One of the most humbling things I’ve done in the last couple of years, for sure, is to watch God bless a ladies Bible study called “Digging Deep in God’s Word”. The study had its beginnings in a session at Polishing the Pulpit. In this 45 minute lesson, I was asked to give helps for women who wanted to start digging into the meat of God’s Word. No topic could have been more exciting to me. Feeling unsure of myself and incompetent to really help ladies, many of whom are much more adept at rightly dividing the Word than am I, I decided to just throw out my favorite study tools and then tell the women where I would go in the book if I were first starting to diligently examine the Book of Books and if I had a year to do it. The result was a hand-out for a monthly schedule of Bible study that would give you a decent overview of the Good Book in a year’s time. It was a lecture that, even at the time, seemed a bit of a lofty stretch for me and I was glad it was “over.”
A few days later, I was looking on facebook and I saw that there was actually a small group of women who had taken the study home and were planning to kind of hold each other accountable in the study via facebook. “Well, that’s a neat idea,” I thought. It was the brain child of Lori Lynn Rives Tucker, a 20-year-old woman who had been in the lecture and who wanted to find a way to share the schedule and keep friends in the book. She, unwittingly, started a massive group of women in the Word that the devil hates. Yay for anything the devil hates!
I guess she forgot to make the group a closed group. Pretty soon the numbers of women in the group had grown to 250…then 500…then a thousand…and the numbers keep growing. Just under two years into the study that we renew each August, there are currently 1711 members in the group. I’m not sure exactly how many of these women are active, but I know there are individuals nationwide who are studying with us and there are study groups of women in many states. There is a group in Hawaii, one in Texas, another in South Carolina and several in Alabama. There are women participating in China, Australia and South America. Just by perusing the mail I receive, I know the women in the study are many and are diligent. They constantly encourage me. God has just been good. The seed is the Word (Luke 8:11). We plant the seed and he promises the increase (I Cor. 3:6).
The increase has included many studies having been set up by participants with their non-Christian friends. Women contacted by those in the study have been added to our Lord’s body. From the “Digging Deep in God’s Word” facebook group has also come a separate facebook group in which we concentrate on praying for each other’s needs and encouraging each other to persevere in the greatest Cause on earth. It’s a resource page where you can find bodies of believers where you are traveling, receive the blessings of sisters’ prayers when you are facing illness, loss or tragedy in life. (All of us will.) It’s just a safe haven via internet for putting your needs before your sisters and knowing they are responding in prayer. You can access that page by typing “Digging Deep for Encouragement” in your facebook search bar. Your needs as a sister will be carried before the throne on a daily basis by your family there.
Also from the study group has emerged an international monthly podcast in which we discuss the study of the month. The archives of these podcasts can be accessed on iTunes or at https://thecolleyhouse.org/digging-deep-in-gods-word. They are rich and interactive and you will be blessed by the Word if you take the time to listen. Jennifer Benavides, who is the amazing person who enables me to do anything that has to do with computers, the czaress of all things technological, is responsible for the production and maintenance of the podcast (as well as most anything you ever might see me do online!) She’s telling me that, at the end of June, we will be launching the new and improved podcast, which will be a new video format, in which we will retain all of the interactive capabilities, but in a much better video presentation. Can’t wait. You can find the details for joining us on June 25th at 7pm CST, for this fun premiere on the Digging Deep facebook page as well as on my blog at https://thecolleyhouse.org/category/bless-your-heart. (Hope you are reading that for all Digging Deep updates!) We’re working on the “set” (2 chairs and a table) even as we speak!
Currently the Digging Deep group is completing “Sanctified’, a study of our holiness as God’s sanctified people throughout the Book. A brand new study will be launched in August at Polishing the Pulpit on August 27th. The study, running from September 2013 though August 2014, will be rich and rewarding. If you can’t be at PTP for the study kick-off, be sure to check out the facebook page and the blog on September 1st for the study guide and for updates about your participation.
So is this too much of a work-out for your spiritual fitness program? Perhaps you have another study going on or you are a new mom or you are battling a disease and study time is at a premium for you. Not to worry. Digging Deep is as much or as little as you can do. It’s flexible and, best of all, because it’s the Bible, a little bit of study still may have an eternal impact. In fact, a little bit of study may be the key to battling through the new motherhood thing or the debilitating disease. But like, Weight Watchers, Curves, or any muscle and strength building program, the closer you stick to the program, the greater the benefit. Unlike physical fitness programs, this program’s benefits are permanent. It’s a win/win, no matter how much or little time you can devote.
If you’re a part of the group and you have completed every last bit of every month’s instructions, and you are a PTP participant, you’ll get a free book or cd at the August PTP Digging Deep kick-off session. If you’re thinking about joining us, we’ll be praying for your decisions. You don’t have to be a part of Digging Deep to grow, to evangelize, to go to heaven. But you DO have to be in the book!