Ministry Update, Summer 2010


Hello Prayer Partners!

I hope you are all having a blessed summer and are enjoying some time with friends and family.

Here is a quick update for you so that you know how to pray for this ministry.

Tomorrow I am heading to Irvine, CA, and the 2010 Exodus Freedom Conference through Exodus International. This will be three days of much healing for hundreds of people who seek freedom from homosexuality and much equipping for friends, family and ministers who seek to walk alongside men and women in that journey. This is the 35th anniversary of the Exodus Freedom Conference, and it is returning to the site of the first conference. As you can imagine, the atmosphere in California is not particularly welcoming to a conference that is designed to help those leaving the homosexual lifestyle. Planning for protests and rallies and pro-gay gatherings has been going on almost as long as planning for the conference. Here is how you can pray over the next few days.

Safety for those traveling to the conference.
That we will have opportunities to share the Gospel with those we meet on the way.
That those who come seeking healing will find it
That worship times will be freeing, authentic and Christ-centered
That those who come to protest will have positive experiences and will see the love of Christ in conference participants
For boldness and compassion for those who are speaking and teaching
For wisdom as we counsel many hurting people
For supernatural strength and encouragement for those who are working in the Conference.

This will be a very intense but encouraging time for everyone involved. Your prayers are greatly desired and appreciated!

Back here in Chattanooga we have some good things going on as well! God is greatly blessing the group of women that began a discipleship small group together in February. They are all fighting hard to find their freedom and identity in Christ and it is a rich blessing and encouragement to watch their faith and confidence grow each week. We have expanded our group for the summer to include women who come from all walks of life. We are going through the study Believing God by Beth Moore. We began this past Saturday night and will have over 20 women participate with us! These women are single, married, divored and widowed, they are ages 16 to 67 and come from many diverse backgrounds. But they are all unified in their desire to genuinely believe God so that they are equipped to live out the faith they claim. The excitement in the room was tangible as women openly shared of their desire to move past lives of mediocrity in order to enjoy the rich blessing of abundant life in Christ! Please pray for this group over the next ten weeks. We meet on Saturday nights, 6:00-8:00, and they have all made quite a commitment to give up their summer Saturday evenings in order to have this time of discipleship and fellowship. Please pray that God will bless their faithfulness and obedience richly and that their growth will ignite the sparks of revival both in their personal lives and in their respective churches.

God is doing an amazing work in the lives of the women I get to work with each week, and it is a blessing to see that growth. As a teacher, whether in the school room or in a church or conference room, there is nothing better than watching the lights come on in the lives of your students as they have “Aha!” moments. God promises that we will find Him when we seek Him with all of our hearts (Jeremiah 29:11-13). There is an ever-increasing desire to know and to love the Savior, and transformation in the lives of women who faithfully seek after Him cannot be denied.

Thank you all for your prayer support! I will send out an update next week concerning the Exodus Freedom Conference.

Blessings,

Bekah

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Creativity and Suffering


In Italy for thirty years under the Borgias they had warfare, terror, murder and bloodshed but they produced Michelangelo, Leonardo da Vinci and the Renaissance. In Switzerland, they had brotherly love; they had five hundred years of democracy and peace and what did they produce? The cuckoo clock.
Orson Welles

What is it about adversity that causes mankind to reach the heights of greatness? As Welles so humorously pointed out above, some of the most stunning pieces of art, some of the most famous stories and songs, some of the most incredible sculptures and photographs and poetry were created in response to times of great pain and struggle and heartache.

What is it about suffering that inspires creativity? Is it our inherent need to be known? Are we desperate to have a community with whom we can share our troubles, but feel we must first create a community by expressing our suffering? Is it a cry out to know that we are not alone in our suffering? Is it just a need to get it out before our own hearts explode from the pressure? Why do people shine the brightest in moments of deepest darkness?

This creativity in adversity is part of our nature; it is a part of the image of God imprinted on the soul of every person. God’s greatest work in Scripture occurred in the midst of some of the darkest moments in human history. Creation occurred in literally the darkest moment. When the Creator made time, He began his work with nothing. The word used to describe the work God did when he fashioned Eve from the side of Adam is the same word used later in the Old Testament to describe the artistic handiwork of the craftsmen commissioned to build the Temple. God is an artist. And He used the darkest moment in human history to serve the greatest purpose in divine sovereignty.

1 Therefore, since we have been justified through faith, we have peace with God through our LORD Jesus Christ, 2 through whom we have gained access by faith into this grace in which we now stand. And we rejoice in the hope of the glory of God. 3 Not only so, but we also rejoice in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; 4 perseverance, character; and character, hope. 5 And hope does not disappoint us, because God has poured out his love into our hearts by the Holy Spirit, whom he has given us. 6 You see, at just the right time, when we were still powerless, Christ died for the ungodly. 7 Very rarely will anyone die for a righteous man, though for a good man someone might possibly dare to die. 8 But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us. 9 Since we have now been justified by his blood, how much more shall we be saved from God’s wrath through him! 10 For if, when we were God’s enemies, we were reconciled to him through the death of his Son, how much more, having been reconciled, shall we be saved through his life! 11 Not only is this so, but we also rejoice in God through our LORD Jesus Christ, through whom we have now received reconciliation. (Romans 5)

Did you catch that? At the end of suffering, there is hope. There is hope in spite of suffering because of the work of Christ on the cross. The most incredible creativity in adversity is born in the minds of those who, in the midst of suffering in this fallen, sinful and broken world, continue to long for a better country (Hebrews 11:6). Those who suffer without hope see no point to suffering, and their work reflects their hopelessness.

Some of the most beautiful passages of Scripture were written in the depths of pain and sorrow. And the beauty in them comes in the fact that, in spite of the desperate expression of pain, there is always an equally desperate acknowledgment of the love and sovereignty of a God who loves us deeply and knows our pain and is there with us in the midst of it.

Creativity in the face of adversity is the human soul testifying to the fact that there must be something more to this life! When life is peaceful and prosperous, our longing for a better country subsides and we become, in the words of CS Lewis, “far too easily pleased” with the pleasures of this world. But when we are faced with adversity beyond our control, we are also reminded that we are ultimately not in control of our own lives. There is something greater than us, there is a place greater than this one, and we long for it.

How do you respond to adversity? Does is cripple you, draining you of your faith and balance, causing you to shake a fist at God or the Universe or whatever other being you worship? Or does it increase your longing for a better country, forcing you to join all of creation in its groans for redemption? Does it put you in a paralyzed state or does it spur you to move to action in a desperate search for truth and understanding in a seemingly pointless situation? Do you think, “Why me?” or “What can I learn from this?”

When you face suffering, do you crash and burn or soar and create? Is your inspiration found somewhere within the transient and fallen creation, which is sure to fail and disappoint us, or have you found the Creator, the life source that “does not disappoint”?

Meet Achile


Compassion International does amazing work for children all across the globe. Whether it is meeting basic life needs like food and shelter or providing life improving miracles like stable family situations and education, Compassion is involved on the ground every day.

We can look at the big picture of pain and poverty and suffering across the world and become hopelessly overwhelmed with the enormity of the namless, faceless task at hand. Or we can peer down into the mass of supposed hopelessness and pluck one up and make a difference. We could each do that in the life of one child by signing up to sponsor a child in desperate need of assistance. This is just one way that, as believers, we can fulfill God’s command to care for the orphans.

Another way is to help with one time, immediate need events in the lives of others. Achile is a young boy living in Burkina Faso who needs such help. Achile has been receiving treatment for a congenital heart defect in Burkina Faso, but doctors have determined that he requires a life saving operation that cannot be performed there. Compassion is working to raise the $20,449 needed to take Achile to a specialized hospital in India for the operation to be performed.

Would you please consider donating to this cause? The collective good of all of us donating what we are able is multiplied exponentially; everyone doing what they can really can change the world. It will change Achile’s world. For more information, please visit the Compassion International website, here.