Oh Jesus, take me to the red

Beth pic 1More than a thousand women gathered at Lutheran Church of Hope November 5th and 6th in West Des Moines for Living Proof Ministries with Beth Moore.  Pens poised, Bibles open,  they were  hanging on Moore’s every word. I was told that Moore does not give the same teaching twice during a tour of speaking dates.  Moore revealed some of  the process through which God revealed to her what she needed to teach for every conference.

“This is not a performance,” was the first thing she said, and she seemed to narrow her eyes directly at me. That got my attention. “Y’all have been prayed over. This conference has been prayed for,” she continued. Was she responding to the piece written in The Atlantic, where the writer described Moore as a charismatic performer?

God’s lesson plan for West Des Moines was the importance of Jesus’ words in the Gospels. His creativeBeth pic 2 power. In some Bibles, his words are in red letters. The weekend theme was “In the red,” and 15 ready words in the red with Seismic results. Cindy Morgan’s song, “In the Red,” served as the backdrop. Although I am familiar with and appreciate a lot contemporary Christian artists, I had never heard this particular acoustic ditty before and you can’t help but groove to the bluesy rhythm. I always relish a song or two that fits thematically with my Bible study. Especially something catchy that I can sing.

Moore asked us to write our favorite spoken words of Jesus on a portable whiteboard, during our breaks. A red marker was the given writing instrument. By Saturday afternoon, the white board was covered in red. Then she gave us 15 statements that Jesus spoke, beginning with one word for the first statement, two words for the second statement, and so on. Moore was confident that at least one out of 15 would speak to us, because when Jesus speaks, stuff happens. For each red letter statement, she explained the cultural and historical background, and the significance to how it applies to us today. “Which one speaks to you in this moment?” she asked.

My statement is number 11: “Woman, why are you crying? Who is it that you’re seeking?” from John 20:15. Jesus was talking to Mary, comforting her when she didn’t yet realize he was in his resurrected body.  “We have to learn to tell Jesus what we’re mad, or bitter, or terrified or raging about,” explained Moore.  Insert your name for woman. Insert any emotion for crying.  “Are you in the habit of telling the Lord why you are upset? You have got to learn to name it. Who is it that you are seeking?” Moore asked.

You could a hear a pin drop after that one, as we all needed to ponder Moore’s point. It’s much healthier to take our negative feelings of envy, frustration, disappointment or grief to Jesus, rather than blaming others, because Jesus knows and understands us already and only he can heal us.

Moore also launched into a commentary on American church culture, and for good reason. She urged us to re-connect to the Jesus of the Gospels – not to be so consumed in correct doctrine, although she didn’t deny that importance as well. “I don’t care how smart the theologians are, if we are meaner than snakes to each other, then something is wrong.”

Number 10: “What is that to you? As for you, follow me.” John 21: 22. This is one confronts those of us who occasionally have issues with comparing ourselves to others and occasionally competing, or occasionally feeling less than or not good enough. That would . . . um . . . occasionally be me. IMG_1587 (2)

No, Moore can hardly be called a “performer.”  She is truly a servant of the Lord using her gifts to glorify Him. You feel like she’s your BFF sitting across from you at your kitchen table, sipping tea, and just honestly sharing what God laid on her heart. You feel so welcome. She said she felt warmed and welcomed by Hope Church and West Des Moines. “I do not take that for granted.” She said in some conference venues and churches, she deals with  different atmospheres.

You know you’re in the presence of a great teacher and sincere worship when you don’t realize that two hours has passed, and that your physical hunger and thirst could wait as your spiritual needs are fulfilled. After a few hours spent with her, you find yourself energized and ready to boldly approach  strangers on the streets about God’s love. That is the power of the Gospel, my friends!

Travis pic 1I can’t believe I almost missed this. I wasn’t actually  planning to go.  I knew about this event for a year. She was originally scheduled to come in 2020.  I was  excited to gather a group for a discount rate then. I sent for the fliers and invited several people. And then the pandemic hit. Fast forward a year and a half later. I was lamenting that too many interesting events are happening in the Des Moines area on Saturday mornings, which is my sacred writing time, and I miss out. Constantly making hard choices is frustrating. This conference was just another distraction. I really did want to go, but the cost?? Furthermore, I still wasn’t sure what I was writing about.  Meanwhile, my husband, unbeknownst to me, texted a former classmate, someone with whom he graduated from Watauga High School. Within 24 hours, Travis Cottrell responded positively, saying he would love to get together with us during his stay in Des Moines and Beth Moore tickets? Free! My husband nonchalantly read out loud this response and I nearly fell out of my chair in shock, and then cried in gratitude. Then I realized that this conference was precisely what I was supposed to write about. My prayer in January 2021, and when this new web site was launched in August, was that the Lord would lead and guide me toward my content. My preference is to know well ahead of time exactly what I’m going to write. Like Beth, I have learned to trust in whatever the Lord reveals to me, and he is so faithful in making it obvious time and time again.

All of the musicians, of course, were amazing. It takes time and effort and hours of rehearsal (not togathering mention behind the scenes issues)  to prepare for these conferences and each of the vocalists sang beautiful harmony and solos. Every instrumentalist, from the violin, to the guitars, drummers, and keyboardist were spot on as well.

Travis surprised me when he gave his own mini-talk on the Gospel. Maybe he’s taking over for Beth now? I have no doubt that he could preach his own sermon. And then Beth joined the musicians on stage and sang a hymn with them. When is your CD release date, Beth?

I can’t even begin to explain how blessed I was by everyone at this conference. The energy, the message, the worship, the humor and the tears all made it unforgettable. I would have never thought that West Des Moines would be a city Living Proof Ministries would care to visit, but apparently Jesus led them here, provided beautiful weather, a beautiful church and open hearts who desperately needed the red.

Published by Digging Deeper

I have a TESOL degree from Iowa State University and taught for three years at Kansas State University and one year at Chatham University in Pittsburgh while earning a Master's degree in Fine Arts in creative writing. I am currently a stay at home mom for two children and have returned to Des Moines, Iowa, where I grew up. Religion has always been a part of who I am but only in the last 10 years have I considered myself a genuine Christian. In my writing I explore issues of faith and how it relates to living life, sharing my faith and my personal journey of growth in my daily walk with God, so I'm not a theologian or a seminary student, but just enjoying uniting faith with a love for writing.

2 thoughts on “Oh Jesus, take me to the red

  1. I was fortunate to attend last weekend’s conference as well. You did a wonderful job describing what was shared and all the emotions that went with that experience. Thanks, Leslie for not only taking time to share your story about this but all your previous blogs. You are very talented. Keep up the good work!

  2. After reading this beautiful and inspiring post, I wished I could have been there to see and hear Beth Moore. I recently read one of her many books – she’s a good writer and it’s wonderful to see how God is using her to touch so many lives!

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