Tuesday, September 25, 2012

101 Wednesdays {back to the basics}

I'm getting back to the basics.

The meat and potatoes of faith.

The cornerstone beliefs.

Starting tomorrow, I'm leading a 101 Bible study in my city. I just gave it that name: 101 Wednesdays. It's not already a thing.

It felt pretty scary, but I invited as many friends and acquaintances as I could think of who seemed to be at least 1% interested in spiritual things. I knew many of them were not believers, which was sort of the idea. My motive was to bring church to them. If they would not make time in their lives to seek out and attend an intense 2.5 hour women's study with 100 women and 5-day a week homework, maybe they would meet at a coffee shop to talk about basics. I thought, "Maybe God has been preparing some hearts to take one small step in His direction. Maybe I could hold a woman's hand and help her take that one small step."

Wait, not maybe. I knew I could. If I were at least one small step ahead of someone else, and if God brought me that someone, I knew I could help her take that step.

That's my definition of discipleship. It is on my heart all the time, the "great commission," where Jesus said, "GO. Make disciples." The burden of that call finally got me off my rear end in my own community. But it wasn't just the call. God has lately been showing me how apathetic the world is becoming toward spiritual things. I have many friends who just don't care. Having a relationship with God seems irrelevant, unnecessary to them. If you look around, you'll see it. If it's heartbreaking to me, just imagine how heartbreaking the apathy must be to God, as a Father.

Goodness, I keep getting on tangents because this stuff is at the core of my heart. Back to my email. Many women I emailed didn't reply at all. But a few did. Then a few more. Then a few emailed their friends, and I got replies from a few more...women I've never even met. Today, I'm now concerned there won't be enough open chairs at the coffee shop. And I'm thankful for that problem.

So I thought I'd share the study here on the blog on Wednesdays too. Would you like to follow along?

The first book we are reading is the Jesus Storybook Bible. Yes, technically it's a children's Bible. Don't laugh, because it is incredible. It is written like a storybook, and it does a beautiful job of giving us a picture of what the Bible says in it's entirety. For those of us who didn't "grow up in church" or who feel intimidated or overwhelmed by reading the Bible, it is an excellent place to start. The Jesus Storybook Bible has been used in grown-up studies before to show how the most important things we need to know for our lives are at once both deeply profound, and also simple enough for a child to understand.

The subtitle of the book reads "Every story whispers His name," hinting at how the author weaves the stories together in the Bible to demonstrate its bigger messages. So it's the big picture that I'm interested in passing on to you guys through this book. We'll be able to breeze through it, and then afterwards, we'll start a more traditional book study of some kind. There are so many great ones.

If you want to follow along here, I will be posting a summary of what we learned that week, a reading assignment, and questions. They will not be "Try to get the answer right!" kinds of questions. They will be reflective, and are only for the purpose of processing what we're learning in the context of our real day-to-day lives.

Finally, I'm going to tell you a story about my friend.

I didn't send her the email because she is a strong believer already. She and her husband have worked in ministry at their church for over a decade. But she happened to be at my house, and somehow news of the study slipped out. I invited her out of politeness and was a tad apologetic that it was a "basics" study, assuming she would not be into it. Her answer shocked and humbled me.

She said she'd NEVER participated in a women's Bible study and NEVER attended a women's retreat because she doesn't know much about the Bible and feels horribly insecure. Because she wasn't raised going to church, she didn't know any of the stories. In fact, she'd work in the children's ministry at her church so that she could hear the basics taught in a simple way. She has such a deep insecurity about not knowing the Bible but being surrounded my mature believers that she said she often feels like she has to "fake it." And when I asked if her church ever offered women's studies, she said, "Oh yes LOTS! But none of them have ever had 'basics' in the title." She told me that 101 Wednesdays sounds like the only type of study she'd ever be interested in trying. 

Isn't that so humbling? God knew. He saw my friend's fears, He knew what she needed. And I was too presuming to put her on the email list. What a mistake! But he also didn't let my mistake thwart HIS great plans for my friend. Thank you Lord. So I'm inviting ALL of you to join in. It's up to you to decide if you want to follow along.

I'm getting back to basics.

It's for you if you're so intimidated by the Bible that it collects dust on your shelf.

And it's for you if you grew up on a pew beside your daddy who sat in the front row.

It's for you if you feel like something's broken.

It's for you if you never expected life could be this hard.

It's for you if you are just curious, just wondering who this Jesus really is.

Is he a teacher, a good example, a prophet?

Did He really sit in the black nothingness and speak each star into being? By name?

And it's for you if you sit here reading, wondering what on earth that has to do with you when your responsibilities and relationships threaten to do you in.

Reinforcing the cornerstones of my faith? Remembering how Point A (the Bible) connects to Point B (my life)?

Yes, that's for me.



  1. Wow, friend. Listening to that Call and taking action is inspiring! What a great ministry God has laid on your heart.

  2. talk about stepping out in faith? yes, this is totally the heart of Isaiah 58 (referring to your comment on my blog last week). I am so in love with this I could cry. can't wait to hear how those seats fill up and what God does through this study. I'm so inspired. huge smile on my face and wheels turning. I feel like I could do this too...

  3. Wow. I love this! I did grow up in church, I do know all the stories inside & out and I still love the Jesus Storybook Bible. We read it every morning at breakfast and I'm often reading through tears. It's the perfect place to start! Praying for you & all the ladies you'll be teaching today! Can't wait to hear how it goes!

  4. So amazing Leslie!! I can't wait to hear more about this. Wish I could come :)

    1. Also, I will totally be following along. Nolan has a the storybook bible and I have been meaning to start reading it to him! so awesome

  5. love this. and we actually were JUST given this BIble as a gift for Bethany!! :) hope to follow along! next week?

  6. SO excited about this, Leslie!!! You inspire me:) I love that you are starting off with the Jesus Storybook Bible, I wept so much over that book! I'll be praying for you and these women God wants to touch!

  7. I am praying right now for favor, for the right words, for wisdom, and for much fruit!

  8. amazing! this sounds so much like something i would be interested in doing. i do belong to a local bible study and really enjoy it, but i keep feeling like i need to DO more and help others. this kind of thing really speaks to me.

  9. I LOVE the Jesus Storybook Bible. My dad has purchased it for each set of granchildren he will have... currently has two sets, and has two more of them sitting at his house waiting for when I get pregnant, and my younger sister gets pregnant! I read out of this Bible to my nieces OFTEN, and find myself realizing the whispers of Jesus so much more intimately through it! I think this is a FABULOUS 101 idea! I may just have to join in, since I have the book chillin' in the next room (my nieces bedroom! :) ) what a great thing you're doing :)

  10. I've never read the storybook version but it sounds adorable. What a lovely idea for a series of study - back to basics but int style!


  11. I LOVE the basics. It seems to be where the most truth is when it comes to God. As a child, I went to Catholic School and they taught us "JOY=Jesus, others, yourself". I am going back to that now as an adult, because it such a true and simple statement.

  12. totally buying a storybook bible and my husband and I are right along side of you...I cant wait. neither of us grew up in church and struggle with not knowing "the stories". I youtube movies for my kiddos to watch...you know the 20 minute ones about Moses and the birth of Jesus etc. I sit and watch and learn with them. the knowledge is what i crave. Im telling you there must be so many people out there who are afraid to admit they just dont know. Infact its intimidating. I was at a meeting last week, I was asked to volunteer to work the nursery at our church. Our pastor was going over some stuff and was talking about moses and his mother and he said "you all know that story..." and everyone shook their heads. But I said hey! I dont! went home and watched a kid movie...now I know. haha. the very basics is where it starts and i am so happy your doing this and i will be praying that more and more people just start to trickle in when they hear what your speaking! by the way, I made a piece of art the other day and it reminded me of you for some reason...vintage flowers. ;)


  13. how could one person I don't even know change my perception on god and life! I will deffo be following along I am 17 and life has been so hard recently

  14. Oh Leslie, if I can only tell you...the work you are doing is incredible.
    it really is.
    you don't even know how many people out there actually do not know the basics! and I was one of them till about a little over a year ago. and then i made a decision to learn more .. and guess who were to be my teachers? you, and hannah and aly and so many others (and you didn't even know it!)
    i can't tell you how important this for so many women (and men).
    i'm praying for you friend!

  15. How COOL!! What a great idea! I'm excited to hear how your journey goes and to start to pray for you and for how God might use your journey to move in mine!

  16. I love this! This is so inspiring.

  17. I'm brand new to your blog {just became your newest follower, via bloglovin'} and am so glad that I came across this post. You see, I've been praying about doing something like this... bringing the church to those who, by their own admission, would never darken the door otherwise. I'm intrigued to read more and praying about starting my own 101 Wednesdays in my neighborhood.