Monday, July 25, 2011

Hold Fast

After a busy weekend, we're back in our groove here at the Ward household.  Thursday night we met my cousin, Caleb, and his darling girlfriend, Amy, at El Rodeo and had a wonderful time.  They are the cutest couple, and I'm so happy for them both.  Caleb filled us in on what to expect after he heads for basic training in 13 days.  Keep him in your prayers as he prepares for boot camp followed by Officer School where I am most certain he will secure a position in the Intelligence sector.  I'm so proud of him and thankful for all of the men and women who sacrifice so much to preserve the freedom and safety we often take for granted.  What an inspiration you are, Caleb, and we love you so much! 

I've been so excited to tell y'all about the Beth Moore conference.

Not sure how I plan on structuring the outflow of all this information I've been dying to get written down, but hopefully it will make sense and you'll be able to get something out of it.  It might be lengthy and take a few posts, but I'll get there so bear with me.

Friday, Jamie and I headed down to Charlotte to meet up with her boyfriend's Mom and some ladies from her church.  We attended the conference in Virginia with her boyfriend's Mom and her best friend last year, so the original 4 were back in business, ready to enjoy a weekend full of worship and teaching. 

little bit blurry...these ladies were excited

It was held in Uptown Charlotte at the Bobcats' Arena where 9,400 women were in attendance.

Holy moly that's a lot of estrogen.  And can I just say that it makes for a very slow moving Concessions line with the abundance of indecisiveness that I'm sorry to say truly plagues our gender.  Popcorn or a pretzel, Reese's Pieces or Skittles, Bojangles or a hot dog, water or Diet Coke...and so we waited patiently to pay upwards of $15 for a simple bottled water and 1/3 full box of candy.  But I digress.

Travis Cottrell (who is a well known Christian music singer, author of the new book, Surprised by Worship, and leader of Beth Moore's praise team) is Jamie's Uncle, so we were given awesome seats for the event which made it even more enjoyable.  Thanks, Travis!!!

Beth Moore told us that before each event she prays for a word.  This word that the Lord blesses her with serves as the foundation for the message she delivers to each city.  Charlotte, NC was lucky to get two words, which were "Hold Fast".  This phrase sparked her teaching from Deuteronomy 10:11-22.

She made the phrase, "Hold Fast", into an acronym to break down her message.  We would repeat this little phrase from time to time, "H-O-L-D-F-A-S-T God has set his love upon me".  This served as the underlying thread as we worked through the Word with Beth.  I'm going to briefly touch on each letter, what it stands for and how we can apply it to our lives.  Hopefully between my OCD-like-copious-note-taking tendencies and my faithful Sharpie pen, I'll be able to relay the highlights of Beth's message to you sweet readers in a clear way.  I hope it will inspire you as it did me.

To begin, I want to describe what Beth means with the phrase, "Hold Fast" as it relates to our relationship with God.  She's not talking about a side hug or weak handshake but a two armed death grip.  This is how she explained that we should cling to our faithful Father.  Especially in these "turbulent times" full of war, debt, disaster, abuse, addiction... and the list unfortunately goes on.  Here are a couple of many scriptures that she referenced that contain the words, "Hold fast", which will enable you to visualize this concept.  I love examples like this because now as I reflect on this phrase, "Hold Fast", these visualizations pop in my head helping to strengthen the meaning of the words.

Job 41:15-17 (Referencing a leviathan, a crocodile like creature):  His back has rows of shields tightly sealed together; each is so close to the next that no air can pass between.  They are joined fast to one another; they cling together and cannot be parted.

Genesis 2:24 (Referencing a marriage):  For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and they will become one flesh.

After explaining the closeness of this ideal relationship, she reminded us of the gift of unconditional love that we've been given from our heavenly Father.  God wants us to walk in the "path of victory", to arrive at the "Land of Promise" and to "bear fruit".  God wants our "lives to work".  Beth explained how oftentimes, we as Christians, make decisions based on the misconception that following His will comes along with a lifetime of suffering.  He doesn't want our lives to resemble train wrecks.  We as Christians are His "invitation" to unbelievers.  We're witnesses, the face of this mission, and Beth encouraged us to "get up, and resume" our ministry in whatever form that might be.  To be an active participant in a reciprocal relationship with Jesus Christ.  To "Hold Fast" to Him - the one who possesses our eternal security.  Oftentimes Christians get caught up translations of the Word, tradition and bickering with fellow believers forgetting to exude love and grace that we ourselves have been so graciously given by our Savior.

Tomorrow I'll get into the 8 points derived from Beth's acronym:  H-O-L-D-F-A-S-T.  The biggest takeaway from these notes so far for me is that God has set his His love upon us, and what gift could be better than that?  It's time to get up and resume a reciprocal relationship with the Lord, holding fast so that no air can pass between it.        

Hopefully this makes sense so far.  I promise it will all tie together.

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