14 years ago, in my lowest point of life, I was invited. The invitation didn’t come packaged in the most lovely of paper with gold foil, or with a hand lettered envelope with my name exquisitely displayed across the front. While the invitation wasn’t the most glamorous, it has become the most lavish invitation I have ever received and rsvp’d to.
My sweet neighbor and dear friend came over the morning after the worst night of my life at that point. She came over to check on my son, who was in a body cast in a hospital bed set up in our living room, due to a broken femur. We talked and she asked me to go with her to a Bible study at this gal’s house that went to her church. I have to confess, having grown up at church my whole life-which I am thankful for- knowing lots of Bible stories, and still attending church weekly at this point, I believed Jesus was my Savior. Deep down though I felt I was always too broken to be with the “good Christians” so I was unsure of this invite. I had taken religion classes at school, and it being an environment of 99% law, maybe 1% grace and forgiveness, I believed I didn’t measure up so I smirked at the invitation.
Thoughts of “what could Bible study even help” entered my mind. I believed I had broken my life beyond repair. I had very little self worth, felt I had failed at pretty much everything. I had experienced a dark & grave hopelessness the night before, the kind where the tears had all run out, and my spirit checked out of my body. I felt my failure was so deep and that I wasn’t of value to anyone. But! The light of the morning came, and in that light, the invitation!
When the Bible study was set to begin, I decided a night out with my friend would be good, so I went. I purchased my workbook, and quite honestly sat with a very judgmental attitude towards those around me thinking, “they really think this will help”. The longer I was there the more curious I became. Intrigued by the first assignment: write a letter of expectation to Jesus about what you hope to learn, or anything on your heart. I wrote the letter, did the homework and showed up again the next week. Oh was I about to be in for the ride of my life!
I met Jesus! I met the real Jesus!!! Not some idea of Jesus, or what some authority told me Jesus was. No, I met the real, amazingly loving, gracious compassionate, fun, exciting Jesus! The Jesus that had so much compassion for me, he took severe punishment and died for every single failure I had ever had and every failure I would have for the rest of my life! This Jesus, the real Jesus of the Bible, in those pages of homework, wow! I fell in love with Him that February in 2006 during those 12 weeks of Bible study!
I could not get enough! I was sad when I would make it to the end of my homework, but excited with anticipation for the next lesson. I was amazed over and over and over, and continue to be! Jesus was the most wonderful thing I had been missing out on my whole life…..missing out on him, even though….he had been in my life from before my very conception!
Jesus had always been with me at church, I had been learning about him from little on. My first memory is in church! I was faithfully taken to church, and that is really wonderful! I am very thankful that church was very important to my family and still is, but I had some deep soul brokenness from little on that clouded my view. The brokenness I had, needed healing and love that would only come from time in Scripture personally. This is true for all of us, pastors, teachers & friends can be wonderful at sharing Scripture, but they cannot do what Jesus can when we spend one on one time in the Word with him.
Today, because of an invitation, from an invitation, I know who Jesus really is. You see it took a precious lady, Kelly, to open her home and host Bible study, and her invitation to my neighbor Rachelle to come study with her. I feel this invitation became more and more lavish as it was extended, because to Kelly I was a total stranger invited in! My life has been forever changed from that invitation!!!!! Praise be to God!
I have such a passion to study Scripture now, I have not stopped studying since that February 2006 lavish invitation, by the grace of God! What started as a letter in a white envelope from a first Bible study assignment, has become a tall stack of Bible studies and more books about Jesus, and the most precious…Bibles in various translations to help me understand more and more! All because of one invitation and the passionate love from my Savior Jesus for me to know him!
I have been invited in and become part of the royal family of God, and so have you!!! He wants all of his creation to know they are extended this lavish invitation! Choosing this invitation to meet with Jesus in the Scriptures will bring blessing beyond measure, unmatched with anything else! And the most amazing thing about this invitation….. This invitation extends into ETERNITY!!!!! IN HEAVEN!!!!!!!
The thing is, like every invitation experience, you can hear about it from someone else. They can tell you about the decor, the music, the food, but it is not the same as experiencing it for yourself! Jesus excitedly waits for your rsvp and for you to meet him! He is so excited to share His beautiful life giving love with you, he wants you to experience this invitation personally. He has things to share with you that are just for you!
Whether we know every Bible story or if we just heard his name for the first time today the invitation stands! Another great thing, if we lost the invitation along the way or even declined it multiple times, we can go to Jesus right now and he welcomes us in. And as I mentioned earlier…thinking I couldn’t be with the “good Christians”, well, ….they don’t exist. We are all sinners, all broken. Satan is the one saying we are not good enough to go and received the invite. Jesus is extending the invitation to his lavish love whether we are feeling all put together or dragging in after mid night with missing glass slippers!
Being connected to a church family that encourages you to read the Bible for yourself is so important. Learn from Pastors and Bible teachers, where they are preaching God’s word, this is of great value. God tells us to stay connected, this is part of this wonderful invitation. The invitation to a whole family in Christ, we are all sinners, so you won’t find a “perfect church” here on earth. You will, however find others who will walk with you, cry with you and celebrate with you in this beautiful invitation of life with Jesus.
If you feel led to host a study or attend one, do it! Invite others! You cannot imagine the impact it might have on one heart and the domino effect of love that can come from it! I have been completely transformed-know I am still on my journey with Jesus- but life is so much richer now! It has been a tremendous blessing to share Jesus! I have made amazing relationships with others in the last 14 years I would have never met had I not accepted the invitation to Bible study!
If you need place to begin to find a Bible study, visit some churches near you, read about them and attend weekly services and find out what studies they are offering. I also encourage you to pray and ask Jesus to help you find one! He is amazing at answering prayer! There are online Bibles and apps you can start reading it for yourself in just a click today!
Your invitation awaits, and may it have the most “shares”! You might be the one that Jesus uses to transform someone’s life like mine or be indescribably blessed by how Jesus can change your life!
*Thank you Kelly R & Rachelle S for inviting me & sitting with me at the feet of Jesus in a way I had never experienced before!*