Tuesday, December 10, 2013

5 Books that Changed Me (Part 2)

I posted on Facebook a picture of my 5 Life changing books and I later Blogged about how the Five Love Languages by Gary Chapman changed the course or direction of my life. Here is that post!

The second book I mentioned is a type of Bible. I would like to digress a little bit here…You can never control how others perceive you…NEVER. This has been a difficult lesson for me. AS a person who likes to communicate and understand others, I don’t like to be perceived as someone who judges others, labels others. But…I do want to be as authentic as I can be. I am a Christian, and by that I mean I try to follow Christ and his example. I do believe in Jesus, God, and Holy Spirit. I believe in the power of prayer.  I accept others who do not and many of my friends are non-believers or have a different religion as myself. I love them they are my friends. Here is my disclaimer of sort. This is my walk. You may walk beside me and question and challenge me because that is how I grow in life.  But…you may not bully me or others in the name of your faith or lack thereof. I am not preaching right now, I am not qualified to preach to another…I am telling you about a book that has been life changing for …me.

My second book, Serendipity Bible for Groups came to me as a gift from an associate pastor at the church I was a member at and when she handed it to me…I hadn’t any idea how meaningful this book would be for me. This book is always the book I have in my hand whenever I teach anything, study anything, and discuss anything about a scripture. It is not the only Bible I use but it is always the first. Her reason for handing it to me was simple…she wanted me to become an adviser for the youth at our church and I was skeptical that I was the right person for the job. I think that pastors learn this overcoming obstacle technique early in their training class entitled Pastoral Recruiting 101. It was successful, I did feel equipped whether by her gift or her powerful prayers. But this book along with leading small group study groups...changed my ideas and the course of my life. There is a quote at the beginning of the book that says it all for me…

Serendipity is the facility of making happy chance discoveries.
Horace Walpole , 1743

What is wonderful about this book is that the entire premise is that scripture is meant to be shared and discussed in a small group setting. The Serendipity dream as also stated in the front of the book is of building a Christian community through small groups. This Bible is one of many resources designed to help small groups get together, get changed and get going! Notice the word…CHANGE in that dream.

I have had many, many changed thoughts and feelings because of discussions centered on this book. For every scripture passage there is an opening question that encourages you to share with the group about where you are today. The next week question instructs on digging what this passage means and a final question reflecting on how you can take this meaning out into the world you live in today! This exercise is explained with another great quote by Anton Chekhov, 

Putting a question correctly is one thing and finding the answer is something quite different.

My greatest time of learning has been when I attempt to facilitate a group, it is through asking questions and listening to others answer them that I have learned the most. This book, The Serendipity Bible, many years ago gave me this insight into myself and made me a lover of small group ministries. I believe in the power of the Holy Spirit, or Spirit God ...those "chilly bump" moments when you hear something spoken by another that resonates within you. Through my experiences with small groups I have learned to listen to others and be open to what others think in a way that I had not been before. I have felt supported and loved during challenging times and celebrated during the happy times. It is amazing that this wonderful, thoughtful, challenging Pastor gave me all of this by handing me this book that I hold today.

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