Keith and Elaine* had enjoyed the past two years. Living in Thailand had its challenges and the language was not simple to learn, but they had grown to love the country and its people. They also appreciated the pastoral leadership Chaow gave to the Thai church and enjoyed building relationships with the Thai believers. As their understanding of the language progressed, they were able to participate more in the work Chaow and his wife, Lawan, were doing.
But Keith wasn’t sure how to respond when Chaow approached him about leading a Bible study. It was an intimidating thought. Yes, he had put extensive hours into language study and yes, he would love to come alongside the church’s discipleship program, but he did not feel ready for the responsibility. Where would he start?
Marion* had read little of the Bible during the 20 years she had been away from church. She felt it was too daunting. Recently, however, she started going to church again and even offered to help prepare the meal for a session of a marriage course. To thank her for her effort, one of the leaders, Kat, gave Marion a copy of Fieldnotes, GoodSeed’s annual compilation of testimonies.
Reading through the book, Marion was struck by the stories of those who began with no knowledge of the Bible but, by the end of each account, had come to faith in Jesus Christ.
Recently we received two testimonies. One was from a ladies’ small group from a church in Alberta, Canada and the other was from a church in Singapore. These two churches were an ocean apart but they had the same vision: to ensure every member understood a clear gospel.
These two churches found it useful to use By This Name as the book for small group study. Longtime churchgoers as well as and people still seeking to understand what the Bible is all about benefited from going through the creation-to-the-cross approach used in the book. They saw how the Old and New Testament tied together as one story, and for many, it made them want to read the Bible more! Here are their stories.
Our ladies’ study group consisted of 12 ladies with different levels of Bible knowledge. There were ladies with no knowledge at all, some with many of years of study and everything in between. The study ran for two months and we met every Wednesday morning. Our book study was By This Name by John R. Cross of GoodSeed International. The commitment was to read 1-3 chapters every week and fill out the companion workbook before the sessions. At the sessions we would watch video segments that would reinforce the previous week’s reading as well as go through and discuss the questions in the study guide.
A church in Singapore regularly runs its own version of a TERM Seminar. They use By This Name as the text and run the course over seven Friday evenings. All types of people, from long-time church goers, to new believers, to those who are just seeking to find out what the Bible is all about attend. Here is a testimony from a recent participant.
The following is an excerpt from an email from Simon and Lydia,* a couple in Nebraska. They are using By This Name as a Bible study guide to ground new “baby” believers. Not only did they help their students, they themselves were refreshed by the amazing grace of God in the gospel story. Here is what they shared:
Editor’s note: The following post is the testimony of Rob and Janette and how getting a clear understanding of the gospel saved their marriage.
Rob and I were married in October 2003. We had dated for almost two years before we took this step. Our dating years had quite a few rocky moments, but we were young and in love and went ahead with getting married. We were both Christians, but certainly not living like it. We had met during college, both of us quite heavily involved in the party scene. We didn’t have as much time for partying once we got married and were both working full-time, in fact, we didn’t have much time for each other either. In our first year of marriage, we literally passed each other in the hallway as one of us was coming home and the other was headed to work. So as a result, we did not fight a lot in the first year.
“Where did the day go?”” John sighed to himself as he tucked his children in bed and turned off their bedroom light. Sports practice, music lessons, supper, homework, cell phones, computer games, not to mention his own hectic work schedule—it all seemed to conspire against meaningful family time. He pondered, “How am I supposed to teach my children what they need to know about God and His Word? There just aren’t enough hours in a day!”
Many parents have been thwarted from finding the time to effectively ground their children in God’s Word. There are, however, very doable solutions that have been tried and tested by parents who have successfully fitted meaningful Bible teaching into their families’ busy lives.
We received an amazing call at our office just this past week from an 89 year old lady, Martha*. She wanted to order a few copies of “The Stranger on the Road to Emmaus”. She told us that she had just completed a long-distance study of the book with a friend. How did she accomplish this? Well, Martha and her friend would read a chapter on their own and then they would get on the phone with each other. Since Martha’s friend had better eyesight, she would read aloud the same chapter and the two of them would discuss it as a way to review the material. They did this routine over a number of weeks and finally they finished the book! Martha told us that her friend—who was not doing well spiritually—now had a much stronger foundation for her faith.
An elderly gentleman called our office the other day. He was full of enthusiasm and was talking a mile a minute. What he wanted to share was that he was a regular visitor of the local thrift store in his town. He goes there once a week to check out the clothes and the books. Just a while ago, he had come across a book entitled, The Stranger on the Road to Emmaus. Intrigued, he bought it for $3 and went home to read it. He could not put it down.