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The One Question That Revolutionized Loving My Neighbors

I’ll never forget the day my husband shared a new ministry principle with me. He suggested, “What if you stopped doing things for people and did things with people?”

That single question revolutionized what it meant for me to truly love my neighbor in ways that included both acts of service and also a relational commitment that changed my neighborhood forever. That year, I began to gather the neighbors together based on what our family already did each day. I was going to live with my neighbor, not simply do tasks for them.

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Recent Comments
Guest — Kelly
Very good simple questions, Heather. I appreciate the challenge to do things WITH people. I, too, enjoy loving my neighbors and f... Read More
Monday, 05 March 2018 08:25
Guest — NBS2GO
Thank you, Kelly, for sharing these ideas with us. They are wonderful. What a blessing you are to your neighbors!
Monday, 05 March 2018 13:48
Guest — Michelle Coon
I love the challenge she gives to be invitational in the every day times in life.
Tuesday, 06 March 2018 06:43
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God Never Gets the Address Wrong

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I’ve lived in this neighborhood for nearly ten years and will never forget how we got here. At the last minute God opened the door to this house. We had often invited collegians and other groups into our previous home and dreamed of a large gathering space for them. While house-hunting I was pregnant and also had a toddler in tow, and felt so tired. But my husband coaxed, “Just look at one more -- I think this is the one.”  

And so it was! One look at the large living room and the abundant built-in storage space and I was sold. We moved in on my thirtieth birthday.  

We got settled that winter and then had our second baby, and eighteen months later, our third. I was tired all ​the time, trying to be a wife and mom and minister to college students on our local campus. Though my life was full, I felt something was missing.  I just knew that God had placed us in this​ ​house on this​ street in this​ neighborhood as his ambassadors.  I often sat at my dining table reading my Bible and gazing out the front window. The three houses I could see were inhabited by amazing older Christian women. There was not a young mom or a child as far as I could see in my neighborhood. Most of my neighbors were original home owners who had already raised their children. And here I sat, three kids under the age of four and no energy to go anywhere except the grocery store or to meet students on our local college campus. “God, why did you put me here?” I would cry out. “Did you get the address wrong?”  I longed to meet peers and talk about God and even lead Bible studies right where I was.  

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Do my words and my tone matter in ministry?

Do my words and my tone matter in ministry?

The pain and anger on his employees’ faces tore at him. He could feel the wall between them. His decisions earlier that week had affected everyone. He stood at the podium ready to take the blame as he said quietly, “Look no further, the ‘elephant in the room’ is before you.”

What if he had said sarcastically, “I feel sorry for you that you don’t understand what I just decided.” Or if he had responded angrily, “It is what it is – deal with it!”

Isn’t it amazing what tone and a few words can do in any situation?

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Little is Much When God is in It

Little is Much When God is in It

“Watch out! Debbie is a seed-planter!” warned Elaine Bush at a recent NBS2GO luncheon at Calvary Church in Grand Rapids, Michigan.  Four years ago when she first heard Debbie McGoldrick speak,  Elaine thought the format of these 2GO Bible studies was “an interesting and easy approach that brought new insights,” but she had no plans to begin a study of her own. “But I didn’t think about the seeds she was planting,” Elaine reflected. “They were lying dormant, waiting for the right season for the Holy Spirit to water them.” 


Fast-forward to the summer of 2018. She thought of Debbie while walking in her neighborhood one day, and began praying. Then she ran into her friend Sue and couldn’t wait to tell her about NBS2GO. Maybe they could work together! Sue offered to pray for Elaine, but was too busy. “I should have warned her about the seeds. . .” Elaine said.


A few months later in the fall Elaine started a neighborhood Bible study group using LIGHT, from the 2GO Bible Study Series. Though only averaging six women, the group felt God’s hand on them. Elaine smiled as she remembered one of her mother’s favorite quotes, “Little is much when God is in it.” One of her neighbors proudly showed the Bible she had just bought – her first one! Although her church taught from the Bible all these years, they had not encouraged people to read it. As she immersed herself in the Scriptures, God opened her spirit to His own. Nature took on fresh meaning. She told how the breeze that brushed her face on walks now reminded her of God’s presence, described in the Bible as a rushing wind.

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How a Young Mom Began a Bible Study in Her Neighborhood

How a Young Mom Began in Her Neighborhood

Melody began praying for her neighbors and developing relationships four years ago. She started a neighborhood Bible study one year ago. What you are about to read is a poetic reflection that you don’t have to do big things, but one little thing at a time. Since she began, Melody has seen fourteen women join her in Bible study and five have come to Christ. She hosted a Christmas gathering where thirty participated. In her Easter outreach twenty attended. This doesn’t happen overnight but in micro-decisions and a commitment to pray moment by moment and day by day.

How it all began. . .

One little prayer 
Awoke in my heart
Full of hopes and dreams
Not clear how to start.

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Neighboring in Every Season

Neighboring in Every Season

Hey, mamas. Lots of thoughts are racing through my mind as I sit at the YMCA typing, praying, and asking God to give me words to encourage you around partnering with God to love your neighbors.  

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Our Ambassador in Honduras

Our Ambassador in Honduras

As we pray every day at 10:02am asking God to send out laborers (to coincide with Luke 10:2), we believe Kelin is an answer to that prayer! Once she was aware of the tools NBS2GO offered to help reach neighbors for Christ, she did not delay to reach out and begin a Bible study in her neighborhood in Honduras. God led Kelin to become an ambassador for NBS2GO in Honduras, as she now helps train and equip churches to fulfill the mission of NBS2GO – “Reach the people around you, begin a Bible study group.” 

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Neighboring at Halloween

Neighboring at Halloween

KNOCK-KNOCK.
Who’s there?
Opportunity.
Opportunity Who?
Opportunity is knocking at your door this Oct 31st.

The opportunity to love your neighbor on Halloween and be a LIGHT.
I know, I know, it is the dreaded holiday -- Halloween. The one you celebrate BECAUSE it’s over.
But what if I told you that October 31st is redeemable? This is a day when you can bring glory to God. How, you ask? By letting your light shine!
Jesus says,
“I am the Light of the world; he who follows Me will not walk in the darkness
but will have the light of life.” John 8:12
“The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it.” John 1:5
Not only does He say that He is the light of the world, but that WE are as well.

“You are the light of the world. A city on a hill cannot be hidden.
Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a bowl. Instead they put it on its stand, and it gives light to everyone in the house.
In the same way, let your light shine before men, that they may see your good deeds and praise your Father in Heaven.” Matt 5:14-16

Don’t hide, turning out all the lights so no one can see you this Halloween. And please don’t put a note on your door saying, “We are Christians and don’t celebrate evil.”
Paul says,
“Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.” Romans 12:21
This is the time to overcome the darkness with light.

What if this year we all turn our lights up bright, and are the light to our neighbors?
How can you be a LIGHT this year to those around you? It can be as simple as opening your DOOR!

*Turn on your lights. Make your house bright and cheery. Put a string of white Christmas lights around your house. Make luminaries to line your walkway — buy Kraft lunch bags, fill with 2 inches of sand, and place battery lights inside.

*Give the BEST candy. (If you give a good-news tract, put candy with it as well.) Chocolate. Chocolate. Chocolate. Be a generous giver.

*Pray for your neighborhood as you prepare. Prayer-walk or prayer-drive the
neighborhood, asking God to help you develop relationships and to be a blessing to someone.

*Have treats for the parents -- cold water or hot chocolate, depending on the weather.

*Greet visitors with a smile and a welcoming attitude. Be on the porch as they
walk up. Create an inviting atmosphere with happy music playing. Decorate with pumpkins. (Remember they are not evil.)

*Get to know your neighbors by asking how they are or who they are.

*Value the children by finding something positive to say about their costumes.

*Have some dog treats available in case your neighbors bring Fido.
If you don’t have a “neighborhood” that has any trick-or-treaters, then ask a friend who has
“too many” if you can help -- buy candy; be a greeter and a blessing.

Go -- and be the light!
Other ideas and resources:


Click here for an excellent article on the origins and history of Halloween and All Hallows' Eve:
https://www.christianity.com/christian-life/marriage-and-family/to-halloween-or-not-to-halloween-1356581.html

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The ABCD's of Discussion

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It took me three years to get up enough courage and capacity to start my first Bible study on my street.  I loved my neighbors through acts of kindness, purposefully pursued them with hospitality, and boldly stepped out in faith to invite them to a Bible study, but when they came together, I noticed a huge tendency towards having a visiting session and not a Bible study group.  Here is an example of a few questions that can arise in a Bible study setting,

“Is the organic food movement all a scam? I saw a documentary on Netflix…” “Have I ever told you how my husband and I met?”  “Is the HOA unjust?  I think owners, not renters get citations.”  

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Guest — Ernie Chartier
Clicking on the stars at the end of your post didn’t work for me (technical glitch?), but I wanted to let you know, this is a 5-st... Read More
Thursday, 12 September 2019 08:30
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Top 5 Things to do When Beginning a Study

Top 5 Things to do When Beginning a Bible Study

As I was beginning a neighborhood Bible study I decided to hand-deliver a few invitations. Nancy lived across from me at the time, and my simple invitation turned into a conversation with her. Nancy shared with me that she had always wanted to attend a Bible study, but she didn’t know anything about the Bible. This had always held her back. I assured her that we would all be learning together and that she could feel comfortable. She came, and her life began to change. Christ made a difference in Nancy’s life through a neighborhood Bible study!

Beginning a NBS might feel like a daunting task. Will anyone come? Will I be seen as the Bible person on the street? Will people stop being my friend? We all have concerns and fears as we begin. We thought we would compile our top 5 things we have found most helpful.

1. Pray. Do not underestimate prayer. Ask the Lord to help you as you begin. If possible, ask someone to pray with you. Pray for open hearts. Pray for divine connections. Pray for people to come!

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The Truth Is, We Need Each Other

Mothers-Day

“A mother is the truest friend we have, when trials heavy and sudden fall upon us; when adversity takes the place of prosperity; when friends desert us; when trouble thickens around us, still will she cling to us, and endeavor by her kind precepts and counsels to dissipate the clouds of darkness, and cause peace to return to our hearts.” Washington Irving

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Our Gift to You for Valentine's Day

Our Gift to You for Valentine's Day

Enjoy this remodeled HEART 2GO Bible study written by Debbie McGoldrick.

INTRODUCTION

In creation we see a myriad of word pictures that God uses to demonstrate His character, biblical truths, and His miraculous ways. Jesus often used nature to illustrate His divine teachings. The following insect story allegorizes the essence of the HEART Bible Study theme. 

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Thanksgiving: to host or not to host

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Guest post by Karen Guzman

I grew up in a house regularly filled with guests, whether for a meal or for a semester. So, when I joined InterVarsity staff and moved into my own place, it was natural to host students for meals, movie nights, parties, etc. Later, I began working with graduate students who tended to be on campus year ‘round. Work commitments and/or being from out of state or overseas make for infrequent visits to family. Working with international students, I discovered that many come to the states for school and return home without ever having seen the inside of an American home. Thanksgiving, particularly, became a focal point of ministry as I welcomed students into my home for a traditional American celebration.

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Wonder - Choose Kind. Be Ordinary.

Wonder book coverWonder, by R.J. Palacio, is a beautiful story that has been adapted to film.  It releases to U.S. theaters, today, November 17, 2017 and I can’t wait to see it. I hope moviegoers pass through the double doors, walk down the dark and narrow passage, and claim a seat prepared to accept this message of #choosekind.

August “Auggie” Pullman, born with a condition that necessitated 27 surgeries that did not restore his disfigured face, enters school for the first time as a fifth grader. Can you imagine? It is a rough start but students around Auggie transform throughout the year, allowing viewers to soak up the possibilities of being “ordinary” and what it means to choose kindness.

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I Married into the South, Football, and Chick Fil A.

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The ruling on the field stands.

The ruling on the field is confirmed.

Football reigns and rules in the South. On Monday, we were glued to the TV to watch the National Championship college football game. It was intense to say the least. Half of my family barked like a true Dawg (University of Georgia). The other half was cheering “Roll Tide” (University of Alabama). Suffice it to say that all of us were hoarse by the end of the game. After every play, there was yelling. “Yeeessss!!!! Noooooo!!!!” And all at the same time!

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Guest — Becky Barber
Great post! Great analogy! Thanks, Joan!
Friday, 12 January 2018 15:26
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Tears Filled Her Eyes: Fresh Idea for a Sweet Valentine's NBS

As a facilitator of a neighborhood Bible study for nine years now, I am continually looking for fresh ideas. If the Lord is creative enough to design butterflies and the zebra, certainly He can give me creativity with the women in my Bible study! It's a well known fact that for Valentine’s Day, the one book that is read aloud in my home (even to my older children) is "Somebody Loves You, Mr. Hatch." It's a heartwarming tale that shows the effect of love and tender regard toward a man who lives alone. For a few years now I have also read the book aloud to the women in the Bible study.

One year, I decided to change it up. Instead of just reading the book at Bible study, I contacted the husbands of the women of the group and ask them to help me. I sent a quick note to them that said, "Hello! This is Joan Parsons. I am hoping to surprise the ladies around Valentine’s Day with a note from their husband. Could you please take a couple of minutes and answer the question: What do you admire about your wife? I would like 2-3 sentences. You can send it via text or email."

The morning of Bible study came and honestly, I was overwhelmed. 

The husbands were amazing with their words. They had taken time to be thoughtful and encouraging. I took each of their notes and reproduced them on pretty stationery.
 
"She is the most supportive wife, who is never critical of me to others, always respects my opinions, and honors me without complaint after long hours of work."

"She is the most capable person I've ever met. There is absolutely NOTHING she can't accomplish when she puts her mind to it."

One by one, I read the notes aloud. We laughed. We cried. We shared a very special and precious moment together. One of the ladies said, with tears in her eyes, "I have never heard him say these things. This means the world to me." And she and her husband had been married for 40+ years!

Mr. Hatch strikes again!

 



Ask the Lord to give you creativity. He can do what you could never do on your own.

How have you marked Valentine's Day in your Bible study? Share your ideas with other leaders in the comments.

 
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What is NBS2GO?

NBS2GO = Neighbor Bible Studies 2GO. This website is the simple packaging of ideas, resources, and inspiration to equip believers to launch and multiply Bible study groups.


What's the big deal about a Bible study group?

Like a one-room schoolhouse, a Bible study group brings together a wide range of seekers and Christ-followers to study, discuss, and encourage one another toward life application of God’s Word. This blending of spiritual maturity levels creates a dynamic, life-transforming community. Friendships are formed, and group members are equipped to minister to others where they do life. Life transformation and multiplication!

NLT Scripture references on nbs2go.com and in publications, unless otherwise noted.

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