Encouragement & Real Stories of Changed Lives

Full of new ideas, insights, and inspiration.

Wipe Out: Hear Your Father's Voice

wipe out
Wipe out! It’s just part of learning to snow ski, but it’s not the hardest part of the sport. Getting up again is the biggest challenge!

We took our daughters snow skiing for the first time recently. Toward the end of the day, my husband took the girls on an intermediate run, and the younger one, 9, proceeded to wipe out over and over again. She came off the slopes feeling pretty defeated and certain that her daddy was mad at her.

Every time she wiped out, her skis popped off, and she had to get them on again. Her natural inclination was to point them downhill and try to step into them, which, of course, led to another fall. Her dad told her to arrange her skis parallel to the mountain before she stepped into them so she’d be anchored to the slope and able to reestablish her balance. He gave her the same instruction many times, but she seemed not to listen and experienced failure over and over again. “If she would’ve just listened to what I was telling her, I could have helped her,” he said.

I’d experienced something very similar myself in my ski lesson. About halfway down the same challenging slope where my daughter kept falling, I was learning to turn. I was still unsteady and concentrating hard on my form and balance when a man clipped me from behind, sending me and my poles flying. From down the mountain, I could hear my instructor, Jerry, shouting instructions to me about how to position myself so I could get up. I knew intellectually that I could trust Jerry – he was far more experienced than I in these matters, for sure – but my natural instinct was to do the exact opposite of what he was saying! Instead of listening to my trustworthy teacher, I listened to myself and tried to stand up in my own strength. My instinct was to get up like I wasn’t on skis. My instinct was to do it my own way. Can you say epic fail?

Finally, I stilled my mind, set aside my humiliation and determined to focus on my teacher’s instructions. With his help, I positioned my skis and my body the correct way. He walked his way back up the mountain to me, stuck out his hand, which I grabbed, and voila – I was on my feet again! How often do we flail around, trying to go it alone, while our Teacher’s voice is accessible to us? What He asks us to do often feels unnatural or counterintuitive, but He knows so much better than we do. When we can still our minds long enough to hear Him and reach out our hands in trust, our results can be vastly different.

Even when we're in close relationship with our Heavenly Father, it can still be difficult to hear His instructions. How much harder is it then for the woman who has not yet come to know Him? We have neighbors who are flailing about, operating on instinct. They desperately need to be introduced to the Father they can trust in the midst of the wipe out. Will you be the person who makes the introduction?

NBS2Go’s newest Acrostic Bible Study is called L.I.S.T.E.N.: Listen Intently, Follow Intentionally – Without Delay, Discussion or Doubt. Download it for free here!



Erica Rountree 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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Love Your Neighbor As Yourself?


"Love your neighbor as yourself.". Yes, but how?

What comes to mind when you read this verse?  (Mark 12:31) What does it look like to accomplish this!  What stirs within you when you hear Christ say this is the second greatest command?

I often feel inadequate. Don't you?  Sometimes certain "neighbors" come to mind that I have a hard time loving. I think of circumstances where I have been misunderstood and have a strained relationship with a "neighbor."  Or a "neighbor" has said something or done something that has left me drained or wounded. These are all valid situations.  I am sure you have a list too!

But what I would rather draw attention to with this verse is actually initiating love to all my neighbors.  How about focusing on trusting God to reach them with His message.  Love is active.  Love strives towards someone.  Love would rather be guilty of moving towards someone rather than being passive.   Yes!  Amen!  But how do we do this?

Start with prayer.  Ask the Lord to give you a heart for your neighbors.  Pray for them by name when you know it.  Pray for their children.  Pray for their work.  Pray for God's protection and blessing in their lives.  Pray the Gospel would be heard in their houses. 

And then what?  _____________________________. You fill in the blank.  As you are praying,  my guess is that God will give you ideas to communicate His love to them. He will whisper to you to write a note to someone. He will purposefully have you run into another who needs encouragement.  He will want you to take cookies to a young family.  How about starting a neighborhood Bible study?   I still remember the peanut butter pie that we received 9 years ago when we moved in....and who brought it?....my godly, loving neighbor who reached out to us with Christ's love. And she is my co-leader in my neighborhood Bible study!

Love takes action. How will you "love" your neighbor today?  How have you loved your neighbor?  

Love,
Joan

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Steppin Up & Steppin In... The Hot Tub

How I came to baptize someone in a hot tub…

Leading a neighborhood study can direct you into some unchartered waters…like the time I was asked to baptize one of our girls in the middle of winter!  Well, I am not a pastor or clergy person of any kind.  I don’t wear a robe or a collar; I don’t sing in a choir or alone; and I don’t baptize people!   So, I said NO.  I WILL NOT DO THAT!  I AM NOT QUALIFIED.  But, she persisted.  My sweet Iranian friend, who had come to know Christ at my table, and the fellowship of the Saints at our neighborhood Bible study, would not give up.

So, I began looking for Scripture to show her why I could not possibly baptize her.  When I failed to find it, I began asking my more versed friends why I could not baptize her.  When they failed to tell me, I began asking God to show her why I could not be the one.   Well, the Word, my friends, and our God all failed me on this one.   When at last she began pleading with me with those beautiful liquid brown eyes and in that lyrical soft voice (Lisa comes out Leeza, so much better), I caved in.  You would have too!  And, we began planning a baptism in our study!

Without a baptismal, where do you go?  There were too many of us to crowd into a bathroom for a good dunking.  And it was too cold to go into the lake.  So, we decided on one of the girl’s outdoor hot tubs, and set a date!

And what a date we had!  We all gathered around her and prayed.  We read Scripture to her and over her.  We laughed and we cried.  And then, she and I stepped up and into that hot tub, and I had the awesome privilege of baptizing her, based on her profession of faith in Jesus as her Lord and Savior, in the name of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.  I will never forget it.  Though I do not remember exactly what I said, I will never forget the feeling of having my hands on my Sister, guiding her body into the water, and lifting her up again.  My heart was so full.  It doesn’t get much better than that.

Maybe I will start wearing a robe…would make getting dressed much simpler!

Lisa

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Feeling Inadequate?

churchmeeting1

Feeling Inadequate? … Me too... Always have.  Guess I always will.  The truth is, I am inadequate.  I am inadequate to teach others the Word of God.  I am inadequate to lead a group of women in their walk with God.  I am inadequate to represent Christ to my neighbors.  I am inadequate to do anything good at all.   I wasn’t’ raised in a Christian home.  I haven’t attended Church all my life.  I don’t have a lot of Scripture memorized.  I still struggle with sin.  I am broken and flawed.  I don’t dress right; I don’t always act right; my car is a mess, and my boys are usually dirty!  Really, I am the last person you would pick to lead a Bible study!

But I do.  And I have for the past 7 or so years.  Yes, it still surprises me sometimes!  Yes, it is still terrifying sometimes.  Yes, it is still beyond my abilities—all the time.  But, week after week, God meets my lack with His grace, and together we get to touch hearts and spur on life change!  It is wonderful.  It is a privilege.

So, today, I want to encourage you.  Just say YES.  Just do it.  If God has laid it on your heart to lead a neighborhood study, don’t let your inadequacies or fears stop you.   God is faithful.  He will meet you in your weakness.  He will honor your obedience.  He will show up for you.  He will enable you.  With Him and in Him and through Him, YOU CAN DO IT!  I know…because I know our Lord.

Love, Lisa

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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!

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