Release date: September 20, 2016
Tyndale House Publishers
Release date: September 20, 2016
Tyndale House Publishers
We have a dream that our gloriously faithful God is bringing to pass. All of us on the Living Proof-LifeWay team involved in Living Proof Live would give anything if we could just throw open the doors to our events and do them free of charge. You cannot imagine how thrilling that would be for all of us. Event costs are grossly prohibitive and the only way to cover a non-ticketed event is to take up offerings perhaps even multiple times during the gathering. If you’ve been to large events, that’s why you’ve seen one of two practices: they are either ticketed or supported by offerings. Neither way is ideal and, with God’s leadership and with right hearts and motives and godly stewardship, neither way is wrong. In our structuring, we’ve met costs through ticketing then given away as many scholarships as possible – primarily behind the scenes – so that ticket costs would not prohibit women who so desired to attend from coming.
At the same time we’ve had this deep wish to do a throw-open-the-door event, God placed a dream on another woman’s heart – one woman’s heart – who leads Bible study and ministers to Native American women in Arizona. Her great desire was to bring Living Proof Live to Chinle to sow wider seed of God’s Word into that fertile soil in order that many more would be saved, transformed by the power of the Spirit, informed about discipleship opportunities then discipled in ongoing Bible studies from that point forward. THAT, my friends, is some kind of vision! Keep in mind, all of what I’m about to share with you was placed by God on ONE FAITHFUL WOMAN’S HEART who was willing to pray with feverish faith and believe Him wildly for the people she dearly loves. As she presented this deep desire to the LifeWay team and the LifeWay team shared it with me, our eyes grew wide and our hearts leapt in our chests. We cried out, “YES!!!!!! Our answer is yes! We don’t know how we’ll do this but Jesus will show us!”
And this is the unfolding result:
LPL Chinle, AZ is a unique one-day ministry event that will serve the Native American women among the Navajo, Apache, Hopi, Ute, and Zuni tribes. It will be funded entirely by a scholarship program in which women from all over the country can provide a scholarship ticket on behalf of a Native American woman. Women sowing into women. It doesn’t get better than that.
Who is invited to attend this event?
Native American women living and/or working and serving on a Native American Reservation. We want so much to serve these beautiful women and sow into a great harvest of God among them that could have effects for every generation of their descendants until Christ’s kingdom comes.
Here are two ways to participate:
We will gather together in the worship of our worthy and living God and in the study of His Word on Saturday, October 8, 2016 in the Chinle High School Wildcat Den. We are believing God to do something WAY BEYOND what we could plan or ask or accomplish. Something none of us at the event will ever forget, ever get over and ever cease to see the effects of. We are powerless to make this happen. Jesus alone can do what we’re seeking. Please pray that He will. Please pray that He will show tremendous favor to this event. We want to please Him so much. No, we want to do more than that. We want to DELIGHT Him. THANK YOU, SISTERS!!!
Visit lifeway.com/chinle for more information.
I emerged from my prayer time and Scripture reading this morning with a burden on my heart for our ranks. I see and hear of truly astonishing works of God in our day. The ink in my pen flows warm with affection this morning and free of pessimism and hopelessness. I don’t have the luxury today of writing an overly-involved article. I will jump straight to what’s on my heart.
We are warned in the Scriptures that darkness will increasingly rage as time hastens toward Christ’s return. We are not date-setters but this we know. His return is closer today than it was yesterday. And the enemy is angrier today than he was yesterday. (Rev.12:12) And he wants us. He wants our testimonies. He wants to render us ineffective and make us a laughingstock. He wants to come between us and distract us with ridiculous things, showy things, boastful things, petty things, divisive things so that we’ll miss the tidal wave of temptation and seduction begging to engulf us. Jesus told us to be prepared. And we’re not. If we were, we’d be poring over our Bibles and flat on our faces in prayer. We’d come to our feet in the power of the Holy Spirit and preach and teach the Gospel with love and holy fire.
Instead, many believers – leaders and followers alike – will fall. Even servants who have had sincere and pure devotion to Jesus. 2 Corinthians 11:2-3 warns us this can happen.
And those many believers – leaders and followers alike – must be helped back to their feet. Biblically, compassionately, gently, diligently and completely. Churches must train mature men and women in the faith who walk in the Spirit to actively minister Galatians 6:1. You’ve got to know I’m not casting stones here. I well know what it’s like to be in the grips of bondage and in heaps of defeat and sin. I also know for a fact that, by the grace and mercy of Jesus, we can be transformed and old tendencies and repetitive cycles utterly broken.
We must hang on for dear life to the word repentance. Watch carefully as that word becomes less and less popular in our churches and on our Christian platforms. Do not think for a second there is no scheme of the darkness to see to it. I will not waste words here. I just ask you to go to the Scriptures and see all that hinges on repentance and start picturing the terrifying ramifications of its absence. In a Christian climate where we call less and less sin, we will call fewer and fewer to repentance. That’s not rocket science. Repentance is one of the most glorious rights hailed by the cry of Christ’s finished work on the cross. We get to repent. This is not our self-condemnation. This is not our self-loathing. This is our liberty. Our restoration. Our cleansing, whiter than snow. God delights to show us mercy and cast our sins into the depths of the sea. (Micah 7)
No one wants to fall grievously and no one has to. Sin is not our master. We all sin and grieve and quench the Holy Spirit. We all long for the day when faith will become sight and that which is incomplete will be made perfect. But we do not have to fall headlong into a ditch and, if we do, not one of us has to remain there. Each person has the right to get up by the grace of Jesus. The one who refuses the fallen the right to get up – and on the same level ground – is in far graver sin than he or she. God forbid that we would be a stumbling block to someone’s restoration.
We are not victims of the darkness. We are children of light, children of the Day, 1 Thessalonians 5:5 says. The difference between stumbling and falling is often the simple timing of our repentance. We don’t jump into a deep pit of sin. We take steps there. But, if we were to realize with that first or second step that we were already in trouble, we could repent right then. And we will have stumbled. But we will not have fallen.
Still, many will. And, by the power of Christ’s Cross and resurrection, each gets to grab hold of the hand of God and stand back up.
“The steps of a man are established by the Lord, when He delights in his way; though he fall, he shall not be cast headlong, for the Lord upholds his hand.” Psalm 37:23-24
I’ll end this with a cry to my sisters and brothers in Christ who are full of faith, believing voraciously in the power of the Word of God and for great works and wonders of the Holy Spirit in our day. Let’s tighten up our sanctification. Not our legalism, for the love of God. Our sanctification. Sanctification is a work of the Spirit and Truth, not of the law and the flesh. Let’s do some courageous self-examination and ask God to show us where we’re vulnerable to attack and where our feet are on the path toward a deep hole. Let’s shut illicit relationships down or they’ll shut us down. Let’s repent of our pride because it is the one guarantee of a pending fall. Let’s repent of our pretense. Let’s have the courage to face the brokenness in our lives and bring it without shame to Jesus. We can either deal with our stuff or I promise you our stuff will deal with us.
The enemy knows where we’re vulnerable. After thousands of years, he’s perfected his aim. He will not bother shooting many fiery darts where we are covered. He’s going for the bull’s eye, that glaring bald-spot where we refuse to come under the authority of Christ. We keep calling it a blind spot. Oh, we have blind spots alright but I don’t think they’re the biggest problem. We’re not blind to most of our disobedience and sin. We hope others are but we’re usually wide-eyed and well aware. It’s not a blind spot. It’s a bald-spot, uncovered because we so badly don’t want to give Jesus authority over it.
Here’s the thing. We who believe so much in the work of the Spirit in our day will be the biggest targets because the enemy knows the gates of hell cannot prevail against the church. He can’t make it go away. He can only scheme to make it ineffective. And all that takes is to ridicule us into quenching the Spirit. Without the Spirit, the body of Christ is a corpse.
There is refinement and revival on the horizon according to the Scriptures. I want to see it with my own eyes. I want to be part of it. I know you do, too. And we can. The burgeoning unpopularity of Christianity will prove over time to be purifying for us but God help us in the meantime. My plea this morning is that we open our eyes to the darkness coming for us. A tidal wave of seduction looms over us. We are being taken down behind the scenes by the thousands, feeling alone and isolated and having no idea how many are enduring the same kinds of suffering and defeat. Let’s come back together and get brushed off, cleaned up and educated in the Scriptures and fortified by the Spirit. Let’s own our brokenness, our enormous temptations and weaknesses and go back to the practice of true repentance and commit ourselves to the pursuit of sanctification. Let’s learn how to restore. Let’s learn how to recognize fruit of repentance. Let’s help each other back to our feet and learn how to stay on our feet.
Let’s be the Church, bruised but beautiful. Innocent as a dove. Wise as a serpent. Smart and humble.
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We have a fun giveaway for you today! After watching Beth’s video below, leave your comment (one per person) to be a part of the random drawing. Comments will close Friday morning at 8:30AM CST, and 32 winners will be posted soon thereafter. We hope you win!
Hey, you guys! I bet you can guess what my head’s down under right now.
Oh, man. It’s a ton of work but I love it so so much. Researching then writing in-depth Bible study curriculum is still my happy place. I’ve never gotten over it. Every few days I get a tweet from somebody who has just started or finished A Woman’s Heart: God’s Dwelling Place and I think, often with a lump in my throat, what an invasive virus I caught from that very first journey. There in the pages of Exodus and in the detailed construction of that Old Testament Tabernacle and then in all that flipping to the New Testament to see it fulfilled, I fell so in love with Jesus and the Scriptures that I knew I’d study them in pursuit of Him for the rest of my days. Gah, I love it. I know so many of you do, too. The divine brilliance and beauty of the Bible still slays this woman right here.
The series I’m working on right now is on 2nd Timothy and will carry the title Entrusted. It will hit the shelves in September of 2016 so it won’t be a long wait at all. You will be so glad to know that Melissa is jumping in on this one with 2 articles a week like she did in the James series Mercy Triumphs. She also has a huge stack of resource books for her part of the study but the difference is, neither you nor I can read most of the titles of her books. I mostly point at her resources and say, “Man, that must be a real nail-biter.” But, boy, do I love what she does with them.
We won’t complete the written part of the series until June but the taping for the six sessions I’m teaching takes place next week on Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday. I cannot beg your prayers loudly enough. Please ask God to pour out His Spirit on every part of the taping and on every participant and upon me as I serve and teach. WE WANT JESUS. We are seeking such a powerful and fresh work of His Spirit in this series. We’re looking for an Ephesians 3:20. Please intercede for us!
One of the concepts we will develop throughout the series is the profound connectedness between generations so poignantly illustrated in the relationship of Paul and Timothy. Our effectiveness for the sake of the gospel dramatically increases when our journeys overlap and our spiritual gifts converge and we learn with one another and from one another. We will be challenged to become vastly more deliberate in equipping and encouraging one another, on cheering one another on, and helping each other navigate difficulties and get back to our feet when we’ve been thrown on our backs. These things are invaluable in the journey of faith. They can be the difference between us staying the course and quitting.
Needless to say, our biggest objective will be to thoroughly study the verses of 2nd Timothy, deliberating on each exhortation and taking note of the process of connectedness between Paul and his son in the faith. But as an older woman who gets a huge charge out of seeing what Jesus is doing in fellow servants my age and watching Him raise up mighty servants in younger generations, I’ll also be weaving in whatever I have to give from my own experiences and my own journey where it seems appropriate. Things I learned the hard way. What’s been hardest and what’s been the most gloriously rewarding. Lord help me, there’s so much I don’t know and much I did wrong and much I can’t offer but, what I have, I want to give to this study. This is where you come in if you’re willing. I don’t just want to share aimlessly. I’d love to know what you wish I’d address.
So, here’s what I’d like for you to do. Think about what you wish you and I could talk about if we could grab a Starbucks together. Form it into a clear question – just one – and present it in a succinct blog comment to this post. You might even tell me very briefly why you’re asking. (For instance, I’m a 22 year old who feels called to…) Your question can be about walking with God in general or about leadership in particular or about teaching or communicating or about navigating ministry or family. What would you, a person of faith, ask of a woman of faith who’s been around the bend a few times? Anything’s game if it’s genuine and I’ll consider questions from brothers in Christ, too, if any feel like pitching one my way. I will carefully go through your questions and answer as many of them as I can through the process of teaching and writing this study.
If you read the comments and see that someone has already asked your question, tell me that you wanted to ask the same one. That will make it stand out in my selection. I’d love to be able to mention your first name and the city you call home when I share your question and my response if that’s okay but, if you’d rather I pose the question anonymously in the series, just say so and I’ll gladly do that.
Sound like something you’d like to take part in? I’d be so grateful! I want to serve. NOT JUST TALK. I want to know what you’d find most helpful from a woman of my sort, whatever that weird sort may be. This blog community proved absolutely invaluable in the Esther series (The Red Book!) and in So Long Insecurity through the surveys I offered to fit those themes. Your input would be solid gold in this one.
I’m so grateful for your help! Honored to serve you. Please pray for me as I prepare for next week’s taping! Bless you today!