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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I Shall Not Want

Every morning while I am getting ready for the day, I listen to either a podcast or music. I go in and out of seasons with podcasts and right now, they’re on the back-burner while my music has made a comeback. I typically put on a worship CD of some sort, but other times I press shuffle and let my iPod do the leading. That’s always an interesting mix, but it’s fun nonetheless.

This morning I put on my “Recently Played” playlist and let that shuffle. I think there are nearly 100 songs on that particular playlist, and since my taste in music is pretty eclectic, it’s a fairly random assortment and one that keeps me guessing as to what song will come on next.

Not to my surprise, Audrey Assad usually ends up on this playlist and this morning I was struck afresh with I Shall Not Want, a song from her most recent album and inspired from Psalm 23. It is my second favorite, next to Good To Me, which I actually wrote about here. (I’d just like to go ahead and apologize for every blog post that is birthed from a song. It’s how I roll.)

From the love of my own comfort
From the fear of having nothing
From a life of worldly passions
Deliver me O God

From the need to be understood
From the need to be accepted
From the fear of being lonely
Deliver me O God
Deliver me O God

And I shall not want, I shall not want
when I taste Your goodness I shall not want
when I taste Your goodness I shall not want

From the fear of serving others
From the fear of death or trial
From the fear of humility
Deliver me O God
Deliver me O God

The reason it’s my second favorite is because it confronts me in my uncomfortable places and convicts me on issues I’d rather suppress and ignore. It’s one of those songs that just gets all up in your business, hence my love/hate relationship with it. I mean, from the need to be understood, accepted and fear of being lonely? Ouch. I’m telling you the truth when I say that so often her lyrics leave me speechless. Speechless or thankful because she has a gift in putting words to what I’m feeling.

Side Note: I have the same sentiments regarding journaling. I love the practice of it and I think it’s healthy, but to actually WRITE OUT ON PAPER IN INK all of my innermost thoughts at the risk of somebody finding it and reading it while learning a whole new side of me they’d rather not know about? Yeah, it can get ugly and vulnerable real quick. But that’s another post for another day.

We started Bible study this past Tuesday and one thing that stuck out to me while I was reading earlier this week was the word dependencies. Our current and brand new series is called “Breath” and it is all about the Holy Spirit. We’re barely getting started but the word Beth brought to us on Tuesday was stunning to say the least. I’m not going to even try and recap for fear of obliterating the entire series, but I can say that we’re praying for miracles and salvations to blow through Bible study these next six weeks.

I think the reason the word dependencies jumped out at me is because, if I can be so honest, in my own personal life, I’ve noticed that the Lord has been removing all manner of dependencies from my life. Dependencies that distract me from Jesus himself. And while it’s not a fun process in the least, and even hurts most times, it’s a good thing. I said to a friend the other day that when we have no where to go but to Jesus, it’s a good place to be. Yes, I have the sweetest friends and the most caring family, but even when we have all of the above, there are just some things that only Jesus can tend to. There are some places that only He can fill because truly, there are intimate things that only He knows. Even in marriage our spouse wasn’t meant to be a God to us, but a helpmate. If some of us were honest, we’d could say that some of our dependencies are secrets only He knows about, but we’ve never spoken them aloud to anybody, let alone Him. But as a God who is initimately acquainted with you, He knows, He sees, He doesn’t require you to change before you come to Him and He still pursues you with His perfect and unconditional love.

Can we just all be real here and ask God to deliver us from our enemies? Our dependencies? And then all agree with each other in Jesus’ name? We can even speak it anonymously if need be. I know it’s Friday and Monday is the day for starting over (do you sense my sarcasm?), but let’s not wait until Monday, let it be today! After all, Jesus came “not to call the righteous ones to repentance, but sinners.” (Mark 2:17) That’s good news to those of us today who are erring on the side of sin. Erring on the side of dependency of the things that make us weak and sick. Erring on the church-lady taboo that we’re all strong and well. Jesus is good news, indeed.

Deliver us, O God. From our fears. Our addictions. Our dysfunctional relationships. Our selfishness. Our dependencies. Break every chain according to your mercy and your steadfast love! Fulfill your purpose for us (Psalm 138:8). We love you and we trust you. Amen.

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Remembering the Siesta Scripture Memory Team Celebration 2014!

Update: Ladies! Your group pictures (and a TON of other great pictures) are up on the flikr website for you to enjoy and download. If I could have I would have posted all of them here, but this is so fun as well! Click here and enjoy!

Happy Monday, ladies! I don’t know how many of you have the day off thanks to MLK, but either way I hope your week is off to a wonderful start. Contrary to our weather all day Saturday, we woke up to a very foggy Houston this morning. To me, it feels very melancholy. We also hope and pray that all 480 of you that made the trek to Houston, made it back to your homes and families safely and soundly!

Didn’t we have a fun weekend together? I submit that indeed, we did.

Just last night I hopped on Instagram and Twitter to filter through our hashtag for the weekend and was pleasantly surprised to see tweets still being thrown up! It was so fun to hear from so many of you. (If you wanted to take a look, just search #SSMCT2014)

The weekend started on Friday when Jenn and I went up the HFBC to get everything set up early. We are so grateful to the church for giving us this extra time because it would have been nearly impossible to have everything done if we only had Saturday morning, which is always crazy anyway! On Friday we were even greeted by our first Siesta, Linda, from Colorado! She offered to help so we put her hands to work as well. Thank you, Linda!

Actually, I take that back, we were greeted by our first Siesta on Thursday who rolled into the office parking lot in her motor home bearing a sweet gift and her entire family. By the time Sarah and her family arrived that day from Washington, I had already left the office so I didn’t get to say hello, but I have no doubt my coworkers took care of her and greeted her warmly.

Anyway, back to Friday, once Jenn and I felt confident that most things were ready to go, we loaded up and headed back to the office just in time to say a quick hello to Travis and Angela before Beth whisked them away for the night. This is how we left the church that day; all we needed was some ladies to fill those chairs and a Bible teacher to come teach us about our memory.

And then I went home and promptly washed my face, put on my pj’s, popped in a movie and called it a day.

Saturday morning came quick for all of us, but the day was finally here! Woohoo! I mean, let’s be honest, did anybody sleep well Friday night? I think we were all really anxious, and by anxious I mean excited!

Once I arrived Saturday morning I wasn’t at all surprised to see the line of ladies leading to the children’s area ready to check-in! We tried to efficiently get everyone through the registration line quickly so you could move onto more important things like making your coffee and meeting internet friends in real life for the first time. Oh, and take all manner of pictures!

Once 9:00 rolled around Beth gave us a warm welcome and then Travis kicked us off with some praise and worship.  And from the minute we began there was a sense of freedom and celebration in the room, and rightfully so! Memorizing 24 scriptures is worth celebrating! Besides the fact that all weekend we were face to face instead of screen to screen, I loved that we could say “Siesta” or “Siesta Mama” all weekend long without having to explain that term of endearment. Can we get an amen? Does anybody else look at you like you’re crazy when you say siesta, and you aren’t talking about a nap? Makes me laugh every time.

After worship we dug into the word and learned all about our MEMORY. And more specifically, how the Lord renews our mind with scripture memory. Here was our acrostic:

Memory is an inestimable gift.
Erasing memories may seem the goal, but reframing is what heals the mind.
Memory is the driving force of all relationship.
Ordered thoughts are most accurately remembered.
Remembering is to revival what forgetting is to rebellion.
You have the power to put good into another person’s memories.

Each point made was so profound, but I’m partial to “Y”. I so want to put good into another person’s memories. Let it be, Lord! Kindness goes so far.

Among the teaching and worship, we had a group picture time by our fantastic man-made Siesta tree! What you ladies didn’t see before the picture was the tree that had blown over. It was a sad sight to see but I’m more frustrated I didn’t get a picture because it was slightly humorous assuming all was well, and it was.

After our group picture we had the best hour and a half eating lunch together because HELLO CALIFORNIA WEATHER! It could not have been more beautiful outside. Thank you, Lord!

We wrapped up the last session by reciting our scriptures to those sitting around us and then we experienced a powerful prayer time that I won’t soon forget. At the end Travis led us in Amazing Grace and I recorded everyone singing, because it was heavenly. You girls came for Jesus and you got some Jesus, with an added bonus of laughter, celebration, door prizes and giveaways thrown in as well!

 

We said our goodbyes, prayed our way out of there and hope you all treated yourself to some tex-mex. Thank you for being such a fun group and thank you for letting us serve you. We really do love you and without your participation, SSMT simply would not exist!

We may or may not have snuck in a few pictures because by the end of the day we were giddy tired and realized that Nancy and Sherry were twins. Perfect.

Most of the staff had left by this point, but seven of us sat down for about 20 minutes and laughed a bit before we parted ways. Including those who had already driven away, there isn’t anyone else I’d rather serve with. These ladies work hard and have fun. We were tired but so full.

Real smiles.

May Christ make himself more real to you in 2014 than He did in 2013. And may your memories be run over by revelations of Jesus and GOOD THINGS! We’d love to hear why the Lord brought you to Houston this weekend and what He taught you.

We love y’all dearly.

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Houston Tuesday Night Bible Study for All Women Starts Jan. 21st!

Houston Area Ladies! It’s that time of year when we’re beside ourselves with joy  to invite you to our January-March Tuesday night Bible study! God has blessed us with favor to meet as a very diverse community of women from every background and denomination at the central location of Houston’s First Baptist Church on 7401 Katy Freeway. We love Pastor Gregg and Kelly Matte so much and we do not take this privilege lightly.

We launch our brand new 7-session series on Tuesday January 21st at 6:30 in the main auditorium. We hope to see many familiar faces but we also hope to serve hundreds of women who are new to the study of Scripture and haven’t quite awakened to the love of Jesus Christ. If you’ve been with us before, come again! And this time, bring somebody brand new! Somebody less-discipled! We’re hoping that this series will blow fresh air into the lungs of seasoned believers but also lend itself well to women who have very little background in the Bible. Pray that for us and with us!

The name God placed on my heart for this 7 week series is Breath: The Life of God in Us. Our goal through the series will be to spotlight places in Scripture where the Spirit of God quickens the lives of people like us, empowering and invigorating individuals to do in Jesus’ Name what cannot be done by human flesh and blood alone.

If you’re weary and worn out, we pray God will use this series to put iron in your soul. If you’re weak and defeated, we pray God will use this series to infuse you with a strength wholly beyond you. If you’ve never had the faith to believe, we pray God will pour His Spirit out on you and bring you to new life in Christ: the life you were placed on this planet to live. If you’ve felt for years like God has called you to some kind of purpose but you have no idea what, we’re praying He might use this series to fill you with insight and direction. If you’ve been a believer for decades but it’s been a while since you’ve felt the fire of Christ in your bones, we pray God will use this series to revive you.

We are believing God to reveal Himself powerfully to us and we don’t want to miss anything He desires throughout these 7 weeks. I’m asking Him to pour out His Spirit on me in 2014 in ways that exceed what He’s done in the past. Maybe you’re asking Him the same kind of thing. Let’s go make ourselves available to Him corporately through worship and the study of Scripture for these 7 Tuesday nights and see what He’d invest in us to make our 2014 vastly glorifying to His Name.

All women are welcome, including those with very different beliefs or those who have little interest in spiritual things. If you are willing to come, we are anxious to welcome you and serve you and, because we know God to be faithful to His Word, we believe wholeheartedly that your time will not be wasted.

Needless to say, there’s no cost to attend. I wish we could offer childcare but it is just impossible for us to pull off on Tuesday nights. Carpool if you have several friends coming but, also, don’t hesitate to come alone. We never know how many to anticipate but we certainly hope to anticipate you. You could not be more welcome. Come and see.

For more information and many of your questions answered, click here to visit our Houston Connection page .

If you’re in the Houston area but unable to join us or you’re from other places around the country and globe, please say a prayer for us! We want so much to bring glory to Christ, to be used by Him to extend the outreach of His powerful hand, and to serve women in His merciful Name. If you happen to be in the city on one of these Tuesday nights, go grab some Tex-Mex for supper then come worship and study with us! We’d be thrilled to have you. Dearest love to you and I hope to see you soon!

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Because a Sense of Humor Does the Soul So Much Good

Yesterday we closed the ministry down for the morning to attend the funeral of a dear friend that passed away suddenly last week. Our dear Beth participated in the service and honored both Louie and his family. Out of everyone there, I can say I probably knew Louie the least, but did have the fun privilege to help plant Bayou City Fellowship alongside he and his beautiful wife, Vicky, who we all adore. If it was said once, it was said a thousands times that Louie was funny, and found himself in some precarious situations, but more importantly, he laughed at himself. He took life seriously when necessary, and lightly when appropriate. I have heard a few of those “Louie stories” and I found myself doubled over at them. In the midst of despair, it’s a sweet thing to be able to laugh at the funny memories. (While memories and laughs are a gift, I know many hard days are ahead for this sweet family. If they, Vicky, Catha and Crista come to mind, your prayers would be appreciated and received!)

Life is hard and if we take ourselves too seriously and can’t even find the humility to laugh at our awkward moments, then we really aren’t living. Besides not being devoted to Jesus, the saddest thing someone could say about me is that I lived life stingy and hard hearted, not being able to laugh at the funny and embarrassing moments that make up one’s character. Oh, the tragedy! I think this is mainly due to the fact that laughing is one of my love languages.

I learned this pretty early on because I like to think I am the leader of the pack when it comes to the awkward ministry. I have the radar to find the most awkward and interesting situations, and if you knew me in real life, you could attest to this.

In fact, a couple weeks ago I had just arrived home from work and in the hour of downtime I had before I needed to leave again, I sat on the couch to rest my eyes for a minute.

I happen to have the perfect view of each and every sunset from my balcony, so as I was laying on there in my half-awake state going in and out of consciousness, I could see that the sunset was getting better and better by the minute. I think you know by now that I’m a sucker for sunsets. The other day my dad asked why I never get pictures of the sunrise, and it’s simply because I can’t see them. Big bummer.

Anyway, as I could see the sun flare getting better and better over my apartment building, I knew my window of opportunity to get a good picture was growing strangely dim.

So I grabbed my phone, hopped off the couch and ran to my balcony.

And then this happened.

Yes ma’am. That is my balcony screen door laying horizontally. I ran smack into it and knocked it completely over.

I’m still a little stunned and confused by the entire situation, but it happened.

I could hardly stand up for laughing so hard all the while wondering who anonymously witnessed the catastrophe and how in the world my roommate was still napping in her room among all the ruckus? With what little dignity I had left, determination kicked in and at the last minute I was able to capture this.

Though I’ve seen better, I’d say it was worth it. And I was humbled to say the least.

Listen, I know I made a complete fool of myself, but instead of acting like I have my life together (BECAUSE NEWS FLASH TO THE INTERNET, I DO NOT) I posted it on the World Wide Web. Because somebody needed to laugh that day; even if it was at the expense of someone else. A bruised toe and a humbling never killed anybody.

And let’s be real, somebody needed to see that a picture doesn’t always paint the entire story. I could have showed you the sunset and explained how beautiful and perfect life is, but that would have been a total lie.

For the sake of all things sane and normal, can we learn to laugh at and tell on ourselves in those awkward and unexpected instances? Because I’ve heard it said that, “A person without a sense of humor is like a wagon without springs. It’s jolted by every pebble on the road.” Henry Ward Beecher

Lord, grant to each of us a sense of humor!

And all the people said amen.

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Be Present

Yesterday at church my pastor ended his sermon with one simple point: Be Present.

About a month before that at a Christmas party, my friend had written on her chalkboard wall: Be Present.

A couple of weeks before that Christmas party, right after Thanksgiving, I wrote a post titled: Be Present.

In the hustle and bustle of all things Christmas and giveaways and recipes on our blog, I put that particular post on hold. Beth and I often comment to each other that posts are like gold to us, so since we had a lot going on, it was best that I left that post for a different day. Today feels like that day.

You see, I have a picture saved on my iPhone camera roll that simply states, “Be Present”. For a long time it was saved as my home screen. It served as a reminder to be present wherever I was when I picked up my phone to peruse twitter or facebook in the moment instead of engaging with the friends right in front of my face. To get off my dang phone, if you will.

Lately I’ve had the urge to travel. I’m equal parts homebody and sanguine, if that even makes sense, but I’ve been dreaming of all the places I hope to visit one day, whether it be sooner or later. Traveling is not only thrilling because you get to see different wonders of the world, but also because it’s neat to witness different cultures and the way people live. It’s fascinating, really. However, I have what we would all refer to as a job, and responsibilities and limited funds, so mostly I wish and hope and dream. Being an adult isn’t all it’s cracked up to be, right?

The day after Thanksgiving, we always join some of our best friends out in the country for a day of skeet shooting and relaxing. It’s one of my favorite traditions. Each year, I’m more stunned by the beauty of autumn. Instead of using your imagination, allow me to give you a peak into the picture I’m trying to paint.

Beauty at its finest.

Houstonians actually received a bit of a gift when autumn showed up in Houston, albeit late, but leaving the trees colorful and enchanting. I was so shocked that I surveyed my coworkers because I didn’t know if I was just coming alive to nature this year or if it did seem a bit unusual, and most agreed it was an unusual change of colors and that made me feel better about myself.

This is what I’m talking about.

I know you people up north are probably laughing at this lone tree, but none of us were complaining!

The truth is, a lot of us get more screen time than we do nature time. We (read: I) am very guilty of that here, where we are not blessed with rolling hills, blankets of snow, mountains and white sandy beaches. Houston, to put it frankly, is not so easy on the eyes. But that doesn’t mean I can’t appreciate beauty that is around me, to be present where I’m planted, even in the urge to travel and see different beauty.

The truth is, it’s necessary to have a change of scenery every now and then. A change of season. We can get stuck in the mundane day-to-day tasks that the beauty around us starts to fade leaving us to look at our screens and computers for a rush.

I think that’s part of my travel bug as of late. As far as vacation is concerned, it’s been about a year a half since I spent a significant amount of time away from Houston just resting, so I’m sensing the need for change.

My struggle isn’t necessarily confined to my surroundings though, sometimes my struggle is being present in the season the Lord has me planted in. Because life is at our fingertips via our smart phone, it’s easy to get restless, bored, discontent, angry, impatient, jealous or antsy. We may think the Lord is moving far too slow, when He’s really telling us to slow down. Life doesn’t begin in the next season, or the next milestone, or the next job, or the next relationship, life is happening now, whether you’re looking for it or not.

None of us know what the next season holds in our lives. Seasons in our lives, though they do come and go, aren’t as predictable as the seasons in our weather patterns. I don’t know what the Lord is saying to you, but I know without a doubt He’s telling me to enjoy and be present in my season. That He would be present in my presence, so as to change me. That I would approach Him confidently proclaiming who He is instead of always asking for something. After all, He’s always provided everything I need. To not get wrapped up and entangled in the disappointment, the fear, the joys, the sorrows; to feel those and to experience those emotions as they come, yes, but to be present, to know truth and to be aware but not pining for what’s ahead.

Recently I read in one of my devotionals that for the waters to reflect the glory of God, they have to be still. I’m a very visual person and fortunately, days before that when I was out in the country I happened to witness just that. The lake was completely still and it mirrored the clouds and trees perfectly. It was a beautiful reflection, times two.

I think we could all learn a thing or two from that, because maybe it’s the same for us. Whatever season we find ourselves in, maybe if we were still long enough to take in and try and hear all the Lord was trying to whisper to us in the here and now, maybe we’d be able to reflect His glory a little more instead of fighting it. Oh, that we would let our lives be a refelction of His love. It’s hard, yes, but it’s possible. And then when that change in season does come, whenever it shows up, we praise God for it. Because a change in season, however it comes, is something to be praised.

May I challenge us all to be more present in 2014? Because maybe, just maybe, He has a gift for us in the present. Maybe the gift is more of Himself. And as sure as the sun rises, my sister, He will be faithful.

“The Lord is my shepherd, I shall not want. He makes me lie down in green pastures. He leads me beside still waters. He restores my soul. He leads me in paths of righteousness for his name’s sake…Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life, and I shall dwell in the house of the Lord forever.”  Psalm 23: 1-3, 6

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A New Year, A New Time

My beloved sisters,

I am so blessed to ring in a new year with you and to anticipate God’s goodness and faithfulness in the coming 12 months. Let’s allow 2014 to be more than the next number on a calendar. Let’s deliberately enter into a fresh season and invite Jesus to do something brand new in us and thank Him in advance for what He has planned. His ways are always right. Always fitting. Without having a clue what is ahead in 2014, you can have unshakable confidence that your God will be good to you. He holds you securely in the palm of His hand.

I am deeply thankful for you this day and all you mean to His Kingdom. You are staunch servants. Mighty, mighty women of God.  I am amazed by all you do in His Name and for the beauty and creativity of His holy calling displayed and parceled among you. You sharpen me and keep me running my race at full speed toward the one and only goal worth setting: the finish line where Jesus stands, urging us forward and waiting to welcome us home.

I have a simple truth on my heart this new year but it is washing over my soul like a waterfall.

I want to obey God.

In mid-November of 2012, God dropped a word so convicting on my heart through another teacher’s lesson that my face instantly burned. You’ve had those times, too, when you look around the room sheepishly to see if everyone is glaring at you, hoping you got it so that the congregation can all move on to the next point. This was the word:

Stop sowing over and over in the exact same field.

 I wasn’t looking for it. I didn’t ask for it. I was happy where I was. Like many of you, I like things to stay the same. I loved my circle of relationships and the familiar places I got to serve. I’ve never lost a passion for those places and have often wept with thanksgiving to God for the privilege of walking through some of the same doors again and again. I have a history of long relationships and staying put and that’s how I like things. But I knew God was talking to me. It burned like a branding iron.

Every single day for nearly 14 months, that same word has reverberated in my soul and troubled my feet.

I have made some strides and taken some steps. The Living Proof Live event team and I felt the urging of the Holy Spirit almost simultaneously to continue to do what we’ve been doing – calling people to worship and the Word – but to become very proactive about reaching the lost and the less-discipled. You will hear us become vocal about this initiative in the coming months leading up to our new LPL calendar year that launches in April. We are passionate to still serve women who know Christ well but we’re also hoping they will join us shoulder-to-shoulder in the accelerated outreach effort that God is blazing in our souls. We are praying earnestly that women will come bringing the lost and the searching and the broken and the untaught. A dying world surrounds us. One that Jesus loves. One that He died and rose again to redeem.

The process of change is not simple. It takes forethought and prayerful preparation. We are, for instance, deliberating on ways to make tickets available because we know that lost people aren’t prone to buy tickets to Christian events. We’re trusting God to show us what to do and how to do it. The free ebooks that we’re putting out for the first 10 days of January are part of this initiative. We’re very aware that, when it comes to reaching the unreached, free is key.

So strides have been made but they are only first steps.

I shared with you the date in 2012 that this word came to me so that, if you needed it, you’d have some assurance that I’m not knee jerking or reacting impulsively. I have had all these months to pray and study and listen to Jesus and ponder His leadership.

Fast forward 12 months exactly to the most recent November. A year after hearing from God so clearly about sowing further than the field that I’d loved and served in for so long, I had a very disturbing dream. I can count the significant dreams I’ve had through the decades on one hand so I’m not prone to look for messages in my sleep to keep from having to actually pray and read the Bible. That God can speak through dreams is clear in our own Bibles, of course, but for many of us it is unusual. I don’t feel the release right now to describe the dream though I may someday. What I do feel is a strong compelling to share with you what I knew beyond a doubt it meant. I believe that I can either be obedient to God in the faith walk He is setting before me or He will take my voice. I do not feel that it was a rebuke. I felt that it was a warning.

I was saved in childhood but I was 18 years old the first time I ever had a vivid encounter with God and it accompanied my calling. Christ has been so merciful to remain with me through harrowing ups and downs, fears and failings, and flaws and frailties. Good grief, what grace He has poured on my life. What forgiveness flows from His wounds on the cross. I’ve been so foolish at times and learned many things the hard way but I am not new to the believing walk. I don’t look to the air for my words from God. I look to the Scriptures. It is my daily bread. I want revelation any way Jesus wants to give it but I’ve been around long enough to know that, if it is unrecognizable in His Word, it is not of Him.

38 years have come and gone since that day I received my calling.

And I have rarely – if ever – received clearer orders from God.

I share this with you because I love and esteem you so much and want you to know that I haven’t lost my footing or had a dramatic change in my theology as I tread into a wider perimeter than I’ve served before. I say this to you before I have a single invitation on the docket that is out of the ordinary. I’m not manipulating you in advance of announcing some big plan to you. No such plan exists. No such invitations have yet come that I know of. But when they do, I will take them prayerfully before God and if He says go, Sister, I’m going to go. I must.

For lack of a better way to say it, I am not picking up and moving across the fence. I think this is more about dismantling a fence anyway. I’m not leaving Living Proof Ministries. I’m not departing from our mission statement of many years: to encourage people toward knowing and loving the Lord Jesus Christ through the study of His Word. I’m by no means leaving my beloved church, Bayou City Fellowship. I’m not saying goodbye to the blog or this community. On the contrary, we have an active year before us and summer Bible study right around the corner. I hope to enjoy many more years of fruitful friendship and partnership with LifeWay through in-depth Bible studies and Living Proof Live events. They have been so gracious and willing to exceed denominational boundaries. I praise God for them.

We must all be willing to exceed denominational boundaries. Revival is at stake. Nearsightedness will trip us and disunity will slay us in the perilous days to come. We can prioritize our denominations over the Scriptures if we want to but we will shrivel up and die on the vine if we do.

We who are called to teach must teach the Scriptures even if – and especially when – they differ from our long-held stance. That we will answer for.

These are days for bravery.

To avail ourselves to the Holy Spirit and a fresh work of Christ in our midst, our healthy fear of God must far exceed our fear of man. I say this with tremendous love. Those who refuse to rock the boat when Jesus is tossing the waves in their faces will never know the thrill of the water beneath their feet.

For without faith it is impossible to please Him. Hebrews 11:6

Change is on the horizon and certainly not only where I live and serve. The winds of the Holy Spirit are picking up. We can dig our feet in the ground and demand to stay right where we are. We can toil to maintain things just as they have been for years. And we can be left out of a coming awakening that could one day be recorded in the annals of Christian history.

We can throw our boundaries up at God, keep stacking our divisive bricks, and insist that He obey us.

Or we can obey Him.

God help me, that’s what I want to do. I am too old anymore to let the bullies boss me. And I am too young to quit.

Out of the stunning grace of God, I have had the joy of serving among some of the most well-discipled women in the Bible belt. Many of them take notes each week as their pastors preach. They listen to podcasts in their cars on the way to work. They serve their local congregations, feed the poor, and minister to the sick. Many of them have done every Bible study on the market by every teacher available. They keep their faces in the Scriptures. They memorize and evangelize and sacrifice. They are warriors. I’m not worthy of them but I so dearly love them. I have no words to convey how honored I am to have served among them and I deeply hope to serve among them still. But to serve them only – or even primarily – lacks stewardship. God is telling me to get my ear pressed to the ground for opportunities to serve in environments where women are less commonly studying the Bible in-depth. Some of those places may look very different from those I’ve visited before. I make this promise. I will hold tight to the Word and seek with everything in me to teach it soundly. I will hold onto Jesus as the love of my life. I will pray hard and you’ll never waste a prayer on me.

The days are short. The times, urgent. For all of us.

Need is a part of what steers a call.

I have no idea what the future holds. I have no idea where God will send me or if those places will seem different to many of you. But this I do know: if I do not tell Him wholeheartedly that I am willing to go anywhere He leads and serve anyone He says, He is going to do His good pleasure anyway. And without me.

I have to go with Jesus on this or my soul will collect an inch of dust on the lifeless, wooden altar of safety and sameness.

Thank you for your patience. You have been so gracious to bear with me through this lengthy letter. When all is said and done, I pray with my whole heart that this post will turn out to have been more than just about me. That’s so nauseating. I could have done that at home by myself and saved you the time. But maybe God wants to say something similar to someone else.  Maybe it’s time for your next step, too, even if you have no idea where your foot is going to land.

Maybe you’ve been raised to keep your faith to yourself…and it’s time to start sharing it.

Maybe you’ve studied and studied for years…and it’s time for you to get up and teach.

Maybe you’ve been mentored so well that you know it all by heart…and it’s time for you to mentor others.

Maybe you’ve been the focal point of much compassionate ministry and you thank God for it…but it’s time now to pay it forward and minister to others.

Maybe you’ve been breaking free for 10 years…and it’s time for you to live free and show somebody how it’s done.

Maybe all our risk-free living is not really living.

And maybe I’ve missed it. But I am about to take that chance.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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A Free Book For the New Year

Towards the very beginning of this year Beth mentioned doing something one day that she’d had the desire to do, give away her books for free.

Well, today on December 31st, the last day of 2013, that dream is coming true!

B&H Publishing Group  made available a selection of her books until January 10th, 2014 for free on any e-reader! No money to you whatsoever! The only requirement is that you indeed, own an e-reader of some sort, whether it be a nook, kindle or an iBook. (However, if you don’t have an e-reader, you can also download the Kindle app on your smartphone.)

B&H posted a blog with all of the details so to keep from being reduntant, but to help spread the word, I am linking to it here!

CLICK HERE FOR ALL THE DETAILS!!! (The best way to find the books is to search “Beth Moore” in your e-reader and her books will pop up.)

This is a screenshot of what it would look like on Amazon. (You might need to click on the picture to enlarge it, but you should see $0.00 next to the “Kindle Edition”.)

As we begin a new year tomorrow, I can’t imagine a better time for you to grab a book and let God do a fresh work in you.

For fun and to help spread the word since she was so ecstatic, Beth sent out a few tweets! In case you’re not on twitter, I thought I’d screen shot them and share them with with you so you can join in on her excitement.

We love y’all and wish each of you a Happy New Year! Enjoy your new books!

 

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