A little over ten years ago, Tuesday nights quickly became one of my favorite nights. You see, ten years ago it was the fall of 2003 and I was a freshman in college. I was living at home while attending a community college. It was that year that my mom suggested I come with her to Tuesday night Bible study just to see if it was something I’d be interested in attending that year. Being that it was Bible study and being new in my own pursuit of Christ, though I’d grown up in church, I knew I had nothing to lose so I went. That Tuesday night I was introduced to my first Beth Moore Bible study and from then, I’ve never loved the Word of God more or studied it for myself more.
Yes, I’d grown up in a wonderful, Bible-believing, Bible-teaching church, but that semester the Word jumped off the pages and came alive to me. That Fall Beth was re-taping Living Beyond Yourself and I sat up on the left-hand stairs near the top of Houston’s First Baptist Church. (Well, my left, her right.) I’d never, in all my years in church, seen somebody teach with such passion and authority. Needless to say, it was contagious. So contagious, in fact, that I went home and devoured my homework. I did it at night propped up in my bed because let’s be honest, I had no interest in setting aside an hour each morning, but that worked really well for me. The homework became so addicting that when all was said and done, I was so sad it was over. I can honestly say that in 18 years of being in church, that was the first Bible study I’d ever finished. To this day, Living Beyond Yourself still continues to be my favorite Bible study of all. It marked such a sweet season in my life. One that I hope I never forget.
That semester started my love affair with not only Bible study, but also Tuesday nights.
The next spring we did When Godly People Do Ungodly Things. For a girl that grew up in church, it was both tough and incredibly eye-opening. And let’s be honest, I needed it just as much as anybody else in that room.
There were many Tuesday nights that I went to see dear Beth. For me, she so held my attention and captivated me. I wanted what she had, and frankly, I was drawn to her spirit. Yes, I wanted to hear a Word, but I loved that she made me laugh and love Jesus all at the same time. I’m not sure that’s not how God ordains things. As we are babies in our walk with Him, He plants people in our path to point us to Him. For me, she was that person, among a handful of other ladies. Eventually I stopped depending on her and started to study the scriptures on my own and wanted Christ Himself. Her in-depth Bible studies are still unmatched to this day and I still hold her to the highest regard and my respect for her has only grown as the years have passed. In as much as she’s still very much a spiritual mentor to me, I’ve matured with time, thank you, Lord. I know that what she’s after, women falling in love with Jesus through the study of His Word, I am living proof. And yet I’m just one of thousands she’s so graciously and passionately pointed to Jesus.
After my year at community college ended, I knew I’d be leaving Houston, at least temporarily, and the thought of missing Bible study made me sad. But isn’t it just like God that, after arriving in my new hometown, He sent another Bible study to me? In fact, Truth, what the gathering was called, was on Tuesday nights and we were gifted that four years with one of the most powerful pastors and Bible teachers I’ve ever had the joy of sitting under. It was in that study during those four years where I learned to serve behind the scenes, work with my hands and pray that the Lord would bring salvation to our campus. It was there that the Lord did a lot of surgery in my heart. Moments of surrender I still haven’t forgotten.
When I graduated I was sick that I’d no longer be able to go to Truth. I shed tears and grieved the loss of one of my favorite Bible studies, but then it dawned on me that I had Beth’s Tuesday night Bible study to attend again. Oh, the excitement!
That first semester I came home we did Breaking Free. Since I was student teaching and was still technically a full time student, the homework overwhelmed me and I didn’t even attempt it. Some might say I cheated, but the meat I received every week was enough to chew on throughout my crazy weeks at that time.
Then came LIT. Can we just give Him some praise for that class? To this day I still have my LIT binder and refer to my notes. LIT was a one-semester study offered to 250 young women my age, focused on how to study God’s Word. We met in the fellowship hall while they were remodeling the main sanctuary. For those of us that have never attended seminary, but have thought about it, this was the place to be, taught by both Beth and her daughter Melissa. It was such a rare opportunity that I didn’t take it for granted one minute. And I still don’t.
Since then we’ve studied The Inheritance, Revelation, David: A Heart Like His, James, The Law of Love, Children of the Day and just this semester, Breath: The Life of God in Us, a study on the Holy Spirit. And through all that, Tuesday nights have still continued to be my favorite nights.
Over the years my intentions changed. Where as before I went to see Beth, now I go to hear a Word from my God. And when I go expecting to hear a Word from Him, He always comes through. Because He’ll come through anyway, willing heart or not.
And most obvious, over the years, my position in Bible study has changed. Or rather, my job has changed. For years my mom and I had a little date on Tuesday nights. On our way to the church we’d grab Wendy’s, would arrive around 6:15, take our seats near the balcony with friends and when Bible study was over, we’d let the traffic die down a bit then head out. To us, it became like a little church service, getting to hug, worship and study along with so many of our sweet friends.
Little did I know that would all change very quickly. One semester, I think during The Inheritance study, Beth called all the young women, 25 and under, down to the altar to pray over us. I hesitantly walked down to the front and knelt as she paced the stage, arm stretched out and prayed the house down over our lives. At one point I looked up and she and I made eye contact at the exact moment when she uttered something to the effect of, “Lord, fulfill your calling in each of these young women.” Nothing profound, but I received it.
Through a series of events over the next year, God would fulfill part of my calling by bringing me to LPM. I don’t know what the future holds, but I know for such a time as this He is using LPM as an avenue to fulfill what He’s called me to do.
With that change came a shift in my Tuesday night ritual. No longer would I waltz in at 6:15 and gracefully walk to my seat for worship. Now I had a spot on the very front row (truly a spot I would never choose for myself) and I would be one of the first at the church (think 1:30) with our Tuesday night coordinator, Jenn. But I wouldn’t have it any other way. It was my greatest joy and honor to serve Jesus and support Beth alongside my new coworkers.
Last night as Beth walked up on the platform, I took my seat on that beloved front row one last time. She gave an incredibly powerful word on the Holy Spirit, commissioned the ladies to go out and live a life worthy of Jesus and in a step of sacrificial obedience, and said goodbye to Tuesday night Bible study as we know it at Houston’s First Baptist Church.
Just this morning I asked her if she’d rather me leave that out, but she gave me the freedom and blessing to make it known here as well. You may or may not remember the blog post she wrote on January 1st. If not, you can read it here. This is just the first step of obedience for her, for her family, for LPM. Last night she mentioned that she’s spent 29 years in that beloved church teaching the scriptures. That is some loyalty and faithfulness if I’ve ever seen it. As she wrapped up our series last night, we prayed for that church, that the pastor and his wife, Gregg and Kelly Matte. And in return, they blessed her to go with MUCH joy and blessing.
In the end it’s certainly not about me, I am just ONE that has been deeply impacted, we all have our own Bible study story. It’s not about Beth as faithfully as she’s poured out and served. It’s not about a specific church. It’s about Jesus. He’s the common bond between young and old, different denominations, statuses and everything else in between. And she’s going with Jesus, wherever He leads her. We’re going with Jesus. And if there were one thing we’d encourage you to do, it would be to go with Jesus!
Here are a few sweet pictures from last night.
Pastor Gregg Matte and his wife Kelly, and Houston’s First Baptist blessing Beth with this amazing hand-made wooden shield of faith.
And here is Beth blessing the church in return for opening their doors to her for nearly three decades. This was right before we prayed over them.
Pouring out our praises to Jesus one last time through worship.
Thank you, Lord, for breathing life and revelation into our beloved teacher year in and year out. You are faithful.
Our amazing team of volunteers! Thank you so much for your faithful service. We love y’all dearly.
Jesus, you are so good, so faithful and so worthy. We love you. Teach us to love you more. To follow you wherever you lead. We’re going with YOU!