While Birmingham, Alabama was going Deeper Still with God, Syracuse, New York was going deeper still with snow. And deeper. And deeper. 4 feet of snow over just a few days is more than the area usually gets for the entire month of December. And it was only the first week. Yikes.
Deeper Still in Birmingham was a great conference brought to you by the wonderful folks at LifeWay. The keynote speakers were Kay Arthur, Beth Moore, and Priscilla Shirer, who are three of the best women Bible teachers in the country if you ask me. Amazing signer/musician Travis Cottrell led worship.
Friday evening’s program began with worship, followed by a brief introduction by “The Big Three,” and then Kay gave a power-packed message.
As an aside – you can tell from some of the pics that I had THE BEST seat in the entire arena on Saturday! Front row center. It was totally worth getting up at 4:30am to be first in line! And yes, when the doors opened I unashamedly flew down the stairs and ran to that seat. I was so thankful that God gave me that spot. 😀
Saturday morning, Kelly Minter started things off early with a devotional. Although Kelly’s teaching time was relatively short, she had some wise words to share. Three points that stuck out to me:
- Bondage is in direct opposition to worship; they are mutually exclusive.
- You cannot negotiate with your false gods.
- You cannot be partially free. You are not free unless you are completely free.
Then Travis and the worship team took the ball and fired things up before Priscilla gave her message. I’ll write recaps of each of the teachers in separate posts soon.
After the lunch break came an interesting audio/visual demonstration. I’m not quite sure how to describe it because I honestly do not think I understood it, probably due in no small part to the fact that I had taken ill while travelling and was still suffering some effects of that combined with not eating or sleeping well for a few days. In other words, I was not on top of my game. 😛
At one point, Travis gave an incredible solo performance. His voice covered the range from beautiful to powerful; that guy sure has a gift. Later he teamed up with three other guys and they sang a few southern gospel songs a cappella. They were awesome!
Then my favorite part – Beth Moore. Of course she had a great message, it is always a privilege to sit under her teaching. Although I had been doing pretty well (not crying), she got to me.
I was able to meet a lot of people at Deeper Still, including a bunch of Siestas, the LifeWay staff, as well as Travis and Priscilla who were both so gracious in meeting people and taking pictures.
I also got to talk briefly with both Amanda Jones and Melissa Fitzpatrick, Beth’s daughters whom I had met last January. They are both so amiable. And although some wonderul folks work very hard at protecting Beth from the many demands her status brings, they did allow those of us that hung around after the conference to get into a group picture with our Siesta Mama.
After Deeper Still ended, I traveled to Memphis, Tennessee to visit my Siesta friend Eleanor for a few days. We went to her awesome church Faith Baptist and later saw Bellvue, the HUGE church where Adrian Rogers pastored. Church sure is different in the south. Eleanor took the day off from work on Monday and invited a few friends over for a fun brunch. Seriously – I have never sat at such a fancy table.
Other than the oven fire we had earlier that morning, it was a grand time! Inviting me out there and putting such effort into making me feel special was one of the nicests things anyone has ever done for me. God bless Eleanor.
One last item of note – as I drove back to Nashville to fly out, I saw the LifeWay building, so I stopped in. I didn’t expect to be able to see much, but I was curious about how such an organization runs. A sweet lady named Pam at the front desk gave me a big book called LifeWay Legacy – the history of LifeWay. That was exactly what I was interested in! I do love books, and free is always a bonus. That made my day.
So, despite not feeling well, the trip was a great blessing in many ways. And although I returned to snow, cold, and many important questions about the future, I know that God is Sovereign. He has a plan, and he is able to bring it about. He is our Savior, Provider, Lord, Teacher, and Guide. When we fix our eyes on Jesus and seek to know him first, he will take care of everything else.
Praise you, Lord.