Lately I have been focused on the body of Christ and how God is conforming us into His pure and spotless bride. If you are in tune with the timings of God, you know we are certainly being groomed for our wedding to the Bridegroom (Jesus). A few years ago when I would pray for people I would see in the spirit that Jesus would hand different individuals a flower. When I ask Him about this I felt as though the Lord said that He is handing His bride her bouquet because she is getting ready to walk down the aisle. Can you feel that the time is getting short?
With that being said, if you are not yet firmly planted in a bible believing church, I would strongly suggest that you make that a goal in the first quarter of 2016.
Hebrews 10:25The Message (MSG)
22-25 So let’s do it—full of belief, confident that we’re presentable inside and out. Let’s keep a firm grip on the promises that keep us going. He always keeps his word. Let’s see how inventive we can be in encouraging love and helping out, not avoiding worshiping together as some do but spurring each other on, especially as we see the big Day approaching.
If you already have yourself planted in God’s family, the next step to help you grow even faster is joining a small group within your church (or another church that has the group you need). Small groups come in all shapes and sizes. They usually meet once per week or twice per month and cover various topics for growth and healing in the body of Christ. I personally have been so grateful for the bible study group that I have had the pleasure to be a part of for the past 3 1/2 years. I have grown exponentially in that time! I could go on and on about the personal benefits that this group has given me, but I thought it would be more fun to poll some of the gals that have attended over the years and asked them what they have received from being a part of our group. Here are a few of their responses:
- For me it’s all-encompassing. It’s a circle of trust. An assurance where truth is spoken. Always available are words to lift and encourage or comfort. It’s camaraderie at it’s finest. Genuine care for each others’ spiritual and/or physical welfare. Everyone matters. A place and special time set aside to be with God together. From this time, I am fueled and have all I need to go back into the world.
- This group has helped me find a new place of trust. Our format is consistent with teaching, praise and worship. Our place of meeting is anointed and the leader of our meeting is prayed up, prayed for and anointed. Each woman displays the love of the Lord, the Word and each other and there has been healing as a result. I feel love without agenda or any competition or cliques. We all grow in an atmosphere where it is evident that the Lord is present.
- Being part of a small group has provided a place where I feel loved and accepted as I am. I feel safe to be vulnerable and real with my thoughts and emotions. It has nurtured me into a better perspective of who God, Jesus and the Holy Spirit is, which in turn opened my heart to receive His love. I have matured more in my journey with Christ when I have been part of a small group than any other time in my life. They have encouraged me, guided me, prayed for me, stood in the gap for me, held me, kept me accountable, laughed with me, listened to me, mentored me and walked with me in my journey. Wow!
- It keeps me walking more with the Lord and less with the world which is an amazing blessing!!!!!! I love encouragement from other women too. I sometimes can feel very alone with a problem and the group makes you realize we ALL have obstacles.
- Impartation of God’s living word in a relaxed, intimate setting supported by His love and Kingdom fellowship of the saints.
- I personally found intimacy with the Lord and the women who come in a non-threatening, loving and accepting environment.
We are blessed to have an amazing teacher. I want to give a shout out to Laurie Rahter. Laurie is also know as Pastor Steve Rahter’s wife, she carries the office of the prophet, is a licensed Minister of the Gospel, missionary and all around prophetic fire ball.
With the encouragement to join a small group I also want to share some potential red flags when trying on a group to see if it fits.
- If there is gossip about others in the body, run (don’t walk) and find another group.
- Complaining about the church/Pastors and the way things are run.
- Your hear something from someone outside of your group elsewhere that was suppose to be private.
- You leave feeling more defeated than when you come in.
I know some of you may have been in a group before and did not feel connected. I would encourage you to try again. We all need each other.
Romans 12:4-5 Just as there are many parts to our bodies, so it is with Christ’s body. We are all parts of it, and it takes every one of us to make it complete, for we each have different work to do. So we belong to each other, and each needs all the others.
I would love to hear what small group you are currently attending and what you are learning/studying. Please share! You may have the group that someone else is looking for or would like to start in their own church.