… or how the Bible transforms and saves lives.
Thanks, CBS – for many years I have rather carelessly ‘skipped over’ John chapter 17 which I mistakenly saw as a sea of mysterious expressions like ‘me in you … them in us … we are one … they may be one’ (Rather comparable to a long and difficult-to-comprehend genealogical list in the Book of Chronicles!) But, following the group study of lesson 26 at our CBS get-together, I have a whole new appreciation and understanding of this wonderful passage of Scripture where Jesus prays for unity amongst Christians for the benefit of the Gospel and the glory of God. Thanks again!
Will, Lincoln Bassingham
A few weeks ago a fairly new member was heard to say over coffee after the meeting “I don’t know Jesus the way the speaker has been saying”. A sister sitting next to her said, “Do you want to?”. “Oh yes” was the instant reply. Immediate prayer amongst the chatter of the room, Jesus came into a life in an extraordinary way. She now shares our study in a life-changing way, contributing a fresh dimension of spirituality benefiting the whole group.
Roy Wadsworth, Easingwold York
After becoming a Christian, I wanted to gain a deeper understanding of Biblical truths. The church I was attending seemed unable to supply the answers I sought. I prayed to God to show me how I could improve my knowledge. I suffer from mild dyslexia and just didn’t know where to turn for help. A CBS class was running in my church and Anthea, the group leader came up to me and asked if I was interested in joining them. Answer to prayer indeed! I have learned so much since then and now lead a group.
Dorothy Bennifer, Leicester Braunstone
After attending an Alpha course, I really wanted to believe and have a relationship with Jesus. I really needed something in my life, the Holy Spirit. But I still had doubts, could I really believe all the things I had been told during the course.
One thing the course had highlighted was the power of prayer, so on my way to work I was praying so hard, I was asking for just one sign, anything, something small, I did not mind, I wanted to believe but I was hovering to go either way, it was like a last chance decision for me, did I go one way or the other.
I prayed and prayed, I don’t even know how I continued to drive as the tears rolled down my cheeks. I approached the toll bridge I crossed every day and had done so for 4 years, I passed my 5p over to the man in the kiosk and he surprisingly spoke. He said the man in the car up front has asked me to give you this. He handed me a business card which said on the back in large bold letters. ‘JESUS LOVES YOU’ Wow I felt the Holy Spirit enter me as I let him in. I was so delighted, I cried all the way to work and told everyone.
Some thought I was mad, some were pleased and interested but this was the start of the wonderful relationship I have with God, Jesus, and the Holy Spirit.
God’s Love in a Group
For quite some time now, I have been very aware that I don’t know the Bible as much as I feel I should. Yes, I read it, but not often enough, and recently it came to me that in order to further my journey with Jesus, I really must get down to more detailed learning of His word. This is to be along with my worship in the church family, and with my house group.
So I joined Community Bible study in September, not knowing what to expect, and hoping I would cope with it all. I have to say that I felt at ease my first week, and have continued to do so since. It is very enlightening to hear all the different views on the word we are studying. I still very much take the written words in the Bible at face value, as answers to the given questions each week. This is not enough – we have to learn to interpret the words to be meaningful in our lives, and understand what they really mean for us. This will take time, and I look forward to learning the art.
I feel I am among friends who can, and do, teach me so much, and I thank God for – His love in a group.
I have been a Christian for many years but whilst working full time I was not really growing in my faith. Since joining a CBS class, my Bible knowledge has really increased; I now lead a group and am so pleased to be able to share my understanding with others. The Word says ‘Seek and Ye shall find’ and I have found this to be so true of CBS Bible Studies.
Pam Butler, Leicester Braunstone
Where do I begin? God has done so much in my life. It started with my mother’s neighbour, who, unbeknown to me had prayed for me for fifteen years.
I come from a non-churchgoing family, who sent me to Sunday School, which I loved. None of my brothers and sisters were sent – just me! I loved hearing stories about Jesus. My mother was worried that I was going to become a nun. I did the opposite. At seventeen I married and moved seventy miles away from home. I married a man who soon admitted he was a homosexual. As a result of some page 3 style photographs he had taken of me, I soon met husband number two in very murky circumstances. Having eventually married this man, I quickly became the mother of two small children and lived a life that can only be described as hell. I was afraid for my life constantly and sometimes had police protection, even after he had left me when our second daughter was six weeks old. During the time we were married and afterwards, I was the subject of severe physical, mental and sexual abuse, as was my two year old daughter. I often had to sleep with a knife under my pillow and a wardrobe in front of my bedroom door with the children in my room with me. On one of these particular nights, shaking from head to foot in sheer terror, I prayed to God. Suddenly a bright light flooded the room and a figure I now understand to be Jesus took my hand. Searing heat flooded through my body and a voice told me to be calm and at peace and I soon went to sleep.
The following day when my husband did one of his favourite things to me, picking me up by my chin and dangling me in the air until I thought I would die, I wasn’t scared. I moved away from the area to escape.
I tried to integrate with my new community. One day on a bus, a lady invited me to a Bible Study. I swore and said ‘not likely’. In the end she persuaded me as she said there was a creche. The people I met at CBS Bolsover, just accepted me as I was and loved me and cared about me. During this time I had another failed relationship.
One day I sat in the kitchen with 30 sleeping tablets, deciding to end it all. Again the figure of Jesus came into the room and took my hand. After that all I wanted to do was have the lovely people from CBS in my home, so I kept inviting them all for tea! They kept leaving something behind them that I wanted. It was the fragrance of Jesus.
That Easter I saw a film about the martyrdom of Peter and I invited Jesus into my life. I asked Him to forgive me for all the wrong things I had done and sort me out. He has. I am now married to a man I met at CBS, the son of the lady on the bus. He is now a Methodist Minister in Devon and we serve together there. We have served there five years and have now been called to serve another five. For the past three years Jesus has been speaking to me about starting CBS here on Dartmoor. There are so many people here who need to meet Jesus. Now I know is the right time. At a recent meeting many interested people came to hear about how it could work .When asked who would be interested, they all put their hands up! Although we have chronic illness in our family that we have to cope with on a day to day basis, I know that now is the time and God is going to do wonderful things in this area.
Wendy, CBS Devon
I was born and brought up in South London and lived for many years in the Old Kent Road.
I was the oldest of 4 and at the age of 10 was sent, like many children were, to Sunday School, probably so my parents could have some peace and quiet. Although I didn’t have a Bible we were given memory cards with verses written on. At school I had a wonderful teacher, Miss Hewitt who told us Bible stories. I used to put my head down on the desk and imagine. As I became an adult and started work, depression set in and with it weight gain. One day, walking home from work the thought came to me that it would be so much easier to finish my life and I attempted to walk into the traffic. This being unsuccessful, I tried an overdose, but God had other plans for my life, that I couldn’t imagine then. I then underwent a procedure called a Gastric Partition (stomach staples). After this things went badly wrong, and I had to undergo five more operations including an IJ Bypass, I did eventually lose weight. But I also suffered a heart attack which could have claimed my life. However, God had other plans for me. During one of these procedures, with fourteen days on life support, I realised how close I had been to death on many occasions. Seeing my fellow patient and dear friend die from the same procedure, I promised Jesus that if I lived, I would commit to him. During this time I married Eddie and had two lovely daughters. Having missed out on a proper education, I attended Greenwich College and gained a degree. A couple of years ago I moved to a village just outside London. I was greeted by the Church family there who showed their love to me and I started attending CBS. It was there that I shared my feelings of doubt and inadequacy.
One evening at the class, during the study of Romans 2, a light went on!! Everyone should read it – I understood God’s love for me and I understood that judging other people also
meant judging myself. It is a vicious circle. I received prayer that evening and I praise God for what He has done in my life. My life is different now and I praise God for the blessing I have received and the blessing I can now be to others.
When I started CBS three and a half years ago I was very unsure if I would be able to cope with the study and doing the homework. My friend Gina was moving away and I had depended on her for hearing and interpreting for me. I didn’t know anyone here and at one point I nearly turned and left, but Jane and Nicky encouraged me to stay and give it a try. Now I have more confidence and more friends who are deaf aware.
Since starting CBS my understanding of Jesus has grown, for when we say the Lord’s Prayer, forgive those who trespass against us, I know it means forgive them! It has helped me to move on with things. I feel Jesus has led me to CBS, I also feel CBS has contributed to my confidence growing by encouraging and supporting me when I am troubled and need to talk with someone.
Also I feel Jesus has brought me to teach others to sign with songs of praise and worship. For example, a new vicar of deaf church has been coming and asking me for extra help so she could sign the Holy Communion. With thanks to Jane, she helps me with the classes of singing and signing the worship songs. I feel God is encouraging us all here at CBS. He has a plan for all of us.
Barbara Clarke, Dunholme Day Class, Lincoln
I had been a Christian for about 8 years when I first started going to CBS classes. I had become stagnant in my Christian journey and CBS helped me ask the questions that I had suppressed over the previous years and really delve deeper into what it means to live the Christian life.
After a year or so of studying with CBS, I had very bad health news- doctors told me that an operation to remove a large benign brain tumour would leave me dead or disabled. I then found out what a huge worldwide family I have. As I waited for the operation I received prayer and encouragement from Christians all over the world. When one lady emailed me to say that she had ‘enjoyed’ praying for me, I just knew that everything would be well. I knew that whatever I faced – life, death or disability – God’s joy lay ahead and that this was a time to be still and know Him as my God.
The operation proved to be very simple (the surgeons described this as ‘amazing and inexplicable’) and I am very much alive and kicking!
CBS has helped me understand this amazing experience and I really appreciate the love and support of those lovely strangers whose prayers carried me through this terrible storm.