A forced walk down memory lane

When was the last time you had a walk down memory lane?

It seems that every several weeks I am jolted back into my past as I hang out with my kids. Something they say or do reminds me just how quickly our time with them is going. The other day it was a video that reminded me just how much my son has grown up. The Lord allowed me another trip down memory lane. This time, instead of watching a video, reading a journal, or flipping through Instagram, he forced me to walk. Really. He forced me to walk. 

God is sovereign, but Hertz is responsible! Through a series of unfortunate events, I didn’t have a car while in Lynchburg. The airport shuttle came and picked me up. I walked to dinner, only to have a thunderstorm break out while stuffing my face with Chipotle. As I walked back, I decided that I was going to just go for the gusto and walk from my hotel up to Liberty’s campus. No car meant no ability to get to CrossFit Lynchburg. The walk down memory lane was really a trek up what Jerry Fallwell Sr. used to call “Liberty Mountain.” I had a long time to walk and think. The campus has drastically changed -new athletic fields, a gorgeous performing arts center, and a fantastic library. Despite the fresh paint and veneer of the new, I saw the old roots. I passed by the prayer chapel, where many decisions were prayed over. I passed both of my old dorms. One was still standing tall on the hill while the other was demolished so that towers of dorms could be built. The Religion building still looked the same. Demoss Hall had been transformed. The Rott, what we affectionately called the cafeteria, had a massive face lift. Students actually wanted to eat there. My walk gave me the opportunity to thank God for all that he had done in my life and in my heart on the campus of Liberty University.

Where is the most difficult place to start a Bible study?

Seventeen years ago, I was convinced that it was with students that had to go to Bible classes in order to graduate at Liberty University. Let me explain. Precept Upon Precept studies are structured as five days of homework, each day taking about an hour to complete. It isn't flashy. There are no He Reads Truth design elements or Francis Chan delivering a talk by ocean video elements. You get the book, you study on your own using a tool called inductive Bible study. Simply put, it means that you go to the Bible to discover what the Bible says. Then, everyone in the group comes together to reason through the text as a group. Unlike other Bible studies, the leader doesn't lecture, teach, or fill the time in between coffee and donuts... nope, Precept leaders ask questions to generate discussion. As the group reasons through the text, the Spirit of God does some amazing things in people’s hearts and lives. I knew my fellow students would love it, but how in the world would I convince broke college students to buy a book? What about the time investment, strapped for time college students that are involved in their churches and trying to find their wife or husband?  How would I convince students who think that they have enough Bible in their lives because of class, chapels, convocations, and required dorm prayer groups to see inductive study as a benefit?

I knew that the Lord was leading me to start somewhere.

There were considerable bumps and obstacles along the way. Our small crew pounded the pavement, we passed out flyers, we made announcements everywhere, and we talked about the benefits of studying the Bible inductively. We almost quit when we were told that our reserved room was denied at the last minute. We almost quit when some leaders said, “It will never work! That’s a woman’s Bible study!” We knew that we had to do it. 

Seventeen years ago I led my first Precept Upon Precept discussion group.

We started with a study on Abraham. I didn’t think anyone would come. We met in a friend’s townhouse off-campus. Slowly, people started to trickle in. Soon, the living room was full. More and more people started to come into the room to the point that we had to start sitting on the floor. Still more came, the stairs would have to do for seats. I still don’t know how it happened, but our first night we had 45 people. Our minds were blown. We started walking through the text. The Spirit of God made the text come alive for people. The second week, more people. We discussed Genesis 15, the Abrahamic Covenant, Old Covenant, and New Covenant. It blew our minds. More than just knowing the story of Abraham, many students for the first time saw the connection between God’s covenant with Abraham fulfilled in the cross of Jesus. A speaker or professor didn’t tell us this, but the Spirit of God did through the powerful tool of inductive study!

Fast-forward seventeen years.

Precept Training hosted an Essentials of Inductive Bible Study Workshop on the campus of my alma mater. In 2017, Precept Ministries in the US has been offering this training for free. We had two-hundred participants walk through the essentials, the necessities for inductive Bible study.

Some heard that Precept was too hard.

Some heard that Precept was just for older women.

Some heard that you had to own stock in Crayola.

Before I talk about it, let me give you a little background.

In three hours, we walk through ten small verses. We talk through the benefits of inductive Bible study verses going off of what others had studied and communicated. We unpack observation, interpretation, and application. We see what happens when God changed a city through the gospel of Jesus Christ! Some simple tools allow the environment for the Spirit of God to work on hearts, stirring up within an even deeper love for what God has accomplished in Jesus. Participants in this workshop came from all over Virginia. My hope prayer is that they get plugged into a Precept Group near them. 

As a result of my rental car snafu, the workshop sponsor became my chauffeur. Let me introduce you to David. He is a senior at LU, graduating in just a few short weeks. David served as an intern at Precept last Summer. Since then, he has been praying that the Lord would use this Precept Training workshop to allow students at Liberty to experience inductive Bible study. He headed up a team of volunteers, organizing every detail of this workshop on the ground. Every. Detail. While David hoped that more LU students would have attended, he was blown away by all of the people that got word about this workshop.  Instead of writing about him, I'll just let you hear from him in his own words:

Questions:

For those of you that are engaged in inductive Bible study, go back to the first time that you encountered it. Take a trip down memory lane. What is your story? We'd love to hear about it below.

For those of you that are inductive Bible study leaders, do you remember your first class? Do you remember God's faithfulness as you took a step out into the unknown of leading a discussion? Take a trip down memory lane. We'd love to hear about God's faithfulness below.

For those of you that have yet to discover inductive Bible study, would you like to experience it for yourself? If so, comment below. I'd love to give you a free gift that will help get you started.