Since March I’ve been working remotely and although the world’s businesses, restaurants, and public schools are resuming face to face interactions, I’m still content to view our church’s weekly service and updates online. Does this mean I have to miss out on fellowship?
Not at all. I can still connect with people to speak God’s truth and discuss what the Lord is revealing. However the method is changing. Instead of driving to church and physically sitting in the pew, now I’m listening to my Pastor’s sermon from a hospital room. Times are changing, but human connection is still important. No one knew this more than Jesus and his interactions often surprised people.
This Fall let us study more about Jesus’ encounters with people who were surprised. Draw close to God who surprises us with His love by looking into His word. That’s where we will find transformation resulting in a joyful life.
I know from personal experience that I’m more likely to stick to my daily schedule of reading the word when I’m a part of a small group. Due to health concerns, my family has been physically isolated from the outside world. During this time I’ve learned, we can still encourage each other safely from the comfort of our homes.
As a Christian, I know I need to continue meeting together to fellowship and grow. But due to COVID, I’m hesitant to physically attend the women’s events even when I’m invited.
I doubt that I’m the only person who would rather meet people online via a conferencing tool like Zoom. But I’m finding that many people are not returning to church and are not regularly meeting with anyone to talk about spiritual matters. They have chosen to seek God on their own. This is a wonderful endeavor and I highly encourage it!
But what happens when you need to be strengthened in the Lord? Even David who was considered a man after God’s own heart had discouraging days. And during that time Jonathan strengthened him in the Lord. It is a treasure to have a group of friends who are seeking God together and encouraging each other through the difficult seasons of life.
Some may refrain from meeting online because they’ve never experienced Zoom or another conference tool before. Don’t let fear hinder you from the rich rewards that God has planned for you. The enemy of your soul does not want you to meet regularly with people who will pour God’s truth in you. So, fear is the weapon against us.
But the Lord tells us not to be afraid, for He is with us. God desires for you to experience the peace and joy that only a loving, living God can give. I pray each of you will experience purpose, joy, and peace this Fall.
Some people don’t want to meet online for fear of stranger danger. I understand completely. My mom taught me not to talk to strangers. She warned against sharing my address or even my name. But nowadays my employment has me talking to complete strangers online almost every day. If I’m willing to face this online danger in order to receive a paycheck, shouldn’t I be willing to meet with people online to discuss God’s word?
Maybe you don’t want to join a bible study because you don’t have the extra money to purchase the study book. You can download the first chapter of Jesus who Surprises (by Dee Brestin) on a kindle app on Amazon for free. Your local library or church may even have a copy. Hoopla is an app that libraries use to share digital books. They have Christian audiobooks to download for free if you have a library card. Yes, they also have Jesus Who Surprises!
Will you study God’s word with me?
If this is your first time joining a study with me, Welcome! All you need to do is to join our online meeting at 7 pm Eastern Time on Thursday, Sept 10 using a Zoom link that I will send you through email.
Only women who sign up on the The Jesus Who Surprises sign up page will receive the link. If you haven’t signed up yet, you may still click this link and share your email!
We are so glad that you have joined our community and hope you “travel” with us all Fall, becoming stronger in the Lord. Welcome!
Scripture we will discuss:
Luke 4: 16 – 22
Then Jesus came to Nazareth, where He had been brought up. As was His custom, He entered the synagogue on the Sabbath. And when He stood up to read, the scroll of the prophet Isaiah was handed to Him. Unrolling it, He found the place where it was written:
“The Spirit of the Lord is on Me,
because He has anointed Me
to preach good news to the poor.
He has sent Me to proclaim liberty to the captives
and recovery of sight to the blind,
to release the oppressed,
to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor.”
Then He rolled up the scroll, returned it to the attendant, and sat down. The eyes of everyone in the synagogue were fixed on Him, and He began by saying, “Today this Scripture is fulfilled in your hearing.”
All spoke well of Him and marveled at the gracious words that came from His lips. “Isn’t this the son of Joseph?” they asked.
Luke 19: 1 – 10
Then Jesus entered Jericho and was passing through. And there was a man named Zacchaeus, a chief tax collector, who was very wealthy. He was trying to see who Jesus was, but could not see over the crowd because he was small in stature. So he ran on ahead and climbed a sycamore tree to see Him, since Jesus was about to pass that way.
When Jesus came to that place, He looked up and said, “Zacchaeus, hurry down, for I must stay at your house today.”
So Zacchaeus hurried down and welcomed Him joyfully. And all who saw this began to grumble, saying, “He has gone to be the guest of a sinful man!”
But Zacchaeus stood up and said to the Lord, “Look, Lord, half of my possessions I give to the poor, and if I have cheated anyone, I will repay it fourfold.”
Jesus said to him, “Today salvation has come to this house, because this man too is a son of Abraham. For the Son of Man came to seek and to save the lost.”
Mark 4: 35 – 41
When that evening came, He said to His disciples, “Let us cross to the other side.” After they had dismissed the crowd, they took Jesus with them, since He was already in the boat. And there were other boats with Him.
Soon a violent windstorm came up, and the waves were breaking over the boat, so that it was being swamped. But Jesus was in the stern, sleeping on the cushion. So they woke Him and said, “Teacher, don’t You care that we are perishing?”
Then Jesus got up and rebuked the wind and the sea. “Silence!” He commanded. “Be still!” And the wind died down, and it was perfectly calm.
“Why are you so afraid?” He asked. “Do you still have no faith?”
Overwhelmed with fear, they asked one another, “Who is this, that even the wind and the sea obey Him?”
This Fall I invite you to join me on a God hunt. Jesus is alive and active in your life this very moment. He is still surprising us, but we need to to learn how to recognize Him and His gifts.
So, this week think about “whatever is good and perfect” in your life. This is a gift from God. James 1:17
This week whenever “good and perfect” things present themselves in form of an awesome apple, a kind person, or a rainbow….stop and thank God for this gift. At the end of every day, note your best gift of the day! Please share them with me in the comments, I’d love to hear what you are thankful for too.
In Psalm 8:4, David looks at the heavens and then asks, “What is man that you are mindful of him?”
Can you think of a time when you were quite sure God was being mindful of you?
It is amazing that the God of the universe hears our prayers!
Join me in prayer for the women who are considering attending any bible study. Pray for those who have already signed up for a group study whether online or in person.
I pray that the enemy would not hinder any woman’s attempt to draw near to the Lord and that the Holy Spirit would intercede for anyone hurting. May all who the Lord has called be faithful in following His lead.
If you signed up for the Bible Study by leaving your email on the landing page, you will receive an additional email which includes the Zoom link. Feel free to share this opportunity with any woman you know. It is always fun to have our friends learn along with us!