Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Breaking Free and Something to Think About

Tomorrow our office Bible study group begins Breaking Free. I've heard such great things about this one...I cannot wait! This is the 8th study my co-workers and I have done together! I praise God for the wonderfully diverse group of women He’s brought together from all stages of life – singles, young Moms, Moms with older kids and Grandmothers. There are new believers and those who have walked with the Lord for many years. Some are Catholic, some Lutheran and some Baptist, but one thing binds us all…a desire to draw closer to God. This time, I’m excited to welcome two new women! Because my church graciously allows us to use Videos/DVDs of any previously offered Bible studies, we’ve been privileged to study those written by Beth Moore, Nancy Leigh DeMoss and Priscilla Shirer. Our only cost is for workbooks. In addition, our church's Director of Women’s Ministries has been an a wonderful support, through prayer and words of encouragement.

I can’t help but wonder if any of you have felt God urging you to start a Bible study, maybe in your office, or in your neighborhood? Can I encourage you by saying I am truly the last person who ever expected to be used by God in this capacity. If I had known a number of years ago this was part of His plan for me, I would have likely RUN the other way fast! Instead, it began with just one co-worker and I desiring to know God better and starting a Bible study together. Ever so slowly, co-workers were hearing about our study (in sometimes very unconventional ways) and wanting to know more. As the Lord would bring them, we’d welcome them in.

Truth be told, even after studying with many of these same women for the past 6 years, it still makes me nervous. Every.single.week. But you know what I’ve learned over all these years? If you are willing, God is able. Simple, yes...but true. Over the years, I’ve come to Him repeatedly, feeling ill-equipped saying things like…

Lord, you know I’m willing, but I am scared to death!
What if I misinterpret your Word?
What if they ask me a question I can’t answer?
What if they tell me they’re unsure of their salvation…what do I tell them?
Lord, I’m so bad at this…it feels so awkward…someone else could do this so much better, etc…

He inevitably brings this scripture to mind -

2 Corinthians 12:9 (NIV) ~ But he said to me, "My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness." Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ's power may rest on me.

Loosely translated...Don't you see? That's precisely the point! Those are the very things that keep you on your knees, relying on Me!
God doesn’t want people who believe they can do great things for Him! Instead, He wants yielded, trusting, humble and even timid hearts so that when His will is accomplished, there will be no doubt it was all Him, because of Him and through Him.

1 Corinthians 1:27-29 (NIV) ~ But God chose the foolish things of this world to shame the wise; God chose the weak things of this world to shame the strong. He chose the lowly things of this world and the despised things – and the things that are not – to nullify the things that are so that no one may boast before Him.

The first time someone asked a question I was unsure of, I simply said…"You know…that’s a good question. I’m not really sure of the answer. Let me do a little research and get back to you." And I did. I’d come home that evening where I would read, research & pray. If I felt I was hitting a wall, I’d call the Director of Women’s Ministries and she would walk me through. I’d follow up with that person and share my findings. Without fail, God used those opportunities to strengthen our bonds of trust and friendship.

Please hear my heart…I can’t encourage you strongly enough if God if prompting you in this way…don’t let fear stop you, sweet one! If you’re willing, and know you’re a sinner saved by grace, that’s the only qualification you need.

1 Thessalonians 5:24 (NIV) ~ The One who calls you is faithful and He will do it.

Pray about it, talk to a mentor or feel free to e-mail me via my profile. I’m praying for you!


Sarah@Life in the Parsonage said...

I've read the book but never done the study. The book itself was amazing, can't wait to hear about the study!

Kristen said...

I have the book, but have never done the study! It's one I really, really want to do.

I remember the first time I led a Bible Study too. I was petrified. And yes, I too still get nervous.

I led our small group and have facilitated many studies during our Church Sunday School hour. I will also gather again late this spring w/ a group of ladies to do another Beth Moore study in my home.

I am with you as an encourager to you gals who feel this pressing on your heart. Don't let fear get in your way. You won't know it all... but we do have the resources to find the answers to those questions we don't know...
Tracy, I will pray for you and your group as you begin this study. There is going to be some "hard" in this study, but there is going to be some chains falling off of hearts too!
God Bless!

Laurie Ann said...

I have the book but not the resources to go with it. I would love to do a study in the office with some of my friends, but it's prohibited. :-( At least we can still have Bible's in our office.

Tricia said...

What an encouraging post to step out and do what God is calling us to do! I pray that God would bless you and every lady who comes as you all dig into His Word... what a blessing to be doing a Bible study with ladies from work!

God called me several summers ago to teach my 1st ladies class and I was absolutely terrified... but I relied on Him and He did it through me. I have done several more since then, lots of them being youth girls studies, and I can say teaching God's Word is one of the most fulfilling things I have ever done! It is definitely scary, and I have had lots of the same thoughts and fears that you expressed, but He is faithful and He does it through us, we just have to be willing and available.

And by the way, my "pay it forward" package arrived yesterday! I love the notecards, they are beautiful! I will most likely steal that idea and make some for gifts in the future... thank you so much for taking the time to make them, I can't wait to use them!


Paula (SweetPea) said...

Oh Lord, is that You. Are you using your vessel, Tracy, to speak or confirm to me what You know is on my heart. Lord, continue to show me Your ways in this. If it be Your desire, bring the women, provide the study, and give the details for me to know. Thank You, Jesus for answers yet to be known. Amen

About three weeks ago our small group at church on thursday closed our group. We couldn't take any more members past the 16 we have now. I've been told there would probably be enough (handful 3-4) who would need another ladies group but there is no leader. Yes, you heard that right and so did I that night three weeks ago. I couldn't focus the rest of the night of study. I couldn't wait to get home and privately email the leader for more details. As she said and you basically said here...God doesn't call the equiped but equips the called.

I will be emailing my leader tonight to see if she knows of any more ladies in need of another group. My only real hesitation on this is that I basically refuse to let go of my Thursday group. I mean, we are in the middle of an awesome study (No Other Gods) and I just love the ladies, I need the bonds and friendships there. So, it will spread me thin to have two study groups a week. My current one goes every bit of 2 1/2- 3 hrs (6:30-9). I could also make the new group shorter by cutting the snacks and so much chit chat. My current group knows each other so well and we are so comfortable we talk too much at times. I mean for crying out loud we've never done a study at the speed suppose to. Like Beth's studies...we do one day per week. Yep, you got that right not five days a week but one day is all we discuss on one meeting. We are talkers.

Pray for me. Pray for the women to come forward. Pray the women are talkative and lessens my nerves of getting conversation on the study...Your comment of being nervous after six years kind of made me nervous. I have NEVER led a study. Actually, the group I'm in now is the first time I've ever been the "mature" believer and not the new believer or babe in Christ. In previous groups I've always been the young babe...everyone else more knowledgeable. So, in a sense this group has really prepared me a little.

Sorry for the book.

I'm guessing you do lead your group?

Forgive me, but I think you are the one that gave me the Dancing with Wildflowers study. I plan to either use that for the new group or keep it for my current group. It looks great. I'm loving Kelly Minter's NOG so much. I love Beth's stuff but Kelly's is just so unique...it really digs into scripture and has just really drawn me in a way no other study has. I've done a couple of DeMoss (as a whole church...can't remember the title...light blue book...Following God...or something applicable churchwide).


LisaShaw said...

Wonderful message. Enjoy the Bible Study. I have read several of her books but not Breaking Free I think. I have read Jesus, Paul and a few others.

Your message is riddled with truths!

Bless you.

Marsha said...

So how did it go today?

Breaking Free is an amazing Bible Study! I use this in my ministry to abused women. They just re-recorded it in 2008 - fall I believe. I hope the work books will be the same, but I would love to update the DVD - it's a little dated clothing and hair wise.

Be blessed.

Becky said...

That's so exciting to see the growth in your study, and that you've been at it through 8 studies. Praise God! He truly does reward those who seek Him.

If I were working outside the home, I would definitely do this. For now, since I babysit a couple of little girls, I read Bible stories to 2 3 year olds and a 1 1/2 year old, so I guess I still am. ;)

Susan said...

Oh Tracy, how exciting!!

I just finished Breaking Free before Christmas, it was GREAT!!!!

I'm so proud of you.

Praying God will bless this study for sure♥