Welcome to the Acts Bible Study introduction week. This is an online Bible Cafe™ study introduction where we gather in virtual small groups to meet our leaders and community members. Expect to spend one hour together- by Zoom, video, or a private FB group. This is great time to make some new friends! We’ll find out where are you from and what you like most about where you are living.
Gather with me on Monday nights and you’ll meet women from Ireland, Canada, Colorado, California, and more. In my Wednesday Zoom group we have members from California, Oregon, Texas, Boston, and New York. On Thursday mornings, Stasia Nielsen is leading her Zoom group from Mexico. Friday mornings I am sipping coffee with Dotsi Campbell as we chat about Jesus -virtually.
Did you notice that we are scattered in many locations? This is something women really love at the Bible Cafe™ Our uniqueness brings a variety of opinions and experiences into the weekly discussion. Personally, I think Heaven’s Banquet Table might look like this too. A diverse blend of ages, life stages, locations, careers, and coffee/tea. Pour me a cup and I will sit with you all day talking about Jesus.
By the way, I asked a fun icebreaker question this week: If we came over to your house for a visit today, would you serve tea or coffee? Informal or fancy?
After laughing like girls at a tea shop, we started talking about our hospitality (or lack of…) Living near the ocean, I tend to be informal with almond croissants and hot coffee for my guests. Yet on special occasions- like Mother’s Day or Royal Weddings- I set the fancy dishes, three-tiered trays, and mini tiaras for my guests. Feather boas and velvet hats are a must. As a hybrid in hospitality, I’ll bake a fabulous quiche but fill in the party trays with pastries from the local bakery.
As you can see, the “café” concept is built around community. We look forward to talking about the Bible, sharing a good laugh, praying for one another, and seeing your faces (on Zoom).
Most of the Bible Cafers in the Acts study like to participate by sharing answers AND listening to others. At first, some of the women will observe the group and wait to answer a question. Since this is not a classroom, the leaders do not call on you by name. If you have something to say- speak up. Every voice adds depth to the conversation and we love hearing your thoughts each week.
For this study, our small groups are blended. Some women say they are in a season of spiritual sleepwalking, while others feel spiritually awake. What a great opportunity to learn from one another.
If we notice you are missing from the group or falling behind, many of you asked for accountability. A private message or a text message (Zoomers) was most preferred. Someone said it’s easy to disappear or walk away from a larger group gathering. She’s right. And we have encouraged our leaders to pray for you and keep you on track to the finish line.
When you show up in small group, you add value to the community. We witness your faith and we share our testimonies too.
When God calls us to Bible study, He is calling us to a deeper faith.
Let’s Get Started!
Bible Cafe™ Founder & Director
CHRISTINE ABRAHAM is the Bible Cafe™ Founder and helps people understand the Bible, fellowship in small groups, and develop a lasting relationship with Jesus. She earned a Graduate of Theology degree in Biblical Studies from Liberty University. Christine has facilitated more than 100 Bible Cafe™ studies. She is a popular Christian Life & Leadership Coach. She lives in California with her husband and two rescue dogs.
Experiencing God online Bible study groups are back! This is one of the most loved studies around the world. This online Bible study for Experiencing God will take your breath away. Many people have experienced a renewed relationship with God after completing this online Bible study course.
“If you are experiencing a time of spiritual dryness in your life, you may be trying to do things on your own that God has not initiated.” Henry Blackaby
Experiencing God online Bible study groups are an invitation for learning God’s will and hearing His voice inside your heart. Take the time to study these lessons with the Bible Cafe™ Community. Our team of mentors and leaders will walk beside you in the journey to experienced God.If you are worn out by your faith, or feeling lukewarm in your faith- this study helps you rejuvenate your relationship with GodFor the Experiencing God online Bible study groups, you will read a daily lesson. These lessons point your heart and mind towards God. They help you KNOW God in a fresh and new way. Spend time with God and listen for His heart. What does He desire for your life? How does He help you in your relationships, finances, career, and home? Find the answers -week by week- as you look for where God is working around you.
Experiencing God Bible Study Resources
Required Book: Experiencing God: Knowing and Doing the Will of God (MEMBER BOOK) by Henry Blackaby, Richard Blackaby, and Claude King. Make sure you get the WORKBOOK/MEMBER BOOK available from Lifeway, Amazon, ChristianBook or favorite bookstores. Optional: Teaching videos are copyright protected and available through Lifeway.
IMPORTANT: YOU WANT THE WORKBOOK- ALSO CALLED A MEMBER BOOK. DO NOT ORDER THE DEVOTIONAL, CHAPTER BOOK, LEADERS BOOK, TEEN BOOK. Inside the book your table of contents will have 12 WEEKS of lessons.
Disclaimer: Bible Cafe™ facilitates online Bible study courses. We are not affiliated with this author or publisher.
Welcome to womens online Bible study! This week we begin the Elijah: Faith & Fire Bible Study written by Priscilla Shirer. We are excited to join women around the world for this #biblecafe online Bible study. Get a book and join us at the virtual table! Bring your coffee, Bible, and writing pens. Let’s study, connect, and grow.
While you may be tempted to “skip” the introduction week for a Bible study, here are some reasons why I enjoy showing up (and you will too).
3 Reasons Why You Should Show Up to the Introduction
First, we ask study questions and set a foundation for the course. This week we’re discussing how to remain steadfast in difficult cultures. We examine scripture and seek to understand the Biblical meaning. We are an interdenominational ministry with women from various Christian denominations. So, we have the opportunity to discover our similarities and differences.
Second, we connect through our computer screens, Zoom cameras, and smart phones. This is a wonderful way to make new friends with a common interest. Since we are Christians studying the same Bible theme, it is a perfect opportunity to connect with other women. Bible Cafe groups are not divided by age, marriage status, kids/no kids, and other interests. And so, n these online groups, we are blended together and connect with a variety of women. Some are brand new Believers, others are growing in faith, and many are lifelong students of the Bible. Everyone is welcome.
Third, we grow closer to God. As we study the Bible, we draw closer to the author and perfecter of our faith. We seek to understand, know Jesus, and transform our lives. And we do this right at the beginning in the introduction week. Come join us for the Elijah Faith and Fire Bible Study.
2 Reasons Why You Won’t Show Up
When I asked our community why they did not show up to the Introduction Week, there were two common answers.
Reason #1 We may feel fear or insecurity.
Reason #2 We think we already know it.
These are two interesting obstacles to Bible study. I can certainly relate to the first reason. Several years ago, my insecurity was high, and my faith was weak. And so, I turned around and walked out of my first Bible study. A woman from carpool saw me walking out of the church. She blocked my path with her petite body and stood 12 inches from my nose. With a piercing look into my blue eyes she said, “Christine, if you walk out now then Satan wins.” It’s been nearly 25 years since Lisa blocked my path. I have not forgotten those Spirit-filled words and I have completed 100 Bible studies since that day. Jesus wins!
The second reason for not attending the Introduction week is familiarity. Sometimes, we become overly familiar with a Bible study community. We feel there is nothing new under the sun. So we miss that first week, and gallantly show up when we get to the “meat” of the study. Personally, I have found the first meeting extremely exciting! This is when I learn the backstories of the women at my church table or online group. It is where we find common ground and purpose. This is also when the group leaders create attendance lists and start praying for you (and me).
Elijah Faith and Fire Bible Study Starts This Week
Now that you understand the three reasons and two objections to Introduction Week, I would love to see you in our groups. Grab your book, Bible, and pens. I will see you at the virtual Bible Cafe for the Elijah Faith & Fire Introduction week!
After leading 100 online Bible studies, we learned what helps you study the Bible. Bible Cafe™ members have suggested these helpful tips. Arranged from A to Z. These Bible study tips are helpful for beginners and experienced learners. When you share our list of A to Z Bible study tips please remember to attribute the list to our community members! They have experienced what works best for Bible study.
A-Z BIBLE STUDY TIPS
Always Pray: Before you begin the daily lessons or join small groups, pray. Invite the Holy Spirit to illuminate the key concepts and to help you apply the lesson to your own life.
Apply: To get the most from reading the Bible, learn to apply what you discover. Look for application methods. Pray about the meaning and the application for todays modern world.
Audio Bibles: Download a free audio Bible from BibleGateway.com and listen to the scriptures. You will find this helpful for names and places that are difficult to pronounce. Use it to improve your memory and understanding.
Basket: Keep a study basket with your Bible, notepaper, journal, study book, prayer cards an, color pens and pencils.
Beginning: In the cover of your study book, write the day you are beginning the study. Journal why you decided to study this topic or write a short letter to God.
Comparison: Do your best and do not compare yourself to someone you think has better answers. We each have different experiences and needs. God will speak to each of us in different and unique ways through our study.
Community: Pray for your Bible study community. The most successful Bible study groups are knitted together through prayer. Write prayer cards for each member of your group, and during the week pray for her by name.
Dates: Place the dates and times you will work on your study into your calendar as an appointment with Jesus. Set alarms and remind you this is an important event.
Expectations: Be careful on your expectations with your Bible studies. There are many study formats and each ministry have a unique method of teaching. Attend the introduction session or launch party and discover the methods being used.
Falling Behind: If you fall behind on the lessons, come to the groups. You will benefit from the discussion and the focused topic even if you have not read the lesson for the week. There is no shame in falling behind on the study.
Five Daily Lessons: There are five daily lessons in most Bible study workbooks. Plan to complete one lesson per day Monday through Friday. If you miss a day due to illness or a schedule conflict, you have the weekend to complete the missing lesson.
God: Our focus for each Bible study experience God. Make sure when you read the Bible you look for revelation about God, Jesus, and Holy Spirit. Learn about His heart and His will. Cultivate a Biblical view that surpasses the temptations of a worldview.
Habit Stacking: Look at an existing habit you are doing now: such as drinking coffee/tea, feeding the cat, walking the dog, or driving kids to school. Stack your Bible study immediately after the existing habit! This helps you create regular time for God in your daily schedule.
Intentional: Be intentional about your Bible study time. Say no to the worldview distractions of social media and television, until after you have finished your daily Bible lesson. Learn to recognize the voice of God, through reading His Word.
Jesus: Bible study is discovering Jesus through the Old and New Testament. Make room for Him in your life. Seek Jesus and know His voice as you read the red letters.
Journal: Keep a prayer journal, gratitude journal or Scripture journal. Record what God is doing in your life throughout this study.
Kids Are Watching: Your kids (and husband) are watching as you dedicate time to Bible study. They observe your relationship with Jesus and your commitment to learn. They see you make God a priority in your busy life. They watch you chose a Biblical view over a worldview.
Leaders: Do not elevate the leaders or Bible study authors into positions of idolatry. The purpose of Bible study is to draw closer to God, not to an author, ministry, or leader.
Learn: Become a self-feeder of God’s Word. Do not depend on others to keep you accountable.
Memory Verses: Get a 3 x 5 spiral index card system and write down your memory verses. Or record your memory verses with the memo feature on a smart phone. Write then on the bathroom mirror. Make them visible.
Monday Start: Begin the workbook lessons on Monday each week, regardless of when your small group is meeting. This helps you maintain a consistent reading schedule Monday through Friday.
Music: Some women enjoy soothing music as they study and read the Bible. YouTube, Spotify, and streaming music have playlists with “instrumental Christian” music. If you struggle to focus, look for background music specifically designed for ADD/ADHD.
Name: Add your name into the Bible verses and personalize it. For example: (your name) can do all things with Christ who strengthens her.
One: We have an audience of One in prayer and study. An intimate relationship with God is one on one!
Prioritize: If you wait until you are exhausted at the end of the day, your Bible study will not get done. Know when you are most alert and prioritize your time to study during that time each day.
Quiet Places: Sometimes it helps to find a quiet place without interruption. Do not try to study at the kitchen table while your family is watching television.
Quotes: When you find a powerful quote in your Bible or study book, mark the letter Q beside the sentence. At the end of your study, copy those quotes down and share them on social media or in your small group discussions.
Remember: Look for at least one key point to remember each day of your personal Bible study. What is the Lord teaching you today? How can you apply it today? If you journal, write this down: God, what do you want me to remember today?
Research: Sometimes you will want to research a lesson deeper. Use online sites such as BlueLetterBible.org to find original Greek and Hebrew words. You may want to buy a commentary or Strong’s Concordance for home use.
Slow Down: Read and reread the verses until you understand them. Sometimes you may need to stay on the same page for longer than usual, as you allow the Holy Spirit to illuminate the lesson for you.
Small Groups: You’re going to connect with women in small groups and develop friendships! Get a prayer journal or prayer box going and each week write down their names and prayer needs. Begin to celebrate answered prayers, intercede on difficult prayers, and watch Jesus move. This is your spiritual family with sisters in Christ. Get to know them.
Spiritual Warfare: When you draw closer to God through Bible study, the devil comes near to. He will tempt you with discouragement, deception, and distrust. Pray through this and ask your small group to pray for you too.
Theology: You’ll find different theologies in non-denominational study groups. Look for the lowest common denominator where you find agreement. Encourage one another to ask your pastor, priest, minister, or rabbi for further clarification on theological issues.
Tote Bags: If you seem to spend a lot of time waiting (carpool, doctor appointments, kids’ events) then carry a tote bag with your study book, markers, and pens.
Translations: There are numerous Bible translations today. Look at the verses through different translations and see how they are interpreted. Consider a parallel Bible for long term use.
Unfinished Work: God can teach you things even with unfinished Bible studies. Keep challenging yourself with each new study. God is more interested in time and relationship with you than He is in a perfectly completed workbook!
Verses: When a Bible verse touches your heart, write it down. Anchor yourself to God’s Word.
View: Keep your Bible study materials in view, ready to go. Do not stash them in a corner pile.
Word Associations: Pay attention to the pictures and metaphors used in the Bible. They are helpful tools for remembering and understanding.
X Mark: Use a Bible reading plan and place an X mark on those books which you have studied and read.
Your Own Voice: Use the memo feature on your smartphone and record the Scripture memory verse in your own voice.
Zone: Bible study is a no-shame zone. Share within your comfort level but do not feel that you must expose your deepest secrets online or in person.
Zoom: Remote Bible study groups meet by phone or video, using Zoom. Install the Zoom software on your computer, tablet, or phone before the first meeting. Test the lighting, sound, and background. Watch the tutorials on how to use Zoom.
I just landed at the airport. As we were making our descent I was struck with how little the world looks from this view. Gazing down I imagine people like ants, racing along the little roads in bug size cars that are taking them to their miniature houses. Life doesn’t skip a beat, it moves with a rhythm—day in and day out synching up with people that God created and loves.
And though life races along day by day…life is short. None of us are in a dress rehearsal. Today when you woke up, you had some choices to make about how your are going to live out this day in your one and only life. Being you were created to love God and love others, perhaps that’s where we start and stop….over and over again.
Each of us are in God’s development process. We are women in life-long development. Day by day, situation by situation, step by step, God is working in us. We might not see his work, but he is at work, completing the good work that he started in our lives ( Philippians 1:6)
All of the next dares have to do with how we treat other people. They are challenging and practical. They might grate against your flesh, snap your very last nerve and frustrate you….but if you will push yourself to explore your heart and expose your actions before the Lord, you will experience
God in the practical place of relationships.
Loving people sounds poetic and lovely until we have to love a real person who disappoints us. Forgiveness is great in theory but harder to practice when there is a real person or situation to forgive. Putting others first sounds heroic and spiritual until we just don’t want to do it! You get the picture!
My prayer has been to love from the center of who I am, and if the center is ugly and negative, then the outflow will not be that of the beauty of Christ. Being accountable for my mouth is to love in a way that impacts the center of me.
Years ago I had a friend who stopped at a mini-mart while on a road trip. Looking for some quick energy she picked up a candy bar, and continued on her way. Without looking at the candy she ripped into the wrapper and sunk her teeth into the chocolate…only to find that in the center were maggots. Yuk.
The chocolate was wrapped right, appeared to be the right thing…but the center was spoiled, rotting with bugs. In the same way, we can look right, appear to be the right-Christian, and be spoiled on the inside of us…rotting away with things unspeakable or with things spoken in private conversations, ugliness can permeate us from the center place.
This last week is the time to pay attention to your mouth, your words, your attitude, and the idea that kindness in speech can be a blessing to help in the wholeness and healing of other people.
I would like to close with a word of thanks….
God knew I needed each of you. It’s humbling to be so vulnerable but I know it’s what I am to do. I need to thank you. Because as you all signed up to do The Faith Dare, I have decided to join you. This time each dare struck me differently than they have in the past. My reference point is now tender, grateful and appreciative. As bad as cancer is, the softening of soul that comes with a cancer diagnosis makes everything seem different than before. This summer, more than ever, I have needed this accountability and challenge. I have also needed your prayers.
As a result, I am handling a real life drama very differently than I would have if my perspective was not focused on truth. On September 4th I will begin 6 weeks of daily radiation treatment. This will be followed by a drug that I am scheduled to take for 5 years. The prayer is that the cancer will not come back. Why is this a concern? Because, with the what I have, it often does. Can I change things by worrying over them? No, but just as the world below me looked so small from the plane tonight, my problems seem little when seeing things from above the problem rather than trying to push up from underneath.
I hope you have enjoyed setting aside 30 days towards having a more focused heart. It is my prayer that the ripple effect of these dares will begin to draw people to Christ through you. Bless you, my sisters, together our lives can make a difference. Because, Jesus is the difference maker!
Assignment For This Week
Pray for Debbie as she goes through six weeks of daily cancer treatment starting Sept 4. Put a reminder on your cell phone. Pray for Carla Brooks our ministry leader also going through breast cancer treatment.
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