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‘Deeper Still’ draws 9,000 in San Francisco

SAN FRANCISCO (BP)–Although the West Coast is not part of the Bible Belt, an observer wouldn’t have known it by seeing the 9,000 women at Deeper Still, a conference event led by popular Bible teachers Beth Moore, Kay Arthur and Priscilla Shirer.

Women converged on downtown San Francisco to experience 10 hours of music, worship and study led by the three well-known speakers and authors: Moore, founder of Living Proof Ministries in Houston; Arthur, founder of Precept Ministries in Chattanooga, Tenn.; and Shirer, founder of Going Beyond Ministries in Dallas.

“We’re not here to entertain you,” Arthur said during a welcome time during the March 9-10 sessions sponsored by LifeWay Christian Resources of the Southern Baptist Convention. “We are here to join with you and go deeper still into the presence of God.”

Deeper Still was the first time the three women had shared a teaching platform. Each spoke of her tremendous respect for the others’ ministry and the joy of being able to come together for the event. Playing to the crowd, the women laughed and made jokes about puffy lips, big hair and high heels.

When it came time to delve into the Word, everyone got serious. Each speaker taught from a passage relating to King David.

Shirer began the teaching time by asking, “What was it about David that caused him to be a man seeking God’s own heart?

“He recognized God as his source,” Shirer said. “He realized everything he had and everything he was came from God…. [W]hen we give up control of our own lives and realize that God is in control, then when things start spinning out of control — and they will — we can look up at God and thank Him because He is going to have to take that responsibility.”

Shirer cautioned the women that when asking God to become a presence and a passion in their lives, they must be ready to take in all that He is.

“David wanted the entirety of God — not only the sweet vanilla parts, but also His power and wrath. We have to be willing to take all of God when we invite Him to be close,” she said.

When God is close, there will be attacks, Shirer said.

“Sisters, let me tell you this: As long as you aren’t a threat, the enemy will leave you alone,” she said. “As long as you just go to church, he will ignore you. But when you start spending time with God every day, the enemy can’t stand that. The enemy knows he can’t destroy you, but he will spend the rest of your life trying to distract you.”

Shirer reminded the women that all religions are not equal, noting, “What separates us from every other religion on the face of the earth is we can talk to our God and He will speak back to us.”

Shirer gave five ways to discern God’s voice: Look for the message of the Spirit; live in the mode of prayer; search out the model of Scripture, always remembering God’s voice will never contradict Scripture; seek out a mentor and submit to the mentor’s ministry, just as Samuel did to Eli; and expect the mercy of confirmation.

Moore began her teaching segment in 2 Samuel 7, saying God is a God of timing.

“When King David was settled into his palace and God had given him rest from his enemies, he was talking to the prophet Nathan,” Moore said. “Then David decided it was wrong that he should be living in a palace while the ark of God sat in a tent. So Nathan told David to do whatever his heart told him. But later, Nathan got a word from God about it.”

Moore said, “But God didn’t ask David to build God a house. It was not time for that to happen. God had plans for one of David’s descendants to build a house after David died. It wasn’t David’s time.”

She continued by reminding the women that David, now king, was an unlikely choice. He had been a shepherd, not one of noble birth.

Transitioning to talking about the power of God manifesting itself in a believer’s life, she said, “God gets glory when no one else can explain what has happened to you. Are you where you want to be? No, of course not. Neither am I. But, praise God, are we where we used to be? No!”

Only through the power of God can Christians live the abundant life, Moore said.

“The victorious, delivered life is just as contagious as a defeated one,” she said. “I want to live totally sold out to God and I want to take people with me. I want to take my family with me.”

Arthur continued using passages relating to David and his relationship with God, this time focusing on the time after his sin with Bathsheba.

“David was in the pit of despair when he was convicted of his sin,” Arthur said. “Some of you are probably in the pit now. I’ve been in that same pit, one of my own making.”

Quoting 2 Corinthians 12:9, Arthur said, “His power is perfected in my weakness.”

She said David understood that God is a God of grace.

“Even after his sin, David moved forward because he really understood that. God told David that he would live under His chastening hand for the rest of his life,” Arthur said.

She listed four consequences of David’s sin: The sword would never depart from his house; evil would rise up against him in his own household; his wives would be given to others in his household; and the baby he and Bathsheba had would die.

Despite all this, Arthur said, “God’s grace was sufficient.”

Arthur shared with the women the most important thing she has learned in her years of ministry: “God is sovereign. There is no greater authority than His. His sovereignty reigns over all. If you think you’ve gone too far away from God, remember this, ladies. If God has not taken you out, He still has a purpose for you.”

Speaking for herself, Moore and Shirer, Arthur said, “It is our heart’s desire that you would be so confident in God so that you could say, ‘If I live, praise the Lord; if I die, praise the Lord.'”

Faith Whatley, director of women’s ministries at LifeWay, said the Deeper Still conference was the most cross-generational and multiethnic of any of the women’s events sponsored by LifeWay.

“You have these three wonderful godly women who draw different groups. Women of all ages from high school to senior adults are here. We’ve seen black, white, Asian and Hispanic women. It’s wonderful,” Whatley said.

Whatley hadn’t been sure what to expect with the event in San Francisco.

“What we have learned is that there are thousands of godly women in this area of the country who are hungry for solid biblical teaching,” she said. “I’m honored that LifeWay was able to meet their heartfelt need.”

A second Deeper Still event is scheduled for Sept. 7-8 in Nashville, Tenn., but already has sold out Nashville’s largest arena — the 17,500-seat Nashville Arena.

Paige Greene, director of LifeWay’s women’s events, said women who were unable to get tickets for the September Deeper Still event should continue checking the LifeWay website, www.lifeway.com/women, for information about a satellite location being set up in Nashville.

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  • Polly House