Introducing Word Go

Introducing Word Go

WordGo: A New Generation of Bible Study 

BY BENNETT ROLAN

BSF BLOG EDITOR

I n 2018, a cross-country move left me feeling lost and alone. I desperately missed fellowship in God’s Word and longed for the BSF group I had left behind.

As the wife of a college football coach, moving to different teams in different states is part of our family rhythm. Whether we move to a small town in the Southeast or a major city in the Midwest, I can depend on a new BSF class to provide friendships grounded in God’s Word wherever my husband’s career takes us.

But BSF is more than just Bible study and fellowship. God uses each study to magnify Himself and mature His people. 

Personally, God used the Matthew study to transform a difficult family relationship. He used Revelation to renew my longing for Christ’s return. And in Romans, He affirmed the promise that nothing “will be able to separate us from the love of Christ Jesus our Lord” (Romans 8:39b).

In the middle of that Romans study, a job change took us to southern Utah, where the closest BSF class was hours away.

Even as I prayed, “Lord, why did you move us here?,” God was planting a seed that would change hearts and impact a community.

Bennett and her family

Introducing WordGo

Just weeks after we moved, I was asked to test a new BSF model called WordGo.

Tapping in to BSF study material and four-fold approach, WordGo is designed to reach primarily young adults, those of us who were raised in a culture that claims, “The Church is outdated,” “The Bible is irrelevant” and “Religion is right if it feels good to you.”

To be honest, I was skeptical. Could the app possibly be as effective as an actual BSF class?

But I prayed, said “yes” and looked for opportunities to invite women to join me in studying God’s Word. Without knowing anyone in our new area, I relied on God to provide participants.

He did. Abundantly.

WordGo brought in-depth Bible study to the Utah desert. It introduced the gospel to several women who were not willing to walk into a church. It brought safe harbor to fellow believers who thirsted deeply for Christian community in a barren land.

WordGo brought in-depth Bible study to the Utah desert. It introduced the gospel to several women who were not willing to walk into a church. It brought safe harbor to fellow believers who thirsted deeply for Christian community in a barren land.

God is on the move

Just eight months after we arrived in Utah, another coaching change moved our family to southern Illinois. Once again, we landed in a town without BSF. But God used a second WordGo test phase to draw several women to Himself.

Our group included two former BSFers, a new believer, a skeptic and an atheist. We explored God’s promises, His power and His commitment to establish His people in the book of Joshua. By the end of our study, one woman tearfully shared how the experience transformed her entire family, and another is planning to be baptized this month!

In Isaiah 55:11, God promises, “(My Word) will not return to me empty, but will accomplish what I desire and achieve the purpose for which I sent it.”

During the initial tests, WordGo sprang up in unexpected places. Groups gathered in corporate offices, including Facebook’s headquarters, in homes, in coffee shops, college dorms and local churches.

Though the setting, technology and length of studies might look different from a traditional BSF class, the impact of God’s Word is unchanging. Fortunately, the Holy Spirit is not limited to a church sanctuary. I experienced that truth in Utah and Illinois, and I can’t wait to hear how God uses WordGo to reach people with His Word.

“For the Word of God is alive and active. Sharper than any double-edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joint and marrow …” – Hebrews 4:12

What is WordGo?

WordGo offers the questions, notes, lectures and training materials we love in a mobile app so people can launch a study with their friends anytime, anywhere. At the outset, WordGo offers Joshua, Ruth and Acts 1-5 in a library of studies that will steadily grow.

How is it different from a BSF class?

WordGo is designed to meet unique needs, targeting those who aren’t able or willing to attend a traditional BSF class. The app meets many of the needs BSFers have been voicing for years, especially for the rising generation of believers.

With the app, people can start study groups. As Group Guides, they can:

· Start anytime, without a waiting list.

· Invite friends easily through the app.

· Benefit from online training resources and continued support to keep the group on track, all from within the app.

· Keep members updated with any location, date or time changes by sending notifications.

Group members can:

· Customize daily study content to a specific number of minutes per day.

· Receive study reminders and notifications to stay focused and on track.

· Store notes, thoughts and study answers to be used during group discussion.

· Study on the go by listening to custom Bible teaching, audio notes and a built-in audio Bible.

 

Who can start a WordGo group?

Unlike planting a BSF class, which can take years, WordGo accelerates that process by allowing anyone interested in leading a group to access the app. WordGo Group Guides are simply focused on inviting members and hosting the group.

We believe God will faithfully call, equip and convict the men and women who are committed to facilitate these studies. The material remains true to God’s Word, regardless of cultural context. The four-fold approach ensures that those studying with WordGo do not depart from the text.

Will you partner with us?

There are three things we would like to ask you, the leaders and members of BSF classes, to prayerfully consider:

Share WordGo

Right now, as you read this, can you think of someone with whom you could share WordGo? A friend? A family member? Someone from church? Or work? Who are the people in your life that are hungry for God’s Word and would enjoy the opportunity to gather a few friends for a study?

Pray for WordGo

Would you commit to pray for the ministry and impact of WordGo? Join the WordGo prayer list for regular info and prayer requests.

Give to WordGo

Would you like to support this new ministry of BSF as we move to reach and resource believers around the world with in-depth Bible study? Your support of this new ministry will help BSF reach and equip new believers around the world with in-depth Bible study.

“It happened in BSF…”

“It happened in BSF…”

“It happened

in BSF … “

 

“It happened in BSF … “

FROM CASEY SANTOS
TEACHING LEADER,  FLORIDA

S ometimes God gives us glimpses into His personal work in someone else’s heart … and we realize from a different perspective just how magnificent He is.

 
“He is always proving to me that He doesn’t need my help executing His perfect plan… although I often assume that He does. Motherhood humbles me daily and sets before me a constant choice: trust the Holy Spirit’s power to capture and transform my children’s hearts–or try and do it myself.  All too often I choose the latter.
 
“This past fall, our Day Women’s Class launched a School Program. I was so excited because my son was entering sixth grade, and I planned on homeschooling him for the very first time. Every Tuesday morning he would be up early, dressed and ready for BSF before I was! We would have such funny conversations about all he was learning.

“Then in Leader’s Meeting, I got to hear the prayers of his children’s leaders while, at home, I watched God answer them IN my son!

“A few weeks after the People of the Promised Land 1 study year had ended, Joshua began talking more and more about getting baptized. He practically ran up when our pastor gave an invitation one Sunday. When prompted to give a date for surrendering his life to Christ, he looked at me questioningly, ‘But what if I don’t know the exact date?’ So I asked him, ‘When did Jesus become real to you, Joshua? Like when did you understand why and how much you need Him to be in charge of your heart?’

“And this is what he said: ‘To be honest, Mom, it happened in BSF.’

“So he wrote down September 2018 on his little card and walked up to the water. It was honestly somewhat surreal. For the first time … maybe ever … I truly felt like this boy in front of me wasn’t mine at all. He wasn’t concerned about anything other than proclaiming whose he was … and the joy on his face as he came up out of that water proved to me there is NO ONE LIKE OUR GOD!!  

“BSF didn’t save my son … but it was the place where he felt safe to ask questions and to discover the truth about his own sinful heart.

It challenged him in ways that made him see God in a different light. It taught him why his faith needed to be his own – not the faith of his parents or anybody else.”

There truly is no one like our God!

BSF and its impact on lives such as Joshua’s are only possible because of God’s faithful provision through the generosity of people such as you – class members, volunteers and supporters.
We operate by faith on the generosity of members and friends. Every contribution helps our ministry continue to share God’s unchanging Word year after year. The end of the year provides giving opportunities to take advantage of tax-favored methods, such as gifts of stock or gifts from IRAs.
 
For more information, visit bsfinternational.org.
Thank you for your continued prayers and generosity as we seek to magnify God and mature His people together.
 
 

Sharing in Our Brokenness

Sharing in Our Brokenness

Sharing in our brokenness

BY SANDY ALLEN & BENNETT ROLAN

S andy Allen was on her knees, begging God for a way out. As a long-time BSF teaching leader, she was steeped in God’s Word and committed to seeking Him in prayer.  

But Sandy knew her debilitating condition had returned, and she cried out to her Savior 

For months, she pushed through the fog. She would deliver her BSF lecture, then collapse at home in exhaustion.  

Pounding thoughts would suffocate her joy and desire for living.  

Life is just too hard.  

Nothing is worth it. 

Your life is worthless.  

The very part of what makes you youis worth nothing.”  

Years of Suffering

T wenty-five years earlier, Sandy was diagnosed with Major Depressive Disorder. After medical treatment and therapy, she slowly recovered her personality and worked to restore her relationships 

“Over the years I faced the darkness many times,” Sandy said. “God has seen me through, and every time I thought, ‘Whew that is over. Surely it won’t come back again.’  

She was hopeful the battle was over. But those familiar thoughts returned in the fall of 2018 

“The scary part is that I couldn’t see it,” she said. “I thought I was fine until my depression started affecting others.” 

Recognizing the signs, Sandy sought professional help. Today, her relationship with God is stronger, and her faith is deeper. But Sandy’s journey to this point has been difficult 

“I thought everyone had those days when they hated their lives and wanted just to die when the living felt too hard to do,” Sandy said. People say things like,Tomorrow you will feel better, it’s just a rough patch, life can be hard sometimes.’ But I was overwhelmed and aching inside, without any real idea of how to make things better. But, boy, did I try.”  

“I was overwhelmed and aching inside, without any real idea of how to make things better. But boy, did I try.”

She tried vitamins, sleep, exercise, diet, caffeine, vacation, more work, less work. Even prayer, worship, church counsel and Bible study did not alleviate the growing depression and anxiety.   

Nothing changed the way I felt deep down, about myself and my life,” she said. Life was too hard, overwhelming. People seemed mean. I didn’t really want to do anything.   

Every day felt like I was walking through some sort of thick mud trudging along. The tears would fall, I would think, ‘What’s the point of this life – it seems to just get harder.’   

Finally, a compassionate friend said, “I think you might be depressed. After research and multiple doctor’s visits, Sandy accepted that she had a condition many of her BSF friends could not understand.  

But the God who created Sandy and knew her thoughts intimately met her in the despair.  

“I remember lying in bed,” Sandy said, “the tears falling, and crying out, Lord I know You are God, but You feel so far away. I need You close to help me though. And in the darkness, I sensed His presence, remembered His words that He would never leave me or forsake me,’ and I knew He would carry me through somehow.  

“I remember lying in bed,” Sandy said, “the tears falling and crying out, ‘Lord I know you are God, but you feel so far away. I need you close to help me through.’ “

After years of professional counseling, medical treatment and family support, Sandy feels compelled to share her story.  

And through her honesty, we can find freedom in sharing our own struggles and moments of brokenness. Together, we can celebrate God’s faithfulness, acknowledge our weaknesses and rely on one another as we seek Christ in a fallen world.  

Uniting in Trials

L ike Sandy, many of us face circumstances, diagnoses and difficult relationships that our BSF family may not understand. We walk into our BSF group each week feeling lonely and misunderstood, trying to hide the deep places that reveal our vulnerabilities 

But 2 Corinthians 12:9 promises God’s power “is made perfect in weakness.” And through our painful experiences, God strengthens the body of believers.  

“… So that there should be no division in the body, but that its parts should have equal concern for each other. If one part suffers every part suffers with it; if one part is honored, every part rejoices with it” (1 Corinthians 12:25-26). 

Our study of Acts and Letters of the Apostles will bring our sin, shortcomings and pain to light. Instead of hiding these moments, we can encourage group members to share how God is working in the midst of those trials.  

The Power of Faithful Community

T o help us navigate these difficult topics and conversations, God’s Word gives wonderful insight into how the early Church pursued gospel-centered unity.  

They committed to study, fellowship and prayer.

“They devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and to fellowship, to the breaking of bread and to prayer.” Acts 2:42 

Which person in your group today needs your prayers, or who needs to know you are praying for them? How will you reach out to them this week?

They put others’ needs above their own.

“Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather, in humility value others above yourselves, not looking to your own interests but each to the interests of the others. In your relationships with one another, have the same mindset as Jesus Christ.” – Philippians 2:3-5 

Whose needs are your focus? How can you ask God to help you show someone else that they are valuable?  

They were quick to listen and slow to anger.

“My dear brothers and sisters, take note of this: Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry, because human anger does not produce the righteousness that God desires.” – James 1:19-20 

Listening can be hard, but will you challenge yourself to ask more questions as you interact with those in your group?  

Unity was a common goal.

“Be completely humble and gentle; be patient, bearing with one another in love. Make every effort to keep the unity of the Spirit through the bond of peace.”Ephesians 4:2-6 

What can you do to demonstrate humility, patience and love in your relationships with others? 

They sought to forgive one another.

“Bear with each other and forgive one another if any of you has a grievance against someone. Forgive as the Lord forgave you. And over all these virtues put on love, which binds them all together in perfect unity.” – Colossians 3:13-14 

Who do you need to forgive, because the Lord has forgiven you? When will you take action to reach out and forgive?

 

Walking in the Valley

F or those who struggle with depression, or see another who is hurting, Sandy Allen shared some helpful thoughts from her experience.

God does not expect you and me to do everything.

Brothers and sisters, choose seven men from among you who are known to be full of the Spirit and wisdom. We will turn this responsibility over to them and will give our attention to prayer and the ministry of the word.’ ” Acts 6:3-4 

Sometimes our trials increase because we take on extra things. 

I love this truth: God’s plan is for His work to be divided among the body.  

When the anxiety increases, or the depression seems worse, allow yourself to let something go. Ask the Lord, ”What are those things you are asking me to do, and what can I stop for this tough season of my life?” 

Depression is a trial.

In all this you greatly rejoice,  though now for a little while  you may have had to suffer grief in all kinds of trials. These have come so that the proven genuineness of your faithof greater worth than gold, which perishes even though refined by firemay result in praise, glory and honor  when Jesus Christ is revealed.” 1 Peter 1:6-7 

Depression,  anxiety and  living with a loved one who struggles with it is a trial. 

In every trial  there  is  an  opportunity for Christ to reveal Himself. Seeking Him in the hard times proves that our faith is real  and that  we know He is the one to turn to. 

And in these verses,  we have the promise  that  as our faith is refined,  our lives will bring praise and glory to Jesus. 

So God is at work in the present hard time. Your faith is being made stronger while living with depression or  with  a loved one who struggles. 

God’s purposes for you are prevailing. 

If you see someone struggling, reach out.

“While the man held on to Peter and John,  all the people were astonished and came running to them in the place called Solomon’s Colonnade.” Acts 3:11 

Who among you is hurting?  How can you,  through prayer and God’s compassion, reach out and give them a helping hand? Let them  hold onto you and  bring them to Jesus.  

Maybe ask: 

How  can  I  join you in prayer? 

What would encourage you? 

Can I give you a ride to BSF next week?  

Can I sit beside you during the lecture? 

Would you like to work on the questions together this week? 

When we notice someone is hurting, we do not have to fix them. That is God’s job. But we can be there, a place  to  hold onto,  in times of weakness. 

Sharing BSF Summit

Sharing BSF Summit

Snapshots from Summit 2019

The Unstoppable Spirit

The Unstoppable Spirit

Susie Rowan, BSF Executive Director

Susie Rowan explores the evidence of the Holy Spirit, His person, His power and His accessibility to all who believe in the gospel of Jesus Christ. Her inspiring message leaves listeners with a deep sense of the unstoppable power of the triune God.

Who is the Holy Spirit?

Peter connects Joel to the gospel

What is the greatest sin?

What do Spirit-empowered people look like?

Acts and Letters of the Apostles is here!

Acts and Letters of the Apostles is here!

Acts and Letters of the Apostles is here!

BY TODD  WETHALL
BSF CHIEF MEDIA AND MATERIALS OFFICER

B ible Study Fellowship classes and discussion groups around the world are again opening God’s Word together as we begin the study of Acts and Letters of the Apostles. What a joy it is to draw closer to our Unstoppable God who has empowered us with His Unstoppable Spirit to be His witnesses to the ends of the earth.

What to expect 

A cts documents the infancy of the early Church from Jesus’ commissioning His apostles at His ascension through the explosion of Christianity in Jerusalem, Judea, Samaria and the ends of the earth, which continues to this day.

Acts also reveals that the key to living a powerful, fruitful Christian life is to be continuously filled with the Holy Spirit. The gift and indwelling of the Spirit comes only through faith in Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior. (See Acts 2.) Just as God was faithful to the early Christians as recorded in Acts and the epistles, He is faithful to modern Christians as well.

We’ve made some strategic improvements to Acts since we last studied it in 2011. Now 30 weeks instead of 32, we will take deeper dives into shorter passages. For example, Acts 3-7 now covers three lessons instead of only one, and 1 Corinthians covers four lessons instead of two.

Also, for anyone looking for a call to action, we’ve moved the epistle of James to the end of the study to close the year with a vision of what authentic Christianity looks like.

The 2013 redesign of all our study material made our lessons less daunting and more digestible. That’s why you may notice many of our Acts lesson notes are four or five pages, rather than the typical six. Though condensed, we have maintained deep, rich content as we desire to see members thoroughly engage in Scripture and mature as believers through Acts, 1 Corinthians, 1 & 2 Thessalonians, Hebrews, James and 1 Peter.

Tell your friends

T hose epistles have been strategically positioned as five “mini-studies” within the overall study year of Acts so you can invite a friend to class. (“Come to a four-week study of Hebrews!”) There’s no commitment beyond that, and we hope your friends will want to stick around for more after they have experienced Bible-centered community in your group

Anyone can find everything they need to know about BSF – including where to find a group – at bsfinternational.org.

Prayer on a global scale

S ince everything begins with prayer, we invite you to join us in praying throughout the year using the Unstoppable Prayer Guide (bsfprayer.org). These prayers of adoration, confession, thanksgiving and supplication (A.C.T.S.!) are tied to each week’s lesson. The Prayer Wall also offers an interactive opportunity to share your prayers and pray specifically for others.

It is amazing to see what God has done through the prayers and ministry of BSF in the past 60 years. The obedience of our founder, A. Wetherell Johnson, to follow God’s lead in teaching five women the Bible has led BSF to where it is today – shepherding men, women, boys and girls through God’s Word, which has the power to transform lives and communities.

May the Lord use the prayers and vibrant witness of each willing servant in BSF to offer profound witness of His love and truth in a world that so desperately needs Him.

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