At NBS2GO, we regularly encourage one another to be still before the Lord and listen. Why spin our wheels coming up with what we should do rather than join God where He’s already at work? We encourage one another to “just knit the next row”!
Crossing county or state lines to visit our families is now more normal via the bright, glowing screens we stare at day after day. 2020 was spent inside “Brady Bunch squares” as we “gathered” to make the best of it. Where has this taken you? Personally, I have “traveled” to Arizona, Texas, Ohio, Florida, and Colorado. The relationships I value have motivated me to reach out to dear friends and family with whom I’m not normally involved.
Let Your Light Shine This Spring
. . . shine like stars in the universe. (Phil. 2:14-15)
Just as the closest stars shine the brightest, so we can shine the light of Christ into the lives of those near us – our neighbors, acquaintances, friends. In spring we automatically feel more hopeful as the weather warms up and flowers open. We can get outside and connect more with others. As we do, Jesus’ light within draws them closer to us, and ultimately to Him.
On a cool Florida evening, while taking our puppy outside before bed, I greeted our neighbor Andreas walking his pup. Our dogs pulled towards each other like magnets, and we were soon engaged in a late-night chat in our front yard.
I had just finished watching an episode of “The Chosen” and I wanted to tell him about it, but I chickened out. It’s after ten, I reasoned; this can’t possibly be a good time for a deep conversation with a neighbor. I’m tired. He’s probably not interested in spiritual things. I assumed. Deep down, I knew I was making excuses. We finished our talk and I headed to bed.
The next day, I couldn't stop thinking I had missed an opportunity. What did I have to lose? He knows I'm a Christian. So I prayed, confessing my unwillingness to talk about Christ, and asked for boldness and another opportunity to connect with Andreas.
I don’t know what was more intimidating, the ice sculpture or the perfectly-dressed ladies. Both of these greeted me as I walked into the church. This particular morning was the introduction to women’s Bible studies. I would pick up the Bible study book, meet others who were also interested, and hear from a speaker. As I walked into the church, I wanted to run the other way. I had just returned from several years of living internationally with a very simple lifestyle. My grid for evaluating any situation was a little different to say the least. Just the size of the foyer completely overwhelmed me. I came into church by myself. Alone. I quickly realized that everyone else came in with a friend. I didn’t know where to go, wasn’t sure I wanted to be there, and definitely didn’t want to experience this situation again. My one thought was, “Why does Bible study have to feel so uncomfortable.”
Have you ever had an experience like this? You know, the kind where your heart is racing, you break out into a sweat, and you feel so confused because in trying to do something right, it suddenly feels very isolating. But moments like these can forge new paths in our lives. My question that lingered was, How many other women feel this way? Could we do it differently?
Motivated by that experience, I wanted to try a new approach. Beginning a Bible study in my neighborhood seemed daunting yet intriguing to me. But I knew that someone reaching out to me and asking me to come seemed very kind and soft. The invitation from a voice rather than an announcement felt caring and compassionate. Could this be what the Lord wanted me to do?
I am in awe, humbled, and incredibly grateful for having a front row seat to watch the unfolding of the clear vision God gave me ten years ago. Before the sun rose on May 5, 2010, God whispered to me, “I am awakening an unprecedented number of hearts in neighborhoods. I’ve given you the passion, twenty-two years of experience, and simple tips and tools to encourage and equip Christ followers everywhere to begin and multiply neighborhood Bible studies.”
I will never forget my utter surprise and yet calm assurance that I was not being called to “do” something for God, but I was simply being invited to listen and follow Him. At that moment my eyes were drawn to watch our backyard “awaken” to the sunrise. I was mesmerized by the wonder of God’s words quietly spoken to me and felt a fresh awareness and blessing of being His.
Unsure how to proceed yet completely confident God would guide...