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The FOCUS Blog

Leading 1-to-1 Bible Studies

FOCUS Admin

by Sarah Green


The following blog post are notes from a breakout session featured at the FOCUS Fall Conference 2014. To listen to the main sessions talks, click here


“Lead a 1-to-1 Bible study? Me? That sounds way too scary! I also still have so much I need to learn myself. It would be much better to leave that to the pastors, FOCUS volunteers, and super-spiritual Christians.”

Ever had thoughts like that? Some people are really excited about the idea of leading bible studies with their friends, others are terrified. Most of us though, if we're honest, have never given the idea much thought. It seems like something other people should do. At the end of Matthew's gospel, however, we read these parting words of Jesus:

"All Authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age." (Matthew 28:18-20)

Do you see Jesus' big plan right here? Jesus intended for the gospel to go out to the nations as his disciples made disciples, whose job in turn was to make disciples who make disciples who make disciples and so on until the end of the age. Jesus could have done it another way, he could have made a big sign in the sky, but instead he chose to use ordinary people like you and me. We're all called to be involved in the biggest thing going on the world, the awesome task of people disciple-makers – what an exciting vision! Messy, challenging and scary maybe, but so exciting.

We're told to make disciples by teaching people to obey everything Jesus commanded, and the place we find that today is the Bible. 2 Timothy 3:14-17 tells us how how the scriptures are able to “make us wise for salvation” (i.e. tell us everything we need to be saved, therefore great for our non-believing friends) and make Christians “thoroughly equipped for every good work” (i.e. useful for Christians at all stages of their spiritual life). We can have confidence then as we expose people to the word of God that God will do his work in their lives. We don't need to be 'experts', we don't point people to our own wisdom or ideas, instead we point them to Christ in the scriptures.

Most Christians will agree studying the bible is important, but why do it 1-to-1? Why not just take our friends to group Bible studies or church? For one thing, it's more personal. Friends might feel more comfortable and safe opening up to one person rather than a large group. It gives them space to share questions they have about the Christian faith, or struggles their facing. One-to-one studies are able to focus in deeply on particular things that people need to hear, and communicates love and care. It also gives us the joy of being involved in disciple making, and grow so much ourselves in the process.

That raises some practical issues: Who to meet with? What to study? Where to meet? The Bible, as we saw earlier, is necessary and helpful for people at all stages of their spiritual journey - so it's hard to think of anyone it wouldn't be helpful for. Having said that, it's wisest to read the Bible with people of the same gender, and focus on those with the greatest desire to learn and grow (feed the hungry!). All scripture is 'God breathed ' so there's nothing that would be wrong to study. It is a good idea, however, to think through what would be most helpful for the person you're meeting with: Maybe a gospel for someone still exploring faith issues, or a letter for a new Christian. Choose something you feel confident leading. Pick somewhere quiet, comfortable, and preferably not difficult to get to: perhaps a nearby cafe. The more you can make it a part of your life routine, the more likely it is to happen.

If you're convinced that disciple-making is something you should be involved in, then I'd encourage you to just make the first bold step and begin. Pray about who to meet with, seek guidance from older Christians you know, then take the bold step of asking your friend if he or she is interested. You'll make mistakes – that's ok. If we relied on our own wisdom, we would be arrogant and foolish to even attempt such an endeavor. But the authority and power is not ours but God's. We are called simply to hold out His words of life. So why not start today?


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Sarah Green enjoys riding motorbikes, cuddling baby goats, drinking smoothies, and watching the sunset at the beach near her home in Dubai. She also loves people and introducing them to her passions in life (the above), and more importantly to Jesus. Having grown up in a number of different countries she loves meeting people from different parts of the world, which makes Dubai a perfect place to live!


New Year, New Things

FOCUS Admin

Behold, the former things have come to pass,
and new things I now declare;
before they spring forth 
I tell you of them.” 
Isaiah 42:9

January 1st grants us the opportunity to reflect on the past year and consider the new.

Each New Years Eve our family and those with us take some time to sing praise to God, to reflect on His faithfulness over the past 12 months, and to pray.  Several this year spoke of the transitions that they had experienced in 2014.  Transitions in life bring us to see new things.

My wife, who is a teacher, had given several caterpillar cocoons to our pastors children.  Her class had studied caterpillars, and the holiday arrived as many were still in their cocoons.  Late in December, because several of the caterpillars in them had died and began to stink, they were about to throw out the cocoons.  But on Christmas Day, a few of the cocoons cracked open and butterflies began their struggle to emerge.  True change comes in the midst of the old ways of life dying.

In the passage quoted above, Isaiah was speaking specifically about the change that would come with the entrance of the Messiah.  The old religious system was dead and decaying.  The new thing springing forth was that the Author of Life would take on mortal flesh and die, so that our sin would be atoned for and eternal life might emerge in us.  As Romans 3:20-22 says,

For by works of the law no human being will be justified in his sight, since through the law comes knowledge of sin.  But now the righteousness of God has been manifested apart from the law, although the Law and the Prophets bear witness to it the righteousness of God through faith in Jesus Christ for all who believe.

Jesus was Gods plan to change all who would believe.  New life comes when we put our faith in Him as our means to be made right with God.

As we start the year 2015, take some time to consider your life.

Has eternal life emerged in you?   Let the old ways of living and the things you have been counting on to make you right with God die, turn away from those things, and put your faith in Christ.  If you do this, talk to one of the FOCUS volunteer staff about it.

What else in you has the smell of death?  No longer feed those things; allow them to die; talk with a trusted Christian friend or staff about killing your old ways.  Read John Owens’s Of the Mortification of Sin in Believers or Kris Lundgaards The Enemy Within with another friend. 

What former things need to pass away, so that new life can spring forth? What needs to change in you?  Don’t confuse this with New Yearsresolutions.  Read through the lists of the things of the flesh and those of the Spirit in Galatians 5, Ephesians 4, and Colossians 3.  Highlight things from both lists that describe you.  Pray that God will help you develop more of His character in you, as you put to death the misdeeds of the flesh.

May 2015 be a year of change for you!


David Lawrence loves surfing & eating food from 'The Kebab Shop' and wearing caps. He is married to Kris and has 5 kids, 4 shoes, 3 cats, 2 cars and 1 son-in-law. You can follow him on Twitter and on Facebook


FOCUS Fall Conference 2014 Audio Talks Now Available

FOCUS Admin

The audio from the main sessions at our FOCUS Fall Conference Conference 2014 are now available to listen and download.

We hope that these talks and panel discussion will help you in understanding what is means to follow Jesus.

In the same media page, you can also find conference talks from our previous conferences too!

Let us know, in the comments section below what you liked and learned from this year's fall conference.

Spread the Word!

 

5 new things about our NEW WEBSITE!

FOCUS Admin

Welcome to the new and improved FOCUS website!

Here are the top 5 things you need to know about our new website:

  1. Find out all you need to know about FOCUS: In the "About Us" section, you can find about FOCUS, IFES, and what we believe in. 
  2. We have a BLOG: If you want to find out the latest that is happening in the world of FOCUS, check out our blog. Here you will find helpful information about upcoming conferences, various student events, and even some helpful articles.
  3. Watch the last Muslim-Christian Dialogue right here: On our Muslim-Christian Dialogue page, we have added a playlist with the entire 2013 Muslim-Christian Dialogue for you to watch. We will also update you on more information on our next Muslim-Christian Dialogue soon. 
  4. We have added a "Resource section": If you want to learn how to share the good news, or listen & download previous conference talks or just check out some really cool websites that we recommend; the resource section is the place to go.
  5.  We're on Twitter and Instagram: If you go to the home page, you can find our latest tweets and recent posts on instagram. Follow us on twitter @IFESGulf and on instagram @ifesgulf.
Well, what are you waiting for!
Tell all your university friends about FOCUS and about our new website!