your books to you SOON!

Drum roll please…

Our first 10 winners of a Gideon Workbook are: (Make sure that if you are a winner, it is the correct comment number that I have posted!)

Comment #634: Amy A.

Comment #33: Beverly

Comment #111: Amy Hanson

Comment #88: Michele

Comment #777: Sharon Seagle

Comment #56: Rina

Comment #555: Lisa Ode

Comment #1: Rebecca

Comment #245: Brandi

Comment #372: Melody

Lastly, our winner of the Gideon Leader Kit is…

Comment #475: Stephanie

We are so excited for you, girls! Can’t wait to hear from you!

 

Hey Girls! Comments are now closed. Be looking for the names of our 11 winners within the hour! Thanks for your enthusiastic and honest replies! We’re so excited!

Greetings, Sisters! Siesta Summer Bible Study starts one week from today! We are fired up around here! I know your questions are abounding, so this post is to fill you in on all the details to get us good and ready for next Tuesday.

First off, let’s make sure that you know what you’ll need to participate: 1 LifeWay workbook by Priscilla Shirer entitled Gideon: Your Weakness. God’s Strength.That’s all there is to it!

We’ve been getting lots of questions about whether or not Priscilla’s video portions are required in our summer Bible study. The answer is no but only because we try our hardest to keep our summer experience at the lowest possible cost. By all means, if you have access through a group or have the financial resources to get the session DVDs or downloads, do it! To experience the whole thing is optimum! If you’re in a small group, consider all pitching in and purchasing a set then watching them together week to week. You’ll be incredibly blessed by that investment. Priscilla’s gift of teaching is saturated with the Holy Spirit and beautifully infectious. I could sit under her instruction for hours. So, get the sessions if you can but they will not be required to participate in our summer study. All of our discussion will springboard from the workbook.

With that said, I do have one really FUN thing to do before we move further into the details. We have 10 Gideon workbooks and 1 leader kit to give away! All you need to do to qualify is leave a comment on this post and let us know how the subtitle hits you: “Your weakness. God’s strength.” We’ll keep comments open for 24 hours then do a random drawing of 11 people with those specific entries. Watch for a post Wednesday afternoon naming our winners!

Are y’all still with me?

OK, then, let me fill you in on some remaining details through a simple Q&A. If you’ve been in summer Bible study with us before, our approach will be very similar.

Who’s invited? YOU! (If you’re a girl over – let’s say – 16) And you can go solo or participate in a small group! As in past years, our highest hope is to facilitate fellowship and accountability into our Bible study experiences. If you can assemble a group of friends, co-workers, family members, acquaintances, fellow church members, Siestas in your town, a tennis team or a handful of neighbors, you’re likely to get the most out of the process. (If you’ve already participated in this study, think of leading a group through it this round.) If you can’t rally a face-to-face group, Skyping and Face Time can still provide a pretty legit way to experience community in different locations. We’re not looking to be legalistic. We just want FULL benefits. If you go solo, do your best to connect with a couple of girls on line. Scripture tells us to stir one another up in the faith and to call one another to love and good works and to bear one another’s burdens and pray for one another and remind one another of God’s faithfulness. Translation: we need each other!

What’s the Goal? Spending the summer together in the Word! A summer of authentic Bible study is the surest way to a summer of victory.

When do we meet?  We will launch our Siesta Summer Bible Study on Tuesday, June 11, and “meet” 4 official times: Every OTHER Tuesday from June 11th until July 23rd. Yes, by all means, meet EACH week if your small group is able but we only ask that you check in here on the LPM blog every TWO weeks to participate in our format for discussion. As much as we’re able, we want to be big on help and small on demands. Summer schedules can make weekly gatherings much harder than usual but certainly keep it up if you can. You can also choose another day of the week besides Tuesday if necessary. We’ve found that it’s the most fun and carries the most momentum when we all do it on the same day but that’s not always possible for everyone. Be free!

Here’s the summer schedule:

Tuesday, June 11, 2013 Launch - I’ll post our 1st Mini-Session which I will either have written or videoed. In it you will receive instructions for discussion.

In the 2 weeks that follow our first Mini-Session, you will DO WEEKS ONE AND TWO OF THE HOMEWORK ON YOUR OWN. If you’re participating in Priscilla’s weekly DVD teachings, incorporate those weekly and in addition (or instead of!!) to what we’re doing here on the blog. We will let you guys work those details out on your own.

Tuesday, June 25, 2013 (2nd Mini-Session/Group Instructions)

In the two weeks that follow, DO WEEKS THREE AND FOUR OF THE HOMEWORK ON YOUR OWN.

Tuesday, July 9, 2013 (3rd Mini-Session/Group Instructions)

In the two weeks that follow, DO WEEKS FIVE AND SIX OF THE HOMEWORK ON YOUR OWN.

Tuesday, July 23, 2013 (4th Mini-Session/Conclusion) – We’ll wrap it up and it will have flown by in a whirlwind.

If a graph is easier to understand than all my compulsive wordiness, here you go:

Where should you meet if you’re participating in a small group? Wherever you are most comfortable. Do what works for your group. You might meet in a different house each week so no one has to keep her house clean all summer. We’ve had some siesta groups meet in restaurants and coffee shops. Find your groove and stick to it!

 

So, here’s what you do:
1. Get your workbooks! Our good friends at LifeWay have promised to have plenty of them for us, but you won’t want to wait until the last minute. You can find them online on LifeWay’s web site. Here is a link where you can order the member book. And, if you’re going for the optional DVD sessions week to week, here’s where you can download the videos taught by Priscilla. They’ll be fabulous.

2. Sign up on the blog on our official Launch Day- Tuesday, June 11. For the first time, we’re going to ask that everyone participating sign up individually rather than a leader chiming in on behalf of the whole group.  We think this will be less confusing and will give us a better idea of how many are participating each week just by the number of comments. We will ask a few warm-up questions that day to begin cracking open that door of community.

3. I will facilitate the study by posting a blog the 4 mornings of our meeting days. I will give you instructions on these posts for your discussion times and maybe some activities. All will connect to the previous weeks of study.

4. After your gathering, you’ll check back in by telling us something about your meeting via a comment on that same post. Don’t worry if your group can’t meet on Tuesdays. You’ll still be able to find the post and comment throughout the week.

What if…

-I want to use the discussion questions in the back of the workbook instead of the ones on Beth’s posts. Go for it!

-I really, really want to do the study but it’s not in the budget. Email us.

-I’ve already committed to doing another Bible study this summer? That’s great! Stick with it.

-I don’t want to participate but still want to be a part of the blog. We totally understand and want to see you around Siestaville this summer. Know that the Bible Study will only take up one post every other week.

We can’t wait to study the Word with you this summer!

Lord Jesus, take us somewhere we couldn’t have anticipated! Somewhere we desperately needed to go. Raise up an army of mighty warriors right here in this community!

Okay, Sisters, let’s hear your comments for the giveaway! Remember we’ll only leave it open for 24 hours!

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2011 Scripture Memory Team: Verse 9!

Hey, you mighty warriors!

By the time you get this SSMT post, I will be on my way to Nashville for the videotaping of James: Mercy Triumphs. It almost makes me cry to see the actual (recently settled-upon) title in print. So much time and focus and prayer and frustration and second-guessing and bewilderment and wonderment – and learning and thrilling and growing and wallowing – go into the whole process of a Bible study journey. Many tears. Healthy laughs. Big eye-openers. Rich conversations. Moments of, “What on earth was I thinking??” Above all, so much desperation for Jesus. If God doesn’t pour His Spirit into it, it will fall flat like a collapsed pup-tent. That’s the God’s-honest truth. After 14 journeys similar to this one, I know just enough in advance to be dangerous. Enough to start shaking (not with anointing but mostly with anxiety) when the outline first goes on paper. I know now how life’s going to go on in the middle of it and how all sorts of unplanned ups and downs, woes and joys will mark its pages. I know now how I’m going to end up writing about things in my life and family that haven’t even happened yet. Some of them will be wonderful. Others will be painful. It’s kind of like starting a new journal. There is a certain amount of trepidation because you simply can’t guess what will fill those pages. It’s a stomach-knotting blend of anticipation and raw fear. But what I forget sometimes in that anxious moment when I know there’s no turning back is the grace. The goodness of God. The fact that I’m invited to believe He was the initiator of it, as He is in all things faith (Hebrews 12:1-3) and that I don’t have to assume complete control over it. I’m invited to remember what life the Scripture has and how much this woman has to learn.

Good grief. I’m sitting in a salon chair about to bawl my head off. (Writing this to you on Friday.) I’ll try to rein this one in and quit being so dramatic. This is no time to wear you guys out about the James Bible study because Melissa and I still need you to pray us through until the complete manuscript is turned in at the end of summer. The beauty of all the studies prior to Esther is that they were pre-blog and I didn’t gnaw you like a bone throughout the whole ordeal. It’s too late now.

Make no mistake. The studio audience, the LifeWay video crew, and I need your prayers like crazy this week. Yes, pray for us during the day when preparation is taking place but especially pray for us in the evenings on Monday (tomorrow) through Thursday. That’s when the actual sessions will be taped, two per night, back-to-back. And pray big things for the participants, too! They are so incredibly important in the process. Pray for them to get totally caught up in the Scriptures and in what God is speaking into their lives and be oblivious to the cameras. Pray for them to experience a powerful encounter with Christ through His Word and for Him to do something utterly remarkable in each life. THEN, pray for that anointing to also transfer just that heavily to the women who will one day watch the series on the other side of the screen. I requested a smaller group of participants this time (like I have at Life Today – the perfect size!) but that means the cameras will be much more obvious to all the ladies in the audience. Pray also for us to bond in the Spirit right from the beginning.

Thank you so, so much.

I won’t get a chance to blog much (if at all) while I’m in Nashville but Amanda and Melissa will chime in. I will try to get on Twitter a time or two a day perhaps so, for those of you who like that, we’ll stay in touch that way. (@BethMooreLPM – writing that kind of thing always makes me want to throw up in my mouth.)

After the sessions are complete, the video team and I will spend all day Friday doing some additional taping that won’t require an audience. Later in May they will come to Houston and we will do yet more taping. At that time (later in May), I’ll do the intros to the session and also an on-camera dialogue with Melissa over the project. She has been a huge part of this journey. In fact, she was the first of the two of us who felt drawn to this book of the Bible. She is not a camera hog and won’t let me add her name on the cover but it would be a crying shame for the women not to get a chance to connect with her on screen. She has zero interest in entertaining but she has a huge interest in studying. That’s enough to make her push past her discomfort and get on the screen. In case you’re not up to date on her part of the project, she is writing extra study portions 2-3 times per week of Bible study for the student that wants to go deeper.

I am always reluctant (as both my daughters are) to mention two of us instead of three. Amanda, Melissa and I are, as my people would say, thick as mud and we don’t like to pair off. As I mention Melissa often in this process, rest assured Amanda is cheering us on and praying for us every step of our way. She is not actively participating this time in the editorial process (I miss her so much) because her focus and energies need to be on her family but we three women are together continually.

SO, did you think I’d forgotten what we’re doing on here today???? No ma’am. I most certainly did not. All I’ve just told you led to the Scripture I’ve chosen as my ninth verse.

Beth, Houston. “Rely on the Lord! Be strong and confident! Rely on the Lord!” Psalm 27:14 The NET Bible

Yes, Sir! If this selection resonates with you, join me with it! I’d be honored to memorize with you. I will say it over and over this week. Maybe you will, too, and He will hear us each time and find joy in it. I pray with all my sappy heart that the Spirit of God loves to hover over this community.

OK, so what are your verses, Sisters??? DON’T YOU DARE QUIT!!!!!

I love you to pieces.

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Hello Saturday Off! (And a Little Announcement)

Hey, You Darling Things!

I’ve had the best week because Melissa’s been in town since Monday. We’ve been together with the Joneses a ton of times and having everybody together brings me so much joy. I’ve told you before that my girls make me laugh like nobody else on earth. We just sat at FreshBerry and laughed until we nearly threw up our FreshBerry tart. (Are you guys into that yet? And, yes, I already know it’s a knock-off of Pink Berry but, since we don’t have Pink Berry in Houston, uh, we’re just going to knock it off. You just can’t be cooler than you are.)

These were our choices today. Amanda got Fruity Pebbles on hers which was a throw back to her childhood and reminded me of her little sister who tends to have the taste buds of a first grader. She also got blueberries and strawberries so that, true to form, her fruit could stay in the same color palette. Melissa is our riskier one with a menu but it doesn’t always pay off. (For instance, she’ll try the club sandwich at a Chinese restaurant or pasta and marinara at some place like Chili’s.) This time she tried the Key Lime Chiffon with graham crackers because the guy at the counter said it tasted just like the pie and, even though it was good, it was not as good as my traditional fare and she mostly assisted me in scraping the bottom of my cup. (I think I also licked it.) I got three fruits (mango, kiwi, and strawberries) but I also got granola which is like 70 cents extra (the fourth topping is extra) but there’s a reason why my name is still Moore and theirs is not. I was addicted by my second trip to FreshBerry and have sworn there is some kind of drug in it that drives you back. Of course, that’s a lie, lest I start a rumor.

Since many of you have commented along the way how close we seem (not me and FreshBerry but me and my girls although FreshBerry and I are moving forward in our relationship), I just want you to know, we don’t laugh together and get such a big kick out of each other because we don’t have problems. We each have a full plate of them. We just laugh because we might as well. Life’s just funnier that way. We also get a lot of satisfaction out of making fun of each other. If we cross the line, though, we apologize profusely and feel like dogs and tell the other one to say something mean to us, too. If they won’t, we’ll say something mature like, “Well, hit me then!”

Melissa’s been in town this week for us to start a very special project together. I would be so blessed and thankful for you to stop a split second and pray for us. We have just begun research for the next in-depth Bible study, God willing, and it will totally preoccupy us for at least the next full year. (She actually started on it months ago but I’ve just turned my attentions to it in the last seven days.) This will be a seven week, eight session study on the life and Book of James.

This time, instead of contributing through research alone (which she does masterfully and like no one else I know), I’ve asked Melissa to write brief segments from her own perspective and research each week throughout the workbook. I will write the main body of the lessons like usual and, unless the plan changes, she will have a box in each lesson where she brings her own voice. I will do the lecture sessions as usual, too, but she will also probably be in some of the cutaways or what we call “outros.” All of this is what we believe we’re sensing from God right now but it will no doubt develop as we go. We’re super excited and yes, nervous as always, but we feel like we’ve got a window of opportunity for a little co-writing and we’re going to jump through it. Amanda has already been right in there with us helping us shape the concept but, as you know, her hands are full with small children right now and this is not her season for this kind of titanic undertaking at work. She is my favorite editor and I so hope she’ll be able to look over some of the lessons along the way as her schedule permits. In one way or another, our lives are always intertwined. Amanda may not co-write but goodness knows she has provided a preschooler and toddler who, in turn,  provide no few illustrations.

Anyway, thank you for caring about what’s brewing around here at Living Proof. I am never more stressed or overworked than when I’m in the middle of writing an in-depth Bible study but I am also never more fulfilled. It is the work I love best because it immerses my poor brain in the wealth of Scripture day after day after day. Hour after hour after hour. Some people’s brains simply need washing. God is gracious beyond comprehension to allow somebody with my kind of past to serve people like you.

Which reminds me, yesterday Hawk and I taped my SSBS greeting for you. (It will be your post on Tuesday as we launch our third gathering.) I thought you might get a kick out of how professional we are around here. This is our camera set up.

No one can say we don’t keep up with all the latest technological advancements here at Living Proof. No sir. (In case you can’t see that tiny camera at the top of the tripod, that statement’s a bit of a joke.) We tape in one of the offices right on the second floor where a bunch of the staff works and Hawk and I love to shout, “Quiet on the set!” (By the way, they’re usually not.)

I hope you guys have a great weekend. Work a whole lot of Jesus into it and maybe a little frozen yogurt…and find somebody in your neck of the woods to laugh with. It does a body good.

I love you. That’s the honest truth. You are the FreshBerry Tart of the Blog World. I just keep coming back.

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We Converged!

I want to take a minute and thank all of you who were with us for Converge last Thursday night at the Berry Center. We’re so glad you were there! In case you have no idea what I’m talking about, we were joined by special guests CeCe Winans and Travis Cottrell and his praise team for a night of worship and the Word. It was a wonderful evening and we were so blessed by you! Curtis was our emcee and at one point he asked the people who had never been to an LPM event (like Tuesday night Bible study) to raise their hands. We were thrilled by how many there were. It looked like half to me, but I could be wrong. What a great joy to be able to serve all of you in Jesus’ name!

I’ve had so many sweet friends share with me what the Lord spoke to them that night through Beth’s message. Ladies, isn’t it awesome that we have a God who is active in our lives? Not just when we get to heaven, but NOW? We’re believing Him to work in every person’s life who attended and we’re already praising Him for those testimonies.

A lot of my friends mentioned how neat the stage, lighting and video production were. We contracted some friends from Beth’s Living Proof Live Events (which are done through LifeWay) to help us out with that. They do such an excellent job! It occurred to me that a lot of our girls in Houston have never attended a Living Proof Live event, and that’s totally understandable because we get to study the Word together all the time here at home. But if you really enjoyed the energy and the quality of production of the event – not to mention Travis Cottrell and his awesome praise team – you should look into coming to a Living Proof Live conference in 2009. The conferences are like three sessions of what we did at Converge. Here is a link to the schedule. Our Houston girls will be closest to the El Paso and New Orleans events.

I’d also like our Houston girls to know that a new song from Travis’ Christmas CD has just been added to KSBJ’s Christmas rotation. The song is “Ring the Bells.” It’s one of my favorites. So if you call in and request it, they’ll be able to play it now. If you hear it and love it (which you will!), stop by Travis’ blog and let him know!

We hope many of you will join us this Spring for our Inheritance Bible Study at Houston’s First Baptist Church. We get started on Tuesday, January 13. For more information, visit our Houston Connection page. See you then!

P.S. We’re considering producing a product from the Converge event, but if we decide to do that it will be several months before it will be available for purchase. Thanks so much for your patience!

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Prayer Request for Bible Study

Hi ladies! I wanted to let you all know what a big night this is for your LPM siestas so you can be praying. We are kicking off “LIT,” which is our fall Bible study series. (Registration is closed.) My mom and Melissa are co-teaching a class of about 150 18-25-year-old ladies and it will begin tonight. Next Tuesday Curtis will kick off his ungraded class for men and women. We are so excited! Please pray for Beth and Melissa as they begin their class tonight. Please also pray for the young ladies who will join us this fall. Our Bible study coordinator is Jennifer Hamm, in case you want to lift her up by name. She is awesome and works so hard! Okay, gotta run. I have to leave the house in 15 minutes and I’m not even close to being ready! Story of my life. Thanks, sisters!

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A Little Leader Love

Two weeks ago we wrapped up our Breaking Free Bible study in Houston and we got a chance to share a little bit about it on the blog. Now we would love to hear from all you Bible-study-leading, blogging siestas. How did your semester go? Chime in whether or not it was a Beth Moore study. We just want people in the Word!

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Part Two of the Bfree Inquisition

*Comments now closed*

(My Dearest Siestas, I have hopped back on this entry after 411 comments to tell you that it is everything I can do to stay in my chair today. I have never wanted to do a day-long thank You dance to Jesus so much in all my life. I wish I had 2000+ Siestas to do it with: Those who have broken free and those who, by the promises of God’s Word and the testimonies of hundreds of lives, KNOW THEY CAN!! I can practically feel the blood pumping through my veins. THESE COMMENTS ARE MUST-READS!)

OK, Siestas, I’m about to invite you to share in Part Two of our inquisition for Breaking Free. First, a recap: In the last post I asked you for insight regarding the areas of bondage that most threaten you. All the comments moved us and some were nearly excruciating to read, especially considering how we’ve come to care for one another. I think we have an all-new perspective on the kind of suffering and (often secret) captivity that exists out there…and among many people who really want to do this life-thing right. (And CAN, praise God, with the power of His Spirit. We’ll talk more about that in future posts.)

Some of us may have nearly despaired and wondered, “Is anybody really living in victory out there? Is anyone really free?” The answer to that question is YES. But no one got there easily OR accidentally. We can be threatened by an area of bondage for years without ever being defeated by it then one day, to the great glory of God, we realize it doesn’t tempt us anymore. Without question, nobody’s got it completely together and those who think they do are on the brink of dropping it. But, whatever you do, don’t get cynical and give up the fight. Plenty of believers are living in titanic daily victory over old areas of bondage and have sustained it in the power of Christ for years. In Breaking Free, living victoriously is not living sinlessly. It’s living successfully. It’s the fleshed-out reality of an effective, abundant Spirit-empowered life. Now, it’s time to hear some testimonies of victory. I only have one question for you this time and, again, all answers need to be ANONYMOUS. No others can be posted on this entry. Please make your answers somewhere in length between one sentence and a brief paragraph so that we can read every single one of them.

Question: From what area of past bondage has Christ set you free? Be specific so that our sisters can see that nothing is beyond His reach. Let the redeemed of the Lord say so!

I love you so.

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Lending Your Priceless Insight

Hey, You Darling Siestas! (*Precious Ones, comments now closed on this entry because the number got so great that I would have more than I could read. I am profoundly moved and prayerful over what has been shared and will write back to you soon about it. You have given me tremendous insight and I pray the gracious and powerful ministry of Christ Jesus all over you. I have been where many of you are. Our God reigns, Dear Sisters! Do not lose heart because you cannot lose Jesus. This is what He came for. Isaiah 61:1-4)

Before I tell you what this post is about, I want to tell you something that tendered my heart then brag on you and encourage you. I so enjoyed the Titus post and all your comments! AJ and I had talked about what a fun post it could be and it was! She and I, like many of you, also had a sharp pain go through our hearts that some of our single siestas either felt left out of it or, or worse yet, like losers because of it. When I posted their comments (AJ was on a roadtrip so I moderated many of them), I kept a very careful eye on the communication that unfolded. I watched you respond to one another and minister to one another. I saw the Body of Christ at work. I was so thankful.

You know, Siestas, we don’t always know how to say the right thing and sometimes our comments may even seem thoughtless or inconsiderate, but I am convinced that our hearts in this blog community truly are to love one another and encourage each other. We want and need the diversity and have so much to learn from one another. Now, I’m grabbing my megaphone and yelling this part really loudly: WE WANT YOU SINGLE SIESTAS IN THIS COMMUNITY! FIGHT FOR YOUR SPOT! KEEP YOUR COMMENTS COMING! KEEP REMINDING YOUR MARRIED SISTERS THAT YOU ARE THERE! WE ARE THE BETTER FOR YOUR INFLUENCE! WE NEED YOU!

Sometimes the blog posts will be blatantly family-oriented because it’s sponsored by a mother and daughter team. It’s just a way we share the personal side of our lives with you and that’s what makes the blog stream unique to everything else we do here at Living Proof Ministries. This blog is the friend, mom, and sister side of what we could offer, God willing. It’s partially meant to be a big fat celebration of Girl World. Nothing could be more appropriate in a world system so demeaning to women than to rejoice in the dignity Christ won for us. Sometimes we just want to make you laugh because we love to laugh. Other times we want to share with you what made us cry. Blatantly above all and through all, however, our highest and hottest passion is to encourage fellow sojourners of all kinds to live fully and freely the life Jesus Christ offers…and to offer a little practical help with implementing His explosive power. We love you so much and we’re so honored to be your servant. Your friend. Your sister. Your mom. Even your Mama Beth. Don’t mind a bit. As my grandmother used to say, I could mother a fence post. Love it.

NOW, on to what I’m requesting from some of you. Your input was priceless to me in the Esther series and I’m betting you could really lend some insight now. As you know, I am now working on revising the series “Breaking Free” and will be attending to it for months to come. Here are my two questions and I’d like those who feel compelled to respond to answer them ANONYMOUSLY and by including the numbers “1)” and “2)” so they’ll be easier for me to read (you don’t need to include the questions):

Please note: ALL COMMENTS NEED TO BE ANONYMOUS THIS TIME IF THEY’RE IN RESPONSE TO THESE QUESTIONS. PLEASE DO NOT ATTACH YOUR BLOGGER NAME OR PERSONAL NAME. PLEASE ALSO KEEP IN MIND THAT YOUR WILLINGNESS TO COMMENT IS ALSO YOUR PERMISSION FOR ME TO QUOTE FROM IT IF IT MIGHT BE HELPFUL IN THE STUDY. KEEPING THEM ANONYMOUS IS CRUCIAL TO THAT FREEDOM. PLEASE KEEP YOUR ANSWERS SUCCINCT. NO LONGER THAN TWO EASY TO READ BRIEF PARAGRAPHS SO THAT I CAN READ THEM. THANK YOU!
1) What one thing threatens you most with bondage? Try to be specific. If your answer is intimate in nature, then use code language. I’ll get what you’re trying to say.

2) What is your biggest obstacle to living freely and fully in Christ? (Please don’t give the answer you think you’re supposed to give. Really share what you think holds you back.)

Thank you for your help, Siestas! Please don’t feel like you have to comment. Only comment if you really have something to share about bondage and your biggest obstacle to freedom. You’ll know if it’s not that big a deal to you or you really have to think about it that you’ll want to leave the room to another Siesta this time. I AM CRAZY ABOUT EVERY LAST ONE OF YOU!

PS. No time to proofread this time! Sorry for inevitable mistakes!

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The Wild World of Bible Study

Hey, Siestas! Y’all are just the most fun ever. I so enjoyed all your reactions to the “goods.” I was also very tendered by our siesta who reminded us to pray for our single sisters who are fighting a few gray hairs (you can color those stinkin’ thangs!) and frequent bouts of loneliness. I know a number of single women who wouldn’t trade it for anything in the world, are serving God like crazy in all sorts of unhindered ways, and they’d about beat us to death with their handbags if we prayed them up a husband. But, we want to be faithful friends and prayer warriors for ANY of our siestas who are lonely. Including those who are married. Nothing makes you feel more alone than a bad marriage. I know because I’ve had one. And I don’t have one now. Keith and I like to say that we’ve each been married to ten different people and they all look suspiciously similar.

On a very encouraging note, I was glad to also hear from the sister who has been burned by tons of girlfriends but is getting her feet wet again in Siestaville. I pray she’ll find this a safe and fun enough place to venture back out into some great Godly friendships that last a lifetime. This is no replacement for that but it’s a great encouragement to stay wildly connected to people and to be reminded why you want to. BigMama, I’m so sorry you’ve been under the weather! I feel like we live so close together I should bring you a pound cake.

OK, now this is the main thing that prompted me to hop online: I’m so pumped that such a number of you are starting “Stepping Up”! I loved that journey! Only one in the Psalms I’ve ever done. It’s based on an analogy drawn from the pilgrimage the Israelites took to Jerusalem three times a year. I was so intrigued by the whole concept. I’d honestly never paid attention to the caption “A Song of Ascent” above certain psalms nor had I ever heard a lesson on it. The study is really different from the others – and on purpose. God’s Word is so alive and fresh that there’s no excuse for cookie cutter studies. I hope so much God uses it to take you to the next level with Him. I’m so honored that you’d allow me to step on those stairs with you.

While on the subject of Bible studies, dear Siesta who got the regular book version of Breaking Free rather than the workbook, if you really have some major stuff to deal with (and who doesn’t?), please consider getting the workbook instead and perhaps giving the book to someone who isn’t as likely to do an in-depth study. Those are my favorite candidates for what’s called the “trade book” version of Breaking Free. For everyone else, the workbook is the way to take the journey. I’m a huge believer in the actual process of Bible study (i.e. turning to this Scripture and that, spending the time in tandem with God alone, writing down your responses, etc.) and never more so than in that particular journey. In Breaking Free, the process of poring over the Scriptures is itself a crucial part of the healing. Psalm 107:20 says “He sent forth His word and healed them; He rescued them from the grave.” Boy, have I lived that reality.

Don’t misunderstand what I’m saying. No one loves regular books more than me. I have at least two going at any given time. I’ve been greatly challenged and changed by book after book and even added to the shelves by writing more of them than anybody wanted to read. When it comes to deepest, lifelong healing, freedom from bondage, and equipping for anointed ministry, however, I am convinced that the in-depth, life-style study of God’s Word is where it happens. I love plunging into it on my own but I also love a guidebook or map of sorts to steer my journey and that’s what discipleship materials are all about. (I have done stacks of other people’s studies. You might be a little amused that I’m doing the Breaking Free homework right now. It’s the first time I’ve ever actually gone back and done the homework as a participant. It’s been almost ten years since I wrote it so it’s hitting me like crazy.) I love any sound study of God’s Word. Digging into the depths of Scripture and having your mind deliberately and consistently renewed by God is what freedom is all about. Otherwise, we’ve got too many people to get mad at and never forgive as long as we live – and too many people to offend and never lay eyes on again. You and me – We need to be in SCRIPTURE!

Well, that’s what I got on here to say. I guess you can tell Keith isn’t home or I wouldn’t have had the time to rattle on. I was just so excited about “Stepping Up” that I got on a Bible study roll. I’ll go take an Advil now. I’ve worn myself out.

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Breaking Free

My mom will be back soon for more wedding talk, but in the meantime I am bursting to tell you all that today is the first day of Bible study for 2008! Beth is incredibly excited and encouraged to meet our group. We will be studying Breaking Free. The core message of this study is simply freedom for the captives. I think it’s fair to say that many, perhaps even most of us siestas have been involved in this study before. I know that everyone who has been changed by Christ’s message of freedom will share in our joy as we set out to proclaim that wonderful message for the next 10 weeks.

We are excited to get to tell you that Breaking Free is being revised, much like the Tabernacle study (A Woman’s Heart, God’s Dwelling Place) was. Some of the messages will stay exactly the same and others will change completely. The updated sessions, which will mirror those taught this semester, will be taped in the fall. We could not think of a better location for the filming than Franklin Avenue Baptist Church in New Orleans, where the study was originally filmed ten years ago! (Having to add in a little note here with information we didn’t originally have so that we can help prevent calls to their church. The taping is a special occasion between Beth and their church and not open to the public. Thanks so much for your understanding!)

Siestas, may we incite your intercession yet again? (I was going to say “one more time,” but I know as long as there is a Living Proof Ministries, we will be asking for your prayers!) The enemy loves to see God’s people in bondage, and because of that we know he will come against us and against those who will participate in this study. Even so, while we want to be alert and aware, we march into this semester of Bible study with a spirit of victory and not of fear! Amen? Nothing could be dearer to God’s heart than ministering freedom and victory to captives, so we will do it with confidence, fearing no evil.

We claim 2 Timothy 1:7, which says, “For God did not give us a spirit of timidity (of cowardice, of craven and cringing and fawning fear), but [He has given us a spirit] of power and of love and of calm and well-balanced mind and discipline and self-control.” (The Amplified Bible) And we wholeheartedly believe 1 John 4:4, which tells us, “You, dear children, are from God and have overcome them, because the one who is in you is greater than the one who is in the world.” (NIV)

Our primary prayer request this semester is for the captives not to grow discouraged. Please pray that they will indeed be set free! Pray that each one will finish and make freedom in Christ a reality in her life. I am getting excited just typing these words! I am filled with faith that God is going to do a huge work in each life.

Other things to pray for include anointing for Beth to teach, anointing for our praise team to lead worship, wisdom and endurance for our Bible study coordinator (Jennifer) and other staff members, peace and calm over the parking lot and in the sanctuary as the women arrive, that many will come early, that the parking lot will accommodate every car, and for there not to be even one distraction while Beth is teaching tonight. The list could go on and on! Thank you in advance for your prayers. May God’s glorious name be praised!

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