Welcome to online Bible study groups as we join together to study Experiencing God by Henry and Richard Blackaby. Your assignment last week was to read week one in the workbook. Some of you just joined us and are still waiting for your workbooks to arrive. Join us when you are ready for Experiencing God

Our leaders have been praying for you to join this study. We know Experiencing God has changed lives and we want to share the experience with you. In the first week of Experiencing God online Bible study groups are always popular. And so as everyone gets settled, they will return to a normal pace. Continue to attend the groups during the week and find one that fits your schedule.

Is your present circumstance “dry and monotonous,” or “a dynamic walk with God?”  Living a dynamic walk with God, I have intentionally created time for Him, in my garden and my heart. Turning off the music, podcasts, social networks, news, and noise. He is a patient Father. When I create time with Him, my soul is nurtured by His presence.

Yet there was a time early in my Christian faith when my relationship with God was dry and monotonous. Most of my religious activities were repetitive at that time in my life. After many Bible studies, I have come to a place of dynamic living. And seeking to experience God every day. As a mature Christian, I don’t want to be nurtured or influenced by anyone except God!

You should know, Bible study is not a “competition.” Wherever you are…YOU ARE. Start there. Start with Jesus. Let Him be the Teacher of the study as we facilitate and ask questions so you will KNOW Jesus. Some of us will be in the wilderness, some are finding Him, and some are in a deep relationship with Him. All are welcome here at the Bible Cafe!

Blackaby writes, “You cannot depend on traditions… to be an accurate authority of God’s will and ways.” Religious traditions were revealed by Jesus, as He confronted Pharisees. He saw the critical spirit drawing people away from the Father. Some modern religions such as have manufactured rules. For example, when my Grandpa died, my relatives baptized him after death, so they could be “united as a family” in their heaven. That tradition is not Biblical, it’s religious.

Read John 14:16 NIV: Jesus says, “I am the way, the truth, and the life.” How is this different from having a detailed roadmap for life? When using a GPS roadmap last weekend, Google Maps rerouted us due to an accident. We found ourselves on a lonely backroad, with dead boars and hungry vultures. If the car broke down on that road, we’d be in a dangerous place. The roadmap did not have our best interest in mind, it was seeking convenience over safety. In Scripture, Jesus is our way to Truth, Nourishment, and Wisdom.

Jesus is directing your spiritual needs. Your SOUL needs. So we need to be attentive to His direction. Let go of the worldview direction…PRAY and you will KNOW the answers you seek.

Jesus, should I go that way? Jesus, should I date that man? Jesus, should I attend this church? THESE questions will lead you to His will for your life. Have the courage to ask Him.

When I release every fruit of the flesh and seek Godly direction, I am driven by Jesus. He guides my words and actions. Jesus lights my path. (See Galatians 5). I need to tune out the noise of the world and the opinions of others and keep my heart on Jesus. Otherwise, I stumble.

Let’s use the vehicle metaphor again. WHO is driving your vehicle today? God, or the media. God, or your family. God, or your neighbors. (ASK and PRAY)

Ladies, if Jesus is not leading your steps…you will feel powerless. Over everything. But then, give that power to Christ, and BAM… now we have “Christ in me” who guides your steps. Choose one…you can’t have both!

Blackaby writes, “Do not base your decision on one isolated verse or story.” Scripture can have dual meanings for words. For example, the lion can reflect Jesus (Lion of Judah) or danger (Daniel in the lion’s den). If we neglect the surrounding text, we misunderstand the verse. Scripture also includes historical context. We need to know who, what, where, when, and why… a word is written.

Blackaby teaches us to look for confirming verses, rather than single verses. If we seek to understand “forgiveness” we look at many verses and stories, for a full understanding. Then, as we learned this week in the study, we ASK the Holy Spirit to confirm the verse over our specific situation.

Instead of seeking God, we are seeing many “worldly solutions” which appear to be answers to spiritual problems. We see an increased use of tarot card readers, astrology, and mediums. These are not coming from the Spirit of God. When the mind craves a supernatural answer, we pray and seek the heart of God.

During the study, I want you to understand the difference between worldviews and Biblical views. We will grasp this concept as we work through the study together.

We live SATURATED by our worldviews. Opinions, news, opinions, etc. Jesus lives by the Biblical view…so He teaches this to us as “survival gear” in modern times.

(Jesus said)“I am the vine; you are the branches. If you remain in me and I in you, you will bear much fruit; apart from me, you can do nothing. John 15:5 NIV

Using BlueLetterBible.org I found this original meaning for the word “remain:” do not depart, continue to be present, to remain as one.

During this study, I want you to learn how to research and find answers to Biblical words. The OT (Old Testament) was originally written in Hebrew. The NT (New Testament) was written in Greek. So we have resources to find these original words and their meaning. Often, what we THINK a word means..is not the same as the original meaning!

We know God and experience God as we obey Him (Blackaby). As a recovered prodigal, I felt the consequences of disobedience. Being born again, I found freedom and satisfaction through my obedience to God. Now it is my heart’s desire to remain close to Christ.