Encouragement & Real Stories of Changed Lives

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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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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?Find more Fresh Stories here!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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Make a "Hearts for Healing" Quilt to Cover a Neighbor in Prayer

Hearts for Healing 1
The summer before last, I was asked to attend a “laying of the hands” prayer time for a sweet sister in Christ who was fighting cancer. Unfortunately, I was riding in my car on the way to a family vacation spot when I received the e-mail. The importance of this need for prayer washed over me, and I began to feel disappointed that I could not be present to lift her up. God called me to prayer in that moment and as I prayed, I imagined her sitting atop a quilt with a circle of loving friends praying healing prayers over her. I poured out prayers for healing,...“Heal her Lord, I know you can...I know you are the God of miraculous healing...You want us to live, to bring others to you...the longer we live, the more we can do...”Fast forward a few months, and I am saying this prayer for another friend before she has brain surgery. As I prayed for her, the quilt vision came to me again, and I knew the quilt held some type of significance. As my friend healed from the brain surgery, I wanted her to be wrapped in healing and loving prayers. The quilt was a tangible way to make these prayers come to life for her. A quilting and prayer fellowship of friends and women just wanting to help sprang together in her honor and an amazing “Hearts for Healing” quilt was created. Soon after, the person who inspired the original quilt and other friends in need of prayer received quilts, too.If your NBS group knows of someone who needs an extra dose of love, whether they are struggling with an illness, divorce, a financial setback, or any of life’s challenges, the “Hearts for Healing” quilt is a wonderful way to share your prayers and love. A quilt may seem like a difficult project to tackle, but if someone in your group, or community can sew, all your members need to do is pray for the person in need with a little heart in their hand; stitch it on to a 5x5 square, and they are done! The hearts do not have to be expertly stitched on the squares. A simple “in and out” stitch or whip stitch can be used. A rough edge around the heart creates character, so no need to know how to applique’ either.The sweet “Hearts for Healing” quilt is more than just fabric and thread. It represents God’s love working through us and through our prayers. “...And the prayer of faith will save the sick, and the Lord will raise him up” (James 5:14-15). “If you remain in me and my words remain in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be done for you” (John 15:7). Prayer is the divine weapon given to us by our maker and wielded in power by our faith.If a “Hearts for Healing” quilt seems like an impossible task, “Hearts for Healing” pillow instructions are offered as well. Or, instead of a quilt or pillow, just get together and pray for the person in need. “The earnest prayer of a righteous person has great power and produces wonderful results” (James 5:16). So start praying!For instructions on how to create and assemble a pillow, see the links below or visit:www.nbs2go.com/fresh-ideas/Hearts for Healing Quilt InstructionsHearts for Healing Pillow InstructionsJoAnn has been a servant of the Lord for over 35 years, at a young age heeding the call of His words, “For by Grace you have been saved through Faith. And this is not your doing; it is the gift of God.” (Ephesians 2:8) “Social Worker,” and “Legal Administrator” are former titles she left behind years ago to embrace the title she really longed for, “Mom.” The mother of two God-fearing boys and the wife of “the best person she knows,” JoAnn’s life is a testament of God’s grace and His insurmountable love. When she is not leading a Bible Study and sharing fellowship with friends, she is volunteering at school, writing, or making something with her hands. A transplant from Louisiana, she’s a Southern girl who loves calling Georgia home. “Hearts for Healing” quilts are lovingly created by JoAnn Stensrud. Permission granted to use this idea to bless neighbors, friends and family. “Hearts for Healing” quilt concept copyrighted and may not be recreated for sale. Pillow kits may be purchased: http://www.etsy.com/shop/prettyi  
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Loving Outreach Lighthouse Report

Getting to know neighbors, praying for them, and studying God's Word together are all great ways to be a Light!  Today on the Lighthouse Report, Debbie McGoldrick gives a loving, neighborly example this Valentine's Day!To listen to the 1 minute program click HEREFor the 2 minute program click HEREBe sure to visit our ABOUT US page to learn more about Debbie and Neighborhood Bible Studies!  
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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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