It is important for me, personally, to soak in the encouragement that is in Scripture through community because I can’t do it on my own! One of the ways I get this spiritual nourishment is by participating in a Christian men’s Bible study group at Cornerstone Community Church in Joppa, Maryland. Before COVID-19, we met at Panera Bread in Abingdon, Maryland, but now we meet virtually online through Zoom. The men’s Bible study group I am a part of is currently going through the Old Testament. We started in Genesis three years ago and now are halfway through Exodus. You can see how in-depth we study Scripture!
When I was a young boy, a mentor of mine shared that the Bible stood for “Basic Information Before Leaving Earth.” In the moment, I found this mnemonic device to be profound. I knew the Bible spoke about heaven and hell, this character named Jesus (who loves me very much), and it probably would tell me things that I need to know in order to have a “good after-life.” But as I grew in maturity and understanding of the Bible, I found that this Book is considerably more than just “basic information.” This Book gives life. It speaks truth into my soul. It gives me hope when I’m hopeless. It is the greatest redemption story in the history of humankind.
The Bible shares the story of a chosen group of people who would journey with God. This group learns that they are ultimately inadequate and fall short of the glory of God. So, God responds by sending His own Son as payment for our sins. Now we can have a relationship with God by accepting Jesus Christ as our Savior. After accepting Christ, God challenges us to grow in our relationship with Him; both independently and in community. We need community to do life with that will encourage, pray for, serve, and share wisdom with one another. Community is where we see a small glimpse of the communion with God we will have in Heaven.
During the men’s Bible study group we make time for Christian fellowship and can share praises and struggles we are experiencing in life. This group of men has been a huge support for me in my marriage, struggle with infertility, and other various trials I have experienced in the last several years. Proverbs 27:17 says, “Iron sharpens iron, and one man sharpens another.” Because of these men in my life, I am sharper and encouraged to walk faithfully with Christ. I have been blessed to go through life with these brothers.
Just last week we were discussing the 3rd Commandment, “you shall not take the name of the Lord your God in vain.” During our discussion we shared how this is so much more than just “not cursing”, but rather how we should regard the name of God in high esteem and worship Him with all our hearts. Imagine how hurt you would be if someone called your integrity into question. Now, imagine God who possesses perfect, untarnished integrity, and who is the only source for eternal salvation. Anyone who would attempt to discredit God by speaking lies or speaking ill of Him would be calling into question this untarnished integrity. Therefore, the third Commandment teaches us to honor and revere and fear the Lord because He is worthy of it. Through talking with the men in the Bible study group, we were able to come to a deeper understanding of what this Commandment means in our daily lives.
Cornerstone Community Church has three men’s Bible study groups that meet throughout Harford County, or in a virtual online format depending on the comfortability of the group. One meets in Abingdon, Maryland, on Thursdays from 6:30-8:30 pm. The second meets in Fallston, Maryland, Friday morning from 6:45-8. The last group meets in Abingdon, Maryland, on Saturdays from 7-8:30 am. If you are interested in joining a group you can complete this short form to receive more information https://cornerstonejoppa.org/community-groups/. As a believer, it is crucial to be in a fellowship community where you can discuss God’s Word and experience the joys and growth to be found in Scripture.