COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. (BP) — With acrid smoke from devastating wildfires still looming over Colorado Springs, approximately 5,000 women there lifted their voices in praise and worship to God at a Living Proof Live conference featuring Bible teacher Beth Moore.
Fires have charred nearly 18,000 acres in the Waldo Canyon area of Colorado Springs, burning hundreds of homes and forcing the evacuation of 32,000 people. Yet author and Bible teacher Moore said, “There was no doubt that this is where we needed to be this very weekend.”
Living Proof Live events are sponsored by LifeWay Christian Resources of the Southern Baptist Convention.
“Pain, peril and threat put us in a posture to listen [to God] like nothing else,” Moore told attendees, adding that LifeWay opened the doors to women at local evacuation shelters to attend the June 28-29 event for free.
In a subdued, somber beginning to the usually spirited opening, Moore asked women who had been evacuated from their homes or lost their homes entirely to stand and allow others to pray for them. Moore prayed for the 65 women and led the attendees in a reverent responsive reading.
Moore said she debated whether she should change her material because of the emotional weight the fires have brought to the Colorado Springs community but concluded her message was applicable.
“Sometimes we need a new start, but what we need more often is a good finish,” Moore said, directing attendees to Acts 20:24 as her focal passage of Scripture. “You and I live in a culture of a million starts and a handful of finishes. We need the strength and presence of mind to finish well.”
Across her three teaching sessions Friday night and Saturday morning, Moore shared truths about finishing, drawing repeatedly from Scripture to illustrate how God directs the believer to walk a path of intentionality for the purpose of bringing about completion.
“Biblically, every new start has a corresponding finish,” Moore said. “You are on the course you are supposed to strategically walk for the purpose of finishing. Scripture tells us we are made perfect by reaching the intended goal God has established for us.”
Moore cautioned attendees to not settle for a life of passivity and inaction with a mentality of “God’s in control; it’ll all be perfect in the end so I can rest now.”
“The process of walking the strategic role God has for us is where we get more interested in the Healer rather than focusing on the healing,” she said.
“The fire did not end anything,” Moore said. “Yes, it wiped out homes and decimated so much beauty. But hear me clearly: Nothing ended this week [with the fires]. Something started.
“From these ashes, something beautiful will emerge,” she said. “What started here in your beautiful, great state can be a beautiful testimony for the living God.”
But “out of anything beautiful He would bring out from the ashes, it would be you,” Moore said to the attendees.
Because God finishes what He starts, “He is not finished with us,” she said. “You’ve not sunk so low He cannot reach you. You’ve not destroyed so much He can’t restore.”
Colorado Springs resident Danielle McIntire said the local wildfires “are the worst thing we’ve ever had to deal with, and it has been truly frightening. But this event is exactly what we needed. Beth has reminded us to look at this through God’s eyes and give our burdens to Him.
“So many have lost everything they have and feel like it’s the end,” McIntire said. “So what a perfect topic for us — God’s not done. It’s not the end.”
Worship leader Travis Cottrell announced Friday night that 100 percent of a special offering taken would be directed to relief efforts in Colorado Springs.
Cottrell added — to applause — that Moore’s Living Proof Ministries would match the offering dollar-for-dollar. “Let’s shake the earth with our giving spirits,” he said. Attendees gave $85,591, for a total offering of $171,182 contributed to relief efforts in the surrounding communities.
“We’ll never forget this week,” Moore said, “coming to this place that has been ablaze, yet getting set ablaze by the Spirit of God.”
Future Living Proof Live events are scheduled for July 13-14 in Austin, Texas; July 27-28 in Moline, Ill.; Aug. 10-11 in Knoxville, Tenn.; Aug. 24-25 in North Charleston, N.C.; Sept. 15 in Reading, Penn.; Oct. 12-13 in Long Beach, Calif.; and Nov. 2-3 in Lewiston, Maine.
Russ Rankin writes for LifeWay Christian Resources of the Southern Baptist Convention. For more information, visit LifeWay.com/LivingProof.