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Give them Context. Give them a Whole Book Retreat.
Devote your next women's retreat to a whole book of the Bible. Part 1 of a 3-part series.
What’s going on in this picture? There I am in the 7th grade, running with the big boys - maybe even about to pass them. You could preach a whole word about persistence, training and running to gain the prize. (1 Corinthians 9:24).
But you would be dead wrong. I hated track. All I ever did was walk the outer lanes looking for my mom, or fake my period to get out of it. On this day circa 1987, I ran such a slow, dreamy mile they had to start the next race before I finished. I didn’t even notice I was being lapped.
Without knowing what came before and after this snapshot, you’d have no idea what it really means. Only the context reveals its truth. So when it comes to women’s Bible studies, why is the word of God so randomly cropped? From coffee mugs to calendars, whole generations are being taught to zoom in on whatever catches their eye; never mind the surroundings.
This practice is dangerous. I was once exhorted to drive over a snowy mountain pass closed to traffic, by women repeatedly texting me Psalm 121. (“I lift my eyes to the hills. Where does my help come from? My help comes from the Lord…”) I’ve sat with many who have left Christian fellowship altogether, buried under isolated commands (“God hates divorce!”) or wounded by platitudes during horrific times of grief (“all things work together for good!”). This is to say nothing of the occult teachings and immoral counsel that poison the spiritually hungry, or the fact that some parts of the Bible are just kind of boring if you can’t really see why they are there.
A whole book retreat is the perfect way to bring some context back. All the teaching, discussion and worship times can revolve around a single book’s central themes, arguments and plot lines. Each session builds naturally on the one before it. And since many books of the Bible take only about 15 minutes to read, even your busiest participants can read your chosen material once through before they arrive. By the end of the weekend, they will know where the snapshots fit, and know what’s really going on in the picture. One good reason to consider a whole book retreat.
Looking for a speaker? I’d love to hear from you.