Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Since 1991

I finished up another Disciple Bible Study Group this past Sunday. I led my first one back in 1991 and with the exception of a couple of years, I have been involved with 10-15 people a year as we moved through the 34 week study of the Bible together. This year's group was an exceptional group. The 17 who started and finished made it the largest of any group, but it was also one of the most diverse in terms of age, background, and theological perspective. It is something which requires a lot of work for the participants and the one who does the leading. Even after all these years, it is still work, but it is work that always has the feel of being significant for the spiritual lives of those God brings to the group.
As I finish up one more, I find myself thinking back over the years of Disciple groups and the individuals who have been a part of them. One thing is sure: God has brought blessing to so many, not because of my leadership but because of the way His Spirit works in people's hearts as they take the Scripture seriously. I have always felt it was such a wonderful ministry tool and I have been grateful for the opportunity to be with folks who are listening to God.
Disciple is certainly about reading the Word of God. We often say it is not so much about information as it is inspiration. What I have discovered over the years is that it is also about lives being changed. I cannot begin to tell you how thankful I am to have been in the place where God was changing lives. A testimony in verse says it so very well.
As we journeyed through the Old Testament,
I began to see the light.
By the time we finished the Gospels,
Christ was reshaping my life.
Nothing in ministry is remembered with greater joy and thanksgiving than the changed lives.

1 comment:

Bill M. said...

Great article Rev. Bill. I remember our very first week in Disciple 1. I was leafing through the book looking at each coming week's agenda. I was anxious to find when it would be that we would get to the study of the New Testament. I had never considered the Old Testament to be as relevant to me in my "infancy" as a Christian. As far as I was concerned at that time, the Gospels were the only thing that really mattered. How naive I was.

How was I to know at that time that a reading of the Old Testament would reveal a God with a plan for us all. A plan that began with our creation and then with Him uplifting and using the Jewish people to glorify Himself as the one true God.

Further reading revealed to me a God who showed mercy to the Gentiles at Nineveh- an act which gave Jonah, a Jew, much distress-- so much distress that he refused to obey God at first.

It was after reading Jonah, just before we began studying the New Testament, that I believe I was starting to "get it".

And then we, as a group, were taken into the New Testament where we found a God who was bestowed His grace and mercy on all of mankind through his Son, Jesus Christ, the Word of God. An act so selfless, loving and so kind- it was impossible for my human mind to fully comprehend.

I had no idea when I began Disciple 1 that there was so much more to God's plan than I had ever realized. How could I have known that I would end Disciple 1 with a new knowledge of how much God loves me and all of us.

I am so thankful that I was led to take Disciple 1 and that God used this time to work through you to reveal His plan to all of us in the class!