I had a vivid dream last week. As dreams go, this one was more than a little outside of the box. I was working for a friend, who also happens to be one of our Simply Bible small group leaders. This particular leader seemed to have a GAP store in her house??! Having worked in retail clothing many, many years ago, I had experience to help.
I know. Dreams can be incomprehensible!
In my dream, my friend assigned me a task to complete, and so, I obediently went to figure out how and where to accomplish her request, when somehow, I stumbled upon her "workshop.” This workshop seemed like an expansive, wooden shed tucked away by itself. At least, it certainly seemed disconnected from the GAP store that also inhabited her home. How I ended up in the workshop, I couldn’t tell. But once inside, I wondered if I should be in this room, and so, I stood very quiet to observe.
The ceilings hung low, and the atmosphere smelled rather earthy, not musty, but airy and fresh like damp potting soil after a rain. Without the help of artificial lights, the space was well-lit highlighting long wooden work benches. These workbenches lined the entire back and side walls. Another one sat like an island in the middle of the room. And everywhere I looked grew vibrant green house plants.
I discovered my friend in her workshop and somehow felt reassured and contented upon finding her there. This room was peaceful and quiet, much different from the hubbub of the GAP store. Standing behind the workbench that occupied the middle of the room with clipping shears in hand, my friend intently and busily worked on her plants like a master gardener. Not having a green thumb myself, I marveled at her handiwork. She really seemed to know what she was doing. Her sister stood in the background and confidently affirmed her sister’s skills.
I only vaguely heard her sister comments and even glanced her way, but I really didn’t connect with her sister. My eyes remain fixated on the plants. I found them mesmerizing. So green. So healthy and thick… so strong and vibrant! Imagine something sort of jungle like, but yet, still house plants, albeit large ones. I lack the words to describe them.
Yet what really nabbed my attention were the cuttings. Hanging along every wall of the workshop were strong, healthy, vividly green cuttings. Each cutting appeared identical in size and vibrancy to the next. These weren’t dinky two inch cuttings either. Rather each measured at least two feet long! Like Christmas stockings hanging on a fireplace, each one hung neatly side by side lining every wall. I was dumbfounded by the number and the health of the plants and cuttings. The green was so vibrant! None of my house plants look like these. I quietly uttered, “Beautiful!”
And then I woke up. Just like that, a new day dawned!
As I pondered God that morning, I couldn’t help but think of the many “workshops” tucked away in hearts and living rooms and meeting rooms where good, fruitful, life-giving work takes place. It made me think of you. And it made me think of those leading Simply Bible studies. And it caused me to reflect and rejoice in God, our good Master Gardener and the producer of any and all good fruit.
Friend, if you are plugging away at a Simply Bible study in order to know and enjoy God through His Word in the secret workshop of your heart…thank you.
If you are sharing with others - whether in your home, at work, at church or another sphere of influence...thank you.
If you are sharing what you are learning about God through your Simply Bible study in words and deeds…thank you.
If you are leading a group one step closer to God through a Simply Bible study…thank you.
If you are leading a ministry at church and utilizing a Simply Bible study…THANK YOU.
You are part of a dream come true. And it is beautiful.
Yes, our goal is heart transformation. But the ultimate dream is to make Jesus famous. Healthy cuttings and fruit represent multiplication and growth. These are the surest sign of true heart transformation.
Jesus Himself said:
Thus you will recognize them by their fruits. Matthew 7:20
When we know and truly connect with God face-to-face through His Word, our hearts become entangled with His, such that we can’t help but share the good news of Jesus. Jesus emanates from our thoughts, our words and our actions. Without thinking twice, we point others to Him.
Just like Emily's story:
I arrived to my hair appointment 10 minutes early, grabbed my John book and headed in to start day one. I had a "AH HA!" moment and was pretty into what I was writing and even asked my stylist to wait a moment while I finished writing my thought!! So naturally she asks me what I was working on. And Carmen -- The book of John just flowed from my mouth! (I’ve been a part of church for over 20 years, but never have actually dug into the Bible!)
My stylist and I spent the whole time discussing the amazing works of Jesus through the book I’m using (Simply Bible John)! I poured out my heart and love for this study to her. I shared notes I've written over the past sessions and my "AH HA" moment I had. She has read John and had never caught that part I was explaining to her... And when I went to pay her, I see her writing down the book name and she starts sharing with me how she left her lifelong church and has been praying to find a new place for her family to worship. I looked her straight in the eye and said, “Please come to church with me on Sunday.”
Carmen, before this study started I was ashamed in my lack of confidence to share Jesus with those who need him. I would have done my study in private so that nobody would see me. To this day I still have the guilt of when I walked away from an elderly stranger in a store sharing his heartache with me thinking-- I needed to pray with that man… but I was too afraid, I was afraid that I didn't have what it took to share the word of God with someone. But through the ability to understand Jesus on such a deeper level through this study, last night, I wasn't afraid.
People knowing and enjoying God through the Bible and then helping others know and enjoy Him too. A dream come true.
Thank you for this Simply Bible family and the good work You have entrusted to us: to know and enjoy You through Your Word and then help others do the same. Help us, Lord. May our hearts be united with Yours in this mission. May You ever increase, and we decrease. (John 3:30)
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