I just got back from my church's retreat, which used Beth Moore's Loving Well 4-session program. Beth Moore is one of the most inspiring, joyful, genuine, and spirit-filled women I've ever seen. She is from Houston, and has Tuesday evening bible studies for several weeks during the year at Houston's First Baptist Church. I haven't been able to attend since my divorce but used to go regularly. Thousands of people go! It's pretty amazing. She actually videotapes some of these bible studies, which end up as video bible study series that other people can then watch (often churches offer the bible studies using the videos) and she's written several books.
I have seen Beth live for two different bible studies and I have also done two or three of her bible studies through churches. I have to tell you, she is just so funny, and very real. She has been through so much in her life, and is so non-judgmental. Yet she really teaches you so much about the Bible. She loves to go back and look at the original language and what it means and by sharing that knowledge it really has deepened my own faith. I would love to be like her, so full of joy and goodness.
At this weekend's Loving Well conference - it was a video series - we learned that we can't love well until we feel well loved. We have to truly be able to feel God's love before we can give. She said that too many people in the church give and serve until they're worked to the bone but they're not loving well because they don't feel LOVED in their soul. There's a difference between believing IN God, and BELIEVING God. She asked the difficult question, Are you loving better now than you were 5 years ago? Because if you're growing in Christ, you're growing in love.
She also talked about four categories of people we are called to love - and used Bible passages to show this. Joy, Testy, Foe and Far. She put 4 chairs on her stage and placed those labels on each chair and had us imagine who those people are in our lives. Joy are people who are joys to love. Testy are the people who just drive you crazy. Foe are people who are an enemy to your soul, people who you even hate (or maybe in denial about hating, because it's not "nice" or not "Christian" to hate), and then Far who are the people around the world, the needy and the people different from us. We are called to love all of these. Then we got a booklet we can use for the next 4 weeks to go through some of the material on our own. (I put a pic that had Daline in it above because in my life, she is the one who I've known the longest who has truly been a Joy to love).
I am adding Beth's blog to my blogroll because I so love her!
More may come soon, but I wanted to just say that I came home to the most sweet valentine you can imagine. Doug sent me a "secret note" It came in a puzzle that I had to print out and then rearrange to uncode my secret message. (I hope he doesn't mind I am posting it on my blog and now it's not so secret! LOL).
A picture at the main lodge, where we stayed, and had our retreat sessions at. The retreat was held at Forest Glen outside of Huntsville and it was wooded and very beautiful. I didn't take any pictures outside though! I did lie near the lake on a bench and sit and pray quietly, and then also went on a nice walk around the lake with G later in the day. G and I - we drove up together! She's a wonderful woman with a kind heart and soul and a mentor to me. :)
The bed where I slept... notice the grey shirt? That's Doug's! I like to wear his shirt when he's gone because it reminds me of him! :) Plus it's super comfy...
I came home to this "secret note" from Doug. I had to print it out and puzzle it together.
All I can say is... I'm a lucky girl! :)
Here's a youtube video talking about the Loving Well Series. The 2nd part is here: http://www.lifeway.com/lovingwell/hear.htm