Anonymous Online Bible Study | Week 1

Anonymous online Bible study

Welcome back to our Spring Online Bible study! We just finished reading WEEK ONE in the book “Anonymous: Discovering the Somebody You Are to God,” by Cindi Wood. This week we discovered we’re never anonymous in God’s view, the One who created us. We are significant and we are loved. In the weeks ahead we’ll meet four women from the Bible who met Jesus and were defined by Him alone.

Perhaps you’re like me and there are times you wanted to be anonymous? I remember the time I was meeting my best friend Linda for lunch, and I saw a woman wearing the same “uniform” my friend wears: black sweats and solid black shirt, with blonde hair pulled back. I saw her walking in the parking lot and shouted with joy “Hey, great to see you today!” The woman looked at me and said “Do I know you?” I realized my mistaken identity (and the fact I needed a vision check) and chatted with the woman as we walked into the store. “Perhaps we meet at our kids school?” I asked, without looking her in the eye. She scanned my face for recognition and found none. As I slipped into the chair with my cup of Starbucks Green Tea, I confessed to Linda my embarrassing moment. It was a time I wanted to be anonymous!

While we are not known by a stranger on the street, or the women sitting beside us in church, we are in fact known by God. There’s no point in cleaning up before approaching Him- because He knows our story beginning to end. Hiding emotions from Him is useless; He knows our hearts. Running from Him is emotionally exhausting, and might even involve risky behavior as we prove to ourselves “we’re not worthy of His love.” Does this sound familiar?

Jesus meets us in our anonymous places, and restructures our IDENTITY.

You are not the woman shamed, judged, ordinary or hurting. Though over and over you’ll hear the enemy of your soul pound your heart with lies… he deceives you so you’ll stay distant from God. Perhaps it’s easier to wear the title “not worthy” than the Truth? Perhaps you’re more comfortable living in addiction, bitterness, hopelessness, anger, resentment, shame or hurt. Stop and think for a moment… is your IDENTITY self-focused or God-focused? Who are you a reflection of?

Wear an IDENTITY of Truth. You are His treasure and you are loved.

ASSIGNMENT FOR THIS WEEK

  • Join a small group this week
  • Read WEEK TWO in your book. You’ll read one lesson per day, each lesson is about 20 minutes.
  • Optional due to cost: AFTER you finish the reading assignment, watch video session two available from Amazon or the publisher website.
  • If you have not yet registered and would still like to join us, please CLICK HERE.
  • Join us for a FREE live event with Bible teacher Cindi Wood Tuesday April 14 at 9PM Eastern, 6PM Pacific when you CLICK HERE.

DISCUSSION QUESTIONS FOR THE WEEK

You will have the opportunity to share your answers to these questions during your small group time. You may also post them here. Consider also recording your answers in your spiritual journal.

  1. Cindi Woods says “God does not define you by your current or past struggle. He defines you by who you are in Him.” What is ONE WORD that God would use to define you? (Day 2)
  2. Cindi Woods says:  “Judged” faced approval, “Hurting” faced healing, “Ordinary” faced remarkable, and “Shame” faced forgiveness. Which of these four (approval, healing, remarkable, forgiveness) are you facing in your current season of life? (Day 3)
  3.  According to the Greek translation of Jesus’ words “I chose you” (John 15:16), we are picked out BY Him and FOR Him. What is your reaction to this news? (Day 4)
  4. What are some steps you’re willing to take to grow your relationship with Jesus Christ? (Day 4)
  5. Have you ever memorized Scripture verses? What practice helps you remember them?

With Love,

christine abraham

 

Author Chat with Cindi Wood

CindiWood author chat

We have exciting news for you!

You are invited to an hour-long Facebook author chat with Cindi Wood, author of our current WBC study, Anonymous!  Cindi is also known for her Frazzled Female books and ministry.  She has a passion for reaching women with the love of Jesus.  We can’t wait to spend time with her!

We hope you’ll mark your calendars now so you can join in the fun!

Tuesday, April 14th at 9 p.m. Eastern (8 p.m. Central, 6 p.m. Pacific)

We’ll be chatting with Cindi about God’s love and our significance in Him.

For those who are part of our Tuesday small group that meets during that time, this will take the place of your small group that night. You are welcome to join us for the chat and, if you like, participate in any of our other small groups that week.

You don’t have to be participating in our online Bible study of Anonymous in order to be part of the Author Chat.  You just need to Like us on Facebook at:  http://www.facebook.com/WomensBibleCafe and visit that page when it’s time to start chatting.  You’ll see the questions as I post them and be able to join in the conversation by commenting and replying.

Please remember that this will be on the main Womens Bible Cafe Facebook page and NOT the room where our small groups meet.

To find out more about Cindi Wood, you can visit her website here: http://www.frazzledfemale.com/ and her Facebook author page here.

We hope to have you pour a cup of tea or coffee, settle into a comfortable chair, and join us as we chat with Cindi Wood!

Anonymous Online Bible Study Starts Today | Introduction Week

Anonymous online Bible studyWelcome to our Spring Online Bible study! We’ve all felt invisible and anonymous during different seasons of our life, or perhaps you know someone who feels insignificant and you’re here to learn tools for helping a daughter or friend. In her book “Anonymous: Discovering the Somebody You Are to God,” Bible teacher Cindi Wood says “While the opinions of others may drag us down, the God who created us has an entirely different opinion God who we are.”  During our time together, we will learn to see ourselves as His creation. Will you accept the invitation to discover you are somebody to God? If so, then  sign the invitation on page eight in your “Anonymous” book. Let’s begin!

This week you’ll join a small group discussion via our private Facebook group. All small groups meet in the same place each week, so if you miss your regular group then you’re welcome to join  another group discussion. This unique flexibility for Womens Bible Cafe online studies ensures you’ll have access to our group fellowship when your schedule is chaotic! Our leaders keep attendance lists to kelp you stay accountable and also to pray for you each week, so when possible choose one primary day and time for your meeting.

Your small group meeting will be a mixture of diverse women from different denominations around the world. We find a common ground of discussion, based on the workbooks we study. Another unique feature of the Womens Bible Cafe is that we remove barriers to spiritual growth because you will not be judged by your appearance, marital status, economic status, age, knowledge, health, etc. We don’t divide our small groups and all women are treated with equal respect. Your voice matters most and our ministry leaders are equipped to help you share your heart and grow in faith.

HOW to JOIN the CLOSED FACEBOOK GROUP (Chatroom) where the Small Groups Meet:
1. Login to your Facebook account first.
2. Click the link for the chatroom: http://www.facebook.com/groups/WBCSmallGroups/
3. Click “Join Group”
4. Please allow time for the leaders to approve your request to join the group.

When you join the chatroom you will see a SMALL GROUP schedule pinned to the top of the group. All groups are open attendance. Select the day and time that works best for your schedule. Look for the leader photo on the day and time, and then join the discussion which takes place right under that photo.

A FEW GUIDELINES FOR ONLINE BIBLE STUDY

IMPORTANT: During the first week of online Bible study, many women may be exploring different small groups. Some groups will be larger and move very fast, while others will be smaller and easier to read. This will all change during the second week as the women settle into the groups they have decided to join. Please be patient – the second week becomes much easier to follow!

CONFIDENTIALITY: Anything shared in the group is not to be repeated outside of the group. Please respect the women who are transparent with their testimonies.

SENSITIVITY: Please be sensitive to the discussion by not interrupting with Facebook symbols or links to outside videos or articles (these can be shared at the end of the chat if necessary).  Please also remember that nothing discussed is about one individual; it’s about the Holy Spirit, so please allow everyone a chance to share.  Finally, we want this to be a place where women can tell what they are going through or feeling without being told how to ‘fix’ things.  Sometimes we all simply long to be heard rather than be told what to do.

NON-DENOMINATIONAL: As a diverse group of women, we have different church doctrines, Bible translations and theologies. This is a place to respectfully disagree, rather than judging one another, so that you may grow and understand different viewpoints. It’s okay to question and see things differently; however, we ask you to be kind and sensitive to the feelings of others.

ASSIGNMENT FOR THIS WEEK

  • On the inside cover of your book, write the date you are starting this study. Journal a prayer about what you hope to learn through the study.
  • Sign the invitation on page eight of your book.
  • Join a small group this week
  • Read WEEK ONE in your book. You’ll read one lesson per day, each lesson is about 20 minutes.
  • Optional due to cost: AFTER you finish the reading assignment, watch video session One available from Amazon or publisher website.
  • If you have not yet registered and would still like to join us, please CLICK HERE.
  • Join us for a FREE live event with Bible teacher Cindi Wood Tuesday April 14 at 9PM Eastern, 6PM Pacific when you CLICK HERE.

DISCUSSION QUESTIONS FOR THE WEEK

You will have the opportunity to share your answers to these questions during your small group time. You may also post them here. Consider also recording your answers in your spiritual journal.

  1. Tell us where you are from and if God gave you a nickname, what would it be?
  2. During our study we’ll be learning about women in the Bible who were Judged, Hurting, Ordinary and Shamed. All of these women encountered Jesus and their lives were changed through Grace.  Pray for a moment, and then ask the Holy Spirit: Which woman do I need to study most? What is His answer:  Judged, Hurting, Ordinary or Shamed?  You answer may reflect someone close to you, or perhaps a sensitive place in your own heart.
  3. Every human wants to be somebody, to have significance and purpose in life. What does significance look like to you? How would you define this?
  4. Every woman has an identity. Some identities are influenced by family, media, education, religion, political party and race. Yet these are not identities from God, they are created by people. How do you think these identities influence our behavior and thinking?
  5. If you met yourself as a 16-year old girl, what advice would you give her that you didn’t have then?

With Love,

christine abraham

 

Experiencing God Online Bible Study Begins Today | Introduction Week

Experiencing God

Welcome to the Womens Bible Cafe online Bible study of Experiencing God by Henry and Richard Blackaby. I hope you are as excited as I am to begin this journey together! If you have not registered and would still like to join us, CLICK HERE.

Are you ready to grow in your relationship with God? Do you want to that relationship to come alive as you join God in what He is doing around you? If so, this study will help you to accomplish this goal. Experiencing God has the potential to be a life-changing Bible study for you, as it has been for me.

Experiencing God has been around for a number of years and is a favorite of many of the WBC leaders and participants. We last studied Experiencing God as an online study in 2013 – it is back again this year by popular demand. This is a study you can do many times and continue to experience it anew each time. Working through Experiencing God is like peeling an onion – each time you do you will discover another layer to your growing relationship with our Lord.

I completed the Experiencing God study for the first time when it came out over 20 years ago. I have done it at least half a dozen times since then. It has changed the course of my life. I will tell you more about that over the coming weeks as we work our way through the 12 weeks of the study. For now, just let me encourage you to get ready for quite a ride!

My prayer is that God will use this Bible study to enable each of you to develop a deeper relationship with Him, one in which you clearly hear God when He is speaking, recognize His work in the world around you, boldly join Him in that work and experience Him as you work together to accomplish His purposes in your life and the world around you.

You will need a copy of the Experiencing God workbook (sometimes called “member book,” “participant book,” or “study guide”), which has five daily lessons to complete each week. You should expect to spend about 30 minutes a day, five days a week completing the individual study assignments in your workbook. We encourage you to begin and end each lesson with prayer. Try to complete only one lesson per day, using the weekends when there are no assignments to catch up if you must miss a day.

We also encourage you to keep spiritual journal during the Experiencing God Bible Study. You will find instructions on page 271 in your workbook on how to organize your spiritual journal. You can use a 3 ring binder with dividers and 100 sheets of loose leaf paper, a spiral bound notebook with 100 pages and dividers or a journal style book with tab dividers. Nothing complicated, just a way for you to record your thoughts on the important points God reveals to you throughout the study. This journal will be something you can go back to once the study is completed to review and remind yourself of how much you have grown. If you’d like to see spiritual journal ideas from our ministry leaders and guests, CLICK HERE or if you’d like to share your own journal ideas and photos, post them on our Facebook page!

On page 270 in your workbook you will find the Experiencing God Covenant. We encourage you to sign this and add the names of your small group leader and those in your small group.

There are 12 weeks in this study plus the introductory week which begins today. Small groups meet throughout the week. Simply pick a time that works for you and show up on our Facebook page at the meeting time for that group.

HOW to JOIN the CLOSED FACEBOOK GROUP (Chatroom) where the Small Groups Meet:
1. Login to your Facebook account first.
2. Click the link for the chatroom: http://www.facebook.com/groups/WBCSmallGroups/
3. Click “Join Group”
4. Please allow time for the leaders to approve your request to join the group.

When you join the chatroom you will see a SMALL GROUP schedule pinned to the top of the group. All groups are open attendance. Select the day and time that works best for your schedule. Look for the leader photo on the day and time, and then join the discussion which takes place right under that photo.

A FEW GUIDELINES FOR ONLINE BIBLE STUDY

IMPORTANT: During the first week of online Bible study, many women may be exploring different small groups. Some groups will be larger and move very fast, while others will be smaller and easier to read. This will all change during the second week as the women settle into the groups they have decided to join. Please be patient – the second week becomes much easier to follow!

CONFIDENTIALITY: Anything shared in small groups is not be repeated outside of the group. Please respect the transparency of your group member’s testimonies.

SENSITIVITY: Please resist the temptation to interrupt by posting Facebook symbols or links to articles and videos. These disrupt the flow of the group discussion. Also please resist the temptation to draw attention to yourself instead of the Holy Spirit. We want all the women in the group to be heard.

NON-DENOMINATIONAL: As a diverse group of women, we have different church doctrines, use different Bible translations and have different theologies. This is a place to respectfully disagree, rather than judging one another. It is okay to question and see things differently, however we ask you to be kind and sensitive to the feelings of others.

BIBLE TRANSLATIONS: The authors of this study primarily use the New International Version, 1984 edition for teaching. You are welcome to use any Bible translation of your choice. It may also be helpful to explore parallel (side-by-side) translations to get the most from this study. You may use an on-line program such as Bible Gateway, YouVersion or BlueLetterBible if you would like to see the Word in many translations.

ASSIGNMENT FOR THIS WEEK:

  • Write a letter to God on the inside cover of your Experiencing God workbook. Include today’s date. Tell God where you are right in your relationship with Him and where you hope He will lead you over the next 12 weeks as you study Experiencing God.
  •  Read Week One in your Experiencing God Workbook.
  • If you are using the OPTIONAL audio or videos for this study, listen to Session One.
  • Join a small group this week. These groups meet via Facebook. To find a group CLICK HERE.

DISCUSSION QUESTIONS FOR THIS WEEK

  1. In one sentence, describe your current season of life.
  2. In just three words, describe your current relationship with God.
  3. Why did you decide to join the Experiencing God study?
  4. This study requires approximately 30 minutes of daily Bible study, five days per week. When do you plan to do your studying – morning, evening, another time? Do you have a particular place where you plan to do your studying? Describe it to us.
  5. What do you hope to gain through your study of Experiencing God?
    You will have the opportunity to share your answers to these questions during your small group time. You may also post them here. Consider also recording your answers in your spiritual journal.

Before you meet with your small group again next week, please complete WEEK ONE in your Experiencing God workbook. Be intentional about making the time each day to do your lessons. Make an appointment with God each day and do not stand Him up. Protect this time with Him. Spend time daily with the One you love and who loves you. Watch and see what happens! It will be worth the effort.

Welcome to WBC Online Bible Study. Get ready to Experience God!

Blessings,

Carla

A Biblical Method For Self-Discipline

40 days financial fastingFasting without prayer is nothing more than a diet. If you choose to abstain from foods for the purpose of losing weight then the focus is on self and not God. Likewise, if you choose a financial fast to “save a little money” then you’ll be disappointed in the end results. When the Holy Spirit leads you to fast, He’s leading you into deeper intimacy with God.

In his book Fasting For Financial Breakthrough, Dr. Elmer Towns identifies four truths about our financial obligations:

  1. It’s not our money but His.
  2. We are expected to manage our money wisely for the Lord.
  3. He will take it away if we mismanage it.
  4. He will reward us for proper management.

We become better money managers as we fast and pray. Fasting alone is not going to strengthen your finances or resolve your money issues. Through the act of prayer, as you communicate with God, you’ll learn what His will is for your money. Perhaps you already know the answer in your heart, and now you need a solution from God. The time to ask is not when you get a foreclosure letter in the mail, a stack of unpaid medical bills, or a lose your job on a Friday afternoon.  Ask. Seek. Pray.

By now you’ve realized that through fasting, we learn self-control. Dr. Towns says, “…it’s really not about money; rather, it’s a discipline problem.” Whether fasting from food or spending, create a regular habit and seek insight from God regarding self-discipline. Ask God how you arrived at your place of need, and then ask Him for a solution to your problems. Keep a journal of your prayers, and look back at your spiritual growth. Continue fasting once a month, such as the date your mortgage or rent is due, or the birthday of a prodigal child, or your anniversary date. For example, if your anniversary is July 11th, then fast on the 11th of each month and pray for your marriage.

As we learn financial discipline, it spills over into other areas of our spiritual lives. We learn to discipline our mouths from speaking gossip, negativity, curse words and insults. We learn to discipline our time and prioritize those things that have eternal value. We learn to discipline our health, by eating better, getting outdoors and exercise. We learn to follow Christ and walk inside God’s will.

While running errands today, I felt the consequences of poor time management. I missed the deadline to return a gift my daughter dislikes; like most teenagers she said “give me cash instead.” As a consequence to missing the 30-day return period, I had to pay extra shipping charges to make sure the package arrived quicker. Praying on this, I was convicted that poor time management costs money! Similarly, disorganization and stacks of junk in my home or office make it harder to see those items with deadlines or due dates. Does this happen to you?

Every aspect of a Christian life is faith-oriented, including your money. Write out a budget and money management plan based on Biblical values. Seek God when you are deprived of spending or saving money. If you struggle with stewardship, listen to your church sermon archives or make an appointment to meet with your church pastor. Learn to prioritize both money and time. Dr. Towns recommends these expense priorities:

  1. Tithes and offerings
  2. Housing and utilities
  3. Food
  4. Clothing
  5. Transportation
  6. Insurance
  7. Education and Improvement
  8. Retirement
  9. Recreation
  10. Entertainment

Financial experts have a different set of priorities, so be sure to search for more ideas. In my budget, I’ve set aside money for college funds, emergency funds, and also “wedding funds.” I’m a California Mom raising two daughters and from the time they were born, I started putting $25 per month into a wedding savings account for each child. If they choose to marry then I know we’ll have a little money set aside to celebrate their special day.

Some of the best financial books I read include:

I read these books to help me serve my clients in the California real estate market and years later I still remember the key concepts. After attending a Marriage Retreat by Focus on the Family and then reading “Your Money or Your Life,” we downsized our dream home, got rid of the nanny, housecleaner and gardener, and I became a stay-at-home mom. When the kids were older I started a home business and later started online Bible studies  and the Womens Bible Cafe ministry.

We move through seasons of life, and this includes financial seasons as well. You’ll have seasons of drought; seasons of sowing seeds; seasons of harvesting fruit. No matter the season, be faithful to God and to His Word.

Scriptures to Study or Memorize

It is impossible to please God without faith. Anyone who wants to come to him must believe that God exists and that he rewards those who sincerely seek him. Hebrews 11:6 (NLT)

I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me. Galatians 2:20 (NIV)

You must each decide in your heart how much to give. And don’t give reluctantly or in response to pressure. “For God loves a person who gives cheerfully.” 2 Cor. 9:7 (NLT)

Tip: using your cell phone, snap a photo of these verses so you can find them easily

Steps For Spiritual Growth

  1. Fast and pray in faith believing God will answer your prayers. Fast in fellowship with other women or friends.
  2. Create a budget system and plan to implement by April 1st. For budgeting tips CLICK HERE
  3. Book: “Fasting For Financial Breakthrough” by Dr. Elmer Towns, read chapters 5 and 6 (optional)
  4. Join us on Facebook for daily prayer and community support: http://www.facebook.com/events/383159871864197

With love,

christine abraham