The beauty of community…

LoveGodGreatly

Thank you for joining us for the study Made for Community! Love God Greatly is a community with a deep love for God and a lasting desire to inspire, encourage, and equip each other and women from all over the world.

As was mentioned in Wednesday’s blog post, for the last eight weeks, we have read, soaped, and discussed Made for Community. Through technology, we connect in the comments of the Love God Greatly blog posts three days a week, or daily on the Love God Greatly Facebook page.  The women that have chosen to participate in groups connect via email, Facebook, WordPress, Blogger, Yahoo Text Message, and local groups. We are forming relationships with women from all over the world! Today, we would like to share a few stories and testimonies from members of the Love God Greatly community.

“I was intrigued by the idea of an online study, and thought it would be good to have a regular study to do while I was away from home for two months. It has exceeded my expectations. There has been an openness and vulnerability; there has been a wonderful sense of support; there is a sense of community even though we have never met. Beyond that, I have been challenged to live out the Biblical expression of community in my own life. I look forward to future studies, even when I am back in Illinois. I appreciate our facilitator’s faithful posting and the personal questions you periodically ask us. I want to let you know how special this group has been to me.” ~ Maureen

“This year, I moved back to the states after living the last 10 years in South Korea. Being in a new town, I have struggled so much to find my place and I was really hurting for community, missing the one I had been apart of for the last 10 years. My friend sent me an invitation to this study and I eagerly agreed to join. It has been great. I know most of the women in the group and am encouraged by their honesty and openness. It is helping me to settle down into my new place, so that I can become part of community here.” ~ Kristen M.

“Love God Greatly is having me dig deeper and see God’s Word in an amazing new light!! Thank you so much for all the hard work you ladies have put into this for us!” ~ Deanna A.

“Going through the Community study has opened my eyes to so many opportunities. Our group shares deep from within their hearts. It has been such a blessing. I especially appreciate our leader Amy. She truly inspires, makes thought provoking comments, and shares her love and prayers with us.” ~ Sheri S.

“I have been involved with Love God Greatly for almost 2 years now. The reason I began was because I needed the accountability for my Bible reading and prayer life. Love God Greatly has made my Bible time and Prayer time a priority. I also now have a group of women who I consider my friends and I can share anything with. I am growing in my Christian life as we share our SOAPs together. We share our prayer requests and daily events with each other, and each new study brings new growth in my life as “Iron sharpens Iron”. Thank you so very much for developing this kind of group.” ~ Shirley B.

“My daughter Sheri died on Nov. 5, 2012 of cancer. She was 35 yrs old and left two children, Reese and Eli, my grandkids. I watched my daughter’s life change; she met Christ. I watched my daughter die and look up to heaven. I was devastated. I miss her so much. My husband and I went through grief counseling together. I just wanted to die. I came across this group, Love God Greatly, on Facebook and was led by God to check it out. I have learned so much about God through the Bible studies. My life has changed. I feel closer to God than ever before. I accepted Jesus into my heart when I was 16 years old. Since then He has been in my life, but I realize now that my daughter Sheri died so that I would be closer to my Savior. Grief has been a tough thing to work through for me, but God has truly taken care of me. I love that His arms are around me, just like they were around Sheri! Praise God for such a wonderful group of women! I would be lost without Love God Greatly!” ~ Julie W.

Some seasons spent on the receiving end, and others on the giving. Individually weak and imperfect, but when unified, so much stronger together. ~ Whitney

“Through Love God Greatly I have been able to connect with others and become more open in my journey with Jesus. I have invited family members, my mom and sister, and I can share my faith with them. I looked and looked for a Bible study I could interact with, and God led me here. I am very thankful for daily Word and accountability. Thank You, Father, for this amazing group and the love they share daily. In Jesus Name Amen.” ~ Krista D.

“God has used Love God Greatly to refresh my quiet times. I have fallen in love with the SOAP method and with my facilitator, Amy A. Her insights and encouragement (and accountability) have been exactly what I’ve been missing. I started off doing Love God Greatly on my own – but it wasn’t until I joined a small group that I really benefited from this group because then I really knew I wasn’t alone.” ~ Liz

“God has worked through my older sister to invite me to do this study. I have be a Christian for a long while, but since I’ve moved to my new home area it’s been difficult for me to feel plugged into a good Bible study. I’m off work right now, due to having another back surgery, so God has used this time to draw me closer to Himself. This study as shown me that I am truly a part of the body of Christ and I do have gifts that I can share with others to bring peace and glory to God. I normally work in the medical field with neurology patients. I’ve seen and walked through certain situations where I’ve seen the hand of God at work and just by loving people and sharing our hope in heaven. It can bring a scared and troubled soul hope and expectancy of God doing something great in their lives, too. This study has been very insightful for me as sometimes I wonder if I am really a part of that body of Christ, but through this study I am learning that God’s gifts come in all shapes and sizes, and we don’t all have to be evangelists but willing participants as God can and will use us all where we are needed. He loves us all greatly!” ~ Sue J.

“This study has transformed my thinking when it comes to community, what true community means, and how active I am truly serving God in my own communities of family, friends, church and the world… And this study has also created in me a commitment and focus for studying God’s word that I had lost for while. Thank you, Love God Greatly community, for blessing me and so many others, and my group of ladies who encourage and uplift each other from all parts of the country.” ~ Vicki S.

“I had a major “mental breakdown” in 2011 and was hospitalized. My mind was not right; I had lost all hope and was angry at God! After my hospitalization, it took about a year and a half to get to the place where I could face God again. The Love God Greatly study came into my life right about that time. The study was “You Are Loved”. That really was the turning point for me, where everything came together. The truth was able to penetrate my heart and I began to develop a different kind of relationship with the Lord. Every Love God Greatly study since then has continued to strengthen my faith, strengthen my identity in Christ, and has healed my relationship with Him and those around me. I am so grateful for this study and for the group of women who put their heart and souls into creating these studies!” ~ Mistie M.

“Prior to the start of “Made for Community” Bible study and my email group, I was just going through my walk with Christ and serving him with a very mundane attitude and outlook. This study and my email group have stirred in me the excitement of serving my God, and it has reminded me of my responsibilities of being a part of God’s local church, his family, and community. Thank you for your obedience in writing this study. It has truly blessed me.” ~ Cindy A.

“I have shared the material with friends and felt hope and love throughout our study. I’m currently without work due to a car accident, which has imposed limitations upon me physically. This has caused financial distress, using up all of my savings. However, no matter what, I have made it each and every month. I’ve had the help of my church, fellowship, and friends. I’m a very grateful woman. I know its God’s favor and protection. This group has kept me in the Word, fills my heart with hope, and helps me keep everything in perspective! Each day I journal about our lesson and write to Jesus thanking him for the many blessings, this study group, and the lessons I’m learning and applying to my life. Thank you, sisters!” ~ Tammy T.

“No matter what kind of person you are, introvert or extravert, you were created for community.” ~ Jen

“I have watched as God has used this online study to reach women in our church that we have unable to draw into our fellowship in any other way. After 30 years in women’s ministry, I have to admit I was surprised at how effective communicating online really is!”~ Julie W.

“I discovered the Love God Greatly Bible Studies at a time when faced with multiple life changes; we had moved, we lost a close friend, family had moved far away… I determined to use this opportunity to spend time in God’s word and wait on Him. God has used these studies to encourage and to strengthen my faith as well as to challenge me. I am so thankful for these studies and for the faithfulness of those who give of themselves and their time to prepare them. They are a blessing to me in this season of my life.” ~ Carla B.

“My daughter and I have always had a rocky relationship. She would press my buttons and a fight would erupt. She has even sent me letters telling me what a terrible, unthoughtful mom I am. Since studying the Bible with my Love God Greatly group, my relationship is better. It is better because I have learned to let her hurtful words wash over me; I don’t take her words to my heart and let them stay. I have let go of the past hurts and have truly forgiven her. Our relationship may grow closer in time, but if not, I’m okay with that. It is truly in his hands.” ~ Bunny P.

“Love God Greatly devotionals have formed my morning worship time for about year now, and I find myself always looking forward to the next one. As a returning Christian (a former pagan for over 20 years), this ministry has been a driving force in growing my faith.” ~ Kat R.

“My sisters and I have been doing this study together even though we live in different states and time zones. We study the lessons individually and then once a week (usually Saturday evening) we do a conference call and discuss the lesson. This has been a wonderful way to connect with each other and grow closer to Jesus. Thank you for these studies.” ~ Rachel F.

“I am so glad that God allowed me to stumble onto this site and that I decided to participate in these studies. With this being my 2nd study, I have grown so much as far as getting closer to God and learning how to dig into his Word. These studies are starting to shape the way I see myself and how I interact with others around me. I love being joined to a group, just the experience of learning and growing, and the supporting that it allows women to do is awesome. I love to see how God works differently through us with the breaking down of his Word. I have truly grown for the better and I am getting closer to God because of the structure and support of this study.” ~ Shaquanna H.

“I know that each time I read Love God Greatly I will learn something or hear from the Lord. I just read about using our gifts that God has given us to His glory. I wanted to share that the Lord has given me the gift of hospitality. He orchestrated my husband and I to lead a monthly luncheon at our church to connect the body. It is an honor and a blessing. Thank you for your faithfulness to use social media as part of glorifying Him and lifting up the church. :)” ~ Tami L.

“The past two years was in a way horrible, from my nervous breakdown to my grandma dying. I was in need of making sure that my life is focused on God more and I should not worry or fear anything. When I joined the Love God Greatly group that I am with currently, I felt that I was listening to God and he ended up flipping the light switch in my mind. Now I feel complete and more on God’s Word. Continue to pray for me, that God would use my life to inspire others so they would not be in the same boat that I was in.” ~ Jasmine H.

We are not made to do life alone. ~ Angela

“Because of scheduling conflicts, I am unable to attend small group Bible study at my church. This online/email format fills my need to study, learn, and connect with other like-minded women on my own time and pace. Our group shares thoughts, interpretations, links, and ideas as well as prays for each other on a daily basis. I thank God for this great group of women (that I would not have otherwise “met”) because they keep me encouraged and focused on Christ all throughout the week!” ~ Rena V.

“Since we moved 3 years ago, we have not been able to find a local church that feels right for our family. About a year ago, I found Love God Greatly’s online Bible studies. Being able to connect with Christian women via Facebook and participate in a guided study has helped to fill the void of being church-less. The daily readings keep me in the Word like never before, and the blog posts that come 3x a week are like mini-sermons.” ~ Beth R.

“I am unable to join a church because of fear. I have found a safe harbor in being inside my home. But I long for community. I want to belong to a congregation again in the worst way. Just by guiding me to this site, God has shown me that I don’t have to be alone. Every time I read a new post, that post applies to something I needed help with in my life. This lesson in community is helping me to understand why I must get over my fears, and find my church. And why I have felt such a hole in my life because I have no church. But your site has allowed me to re-enter a community of lovers of His works in the safety of my home, for now. He knew I had to come back gently, so He sent me to you.” ~ Debbie G.

“Today, after reading Whitney’s blog post, I got thinking about how many people I meet every day who could use a word of encouragement. Thank you, Whitney for sharing about the Pretzel Lady. I’m hoping to be more ready to give a word of encouragement more frequently. God bless you all and keep shouting His praises!!” ~ Sharon L.

“As someone who has always been hesitant and fearful about community and forming bonds with others, taking part in this study has changed my outlook and given me a very real longing and desire to be in community. I knew this was something I needed to study and pray about, but I wouldn’t have guessed that this study would change my heart in such a way. I’m so grateful for having been led to it and for all of you who work so hard to put it together. THANK YOU! Also, I am so happy to have landed in a really awesome group for this study. Our group leader has been so encouraging!” ~ Amy C.

“Love God Greatly has helped me to actually study the Bible daily. On my own, I wasn’t very successful, but since I started this, I look forward to my study and reading what the people in our group post daily. Not only that, but we pray for and with one another about things going on in our lives. This for me is definitely a community of believers I love dearly!” ~ Jeannie H.

We hope you enjoyed reading about some of our members and what they wanted to share. Don’t miss this opportunity to grow and be encouraged in your faith as we study God’s Word TOGETHER! Please join us for our next eight week study in 1 & 2 Peter, starting March 23rd. Although we will not be officially adding members to groups for this study, feel free to grab some friends, form your own group, and join us. If you are studying alone, you are welcome to join our community of women on our Facebook page as we post the ‘Daily Read/Soap’ graphic. Or maybe you prefer to join in the conversation through the comments on our Love God Greatly website every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday. It wouldn’t be the same without YOU! See you there…

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