40 days

by Laura Forman

Rarely do we participate in something together, everyone as an entire church community. Sure, most of us come to services weekly. Outside of Sunday mornings, are we ever truly on the same page? The answer is yes — if you’re in an Immanuel small group!

40 Days in the Word, a devotional method of Bible Study by Rick Warren, has inspired new ways of reading, interpreting and applying God’s words.

We all come to the Bible with our needs, and Joan Boyce is no exception. She has two grandchildren, ages 4 and 7, battling Sanfilippo syndrome- a rare, progressive and fatal disease. The experience has focused Joan on the power of God’s word, prayer and Bible study.

“God has used my grandbabies to literally re-align my thinking of who God is through his word,” Joan explained. “I’ve been in the word for many years; I found for me this (40 Days) was a refresher course, helping reestablish new ways of looking at the word and how it can be applied. It’s like fresh, cool water I’m taking in.”

Joan describes her experience in 40 Days as “wonderful”.

As part of the study, each group must plan and complete a “Micah 6:8” service project.

No, O people, the Lord has told you what is good,
and this is what he requires of you:
to do what is right, to love mercy,
and to walk humbly with your God.  Micah 6:8 (NLT)

Immanuel staff member Hyacynth Worth and husband John are in the process of preparing to adopt an older orphaned child from Eastern Europe. Having hosted her over Christmas, with the help of New Horizons, they shared their adoption dream with their small group.

“They were so giddy when talking about it, like a young person talking about a first love,” group member Chesney Leafblad said.

When it came time to decide on a service project, the Worths were unable to attend.

“We were throwing around a couple of ideas, but they were uninspired. None of them were perfect. All of a sudden we started talking about them (the Worth family) and the journey they embarked on,” Chesney shared.

The group deliberated and asked, “Why don’t we have an event to help them fund their journey? Perfect, we thought, it was exactly what we wanted to do”.

Chesney believes, “It’s about seeking out opportunities to serve- instead of it falling into your path- sometimes you have to be proactive to find ways to serve. It may be totally different than anything you’ve ever done.”

Love Walks: Mile for Mile will take place in May. The walkathon and bake sale will be kid-friendly, as the group has a combined sixteen children. With a goal of raising  $10,000 toward adoption fees, the group believes in doing their best and “letting God take care of the rest.”

Trusting God means trusting his Word; loving God means loving his Word.

Bible Professor and Immanuel member Michael Vanlaningham, writing from Israel, sums it up well:

“We must be people of the Word. How can we hope to remain confident in God during hardships if we do not know His power and goodness? How can we avoid moral and spiritual mistakes and foolish, sinful decisions unless we know what they are? The Word of God is sufficient for us to know God and enjoy Him forever.”


Hear more stories from our church-wide study of 40 Days in the Word during service on Celebration Sunday, March 23. If you missed it, learn about 40 Days in the Word here.

100_1824Laura Forman loves Jesus. She is married to David and they live in Gurnee with their five children. Working as both a personal trainer and a freelance writer, she can be found at church or www.lauralisaforman.com.

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