Encouragement & Real Stories of Changed Lives

Full of new ideas, insights, and inspiration.

Crazy Quilts and a Master Weaver - Revised Bible Study

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QUILT was the first Bible study I wrote for my neighborhood Bible study group. My desire was to create a simple tool that they could use on a weekly basis to personally mine nuggets of truth and treasures from God’s Word. Instead of listening to me teach every week, we began to gather and share the discoveries and insights that our personal teacher, the Holy Spirit had revealed to us.

As I was praying and waiting on God to guide me – the word “quilt” came to mind. My immediate response was “That’s crazy!” Just then the image of a cherished family heirloom came into my mind. This keepsake was my mother’s child-sized bathrobe made from her great-grandmother’s handstitched Crazy Quilt. I repeated in my mind, Crazy Quilt….and so the study began to take shape.

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"How many times can I tell her no?"

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“Oh man, another one of these things,” she thinks to herself, as she pulls the red envelope out of her mailbox. “How many ways can I say no?” She takes the stack of mail inside and plops it all down on the kitchen table. The little red envelope, with her name written on the front in her neighbor’s neat cursive handwriting, is the only remotely interesting piece of mail she’s received today in a big stack of boring bills and advertisements. She sits down and sighs. “What’s she invited me to this time?” Inside the envelope, a cheerful pink and white card invites her to a Valentine’s Day tea given by the neighborhood Bible study. She smiles. She’s been receiving invitations like this for two solid years, and she’s running out of excuses. Her neighbor is a great gal – their sons are the same age and love playing together. But this Bible study stuff is not for her. Of course, this is just a tea party. It would be fun to meet some of the ladies in the neighborhood. How dangerous could it be?
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A Dangerous Valentine's Day Tea Party: Laurie's Story

Laurie and 2 girls pic
“Oh man, another one of these things,” she thinks to herself, as she pulls the red envelope out of her mailbox. “How many ways can I say no?” She takes the stack of mail inside and plops it all down on the kitchen table. The little red envelope, with her name written on the front in her neighbor’s neat cursive handwriting, is the only remotely interesting piece of mail she’s received today in a big stack of boring bills and advertisements. She sits down and sighs. “What’s she invited me to this time?” Inside the envelope, a cheerful pink and white card invites her to a Valentine’s Day tea given by the neighborhood Bible study. She smiles. She’s been receiving invitations like this for two solid years, and she’s running out of excuses. Her neighbor is a great gal – their sons are the same age and love playing together. But this Bible study stuff is not for her. Of course, this is just a tea party. It would be fun to meet some of the ladies in the neighborhood. How dangerous could it be?






Little did I know it at the time, but that Valentine’s Day tea was extremely dangerous for me. It turned my whole life upside down! And not just mine, but the lives of my husband, my children, and even my 66-year-old father.

The tea was a starting point – the tiny spark that lit a raging fire within me.

When I finally said yes, I was pleasantly surprised that the gals at the neighborhood Bible study were regular women, just like me. No one wore long dresses or shouted Scripture at me. During the tea, I heard a five-minute teaching on God’s grace. It was exactly the simple message my tired, hungry heart longed to hear – that there was a God in Heaven who loved me, not for how well I could behave or how many good works I could accomplish, but just for ME.

Several years after the fateful tea, I was encouraged to start a neighborhood Bible study of my own. Much to my surprise, I began reaching my neighbors in the same way I was reached.

Touching women through my neighborhood Bible study was the source of amazing joy to me, but the real shocker occurred when God touched my father’s heart.

Dad was a military man, an alpha dog and hard to the core. Dad was not a believer and had fallen away from the church years before. But, as he witnessed a softening in our home – the effect of grace – he became interested in the changes taking place in us. God gave me favor with my Dad – he loved exchanging emails – and he would listen as I shared the ways my faith was growing and our lives were changing. By God’s design, my parents moved into a retirement community full of godly people, and Dad was invited to his own neighborhood Bible study. Like me, he turned down the invitations at first, but he too eventually gave in (if only to get them off his back!) and began to love it. He called the men in the study “Quote and Go” because they were so familiar with Scripture.

I knew God was a big God, but I could never have imagined what happened next.

One afternoon, as my Dad and I sat on his patio, dunking Oreos in milk, our conversation turned to Christ. My heart began beating wildly in my chest, but God gave me boldness. I asked Dad if he wanted to pray to receive Christ, and he said yes. We prayed a sweet, childlike prayer together, and the skies, which had been crystal clear moments before, opened up and poured rain. It felt like God was crying tears of great joy! My parents were baptized soon after by the minister who led Dad’s neighborhood Bible study. I had to see it with my own eyes – the two of them up on the altar in choir robes – to believe it! When Dad died two years later, I had great peace and assurance that he was in Heaven and that we’d see each other again one day. That blessed assurance was possible because someone invited us – not once, but many times over – to a dangerous neighborhood Bible study.

Have you ever stepped out on faith to do something "dangerous?" What was the result of your boldness?

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Laurie Bengochea (pictured with her family) is the mother of four children, and more importantly, the grandmother of one darling little girl. She leads a community Bible study in Georgia. She has a heart to disciple women wherever she is.




Laurie's story was written by Erica Rountree. Erica is a freelance writer and the communications director at Action Ministries Inc.  She lives and works in Marietta, Georgia, where she’s a member of a neighborhood Bible study and mama to two girls who constantly outsmart her and drive her to drink sweet tea.





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Diane's story: Having a Heart for the Community Where God Plants Us

Diane's Story
Our family moved to Buford, Ga., from Florida two years ago in a total faith move. We had no jobs, no friends, family or connections. But we were convinced the Lord wanted us in this geographic location.

I've always had a heart for the community where God plants our family. After we settled in and began receiving employment opportunities, I began to yearn for neighborhood connections and a Bible Study. The Lord put on my heart to start a study, but I needed to wait for His leading. Soon, I met a neighbor whose husband is the pastor of a large, local church. I mentioned my yearnings to her, and we agreed to launch a study together at the New Year.

In the meantime, I met Debbie McGoldrick, and she shared all the Lord had placed on her heart and the NBS2GO studies. Once I saw the materials, I knew this would be perfect for a new neighborhood study, one that can both reach those who are newly seeking and those who already love delving deeply into the Word.

Intentionally, I opened our home for the neighborhood's annual Christmas party. There I met women and shared our idea for launching a Bible study in the neighborhood. Several immediately desired to join us! Later, I learned that several of these ladies had specifically prayed for Christians to move into our house. Since launching one year ago, we have prayer walked and put out flyers inviting neighbors to our study several times. At Christmas this year, we hosted an Operation Christmas Child event. We are now planning a food drive. Many of us attend board meetings and social events with the openness to meeting new families. We are intentional about connecting and reaching out to neighbors with food, kindness and encouragement, even if they never join our Bible study.

I may never have met these women had it not been for our study. The love and commitment we have for one another is so strong. We “run,” not walk, to each other’s homes each week, looking forward to studying, growing and loving one another more.

Diane O.'s Neighborhood Bible Study celebrated a year together in January.

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Top 5 Bible Studies for Your Neighborhood Bible Study

Calm My Anxious Heart
One of our most frequently asked questions is “What Bible studies do you recommend to lead in a neighborhood?”  Well, here are some of our favs for you!  TFT (Top Five Topical) Bible Studies list for neighborhoods…in our opinion…from people like you…for people like you!

 

 

 

“Calm My Anxious Heart” by Linda Dillow.  Tension Tamer tea is my beverage of choice most mornings.  Who doesn’t long for calm and contentment?  This book is easy peasy to read and lead in discussion.  It addresses relationships, circumstances, careers, etc.  It has 12 chapters.  Use this for a semester or double up the chapters and have a six week study.

 

 

 

 “Conversation Peace” by Mary Kasian.  I think a lawn mower running over me would have been more comfortable compared to what she just said to me.   Or…could someone please help me put those words back in my mouth?  This book is one of my favs!  It addresses how to have peace (receiving and giving) in your conversations.  Seven chapters and full of wisdom…you will love it.

 

 

 

 “Lord, Change My Attitude before it is Too Late” by James MacDonald.  Do you have “tude” in your house, neighborhood, or work?  This is a great study to lead among peers and will be applicable to all areas of life. It replaces 5 "bad" attitudes with more "godly" ones. It has ten chapters, and there is a workbook found in the back of the book.

 

 

 

“Having a Mary Heart in a Martha World” by Joanna Weaver.  A refreshing invitation for every woman who feels she isn't godly enough...isn't loving enough...isn't doing enough.  Invite your neighbors in for conversations of rest and intimacy with God.  This book has twelve chapters.

 

 

 

“Seven” by Jen Hatmaker.  Geesh.  No idea how to pose this one.  Except…if you thought “Radical” by David Platt was a convicting read, “Seven” is off the charts.  This book will make you stare in the mirror and cry out to God for both mercy and grace.  It is a book that will challenge your faith in amazing ways.  Have I scared you?  Good.  Go look for yourself.  This has, you guessed it, seven chapters.

 

 

 

So there you have it! These are just five of our favs . . . what would YOU recommend?   Share your favorite in the comment section below.

From our hearts,

Joan and the rest of the NBS2GO Girls

Our Team
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Adrienne's Story: My Whole Life Would be Suspect


There was no way I was going to a neighborhood Bible Study! These people were radicals. They would no doubt judge me. I didn’t own a Bible, and I certainly wouldn’t be able to find my way around one if I did. All my life prior to Bible Study attendance would be suspect! I was almost 40 years old, had everything anybody would rightfully need in life, and I was miserable. The self-help aisles at Barnes and Noble weren’t helping. I sensed I was being pushed hard by the Holy Spirit to give it a try. I see that now, only in retrospect. So I went.

None of my fears were founded. The group of women I met that first year were polite, patient and concerned about the spirituality of others. Nobody attempted to convict me on my prior lack of Bible knowledge or church attendance. There were no critics as I flipped back and forth through my Bible trying to locate the proper Book. No one commented on me or my family’s spiritual life prior to that first year of the study.

I cannot begin to estimate the value our Neighborhood Bible Study has brought to my life and to my family’s lives. There is no doubt the Lord intended for me to be in that environment to come into a personal relationship with Christ. Despite having the worst of preconceived notions, I was to take away Truth – life-altering Truth. Jesus is likely delighted to not be the stern taskmaster and cosmic scorekeeper anymore. My family now knows the Lord as the Loving Father that He is. My husband and I have grown in faith together in the years since I started attending the study. All three of my children now know Jesus and have the opportunity to live a life intertwined with Him, which I never had. I am certain that my grandchildren will have the opportunity to grow up with Jesus.


Did I mention that the woman who ultimately showed me the way to Christ actually asked me often to attend the study, through at least two years of carpooling? I am eternally glad that I finally said yes.












Adrienne Osbourne



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Jan's Story: My Heart Began to Heal


Following the tragic loss of one of my children in 1992, I was invited by a neighbor to attend Debbie McGoldrick’s NBS. Through understanding God’s presence and purpose in trials and receiving the encouragement and love of neighbors, my heart began to heal. I know personally the power of NBS to change lives and grow women in their faith journey. I began an NBS when I moved to a new neighborhood in 1998, and I am passionate about making NBS available to women at all stages of life. Whether they are exploring the Bible for the first time or desiring to grow in their faith, women love to meet in the comfort of a neighbor’s home to study and discover together God’s life-transforming Word.

“A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another.” John 13:34 NIV

To watch Jan tell her story in her own words; click here:  Jan's Story

 

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Unexpected Blessings... Amy's Story


Unexpected Blessings
Amy von Borstel

I could've never dreamed of the blessings that would come from my involvement in a neighborhood Bible study. I hadn't planned to be a part of a Bible study group. I got involved in a roundabout way.

It all started when my boss approached me at my job, saying, "Amy, would you be interested in being the babysitter for the neighborhood Bible study where I attend?"

I worked at a children's gymnastics facility and loved children. So I excitedly wrote down the name and telephone number of the leader of the study, and got in touch with her within a few days.

I'll never forget the first conversation I had with the leader, Laurie. When we talked I could hear the enthusiasm in her voice. She began telling me how they had prayed for God to send a new children's caregiver to the study.

With excitement, Laurie said, "Our previous babysitter was named Amy. She was a compassionate and caring lady. We've been praying for God to send us another "Amy" and He literally sent us another Amy!" We chuckled together as she said, "God has a sense of humor, doesn't He?"

When we walk close with God, there are no coincidences. He divinely plans each detail in our lives. I knew in that moment that God had orchestrated for me to be a part of this Bible study group. But I had no way of foreseeing all the incredible ways God would lavish His love on me through this group of women. They became the community that I needed to be a part of while I was going through some very challenging trials in my life.

While the ladies were having their Bible study time, I was in another area caring for the children of the moms that were attending the meetings. I got to know the moms very well through sharing and talking each week. They encouraged me, prayed for me, and grew to be my cherished friends. I was a part of that group for seven years. The fruit of those years is still growing in my life today. Women's Bible study groups cultivate long-lasting, true friendships and help us grow strong in our faith.

God works in mysterious ways. He amazes me in the way He weaves things together in our lives. I would encourage any woman who's considering attending or hosting a Bible study to dive in wholeheartedly. I know from experience that you'll look back one day and be amazed at all the awesome blessings that came out of your commitment to begin studying the Bible with your neighbors.

 

Bio: Amy von Borstel is a wife, homeschooling mom, and Christian writer. She is living her dream of being home with her family. She loves to write the stories of God’s faithfulness in her life and has a passion for helping the orphans of the world.

 

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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.

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