Siesta Summer Bible Study 2014 Gathering 2!

As you will clearly see and loudly hear on the following video, Jackson, Annabeth and I were in the middle of Camp Bibby when it was time to tape my little video greeting for Summer Bible Study Gathering 2. SO, I brought the kids with me. Lindsee and I decided it would be sillier and better to just give you the unedited, woefully unrehearsed version of the taping. So, here you have it. Since I promised in the video to add a few pictures from our week, you’ll find those at the bottom of this post right after your discussion questions. So glad you’re participating! Thank you for coming along!

Siesta Summer Bible Study Session 2 – COTD from LPV on Vimeo.

In case you have trouble viewing the video greeting, here are the discussion points for your small group and for your comment content to this post:

1. From p.46, middle of the page: Did 1 Thessalonians 2:8 stir up a story of your own about a way you have shared not only the Gospel but also your very self because someone had become so dear to you? If so, please share a portion of it with us.

 

2. From p.50, in the margin toward the bottom of the page: Isaiah 38:15 records words from the pen of Hezekiah that poignantly describe bitterness: “I walk along slowly all my years because of the bitterness of my soul.” I suggest in the lesson that bitterness makes our souls heavy and our feet like anchors and it ages us far beyond our years. Share something of the impact bitterness has had in your own life and, if God has delivered you from it, testify.

 

3. From p.51, mid page: Share a time when you experienced some form of persecution because of your belief in Jesus. This topic will only grow more relevant in a culture increasingly hostile to Christianity. We’re going to have to learn to expect it, deal with it, and not shrink back in our faith because of it. Our tendency will be to return insult for insult but Christ has called us instead to bless when we are cursed. (1 Peter 3:9) Nothing about it will be easy. We’ll have to be deliberate to be victorious.

 

Do Weeks Three and Four of your homework for our next gathering. If you are watching the optional video teaching sessions through LifeWay, watch Session 3 right away before you begin Week Three homework then, after Week Three homework is complete, watch Session 4. Follow up Session 4 with Week Four homework. Click here to access all of the teaching sessions. 

 

Week  Three Memory Verse:

“For now we live, if you are standing fast in the Lord.” 1 Thessalonians 3:8

 

Week Four Memory Verse:

“For the Lord Himself will descend from heaven with a cry of command, with the voice of an archangel, and with the sound of the trumpet of God. And the dead in Christ will rise first.” 1 Thessalonians 4:16

 

I love you guys so much! May God reveal Himself unmistakably and personally to you throughout these 8 weeks! I am honored beyond words to serve you. You can drop off here and say goodbye or, for those of you who like this kind of thing, you can scroll on down for a few pictures from last week’s Camp Bibby:

At the Aquarium in Houston. The whole complex was a total blast and God gave us perfect weather. We could easily have had a 3-digit temperature that day but it was dryer and cooler than a normal June day in our warm city.

 

My boy and me on the Ferris Wheel that looks right on downtown Houston:

 

Annabeth and Aunt Melissa (AB’s present obsession) on that same Ferris Wheel:

 

I love the above picture because Melissa looked so similar to Annabeth at that same age. Needless to say, Annabeth is the spitting image of her mother but her hair is much darker than Amanda’s was. Amanda stayed very blond through her young childhood. Below is the actual picture I promised in the video where all of us froze trying to figure out what creature Annabeth said we’d petted. She was right though and here’s the proof! Stingray-bonding with Aunt Melissa:

 

This picture is from the restaurant in the Aquarium. Our table was right next to it. We were all mesmerized by watching the fish in the enormous tank but Annabeth was totally lost in a world all her own. I’m sure she was Ariel swimming right among the fish in the ocean of her imagination.

 

This was our boating day on Lake Conroe about an hour from our home. We took Keith’s boat and he taught both kids how to steer it right at his side. It was so much fun. We took the boat all the way to the other side of the lake and docked it at a pier and ate at Papa’s Burgers right on the water. It was a magical day for the children. That modest sized lake would have seemed as large as the Gulf of Mexico through their young eyes.

 

 

Thank you for humoring me! I love them so much it hurts.

Happy homework and I’ll talk to you very soon!!!

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29 Years of Lessons

About a week ago I turned 29. That’s big time, right? Being one year away from 30 and all. Something about turning 30 makes me feel like I will have arrived or something. I was about to say that I think people treat 30-somethings more serious, but maybe 30-somethings start to take themselves more seriously. But, anyway, what do I know, I’m getting ahead of myself.

As my birthday was approaching I started scribbling down things I’ve learned these past 29 years, things silly and serious. While I still have a long way to go and so much to learn, I thought I might share them here.

In no particular order, here’s to 29 things I’ve learned in 29 years:

1) I am slowly learning that I have little to no control over the circumstances that surround me, but it’s the circumstances around me that Jesus uses to shape me the most.

2) Learning how to sauté and roast vegetables changed my life. For the better.

3) Often I’ve found that effective leaders are good listeners; which shows me that to be a good leader, you must be a good listener.

4) Sometimes honor means leaving someone better than you found them. (In an ideal world, this would be true of dating, too.)

5) I think if we all adopted the mentality of “what can I do at my church so that more people can come and hear about Jesus?” instead of “I can’t worship because it’s too loud and someone took my seat.”, we as a church would be a lot happier.

6) People you can be yourself with (the good, the bad, and the ugly) are a pure gift.

7) I’m slowly learning that the schemes of the enemy are crafty, yet so obvious. His main goal is to get our attention off of Jesus Christ. He likes it when our minds wander.

8) A late-night bowl of cereal is always a good idea.

9) Friends re-runs never, ever get old.

10) You and I are an original. Scripture says so, “Each of us is an original.” Gal. 5:26

11) Laughing until you cry is the best thing ever, ever, ever. It is reviving.

12) If we didn’t have any handicaps, no limitations, we would never realize our deep need for Christ in our lives.

13) Asking the right questions makes all the difference in the world.

14) If you do not love, you are nothing.

15) There will never come a time in your life when you won’t need the church, and by that I mean the Body of Believers that makes up the church.

16) Part of having good, solid friendships is learning to be a good friend. It takes two to tango.

17) It’s okay to admit that you’re wrong. Or hurt. Or not okay. That’s why you’ll never outgrow the Body of Christ. They carry you when you’ve been through the wringer.

18) Everybody longs to be truly known. But everybody wants to really know somebody, also. It’s how we were created. For intimacy.

19) There’s a cost to being known, it’s called vulnerability. And vulnerability involves risk. But it’s worth it.

20) There is nothing wrong with purchasing Disney movies (ahem, Frozen) even if you have no children to blame it on.

21) It is unfathomable to me that not only does God not make mention of our sin if we are in Christ, but He doesn’t even recall it. We are spotless in his eyes. (Yet ironically we are so good at recalling others sin and holding it against them. Ouch.)

22) Change takes time.

23) What marks a good friendship is that you talk about the trivial things and the deep things.

24) Babies are the cutest and most snuggly after bath time. Swoon.

25) It blows my mind that no two sunrises or sunsets are ever the same. Our God is so creative.

26) We can’t pretend to have it all together and then expect people to relate to us. People relate to the real us, the flawed us, not the fake us. Believers and non-believers alike.

27) I find it so perplexing that relationships of all kinds are the one thing we all desire in life, but they are the one thing that can do the most damage. Help us, Jesus.

28) Correct me if I’m wrong, but I’ve observed lately that while women write and sing songs about being brave, men write and star in movies about being brave. Hmmmm.

29) Aiming to invest in people over impressing people is the way to live.

To those that have invested and imparted these things in me, you’re the best. Thank you!

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Optional Link for Session Two

Hey Bible Study Ladies!

It’s Tuesday and I’m sure some of you are wondering where our Children of the Day Session Two video might be! For those of you that have wondered this, I’m just here to remind you that Beth will greet us every other Tuesday with her own greeting on the blog, but, if you are keeping up with the teaching sessions, then today would be the day (or whatever day you’re choosing to do Bible study), to download session two through LifeWay.

As a gentle reminder, the teaching sessions are completely optional and are not required to do the study with us here on the blog. Like every other summer, they come at a very small cost for each session, which is why we leave it up to you to do with you group or not. We do apologize if that was unclear. We try our best to serve you ladies and are so honored you’d join us for the summer!

I’m embedding the link to LifeWay here again today so that you won’t have to go on a treasure hunt for it should you want to access the teaching sessions! Just click here! This week you would be watching session two.

We love y’all and pray this study is already bearing much fruit.

Happy Tuesday!

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LPL Stockton Recap

Good Monday morning, ladies! I have a feeling most of you are starting out your first week of summer. Well, those of you with kiddos at home. I can imagine y’all spending days poolside, at splash parks, in the movie theater, hiking, crafting and all manner of things you mamas are creative enough to come up with to fill the long, sometimes exciting and sometimes not-so-exciting days.

Beth starts Camp Bibby today with her two loves, Jackson and Annabeth, so I doubt we’ll hear much from her as she has her hands FULL this entire week. She has the week off, so we won’t see much of her, either. Feel free to send up a prayer on her behalf for an extra dose of energy this week, especially after serving at an LPL this past weekend! She’s the best!

I purposefully left the blog a little quiet last week so most of you could get caught up on our Siesta Summer Bible study kick-off. Y’all, we have over 4,000 of you participating with us this summer! And those are just the ones that actually “registered” on the blog. You kept me on my toes last week!

Hopefully this week we’ll have just as much fun here as Jackson and Annabeth are having at Camp Bibby. I’ll do my best to serve y’all and keep you entertained. Grin.

In the meantime, here is this weekend’s recap from Stockton, California. Rich did a fantastic job, as usual. Be blessed, my friends!

Living Proof Live | Stockton from LifeWay Women on Vimeo.

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Siesta Summer Bible Study 2014: Launch and Registration!

Welcome everybody! This is our first gathering for Children of the Day and we are incredibly blessed to have you along! If you’re just now hearing about it, we’d love for you to join us! You’ll find it most helpful to begin by reading this previous post that includes our approach, our summer Bible study schedule and many other specifics: (SSBS 2014 Info post) All you need to participate is the workbook entitled Children of the Day. We only officially “gather” here on the blog every two weeks because summers are so busy.  On each of those 5 Tuesdays (starting today), you’ll find a video I’ve prepared for you with instructions for that day. I’ll also remind you to do the next 2 weeks of Bible study before our next gathering. View it personally if you are going solo or, if you’re joining in with others, with your small group. I’ll always put the bare bones of that gathering’s instructions in print in the post as well (as you’ll see below) in case you have any trouble viewing the video. Here’s your first one!

 

 

Basic written instructions in case you have trouble with the video:

Register for our summer Bible study by simply leaving a comment to this post per instructions below. Of course, you can take part without registering but you’ll get much more out of it if you fully participate. It not only increases accountability. It stirs up a sense of belonging and fellowship which is so important to us here in this blog community. 

 

Here’s what we’d love for you to supply in your registration comment today: (Try to limit yourself to this information so it will be easy to read and count.)

 

1. Your NAME.

 

2. Your CITY.

 

3. Whether you’re going SOLO or in tandem with a small group. If you’re in a small group, share approximately how many are in your group and where you are planning to meet.

 

4. Share in a sentence or two why you could really stand to be in Bible study this summer. Maybe it’s that you’ve never been in one before. We would be elated! Or maybe it’s been a long time. If so, this is a great time and place to come back home to the heart of Jesus. Maybe you’re just hoping to get to know Christ a little better. Or, perhaps you’re interested in particular subject matter that appears on the pages of 1st or 2nd Thessalonians. On the other hand, maybe you especially need to be in the Scriptures because you have extenuating circumstances that could really challenge you this summer. What’s motivating you to get into the Scriptures with us this summer? There are no wrong answers!

 

5. BONUS question (optional):  WHAT IS A QUIRK OF YOURS?? Come on, now! Tell us!


If you’re meeting with a small group, share your answers to questions 4 and 5.

 

I will pitch out a memory verse each week for anybody who wants to participate:

 Week 1 Memory Verse:

 1 Thessalonians 1:4 The NET Bible: We know, brothers and sisters loved by God, that He has chosen you.

 

Week 2 Memory Verse:

1 Thessalonians 2:8 The NET Bible: …with such affection for you we were happy to share with you not only the gospel of God but also our own lives, because you had become dear to us.

 

 

Do WEEKS ONE AND TWO of your homework before our next gathering in two weeks! If you’re watching the OPTIONAL video teaching sessions, you will want to watch Session 1 this week before you start your homework and Session 2 before you start your second week of homework. Here is the link: Children Of The Day Sessions

 

Don’t feel pressured to go to the added expense. All you need to participate in the summer study is the workbook. 

 

I am so honored to serve you and study with you this summer! Can’t wait to see your names and locations! So much love to you, Sisters! We joyfully embrace each one of you. 

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LPL Stockton Ticket Giveaway For You and a Guest!

Good Monday morning, Ladies!

It is a big week here at LPM! As if our kick-off tomorrow of the Siesta Summer Bible Study isn’t enough, we are also so very excited about this weekend’s Living Proof Live in Stockton, CA!   Beth is hard at her studies, but we want to remind you about our new ticket giveaway initiative. We are still experimenting how best to do our giveaways, so we thank you for your patience during this transition.  Our desire and ongoing emphasis this year is toward those who may not know Christ at all, or maybe have never been discipled in His Word.  Young, old, friend, or family, we welcome them.  If while inviting them to attend, you yourself also need a ticket, then we by all means want to help you go.

Personal invitations are huge! Do not be discouraged if the friend or family member you asked declines your invite. No discouragement! Keep looking for open doors and open hearts and keep pressing on in prayer. As Believer’s, pointing others to Jesus is our job, and our joy; to tell those who don’t know about Jesus, or simply get them somewhere they will undoubtedly hear about Him. We are praying and believing for salvations this year!

With five days until the event, we still have some tickets for Stockton we would love to give away. And we will do so until the last one is accounted for.  If you aren’t near Stockton, keep in mind upcoming LPL’s near you: 2014 Schedule   Just call and ask for Kimberly here at the ministry, and she will get you set up: 1-888-700-1999

If you need a refresher on our new emphasis this year, or for some reason you missed it, just click here.

We love y’all so much!

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The God of Again

Yesterday I drove up the bumpy dirt road from my house to the highway singing my heart out to God, the wheels of my thoughts still turning from the time I’d had with Him earlier that morning. My soul felt alive. My eyes, wide awake. I pulled out onto the main road and wound my way to work, passing all the familiar scenes. Farms and pastures gave way to schools and businesses and, with every mile, I grew more preoccupied with one glorious wonder: God’s willingness to do that thing that He does again and again. Moved that, after umpteen million ups and downs, God is still willing to move me.

 

I love that God is a God of again. I’ll get dry and think the bloom is behind me and that the best I’ll be able to do is maintain and try not to lose what I have left. Then I’ll be scared it’s all gone and never coming back.

 

And here He’ll come again. The Scriptures will jump back to life for me like breathing bones. The Cross will suddenly feel to me like it all happened yesterday and like I was right there in the gore and grandeur and grace of it all. I’ll feel alive with belovedness and anxious to love. Awake with forgivenness and anxious to forgive. I’ll feel called and sent and ready to go. The reverberating power of the empty tomb will fill my soul again and I’ll try my hardest to roll that stone back over the entrance and trap Him in. Then, like Mary Magdelene, I’ll throw my arms around His neck and try to hold onto Him right there where He appears most obvious to me. I want Jesus to stay put. I want it in the worst way. But then…

The wind blows wherever it will, and you hear the sound it makes, but do not know where it comes from and where it is going. So it is with everyone who is born of the Spirit. John 3:8

 Try as you may, you can’t catch the Holy Spirit like a firefly and keep Him in a jar.

 

Of course Jesus never leaves us. We are sealed.

He abides. He remains.

His presence is a fact, not a feeling. But those moments when He’s willing to make Himself known are without equal, I think, in the human experience. The next day comes and its demands and distractions with it. I read and not much happens. I pray and not much moves.

 

But sooner than later, His fullness comes again. His shadow will pass nearby through some kindness, some revelation, some word on that sacred page – and maybe not even to me but to someone I love – and my heart will light up again. Or tears will well in my eyes. Not just tears of sentiment, though they are a gift and have their place, but eyes pooled with the Spirit. Enlightened with fresh hope.

 

Only God can keep doing that again. He alone can quicken our souls like that. He is the initiator. He who brought it, brings it back. He who did it, does it again.

 

What patience.

 

What love.

 

What resistance to boredom.

 

What willingness to risk that faithfulness could be misinterpreted to its receivers as routine.

 

Abide with me just a moment in the wonder of this: God is willing to awaken our sleepy, sluggish, selfish, sinful souls over and over again.

 

I’m not new to so much of this. I was in the church nursery by a few weeks old. I’ve heard ten thousand sermons and read nearly as many books. I’ve heard the sound of my own teaching until I thought that if I heard another word from this mouth, I’d have to punch myself and I’ve wondered how God couldn’t be sick of me, too. This has been my life between and within the train wrecks. I’m not new to Jesus. I’m not full of surprises to Him. I’m not new on the docket. But in His unfathomable and tender mercy, He keeps making Himself new to me.

 

That’s what takes my breath away today.

 

And God listened to the voice of Manoah, and the angel of God came again to the woman as she sat in the field. Judges 13:9

 

And the Lord called Samuel again the third time. And he arose and went to Eli and said, “Here I am, for you called me.” Then Eli perceived that the Lord was calling the boy. 1 Samuel 3:8

 

And the Lord appeared again at Shiloh, for the Lord revealed himself to Samuel at Shiloh by the word of the Lord. 1 Samuel 3:21

 

And the Lord listened to the voice of Elijah. And the life of the child came into him again, and he revived. 1 Kings 17:22

 

And the angel of the Lord came again a second time and touched him and said, “Arise and eat, for the journey is too great for you.” 1 Kings 19:7

 

He prayed to him, and God was moved by his entreaty and heard his plea and brought him again to Jerusalem into his kingdom. Then Manasseh knew that the Lord was God. 2 Chronicles 33:13

 

Again Jesus spoke to them, saying, “I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will not walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.” John 8:12

 

So Jesus again said to them, “Truly, truly, I say to you, I am the door of the sheep.” John 10:7

 

Jesus said to them again, “Peace be with you. As the Father has sent me, even so I am sending you.” John 20:21

 

 

Again.

 

Blessed, beautiful, merciful, divine again.

 

So I write today for someone with a heart for Jesus who wonders how she’s going to keep it. And, if she can’t, how she can get it back again. Someone whose life, marriage, health, home, sanity, job or ministry depends on it. You’re the one I want to talk to today. I’ve been you. I’m still you.

 

He who chose you before creation, authored your faith, and birthed new life in you through His Spirit will see to your reawakening again and again. Not in your timing but in His. Not with your methods but with His. He alone ignites, sustains, and reignites holy fire. The fire is in His palm. It is not of your making. It is not yours to manufacture.

 

That doesn’t mean there’s nothing you can do when all is cold and ashes.

 

When you’re parched, tell Him you are. When your eyes are dim to wonder, tell Him you cannot see. When you’re getting bored, have the courage to say it. When you think you’ve heard it all, tell Him your heart is lying to you, for in Him are hidden all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge. When you get sick of yourself, plead to see in the mirror what He sees in you. When you get sick of somebody else, hold your frozen heart straight up to the heat of His holiness.

 

When nothing moves you, move to the floor. Tell Him you’ve got to have Him teeming with life in your bones. Beckon Him and welcome Him over and over to pour His Spirit on you. And He’ll do it again. In His own time and His own way but, make no mistake. He will do it again. Even when we’re the ones who ran off the fullness of His Spirit.

 

 

But the hair of [Samson’s] head began to grow again after it had been shaved. Judges 16:22

 

Praise God.

 

Even when your body lays lifeless on your deathbed, He will do it again. He will stand you on your feet in His presence.

 

God cannot seem to resist an opportunity to resurrect.

 

You don’t have to accept the waning of wonder as the natural evolution of a long-term relationship. Accept it as a visitor but refuse it as a resident. And, when it visits, don’t waste all your energy ranting and writhing and despising it. The floor in the banquet hall of revival is always made of sand. This has been one of the hardest lessons for me to learn. A garden blooming is not a miracle. A desert blooming, now that’s the miracle.

 

It takes a certain amount of lifelessness to know what it means to be revived.

 

Why are you cast down, O my soul, and why are you in turmoil within me? Hope in God; for I shall again praise him, my salvation and my God. Psalm 43:5

 

 

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Where Do You Even Begin?

This morning I got an email from a sweet lady asking where in the world she should start? Start what, you might wonder? Where to start as a new believer. Basically, HOW IN THE WORLD DOES ONE DO THIS THING?

At first I wanted to forward the email on because I didn’t feel the least bit qualified to answer such a question, especially when she mentioned that “though she wasn’t saying reading the book of John as the standard answer is a bad answer”, she just wanted more.

To be more specific, she wondered, “If I don’t want to look like a complete fool as it relates to Biblical knowledge, history, early church, and generally how the Bible was compiled, where do I begin?”

I so appreciated the email because I feel like there are so many out there asking that very same question, hence the reason for this post. Maybe they’ve even read the book of John, but are having trouble interpreting it and they just need some clarity. I get that, I really do.

So, in all my naïve wisdom, as a 28-year-old still-learning-what-life-is-all-about, I am here to offer you what I personally have done, and what I know scripture points to.

1) PRAY.
I know. That’s not what you were looking for. But it’s the gospel truth. Tell the Lord EXACTLY what you are thinking and feeling, He already knows anyway. If you read a portion of scripture and you are more confused than when you dove in, tell Him. Be honest. If you can’t be honest with the God of the Universe, I don’t know who you can be honest with. And of all people, He can handle it. And He cares. So, pray.

One very specific thing you can pray if you’re just starting out as a new believer (or a seasoned believer) and treading uncharted territory is, Lord, open my mind to understand your scriptures! It is straight out of Luke, “Then he opened their minds to understand the Scriptures…” Luke 24:45. In fact, I have that plastered on a sticky note right in front of my computer at work so I remember to pray that. Because news flash, a lot of times I don’t always understand! He hears you! The last thing you should do is let your lack of understanding keep you from reading the scriptures. Find a translation you like that works for you. It’s okay if everyone around is you is into the English Standard Version (ESV) and you’re drawn to the New Living Translation (NLT). Don’t let comparison discourage you! Read The Message translation if you like it. There is no formula! I have personally found that for me one of the enemy’s biggest schemes is to get my mind wandering away from all or any thing Jesus. The more I allow my mind to wander and daydream, the worse off I am. The more I am in the scriptures (and it is a FIGHT at times) the more sane I feel.

2) CHURCH.
Yes, this millennial is telling you to get yourself in a church. It’s a big deal! Whether you believe in it or not, you need those people. You need the church. You need the older. The wiser. The younger. The married. The single. The children. The people. As hard as you try, you can’t (and won’t for long) survive without them. These are the people that will welcome you, encourage you, love you, pray for you, laugh with you, cry with you, teach you and grow with you. You have a place (and a gifting – 1 Corinthians 12:27) in the body of Christ, don’t let anyone tell you different. Plug yourself into a church where Jesus is the focus. That may seem obvious, but it’s vital.

Consider Hebrews 10:24-25 to help you understand why the church is of utmost importance, I really like it in the Amplified version.

“And let us consider and give attentive, continuous care to watching over one another, studying how we may stir up (stimulate and incite) to love and helpful deeds and noble activities, Not forsaking or neglecting to assemble together [as believers], as is the habit of some people, but admonishing (warning, urging, and encouraging) one another, and all the more faithfully as you see the day approaching.”

Side note: Besides learning the discipline of prayer, this may cause you to be the most brave, but do it! You will find all manner of excuses not to go, but ignore them. Create the time go and commit! Commit until you know that if you missed, someone would notice. I know for some this may mean going alone, but if you never try it, you might not experience the blessing. Be brave, friend!

3) BIBLE STUDY.
I have found that the easiest way to meet people in church is to either serve or attend a small group or Bible study of some sort. Once you find a church, this will be a little easier, as most churches offer multiple Bible studies. If you’re not comfortable serving right away, no shame! You may not even know where you’re needed or what you’d be interested in doing. So, start by attending a weekly study either on the campus of your church or in someone’s home. And by all means, if this is foreign to you and you have no idea how to go about doing this, for heaven’s sake, ask somebody! Find someone standing behind an information table, ask the person sitting next to you, just ask. People are there to help, and they want to help! Simply put, the easiest way to get acquainted with the Word is to study it, and studying it with other people around you is even better, especially if you’re just beginning. Plus, this increases the level of accountability, and we all need someone to assist us in this. Even better: Ask if your church hosts any type of Bible class. You never know what the church might offer.

Can I just be honest? This is all hard. Life get’s busy, distractions pop up, you get weary. Maybe results are slim, but in the end, it will be worth it. You’ll NEVER waste a minute pursuing Christ. So to those of you who are brand new to this Jesus thing, we ARE SO GLAD you landed here! Persevere, walk it out, get honest, and just have fun. And for the record, and if you hear one thing, hear this, if anyone makes you feel like a fool for not knowing the “basics” of studying the Bible, or having to look in the table of contents to find a certain book of the Bible (which, hello, I have done just recently), then you can find a new friend. NO ONE should make you feel like that! We ALL started there. No one came out of the womb a know-it-all. You are never a fool for asking questions and being honest. Never.

If you’re looking for specific books that are more in-depth, and study books that aren’t necessarily Bible studies, a few years ago Beth compiled a list for our blog readers. You can find that here! It has some really great resources for anyone, but especially if you desire to be a student of the Word.

And if this is old news to some of you, then encourage somebody with it who has the same questions. It’s all about discipleship!

I’ve heard it said a million times by a pastor I respect greatly, you don’t just stumble into godliness, it takes work! As with most things, there is so much more you can do, but this is a start! There is hope, and godliness is possible.

We love y’all so much.

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LPL Spokane Recap Video

Happy Monday, friends! Here is the video recap for Spokane. We cannot wait to hear all about your weekend! Much love today!

Living Proof Live | Spokane from LifeWay Women on Vimeo.

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Interrupted Expectations

Howdy, friends!

Allow me to reintroduce myself to you:  My name is Lindsee, I was born and raised in Houston, TX, I’m tall with brunette hair and…

I’m only kidding.

It’s been well over two weeks since I’ve poked my head around these parts of the LPM Blog. While I literally keep the blog up on my computer screen at all times during the workday, I’ve only been present behind the scenes.  I’ve not said hello!

So, hello! Or, howdy. Or, hi. Or, aloha. Or, whatever synonym you can come up with.

About two weeks ago I set out with my sweet roommate and we headed west to the great state of California.

(Is this where I admit my jealousy for you fine folks that live there ALL THE TIME. My word, it is stunning in every way. Minus the earthquakes, which, thank you, Jesus, I did not have the pleasure of experiencing.)

Anyway, one of the beauties of being single is having a little more freedom to travel, if you have the vacation time.  I hadn’t used my vacation time to actually take a real life vacation in a while, so I did just that. We spent six days traveling all over Northern California, gallivanting through San Francisco, driving down The 1 (are you proud of me for using “The 1” correctly?), stopping every 15 minutes on the highway to take it all in, pulling out our iPhones trying to capture the beauty in pictures, rested, rode a few cable cars, ate some incredible food, were fascinated by all manner of people watching, toured Napa, stood inside big Redwood Trees and other fun things like that.

Listen, if you’re a creature of habit like I tend to be and desire to vacation to the same places over and over again, can I just encourage you to take a risk and visit somewhere you’ve never been? There is so much joy in seeing different cities and cultures and meeting new people. Just try it. And if you hate it, by all means, go back to your happy place.

Needless to say, I’m beyond grateful for that precious time off and a sweet time of rest and renewal.

A few days after I got back I was at lunch with my coworkers when I confessed to them that I had gone on my trip with the expectation that the Lord would give me some big revelation about Himself, or some insight on things I was praying about when, lo and behold, I returned with a phone bursting of breathtaking pictures, fun memories galore, but a journal full of empty pages. Although I spent most of my trip in complete awe of the Lord’s stunning creation, I didn’t get my big revelation.

Right after I shared that thought over lunch, Beth, understanding this phenomenon, shared that often when she’s in a creative setting (Insert: The California Coast) is when she is less creative.  She mentioned that usually it’s when she covers her eyes with her hands and can see absolutely nothing that the Lord gives her the most revelation because nothing is distracting her from her goal.

I realize it’s not impossible to get revelation, creativity, and inspiration in stunning places, as this may be where some of you thrive, but for me, it made so much sense. The more beautiful my surroundings the less creative I am because I don’t NEED to be creative! Light bulb moment for yours truly.

I’ve sat at my desk 28 times since then and shut my eyes to see what might be revealed, and still nothing but black, but I trust the Lord. I trust that when we seek Him with all our heart, we will find Him.

Because I tend to process things a little slower, I’ve thought about that statement every day since and tested it in myself to see if that is true of me, too. And, I think it is. Since then, I’ve realized that most of my inspiration, creativity, revelation or however you want to label it comes by sitting down with a friend over coffee, or simply reading. And sometimes, it just takes faith and a fresh piece of paper and a new pen.

Naturally, it got me thinking about all of you. Sometimes I read the comments from you ladies and am stunned at the revelations and words you share. The way the Lord uses you to encourage all of us stuns me. I often wonder what your relationship with Jesus is like. Isn’t it crazy that sometimes even through a computer screen we can sense someone’s intimacy with Jesus? Only God.

So I’m curious, where do you find that you are most creative? In what spaces does the Lord often reveal Himself to you? Is it on the beautiful coast of California, or in your day to day reflections and routines? When I was on staff at a church before coming to LPM, I was known to ‘preach’ to the students that they did not have to wait for summer camp for the Lord to do something big in their life. He wants to do something in us in the midst of our everyday lives. I still hold true to that. I’m a big fan of camp, and getting away, even Jesus did that, but I’m also a big fan of seeking Him in our routine days.

He is so faithful, my friends. So faithful.

And in case you needed some refreshment, look no further than the west coast.

Carmel, California. Yes, please!

You can’t go to San Francisco and not get a picture perfect postcard of the Golden Gate Bridge. Perfect Day.

Sunset at the Fisherman’s Wharf.

Napa.

The 17 mile drive. Stunning.

Deep sigh. It only took seven days to fall in love with California. I miss it already.

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