7/18/97 Beth Moore works for God through writing, speaking
RIDGECREST, N.C. (BP)--Beth Moore talks about God so personally, it is easy to imagine her reaching over and squeezing his hand. To her, the Father is an intimate friend whom she trusts with her deepest secrets.
"We've been around the bend together. He is the love of my life," said Moore, who writes, teaches and speaks with a captivating charisma that matches her love for God.
"I was 18 when I surrendered to God's call. I was a camp sponsor, and I felt the overwhelming, unmistakable call from God that said, 'You will work for me, every breath you take for the rest of your life.' And in some form or other, that is what I've done."
Moore, founder of Living Proof Ministry in Houston and author of two popular women's ministry resources, "A Woman's Heart: God's Dwelling Place" and "A Heart Like His," has emerged as a spiritual mentor for Christian women who have ached for a guiding female presence.
"Women desire an intimate close relationship with God and a presence with him," Moore said in attempting to explain her popularity among Christian women. "I am compelled by God -- and they might sense something like that. These ladies are not confused about who I am.
"We are kindred spirits on a common journey. We share our love for God."
When describing what she calls her "turbulent childhood and teenage years," Moore, who gave her life to Jesus as "a little girl," credits God for sticking by her and saving her from drowning in self-pity.
"God's great mercy continued to heal me. He pulled me out of the pit and put my feet on the rock."
In fact, Moore, in her own inimitable style, said God has had the opportunity to straighten her out more than a few times during her life.
"I have known him a long time, and whenever I would go left, it wouldn't be long until he jerked my teeth out pulling me back to him."
Moore does have an entertaining way with words. They tend to roll out artistically as she speaks about Jesus, God, Christianity or anything holy. In fact, a problem she sometimes encounters is the charge that she is "fake."
"Oh sure, people watch me, and they say, 'Get out of here,' she's not real. But if they stay around me for any time, if they keep watching, they will see that I am real. Fake, no, obnoxious, yes."
How about endearing? Moore is not afraid to be vulnerable in front of her audiences. She often kneels when she prays.
And she peppers her Bible studies with intimate insights into her personal life. She talks of her two daughters who love God, and her husband, on whom she relies so heavily because of her travels. One part of her personal life she discusses on stage, but cannot bear to talk about off, is losing a young boy who had been a part of her family from the time he was 4 until he was 11. His birth mother regained custody of him last year.
"I have to establish boundaries about Michael while I'm really aching. I hope soon I will be able to tell fun stories about him."
Moore said her current ministry with women sprouted from humble beginnings.
"I started teaching Bible study through Sunday school in 1984" at First Baptist Church, Houston, where she is still a member.
"I have a major love of Sunday school, and I became very open to having a weekday study group that we could really take to depth."
Moore said as the woman's group began regularly meeting, she decided to start giving them homework.
"I noticed the more I involved them, the more involved they got."
Moore took the few questions she gave for homework and some the women asked in class and wrote a "full-fledged Bible study."
The women then wanted to do another study. So Moore wrote another Bible study.
"Around that time, the Sunday School Board began to listen to the desires of women to get into the meat of the word," Moore said. "They had a need, and I was already doing it."
Ironically, Moore said, she had sent what is now called "A Woman's Heart" to the Baptist Sunday School Board a few months before they had ever talked with her, "and they sent it back, saying they couldn't use it."
However, a few months later, Moore received an embarrassed call asking her to send the material for another review. She did. And the combined sales of "A Woman's Heart" and "A Heart Like His," produced by the BSSB's discipleship and family development division, have exceeded 120,000 copies.
"A Woman's Heart: God's Dwelling Place" is the study of the Old Testament tabernacle, but Moore said it is actually centered around the life and journey of Moses. It is a study of why God would choose to dwell in the wilderness among humans.
Her second and current study, "A Heart Like His: Seeking the Heart of God Through a Study of David," examines man in relationship with God "and the potential of men for glory or disaster."
"A person does not exist who is beyond a disastrous fall into sin. This study shows warning signals David went through as he was getting ready for the fall," Moore said.
"It also talks about troubled relationships in the family. It's a hard study, and it will walk all over your heart."
Moore is currently completing her third study, "To Live as Christ: A Study of Paul." She said the new study primarily focuses on Paul's life and his passion to live like Christ.
Moore led a Bible study during Discipleship and Family Development Week at Ridgecrest, N.C., Baptist Conference Center, July 5-11.