RAPID CITY, S.D. (BP)–Playing Barbies in church may not be everyone’s cup of tea, but Bible teacher and author Beth Moore likes it.
Speaking to 3,000 women at 2005’s first Living Proof Live event sponsored by LifeWay Christian Resources, Moore said she and her young friend, 8-year-old Savannah, who often sits with Moore during church, have Barbies with them on any given Sunday.
“I want you to know that we don’t play during the sermon, but, I tell you girls, Barbie can raise her hands and praise God when we are singing!” Moore said, eliciting laughter from the women. “And I promise you, Barbie is modestly dressed during church.”
Moore spoke to the women on God’s desire for His children to experience life in its fullest with joy and laughter. But, she noted, things can get in the way of experiencing joy.
Anxiety, for example, is a fact of life today, robbing many people — including Christians — of joy that God intends for them, Moore said during the March 11-12 sessions in Rapid City, S.D.
Moore said she is a believer in getting help from wise, godly counselors during times of deep anxiety while also believing that clinical depression needs to be addressed as the medical condition that it is.
“But, ladies, a lot of what we go through that makes us anxious is brought on by a lack of spiritual focus,” Moore said.
“The essence of worship is focus,” she stated. “Whatever has our focus is our object of worship, and if that’s not God, it’s idolatry.”
Anxiety results when worry exceeds prayer, Moore said, noting, “If God tells us to pray about everything, that tells us that everything can be affected by prayer.”
Women, in particular, have bought into the fallacy that they have to take care of everybody and make everyone happy, Moore said.
“We’ve been told that God couldn’t be everywhere so He created mothers,” Moore said. “That’s a lie! God can be everywhere.”
Anxiety is rooted in the desire to control and that the control issue is wrapped up with pride, Moore said. “We tell ourselves, ‘I may not can do it better than God, but I can sure do it faster.’
“You and I have to let God be God. He can love our loved ones in ways we cannot even comprehend,” she said. “We’re trying to control things and it is killing us.
“We’re so scared that what causes us so much anxiety doesn’t matter to God,” she said. “Let me tell you, it matters. There’s nothing beyond or beneath His concern.”
Women will do themselves and their families a favor when they stop trying to control everything, even when doing it out of love, Moore said.
“It’s hard to watch, but sometimes our loved ones have to learn from pain,” she said. “We did, and it’s OK.”
Moore said her advice to the women is to “resign from being God Junior. You aren’t! It is not your calling to keep everyone around you happy. It’s your calling to be filled with the Holy Spirit. It’s not your job to be someone else’s Jesus.”
The advice hit home for Brenda Struck from Wosley, S.D. “I have a 7-year-old son and I can see so much truth in what she said. There’s really no sense in trying to control everything and fix everything. It doesn’t work anyway.”
Struck came with three other women who are involved in a Bible study in their small town.
One of the women, Susan Ehrk, said when they returned to their hotel after hearing Moore speak about anxiety and control, they talked until the early hours of the morning. “We all had to admit that we needed to hear that message,” Ehrk said. “We are all guilty of trying to control things we need to leave to God.”
“God wants His people to reflect His joy,” Moore told the women as the teaching time drew to a close. “Choose joy. Choose it. In the midst of choosing it, you’ll spread it.”
LifeWay Christian Resources will host nine more Living Proof Live events with author and Bible teacher Beth Moore in 2005 following the year’s initial event March 11-12 in Rapid City, S.D.
Dates and locations are:
April 22-23 — Milwaukee, Wis.
May 6-7 — Spokane, Wash.
June 3-4 — Indianapolis
June 24-25 — Hershey, Pa.
June 29-30 — Raleigh, N.C.
Sept. 9-10 — Kansas City, Mo.
Sept. 23-24 — Knoxville, Tenn.
Oct. 7-8 — New York City (national simulcast host site)
Dec. 2-3 — Fresno, Calif.
For more information or to register, go to www.lifeway.com and click on the Events tab.