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.
Encouragement & Real Stories of Changed Lives
Thank You. Two simple words — both written and spoken — hover as an endangered species in our ‘hurry up and get it done’ culture. But we see in the Book of Luke that Thank You is important to God.
As another Christmas approached I found myself weary of the commercialized season. What I really longed for was thoughtful moments being mesmerized by my Savior's birth. The story that had transformed my life somehow seemed diminished in the to-do's of December. I searched for an Advent study that would take me through the Scriptures in order to feel the story firsthand, but I couldn't find one. So, I wrote one. I invited several others on this personal journey, and their encouragement to publish and post this study was unanimous.
Step out of time and into these Scriptures. Find yourself pondering afresh this moment when our stratosphere was interrupted with the divine. The silent and holy night is near. Make ready your heart to worship.
The following is the introduction to the ADVENT study. The ADVENT study guide and compact guide are available here.
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!
“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.”
“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.
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!
Exhausted after more than a day’s worth of international travel to Croatia for a mission trip, we hauled our family’s luggage up three flights of stairs. I lugged myself into our quaint hotel room and crawled onto the bed. Just before I fell asleep, I glanced over to the two sets of open shutters that brought in the moonlight. Too tired to close them, I drifted off to sleep.
When simple tools to study Scripture are accessible in someone’s native language, new doors open to learning about God’s Word in ways not available before! Our desire at NBS2GO is to provide ways for just that to happen. Because God’s Word is “living and active” we pray for and work toward this goal. We created a short 5-minute video that provides an overview of the Bible studies as well as translation instructions. It truly does not get much easier than this to help a brother or sister in Christ access materials that help dig deep in God’s Word; something we may so easily take for granted. We would love your partnership by watching the video then pray about how you may be able to help! Maybe you know someone who speaks another language and who has a heart to help translate this short tool!
Did you know 70% of your unchurched friends, neighbors, and family would go to church if someone they knew invited them? Take a few moments and write down ten people that qualify with these criteria: 1. You know them, 2. They don’t attend or go to church.
Our newest study, the Lent Bible Study, is only available through this email. We desire to have several individuals and a few small groups take part in field testing our materials before we post them to our website. Would you help us by being a part of our “Lent Bible Study” field test? This study is written in the same format as our other 2GO Bible study series. It is a 7-week study leading up to Easter. The following is the introduction.
We know Valentine's is a special time of year and we want to help you know how to use it as an opportunity for loving the people right where you live, work, or connect. I have designed a guide to help! Having a guide helps keep my thoughts organized in one place. It's really just a way for me to stop missing important details when I want to have a purpose-driven gathering for others. I'm an ideas person, so I put a ton of details as potential considerations. Some may be unnecessary to your situation; just leave those blank and move to something that would be helpful.
It was spring again and time for the Annual Egg Hunt in the neighborhood. I was searching for motivation to get this one together...again...by myself. Years earlier when I hosted the first hunt, I had been told to call it an "Egg Hunt", not an "Easter Egg Hunt". I was not permitted to use special messages or symbols inside the eggs to represent the Resurrection of Jesus, in other words - no religious talk. I was told there were people of many faiths, and we did not want to exclude anyone. In addition, for the last two years it was around freezing on the morning of each hunt. Only a few brave souls showed up (got plenty of eggs), then quickly left for home to get warm. So this year I was less than enthusiastic about the gathering. After all, what was the point if I couldn't share the meaning of the holiday?
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.
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 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.
What is NBS2GO?
NBS2GO = Neighbor Bible Studies 2GO - nbs2go.com is simply the 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.