After attending Campus Outreach's New Years Conference several weeks ago, I spoke with one of the young ladies about doing a college ladies Bible Study. I saw such a desire in these young women to know the Lord on a deeper and more intimate level. Many of these girls were begging for "meat"... to learn the doctrines of their faith. After some time in prayer, we decided that early on Sunday morning would be the best time for everyone. We got the word out and before long, we had nearly 40 girls committed to this study time. I was elated! And yes...a little nervous! I chose a book that I had picked up at the conference. I knew it was going to be perfect for these girls.
The book I chose is written by Barbara Hughes and is entitled, "Disciplines of a Godly Woman."
This past Sunday, we met for the first time. Because our church, Grace Fellowship, has run out of education space (Praise the Lord on that!), we decided to meet at the home of one of the young ladies here in Jacksonville. We meet early and have plenty of time for study, then we all caravan to church at 10:15. It worked out well. I actually love having a study in someone's home...its just more intimate! During our first meeting, we played a "get to know you" game, I shared my testimony, and we talked a little about the semester and what we wanted to accomplish. We also spent some time talking about our new friend, "Martha". (Martha happens to be a life-size cut-out...you know like those giant Justin Bieber things) Martha is going to be teaching the girls about etiquette and how to be a lady. We will spend the last 5 minutes of our study time on this. How fun is that!
I want to use my blog each week to journal some of the things that I am learning. So many times, I go through a study...and as amazing as it might be, I forget so many of the things that God teaches me during that time.
I encouraged the girls to write down a general thesis of each chapter (1-3 sentences). Kinda like a main idea of the chapter or something that really stuck out to them that they did not want to forget. They used this concept at the conference this year and I really liked it...they called it, "One thought."
Here is my one thought for this week's chapter. Forgive me if I go beyond 3 sentences...I am a rebel like that.
Spiritual discipline is a far cry from legalism. Spiritual disciplines are practices that we willingly pursue in response to a God who created us, saved us, and guides us. They should draw of closer to God, deepen our understanding of who He is, and shape us into the women that He wants us to be. Legalism is self-centered and seeks to gain merit or favor with God. The difference between Spiritual Discipline and Legalism is rooted in the heart. We desire to "DO" because of an overwhelming love for our Creator, not out of duty.
Becoming disciplined takes work. It requires us to lay down things that hinders us from Him. (ouch..stepping on toes here) "Therefore since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles and let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us." Hebrews 12:1 Paul says, "for this we labor and strive." Spiritual disciplines call for a serious commitment and "no-pain, no gain" effort.
Some disciplines we will be studying include: Gospel, Submission, Prayer, Worship, Mind, Contentment, Propriety, Perseverance, Church, Singleness, Marriage, Nurturing, Good Deeds, Witness, and Giving.
Boy, this is going to be a busy semester!!!