The world's brand of hope involves wishful thinking, blind optimism and hopeful dreams, all of which are rooted in uncertainty. God's brand of hope is rooted in Him! In this message, find encouragement to let hope rise to a level that fuels the vision of your faith.
My earliest memories of communion as a girl in traditional Southern Baptist and Christian churches was that it was special. So special, in fact, that you couldn't take it, look at it, or touch the tray as it passed (I exaggerate) unless you were saved. And baptized.
If you missed church because you were sick, someone was listed on the back of the program to take your communion to you. Communion house calls! Of all the things important about the church service to share with those ill in homes and hospitals was the communion. It wasn't the message or the special music. Strategy, oversight, or something more? I never remember hearing a message about communion outside of the traditional Scripture readings when communion was taken during church services. Yet I always approached it with honor, if not a bit of confusion.
As my journey with Jesus progressed, so did my curiosity about the whys behind the whats of communion. The culmination of that curiosity to date is this teaching. Be encouraged that the Lord designed communion to be another tool in your worship and spiritual warfare arsenal. You don't need a pastor, elder, deacon or layman to give you communion. Jesus gave you communion. Understand it and receive it!
Click on the link to hear the full story!
When we bring in a guest speaker to WOW, it is because we know they are carrying a Word from the Lord that will bless, encourage, heal, ignite and empower the lovely women who call WOW home every month (or every once in a while!). We couldn't be more excited to welcome Rachel Wortman to the WOW stage this June 19 at Southwind Hills.
Rachel is the co-pastor of Bethel OKC, a church she and her husband planted in 2014 in southwest Oklahoma City. She has a passion for empowering women to experience breakthrough into the radical love of God through preaching, writing and the occasional Facebook live video always delivered at just the right time. Her main role in life is mothering her 4 children and raising them to be powerful lovers of Jesus.
Gather together the ladies of your life and head out to Southwind Hills for an evening of refreshment, fellowship, worship and the Word. You will not regret it!
WOW is a movement of women rooted in Oklahoma and spreading out across virtual spaces. Our monthly gatherings are free of charge. You are invited to join us for fellowship, worship, and to learn the beautiful truth from the Word of God.
For the past several years, I've been really fulfilled as a mom, a wife and a Bible teacher. I've committed to walking through each door God opens. Except for the ones I don't want to walk through. In total disclosure, I often require a polite nudge, or, more honestly, a bold shove.Read More
Last July Jessica Cooper boldly took the stage at Women of the Word and shared her riveting testimony of being led into a lifestyle of same-sex attraction, and how the Lord rescued her and delivered her into a place of freedom, passion, and purpose. It's a difficult topic for many to discuss, but a necessary conversation for the church to have. As a follow up, below are some additional thoughts from Jessica in response to questions many have had.
Q: What were your thoughts after you shared your testimony at WOW? Was it hard to share such a personal journey in such a public way?
A: With each new level or task the Lord leads me to, I think He lets go of my hand just for a second to see if I will take that first step on my own. God didn’t create us as robots, He gave us the freedom of choice. Leading up to the first time I gave my testimony I was terrified worried myself almost sick all day. Then God finally said to me, “Jessica, this is your story so just get up there and read it. It doesn’t have to be fancy. The story itself is what people care about.” Once I thought about it like that, I wasn’t quite so anxious. You see I’m not comfortable on a stage and it could be simply from lack of being on a stage, never the less it still scares me. July 18th, I was expecting the anxiousness and jitters to overwhelm me all the same but they didn’t’ this time. First, because of all the prayers that were covering me, and second because I accepted the task and God could see in my heart that I wasn’t going to let my feeling and emotions control what He had called me to. So He let go of my hand and let me walk on stage, and in his perfect timing with the Holy Spirit he spoke thru me and covered me with the anointing of my testimony and our Victory together.
Q: How do you feel about dating men now? Are you looking for a relationship?
A: I didn’t leave that lifestyle with the desire to be with a man. I left with a desire to be with Christ. I haven’t really thought about dating or developing a love life with a man because I am in love with God. Right now my time is sacred; I’m selfish with my time. But I have had talks with the Lord about this and have asked Him to please only bring a man into my life if he is going to drive my passion for Christ even higher. I pray that the man God has chosen for me is even now continuing his walk with Christ so that everyday his love for Christ grows stronger so that when we do meet we will be perfect for each other (equally yoked). I ask the Lord to please give him an understanding heart, one able to accept that he will never be number one in my life. Jesus Christ is my father, my husband, my best friend, my provider, my comforter, and He is such a gentleman to me even when He is disciplining me. I truly feel that I am His bride.
Q: There had to be so much more to your testimony. What else would you have shared at WOW if you would have had more time?
A: There is a part of my testimony that is in a journal entry I wrote July 14, 2015. I wrote this one night as I was watching a show on Netflix called The Bible Series. It was the episode of Jesus being crucified and then his resurrection.
As Jesus stood there griping the post, being beaten repeatedly, skin ripped from his flesh and then crucified for our sins, my heart hurt. How could I deny his word?! How could I not strive to live without sin?! Now I know I’m not perfect and I will make mistakes so every day I repent of my sins. The more I am taught the truth, the greater my desire becomes to live denying my flesh. Jesus lived a perfect live free from sin yet he suffered more than anyone could imagine. And why? So that I could live for eternity so that we could receive our inheritance into the kingdom of Heaven. I have turned away from that lifestyle, that part of me is dead and I have been reborn to live for Him. Every one of us have sinned every one of us have struggles. Can you choose to deny your flesh desires that you have? I can’t turn my back on what he sacrificed for me. Sin is sin but I chose to live my life everyday striving to stay on the path God has chosen for me. I am a child of God and nothing can take me from Him! Father I am your daughter I will fight the good fight. The enemy no longer has control over me any longer. To one day stand in his presence and hear him say “welcome home Jessica, I love you so much” is the greatest gift I will do anything to receive. Where does my help come from, my help comes from the Lord. He will not let my foot slip and I will not let the enemy get a foothold on my promises from my Father.
Q: What would you say to friends and family members who have loved ones either struggling with or committed to a same-sex attraction lifestyle?
The other day a very close friend of mine asked me this very question. What was the most surprising about this was I’ve been spending so much time thinking about how I would answer these questions, and then when someone actually asked me, the answer came so clearly.
"Pretty sure my daughter has a girlfriend. I’m praying. I’ve sent her your testimony but not sure if she's even watched or listened. I feel so defeated right now."
I would've rather had this conversation over the phone instead of via text, but she wasn't available to talk. I responded by telling her it is okay to let her know you don’t agree but you need to also stress that regardless of her decision, you love her all the same. It is not her decision that defines her. This is a symptom to a deeper issue.
If I didn't know my family would be there for me when I walked away, I don’t know if I could've walked away. I don't know If I would’ve had the courage to step out on my own and trust God to be there to pick me up. I had faith but it was very small or immature. Now that I have a relationship with God, my faith has matured beyond what I could've ever imagined. So knowing my family would be there with open arms ready to support me, pick me back up and love me gave me so much confidence that I could do it. It’s not your job to keep her from that lifestyle, but if she comes to you for advice for help then you help show her God’s truth and what His word says. Yes pray, pray every day but don’t ever feel defeated. If you try to take this in your hands, then you take it out of God’s hands. When I was still very much in that lifestyle, if someone would’ve tried to force or aggressively tell me how wrong I was, I would run as fast as I could to get away from them. It was not effective and I did not have ears to hear what truth they were trying to give me. Please just show her constant love, a direct reflection of God’s love. Because the greatest of these is LOVE.
So if someone were to ask me what to do I would say LOVE, PRAY and have FAITH to wait patiently for God to work.
Jessica Cooper knows the enemy isn't in a hurry. He patiently manipulated her for years until she was deep into a lifestyle she didn't even really want. But she also knows God relentlessly fights for us. Her life is a developing story of the faithful pursuit of God to bring her out of the bondage of a lesbian lifestyle and into the wide open spaces of His truth for her life.
Jessica shared her powerful story at WOW: Women of the Word. If you or someone you know is struggling with same-sex attraction, or if you need encouragement to seek freedom in any area of your life, you will be inspired as you listen to her story.
It is safe to say that I look forward to every single WOW, every single month. But it is also safe to say I have anticipated this WOW (Women of the Word) with increasing reverberating intensity since we scheduled it many months ago.
Please meet Jessica Cooper. On July 18, Jessica will boldly share her riveting testimony of embracing a lesbian lifestyle, only to be radically and gracefully confronted by the truth of God. She has never been the same! You will be encouraged and inspired by her relentless pursuit of freedom in Christ, as well as challenged to learn how to love like Jesus in a world desperately seeking acceptance. If you or someone you know is struggling with same-sex attraction, set aside this appointed time to hear directly from the heart of God through Jessica's personal journey. Joining Jessica will be her own worship pastor, Kristy Starling. Together, they will minister the heart of God for His people, and their hearts for God.
Pray for Jessica. Pray for Beautiful Truth Ministries. Invite your friends! We can't wait to see all God does through the humble, powerful obedience of one woman willing to walk away from all she had known in order to become all she is to be!
If you'd like to learn more about the mission of WOW, click HERE.
This is a good news (!), bummer news (!), we’ve got a new plan (!) update to our first Sister-to Sister campaign.
A few short weeks ago we answered the call from larger organizations and ministries to mobilize efforts in our area of influence to help meet the needs created by the burgeoning Syrian refugee crisis. And you all, in turn, responded with an overwhelming YES AND AMEN and donated supplies and gave your time and resources. That is good news!
The bummer news is that the crisis is ongoing and very fluid. The needs are changing rapidly. What was needed last week has been so overwhelmingly responded to that organizations are quickly moving from asking for one item (clothes, for example) to asking for another (sleeping bags, for example). By the time we started asking for one list of items and received them, they were no longer being accepted. So then we responded by asking for coats, only to be told the day after we gathered them that they are no longer being accepted.
Here is what we want to do: be a community of Sisters in Christ who help other sisters. You have done that! Here is what we don’t’ want to do: misuse your heart to help! We have a an amazing collection of donated items with no aid agencies serving the Syrian crisis now willing to accept them. What the organizations, like Samaritan’s Purse, really want are cash donations. Cash donations allow them to respond quickly and efficiently to the changing immediate needs evolving in the midst of the crisis.
Faced with the generosity of so many of you, we want to be excellent stewards of your gifts. We are doing our best to respond the the changes by making two decisions:
- We are making a cash donation from Beautiful Truth Ministries to Samaritan’s Purse. This donation reflects the generosity of every single one of you who gave to this cause.
- We are locally donating the many items you brought to WOW. We are praying over each donation and believe each person who receives a much needed coat or pair of shoes will be the exact person God originally intended to bless.
Thank you for trusting us and understanding that our motive – and yours – was and is to be the hands of feet of Jesus in tangible ways that minister to the right-now needs of those near and far. We will continue to pray about ways for the Sister-to-Sister initiative to be used to respond to needs in our local community and our global community. We will practice our call to service and make progress as we do!
Please feel free to contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org if you have further questions about the items donated and how we will be distributing them!
"More than 12 million families fleeing for their lives. That's like every single person in the city of Houston, every man, woman & child in city of Chicago, every human being up & down every street in the city of Philadelphia, every house evacuated in San Antonio, all of San Diego vacated, the entire city of Dallas, every single man, woman and child in Phoenix -- 7 of the most populated cities in America -- all fleeing for their lives. No one runs from home unless that home has become a mouth of horror. Families are fleeing not to simply better their lives, but to literally save their lives." (source: www.aholyexperience.com)
I can't pretend to understand the political, religious, economical, or cultural forces behind the chaos in the Middle East. I can't get my head around the evil that is ISIS, the insurgences in Syria or the mass exodus of people they both are propelling. What must it be like to feel so threatened in your own home, neighborhood, community, that you would leave with only what you can carry and begin to WALK your family away from all they have ever known into a future with nothing known? Not even where you will sleep that night.
I don't understand all the overarching issues or even how they are converging in such chaos. But I do understand that there are women like me, with kids like mine, desperately seeking safety for their families. Women willing to leave behind the comforts of their homes and the routines of their days and the conveniences of oh, you know, a kitchen, a bath tub and a closet full of clothes, to search for refuge. Husbands and fathers extracting their families at all costs.
I may not understand all the facts. but I do understand my call. Your call, too.
I realize you and I are not likely to hop a plane to Germany or Egypt to physically aid the refugees. But what we can do is help those who are helping. We can help by providing much needed supplies and resources.
Beautiful Truth Ministries is launching a new initiative called SISTER-TO-SISTER. One woman to another, we can help. Mom to mom, daughter to daughter, friend to friend. If it were me, if it were you, what hope would it give to know somewhere, someone knew what was happening and was doing their part? We can no longer say we didn't know.
First, set your phone alarm for noon everyday to PRAY for the safety, protection and provision of the refugees and the women and girls under constant threat of abduction and rape by ISIS. Prayer changes everything.
Second, join us in gathering supplies being sought by numerous relief organizations. We are partnering with several to channel what together we can gather to assist in the efforts to care for the hurting families displaced by terror.
You don't have to do everything. You just have to do your one thing.
Beginning at the September 28 WOW event, we will be collecting the following items:
- sun hats/caps (all sizes in light colors)
- underwear & socks (all sizes)
- sweatpants (all sizes)*
- men's trousers in small, medium & large*
- sneakers & gym shoes in all sizes*
- mats, sleeping bags
- feminine products
This is an easy and practical way for us to be the hands and feet of Jesus to an entire population of hurting people. Please join Beautiful Truth Ministries as we share the love of Christ, SISTER-TO-SISTER.
For more information about the Syrian refugee crisis, why it is happening, and how we can help, please see visit Ann Voskamp's thorough article here.
A new season is upon us as believers. It is a new game, in a new league, with new rules. The field of play is different. Like the boys locked eyes with their coaches for direction, will we lock eyes with Jesus for our direction?Read More
We are exceptional people designed to live exceptional lives. Exceptional means "outstanding and unusual; brilliant, remarkable, unique." Yes. Pick me (hand raised). I want to be that. What do I need to do? Make exceptional choices. Even when others don't really want me to.Read More
My earliest and most cherished memories involve waking up at the lake. My body would wake before I would open my eyes. In anticipation I would listen to the light clang of my dad making breakfast in the camper, the smell of bacon, the gentle sizzle of eggs. Even as a young girl of four I probably could have reached out my arm from my dining-table-turned-bed and touched him.Read More
In the tight and narrow spaces and places of our lives we are confronted with the truth of our beliefs, and PRAISE THE LORD we are met by a loving and grace-driven Savior who beckons us to press towards His truth.Read More
Who we believe ourselves to be internally shapes what we experience externally. How? Our inner beliefs produce reflective attitudes on the outside, creating an environment around us which either works towards the will ofGod for us or away from the will of God for us.Read More
What once was a nice thought for some faraway, future generation is now an imminent possibility for me, and you, and everyone we know and love. What was once a battle-weary plea for Jesus to come back is now a battle cry for warriors to arise. What once was a net of resignation is now a tight-rope of intense adventure. Now is the time for our destinies to manifest. Someday just became today.Read More
This month only: a venue change for wow!
Hello, friends! We are looking forward to an incredible night of worship and teaching at our next Women of the Word (WOW) event on January 19. We are excited to kick off 2015 by hosting Cindy Jacobs, a leading voice in prayer and prophecy, and are excited to learn more about both of those topics. We believe this is an appointed time by God for the women of our area and we can't wait to share this evening with you.
In late December we began to walk through a change in our worship leader for this month, and that change has prompted a location change for this event. While there isn't space here to tell the story, God used the lovely Jenifer Salter, originally scheduled, to point us in the direction of His plan for this evening. Jenifer, who lives in Colorado, felt strongly the Lord was desiring someone local to lead worship for this event. We are swimming in a deep well of anointed worship leaders in our area, so seeking God on who He planned for this night became even more important. We are so grateful to Kristy Starling, worship pastor at Victory Family Church in Norman, for graciously accepting an eleventh-hour invitation to lead worship for us this month. It is so encouraging to walk through life with women high in anointing and low in pride! Both women are seeking obedience to the Lord for His greater purposes.
So why the location change? Because we lobbed such a large and late request at Kristy, she was unable to clear her schedule at the church which required her presence in a manner and time-frame which would make it very difficult for her to participate in WOW. In response, she and her husband (and Victory Family Lead Pastor), Adam, graciously offered the use of their church to Beautiful Truth Ministries (BTM) for the event. This simple change paves the way for Kristy to participate, and it also opens up the January event to more women. We have women on lists waiting to see if there is room ... now there is! It also provides us with an easy-to-find and accessible location for the hundreds of women coming.
We did not make this decision lightly. Our concern about the move for this event was two-fold. First, it is a last-minute change and we don't want to create any confusion. If someone shows up at Southwind Hills and we are not there, well, let's just say that would not be cool. (But we will be back there in February!) Secondly, one of the core values of WOW is to usher in unity. We deliberately choose to have the events at a location not affiliated with a local church. We are specific about bringing in worship leaders and teachers from across the community so our wagon is not hitched with any one church. We do not want this adjustment, which arose as a solution to a problem, to in any way cause a chip in this core mission. We do not want to bring offense of any kind!
Ultimately, we know women who are hungry for God will go where they need to be! We appreciate Victory Family supporting Beautiful Truth Ministries and WOW. They are graciously throwing open their doors for us and allowing us to come and and take over their beautiful space in order to create an encounter with God for YOU.
Mark you calendars for Monday, February 16 for the following WOW event back at Southwind Hills Barn and Estates!
I woke in the middle of the night recently with this question shooting through me: "How much of Me do you really want?" It was less of a challenge and more of an invitation. And a legitimate question.
How much of God do I really want in my life? Of course the "right" answer is ALL OF HIM, but I'm not sure it is always the most truthful answer. If I may be frank, more of God sometimes threatens my comfort zones. It takes me from mainstream hip to "she's lost it." It could mean less of something I really like. Or more of some thing I don't. Either way, it seems I am at a crossroads of decision. Do I really want all of God available to me, or do I want just enough of Him to get my needs met and to help a few people along the way? Do I want just enough anointing to insulate myself from ridicule and separation while still experiencing some of God's goodness? Or am I willing to lay everything I am, and all I've known, bare before the Lord only to have Him flip it all into new directions ... for new levels of intimacy, revelation, breakthrough and anointing?
Here is what's coming: the old ways of our traditions aren't going to produce the new levels and waves of God's presence, which we do desire. We can't continue to cry out for the new thing while still doing the old things at the old levels at the old times with old language using old notes and the old processes with the old templates of old production schedules and you get my drift. I'm not suggesting God isn't the same yesterday, today, and forever, but I am suggesting we certainly don't know all of God and His ways, and maybe we shouldn't get too comfortable with what was or has been in lieu of what could be.
I don't know enough. I have not seen enough. I have not done near enough of my assignment. I still feel like I'm in the starting gate. I'm not seeing as many people saved, healed, delivered as I want to. I am not satisfied. I'm hungry for more. Is it okay to say so? To say that in all of the doing, and believing, and praying, and serving, I am flat-out hungry for more. More of God's presence, more of His power, more of His glory.
So how much of God will I allow to come wreck what I think I know and what I think "works" in order to pursue more of Him? Am I willing to be mocked and accused of being "out of balance" by others in the Christian community? We are past the days when the greatest opposition came from outside the Christian faith. Often it's the people around us who are made the most uncomfortable when we leave the comfort zones. So, am I willing to do more than sing the songs ("Spirit lead me where my trust is without borders!")? Am I willing to accept the invitation for more of God?
I am. At least I think so. I want to. Yes.
You and I have been born, physically and spiritually, to be problems solvers. God has sent us, equipped us and anointed us to carry the solution of Jesus to a dying, confused, disillusioned, hurting world. And if you, like me, have noticed problems increasing in frequency and intensity like birth pains, then you will agree we need to be increasing in anointing at a greater rate. We need more.
It may be uncomfortable. A little freaky at times. It will cost something. I will probably miss it here and there. But if more God in me means more glory for Him, then yes, Lord. I will follow You to more.
If you only knew how many blogs I have written in my head since May 12. My resistance to blogging has not been due to a lack of words. I have a lot of words. My resistance to blogging is because I have a lot of words. So many words.
Blogging requires a boldness to put out there what you really think, feel, dream, and imagine. And while I'm happy to sit across from anyone and share my streaming thoughts in most of those categories, it has been difficult for me to lay myself bare to those eyes across the deep dark space of the internet who don't know me, don't know my heart, my intentions, my motives for sharing ... and could potentially be looking for a fight. I read the comments people write to both the obscure and the well-known bloggers in the Christianity sphere, and they are not pretty. In fact, it's often downright scary what Christian people will say to other Christian people. No wonder the world things we are full of ... it.
And here is the real rub: I'm not all that concerned about the crazies who just want to fight and sling the Holy Word of God at me to prove points. I'm concerned about what crazy thing I WILL do or say in response. I love a good debate. Just ask my husband. The Lord has chiseled, shaped, and pruned my voracious appetite for a good debate. I'm not afraid of other people, I'm afraid of me. But this is where I am, in this slice of culture with all its technological possibilities and constraints, so it's with a bit of grin that I'm determining to just be more consistent and to predetermine to turn away wrath (should it come!) with kinds words.
To kick off this new determination along with this new year, the Lord has nudged me to land on one word as an overall theme for this year. I excitedly prayed and waited to hear what my awesome word was to be; you know, something really positive like overflow ore breakthrough. But no. With great clarity I know my word for this year is LISTEN.
A few years ago, I received a very accurate word from the Lord about getting out of my head and releasing my penchant for overthinking everything. In the context of the Word, it was dealing with how I over thought the Word as I studied it. It was a time in my life when I had been hit with significant fatigue in every area, and the message identified the fatigue and the answer to it. It was a corrective Word calling me to LISTEN and hone my ability to discern what the Lord is saying, verses diagraming the Word to figure it all out. The correction was rounded out with the benefits the Lord had for me if I would drop from my mental shenanigans and slip into a spiritual rhythm of listening.
I find myself and the ministry on the edge of something, and I'm not going to know what, who, when, where or why if I don't listen. This includes listening to my husband, my kids, and my friends. Listening to my advisors, and those the Lord brings across my path. It's not a slowing down as much as it is a letting go. A letting go of The Things; the distractions which may be good things but not the necessary things.
What about you? I'd love to hear what one word the Lord is speaking into your life for this year!
The April WOW event was more than we hoped (God's awesome that way!). We were blown away by the attendance, the presence of God and the excitement for the launch of this new endeavor. You have been talking about it and sharing your experiences and we couldn’t be more grateful for the faithfulness of God. Along with the excitement, naturally, also come questions about WOW and what we hope to accomplish through it.Read More
Today marks one year since my mom went to heaven. In death Mom taught me this: life is a prelude to eternity.Read More