2013 Siesta Scripture Memory Team: Verse 14!

Hey, Sweet Things!

 

I’m writing this post to you on Saturday night from the seat of a gigantic United Airlines plane on my connect flight from DC back to Houston. The Living Proof Live team and I had the tremendous privilege of serving in Providence, Rhode Island and God worked in such a distinct way that I will remember it for many years. I hope forever. God is doing something different this year at LPL. I don’t quite know how to define it but I have been flat-on-my-face grateful that He is not only still in it but stirring the pot. Not one of us on the team wants to be there a moment longer than Jesus is. We don’t even want Him to make an obligatory “appearance” because He loves us and feels sorry for us after we’ve scheduled all of this. We want the event to be proactively Jesus for His own sake and for His own glory and because it is a delight to Him and because He looks forward to it. Nothing less than that and, if it’s not that, we want Him to move us each elsewhere.

 

It’s so strange. We began this year looking back to the previous 15 but, by our 3rd event, it was like we all fixed our faces forward as if nothing in the world mattered but what was in front of us. No “yesterday’s plan.” No “yesterday’s work.” This is today. Something is up. Something new to us. There is something liberating and also a little frightening about just saying to Him, “Do what You want, God. Anything You want. We’re in it with You or we’re not in it at all. All bets are off.” Anyway, I’m not sure why I went off on all of that. God just really has my eyebrows high on my forehead right now wondering what He’s doing.

 

I have a group of about 30 of you Siestas fresh on my mind because we met up quickly after the event for our group picture. These were your northeastern sisters and the cutest things you can imagine. Well, just like all of you are. All ages and types, with this one glorious bond: the lively love of Jesus Christ. I am so crazy about you guys. I cannot fathom the grace of God to have stirred up a community of encouragement in Christ where relationships really do seem to have some substance to them. It’s an anomaly that still isn’t wasted on me.

 

You have marked my journey of faith. You’ve encouraged me and made me want to keep running my race energetically and earnestly. You’ve helped me get back up even at times when you didn’t know I was down. You have been a harbor of joy, peace, and laughter in an online Christian world that can be astonishingly fractured. You are a corner of courageous gentleness in a culture that has lost its manners.

 

And, good grief, you guys have impacted my Scripture memory life so dramatically that I hardly have words. After every Living Proof Live when we meet up for our (clandestine) Siesta picture, I always ask, “Will I be seeing any of you in January at our SSMT celebration?” Invariably there are those who answer with infectious enthusiasm, “YES!” It makes me so happy. The previous celebrations have been like a family reunion on steroids. I hope so much you’re staying up with your Scripture memory, saving your money, and planning to head to Houston that weekend. We aren’t really a beautiful city but we’re a happy one and a hospitable one, I believe I can confidently say. And we can offer you Tex Mex at virtually every four way stop. I mean, what more could you want, people?

 

The verse I’ve chosen this time around is one God seemed to lift from the page of my early morning Scripture reading last Monday. I continued to say it and pray it throughout the week and referenced it several times this weekend in Providence. It’s easy to memorize and it puts a concept in a nutshell that is as vital as breath to us in this believing life we’re living. Here it is:

 

Beth, Houston. For the kingdom of God is not a matter of talk but of power. 1 Corinthians 4:20 NIV

 

God is using it to remind me that this thing isn’t about incessant chatter and nonstop Twitter noise and learning to speak fluent Christianese. It’s not tantamount to Bible banter and doctrinal debates and holy hair-splitting. It’s not about getting together at church and threatening week after week to live changed lives and think renewed thoughts. It’s not about getting all lathered up and sweaty-headed at events over theories of effective, influential, and abundant lives. This Christ thing to which we’ve been called is about actually doing it and through an unction not remotely our own.

 

When the Holy Spirit comes, He comes with power.

 

Where the Holy Spirit goes, He goes with power.

 

Whom the Holy Spirit infiltrates, He infuses with power.

 

Our lives were meant to be powerful. Less talk. More demonstration. Through things like a love that we know good and well is utterly beyond us and a faith that emerges in tact from a minefield soaked in blood and strewn with flesh. We were meant to be able to do what we can’t, like who we don’t, bless who we’d curse. We were promised strength in weakness and extravagant grace in our deprivation.

 

We were meant to wonder what has derailed or gone awry when a season of our lives persists in powerlessness for weeks on end. We were promised more than this. We’re not meant to write our own personalized chapters in a revised standard version of The Emperor’s New Clothes so the world could have a harder laugh at us. We who have placed our trust in Christ Jesus, the living, breathing-on-us Son of God, have been clothed with power from on high. (Luke 24:49) And it’s supposed to show.

 

Every limb of our lives where we welcome the Holy Spirit can be infused with strength not of this world and, yes, even in continued weakness or infirmity, should that be the case of our present calling. The coexistence of the two is the mystery of it. We’re not superwomen. We’re a long shot from perfect. But we were meant to be vividly powerful through the One who saved us and made Himself at home in us. Let’s not forget that today. Let’s not be satisfied just to talk about it. Let’s not just clap and cheer during that part of a service when a pastor or teacher tells us we’re called more than conquerors. The New Testament is not the theory of Christianity.

You may feel powerless right now, Sister, but, if you are in Christ, make no mistake: you are not. Get some backbone back in your prayer life if your spiritual spine has deteriorated. With reverence for His holiness and with the boldness He said we could bring to the Throne of Grace, read to God from His Word where He promised His people victory as they looked to Him alone…

…and where He promised to clothe us in power

…and where He said He’d make Himself conspicuous through our spiritual gifts and through supernatural works in His Name.

If you don’t know where those places are, go hunt them down. (But you could start in Romans 8, Luke 24, Acts 1, Acts 2, 1 Corinthians 12 and Hebrews 4.)

Tell Him you’re going to ask for it and ask for it and ask for it in His great Name and for His glory until He gives it to you and frees you from whatever this present powerlessness is. And then DO IT. Ask and ask and ask and tell Him you will do whatever it takes to cooperate and mean it! Throw your hands out to receive. And, then, when He gives it – and He will – don’t take credit for it. Appreciate it. Thank Him and thank Him for it. Know that it’s grace. Use it audaciously to bring Him attention.

 

Sister, you cannot fulfill your foreordained purpose without power. Go back after it but, whatever you do, don’t try to get it without Jesus coming with it. Power for power’s sake will blow you up. God-given unction isn’t meant to just come and go with periodic personal revival. We were meant to live powerful lives. Let’s get to them. If you’ve got an area of carnality that is quenching it, I promise you it’s not worth it. Believe me, I’ve been there. Repent, turn from it and get on with it. You’ve got a calling. And it takes divine power.

 

You mean so much to me. Hold tight to Jesus.

 

 

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For the Love of Music

For those of you who are well acquainted with social media, the term “tbt” or “throw back Thursday” is nothing new to you. In fact, if you’re anything like me, on occasion it can be a bit overkill. Not that I don’t love watching people walk down memory lane and seeing old photos, because I absolutely do, but I can only take so many throw backs before I start to confuse present day with current day people. It is, however, endearing on occasion. And I might be saying that as a disclaimer since I’m about to throw us all back. Grin.

Recently I was at my parent’s house and my eyes came across an old photo that is framed on my dad’s dresser and could easily be labeled as one of my favorite pictures ever. I actually happened to spot it just after our small group from church had gone around and shared how long we’d been impacted by music and how we initially came to love it. That picture reminded me that truly, I’d been immersed in it since the beginning of time.

I dearly love my immediate family. And despite all of our differences, quirks and challenges, one common theme that flows through all five of us is music. At any given moment when we’re all together, not a minute goes by that we’re not discussing artists (old and new), harmonies, bass lines, records and well, I’m sure you get the idea. From the beginning of time my mom has either been a music teacher or, for the better part of 23 years of my life, a piano teacher. Countless students from ages five to 18 are constantly flowing in and out of our home. Needless to say, while living there, you hear the good, the bad and the ugly. I say that endearingly since I’ve watched student after student come in with zero knowledge of anything musical, at the beginner level, and graduate as a high school student knocking out pieces that leave you speechless. (For reference, look up David Lanz. Beautiful.) We all have to start somewhere. And practice really does make perfect.

You might be wondering if my mom taught each of us to play the piano. And what might make you laugh is that, because we are her stubborn children, she taught each of us as much as she could before World War 3 broke out. You know, because when Mom is teaching you something, clearly you’re right and she’s wrong. Our lessons were short lived. But thankfully, the Lord graced us and we all play a little. Actually my older brother plays the most out of all of us, as he went on to do a little bit more with music in college, while I only took one measly piano class after graduating. But still not a time goes by that we don’t walk in her house and either sit down or tap at the piano ourselves. It’s our first instinct.

On top of that, I literally cannot remember a time that both of my parents have not served on the worship team at their church. I’ve lost count of how many years my mom has played the piano while my dad has simultaneously played the guitar or bass. And it goes without saying that we were all involved in the choir and or praise team, you know, when choirs became less cool. Laughing.

Needless to say, music runs through our blood. And I imagine it always will.

My dream would be that, although I’m no music or piano teacher, the love and appreciation of music would be carried onto my children, and their children, and so on and so forth. I’m not sure much more would make my parents happier either, besides the obvious of growing up to love Jesus. I’m almost certain that when I was 16, my dream of marrying a man with any musical talent was a deal breaker. Meaning, if he was musically challenged, it would be absurd to even consider liking him. I’m laughing now. And while that would still make me so happy, to marry a man with similar gifts and passions, I’m letting the Lord work that one out. It’s no longer a deal breaker, but it would be a bonus.

I’ll never forget my freshman year of college when all five of us did the “special music” at our Christmas Eve service. Yes, you can just call us the Von Trapp family. We might as well have become a traveling band. Talk about a throwback, every time I hear “Light of the Stable” by Emmylou Harris, I immediately think of Christmas 2003.

I recently came across this quote by an actor I’m not well acquainted with but it summed up my family perfectly, “I’ve always thought people would find a lot more pleasure in their routines if they burst into song at significant moments.”

And all the people said amen. Those that have been around our family know we don’t just do this at significant moments, but really at any given moment a song that would be appropriate for that occasion pops in our head. In fact, I should apologize in advance to anyone that, in the future, might spend any amount of time with us.

Music calms. Music is universal. Music speaks where words fail. Music ministers. Music is simply a part of us. Music, after all, was created first and foremost by God. He put that gift in us.

Nearly every time I drive up to my parent’s house for a visit, and they live only 20 minutes from me, without fail my mom is found playing the piano. When we were little and all living there, people used to ask me if the constant sound of the piano, and people coming and in and out for lessons was annoying. I can truly say that not for one minute did it annoy me. As time went on, I found it very comforting. It was normal. I can’t speak for some of her students who may have been annoyed however when I, on occasion, would be yelling at my brother from the top of stairs, at the top of my lungs, mind you, because he was picking on me, but that’s another story for another day. Big brothers are both a blessing and a curse. Some of you may understand.

This entire post sums up my love for this “throw back Thursday” picture. For the love of all things music.

My mom and I sitting at the piano. Where all is right in the world. She always has and always will by my favorite piano player, and for once, I think it’s okay to be biased.

And those glasses? Well, they speak for themselves. Love you, Mom.

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LPL Providence – Siesta Scholarship Tickets

Hey girls! Just popping in real quick to let you know that we have 20 tickets for the Providence LPL this weekend, thanks to the Siesta Scholarship Fund. Yay! If you really have the desire to attend, but just can’t afford a ticket, then we’d love to bless you in this way.

A fun little fact is that this weekend’s event is held in the Dunkin Donuts Center. Um, yum. Grin.

As usual, if you would please please call the office and ask for Kimberly, she’ll get you all ready to go. You can call 281-257-3344 or call toll free at 888.700.1999. If you happen to call and we miss you for some reason, please leave a message and we’ll get back to you ASAP.

We love y’all so much. And I KNOW without a doubt your prayers for Beth, the LPL team, and her family would be much appreciated! Oh, and let us know if you’re gonna make it this weekend!

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2013 Siesta Summer Bible Study Gathering 3!

Hi Sisters! Way to hang in there with Bible study for the summer! As usual, I’m putting the bare bones of instruction for your gathering here in writing for those of you who aren’t able to watch the video. If you do watch it, you may quickly note evidences of a ample technical difficulties, all of which were caused by yours truly. For instance, at one point, I got out of my chair to grab my car keys on a side table for an illustration and nearly tore my mic off and my shirt with it. That is why it will appear that I have done a magic trick. Other technical difficulties arose when, suddenly, the cold that I’d caught from my darling Annabeth lapsed me into certain phrases that sounded exactly like I was holding my nose. Only on words with the letter “b” was it most apparent which made the words “Bible” and “humble” particularly intriguing. We are a slick group of filmmakers around here. You’re a patient group and I love you! I am so honored to serve you guys and I know that God is really speaking to you through this study journey. Let’s persevere to the last page for the joy set before us!

The following interactives are based on Weeks 3 and 4 of your Gideon homework:

1. We can get no further than p.70 to stumble on something we could talk about all day. My small group and I loved the whole portion on weakness being a key. Glance at the bottom of the page and talk about the effect that your weakness tends to have on you when you focus on it.

2. Turn to p.75 and discuss the first paragraph and your answers to the second question: How have you seen misdirected credit lead to misplaced trust or unhealthy desires for you or someone else?

3. Turn to p.97 and share which answer you chose in response to the following question and explain why you tend to lean that direction: If you are in a season of life in which you feel insecure or doubtful about God, His Word, or His calling on your life, how do you honestly feel God is responding?

4. I so loved the teaching on p.101! How did the 4 Steps in Giving Our Gifts to God resonate with you or open your eyes? Conclude with the quote Priscilla gave us in the middle of p.107 – “honest doubt in which faith lives.” Give an example of honest doubt that you have had at a time when you were still full of faith. A time when those two things were not at odds but part of that same stretch of journey.

OK, Sisters! Finish your last 2 weeks of homework for our final gathering on July 23rd! You guys are fabulous! Thank you so much for participating. You are dearly loved here at LPM.

Siesta Summer Gideon Study – Week 3 from LPV on Vimeo.

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Intention to Action

*Update: Hey girls! Because I promised it and because a few have asked, here is the link to the podcast from last Sunday, “Kingdom Come”. Be blessed!

 

Girls, would someone explain to me how it is already July 8th? We are now into the second half of the year. Is it just me, or does it feel like 2013 just started? I always feel like I’m just starting to get a hold of a year when it slips through unnoticed and wham, another year has come and gone. In fact, July 4th always tries to throw me into a tailspin, because I know I have as much time from now until the end of the year, as I did from then to the beginning of the year. Does that even make sense? Sheesh. Basically, I’m either depressed or elated depending on how the year is going thus far based on what I thought it would look like, or what I wanted it to look like. Seriously, are you following? I think I’ve confused myself.

Which is what brings me to this post.

Do you remember at the beginning of the year when I tried, not so gracefully, to recap Passion 2013? If you don’t, here’s the post. (Listen, I realize it’s been six months since that post and it’s something I can barely even remember.) Anyway, what I haven’t forgotten that I think of nearly everyday is what Louie Giglio challenged us with the last day of Passion, and then a few days later, what my pastor Curtis challenged us with the first Sunday of the year.

Would you allow me to remind us all? (I’m not a fan of the bullet-point in a blog post, but I will use if necessary. Grin.)

1) Louie asked us, after throwing the Word down on Isaiah 61, “If THIS is the year of the Lord’s favor, what would you like? What would you ask for?”

2) Then Curtis Jones, my pastor, that following Sunday after boldly proclaiming Ephesians 3:20 challenged us that “2013 was the year of getting things done. Why? Because He is able, you are able according to the Spirit and after all, God gets the glory.”

Both to which I so boldly exclaimed, “Amen!” and went along with my day. However, my amen wasn’t a light one, as I knew exactly what it was I needed to get done this year. I knew exactly what I would ask the Lord’s favor over. But after all,  knowing and actually doing are two completely different things. One takes intention, the other takes boldness and action.

I’m not saying I’ve excelled in this, but I can tell you I’ve made progress, and I hope I know some people who could testify to that. I mean, let’s be honest, one simple thing was getting my wisdom teeth removed after putting it off for FOREVER, and boom, just like that, they’re gone. And I survived. I realize that’s a really silly example, but I’m so proud of myself for not letting fear take over again! Of course, there are some other action items and conversations I’ve had, but that’s another post for another day.

So why am I even bringing this up?

Because all last week I was reminded that if this was the year of getting things done, I had six months left to do the work. At least the work for 2013.

And then I went to church. And boom. Curtis, our beloved pastor, nailed it. I think I told him once before that it’s one thing to hear a message on Sunday, feel a little conviction from the Spirit and go on with your day. But it’s another thing when you leave church and know what you need to do, without a Spirit of condemnation, but one of grace. That’s a beautiful thing. To me, that’s what yesterday felt like. Convicting enough without condemnation to do the thing.

Why? Because, “Intention isn’t valued in the Kingdom of God. Obedience is.”

“Intention is not the same as faithfulness.”

Thank you, Curtis Jones, for those nuggets. (If you’re curious where this comes from, read about the parable of the two sons in Matthew 21:28 – 32. And I promise that when the podcast is up, I’ll link it here so you can take a listen if you so desire. I think I have permission to do that, but I’ll ask. For goodness sake, you might as well hear it from him instead of me giving you just some nuggets.I might as well go ahead and thank him for this post, too. After all, I feel like he wrote it. Laughing.)

As the old saying goes, we can talk the talk, but are we walking the walk?

Can we all just be honest and admit that we have a lot of good intentions? We intend to do a lot of good things. Even since January, we’ve all had a lot of good intentions about getting things done. But have we done them? I’m not saying obedience and boldness is easy, quite the contrary, actually. But in 100 years, our fruit will be the only thing that matters. So let’s bear a little fruit, y’all.

We have six months to do the thing. Time isn’t out yet. And praise God our God is a God of patience, compassion, slow to anger, rich in mercy and abounding in steadfast love. But let’s just ask ourselves what we’ve put off thus far? Your God is able, Sister. Let’s turn our intention into action. The longer we all delay, I promise you, the harder is gets!

I love y’all. I’m on this road WITH you.

Remember, it’s going to be a GOOD year. Grin.

“You crown the year with Your goodness; Your ways overflow with plenty.” Psalm 65:11 (HCSB)

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Rain Down Revival

Words blazed in my soul this morning with such force that I had to scramble to my feet to find paper. I’d prayed a few minutes earlier out on my front porch for true revival: for such a groundswell of souls saved that we’d have no earthly explanation, and for believers to be flooded by the Holy Spirit in such a way that our souls would be purified with a holy, selfless, unstoppable fervor. I have prayed those kinds of things before but this time I called upon the Lord with my whole heart to rip away this ceiling that seems to be over our heads. The Holy Spirit is moving with breathtaking force in parts of the world and in segments of the church. Why not among all of us?? And why not now? We love Him, too!

 

So many of our pastors, leaders, evangelists, and teachers are crying out for it. We see glimpses of it. We feel it pressing on the walls of many of our churches. The paint is beginning to crack. We sense a change coming. The roof shifting. We know the sun of righteousness is rising on a different kind of day and the horizon beaming with a new shade of color on young and old, on rich and poor. On all who would let Him lift their chins despite their sins, for our redemption draws near. I feel the stirring of a fresh work of the Holy Spirit in my own congregation and sense that He’s ushering us step-by-step and person-by-person and Sunday-by-Sunday to a place of open-armed willingness for whatever He would give us. For many of us who have felt the breezes of revival stirring, we can’t often define how the Holy Spirit is working or explain the difference between one gathering and the next. All we know is that there are times when we are left to say, “Only God could do that.” We taste it. It’s on the tip of our tongues but our throats are still parched.  Our voices may be hoarse and our volume weak but, at the sound of His yes, the mute would find speech.

 

I cried out this morning for Him to remove the obstacles that hold us at bay on the damp edges of a mighty torrent of revival when, before us, is the deep. We have seen drops of rain but, if we’re willing to be honest, most of us know that we have not yet seen what the living Lord Jesus Christ is capable of doing when He has a mind to pour His Spirit out on millions and wreak the holy havoc of true revival with innumerable souls. We have blamed our government and every secular institution possible when revival has ever remained a matter between God and His own people in the pages of Scripture. They are not our problem. We point fingers at our pastors when many of them have nearly broken their backs trying to drag us to revival. We hold worship leaders responsible for our own small worship and say that it must be the songs.

 

My heart burns with a sense that part of this ceiling over our heads is our demand that God must bring awakening and revival within our means, keep our rules, and respect our boundaries. If Christ is to do what He longs to do, we must relinquish all our expectations and formulas for revival. Lest we think we can’t leash a work He’s willing to perform, the words of Matthew 13:58 and Mark 6:5-6 won’t peel off the gospel page. We keep getting together and rehearsing for a revival He’s not yet fully attending. Why?? Why does He wait?

 

I think one reason is that we are afraid for Him to do whatever it would take. We are scared of the uncertainty of revival. We don’t trust God with the work of His own Spirit. He might embarrass us. Or make us change our minds. God won’t work contrary to His Word but many of us must admit that it is not His Word we are worried about Him working contrary to. We are worried about Him working contrary to our tastes. We are worried that He will not use our methods. I said we. I have done the same thing. I want Him to work in a way that makes me feel comfortable. But maybe a true outbreak of revival is not comfortable. I don’t know. I can’t say I’ve ever seen what I believe God may want to do in our day. Meanwhile, numerous gatherings of believers dwindle and die or rust for the sake of routine. Generations are falling away as revival clings to our doorposts. It’s there. It’s close. But why won’t it come on in? We feel it. We hunger for it. Why does it delay? Perhaps there are many reasons why revival waits and we could write more blog articles and list the possible hindrances and deliberate over them and mull over them and debate them and exert more and more energy while we have less and less time.

 

Or maybe we could say today,

Lord, if Your time is now – and it’s the only time countless millions have – remove the obstacles, whatever they are. Shove them out of the way and COME, Lord Jesus, with a torrential downpour of Your Holy Spirit.

 

I’m just looking for anyone out there who would be willing to echo a prayer something like this one. I bring it to you in humility, lacking much, wanting much. I do not wish to put words on any tongue detached from a heart. Vocabulary is meaningless without volition. If this is not you and if these sins are not yours and these aches find no place in your soul, you are not who I’m talking to. But this is me and I wondered if it might be anyone else, for where two or three are gathered in His Name, crying out for a cracked-open heaven, that ceiling that we feel shifting over our heads could shatter to our feet. I’m tired of giving God an inch and expecting a mile. I want to go with Him wherever He’s going.

 

 

Most glorious all-powerful, merciful God,

 

Your Son died for more than these. We thank You for what You’ve already done but we beg You to do infinitely more. Look upon this ailing planet, pulsing with the hopeless, helpless, the hiding and the dying. You have willed that people would not die in their sins but be saved and redeemed through Your Son, Jesus Christ. You promised that the Cross was big enough for us all, with stakes pointed northward, southward, eastward, westward, reaching everlasting arms to the ends of the earth. We know what Your Word says You can do and we confess to You that many of us have not yet seen it with our eyes but we feel it stirring in our souls. Hosanna, Lord! Save now!

 

We who are willing confess to you our sinful arrogance. We have prescribed to You by what means You, the solitary Healer, should heal souls and You have refused to sign Your Name to our prescriptions. We say to You this day, write Your Name across our sky and bring revival! Save by whatever means brings You glory. Bring it any way You like but bring it, Lord. We free You from using our methods. We free You from using our denominational names. We free You from using our buildings though we welcome You to them. We free You even from using us, though we cast ourselves before You at Your complete disposal and beg that You would. Use none of us. Use all of us. Use whatever people and whatever means honors You most but do it, Lord. Please do it!

 

We confess to You our appalling narcissism in asking You to mirror us. We confess to You our over-sophistication and snobbery. We confess to You that we are terrified of Your Holy Spirit. We confess our pathetic arrogance for having forbidden signs and wonders when there could be no greater sign and wonder than a tidal wave of salvation rolling on our dry banks. Oh, Jesus, that we would not leave You to marvel that You could do so few miracles among us because of our unbelief.

 

We repent this day for not trusting You with what revival should look like. We repent this day from prioritizing our dignity over Your downpour. We confess to You that we have torn pages from our Bibles and handed them back to You and demanded that You work through what was left. We confess to You this day that the tent pegs of Scripture are vastly wider than our imaginations and our expectations.

 

Lord, if souls are saved by the thousands of thousands and millions of millions, we pledge to You this day that we will not, in our sectarianism, pick apart the process and reason how it was not legitimate. We are ready even if it’s messy. Even if, atop the beautiful feet carrying the good news, are bruised and broken bodies of willing evangelists.

 

Open Heaven. Rain down, Holy Spirit. We repent for having asked You to respect our boundaries. We bow now to Your boundless Spirit and make room over our lowered heads for You to fall upon us with power and might and a firestorm of Your great affection. You have loved us so. You have loved us well. Scar our hearts with Your Cross and love through us, Lord. Oh, Holy Spirit of the Living Christ, come without limit. We have known You were able but begged You to be willing. All the while, we have been disabled because we have been unwilling.

 

To what conceivable degree we could have held them in our hands, we turn the reins of revival back over to the Rider who is Faithful and True and we plead that You would not let them rest on the neck of that great horse but that You’d bid him run.

 

Whatever, Lord. Do what You want but do it now. Do it here. You have no peer. Make Your name glorious. Save now. We avail ourselves.

O God, I avail myself.

In the holy name of Christ our King. Amen.

 

Savior, Savior, Hear my humble cry;

 

While on others Thou art calling, do not pass me by.

 

 

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“So Long, Insecurity” Teen Edition

WINNERS: Girls, are you ready to see who won our 20 copies?! So exciting! If the winners could email me (Lindsee) as soon as you get a chance at blog@lproof.org I will get your book to you as fast as possible. Go ahead and send me your name and mailing address! We can’t wait for you to have this book in your hands!

Thanks to random.org, the winners are… (the number by your name is your comment number, which is on the right hand side of your comment. So, be sure and check that your name lines up with that comment number!)

#4 – Amy Park
#12 – Danielle
#17 – Katie Frogge
#51 – Karalee Littleton
#53 – Madeline Noll
#66 – Corinne Jordan
#84 – Anna Phillips
#90 – Marleigh Jones
#114 – Halona Luna
#124 – Madison Dowling
#138 – Emma Madonna
#149 – Kelli Swisher
#179 – Lindsey Fair
#192 – Rebekah Vallejo
#194 – Emily Erwin
#203 – Maci Daves
#204 – Larissa Hilstad
#210 – Alexa Alexander
#219 – Laura Tidwell
#222 – Molly Swartz

Congrats, girls! I’ll be checking my inbox to hear from you. Have a great weekend!

 

 

*Update: Good Friday morning, girls! And happy belated 4th of July! Just wanted to let you all know that comments are now closed, but winners should be up by days end. And just a friendly reminder, it’s one book per winner! See you in bit!

 

Hey, Everybody! Beth just got something so fun in today’s mail!

Last summer I took a group of high school girls through Beth’s book, So Long, Insecurity. Many of you have also read and not only benefited, but also been changed by the book. I have no doubt these young girls took away truths that all of us wish we would have learned at their age. They loved it! What many may not realize is that the book also has a workbook companion, and it is equally as wonderful and organized.

In fact, nearly everyone that reads it has said something to the effect of, “I just wish I would have read this as a teenager!”

Well, your prayers and wishes came true!

On August 1st, Tyndale will release So Long, Insecurity, Teen Edition! Can I get an amen?

I get asked three questions nearly once a week. 1) Is there a teen edition for So Long, Insecurity? 2) Will Living Proof ever create or publish materials for high school girls? 3) Where can I find good, solid, biblical material for teens?

I don’t know the answer to number two, I always just tell them that we’re doing the best we can to serve these young girls, but since this is so new at Living Proof, only the Lord can know such a thing. The beauty is, I do have places and resources I can point folks to for resources that are helpful and biblical for high school girls, but as you can imagine, it’s just a really small pool to choose from!

So, I think you well know that we’re just as excited as you that Tyndale saw the need for this book and met it!

As I mentioned before, it doesn’t officially release until August 1st, but we wanted to do a giveaway! (You know we LOVE a reason to host a giveaway around here!) We also wanted to point you in some other social media directions for the book release and how you can own it if in fact you’ve been searching for this very thing.

So, for right now, we have 20 books to giveaway! Eeeek! All you have to do to qualify for the giveaway is to be just the right age  for it (13-19!) and simply enter your name (first and last are preferable) in the comment section.

For more information you can can visit:

Tyndale Teens

Sample the first chapter online

Purchase So Long, Insecurity Teen Edition here

Secure Girls Twitter Page

Tyndale Teens Pinterest Page

What a wealth!

Let’s hear from you!

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2013 Siesta Scripture Memory Team: Verse 13!

Hey, Everybody!

I am writing to you on Sunday afternoon since this post needs to go up first thing Monday morning and I am typing away on my laptop from Jackson and Annabeth’s room in our home. It’s the room where Keith and I get the best internet hookup. I like it anyway because it is filled with expressions of the only two kids on the earth I love as much as the two that I birthed. From Annabeth’s twin bed where I’m sitting, I can see a pink and green doll house, a blue and yellow race track, a dark green, fairly-convincing rubber lizard, a kids’ brightly colored exercise bike, a cardboard playhouse and a cardboard castle. It’s full on here in this room and, boy, has it had a work out in the last week.

Keith and I are blessed out of our minds to do lots of life with our grandkids because they only live about 20 minutes from our front door. Delightfully, their voices often reverberate off of these walls and their sweet feet are slap-happy on these wooden floors on a regular basis. We get to have sleepovers on occasions through out the year but once every summer Keith and I have them for the better part of a week and let their darling parents get some time together all by themselves. This last week was that segment of time – Camp Bibby we call it – for the summer of 2013. We kissed them goodbye on Friday night after a good, solid 5-day dose of them. I hate to admit to a small lump in my throat when they drove off with Amanda and Curtis, although I needed a nap in the worst way. Grin. It may be of some encouragement to you mothers of young children that, on Day 1, I did not shower until 3:00 PM. Yes, I do indeed remember what it was like to be a busy young mom whose life is not her own and when I forget, my two sweeties help me remember. Good grief, I would not trade them for anything in this world.

We do not have the time or space here for all the new quotes that have been added to my repertoire in the last week. Jackson and Annabeth are each hilarious, even when they don’t mean to be, so I try to have a pen nearby at all times. Annabeth announced to me on Friday afternoon that, when she grows up, she most definitely does NOT want to have a baby. “Why not?” I asked. “Because you have to go to the hospital,” she replied. And I thought to myself, whoa baby, that’s not all you have to do. As my mama always said, you also have to walk through the valley of the shadow of death. Translation: you think you’re going to die but, ordinarily, you do not, although at times your husband could be in considerable harm’s way if he spouts another word. Of course, I kept these thoughts to myself.

Annabeth paused for just a moment then spoke back up. “I just want a chihuahua and a cat.”

And that was that.

Jackson asked me how old I was while he was here because I recently had a birthday. He’s asked me that kind of thing before and it always ends up following the trail of whether or not I will still be his Bibby when he is in college. Curtis’s grandmother died a couple of years ago and I think he’s got it in his seven year-old head that grandmothers are tenuous creatures, here today, gone tomorrow. So, I said to him, “You know, Jackson, both your grandmothers are actually pretty young to have a grandkid as old as you. Because we all started so early, I think you can probably assume we’ll be around a while and see you grow up.” He sat on that a few moments then said, “Bibby, that makes you a rookie grandma. Do you know what a rookie is, Bibby?” Ah, yes, I do, Mister. I was a rookie mom with your mommy and a rookie grandma with you and I cannot think of two people on the planet through whom I’d rather be cast into those auspicious, busy, and often humbling roles.

I guess you’re wondering what all of this has to do with our Scripture memory. Well, I am getting to that right now. We have a daily verse at Camp Bibby and Psalm 32:9 out of the New Century Bible was our verse for Day 3 and the immediate favorite and clear winner for the fastest memorization. I taught the whole verse to Annabeth and Jackson but we only memorized part of it. Perhaps you will see why Jackson all but claimed it as his life verse. Kids totally love this kind of thing:

“Don’t be like a…donkey.” Psalm 32:9a

It made them almost as happy as talking about bathroom sounds. If I heard this verse once out of their mouths since Wednesday, I heard it 50 times. They could tell you what it means, too. I’ll stick the phrase back in the wider Scripture segment so that you’ll know what it means, too:
8       The LORD says, “I will make you wise and show you where to go. I will guide you and watch over you.
9       So don’t be like a horse or donkey, that doesn’t understand. They must be led with bits and reins,
or they will not come near you.”

Jackson would tell you that it means that God doesn’t want to have to tie us all up, or sit on us, or be all hard on us to get us to come to Him and to walk in His gracious and good will for our lives. He doesn’t want to have to make us obey Him so He can bless us. His deep desire is that we’d want to go with Him because we know that He is always for us, always leading us to triumph, always trustworthy, always right, and forever wanting to crown us with love and compassion and lead us away from bondage and such unnecessary harm.

I know it’s basic. But my mind’s been on the basics this last week with a seven year-old and a four year-old either one foot from me or on my person. I guess the question I’m throwing out on the table this week is this: Why do we continue to fight God and lash about in His grasp like He’s a big Taker instead of a Giver? What is it we think He’s trying to rob us of? To whom have we compared Him so that we’ve assumed we cannot trust Him?

Don’t be so stubborn, the psalmist is saying. Cooperate and go with God some place beautiful. Some place almost magical.

Revel in the two preceding verses in the same psalm (32), this time from the NIV:
6 Therefore let all the faithful pray to You
while You may be found;
surely the rising of the mighty waters
will not reach them.
7 You are my hiding place;
You will protect me from trouble
and surround me with songs of deliverance.

Surround sound. Oh, if our spiritual ears could only be opened for a few glorious minutes, what a musical score we’d hear all around us. To go with Jesus is to go the way of deliverance. The way of music. The way of symphonies.  The way of ascent amid mighty rising waters. So, I’m going with Jackson in my memory work this round:

 

Beth, Houston. So don’t be like a horse or donkey, that doesn’t understand. They must be led with bits and reins, or they will not come near you. Psalm 32:9 NCV
So, what’s yours?

 

You are loved around here, Sister. We are honored to serve you.

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My “Good” Wasn’t Good Enough

Like many of you, I grew up in a Christian home and from the time my parents could put me in nursery, I was at church. Born and raised, you might say.

I wouldn’t trade that for anything in the world and I think that is largely in part because I didn’t know any better. Every time the church doors were open, I was there. Quite simply, I really love the church. That’s a miracle.

However, I grew up believing a really big lie.

I grew up believing I didn’t have a worthwhile testimony to share. That even if I did share my testimony, it would fall on deaf ears. That it wouldn’t make a lick of difference to those I was sharing it with.

The fact is:

I did grow up in church.

I pretended (and looked) to have it all together.

I do come from a stable, loving home and family, though we’re as messed up and crazy as they come.

I was the teacher’s pet.

I attempted to follow all the rules. (That only works for so long.)

I liked looking like I had it all together. That is safe. That is not vulnerable. Hurt doesn’t happen when you fake it.

I have deep desires of my heart that have yet to be met.

I do have trials, hardships and life experiences to share.

I have not been given everything I’ve ever wanted and my life is not peaches and cream. Blessed, yes.

I’ve lied. I’ve gravely sinned. I’ve lusted. I’ve been angry. I’ve gossiped. I’m insecure. I’m helpless. I’m needy. And the list goes on and on.

I do have a testimony. I know my sins. I know my shortcomings. I need Jesus.

My attempt at holiness was lame to say the least. My attempt at producing any good in me to cover up the dark was helpless. My good was simply not good enough, though I desperately wanted it to be.

I don’t want to point fingers or blame any one person or thing, but I think we as a church have done a less than stellar job at portraying what a worthwhile testimony is. A testimony, as we have so endearingly coined it, is simply a public confession regarding the ways Jesus has changed your life.

My sins, no matter how big or small they may seem, still sent Jesus to the cross. My attempt at living a charmed life was feeble and frail.

Our testimony is what makes us authentic. Real. Relatable.

The truth is, everyone has gone through something that has changed him or her. If you have confessed Jesus Christ as your personal Lord and Savor, you well know that the old has gone and the new has come. You are a new creation. You’ve changed. Whatever it was that brought you to repentance in the first place, is the very thing worth sharing. Whatever it was that was once holding you captive that no longer has a hold on you, that’s worth sharing.

Need I list the things that hold us captive?

Legalism. Sexual Sin. Drugs. Addictions. Alcohol. Perfectionism. Insecurity. Lust. Greed. Jealousy. Hate. Pride. We could go on and on as this is clearly not an exhaustive list.

Where we as a church have strayed is that we glorify the big testimonies. We glorify the folks on the platform that have sinned “big”. We glorify the stories that seemed absolutely hopeless, but ended in victory.

Can I say something? Salvation through Jesus Christ is a miracle, regardless of where you have or have not been. It’s still a faith walk for every individual.

We were all hopeless. We all have victory in the end when we choose Jesus over _____________. (You fill in the blank.)

You, if you are in Christ, have something to offer. You have hope to offer.

If you’ve grown up in the church, don’t believe the lie you have nothing to share. First, yes you do.  If you are a living, breathing human, you’re flawed and need Jesus. Own up to that! But for you, maybe what someone needs to hear is that your good, despite all your failed efforts, wasn’t good enough to make it into the kingdom of heaven. There is one way, and His name is Jesus. You may be a really good, nice, sweet, charming, never-hurt-a-fly kind of person, but good doesn’t get you into Heaven. Jesus does.

To my young friends, don’t go looking for way to mess up so you have a story to share.

Share your story of less-than-perfect faithfulness to a God that has been nothing but perfectly faithful and loving towards you, despite your efforts of trying so hard. Share that even your goodness wasn’t good enough. Therefore, the good kid who has the works thing down, if they can’t do it, who can? That, my friends, is the gospel.

We’re justified by faith alone in Christ.

All sin keeps us from God. It keeps us bound up.

It just goes to show that there is no one good, no, not one. Can we emphasize that? Though from the outside it may appear I have little to confess day in and day out, that’s far from the truth. I lay my head on my pillow each night knowing how dearly loved I am in Christ, yet painfully aware of my shortcomings. Painfully aware of the areas that only Christ can change in me. Painfully aware of my ugliness.

Do we need the stories of God’s dramatic salvation and redemption? Absolutely! Do we keep sharing those and telling of how God has transformed our lives? Yes and amen! Do we continue to put them on the platform? By all means! May we all come humbly. Those stories also tell us that no one has out-sinned God, not matter how much they think they have! We need not be shocked or judgmental of anything or anyone. We should extend grace and love.

It reminds me of the Prodigal Son. One son did everything right (false) while the other was out doing everything wrong and yet they still needed the same grace. And if we’re honest with ourselves, we’re all more like the elder brother than we care to admit.

But let us be aware of the girl or boy that feels worthless because they didn’t have a Saul-to-Paul conversion.

My goal isn’t to deny what Christ has done for you and where He alone has brought you and rescued you from. Nor is my goal to magnify how good you’ve been. My goal is to glorify Christ.

Conversion is conversion regardless of the pits we’ve been in.

Salvation is salvation regardless of how we’ve acted.

God’s redemption is for everyone.

And His story is good enough to be told throughout the ages.

We were all lost. For ALL have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God. (Romans 3:23) But Jesus came to seek and to save that which was lost. (Luke 19:10) Translation = That’s US. That’s enough. That’s radical.

For the one who has served time in prison, been released and feels called to minister to those in prison. Yes! Go! Share that the same grace and mercy that was offered to you, is offered to everyone. In the name of Jesus.

For the girl who’s had an abortion and feels called to volunteer at a crisis pregnancy center. To you I say go! In the name of Jesus.

For the person (girl or guy) who’s struggled with any type of sexual sin, has broken free, and feels called to minister out of that. Yes! Do it! In the name of Jesus. So that He would get the credit. So that the weight of life change would fall on His shoulders, not yours.

You are redeemed! God delights when anyone comes to faith in Him through Jesus.

Each of our redemption stories minister to different people all over. Not one of our stories will minister to everyone, that’s why we’re the body of Christ. We all have different experiences and stories to share, but the same Jesus.

Putting pressure on the story makes it about you. Putting pressure on the gospel makes it about Jesus

That’s your story. You were once dead and now you’re alive. And that is worth sharing, Sister.

Amen.

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2013 Siesta Summer Bible Study: 2nd Gathering

Hey, summer Bible study sisters! Watch the video if possible because I only put the barest bones in the written part of these summer Bible study posts. This version of your instructions is mostly for back up but, if you prefer to just get your assignments for your gathering this way and bypass all my verbose video-commentary, I certainly do understand that! Feel free! I just want to make sure you’ve experienced some personal interaction on here. Smiling.

OK! Here are your instructions for today and, remember! Your comments to this post are meant to be comprised of your responses to each of the interactives:

1. Based on the question in the middle of p.37 of your homework: To what specific area of holy bravery does God seem to be calling you in this present season?

2. Drawn from the portion on p.46 regarding the 5 ordinary tasks you perform on a daily basis, share a memory of an ordinary circumstance in which God met with you in an extraordinary way. If you’re new to all this and can’t think what to share, don’t feel lame or unspiritual. Pray for Him to do this very thing with you over the coming days and I have a feeling you won’t be disappointed.

3. Based on p.50 and the discussion about the first part of the divine declaration to Gideon, how confident or insecure do you tend to be regarding God’s promise that He is with you? Explain your answer.

4. Look at the bottom of p.57. Would you be willing to share the pair of terms that best describe a disparity you’ve dealt with between your self-perception and a biblical view of who you are in Christ? If you’re willing, also briefly explain your answer.

Ok, Sisters! That’s it! When you leave your comment, please be sure to put your first name, your city, whether you are in a small group or going solo, and your succinct responses to all or at least several of the interactives.

I’m crazy about you! Stay in the Word! We’ll meet again in 2 weeks on July 9th. Have Weeks 3 and 4 of your homework finished for that gathering if at all possible. So much love to you.

Siesta Summer Gideon Study – Week 2 from LPV on Vimeo.

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