Many, these days, seem to borrow religious ideas from a variety of sources. Claude* was one such individual.
In his mid-fifties, Claude was very religious. While he identified himself with a traditional church, he had gleaned so much of his thinking from other religions that his views were very muddled and hardly representative of his own church’s belief system.
He had become especially interested in the Eastern practices of yoga, chakra, astral voyage and so forth, as well as in the occult. His driving desire was to find that which was true. So his search continued.
A naturally curious individual, Claude was happy to learn more about religion when given the opportunity to study the Bible. He and Henri began their sessions, reading By This Name together and progressing through the Bible’s message in a way that was organized and clear.
Continue reading “From a muddy pond to pure, life-giving water”
Have you ever prayed for months and years for the salvation of a particular person? Sometimes it’s easy to become discouraged and wonder if it’s any use.
Carole* was an older woman and an unbeliever. However, she had a sister and a daughter who had been praying faithfully for her salvation for a long time. Would the time ever come when their loved one believed the good news of the gospel?
One day Lily approached Carole, offering to do a Bible study with her. The book they would read together was called By This Name, and it would give Carole a clear understanding of the Bible’s message. Carole agreed.
The two women met once a week for 15 weeks. Lily related, “It was such an extraordinary experience to see the work of the Holy Spirit before my very eyes.”
Continue reading “Seeing the Holy Spirit at Work is Extraordinary!”
What does it look like to be an ambassador for Christ? Does it mean speaking in front of thousands of people in a crowded auditorium? Or does it mean blazing a trail through a jungle to make contact with a primitive tribe? While both of those scenarios are definitely ways in which God uses his children to reach the world with his gospel, often our calling is much more ordinary. Often it is right in our daily workplaces that we have the greatest opportunity to share the life and truth of Jesus.
Take Jack*. You might think his job inconsequential—he worked in building maintenance at an independent living facility. But somehow Jack attracted the attention of his manager. He took note he was a Christian and appreciated his consistent testimony in the workplace. As a result, he asked Jack if he would offer a Bible study to the residents who may like to attend.
Jack was more than happy to do so and began offering studies. At first there were only a few attendees, but that changed after Jack invited a local pastor to start teaching a chronological Bible study based on The Stranger on the Road to Emmaus. The room quickly filled up with attendees eager to learn the main theme of the Bible.
Continue reading “The gospel at your workplace: believe it, apply it, live it”
Kayla* has three friends who aren’t believers. Because she desired to share the gospel with them, Kayla attended a TERM Seminar to be better equipped. After the seminar, Kayla knew she wanted to use GoodSeed resources with her friends. But should she give them each a book and leave it at that? Or should she offer to guide them through a study?
We encourage believers to share the good news through two primary ways: give and guide. To elaborate, give means to take one of our books, audiobooks or videobooks and give it to a friend. Guide means to take the resources and lead a gospel Bible study. Both methods work. We have numerous testimonies of how people have come to faith in Christ because a friend gave them a book or guided them through a study. But in Kayla’s situation, which option would be better?
Let’s explore the merits of each option in turn.
Continue reading “To give or to guide… that is the question”
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The voice on the phone had a note of concern. “Mom, before you come, I want to let you know that Mei Ling* is coming over shortly. She’s really hurting and she wants to talk.”
After her daughter hung up, Haley paused for a moment. She had been about to leave for Stephanie’s home to see her new grandson for the first time when the call had come. Mei Ling was Stephanie’s neighbour and Haley had met her almost three years earlier. They had become well acquainted with each other as they both shared a passion for gardening. Mei Ling had shared a little about herself over the course of their friendship. Her parents were believers but Mei Ling had never shown any interest in her parents’ faith. Though her parents had tried to take her and her siblings to church, Mei Ling had turned down their offers. Since she had been a child, she was more interested in herself. Now Haley wondered what was causing Mei Ling so much grief. All of a sudden, she felt the very strong urge to take along a copy of By This Name.
Haley arrived at Stephanie’s home which was some distance away. It wasn’t long before Mei Ling knocked on the door. Over coffee, Mei Ling poured her heart out to Haley and Stephanie. Her life was full of trouble.
As Haley listened, she knew she didn’t want to give her friend words of empty comfort. She knew that trite cliches had no value. “I wanted to offer her real hope.” Haley wanted to share with Mei Ling the true hope found in the God of the Bible.
She decided to lay it on the line. She said to Mei Ling, “This world is full of trouble and we don’t have a lot of hope in this world.”
Mei Ling’s eyes flickered. She piped up, “That’s me. I have no hope! You are so lucky, you have hope. You have your God, you got your religion.”
Haley gave a measured response. “We’re not lucky… It’s just that we’ve chosen to put our hope in the living God.”
Mei Ling shook her head as if to preempt Haley’s invitation. “I don’t want to be a Christian. But,” she added with an edge to her voice, “I’ve got some big questions for your God.”
Continue reading “I don’t want to be a Christian”
When Barry* called the GoodSeed office to order resources, he asked if he could pop in for a visit. “I want to share with you what I’ve been doing since the TERM Seminar,” he said.
A short time later, he dropped by at lunch time. He had driven for over two hours but was eager to tell his story. Barry was a busy businessman but with a big heart for evangelism. He had been looking for a simple way to share the gospel but struggled to find the time to train himself to be an effective teacher. But after attending TERM, he realized that the Dynamic Leading-Reading-Modelling method that had been taught was something he could do.
“The first impact [of the seminar] was how it helped me. I’ve been a Christian for many years but never seen it put together like this. The whole concept of atonement, the tabernacle, Adam and Eve, the covering, all coming together is remarkable,” Barry shared with the GoodSeed staff around the lunch table.
He went on to say that, as he sat through the three days of TERM, his level of enthusiasm grew. He saw how easy it was to lead a group with the leader’s guide and after the seminar wrapped up, he asked to buy the curriculum.
Unfortunately at that time, the By This Name leader’s guide had not yet gone to press. So he waited. And waited. In the meantime, he bought copies of By This Name to give to others. When his first case of books arrived at his doorstep, he pulled them out of the box and started handing them out. He ran out before long. When he called to order more books, it happened that our proof copy of the By This Name leader’s guide had just arrived that day. When he learned that there was a physical copy in the office he asked, “Can I buy that one?”
Our office staff sold him the one copy we had. When he received it, Barry wasted no time in organizing groups to teach.
Continue reading “You don’t need to be a rocket scientist in evangelism to do this!”
Rose* looked up as the weekly ladies’ Bible study leader approached her. “Something’s come up. Can you fill in for me?” Rose agreed and took the opportunity to share the gospel briefly as part of her talk. Afterwards, Amy, a native lady, approached her.
“Every church I’ve been to has talked about having a relationship with God. But it’s not a relationship with God I’ve had; it has been a relationship with a church.” Amy went on to express her realization that she didn’t understand the gospel, although she’d attended numerous churches for years and had been baptized in most of them. It wasn’t until she heard Rose’s simple explanation of the gospel that it hit her—what she’d been searching for in all those churches could only be found in the Lord. She’d had it all backwards.
Shortly after, Amy moved in with Marcia who was a friend of Rose. Amy was tireless in her search for truth. She asked so many questions that Marcia became quite exhausted. Finally, the woman offered Amy a copy of The Stranger on the Road to Emmaus, hoping it’d address her curiosity. Amy lost no time in reading the book. “Now I’m beginning to understand,” she told Marcia. But Amy’s questions didn’t abate. She still needed answers to some nagging questions she had.
Continue reading “I have relationships with churches, not God”
If you are starting a new season of small group meetings and are looking for a possible curriculum to use, here are three that you can consider.
1. Worldview Rethink with By This Name
DESCRIPTION: What is the main message of the Bible? Who is Jesus? What are the cross and the tomb all about? How is the Old Testament relevant to our understanding of the New Testament? This study takes you on a journey from creation to the cross to explain the core message of the Bible.
AUDIENCE: For people who want a solid biblical foundation, including those who want to learn or be refreshed in the message of the gospel.
TIME NEEDED: 16 hours (e.g., 8 sessions of 2 hours each)
RESOURCES: Leader’s guide, coursebook, workbook, DVD or online videos, visual aids
FORMAT OF STUDY: Dynamic reading. Leaders read the course book narrative. Group reads the Scripture verses. Reading is interspersed with video clips and visual aids. The group also uses the workbook together. Learn more about Dynamic Reading-Leading-Modelling.
REVIEW: “This book and the DVD series and workbook that accompany it are by far the best, most clearly stated overview of the Bible I’ve seen. It is an excellent foundational base that can be used with new Christians, mature Christians, and non-Christians. I used it to start a neighbourhood ladies’ Bible study with ladies from several different faiths. It was so well-received that once we finished it, we were then able to start studying one of the books of the Bible (Mark). I highly recommend this for use by an individual, small group, or large group, or anyone seeking to understand the Bible as a whole.” – Melissa
Continue reading “Looking for curriculum for small groups? Here are three suggestions”
“Is there life on other planets? Are there other universes?”
“How do you hear from God? Does he have a voice I can hear?”
“What can I do to be safe from the devil?”
The questions came thick and fast. The Chinese man sitting on the couch across from Jon* and his wife Denise was sincere—and confused. He so wanted to know everything there was to know about God. But Jon and Denise knew that before they could delve into the answers to his questions, they would need to bring him back to the basics. He needed a foundation in who God was and what Jesus had accomplished on the cross.
They had first met Mingfang at a Bible study and were struck not only with his earnest desire to know God but also with his complete biblical illiteracy. The group was just wrapping up a study on the book of Job. Within minutes, it became obvious that the young Chinese man was floundering in his attempt to follow the discussion.
Jon and Denise approached Mingfang and asked if he would be interested in going through a study that would give him the whole story of the Bible and increase his understanding of God. Mingfang was beyond excited at the idea. So Jon and Denise began going to his apartment on a weekly basis to go through the Worldview Rethink curriculum with him and his wife.
Mingfang considered himself a Christian. That’s why he had come to church and then to the small group Bible study in the first place. But his “Christianity” was a blend of Eastern thought and his own efforts to be good enough for God. He was constantly asking what he had to do. His desire in life was to be a good person.
Continue reading “Skyping the gospel”
Ever wondered how other churches bring in non-believers to study the Bible? Here’s what a church in Derby, England has done for many years. The church hosts “Just Looking” groups for those who are open to learning more about the Bible. In 2012, our first blog post was a story about these groups. The church had been running them for a number of years and it continues to do so.
The participants of the “Just Looking” groups gather in a non-threatening location (i.e., not a church), for a relaxing and informal time of learning. The leaders have been using The Stranger for several years to guide the course. Those who attend come from a wide variety of backgrounds, but all have one thing in common: they do not possess a clear understanding of the Bible’s message.
Laura* shared that, before she had been invited to the group, “I hadn’t had any thoughts about the Bible. I’d heard of the Bible. I’d probably held one in my hands, but never read it. I didn’t know what it was. Didn’t really have any thoughts at all about the Bible.“
Amir was a young Muslim who attended the group: “I thought [Christianity] was a religion similar to Islam. I thought they all led to God.”
William wasn’t even interested in attending. Now an elderly man, he’d lived his whole life apart from God’s Word. It was his wife who nagged him to come till he finally conceded. “I told her, ‘I’ll go along, see what it’s like. If I don’t like it, I’ll leave.’”
Continue reading “I’d probably held a Bible in my hands, but never read it”