Well, it's been a week. A week since around 150 women from 24 different churches gathered together with the purpose of encountering God together through His Word.
I really can't put the feeling of the room into a blog post, and I won't try to. Some things you just have to experience in person. From my perspective, I saw the room filled with women of all ages and backgrounds come together around what we have in common. That is: We are women seeking Jesus, dwelling in His Word, and living and loving the city of Dayton.
We sang it is well with our souls.
We listened to a vision of women greatly influencing Dayton simply by loving His Word.
We heard, perhaps some of us for the first time, that God is FOR us, God is REDEEMING us, and that God will NEVER leave us through Romans 8.
Then I got a chance to share some ways we encounter God through His Word. We named this the "equipping" portion of the evening, ways we invite God do His great work within our hearts, which in no time transmits to work outside of us.
Here are the highlights of what I shared.
1. Read God's Word. Seem simple? Maybe this is the exact place to start. Maybe many women attended this even because they desperately need encouragement to open God's Word. I hope so!
2. Have a strategy about how to study the Word. What I like to call the "Flip and Point" method, blindly flipping to a page and reading wherever your finger randomly land, is just not going to cut it anymore. We need to "let the Word of Christ dwell in us richly" as it says in Colossians 3:16. So we must study it to get to that place of dwelling richly. I highly recommended reading Jen Wilkin's Women of the Word to get some effective study strategies.
3. Don't do it alone. Did you know disciple means learner? So discipleship is just a big word for learning together. This can be through an organized Bible study or by one on one discipleship. The accountability is one thing, but there is such richness that comes from hearing how God is teaching other women through the same passage. I highly recommended two Bible studies available in the Dayton area. Bible Study Fellowship is an international organization that meets at Fairhaven Church in Dayton. I've been studying Revelation with this organization since January. They have classes for children so I can take Titus right along with me and I know he is being nourished in God's Word too while I'm there! The other opportunity I mentioned is an upcoming summer study with Dayton Women in the Word that I'm also excited to take part in! And you're invited! Email firstname.lastname@example.org for details or be sure to ask to join our facebook group.
4. Prayerfully consider leading a Bible Study. You don't have to go to seminary to do this. You don't have to know Greek. It doesn't have to look a certain way (aka in a church building every Tuesday evening). My friend really encouraged me when she just looked at what God had given her in her life when she felt His nudge to start a bible study. She didn't need move mountains to make this happen. She opened her home and made a schedule based on what worked for her and her hubby. Using what God was teaching her, she then taught us. Teaching is often the best way to learn.
5. Meditate on It/Memorize It/Journal It/Doodle It/Whatever it. I know. So precise. But seriously, whatever it takes to get the Bible to seep into your bones, do that thing! Maybe this means writing it on a 3x5 card and putting it on your bathroom for you to read while you do (or don't do) your make up. Maybe you like to make a masterpiece on canvas with Christ's words. How did God create you to dwell richly on His word? Do it!
6. Listen to It. One of my favorite ways to encounter God through His word is by listening to it on my You Version app on my phone. I like to listen when I'm in the car, doing dishes, or working out. I'm not the best audible learner, but I like this the best when I've already read a passage a few times and I'm trying to experience it in a fresh way.
7. Speak It. This is going to feel weird at first, but you will soon recognize it as a beautiful gift you give to others as well as to yourself. Speak it over your day, your children, your husband. Speak it to your friends, family, the post man! God's Word wasn't meant to stay on the page. There is power when you speak the Word of God.
8. Leave it Out and Open. BONUS OATMEAL HEART POINT! There is always one thing you forget to mention that pops up after you teach. Obviously God wanted it here and didn't think it was needed for the event! That is leave the Bible open. Whatever you are studying, just leave that passage open where you will pass it multiple times in that day. I put mine out on my kitchen counter since I spend a lot of time in there. It is worth it even for that one time you pass by and think about what God is teaching you through that passage.
Did you go to the event? What was your experience? What is your favorite way to encounter God through His Word? I'd love to hear from you!