Wednesday, March 3, 2010

A Morning T.R.I.P. through the Bible

I have a confession to make. Occasionally, I show up to our morning Bud’s Warehouse Bible study and I have no idea what I am going to talk about with the group. I used to feel guilty about my lack of preparation, but over the years, I’ve come to really trust God to show up in places where I leave space for him.

So some mornings, I ask the group for topic recommendations. Inevitably, we find ourselves in a rich discussion about some passage extra relevant to our lives.

Other days, I rely on the Moravian Daily Texts for leading us into a Spirit-filled discussion about a particular Bible verse. For the last 280 years, the Moravian church has been publishing world-wide a Bible verse specially selected for each day. (You can subscribe for a free Daily Text email here.) There is something extra-rewarding about examining the same verse as many thousands of Christians are doing throughout the world. (I also enjoy the fact that the Moravians were the first pioneers of the Business as Mission movement.)

Over the last 10 years, I treasure times together using the T.R.I.P. method to uncover what God is speaking through the Daily Text. T.R.I.P., as I’ve come to use it, stands for thanksgiving, regret, intercession and purpose. In our group setting, we take turns exploring how the individual Bible verse makes us thankful. Then we discuss what we regret from the verse followed by what we would pray in light of the text. Finally, we share our purpose for the day arising from the verse.

For instance, today’s Daily Text verse comes from God’s conversation with Moses in Exodus 33:14: “The Lord said, ‘My presence will go with you, and I will give you rest.’ God is promising to journey with Moses as he leads the Israelites towards the Promised Land.

A trip discussion might find people sharing that they are thankful that God is a God who travels with us through life. In the next stage of the discussion, someone might share that he regrets the times he forgot God was with him in prison. During the prayer segment, one individual might talk about how they wished their wife would come to trust in God’s care. The final stage finds the group discussing how they are going to be conscious about God being with them throughout the day.

What I value so much about a T.R.I.P. study around the Daily Text is the group dynamic of exploring the meaning around a particular verse. Too often, Bible studies can turn into a one-way conversation between the leader and participants. A T.R.I.P. study transforms the conversation into a group discussion with all members listening for God’s voice and then sharing it with the group as a whole.

I walk away from such a Bible study richly blessed by the insight of others.

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