Bible Study Stations: Ready, Set, Go!

IMG_4735 Last Monday night Sarah planned something a little different for our local Bright Lights group. Rather than teaching all of the girls together, she had the older girls in our group lead “Bibles study stations.” The younger girls spent the evening going from one station to another until they had been to all seven stations.

Every twelve minutes, Sarah would play a song on the piano. That was the signal to get up and move on. (We gave each girl a list in advance of the order in which she should move from station to station.)

I thought I’d document it in case any of you other Bright Lights leaders would like to do something similar in your group. (Thanks to Nickie for getting the pictures.)

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Station 1: Word Studies Marie led this group, sharing how it’s helpful to identify key words in a verse or passage and use a dictionary, concordance, etc. to really understand what that word means. My grandpa contributed by bringing a whole box of dictionaries and concordances for us to borrow!

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Station 2: Concordance Abilene taught this station. One girl said it was her favorite station and commented, “We have a concordance at home. I’ll have to start using it.” =)

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Station 3: Meditation on Scripture We wrote verses on 3×5 cards and talked about ways to get them into our hearts–such as quoting them to ourselves, emphasizing a different word each time. Biblical meditation (thinking about Scripture!) is the opposite of what the world thinks of meditation (emptying your mind). If we are thinking about verses while we are doing the dishes, in the shower, and all throughout the day, we will blessed as Psalm 1 tells us!

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Station 4: Observations Layel helped girls use the questions: who, what, where, when, why, and how to deepen their understanding of a passage. I heard that Layel did an excellent job helping them see that they can learn a lot more when they stop and ask a few simple questions about the passage they are studying rather than simply reading straight through. After all, we girls like to ask questions, right?! =)

IMG_4765 The piano is playing! Quickly move to the next station =)

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Station 5: Topical Studies
Mrs. Kissling from our church came as a special guest to help out. She shared how doing topical studies is one of the things that has helped her in her personal Bible study.

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Station 6: Waking up! Don’t laugh–this is a very necessary part of the process and a valuable skill to learn! =) Molly (in striped shirt) gave lots of practical ideas about how to wake up and be alert in the morning. She also created a morning checklist for each girl to take home.

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Station 7: Color Coding Elizabeth (blue shirt on the left) did a great job giving ideas about color-coding key words. She prepared a sample sheet to help the girls get started.

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“What did you girls learn?” Sarah asked as we came back together. It was sweet to see them raising their hands and sharing what they learned.

We overheard one of our littlest girls telling her mom, “Mom! I looked up a word in the dictionary tonight!” It’s special to see the girls experience new ways to study the Bible for the first time, and express enthusiasm about what they are learning.

The Lord is raising up young ladies with a heart for Him and His Word! May we all continue to seek Him in His Word in deeper ways, and pray with David, “Incline my heart to Your testimonies” (Psalm 119:36)!

Bright Lights in a Barn

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Last weekend we did a little retreat for the older girls in our Bright Lights group. We showed several DVDs by Leslie Ludy. The truths she shared seemed to really resonate–evidenced by the good times of sharing after each DVD! I know I was very blessed by them!

I especially appreciated her strong emphasis on being “others focused” — looking at Christ and pouring our lives out for others — but not being inward focused. The church of America is often WAY too focused on “me.”

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We are grateful for the many answered prayers and God’s provision during the weekend. One of the special parts was simply the location: “the barn” at Nickie’s house. Her family built it to use for ministry purposes. It looks like a barn on the outside and like a cozy living room on the inside. It was a perfect atmosphere for our group.

Nickie’s family came to a point several years ago where they were considering adding on to their house. Although they could have really used more space since they have a large family and only one bathroom, they decided to make a Matthew 6:33 decision instead and build a building next door that they could use for ministry purposes. They’ve put a lot of work into their ministry barn, and it’s going to be exciting to see how the Lord continues to use it.

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During the retreat, we were really glad for the TIME we had with the older girls to simply talk, eat, and get more acquainted with each other. At normal Bright Lights meetings there is just not enough time to have very long conversations.

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We split into two groups for our one hour of prayer (which we divided into 5 minute segments). We highly recommend doing this with groups, it’s a huge blessing. See sample schedule here.

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Most of our Bible studies on Ephesians 1-2 were in small groups, but for our last one we divided into pairs. Sarah printed a little list of things for them to do, such as look up the 5 times the term “heavenly places” is used in Ephesians.

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Hannah explaining the rules for the scavenger hunt that she and Shelby planned.

20140125_165710_26002 It’s COLD out here! [smile]

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For our final session, we watched a message by Leslie’s husband, Eric Ludy. We didn’t have time to watch the whole thing, but showed minute 28-60 of his message “Hold the Position.” It’s about holding firm our position in Christ, resisting the enemy, and allowing the Lord to develop patience in us as He uses the difficulties in our lives to strengthen us. It was a dramatic and inspiring ending, and the girls really enjoyed it. [smile]

“Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in Christ with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places” (Ephesians 1:3)

“we … rejoice in hope of the glory of God. And not only so, we glory in tribulations also: knowing that tribulation worketh patience. And patience, experience; and experience, hope…” (Romans 5:2-4)

“…count it all joy when ye fall into divers temptations; Knowing this, that the trying of your faith worketh patience. But let patience have her perfect work…”
(James 1:3-4)

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I’m often reminded of how fast time goes; how quickly girls grow up and move on in life. We have precious little time to invest in their lives. The decisions they make right now will greatly affect the course of their lives. Thankfully, if the Lord is their Shepherd, He will continue to guide and strengthen them … but may we take advantage of opportunities to share all we can with them! Time is short, and we need reminders to stay the course and run the race for His glory!

“But I do not account my life of any value nor as precious to myself, if only I may finish my course and the ministry that I received from the Lord Jesus, to testify to the gospel of the grace of God.” (Acts 20:24)

Christmas Caroling!

Before I continue with Mexico reports I have one more thing to post! [smile]

Last night we went Christmas caroling with our Bright Lights group. It seems like every year the same thing happens to me: I don’t really feel like going beforehand and then afterward I am SO GLAD we did! I wish we could carol to every house in our town.

So … I thought I could at least post about it, in hopes that it might encourage some of you to go caroling this year (if you weren’t already planning on it)!

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It was so special to see some people really touched. One lady couldn’t even talk to us because she was crying so much. Other couples seemed like they didn’t want us to leave.

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I was so proud of our girls for their enthusiasm, cheerfulness, and energetic singing!

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We gave each house with a plate of cookies, tract(s), and the Christmas story printed out from the Bible.

Many of the Christmas carols are like a “singing tract” because of the great messages they contain. “Hark! the Herald Angels Sing” is one of the best so we tried to sing that one at many houses.

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Warming up back at the church with peppermint hot chocolate

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After Sarah’s lesson on “Draw near to God and He will draw near to you,” we concluded with a Christmas tea, activities, and showed them this short video by our friend, Sam Wilson.

Downtown on the 4th!

The 4th of July is one of the best times I know of for witnessing. People just sit around bored waiting for the fireworks to start. Everyone is in a festive mood, and many are very open to conversation!

A group of 12 of us gathered downtown to share the gospel with people. It turned out to be a terrific evening.

Here Michael Biegler and Jonathon Olson were having a conversation with a couple who were a bit argumentative, yet interested and friendly. They talked for over 30 minutes.

In the picture above, Nickie and Hannah talked with several older ladies. Sometimes older people know a lot of Christian terminology but have never actually understood the simplicity of the gospel!

As I was taking the above picture, I also noticed two girls sitting a ways away, listening to Nickie. Later, Nickie told me she talked to those two girls as well! She said they were seriously interested, and close to the point of putting their faith in Christ! Please pray for them.

My dad and Brad had several great conversations. They came back to our group afterwards with excitement and it was fun hearing their report!

When it got dark we all came together to share stories. Few activities are as satisfying as getting the gospel out to many people.

At Bright Lights last Monday, Sarah, Stephen and I taught a meeting on witnessing. (We combined the girls in Bright Lights and the guys from Stephen’s Light Shop group.) In the picture above, Michael is sharing a story from one of his conversations from the 4th:

One couple he talked with claimed to be believers, so he asked them, “Do you share your faith very much?”

“Well…” the guy hesitated.

Michael replied, “Well, suppose you were a fireman and someone was in danger on the 2nd floor of a burning building, and you had all the equipment to rescue him–”

About this point, Michael noticed that the wife gave a little half-smile, and glanced at her husband.

“He is a fireman,” she said.

Michael laughed and replied, “Oh, then you will really relate to this. Okay, what if you didn’t rescue that person even though you had the ability to do so? You would be in big trouble, wouldn’t you?”

“Oh yeah!” the guy strongly affirmed.

“Well, as a fireman you are only saving them from an earthly death, but when we share the gospel we are showing them the way to be saved from eternal death. Which do you think is more important?”

This leaves us all with a challenge. Let’s view life from an eternal perspective, obey the commands of Jesus, and enjoy the blessings of being in the battle WITH CHRIST.

You May Be Surprised

If you have never Christmas caroled before, you may be surprised at how much some people are touched by it. We took our Bright Lights group caroling the other night, and I was reminded of what an impact it can make. Many stand outside the door, trying to savor the moment, thoroughly enjoying the old carols.

After we sing, we greet them, ask for a favorite, explain who we are, and leave them with some cookies and a book that explains the Biblical meaning of Christmas.

Many of the carols themselves have great gospel words: “Hark! The herald angels sing, Glory to the newborn King; Peace on earth, and mercy mild, God and sinners reconciled!

While we were caroling, a passage popped into my head. I had been reading it the previous day. “O give thanks unto the LORD; call upon his name: make known his deeds among the people. Sing unto him, sing psalms unto him: talk ye of all his wondrous works.” (Psalm 105:1-2)

Amazing. We get to praise the Lord in song, in front of the on looking world, (well, house by house) and thus proclaim both the gospel and our delight in it! What a privilege.

“Are you carolers?!” the elderly couple in this vehicle asked as they rolled down the window.
“Yes, would you like us to sing something for you?”
“Would you??” they asked eagerly.
The lady explained how she used to carol around this very neighborhood as a girl.

Then we came back for hot chocolate and our normal Bright Lights lesson time and activities.

Nickie shared with the younger girls about our response to Christ, emphasizing how we need to be committed disciples.

Simultaneously, Sarah was sharing with the older girls upstairs. We are beginning a six week “winter discipleship” study in which we are going to be keeping each other accountable to be seeking Jesus more diligently.

The joy of fellowship with sisters in Christ…
Pictured above are Amanda, Annie, and Hannah

“But will God indeed dwell on the earth? behold, the heaven and heaven of heavens cannot contain thee; how much less this house that I have builded?” (1 Kings 8:27)

Two Wrong Options

At our last Bright Lights meeting, Sarah shared some important thoughts for the new year. One thing she mentioned is that when we see sins or weaknesses in our life, we often have the tendency to either 1) think it’s impossible for us to change and not even try or 2) to try in our own strength.

Those are both incorrect responses. The correct responce is, first of all, to pray and ask God to change us. What is impossible for us, is very possible for Him!

Sarah asked the girls if there were areas in their lives they needed to change, or areas in which they desire to grow. She then emphasized that we need to be fervently *asking* God to change us! It was so sweet to see the girls spontaneously begin raising their hands sharing areas of their life they wanted to ask God to change.
“I want to be nice to my brothers and sisters,”
“I want to seek Him more with all my heart,”
And many other things.


We then took about 20 minutes and played soft music while the girls spread out all over the chruch to have some time alone with the Lord to talk about these things. It was a special time.


We don’t have the power to walk in a way that is worthy of the calling that we have received—but God is able to give us the strength. Are we asking for Him to do it?! Let’s earnestly plead with God to change us in those areas we know we need to grow!

As a side note, Stephen’s boy’s group (the Light Shop) celebrated their 9th anniversary with ice cream sundaes at their meeting on Monday night. Special milemark. 🙂 We are excited that the Light Shop material will be available in print soon.

Bright Lights Campfire

After our last Bright Lights meeting here in town, we all went outside for a campfire/sharing time. It was very encouraging to hear girls sharing about how the Lord has been working in their lives.

One girl shared that at the recent Bright Lights conferences, the Lord had convicted her of a number of things she needed to confess to her parents—it was a whole list of things, actually. As I’m sure you can imagine, this was NOT an easy thing for her to do. But God gave her courage, and after confessing everything to her parents, she said she had a much better relationship with the Lord, her parents, AND her siblings. Also, she emphasized how God gave her a new understanding of the cross and the seriousness of her sin, and a new delight in His Word and prayer.

Several other girls also shared about some good, yet difficult, decisions the Lord had convicted them to make as well. Praise the Lord!

We Have a Reasonable Faith!

Sarah teaching Bright Lights last Monday night on how to answer some “tough” questions:

“Where did Cain Get His Wife?”

“If we all go back to one man and one woman, how’d we get so many different ‘races’?”

“How do you explain finding fossils that some people say date back over 300 million years, if the Bible is correct and the earth is young?”

“Since numerous apelike fossils have been found of what some scientists say are human ancestors, doesn’t this prove that man has evolved?”

All these questions have simple answers! We as Christians don’t simply have “blind faith,” that the Bible is true, we have a reasonable faith that we can explain! In fact, everything we see in science, geology, archeology, chemistry, etc. is consistent with what the Bible has already stated to be true.


In our Bright Lights and Light Shop groups over the summer, Sarah and Stephen are going to take some time at each meeting to teach simple, easy-to-recall answers to a variety of tough questions. It’s going to be a fun challenge!

For all of you who don’t attend Bright Lights or Light Shop, let me encourage you to take the time to learn these answers too! If you are an “audio learner” like me, you may find it helpful to listen to some of Answers in Genesis online videos. One idea is to listen to them while you are organizing your room (makes it a little more fun, at least!), washing dishes, etc.

“But sanctify the Lord God in your hearts: and be ready always to give an answer to every man that asketh you a reason of the hope that is in you with meekness and fear.” (1 Peter 3:15)

Bright Lights / Light Shop Report

I was working in my little cubicle the other day when I heard a very loud racket. I walked out and found my dad and Stephen in full combat…
They told me they were “testing” the armor they were going to use for an activity at Light Shop.

(For those who don’t know, “Light Shop” is Stephen’s boys discipleship group that meets every time Bright Lights meets. It stands for Leaders In Godliness, Holiness and Testimony.)

Dad and Stephen prepared 24 helmets, swords, and shields.

There were 12 guys in brown and 12 guys in red. The objective was to knock the newspaper breastplate off your opponent. As you can see, the activity was a big success.

Stephen (along with David Jones who helps him teach) taught the young men about Ephesians 6 and how we are in a spiritual battle and need to know our weapons.

In Bright Lights we try to be a little more feminine. 🙂 We’ve been going through a series of lessons on being “daughters of the king” covering topics such as femininity, modesty, inner beauty, joyfulness, etiquette, etc. As daughters of the King, we need to remember Who we belong to and Who we respresent! At one of our recent meetings we gave each small group 15 minutes to create a complete outfit with brown paper and tape. Everyone had a good time, and some of the outfits the girls came up with were pretty impressive!



The theme of the lesson last week was on “pouring yourself out” and learning to die daily for Jesus. (I Cor 15:31) Sarah told some amazing stories of great missionaries and martyrs who went through tremendous sacrifice to proclaim the gospel. Then she emphasized how God values not only the big sacrifices, but also the daily little sacrifices we make in serving our families and those around us. He sees and weighs the heart. It’s not necessarily the intensity of the suffering He rewards (we can’t choose our circumstances) but the response of our heart to whatever He allows. May we, like Paul and Silas in prison, sing praises in the midst of difficulty.

Bright Lights Christmas Train

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An imaginary blizzard whirled in the auditorium at Bright Lights last night, forcing each small group to huddle together inside their little Israeli towns (i.e. their circle of chairs) . Because of the blizzard, the only means of communication was to write letters and mail them via “the Christmas train”. Each town’s goal was to collect clues from the other teams (er-towns) and figure out seven key reasons why Jesus was born.
“Hurry–the train is coming, the train is coming!” the girls would shout to their teams as they finished writing more notes to send to the other towns….it was a lot of fun.

Light Shop (Stephen’s discipleship group) did the same activity, and, from what I hear, the young men weren’t quite as successful at collecting clues, but they were definitely more successful at keeping their train operating properly. 🙂

We are grateful to our innovative dad who had the idea (though he claims it was a group effort) and made the trains out of cardboard boxes yesterday afternoon.

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For the lesson time, Sarah taught the girls downstairs while the older girls studied the Scriptural accounts of a few of the Christmas characters (plus John the Baptist) upstairs.

Here’s a short synopsis of our discussion:

Elisabeth: Elisabeth’s barrenness must have been a huge trial in her life–especially in that culture and time. But God was obviously using it as a tool to prepare her for the exciting task he was going to give her. The trials in our life that we don’t understand may actually be God’s hand of preparation for a special work He has called us to do.

John the Baptist: John was an amazing combination of great humility and great boldness. We think there is a connection there. He was able to be so bold because he was so humble and didn’t care about his personal reputation or status among men.

Anna: Looking closely at the life of Anna in the temple, we see how she went through some very tough times in her earlier years! Even though she lost her husband after only 7 years of marriage, she didn’t become bitter but instead used the trial as a springboard to grow nearer to God and minister to His people. She didn’t have the security of a husband and children, but she had the security of the blessing of God on her life!

Mary: Though Mary certainly didn’t have an easy path, she set her eyes on the bigger picture–not on her own personal comfort or reputation. It is encouraging to see the Lord’s faithfulness to her at each step of the way! He gently communicated His plan to her through the angel, provided a godly man to walk along side her and care for her, and blessed and strengthened her through numerous people (Elisabeth, the shepherds, Anna and Simeon, the wise men, etc.), and protected her family from Herod’s sword.