This winter at The Cove, women of all walks of life will be filing into the Training Center doors several Tuesday mornings and nights for Bible study. Some will be wearing scrubs, having come from an exhausting day at the hospital. Some will walk in with tired feet from waiting tables that day. Others will come in weary from wrangling young children. Regardless of each woman’s starting point, they all come with the same need: transforming power.
Jane Derrick knows a thing or two about transforming power. Years ago, she was in a state of desperation after learning that her husband had contracted HIV. Not only was she afraid for him, she was afraid for herself.
“The day we found out he was HIV positive, I didn’t yet know my status. Thankfully, God spared me. The virus was something I didn’t have to deal with,” she recalls. “But, in that period of waiting, I was frantic. I have never been so scared in my life.”
In her greatest need, she cried out to God to give her something to which she could cling. She had been a Christian 12 years, but had spent minimal time studying the Bible. Very soon after her plea to God, she was drawn to open His Word. She turned to Psalm 91 and instantly sensed the Lord speaking these words over her:
She who dwells in the shelter of the Most High will abide in the shadow of the Almighty.
In that moment, the Word of God became very real to her. For the past 14 years at The Cove, she has been helping other women experience the same realness of the Scriptures.
The telephone call first came in September 1996 from Scott Holmquist, Director of The Cove. She had been involved with Bible Study Fellowship as an assistant teacher and was volunteering at The Cove’s Chatlos Memorial Chapel.
He said they would like for her to pray about being a teacher for the women’s Bible study. She was flabbergasted and told him she didn’t think she was a good teacher. But he asked her to pray about it, and her heart began to move.
Just as Derrick has experienced the transforming power of love, she will be teaching other women about this over the next several weeks through the gospel of Mark. The Bible study series is aptly titled The Transforming Power of Love.
She believes that if examined even deeper, it really is the transforming power of the Gospel, which is how God expresses His love for us. “We think we know everything we need to change about our lives. We say we’re going to make resolutions, and before you know it, we’re falling back into old sin patterns, wrong attitudes, and getting angry when life doesn’t work out the way we want,” she explains.
Derrick also enjoys the fellowship aspect of the Bible study. Getting together with other women with a common goal of growing in Christ strengthens her faith. “I love what God does with a group of women who gather together to grow in Christ. There’s something that goes on where the Spirit is uniting the hearts of the women in Christ,” she said.
Kendra Graham feels the same way. Several years ago as a new wife, she began a Bible study journey that revolutionized her personal time in God’s word. And she did this through getting together with other women–women who were part of the family into which she had married.
As the wife of Will Graham, son of Franklin Graham (and assistant director of The Cove), she began meeting regularly with Will’s aunt, Anne Graham Lotz, and his cousin, Rachel Ruth. Together, these Graham women examined three questions about the Scriptures they were studying:
- What does it say?
- What does it mean?
- What does it mean in my life?
That’s where Bible study became a daily seeking process for Graham. “I was so stuck on doing devotionals and Bible studies where there was a ‘right answer.’ Anne just kept telling me to trust the Holy Spirit for my answers,” she remembers.
Things started to change for her as she would take a verse out of the Bible, write down facts and ponder it. It would often take days to get a lesson out of one verse, but when God revealed it to her, it was personal. She wants every woman who attends her Bible study, How to Study Your Bible, to have the same experience with this very personal God through His Word.
“So often, we just get used to listening to what God has told other people. Before I examined Scripture in this light, it was easy to trust ‘Kay Arthur’s Holy Spirit’ or John MacArthur’s Holy Sprit,’ but the God of the universe speaks directly to everyone, if they have ears to hear,” she explained.
“We can learn from these people and we can still be sharpened. But my lesson is something God has for me. He is a personal God.”
In keeping with Billy and Ruth Graham’s dream for The Cove–to be a place where people could leave the demands of daily life, come to study God’s Word, and be trained to reach the lost for Christ–Graham says there are no bells and whistles, no production and no praise band. Just the Word of God.
For her, that is the joy of Bible study, and it is the same for Derrick.
“I love being there with those women and telling them that God is real, Christ has come, this Word is true, these promises are for us, and I know because I’ve tasted it for myself. That’s the real joy of Bible study,” Derrick said.
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