Bible Study Newbies

Hey, You Darlin’ Siestas! I am buried under Esther research but just felt the need to stretch my aching back and say hi to you. I love AJ’s last post about our LPM Bible study starting on Tuesday and how she made it “Pray for your Bible study leader day”! What a cool thing! (Incidentally, she could be considered one of them. She facilitates a group of college girls who land on her house every Wednesday night to take part in video-driven Bible study and discussion.) I also absolutely loved how AJ put the emphasis on Bible study leaders of all sorts of curriculum. Around here, we just want women in the Word of God! We love Precept, BSF, CBS, and every other solid approach to the study of God’s Word. I’ve taken my staff through a number of other teachers’ Bible studies through the years. As my mentor taught me so many years ago, all of us must be students of many teachers so that we aren’t accidentally led astray with no other voice to call our doctrine into check.

I wanted to give you a quick report on Tuesday night. God granted us a full house with a number of women in our overflow room. We were astounded with the numbers and the participants were no doubt astounded with the parking. (By the time we have that kind of full house, people are parked all over the place both legally and, unfortunately, illegally. Half the orange cones are stuck under cars and most of the policemen have rededicated their lives to the saving Name of Jesus. Still, it’s the ladies who have been through the brunt of it when all is said and done. By the time they make it into the church through all manner of rush hour traffic and explain to their seventeen family members why they’ll be okay without them for one evening, they need counseling for Post Traumatic Stress.) By the second Tuesday night of any series, however, things calm down a bit. We’re invariably able to get everybody in the sanctuary because a number of people just can’t bear the thought of going through the trauma again. And I don’t blame them. Still, I’m so proud of those who persevere and I know God is after something specific with them. The most profound things God ever does in our lives are never convenient. Sometimes God wants us to fight for what He has a mind to give us. Remember, He gave Joshua and the Israelites the Promised Land then told them to go in there and fight for their place in it. Sometimes we have to fight traffic and drive around the church seven times to get to some Promise Land.

I trust God to sovereignly handpick the group that will become completely engaged in the journey and see it to completion. I fall head over heels in love with them every time. I’ll know by about the third Tuesday night who that group will be this go-round. In the meantime, I don’t believe God wastes even the one time somebody decides to drop in on any Bible study. He still plants a seed even if it’s not watered until later. This is the part I’m most excited about telling you. I asked the women to raise their hands if they’d never been to Bible study with us before. Hundreds, Siestas! Hundreds all over the room! I really felt like a number of them had literally never been to a study of any kind before. I believe the title, “It’s Tough Being a Woman” in the ads we placed in the Houston Chronicle caught a few eyes that otherwise might not have come. Because, after all, it IS tough being a woman. AND, the man who loves her.

Man, do I ever love me some Newbies! I love having women come to Bible study who have never darkened the door of a church before. I love hearing the sound of one of the brand new hard-back Bibles we give away cracking open. Seeing the light suddenly come on for a precious, unsuspecting woman in that pew is one of the greatest joys of my entire life. To watch her suddenly get the fact that the Bible is not just some archaic, out-of-touch religious guide for freaks but the living, powerful Word of Truth that will speak right into her home, workplace, and romance is what I live to see. So, here’s my challenge to you today: We’ve got to give those newbies a safe place to come and to learn. We’ve got to throw our arms open and embrace them or maybe, if they need a little space instead, let ’em be just a bit. Then when they’re ready, hug them to no end. As much as we love one another in our Bible study groups and enjoy things just like they are, we never want to have a “ticktock the game’s locked and nobody else can play.” Nothing says something is working like somebody new coming. Let’s go out of our way to welcome every new face and make sure they know we’re glad they’re there…because are we ever!

September is a wonderful time for a new Bible study journey, isn’t it, Siestas? And a wonderful time to welcome somebody new to something that means the world to us. Just think, in a year every single one of us who is willing will be able to say to someone we met this Fall, “I can’t believe I haven’t loved you forever.” That’s one of the things I love most about Jesus. Life with Him doesn’t have to be long to be deep.

I so hope every one of you is engaged in some kind of small group Bible study this Fall! It’s a tremendously important part of our walk with Christ. He did not call us to go this thing alone, praise His Name. We NEED one another.

“And let us consider how we may spur one another one toward love and good deeds. Let us not give up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but let us encourage one another – and all the more as you see the Day approaching.” Hebrews 10:24,25

I love you, Siestas! Be back in touch soon.

PS. Amanda, Curt, and my little Dude are on their way to Houston right now. Yahoo-Jah!!!! Somebody grab a banner and a boom box!


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