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iPhone Dump: Just for Fun

Good morning, lovelies!

We’ve been neck deep in seriousness around here wrapping up Bible study, supporting our dear Beth however possible as she turned in Children of The Day (her new Bible study releasing this summer) for good, and then, putting her on a plane to Sydney, Australia yesterday for the Hillsong Colour Conference. So, between all of that and Women of Faith and Passion, I know we all took a deep breath of relief yesterday. Beth, Amanda and Melissa are traveling together this trip, and as far as I know, they still have a few hours of air travel left. So, join us in praying them safely there with little jet lag? Before Beth left she texted to tell me that she will try her hardest to do a blog post while she’s gone. I told her y’all would do back flips if you got to hear from her, but also to be free and have zero pressure! Some have asked if Beth has completely handed over her blog to me for good, and while I understand that y’all miss her and that tickled me so, I can promise you, she has not. She has just had her hands more than full and WILL be back very soon! So no stress to you whatsoever. I’ll do my best to keep y’all informed and entertained until she returns! But you can take a deep breath and know that all is so well.

Anyway, it’s been a while since I’ve done an iPhone dump, so I thought in honor of Spring Break approaching (or maybe some of you are ON Spring Break) I’d drop a few of my random iPhone pictures on here just for fun. Note: There is no rhyme or reason to these, so don’t read into anything! Laughing.

I don’t know how any of you feel about Brussells Sprouts, but I happen to be a big fan. For me, any meal that includes the brussells is a win. Once I learned how to cook them the right way, I was smitten. So, because I rarely talk cooking with you fine ladies, I’m gonna be brave and post my very simple recipe in case you’re looking for a yum-o veggie dish. This is dedicated to all you rookie chefs, like myself.

Instructions:

1) Cut each sprout in half.
2) Place on baking pan (if you cover that pan with foil before baking them, you eliminate the step of actually having the wash the dish. You’re welcome.)
3) Drizzle the sprouts with olive oil and then sprinkle with salt & pepper.
4) Bake at 375 degrees for seven minutes on one side, while they’re still in the oven flip them over using a spatula, then cook on the other side for another seven mintures or until they’re slighty browned.
5) Enjoy!

I came across this lovely sun flare on a walk a few weeks ago. It was a beautiful day.

I know I’ve introduced you to my love, Ellie. She is my best friend’s little girl, and well, I’m smitten. This was a few weeks ago at lunch when we were doing everything we could to entertain her before we were done eating. She slays me.

This was one Tuesday night before Bible study, Nancy’s daughter Sara was finishing her dinner so we took it as a chance to snap a photo. Sara is loved around LPM!

Watching the sunrise is one of the benefits of having to be at church super early on Sundays when I serve.

One day a couple of weeks ago all of those Art History classes I took in school paid off when I took a visit to the Houston Museum of Fine Arts. For once in my life, though I appreciate art, I was captivated by it.

For those of you who live in Texas, you know you’re looking at a Texas staple, the one and only Whataburger. Until now, I’ve grown up in Texas without ordering an actual burger from Whataburger. What can I say, I’m a chicken finger and gravy kind of girl. Since this news sent people swirling, I ordered myself a burger one late evening for dinner and documented the blessed event. Is it safe to admit here that it was okay? Laughing.

I recently moved and as you now know my love of sunsets, this was the last sunset outside my balcony before completely evacuating. It was a gift.

The next morning, this was the cloud structure. I had never seen clouds in the shape of a rainbow until that moment.

On one of our “wintry weather” days in January, I realized that my lunch resembled that of a five-year-old. Impressed?

On that same chilly day when a cup of ice nearly shut the entire city of Houston down, my family from Colorado texted us this picture of their backyard. Yeah, that’s not Houston. If only.

I happened to be the last one left in the apartment. I immediately inserted myself into the very last episode of “Friends” as I bid farewell to my home of three and a half years. Except for my friends weren’t there. Wah, wah.

Anybody have a good green smoothie recipe they’re dying to share? I’ll receive it! I’m on a kick right now!

Right before we left Tuesday evening, our staff snapped a quick picture before heading out. Our dear friend, Mark, who is WORKER EXTRAORDINAIRE popped in there with us so very confidently. We love him so much. Such a servant.

This is the part of the post where I talk about the Houston Livestock Show & Rodeo. Because I’m feeling very wordy and passionate today, this might be the unabridged version. If perhaps you’re weary of my randomness, you might choose to bow out quietly right now. If not, well, here goes ALL MY WORDS on the Houston Rodeo.

Meet my friend Leslie. This is Leslie enjoying a Fried Snickers at the carnival. Behind her you can see a tiny glimpse of all things fried you can eat at the rodeo. For instance, a fried twinkie, or maybe you’re more into fried cheese cake? How about fried nutella, or fried oreos? Take your pick. The world is yours.

Welcome to the petting zoo at the livestock show. Also known as Farm Animal Palooza.

Enter: Lindsee. Note: I don’t do well in petting zoos. Is that obvious? And please take note of the goat behind me trying to fish for food.

Warming up. (Notice my hand isn’t actually TOUCHING the sheep.)

Ahhhh. My new BFF. I MEAN LOOK AT ME SITTING (SQUATTING) WITH THE FARM ANIMALS. Leslie + Lindsee + A sheep and a Pigmy Goat = Best friends forever.

Can we talk about the pregnant Pot Bellied Pig? Do you feel sorry for her? Because I do. She needs to be laying in a corner preparing to give birth. THAT LOOKS PAINFUL. Poor mama.

And here is the baby kangaroo in a mock pouch. I honestly thought it was too cute for words.

Meet my new obsession, the pigmy goat! Have y’all heard of such a thing? Oh my word I wanted to take him home and put him in my pocket.

K-Mac and the pigmy.

And lastly, the Houston Rodeo. Before the concert starts later in the evening, the bull riding, muttin’ busting, horse races and all things exciting take place. Honestly, in March, there’s no place like the Houston Rodeo. It’s the best!

It’s been a year of firsts for yours truly. I went to my first Houston Rocket’s game on Friday night and can SOMEBODY TELL ME WHY I’VE WAITED SO LONG TO GO? It was such a blast! And we won!

Well, folks. You’ve endured the longest, most random post ever. You’re the best.

If you don’t mind, be thinking and praying for Beth and her girls while they’re Down Under! I’ll keep y’all as updated as possible. Much love!

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A Journey Through Bible Study

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!

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Time to Testify!

“Summing it all up, friends, I’d say you’ll do best by filling your minds and meditating on things true, noble, reputable, authentic, compelling, gracious – the best, not the worst, the beautiful, not the ugly; things to praise, not things to curse.” Philippians 4:8 (The Message)

I woke up this morning grateful for all the good I see God doing in and around me. This past weekend Beth spoke at Women of Faith here in Houston and on Friday night, we as a staff worked the product table. It was kind of a rush because women are hungry for truth and that alone is thrilling! Having never worked the product table here at LPM, I was really encouraged by the ladies (of ALL different ages), who came to the table having never heard of So Long, Insecurity or even Beth herself! They had so many questions; to be able to introduce her to them through her resources, and to offer them something you yourself really believe in as well…easy.

All that to say, when there was a lull at the table while the worship and teaching was going on, I had the privilege of going in to hear Kari Jobe lead my new favorite song, Forever. (Go search “Forever (Live)” on iTunes by Kari Jobe and be blown away. You’re welcome.) While we were singing, my coworker Sherry looked over and whispered to me, “After being at Passion last weekend with thousands of college students, and now being in this room with thousands of women, it is mind blowing.” And it really is.  How do we get to be witnesses to such extravagance? I have thought about that so much these past few days. The fact that two weekends in a row I got to hear thousands proclaim the name of Jesus, sing His name loud and proud, and study His word. That, my friends, is good.

Here’s a little glimpse into Friday night.

On the flip side, I also know and see the awful happening all around us, the heartbreaks, the evil, the ugly so I’m not naive enough to think or believe that we all live in a happy-go-lucky bubble. But for the time I got to experience His goodness, I’m going to receive that and dwell on that.

Since we are called to witness to Jesus Christ and what He’s done for us despite our sinful selves, can we just bear witness today on the blog? Can we take a day to proclaim the good things He’s done? The good things we see going on around us? Like Philippians so beautifully paints, can we fill our minds and meditate on “things true, noble, reputable, authentic, compelling, gracious – the best, not the worst, the beautiful, not the ugly; things to praise, not things to curse.”?

In the comments, let’s encourage one another today! Write down one good thing you’ve witnessed recently. One good thing the Lord has done in you, through you, through your family or friends, corporately or privately. Jesus isn’t just good because of the good things He does for us, that’s not only why we praise Him, but we have full permission to praise Him for those things regardless. And He deserves the praise anyway!

So, let’s make it easy and just testify today! Testify to His goodness, His mercy, His grace, His redeeming love, His power, His Spirit! Whatever it is, we want to testify with you!

Side Note: Our dear Beth who I know y’all miss hearing from is trying, by God’s grace, to finish writing her new Bible study by the end of this week! It’s been an eighteen month journey that is coming to an end, so now is the time to persevere. Along with writing, we’ve had Tuesday night Bible study and Passion and Women of Faith, which is why she’s been quieter as of late. So, know that she sends her hello! You would not waste a prayer on her right now. That lady pours herself out in the name of Jesus more than anyone I know.

We love y’all dearly. Let’s hear your praises!

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Stunned. Seared. Sent.

Stunned by God.

Seared by His grace and mercy.

Sent to proclaim who He is and what He’s done.

Those are the three words Louie Giglio ended Passion 2014 with this past weekend and it was so appropriate. After 17 years of Passion conferences, I’m always stunned by the way Louie can wrap up the weekend and tie everything together. I think it’s safe to say Houston was given a double portion of the Spirit this weekend. I am just one that is so grateful Passion 2014 landed here this year. Our city has so much darkness, and this weekend brought so much light. If you were anywhere near downtown Friday or Saturday there is no doubt you were overwhelmed by a sea of college students. I was always encouraged when I would hear from either the door holders (what Passion refers to as their volunteers) or the Toyota Center staff that this group was so easy to serve because they were kind and polite. Thank you, Jesus! Kindness goes so far and speaks volumes.

In all reality, it’s really hard to sum up Passion in one blog post. In fact, I’ve been writing this particular post since Monday morning and I still can’t seem to get my thoughts clear enough to write anything worthwhile. When you get the rare opportunity to sit under teachings like Louie Giglio, Francis Chan, Judah Smith and our personal favorite, Beth Moore and on top of that worship with Christy Nockels, Matt Redman, Hillsong, Chris Tomlin and many more you walk away a little slack jawed. But more importantly, when you get to sit in the presence of God and soak Him up, you are left speechless.

It all began Friday evening when the girls arrived at the hotel to get their room key and a little treat. (Did I mention Passion started on Valentine’s Day? Perfect. Every girl needs a little something. So we did the best we could to deliver. Honestly, things like this make me so happy.)

Once all the girls arrived we found a corner in the hotel to huddle at and scarf down pizza. That’s when I learned that every girl we were taking had never been to Passion. This would be their first time and that made me both undeniably happy and anxious. (We all assume everyone would love Passion, but WHAT IN THE WORLD IF THEY DON’T?!)

Soon after that we hiked 12 miles (I may be exaggerating JUST a little) to the Toyota Center and promptly found our seats. (I have to give a shout out to Passion at this point for reserving us seats. Thank you doesn’t cut it! We are so grateful and the caused our stress level to decrease majorly!) Once Passion began, though I was in the mood to worship, I couldn’t pry my eyes off of our girls. I wanted to experience it for the first time all over again and I loved watching as each of them just stood there wided eyed and bushy tailed. If you’ve never been, the conference is the epitome of overstimulating, in the best way possible.

From that moment until 11:00 Saturday night we worshiped, sat and listened to the amazing speakers while taking notes, walked a million miles, asked the girls what they were thinking when we had two minutes of free time and slept all of eight hours all weekend. It was 24 hours of non-stop excitment. So much so that I woke up on Sunday morning feeling as if I’d run a marathon.

I think my favorite moment was getting to hear Hillsong lead Oceans. I get chill bumps just thinking about it because, y’all, oh my word. It was a sacred moment I won’t soon forget. Not to mention hearing 17,000 students singing the lyrics, Spirit lead me where my trust is without borders, let me walk upon the waters, wherever you would call me. Take me deeper than my feet could ever wander and my faith would be made stronger, in the presence of my Savior! Yes and amen, Lord. Let that continue to be the cry of their hearts; of my heart.

Something that will be seared in my memory forever is that as we were walking back to our hotel Saturday night after Passion ended, I watched countless college students minister to the homeless. It was a beautiful sight. Food was being given, conversation casually taking place and prayers being offered. The love of God is what compels and if we’re not getting that after something like Passion, then we are doing something wrong! I will never forget that.

Since I feel like I’m stumbling over my words and not making a ton of sense, I’ll leave you with some pictures from the weekend! Because usually when words fail, pictures and hugs are the next best thing.

Friday morning walking around downtown getting all things situated and ready for the girls and this made me so happy. Welcome to Houston, Passion!

And so did this! Just a sneak peak of Downtown Houston looking out from the Toyota Center.

Our group of girls walking on Friday night to the Toyota Center! Such excitement in their smiles!

Welcome to Passion!

Waiting in line to get into the Toyota Center Friday night.

Finally in and seated! Thank you, Lord!

My dear partners this weekend, also known as my coworkers. There is no way I could have hosted 15 girls alone! I’m so thankful for coworkers that become fun friends to serve with! Thank you, Jenn and Sherry, for giving up your weekend for these girls! I love you forever!

Just a glimpse of Oceans being sung.

Saturday morning we got to the Toyota Center in time to take a picture in front of the End It Movement X. This isn’t just for kicks, I am praying that some of these girls would be called to fight the darkness of slavery, in Jesus’ name. That is no small calling. One thing I do know for sure, we are all called to get on our knees and pray!

A few of our girls eating lunch in the sun! It felt so good.

Our beloved Beth BRINGING IT.

The four Moore’s after Beth taught her heart out. We join them in applauding her and saying, “Well done, faithful servant!” Isn’t this picture so great?

Something else that is really fun for you all to see is Beth getting to run into Jack Cottrell, also known as Travis Cottrell Jr. Is that so fun?! I wish I could have heard about Passion from his perspective.

Jenn, Sherry and myself as we were about to start the last session. At this point we were so tired we were delirious and would pretty much laugh at anything.

Thank you, Passion, for coming to Houston and taking a risk on us. We cannot wait to see you next year!

Thank you, Lord, for all you’re doing and all you continue to do in and through us. We are not worthy. But you, Jesus, are stunning.

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It’s Time for Passion 2014!

SOLD OUT!

Those were the words I saw in all CAPS under the Passion 2014 logo as I was scrolling through my Instagram feed last night! Passion in Houston is about to go down and not one ticket is left. Let’s give the Lord some praise, my friends! That means that in less than 24 hours the Toyota Center will be maxed out with thousands of 18 – 25 year olds hearing and proclaiming the name of Jesus. This is so very good!

This year, like every other Passion conference, our very own Beth will take the platform as one of the main speakers, so as you can imagine, she’s full on in preparation for this weekend! We’ve been studying about the Holy Spirit together on Tuesday nights and as a staff we’re asking God to move among His people in Houston! That there would be an outpouring like never before. I’ve heard Beth say time and time again that Jesus just flat likes Passion, and I can’t argue with that. So, will you join us in praying for the Lord to raise up a generation that will be sent out to spread the truth of God’s word in power? Not all the time, but sometimes these things take an army of prayer warriors.

Even if you were at Passion in Atlanta and saw what God could do, let’s set aside our expectations or our previous experiences and ask the Lord to do something brand new, fresh, captivating!

Much like previous years, I get to take a group of girls along with two of my coworkers, Jenn and Sherry to the conference. I am pumped to say the least! Most of our group of first time attendees and I know they’re in for a treat. And a treat really sounds so petty.

Anybody out there heading this way? Anybody out there happen to attend Passion in Atlanta this year and are excited to see God at work in both cities?  (And I mean this for both those attending and those coming as a doorholder, what they refer to as their volunteers.) Tell us where you’re coming from and one thing you are looking forward to! It would be a blast to run into some familiar faces.

In other exciting news, I heard a rumor they were live streaming the conference. So if you want to join in and experience Passion from the other side of your computer screen, you can do so from here starting at 7:30 Friday night (CST).

In honor of Throwback Thursday, I feel it is only necessary to post a picture from Passion last year.

“Yes, Lord, walking in the way of your laws, we wait for you; your name and renown are the desire of our hearts.” Isaiah 26:8

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Yet In Our Weakness

This past Saturday looked nothing like my previous post. Actually, I could label this past Saturday as Extreme Casual Saturday, so that kind of fits.

I turned down a quick 24 hour trip to Dallas with a friend, wrote out a long list of things I needed to accomplish and then promptly sat on my couch with my computer propped up on my coffee table and my Bible and journal in my lap and unintentionally joined in on the IF:Gathering all day long from the comfort of my own home. Thank you, Internet. Thank you, Livestream. Although I didn’t plan to do that, it was good, very good in fact, but my to-do list still sits stagnant waiting for me to cross things off my list.

But that’s okay. Sometimes it’s good for me to throw out my list of things to get done and just be. I’m a way better Martha than I am Mary.

The IF:Gathering consisted of a handful of leaders and teachers, all women, who came together despite (I’m sure) their many differences and opinions to encourage women to do what they’ve been called to do. They each brought their own word, their own teaching style, their own wisdom, and their own calling. It was a beautiful picture of what Heaven will look like; each one of us loving and serving Jesus in our own unique ways and encouraging others to do so.

I walked away built up in my faith and with a journal full of notes to look back on in the coming weeks.

But there was one theme that kept pressing in on me. One word.

Strengths.

I don’t think this was any coincidence, because the past few months one thing I’ve really been observing and learning is how our fearless leader points out, speaks to and encourages what strengths she sees in her coworkers. She does so as boss and friend in the gentlest way. It’s not every day and it’s not all the time, but it is very specific and let me tell you, it is life giving, encouraging those strengths. That Beth, what a lady, I’m thankful for her wisdom and kindness.

Especially as social media continues to grow wider and bigger, we as a society, and we as women, do a really great job at pointing out one another’s weaknesses. It’s sad, really. We can go day in and day out and talk all about how this person or that person struggles with this or that when never once mention the strengths the Lord has given them and the good they do. Without the fruit of self-control, our tongues are killing each other one by one and we’re okay to let it slide. If we were brutally honest, we could admit that it’s easier to talk about what one is lacking out of our jealousy, insecurity and pride rather than what one is thriving at. Not only does it make us feel better, but it allows us to keep our distance without getting called out. Ouch.

But can you imagine what unity we might take back if we capitalized on each other’s strengths instead of weaknesses? If we used our tongue to encourage what good we see in others as opposed to blasting what we think could be worked on to our people? We are called to build each other up, not tear one another down. I will be the first to admit that I am guilty of the latter. And I am making myself sick to my stomach.

Last I checked, the Lord’s power is made perfect in our weakness, so it would be wisest for us to leave those weaknesses in His hands and trust Him with that. He will do a far better job of working those out than any of us ever will. He capitalizes on our weaknesses to show Himself powerful and sovereign. It’s our weaknesses He carries. It’s our weaknesses He heals. When we capitalize on each other’s weaknesses it only reveals our pride and lack of honor. Pharisees look for weaknesses while the humble and lowly look for the strengths. If anyone is going to boast about weaknesses, let us boast about our own so that God’s glory might be seen.

I’m not saying there is no room for correction if the Lord has given us that authority, but how about we go back to the rule of if you have nothing nice to say, don’t say anything at all, or for heaven’s sake, find something nice to say. Not everyone is your enemy and not everyone is your competitor. And news flash, you are just as sinful as your next-door neighbor! We are all so deeply flawed. Help us, Jesus.

Humbly edify in private and in public and expect nothing in return instead of publicly or privately humiliate. That’s something we could all work on.

I have a new goal that should have been put into practice long before today: To capitalize on people’s strengths instead of their weaknesses and leave those up to Jesus. To see them as Jesus sees them! Imagine the unity! Join me, would you?

Let it be.

Forgive us, Lord, for our pettiness, our slander, our pride and our sin. You are a gracious and merciful Redeemer.

“For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but one who in every respect has been tempted as we are, yet without sin.” Hebrews 4:15

“But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me.” 2 Corinthians 12:8-10

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Saturdays Are For…

Saturdays are for turning off your alarm and sleeping in.

Saturdays are for lingering a little bit longer over that cup of coffee and that good read.

Saturdays are for eating leftover cake for breakfast.

Saturdays are for dressing casual.

Saturdays are for wearing a little less make-up, or maybe no make-up at all.

Saturdays are for cleaning that dreaded bathroom.

Saturdays are for washing your sheets.

Saturdays are for laying by the pool; of course only during summer when we’re melting here in Houston.

Saturdays are for exploring Pinterest to receive cooking inspiration for the next week.

Saturdays are for going on long, peaceful walks.

Saturdays are for laughing with friends.

Saturdays are for going to the movies.

Saturdays are for being unaware of what time it is.

Saturdays are for looking forward to Sundays.

Saturdays. They’re just good. And they all look different.

Your turn!

Cheers to Saturday being less than 12 hours away!

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The Opposite of Wordless

I woke up this sunny morning (thank you, Lord) with a lot of words. Unfortunately, it was a lot of words that didn’t string together, but rather a handful of random thoughts. This isn’t very unusual the morning after Bible study when my mind is still rehearsing the lesson we were taught from our beloved Beth. Last night Beth taught us about the creative side of the Holy Spirit. It was equal parts fascinating, profound and edifying. She challenged us that while God created us, if we have the Holy Spirit, then He also invades us. This means that we can ask Him to give us fresh creativity in our home and workplace and He can do it! Does anybody need a breath of fresh creativity? Ask for it! I was riding home with Jenn last night and we were flinging words and thoughts all over the place. (There is just so much to debrief after Bible study and I’ve loved our car ride home together to do just that. And well, you would love her, too.) Anyway, one thing I mentioned was Hollywood. They bring their best and most excellent work ethic to their respectful jobs and it shows! I just can’t imagine what the Lord could do if we would bring our “A” game to our churches, our offices and our homes and ask the Lord to show off in our creativeness. That’s just a third of last night’s lesson, but it’s certainly some food for thought.

In other news (do you see how I’m trying to make this awkward transition? Far from creative. Laughing.), here are my random words for the day:

1) The Olympics start in two days. Yes and amen. Small confession: My roommates and I got rid of cable a couple of years ago but when the last summer Olympic games aired, the thought of missing them was mortifying to me. So, while Michael Phelps swam his heart out, I made a trip to Wal-mart to buy an antenna for our TV. Unfortunately, the only antenna left was super expensive and I needed another technical contraption to make it work, but desperate times call for desperate measures, so I purchased it, and watched the Olympics peacefully in the comfort of my own home. I actually returned said antenna within 14 days because I no longer needed it. Fortunately, we got a new TV so I purchased a new, updated antenna and here we are again, same place, same dilemma, except this time my antenna hates me and only picks up the channels nobody watches. Just perfect. Anyone up for hosting an Olympic watching party? Only kidding. Maybe.

2) I announced this last night on twitter, but it deserves to be repeated: A bowl of cereal at midnight is one of the more comforting things in life, no? Anyone with me? In fact, I’m curious now, what’s your go-to midnight snack?

3) Don’t ever underestimate the power of just being present. It is a strong ministry that might go unnoticed, but never unappreciated. No words necessary. Just an ear willing to listen and arms willing to hug. Life is hard, friends.

4) I salute you, ladies who can wear heels all day long without getting shin splints. Ouch. (This may or may not be due to recent personal experience.)

5) Anyone care to join me at Assumers Anonymous? Where together we’ll recover from assumptions we’ve made of others and assumptions made about us. I’m sure we could all use some healing in this area. I know I could.

6) Entitlement. This word and attitude gets under my skin. Maybe it’s because I see it in myself? Maybe it’s because I see it in others? But either way, it quenches my Spirit in the worst way. Assuming and entitlement, we could also label this as the “Things Lindsee is Working on in 2014″. Grace, grace and a little more grace.  (Yeah. Things just got real.)

7) In more exciting news, I’m doing a new thing this year. I’m reading again. So profound, I know, but I’m serious about it. For Christmas I got a Kindle and it thrilled me to no end. You see, back in 2009 or so was when I received my first iPhone. While I LOVE my phone, it has put a serious delay to my reading and journaling, two things I love to do but have slowly faded away. Why? Because of the access and ease of my phone and all that is vying for my attention. The problem is, and I’m speaking for myself, so do not receive this if you don’t struggle with this, it has become such a distraction that it’s rewired my brain. When I used to read and journal at night before bed, I now scroll through the mindless (and I do mean mindless) updates on Facebook. Gag. So in an effort to rewire my brain, I’m picking up a book and pen. It’s just February 5th but it has been revolutionary to me. A discipline? Yes. I still want to go for my phone first, but I’ve finished almost two books and my love of reading is slowly seeping back in. And let’s be honest, my thought life and imagination is healthier. Thank you, Lord. My goal is to read 12 books this year, one book for each month. Yes, I just wrote that in stone, but maybe you want to join me? After all, “A person without self-control is like a house with its doors and windows knocked out.” Proverbs 25:28. I’ve knocked my doors and windows out and left them unattended for too long. Time to lock down.

8) And in completely unrelated, materialistic news, I’m on the hunt for a new purse. Mine is a little over two years old and has started to shred. Ew.

9) Maybe, like me, you needed to read this today: “God doesn’t come and go. God lasts.” Isaiah 40:28

10) We love you ladies. Thank you for always putting up with our non-sense on the loud blog days and the quiet blog days.

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Bible Study, Anyone?

Good Thursday morning, ladies!

We pray all is well with you and yours this day.

Originally, we had the thought to post this on Monday, but then the big Winter Storm of 2014 blew in and kind of threw our system off kilter. We ended up posting information about Bible study instead, and the next day we hunkered down at our respective homes while the ice and snow barely reached the ground on Tuesday. Needless to say, things unexpected and unplanned for ended up swirling and here we are and it’s Thursday and I was not going to let this post go to waste.

If she comes to mind, you wouldn’t waste a prayer on Beth, or any of her family or LPM as she is preparing simultaneously for multiple teaching opportunities. Ones that have been on the calendar for well over a year, but the time is now so she’s neck deep in preparartion. I know I don’t have to tell you that she is one of the hardest workers I know which in return blesses us. We’re so grateful for your prayers and support. We love y’all so much.

So, onto Bible study! We usually don’t wait until nearly the end of January to hear from you about Bible study, but it’s better late than never, right?

Inquiring minds want to know, what Bible study are you digging into this semester? As we’ve mentioned here a few times, we just launched our Tuesday night Bible study titled: Breath: The Life of God in Us, but we want to know what you are up to?

How about we do this, tell us your name, your city and your Bible study of choice and if you’re going at it solo or with a group or leading or attending. There are countless studies out there today, so do not feel one ounce of pressure (and please do not hear us saying) that we only want to know if you’re doing a “Beth Moore” Bible study. It is our joy to hear all the different authors you are studying under!

We even want to hear from you if what you’re committed to this semester, or this year, is reading through the Bible in one year. That’s big, B I G, and we want to cheer you on and walk alongside you. Sometimes we’re not committed to something until we speak it out loud or write it down for someone else to see. A little accountability never hurt anyone!

To make it fun, I’ll go ahead and post my answer in the comments! I miss doing that!

This is short and sweet but we’ll look forward to hearing from you!

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Houston-area Tuesday Night Bible Study Cancelled for January 28th! See You Next Week!

Good afternoon, ladies! While I’ve been preparing for tomorrow night’s Bible study, I’ve had my diligent staff watching weather alerts like hawks and checking with HFBC where we have the privilege to meet and with our work-crew. Our Tuesday nights require lots of employees, policemen, volunteers, etc. Due to the persistent Winter Weather Advisory for tomorrow evening, we are so sad to announce that we’re going to need to go ahead and cancel. Too many things are up in the air (well, literally) and tomorrow is too late to get the word out to the number of women who often come. We don’t want you putting yourselves at risk on frozen overpasses or arriving to an empty parking lot. That’s not the way you want to find a parking place on Tuesday nights. Smile.

The chance of precipitation is so high tomorrow that icy driving conditions are virtually guaranteed. That’s too big a risk for us to take with your well-being. I was looking so forward to studying what I felt like God was setting aside for us in Session Two of Breath but He knew in advance that we’d have to cancel and He knows why next week is best. We will trust Him with that.

This is such a hard thing for our northern sisters to fathom because you have to operate in this kind of weather all winter long but we’re just not trained for it. Okay, we’re disastrous at it, if you must know. It shuts our entire city down. If we spill a cup of Sonic ice on the road, we end up in a ditch. We know how to sweat around here. Not slip, skate, and slide. Part of me thinks cancelling is so silly. We sure weren’t looking for a holiday from Bible study. We just got started back! But the bigger part of me knows that this is the better part of wisdom.

Serving is a trust. We want to be trustworthy with you. That is a no-brainer. That I know for sure.

If you would help us spread the word to anyone that attends, we would be so grateful.

We will miss studying together so much, but, God-willing, will see you girls next Tuesday, February 4th!

 

Tons of love to you and a little bit of a sad face,

Beth

 

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