Encouragement & Real Stories of Changed Lives

Full of new ideas, insights, and inspiration.

Remodeling Hearts Headed for Foreclosure

Debbie headshot from book trailer
I often wonder….what if my desire to listen to God equaled His longing to speak personally with me? Listening prayer for me is simply being still in God’s presence, anticipating His voice, recording His words, impressions, or pictures, and then responding in love, faith and obedience to what He whispers. It’s absolutely amazing — I always receive exactly what my heart is longing for — sweet companionship, fresh encouragement and specific guidance. I’m praying that this excerpt from my “Listening Journal” will encourage you to begin a practice of listening to God. –Debbie

Redecorate ... Remodel ... Repurpose?

I am the same yesterday, today and forever. So don’t be attracted by strange new ideas.” Hebrews 13:8-9

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An Abundant Life: Gene and Marge's Story

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A 14-year-old boy sits around a campfire with his camp mates and counselors as the waters of Lake Michigan lap the distant shore. The summer night crackles with possibility. The fertile ground of the boy’s heart, tilled and prepared by faithful parents and grandparents, opens itself to receive the Truth. A small seed, destined to produce bushels and bushels of fruit in a single lifetime, is planted deeply on this night, under a sky sprayed with stars. Unaware in this moment of all that his future holds, the boy simply accepts the gift of Jesus and prays aloud the longings of his heart: “Lord, help me to understand the Bible. Help me to find a life partner. And help me to witness to others.”  With that simple, humble prayer, a boy sets out on a lifelong journey of sharing the extraordinary joy he found on one ordinary summer evening. 

Little did Gene Kuyers know that night at Camp Geneva how specifically and abundantly God would answer his prayers.

The life partner he prayed for, Marge Koen, was just steps away from him at the same camp where he accepted Christ, but they would not meet face-to-face for another two years. They married in 1953 and started a family. Their lives revolved around the church, each other and their young family. Their two children grew up witnessing their parents’ love for the Lord – they read the Bible together every night before bed, just one example of their deep commitment to God.

When their daughter was in ninth grade, Gene and Marge attended a conference where they learned a few simple tools to help them share their faith with their neighbors and the people they encountered in their daily walk. God was refining them, guiding them and faithfully answering Gene’s boyhood prayer the night he came to Christ: Help me witness to others. It became commonplace for their two children to hear stories of Gene and Marge quietly leading others to Christ at the family supper table. 

Gene, a tool and die maker, kept an open Bible on his tool bench at work. It was well known around the shop that he was available to listen and pray for his co-workers whenever one of the guys was going through a tough time. He invited co-workers to study the Bible with him after work, which many faithfully did every week during Gene’s 42 years at the company. In 1972, Gene and Marge joined with another couple in the neighborhood to start a Bible Study on their street where they’d all lived for years.

The couples split up the street and invited everyone to the Kuyers’ house on a Sunday evening to just “talk about Jesus."

They didn’t have a grand plan or a strategy for winning souls. They simply loved the Lord, and their passion for Him overflowed from their gentle, unassuming natures to everyone around them. The group began in the book of John, where Christ tells His disciples that He is the Vine, and they are the branches.

“Whoever lives in me and I in him shall produce a large crop of fruit.”  John 15:5

The neighbors came – they were from different denominations and some were not yet believers, but they came faithfully on Sunday nights to the Kuyers home, where they could count on loving hospitality and a caring, uncritical atmosphere in which to ask questions. Gene and Marge loved seeing the neighbors coming down the street with their Bibles tucked under their arms on Sunday nights.

It melded their street together in a special way, and over the years, they became more like family to each other than neighbors.

Now Gene and Marge, married for 62 years and in their early 80s, continue to produce an abundant crop of fruit by abiding in Christ. They have touched countless lives with their quiet and humble faith. Since 1998, the couple has spent their winters in a Florida retirement community with 1,580 homesites. A city within a city, the community boasts its own church and television station. And what did the Kuyers do soon after retiring there? The same thing they always do! Sixteen years ago they invited their neighbors to get to know God right along with them – in a personal, intimate way.

Their retirement community has six Bible studies with 12 leaders and about 126 members, from places all over the U.S. and Canada, but what is most humbling and what brings tears to Gene’s eyes? The fact that the prayers of an ordinary boy were heard – and continue to be answered – in ways his 14-year-old self could never have imagined or dreamed.

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The message of Loving God and Loving Neighbors was not only taught but modeled and caught by Debbie McGoldrick from her parents, Gene and Marge Kuyers.  Debbie attributes her passion God, His Word and others as the greatest gift her parents ever gave her. For the past 40 years, Debbie has served full-time with Cru and in 2010 founded the NBS2GO movement that has spread throughout the U.S. and into 12 countries around the world.




The Kuyers' 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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Hike Your Own Hike: Starting a Bible Study in Your Neighborhood

It’s hard to be a guy in a houseful of females. Even our two cats are girls! While my husband has always deftly handled being the lone guy in a sea of women, he faced a big challenge last year when he and our teen daughter were struggling to find something they could “do” together that they could both enjoy. It was an “uphill” battle, no pun intended! Last summer, they hatched a plan to hike the entire Georgia section of the Appalachian Trail – 84 miles – before she graduates from high school. Before I knew what was happening, my Ebay account was getting some serious action as our closets filled with tents, sleeping bags, hiking boots and camping equipment. Recently, I was invited along with them on a section hike, about 7 miles between Neel’s Gap and Hogpen Gap. I learned a few things about myself, God and life that can help us whenever we’re facing a challenge, like starting a Neighborhood Bible Study.

You can’t adequately prepare for the steepness of the peaks and valleys

I play tennis and do a lot of walking, so I felt pretty good about being able to make the journey, but walking 50 miles on level ground doesn’t compare to the constant up and down of climbing and descending of mountains! I logged about 20,000 steps that day, but only about 195 the following. Why? I could barely walk for three days! But once you’re in the woods, you’re all in, and you just have to trust God with the journey. If I’d known about the pain beforehand, would I have said “yes” to the journey? But, oh, the mountain vistas I would have missed.

Hike your own hike

There’s no single “right” or “wrong” way to take a hike. When you’re tired, you rest. When you see something cool, you pause and check it out. When you need more water, you open your ears to listen for a rushing stream. I learned that God had prepared something amazing for me that day, and I took pleasure in discovering it. Similarly, there’s no right or wrong way to reach out to our neighbors or lead a Bible study. God has prepared something unique – just for you. Trust Him with the journey, and take pleasure in watching His plan unfold.

Don’t lose sight of your guide

For this trip, my husband was my guide. He planned every aspect of it, he had the map, the phone, the daypack with my jacket, water and snacks, and he knew exactly where we were going. I was perfectly content to walk a few steps behind him, concentrating on putting one foot in front of the other. At one point, though, I got lost in my thoughts and when I looked around for him, I could no longer see him. I had a brief moment of panic! What if I’m lost? What if I missed the last white blaze? What if I never get home? Was that a bear??! However, all I had to do was call his name, and I discovered that he was nearby all along. Don’t we do that with God? We wander off the trail sometimes and forget how dependent we are on Him. Fortunately, we can always call His name, and He can be trusted to be nearby. Our ultimate Guide has planned every aspect of our journey, and He has the map.

You can do 20 more steps

We made a very sorrowful error by parking our vehicle at the top of the last mountain instead of at its base. When I learned that we’d have to climb another very steep half a mile to get to our car, I thought I might cry. (I may have cried, who can remember such things?) But to get to where I wanted to go, I had to finish my hike. Legs like jelly, I trusted the Holy Spirit to take me up the hill. “Holy Spirit, help me do the next 20 steps. I can do 20 steps if you’re with me.” When I accomplished those 20 steps, I trusted Jesus with the next 20. That’s what we need to do with our Savior. When we’re positive we can’t take one more step, we can claim the promise that we can do ALL THINGS through Christ who strengthens us. He will help us take the next step. And the next. And the next.

When we determine to undertake what might feel like a daunting task such as starting a Neighborhood Bible Study, remember that you can never adequately prepare, but if you’ll trust your Guide, He will help you take the next step in your own, uniquely gifted way!

I can do all things through Him who strengthens me. Phil 4:13

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Breathe Deep ... Breathe In, Breathe Out ... Repeat

Debbie headshot from book trailer
I often wonder….what if my desire to listen to God equaled His longing to speak personally with me? Listening prayer for me is simply being still in God’s presence, anticipating His voice, recording His words, impressions, or pictures, and then responding in love, faith and obedience to what He whispers. It’s absolutely amazing — I always receive exactly what my heart is longing for — sweet companionship, fresh encouragement and specific guidance. I’m praying that this excerpt from my “Listening Journal” will encourage you to begin a practice of listening to God. –Debbie

Sitting on deck breathing in the fresh air after the rain, and God said:
Breathe deep ... Breathe in, Breathe out ... Repeat!

Be aware of My presence.

  • “I am love.”  I John 4:16

  • “Nothing will ever be able to separate you from My love.”  Romans 8:37-39

  • “I have loved you with an everlasting love.”  Jeremiah 31:3 

Be aware of Me.

  • My joy

  • My peace

  • My patience

  • My kindness

  • My gentleness

  • My goodness

  • My faithfulness

  • My self-control

Breathe in deeply every morning, every hour, every moment of your day – taking in the awareness of My presence and My love. Fill your heart to capacity with Me, My presence and My love. It will push out any and every thing that is hiding. Anything that:

  • Disturbs your peace and security

  • Destroys your courage and strength

  • Distracts you from loving Me and loving your neighbors

Keeping it Simple – there you have it – just breathe! Think of everything that comes with My presence and My love. It’s everything you need – nothing lacking.

My Word and whispers speak loud and clear. The shouts of truth and "shhhhs" of tranquility can only be heard when you are listening to hear and obey. When you breathe in truth (oxygen) from my Written and Living Word, My will and My ways will flow through you to others. Without the flow of oxygen to your lungs, physically the results are crippling – like a choke-hold causing one to flail, panic and fall into unconsciousness. As you breathe in – putting on your oxygen mask first – then you can reach out to those in need around you, those in need of My presence and My love, and help them breathe in My truth, My Living and Written Word.
The mission of NBS2GO is my mandate and mission for every believer … Loving God. Loving Neighbors.

Keep your walk with Me fresh like your experience right now, sitting on the deck after a night of rain, by Keeping it Simple:  breathe deep, breathe in and out ... repeat!

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Debbie McGoldrick is the founder of NBS2GO and blessed to be married to Mark and the adoptive mother of Melissa and Matt. Debbie is an avid collector of heart rocks and shells, a lover of color and always looking for a reason to go to the beach.
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Turning Neighbors into Friends

It took three years for me to finally obey the call to begin a neighborhood Bible study. Debbie and Mark McGoldrick, whom we have supported through Cru for many years, pointed me in the direction of NBS2GO.com, where I found all the resources I needed to begin a study in my neighborhood.

God gave me the courage to ask two ladies if they would consider being co-leaders with me. Praise God, they both accepted and have been a wonderful blessing to our group. The three of us make a strong cord of leadership and our NBS has thrived.

God has blessed our growth from six to 12 ladies since September 2014. We have used Max Lucado's study guides for Mark, James, I Corinthians and II Corinthians. His writing is excellent, and the lessons aren't overly time consuming, so this has been a great fit for our ladies.

Several small gifts have been given to our 46 neighbors, including a directory, homemade cookies and a refrigerator magnet showing our front entrance with spring flowers, to let them know we are here and we care for them. Our plan is to have our first neighborhood get-together this year.

Thoughts from some members are: 

  • "This is my favorite Bible study because we focus on applying the Word of God. I've learned so much from my neighbors who are all from different church traditions, but we all serve the same Lord. We've supported each other through some hard times, which include divorce, depression, chronic illness and even bereavement. It is a comfort to share our spiritual journeys with each other." 

  • "I feel that our NBS has made our neighbors our friends. Now we have become aware of our neighbors' cares and concerns and that enables us to be better neighbors. As we share God's word with our friends we are learning how God can use us for his work. It has meant so very much to me. These ladies have become my precious friends whom I pray for each day. Wonderful experience!"

  • "Our neighborhood bible study has given me a group of Christian friends I wouldn't have otherwise. Because of my work schedule, I'm unable to attend church every Sunday. Also, it's hard to join small groups by myself. This group uplifts my spirit every week, and increases my knowledge of the Word. It was the answer to my prayers."

  • "I have gained 10 or so new friends. I feel like I can share anything on my heart and know it will stay within NBS. This group really looks out for their neighbors. Besides the Bible study this is what brings me back. The Bible studies have been awesome. I have never studied with a mixed group of believers. I find it enlightening that we are pretty much all 'on the same page.'"

What a tremendous blessing NBS2GO has been in my life! I have dear friends I pray for and would never have known otherwise, and I learn so much from them on a weekly basis. Having an NBS in my home is expanding my faith in the Lord and His Word.

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Penny Long co-leads a Neighborhood Bible Study in her Ovilla, Texas, neighborhood. Penny and her husband, Justin, will be married 50 years in July. They moved from Georgia to Texas in 2009 to help raise seven grandchildren from their two married daughters in Ovilla. Penny’s passions are to serve her family Monday night dinners and to encourage women to become mature Christians through home Bible studies. One of her favorite verses is James 1:5: If any of you lacks wisdom, you should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to you.
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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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