I was honored last year to be chosen as a leader for BSF (Bible Study Fellowship). On one hand it makes sense – leadership is one of my Spiritual Gifts. One the other hand it makes no sense at all – how can I, Felecia Clarke, hope to lead anyone in God’s Kingdom? I mean seriously, it’s HIS kingdom! How can He entrust anyone into my care? I know the only way is through His constant watch over me and whatever group I happen to be facilitating at the time. It also helps that the Holy Spirit lives inside me. He’s equally stopped me from saying something and prompted me to say something as an opportunity presents itself. I’m forever thankful that He resides within.
As a BSF leader, I’m expected to perform homiletics on the material we’re going over in any particular lesson. Homiletics (from a BSF study guide) “involves a careful analysis of a passage of Scripture with emphasis on both the content and the application.” We go over the Scripture level by level winnowing the teaching down to one sentence of 10 words that appropriately states the meaning of the passage as well as identifies where it is in the Bible. There’s more to it, but when I first started performing homiletics I was horrible. Pathetic, really. I could only adequately manage the Content (first) stage of the 5-level exercise. With practice throughout the year I got much better at developing divisions within the passage and writing my 10-word sentence as well as the AIM (what we want the audience [or ourselves] to learn). But I was still dreadful in developing Application questions. You see, at BSF we don’t just want to collect knowledge about the Bible and Jesus, we want to help participants learn how to apply what they’re reading to their lives. And when I say ‘their lives’ of course I want to learn how to apply it to my life too!
In an attempt to get better at Homiletics I joined a study group this summer to practice for the John study (beginning the week of September 12 somewhere near you! Wherever you are in the world, go to BSFinternational.org to find a group that fits your needs and join us!) As I opened my Bible to prepare for this week’s lesson I see that it’s about the Samaritan woman at the well. Can I confess that sometimes my pastor or BSF or some other study mentions a particular Bible story and I roll my eyes and sigh? Is that blasphemous? I’ve heard the story so many times, what new nugget could I possibly extract from it?
I’m ashamed of myself. I do realize that is a poor attitude with which to approach God’s word and I immediately ask for His forgiveness, extending a silent prayer that He help me see something new in the text before I start to read.
God doesn’t ever disappoint. If you ask, He will give.
We meet the Samaritan woman at Jacob’s well, Jesus asks for a drink of water, she’s aghast because Jews don’t speak to Samaritans, and Jesus indirectly mentions He’s God and offers her living water. But within seconds my eyes zero in on John 4: 13-14a and I sit bolt upright in my chair.
Jesus said, “Everyone who drinks from this (well) water will get thirsty again. But whoever drinks from the water that I will give him will never get thirsty again — ever!”
Wha? Who is He kidding? How can He say we will never get thirsty again? I drink His living water and just get thirstier! The more I get to know my Lord the hungrier I become to know more of Him.
How can I not be thirsty? Aren’t you, Christian, thirsty for God? Breathless to know more of Jesus? Panting to be quenched by the Holy Spirit?
How funny that one minute I inwardly bemoan having to read what I thought was a well-worn and boring, Bible story and a few minutes later get such a kick in the pants from God. I could just hear Him saying, “Aren’t you thirsty for me anymore, Felecia? Can I no longer satisfy your appetite?”
LORD! You absolutely do!
I immediately think of Jesus’ letter to the church at Ephesus and shudder:
“But I have this against you: You have abandoned the love you had at first.” ~ Revelation 2:4
Let me never cease to be both greedy to know you and satisfied by your Word, Lord. Pray I never lose the depth of my first love for you. Amen!