LPL Green Bay, WI Recap!

 

Leave a comment here. | Share with Others:
Share

Bookmark for Green Bay LPL “Life Wide Open”

*UPDATED

For those at Living Proof Live Green Bay:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

To print your bookmark:

1. Right click to open each file separately.
2. Print both files on one 2-sided piece of paper.
3. Cut and enjoy!

 

If you prefer a PDF version, click the links below:
Front: Green Bay Bookmark Front
Back: Green Bay Bookmark Back

 

Leave a comment here. | Share with Others:
Share

It’s a Good Good Friday: My Own Billy Graham Story

Comments Off on It’s a Good Good Friday: My Own Billy Graham Story

A number of years ago, fifteen or more I think, I was invited for the first time to speak at The Cove, the Billy Graham Conference Center. I was honored to be asked and had looked tremendously forward to it and prepared diligently, prayerfully. I’m also a mountain girl and I never met a Blue Ridge Mountain I wouldn’t have married. It was the first weekend of November. I remember the time of year distinctly because it holds a significant place in this story. I almost always travel alone to conferences to minimize any distraction to a sense of Christ’s presence as I prepare but my wonderful hosts at The Cove had set aside a two-bedroom cabin for me that was perched, I was told, in a spectacular spot on the mountain, just above the conference center.

 

My friend, Jan Silvious, was within driving distance of it and I knew she’d be the perfect cabin companion for those three days because she also travels and speaks and teaches and knows what it takes. And she’s refreshingly low maintenance. We rarely get to be in the same place so it couldn’t have been a better time to pull off a reunion.

 

When I arrived at the conference center, I was taken aback by its beauty. It remains, to date, one of the most breathtaking places I’ve ever served. It was late Fall but Fall nonetheless and girlfriend’s a sucker for Autumn. I recall it being a pleasant kind of chilly. I’m not even sure I wore a coat. A sweater and a jacket was more like it, I recall. The young man hosting me asked if I’d like a tour of the building and the grounds. Yes, yes, of course, I would.

 

It happened almost immediately. This is the wretched side of having a rough and sinful background. You supply the enemy with so much material for condemnation and your self-destructive human nature is more than happy to double-team with him. I say this is the wretched side but, make no mistake, there is a good side. God’s grace to me is not in vain. I never, not for one minute, forget what Jesus pulled me out of. I never walk toward a microphone that I do not remember my past. I am not remotely tempted to believe any hyped-up press. I don’t know how leaders with a more righteous track record handle all of that but God is faithful to guard us and uses other means I’m sure. These are the means He uses very effectively with me.

 

How I have learned through the years to recognize the difference between God making the best use of my sinful past and Satan capitalizing on it is, of course, the result. The outcome of the Holy Spirit whispering, “No matter where I send you, never forget from where I saved you,” is humility. The outcome the enemy whispering, “No matter where he sends you, never forget what all you’ve done,” is misery. You’d think after a while I wouldn’t fall for it but sometimes it still rolls over me like an avalanche. That afternoon was one of those times.

 

No thinking person imagines Billy Graham was a perfect man. We all recognize there is no such thing. We are all weak in our natural selves. Christ alone was utter perfection wrapped in bruisable flesh. But, touring those grounds, it is absolutely impossible to miss how much the man did right. There’s also just this sense of sacredness there that I can’t explain. Perhaps even righteousness. Whatever it was, I suddenly felt woefully out of place. Jan arrived and we settled in our delightful, cozy cabin. I never said a word about what I felt. I spoke that evening for the first of what would be three times over the next 24 hours. The group was warm and welcoming and God seemed present. When we got back to the cabin that night, Jan looked at me and said in the plainspoken way that makes her one of the most fabulous people on earth, “What is wrong with you?”

 

When you are trying to hide how you really feel about something, never invite a Christian counselor to join you. They’re onto you. And they don’t mind confronting you.

 

“Nothing’s wrong with me!” I smiled my happiest. “I think I’m just tired. The time change and all.”

 

“It’s a one hour time change,” Jan quipped, deadpan expression. “Beth Moore, I know you. Something’s wrong and I want you to tell me this minute what it is.”

 

I mean, what was I going to say? “I feel bad about myself.” Oh, brother. Get a grip. Have a little cheese with that whine. I knew she’d roll her eyes and should. I wasn’t new to this thing. I teach the power of the cross continually and pound heavily on the difference between Holy Spirit conviction and self-condemnation. But, for the life of me, I could not pull myself out of this one. It was not that I felt guilty. It was that I felt heartbroken. Even the recollection causes tears to sting in my eyes.

 

I hugged my friend, told her how happy I was that she’d come, assured her I was OK, which she, of course, knew was bull, and we each headed to our rooms and went to bed.

 

The only person in the universe I wanted to talk to was Jesus. I lay in that bed and sobbed and sobbed with a wide-open Bible on my heaving chest. I suppose it was open to the Psalms. I’m not sure. I couldn’t have seen through my tears to have read a single word. Sometimes you just hold the Scriptures. I said in whispers between sobs, “You were worthy of that.” “I wish so much I’d done it that way.” “You were so so worthy of that.” “I wish I could do it all again.” “I am so sorry.” “I am so, so sorry.” My past relationship with defeat was complicated. I covet those with backstories filmed in black and white. “I was in terrible sin. Then I met Jesus. Then I never terribly sinned again.” If that’s your story, you are so blessed. Depart from me, I never knew you.

 

I was a little girl when I came to know Jesus. A very troubled little girl who would cycle in and out of the pit for years and years. My darkest time of sin and defeat did not occur out of rebellion. I was not looking for trouble. I was awakening to the brilliance of Scripture and was becoming increasingly enraptured by Jesus. I’d already surrendered my life to ministry at 18 and pledged to be faithful to Him all my days. I wasn’t. I have no explanation for the darkest season except that Satan placed a bet on my well-hidden brokenness wrought by victimization and unrelenting instability in my childhood home. At the time I fell into the deepest abyss that would ever swallow me, I was a young adult who genuinely loved Jesus and never let the sun come up without meeting with him. The devil’s mean. The flesh is stupid. And together, they team up for a trainwreck.

 

That dark time was years behind me as I lay in bed and sobbed that night in the cabin above The Cove. I’d long since had counseling over it. Long since, by the grace of God, broken out of the pattern that had dogged my young years. Long since lived in the light. I’d truly repented and never returned to that pit. Still, the regret at times was almost more than I could bear. Every wave of fresh love I’d have for Jesus would be followed sooner or later by a fresh wave of heartbrokenness over old sin.

 

Jesus was strangely quiet that night as I wept. Often in a wave of despair like that one, His Spirit will remind me of certain verses or I’ll sense His comfort. I didn’t feel like He wasn’t with me. I just felt no response at all. Not even a good, swift kick in the pajama pants like, “Oh, get over it.” Nothing, just quiet. Just despair. I cried until I was empty, my hair sopping wet at the temples. I fell asleep with that Bible wide open on my chest.

 

The next morning I awakened well before dawn and crept quietly, so as not to awaken Jan, into the small den between our two bedrooms to turn on the coffee maker. I looked out of the picture window of our cabin and saw a strange and unfamiliar sight. I squinted my eyes and looked as hard as I could. I walked over to it and tried to make out what I was seeing. I hurried over to the door and opened it and everywhere I looked, it was the same sight.

 

I ran into Jan’s room and said, “Get up! I have to show you something!”

 

“What on earth?”

 

“Jan, get up! I need you to see something! I need to ask you something!”

 

I got her by the hand, dragged her onto the porch of that little cabin, both of us in our pajamas, and I turned her toward me, held her by the shoulders and said, as seriously as I have ever said a word in my entire life, “Jan Silvious, I have a question to ask you and I need you to think about it and be very sure about your answer before you give it to me.”

 

“OK,” she said, looking completely confused and coffeeless.

 

I pointed toward the limbs of the trees right in front of us. “Jan, is that frost? Or is that snow? I need to know.”

 

“This is what you got me up for?”

 

“Jan. Frost? Or snow?”

 

She shook her head and laughed at her friend from the hotlands of the Texas Gulf Coast and said, “Beth, that is not frost. That is snow. Frost does not heap up on the branch.”

 

And I began to jump up and down right there in my pajamas and I yelled from the top of my lungs for that Blue Ridge Mountain and every soul on it to hear, “Whiter than snow! Whiter than snow! Jan, Jan, Jan! I’m whiter than snow!” Got her by the arms. Made her jump with me.

 

“We’re whiter than snow!”

 

That morning when our host greeted us, he said, “How about this snow? We weren’t expecting it this weekend. It’s pretty early for these parts around here.”

 

Oh, no no no, Brother. It was right on time.

 

It was one of the best days of my life.

 

Today, on this day, we remember the best day of our lives.

Christ’s worst day. Christ’s best day. The day toward which the first day dawned. The day heaven and hell crashed violently in the skies and the devil who’d shown up for his big triumph was put to open shame.

 

And you, who were dead in your trespasses and the uncircumcision of your flesh, God made alive together with him, having forgiven us all our trespasses, by canceling the record of debt that stood against us with its legal demands. This he set aside, nailing it to the cross. He disarmed the rulers and authorities and put them to open shame, by triumphing over them in him. Colossians 2:13-15

 

“Come now, let us reason together, says the Lord:

       though your sins are like scarlet,

they shall be as white as snow;

       though they are red like crimson,

they shall become like wool. Isaiah 1:18

 

Purge me with hyssop, and I shall be clean;

wash me, and I shall be whiter than snow.

Let me hear joy and gladness;

let the bones that you have broken rejoice. Psalm 51:7-8

 

 

Whiter than snow, loved one in Christ. The nightmare is over. You’re clean.

 

Whiter than snow.

 

 

 

 

| Share with Others:
Share

LPL Boone, NC Recap!

Leave a comment here. | Share with Others:
Share

LPL Boone, NC Scholarship Tickets!

 

**UPDATE: We have shared all of our scholarship tickets.**

Hey North Carolina! This weekend Living Proof Live is coming to you!

We are returning to Boone, NC as we continue celebrating twenty years of Living Proof Live. Boone is also the hometown of our beloved worship leader Travis, where he says the unofficial motto is: Where God gets His mail!

Have you ever had the chance to see Beth live? If the answer is no, here’s what you might expect at a Living Proof Live event…

  • Hear a unique message specifically prepared for your city.
  • Worship with Dove Award-winning worship leader Travis Cottrell.
  • Laugh, pray, and study scripture with thousands of women from all walks of life.
  • Leave with a renewed sense of calling, purpose, and love for Christ.

Sound good? This event is sold out, so we only have a handful of special scholarship tickets to share.  If you’re a first-time attender and you’d like to join us but can’t swing the cost, one of them has your name on it.  All you need to do is give Kimberly Meyer a call at our office and she will set you up: toll free 888-700-1999 (Not an 800 prefix.)

We sure love Jesus and His Word, and want you to fall more in love with Him, too! He is our great hope and joy. For more specifics about this weekend in the High Country, visit LifeWay.com here. We are praying that God’s presence would be powerful and undeniable this weekend.  There will be a group of ladies excited that you are in the room.  Come join us!

Leave a comment here. | Share with Others:
Share

The Promised Pound Cake Recipe

Hey you Ft. Lauderdale girls! As promised, here is Beth’s go-to pound cake recipe. I pray it blesses you (and your neighbor)!

5 Flavor Pound Cake:

2 sticks butter, softened
1/2 cup Crisco shortening
3 cups sugar
5 eggs, well-beaten
3 cups flour
1/2 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. salt
1 cup milk
1 tsp. each of vanilla, lemon, almond, coconut and butter flavor extracts

In a mixer, combine butter and Crisco until smooth. Add sugar and beat until fluffy. Add eggs and mix. In a small bowl, blend together dry ingredients: flour, baking powder and salt. Add in flour mixture, alternately with milk. Mix in extracts. Pour into well greased and floured tube pan. Bake at 325 degrees for 1 and 1/2 hours. Let cool completely before you turn it out of the pan. That means you’ll need to make it about four hours in advance of serving. You can put a glaze on it but it doesn’t need it. You can also throw some fresh strawberries or blueberries on it with whipped cream.

Leave a comment here. | Share with Others:
Share

LPL Ft. Lauderdale Recap!

 

Leave a comment here. | Share with Others:
Share

LPL Ft. Lauderdale, FL Scholarship Tickets!

Hey Florida! This weekend Living Proof Live is coming to YOU!

We are returning to the city where it all started this week twenty years ago – Ft. Lauderdale! Have you ever had the chance to see Beth live? If the answer is no, here’s what you might expect at a Living Proof Live event…

  • Hear a unique message specifically prepared for your city.
  • Worship with Dove Award-winning worship leader Travis Cottrell.
  • Laugh, pray, and study scripture with thousands of women from all walks of life.
  • Leave with a renewed sense of calling, purpose, and love for Christ.

Sound good? This event is sold out, so we only have a handful of special scholarship tickets to share.  If you’re a first-time attender and you’d like to join us but can’t swing the cost, one of them has your name on it.  All you need to do is give Kimberly Meyer a call at our office and she will set you up: toll free 888-700-1999 (Not an 800 prefix.)

We sure love Jesus and His Word, and want you to fall more in love with Him, too! He is our great hope and joy. For more specifics about this weekend in Ft. Lauderdale, visit LifeWay.com here. We are praying that God’s presence would be powerful and undeniable this weekend.  There will be a group of ladies excited that you are in the room.  Come join us!

Leave a comment here. | Share with Others:
Share

LPL Seattle Recap!

Leave a comment here. | Share with Others:
Share

Sorting Through the Church’s Silence

Comments Off on Sorting Through the Church’s Silence

The choirs of outcries from Hollywood over the Harvey Weinstein scandal concerning crimes against women and those echoing globe-wide over the atrocities of USA Gymnastics team doctor Larry Nassar against children drop a question of epic proportions into the lap of the church:

Why are we who preach and teach “the truth will set you free” largely bound by silence regarding sexual assault and abuse?

Rachael Denhollander’s cogent courtroom testimony, masterfully articulating both the grace and justice of Jesus Christ, made her identification as a Christian beautifully clear. We were immensely proud to be her sisters and brothers and to stand with her in the public square. Then came the irony of discovering that her advocacy for sexual assault victims had cost Rachael her church. What’s more, most of us suspect her congregation wouldn’t have been the only one. What are we to do with this disparity? Why would followers of Jesus be among the least vocal and the slowest to respond when Christ, whom we are called to imitate, was a relentless defender of the powerless, misused, victimized and abused? In specific regard to children, why do we – activists in numerous other streams of concern – choose reserve about wrongs for which Jesus reserved a titanic threat?

“If anyone causes one of these little ones—those who believe in me—to stumble, it would be better for them to have a large millstone hung around their neck and to be drowned in the depths of the sea. Woe to the world because of the things that cause people to stumble! Such things must come, but woe to the person through whom they come!” (Mt 18:6–7 NIV). 

A few of the most obvious reasons have been discussed and cussed in recent months. Protecting powerful people (which can include ourselves), institutions and systems from shame, accusation, desertion and defunding are a few major contributors. Throw alongside those a nobler rationalization: the preservation of the “greater good.” This, of course, is an absurdity since hiding abuse will ultimately and absolutely be the institution’s (and the person’s) undoing. God just really doesn’t let us get away with that kind of thing forever. He’s too faithful. Christ’s own theology of secrecy can be summed up in two simple words: secrets manifest. Thankfully, the assurance is true in regard to good secrets as well as bad. (Matt.6; Mark 4) The faster we uncover the toxic ones before God (Ps.32:5) and before proper authorities, the better. Lastly, what we’ve proved willing to overlook for political gain has rendered us mute lest our hypocrisy know no bounds and, although that matters to me, that’s not the fish I care to fry today. My purpose in this article is to throw another possible explanation on the table for consideration.

I wonder if much of our silence, our squirming and palpable discomfort, regarding the exposure of sexual abuses is wrapped up in our guilt, shame or brokenness over our own sexual sins. After all, who among us hasn’t committed sexual sin whether in imagination or action? I will leave room for perhaps three of you out there somewhere who are now officially excused from this discussion. Please go reward yourselves with a half gallon of Ben and Jerry’s which we ask you to consume in one sitting just to make the rest of us feel some level of comfort over your gluttony or go covet your coworker’s car or at the very least be visibly proud of your purity over all aforementioned transgressions so we can be consoled by your sinful pride. Maybe the rest of us could sit around here for a second and give this theory some mild consideration. Even if our sexual sins belong to our pasts and our lives bear fruit of true repentance, we may still have an enormous reluctance to bring sexual misconduct to light.

And for good reason. Take John 8, for instance, and the woman caught in the act of adultery dragged into the temple courts and Christ’s response to whether or not she should be stoned. “Let him who is without sin among you be the first to throw a stone at her.” Every accuser fell silent to the thuds of rocks dropping at their feet. Which of us has the right to throw a stone? None, of course. That’s the way of Jesus. That’s the way of grace.

The thought that it could be our own sins shamefully exposed is so horrifying that we’ve ripped off a piece of duct tape and slapped it across our mouths. Most of us have not only committed some form of sexual sin. We’ve also grappled at one point or another with some level of sexual dysfunction, however well we hid it or quickly we moved through it. The statistics on pornography alone testify to our skewed sexuality. We understandably feel guilty about pointing out such weaknesses in others and our sensitivity to hypocrisy is appropriate. We see the faces of the accused all over the media and imagine our own mugs between their crimson ears and the sordid reports of our own sinfulness in print instead of theirs.

But here are a few questions I’d like to pose: do all sexual sins call for the same response? Are we meant by God to respond to the sexually abusive the same way we respond to the sexually immoral? To be sure, all stones of condemnation drop to the dirt in the presence and perfection of Jesus, crucified for our sins and raised from the dead so we can walk in newness of life. His grace extends to all. His forgiveness is earned by none. All sexual sins have negative repercussions but all sexual sins don’t cause the same level of repercussions. Likewise, all predators are immoral but not all immorality is predatory. Do we walk away from an unrepentant rapist because we’ve all sinned sexually in one way or another or do we apprehend him? Do we ignore a church leader’s sexual harassment because we slept with people in college? Forgive me for being so direct but these things need sorting out.

If we are going to move to a place of healthy community in the church where there is thriving instead of conniving, where the sheep are protected instead of the wolves, where the abused find shelter instead of the abusers, we’re going to have to sort out our convoluted thinking about sexual misconduct.

It is imperative that we learn to differentiate between sexual immorality and sexual criminality.

Both are sin.

Both call for repentance.

Both require grace.

Both can be forgiven, slates wiped clean, by our merciful God though the cross of Christ.

Where church and ministry leaders are concerned, both also call for proper action. But one calls for a different proper action. It calls for the police. While all sexual sin is immoral, not all sexual sin is criminal. There is sexual sin in general. And there is sexual assault in particular. There must be a distinction drawn between the two.

Here’s the bottom line. The problem is enormous but it doesn’t have to stay that way. We’ve helped blow it up to its current size with our breathy silence. We won’t be able to eradicate sexual crimes – only the coming of Christ’s kingdom will accomplish that – but, by His grace, power, wisdom and courage we can lessen it in our own midsts by a landslide. We have victims of sexual assault, molestation and abuse all over the church – 1 in 4 females and 1 in 6 males – just as we do in virtually any community. We also likely have some predators and abusers in our congregations. So, do we quit going to church? No, unless we want to quit going to work, too, and to malls and social gatherings and sports events and concerts. Anywhere you have a crowd of people, you are among those who have abused and been abused.

So, what can we do? We address it head-on. We start making it well known – wisely and without witch-hunting histrionics – that the church is henceforth an unsafe hiding place for predators. It’s a great place for them to go forward and repent and turn themselves in, casting themselves on the grace of God with the rest of us but it must cease to be a safe harbor where they can hide and perpetuate their crimes. We need pastors and teachers who are willing to address these realities often enough to alter the silence culture.

I think numerous Christians genuinely just need to know it’s God’s will to expose such things. After all, love covers a multitude of sins. And, thank God, it does but love does not perpetuate victimization by covering for a victimizer. Love that uncovers one in order to cover another is by no means loving. We’re smarter than this. We can discern better than this. We know in our gut that covering up grievous wrongdoing because the individual is a fellow believer can’t be what 1 Peter 4:8 means.

Ephesians 5:11 says “Take no part in the unfruitful works of darkness but instead expose them.”

Ephesians 5:13 follows it up with these words: “But when anything is exposed by the light it becomes visible, for anything that becomes visible is light.”

We don’t expose darkness darkly, with condemnation, hatred and vengeance. We expose darkness by the light of Jesus. Anything – absolutely anything – the light reveals, the light can also heal.

God alone knows the impact Rick and Kay Warren will have on churches all over the world because they were audacious enough last Sunday to address the topic of sexual abuse and assault from the platform in all their services. Kay courageously, shamelessly told her story, shared ramifications of the abuse and the road to healing and Rick preached on the themes from Scripture. I will long remember Rick’s address to his congregation. After nearly weeping with compassion over the hurt many had suffered and saying the simple but fitting words “I’m so sorry that happened to you,” he said this: “God has made me shepherd over this flock. I will do everything I can to make Saddleback Church a safe place for the sheep but it will not be a safe place for wolves. If you are a predator and you prey on my flock, I will hunt you down and I will turn you in.” He also invited abusers to the cross of Christ, to repentance and forgiveness, and prayed for them. It was not the abused that left church frightened that day. It was the unrepentant abusers and make no mistake. Fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom. (Prov.9:10)

We need more than a handful of people to activate. We need church and ministry transformation. We need brothers and sisters who are brave enough to sort through their own sexual messiness, to repent where it’s called for, to be infused by the Holy Spirit to discern wisely and to distinguish accurately, to love healthily, comfort and protect valiantly and to help create an atmosphere where people thrive and healing really can take place. We need us all. We need all of Jesus.

I’ll end with this. A few days ago my morning Scripture reading included the first two chapters of Ruth. I was halted by Naomi’s statement of affirmation regarding the field of Boaz as a safe place for Ruth to work, even with many men close by (see Ruth 2:21). In Ruth 2:22, Naomi used these words: “It is good…lest in another field you be assaulted.” What the chapter conveyed about both Naomi and Boaz as alert, aware and proactive protectors was profound. Women, let’s be like Naomi, informed, smart, discerning, and like Ruth, willing to listen to sound counsel – not fear-mongering but sound counsel – about safe versus dangerous places. Men, take up the mantle of Boaz and see to it valiantly, wisely and shrewdly, that in your field, whatever and wherever it may be, no one gets assaulted. And, should anyone be harmed despite your watchfulness, you know what to do.

Do what is right.

| Share with Others:
Share