ATLANTA (BP)–Three women, three journeys, three changed lives, three lives going deeper were shared with 19,000-plus women at a Deeper Still conference June 27-28 in Atlanta.
Popular Bible teachers and authors Kay Arthur, Beth Moore and Priscilla Shirer went deeper -– into the Bible and their own lives -– during the sold-out event sponsored by LifeWay Christian Resources of the Southern Baptist Convention.
During a question-and-answer session, the three Christian women fielded questions from participants ranging from their definition of pride to tips on how to age gracefully. And videos shown throughout the event documented the lives of each speaker and their desires to go deeper spiritually.
“I want to go deeper still by hanging on every word of God, steeping myself in the precepts of God,” said Arthur, founder of Precept Ministries in Chattanooga, Tenn.
Moore noted that she will “never get to the bottom of the riches of God’s Word, but I can die trying.”
Shirer, founder of the Texas-based Going Beyond Ministries, said, “I don’t want to stand on the edge of what God has for me. I want to plunge headfirst in going beyond and deeper still.”
Shirer spoke Friday night from Exodus 19, detailing how God led the Israelites into the wilderness of Sinai to camp at the base of Mt. Sinai for the purpose of hearing from Him.
“The Israelites had seen the works of God,” Shirer said. “But now Yahweh comes to them with a personal invitation to become intimately acquainted with Him, to bring them to this place of a divine personal encounter with Him.”
Everyone experiences seasons of wilderness in their lives, Shirer said. “When God wants to invite us into deeper relationship with Him, He will often leave us in the wilderness. Wilderness is where intimacy is ignited.”
Speaking to women in the arena experiencing times of challenge -– whether with children, family or other circumstances -– Shirer acknowledged it is “a wilderness season for you. I want to encourage you that the wilderness is about something. God is with you along the way. The wilderness is on purpose.”
While Shirer addressed trials on a more personal level, Arthur spoke Saturday morning of sins on a national level.
“Judgment is on the horizon [for the United States],” Arthur said. “But really, in a sense, judgment is here because we have said we don’t have absolute truth. Our apostasies as a nation are numerous. We are living in desperate times.”
Turning to the Old Testament, Arthur pointed out numerous Scriptures in Jeremiah, Isaiah and Ezekiel that reveal God’s judgment “on countries that turn their backs on Him.” Exhorting the women in the arena to be vessels of truth, Arthur said, “God wants you to be a Jeremiah and go forth and speak the Word of God.
“God has chosen you, precious one. It is not an accident that you were part of the 19,000 who got tickets to come to this sold-out event. God wants you to take what you have learned and live it.”
Arthur offered seven tasks for individual Christians amid the grave economic and spiritual dangers facing America because of its national sins: Seeking a broken heart for the country, praying, loving God’s Word, loving others, mourning sin, sharing Jesus as Savior and resting in Him.
Bible teacher Beth Moore, during her Saturday afternoon session, had the women on their feet in memorizing John 1:14 by using expressive hand motions as she dissected each part of the verse.
Moore began with the phrase “the Word,” translated from “logos” or divine reasoning or expression. “God, whose thoughts we cannot hear, is speaking through His Son, the Word,” she said.
Moore described the next phrase, “became flesh,” as a foundational belief that every Christian must have in common — that Jesus Christ came in the flesh to die on a cross for our sins.
Reflecting on the next phrase, “and made His dwelling among us,” Moore explained that Jesus “pitched His tent or tabernacle among us” and it was a “temporary dwelling.”
Moore’s voice rose in excitement as she spoke about the fourth phrase, “and we have seen His glory.” She likened it to seeing enough of something’s worth that it is given high esteem or praise.
Moore challenged the audience with the fifth phrase, “the glory of the One and Only,” by saying that Jesus is the only one who deserves first place in our lives.
“When you pray to love Jesus above anybody or anything, everyone will disappoint you,” she said. “Don’t be mad at them because they can’t be Jesus to you.”
The sixth phrase, “who came from the Father,” emphasizes Jesus’ place of authority, Moore said, while the final phrase, “full of grace and truth,” reminds that Jesus is the source of both.
“Every time God confronts you with a hard truth,” Moore said, “He is going to give you the grace to receive it and to walk in obedience.”
LifeWay women’s event coordinator Betsy Langmade, who spent 18 months planning and praying over the event, said seeing such a large secular arena turn into a place of worship was rewarding.
“My deepest satisfaction is knowing that God met these women as individuals in a very crowded room that had been transformed into a sanctuary through worship and the Word,” Langmade said.
Jenny Rice is a corporate communications specialist with LifeWay Christian Resources of the Southern Baptist Convention. The next Deeper Still event will be Sept. 5-6 in Las Vegas. For more information, including video from the Atlanta event, visit the Deeper Still blog at www.lifeway.com/deeperstillblog.