Encouragement & Real Stories of Changed Lives

Full of new ideas, insights, and inspiration.

Lord, don't I need new clothes?

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What is keeping you from reaching out to your neighbors?  Are you hiding behind your door?

So far NBS2GO has encouraged you to host a Bible study in your home, emphasizing that it doesn’t matter what type of countertops you have, where you live, and if you serve food.  Think about it.  Jesus wasn’t meeting with His followers in a Joanna Gaines decorated farmhouse with a serene setting and tasteful hors d’oeuvres.  He fearlessly met them where they were – on the road, near the synagogue, in their homes.  He wasn’t focused on the external, but the internal.  Newsflash, He wasn’t worried about what He was wearing either.

Over the years since my children were born, I have made many excuses for not gathering with other women.  One of them centers around not having anything to wear.  Seriously!  Not talking about your typical packed closet with unwanted choices for the moment.  More like drawers replete with items that do not fit.  It is hard enough to step out in faith and lead a Bible study if you are marginally confident in your abilities to at least open in prayer, lean on the Word, and start a discussion.  It is even harder if you are completely uncomfortable in your own, plentiful, skin.

You can tell yourself all the same platitudes…the ones you have heard before.  Yet, it all boils down to one thing…the confidence to be who you are in Christ.

Time is up. Gig over. Own it.  By the grace of God and an unimaginable gift of a precious Son, we are FORGIVEN and can have a sweet, personal relationship with God.  We are not defined by our size, the baby weight (even if our youngest baby is 16 years old…can I call it that?), the ornery number on the scale, or our wardrobe – or lack thereof.

We are LOVED and called His.

We are also empowered by Him!  We can pour and squeeze ourselves into whatever is relatively comfortable and OPEN our front doors to other women who need Him.  It IS about HIM.

“For everyone who asks receives; the one who seeks finds; and to the one who knocks, the door will be opened.”  Luke 11:10

 So, if what is holding you back from unlocking the door to hosting a Bible study in your home is what weighs you down; sweet sister, let go.  He loves youThe women will love you.  Stepping out in faith for Him and them, is more important than your comfort zone.  Countertops, home decor, fine china, haute couture (or clothes that fit) really and truly do not matter.  In this process, live FULLY in Him.  Your life will be overflowing instead of your muffin tops – blueberry that is, or scones.  In your obedience, you will be a gift to others and blessed beyond measure.

 

Rebecca is a wife of 23 years and a mother of two teen boys. A former educator, certified in three subject areas from P5 – 12th grade, she clearly can’t make up her mind (just ask her ever-patient husband).  Years ago, God placed Rebecca into the role of Editor for an online magazine, nurtured her love of writing and photography, and then delivered her to NBS2GO at its inception. Having recently moved, she is beginning a Bible study in their new neighborhood – with complete disregard to her wardrobe.  You can often find her reading a book, curled up with her two dogs, munching on raw carrots and green beans (her dogs that is).
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Tears Filled Her Eyes: Fresh Idea for a Sweet Valentine's NBS

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As a facilitator of a neighborhood Bible study for nine years now, I am continually looking for fresh ideas. If the Lord is creative enough to design butterflies and the zebra, certainly He can give me creativity with the women in my Bible study! It's a well known fact that for Valentine’s Day, the one book that is read aloud in my home (even to my older children) is "Somebody Loves You, Mr. Hatch." It's a heartwarming tale that shows the effect of love and tender regard toward a man who lives alone. For a few years now I have also read the book aloud to the women in the Bible study.

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 supportive wife, who is never critical of me to others, always respects my opinions, and honors me without complaint after long hours of work."

"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.

 
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My head says GYM My heart says NACHOS

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My head says GYM my heart says NACHOS.

Who else can relate to this?
The beginning of the year always holds grand thoughts of that 10 lbs. I want to lose, or organizing my entire house, or the budget I want to live by.  What are your grand thoughts?  Do you have aspirations for this year?

My head says, “take the initiative with my neighbors.”
My heart says,

*too much fear of rejection
*I’m tired
*someone else will do it
*my house isn’t pretty
*I don’t know enough about the Bible
*I’m hurting
*I don’t know how

As this year begins we want you to know that we are praying for you. Many of you have communicated that you are pro-actively reaching out to your “neighbors.” We rejoice with you!  Many of you have communicated your desires to do so but you face barriers like the ones mentioned above.  We understand!

Personally, I am heading into my 10th year of leading a neighborhood Bible study.  In many ways that sounds like a lot of years.  In some ways, it feels like I just got started.  And to be perfectly honest I face internal hurdles just like I did the first year.  Will anyone be interested?  Will I sit alone? Will I know the answers to their questions? Will the Lord show up and teach us what He wants us to know?  Will there be genuine life change?  Will this make a difference anyway?

What is it with us humans?  Vulnerable.  I just feel vulnerable.  Do you ever stop to wonder if Jesus felt that way?  In his humanness, certainly there had to be times when he felt this.  This has deeply encouraged me each year as I trust Him to continue to reach out.  By faith, I press on.  By faith, I will put my neighbors lives in front of my fears.  By faith, I trust that God is “drawing men unto Himself.”

I choose to live by faith.  Will you come along side of me and do the same?  I need you to gather around me and pray.  Our team wants to gather around you and pray for you. We need one another.  We need to trust the Lord together.

Please drop us a note, give us an update, let us know how we can gather around you and pray for you. Connect with us at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

Your fellow human,
Joan
for the NBS2go team

 



Joan, with three sons (21, 20, and 17 years old) and one girl (15), is thankful for her large capacity washer and naps.  She loves Mountain Dew, dance parties in the kitchen when all her kids are home, and laughing about anything. She remains bewildered with God's indescribable and constant love for her in the midst of heartaches and plain normal days. 
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Seven Weeks, 12,000 Miles and Eight Flat Tires

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When I was a child, our family loved to travel, camp and explore God’s creation. One summer we had one of those vacations of a lifetime!  For seven and a half weeks, we traveled 3,000 miles from Michigan to Alaska and back. Mid-summer, the four of us piled into our red station wagon with a hand-made sign, “Alaska or Bust” proudly displayed in the back window. We drove north through Michigan into Canada where we began our trek to Alaska on the hard-packed gravel road called the “Al-Can Highway.”

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New Year’s Resolutions: Will I Walk on Water or Stay in the Boat?

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I usually don’t make New Year’s Resolutions. There are enough things I fail to do on a regular basis -- why would I add to the list? But, this past year I did. I made a big one: I resolved to give up fear. Fear of man, that is.



I decided that I was not going to allow the fear of man to influence me in any way. I would follow God wherever He led me, and I would do whatever He told me. I would not be intimidated into silence or complacency. I would be His to use however He saw fit regardless of the consequences.

Wish I could say that I have had a successful year ... that I have been God’s faithful servant, and that my resolution has become my reality. But, alas, I have not conquered my fear of man. That desire to please people is hard to shake. And it comes dressed up in so many disguises. But it has been an interesting year, and I've learned some important things:

  • God honors my desire to please Him. Even when I fail and allow my fear to keep me from doing what I know I should, He is right there with me, cheering me on. He does not condemn my weakness or shame my pitiful efforts. He reminds me that His power is made perfect in my weakness, that He loves me still and that He is with me and for me.

  • Sometimes God takes me to lonely places to teach me to be strong for Him. I don’t always like this. I like a good party with good girlfriends and lots of laughter. But, giving up my people-pleasing ways sometimes means I walk alone with Him.

  • There is always more at stake than I can see. Choosing God over man (or myself) always involves something bigger. It's never just about the thing before me. It's usually about something more significant and someone else.

  • Sometimes God lets me participate with Him in something really big and cool! I often remind myself that I have to get out of the boat to walk on water, which can be scary and seemingly crazy. But, I can trust God and walk on water or follow man and stay safely in the boat. I’d rather walk on water.


So, you may be asking and rightly so, what in the world does this have to do with neighborhood Bible studies? Well, EVERYTHING, maybe. We know that it's God's desire to reach the lost. We know that there are lost people all around us and in our neighborhoods. We know that we have been called to love our neighbors. And we know that sharing the Word of God with our neighbors is the most loving thing we can do.

What then keeps us from beginning a neighborhood Bible study? Is it the fear of man? The fear of rejection? The desire to be seen in a certain way? The desire to be accepted? The fear of not measuring up or of not being qualified? What keeps us from taking the next step? Perhaps it’s time to trust God and step out of the boat. Perhaps it’s time to make your own resolution. Perhaps it’s time to give up fear and follow God! And if you get to walk on water, you’ll never want to ride safely in the boat again ... I promise.

Lisa Hankins is a native Georgian and the leader of a Neighborhood Bible Study with a passion to help others find healing by trusting Christ with their brokenness. Lisa lives with her husband Richard and their two sons. When she is not shuttling her boys to various activities, she is busy serving as the sponsorship coordinator for an orphanage and school in Uganda called Hands of Love. Her favorite verse is Hebrews 10:25: Let us not give up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but let us encourage one another—and all the more as you see the Day approaching.


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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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