Saturday, February 5, 2011

Bible Study Gone Green

Texas Preacher Woman, circa 2005
I miss preaching.

I even miss pastoring.  (Which is really kind of a miraculous statement, considering that I once told God I'd preach for Him all He wanted but that I nevah wanted to be a pastor.  Didn't feel it was my calling.  Too messy.  He laughed.  And then went on to call me to plant a church.  And pastor it. )

Our tiny congregation of Jesus seekers and Jesus followers met smack-dab in the middle of the low-income housing complex where most of our folks lived.  When the complex went into bankruptcy, the California-based bank that took over the property wanted no part of a church's being on the premises and gave us roughly a month to pack up, move out, and close the doors.  Though we banged on the portals of a number of other area venues, not even a window opened, and God wrapped His arms around us as we mourned the end of that ministry as we had known it.  Most of us stay in touch through phone calls, the Internet, occasional get-togethers, and some of us still see one another at the Big Church (our church plant's sponsor), and, for the most part, God has given each of us new work to do in other areas.  Still, I miss it at times.  Very much so.

Anyways, I say all that just for background's sake so you'll understand why I say that I miss preaching.  It's one of my gifts.  I am blessed to be called to lead women's retreats from time-to-time (something I LOVE to do) or to teach a Bible study once in a while, but, for the most part, I know that, at least for now, I am called to other things in my current day-to-day life.  Still, I often miss the challenge and excitement of researching and digging into Scripture that go with preparing a weekly message. I miss the feedback one gets when sharing insights from God's Word. (Ours was a very, shall we say interactive service -- feedback was usually immediate, and it made for a lively time of worship!)  

I love rambling on this blog for all of those reasons above, but, obviously, from the infrequency of posts since the school year started, time remains an issue for me.  (I'm a slooooow writer; thus one of the many reasons I did not go into print journalism.) This afternoon, though, while researching some ideas for an upcoming Bible study lesson, I ran across some things I wrote a few years back and thought, why not share these?  (Hey, aren't we all being encouraged to recycle these days?  We can think of this as Bible Study Gone Green and all feel kinda hip about it.)

For some reason I just felt drawn to start with Thanking God When You're a Basket Case.  Here are a few thoughts from the series to get us started:

 Thanking God When You're a Basket Case

 Part 1: A Tisket, A Tasket, 
What's in Your Basket?

A basket case?  Who, me?  

Well, maybe not at this moment, but, c'mon, we've all been there at one time or another.  (Either that or, like Miriam's baby brother, our basket is simply floating down a river called DeNial . . . sorry, couldn't resist.  I am, after all, the woman who entitled Part 1, "A Tisket, A Tasket . . . "   although in my defense, the folks over sixty-five loved that subtitle, and it did fit with a particular theme at the time . . . ahh, I digress.)  

Life is full of baskets, waiting to hold "cases."  That's just the way it is.  (I once said to a sister-friend of mine during a particularly hectic time, "When life gets back to normal, I'm going to . . . ", to which she replied, "Pamm, in a fallen world, this is normal; smooth waters in a fallen world are not the norm."  And she was right.)

So, if we're all destined to be basket cases, at least once in a while, how do we handle being a basket case when the waters get rough?  Obviously, in the interest of self-preservation, we grab at the nearest life jacket, pull the lid down over our heads in our baskets, and pray that the raft hurtling us toward the white waters will carry us safely through them.  But, practically speaking, what does that mean?  What does that look like?

Several years ago, St. Michael and I had a chance to raft a short distance down Alaska's Mendenhall Glacier. Before our guide allowed us to step even one little toe into our raft, though, we were given some basic information designed to help up best navigate the waters ahead. (We also had to put on special waterproof jumpsuits and life jackets.  St. Michael look like quite the adventurer; I looked like a giant, orange, stuffed sausage.  If I went overboard, there were absolutely no worries about my not being spotted in the water. I don't know that anyone could've gotten me back up into the raft, but I'm confident they could've tied me to the back of the raft and drug me to shore.)  

Here are some basic premises for navigating this study:
We can always trace being a basket case back to what's in our basket.  Each of us has three "basics" in our basket:
  • Our "ME"                                                                        Who we are as individuals -- spiritually, physically, mentally, emotionally 
  • Our relationships                                                             The people with whom we share our lives -- our family, our friends, our co-workers 
  • Our circustances                                                       What's going on in our lives -- day-to-day happenings and long-term events that will shape our lives for years to come 

NOTE:  The wise woman (and man) knows not only what's in her basket but Who holds her basket. 
Regardless of what's in our baskets, 
we can trust in the following:

" . . . by Him all things were created; visible and invisible,
   whether thrones or powers or rulers or authorities; 
all things were created by Him and for Him.
He is before all things, 
and in Him all things hold together."

1 COLOSSIANS 1:16-17

. . . even when we're a basket case. 

In the next several posts, we'll examine the "ME" in our baskets and what our "ME" has to do with thanking God when when we're a basket case.

Grins and blessings!


  1. aaah... she's back!

    Looking forward to more of your preaching.
    Yes, I'm a basket case and will stay tuned.


  2. Floating down the river called DeNial...too funny!! Can't wait to hear more!

  3. Its a great posting. Having every chance to guide your children and to aid them become the best people in the world is something extremely important for parents. The youth bible study is very important these days.