Live on God’s sturdy foundation, Tara-Leigh Cobble exhorts at women’s session

INDIANAPOLIS (BP) — Tara-Leigh Cobble of “The Bible Recap” podcast fame was nailing it, acing morality. No cussing, no sexual activity, no alcohol, no bad movies, not even cable. Anyone would think she was planted on a firm foundation.

“If God gave out gold stars, I had them,” she told hundreds June 10 at the women’s session of the 2024 Southern Baptist Convention (SBC) Pastors’ Conference at the Indiana Convention Center. While her lifestyle was beneficial, it wasn’t built on the Solid Rock, she said, speaking from Colossians 3:16 and Matthew 7.

Cobble, a single Christian and full-time ministry leader, had experienced God through secondhand testimony, a tragedy she said can occur when relying solely on devotionals written by others for personal time with God.

“Do you have an active, intimate relationship with the living God, with Jesus Christ the Rock? Scripture paints a picture repeatedly of abiding and living in the Word of God,” Cobble said. “If your life is not built of knowing God and the Word of God, all your kingdoms are sandcastles. But the good news for all of us who find ourselves living on a non-steady foundation is that it’s never too late to relocate. We’ve got the best real estate agent there has ever been.”

Cobble, in her keynote address, offered five tips to help women read, understand and love God’s Word. When reading Scripture, she said, look for God, consider the context, embrace uncertainty, ask for help and read in community.

“If you dwell (in Scripture) it will change you. I’ve watched it change me,” she said. “I’m on my 16th trip through Scripture now and I am not the same. I was in full-time ministry before, and I’m in full-time ministry now, and I am not the same. Praise God. It’s a peace and joy that I have in situations that would otherwise be chaotic.”

Cobble was one of two keynote speakers at the event, joined by keynoter Tina Boesch and panelists Michelle Chitwood, wife of International Mission Board President Paul Chitwood; Tara Dew, wife of New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary President Jamie Dew; Lynette Ezell, Send Relief podcaster and wife of North American Mission Board President Kevin Ezell; Donna Gaines, Bible teacher, author and wife of Bellevue Baptist Church Senior Pastor Steve Gaines; Kandi Gallaty, author and wife of Long Hollow Baptist Church Pastor Robby Gallaty; Kim Hardy, author, life coach and wife of Lifepoint Church Lead Pastor Dexter Hardy; and Iva May, founder and director of Chronological Bible Teaching.

Exhortation focused on God’s Word, discipleship, spiritual fervor and gratitude carried the morning as women praised and worshiped God. Eric and Kristin Yeldell and others from First Baptist Church of Cleveland, Tenn., where he serves as music pastor, led worship. Kristin Yeldell also served as a panel discussion moderator.

Ezell and others on the program honored Kathy Litton for faithfulness in ministry upon her retirement as director of planting spouse development at the North American Mission Board.

Boesch, an author and manager of the Women’s Bible studies team at Lifeway Christian Resources, drew on her experience as a missionary and mother to encourage women to take every opportunity to bless others by sharing God’s Word.

She stood on Numbers 6:22 in presenting God’s blessing as the beginning of a relationship, augmenting the message with God’s creative words in Genesis.

“When God creates Adam and Eve, He speaks blessing,” she said, “but there is something different about this passage because it says God blessed them and God said to them. God is opening a dialogue with Adam and Eve. God’s blessing is the beginning of a relationship.”

She presented God’s blessing in Numbers 22 as relational and future-focused, and said His blessings articulated throughout Scripture are universally appreciated and beneficial for evangelism.

“Once I discovered blessings in the Bible, I found I could speak these blessings even to my Muslim friends and they were like, ‘Yes, that is good,’” she said, recalling her time as an International Mission Board missionary decades ago. “Imagine words like, ‘May you be filled with the fruit of righteousness,’ from Philippians (1:11). Or Ephesians (1:18), ‘May the eyes of your heart be enlightened so that you may know the hope of your calling.’”

(EDITOR’S NOTEDiana Chandler is Baptist Press’ senior writer.)

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