There are some differences between us. She's from down south (Texas south). I'm from up north. She has a southern accent, big hair, and uses self-tanner. I don't have any accent (don't we all think this?), haven't had big hair since middle school, and am very happy being a lovely shade of pasty white. She attends a Baptist mega church. I attend a small, Mennonite country church.
But since the first time I saw Beth teach, through a video series at a friend's church, I have felt such a close kinship to her. That kinship is Christ. We may not agree on everything, but where it counts, we are one in the same. Beth believes the Bible is God-breathed and therefore perfect truth and she believes that God wants a personal, daily relationship with us.
When I was younger, I believed all this without a doubt. Then, as I grew, I became distracted by social issues and when the cause didn't line up with Biblical text, there were ways to interpret it to make it support the issue.
I'm not saying God doesn't care about social issues. I believe the problem arises when those issues become more important than our relationship with God. If we don't have faith and the relationship isn't there, taking up those issues becomes rather hollow. It's still a nice cause, but when our motives are the same as those who are not Christian, whose name are we acting in? Our own?
I am thankful to say that I am am back to believing those things with all my heart. And not just believing, but seeking ways to strengthen that foundation. The best way I've found is to spend time in the Word and the best way (for me) to do this faithfully is to participate in Bible studies and classes where there is assigned readings. I always do my homework, you know.
As I mentioned the other day, I was privileged to see and hear Beth teach this past weekend. She taught from John chapter one and she began by asking the audience of 9300-some women how many of us had been raised in the church. The majority of us held our hands high. Through out the remainder of the three sessions, she used a musical analogy (since John 1 is often compared to the overture of an opera) reminding us that over time, we Christians can become a little flat or a little sharp. (Do you not totally know which one you are?!)
She called us back to "middle C"- Jesus Christ, saying that while we all may be looking forward, trying to determine the next step in our lives, what we really need to be doing is looking back to the basics- back to the reasons we are a Christian in the first place. She offered eight points to help us get centered.
1) We need to go back to the WORD (as in the Bible, and as in Christ Jesus). The Greek word, logos (word), also means the divine self-expression of God to man. The WORD (both Jesus and the Bible) is how God communicates with us. It takes two. Are we participating?
2) We have to go back to the GENESIS- the beginning. Jesus was there before the beginning/creation (John 1:1) and He is our new beginning. We get to start over. Our slates are wiped clean. Are we taking advantage of this offer to begin anew?
3) We have to go back to EXODUS. Jesus is our way out. John 1:17 says that the law came through Moses, but that the law was fulfilled in Jesus Christ- like Beth said, "He embodied it and every righteous requirement was met". He is our freedom, our way out of the bondage of sin.
4) We have to go back to the ultimate EXEGESIS. Stick with me, okay? I stuck with Beth so I could share this with you! The Greek word exegesis means that Jesus is the manifestation of the Father. If we are ever in doubt about what our God is like, all we have to do is look at Jesus. John 1:14 says that Jesus came from the Father full of grace and truth. Grace and truth. Does that sound like your God? If not, you may need remind yourself to look to Jesus for the traits of God.
5) We have to go back to GRACE and TRUTH! Our tendencies as Christians are to have a little too much of one or the other. Either we have a little too much grace going on in our lives and we give ourselves and others license to do just about anything because, well, you know, we're already saved and it can be forgiven.
Is that the way you lean? Or, are you more like me? Do you lean a little too hard in the truth direction and become the "religious police or the sin sheriff" whether you do so out loud or in your own head? Jesus balances the two perfectly. It would do us good to find more balance.
6) We have to get back to the GOSPEL. Do I need to say more? You know I will. How easy is it to forget the message that saved us and that we need to proclaim to others. We didn't become Christians by osmosis, we believed and were delivered.
7) We have to get back to ONE BLESSING AFTER ANOTHER. John 1:16 says, "And from his fullness we have all received grace upon grace." As in blessing upon blessing, as in over and over, as in waves of it. It cannot be exhausted. Jesus is full of it (see #4). It's a good thing because I am often empty and in need of a refill. Like, several times a day.
8) We have to go back to our FUTURE. We've looked back, reminded ourselves of who Jesus is and why we love Him and should be living for Him. Now, we need to take what we've learned and apply it to our lives.
I like to think of it as getting glasses for the first time- everything looks a little better, a little brighter, crisper and sharper. With all I've re-learned this past weekend, life today looks different than it did before I looked back, before I centered myself again.
And, man, am I thankful for that big-haired, self-tanned, Baptist southern woman who also happens to be one of the most humble, generous and real people I have ever had the privilege of hearing speak. And to the other 9299-some women, thank you for singing your hearts out- sending shivers down my arms and for bringing your Bibles, too. The sound of thousands of Bible pages turning in unison...well, words cannot express how it moved me.
Thank you, Beth, for teaching me. Thank you, Diann, for inviting me and letting me stay with you at your parent's house. Thank you Dawn, for driving and for letting me use your photo. Thank you, Steph, for sharing a bed with me and listening to my breast pump (rr-rrr, rr-rrr). Twice.
And, most of all, thank you, Jesus, for an opportunity for revival once again.
(Disclaimer: The words above are my interpretation of my notes and memory of what Beth Moore said this past weekend.)Pin It