Tuesday, May 10, 2011

D-Group Info

Many of you have been asking questions about D-Group, so I decided to put a lot of information here in one place, where I can direct people to it easily. If you're a regular blog reader and you have no interest in this, carry on...

"D-Group" = Discipleship Group. It's like a Bible study, but more intense. Through trial and error, this is how we've found things work best for us.

We meet weekly. You're expected to do the work (either a book/study we're doing or a sermon series we are listening to) on your own time and show up weekly to discuss it. You should make this a primary commitment on the night of the week that you're attending. We expect that you'll show up prepared, and we promise that you'll leave challenged and encouraged. :)

You'll be expected to honor this commitment throughout the duration of the study (usually 6-10 weeks). We believe that every person in your life will benefit from your commitment to know God more fully, so we ask you to respect your commitment not only to God and to the group, but to everyone in your life, and attend weekly. If you're sick or out of town, we understand. But if you're just tired or make other plans, that's not cool.

We close the group during the course of each study, so new members have to join during Interim Week (explained below). We cap the group at 12 people. Anything bigger is too large for the intimacy we desire, and usually takes more time than the schedule allows. It's also a good excuse to branch off into another group and train new leadership so we can further our discipleship influence.

D-Group lasts 2 hours, and here's what the general format looks like. In this example, D-Group starts at 7pm, although the groups vary in start time (see below).

6:55pm - Arrive, say hello, etc.
7pm - Turn off your phone, grab a seat. It's go time.
- Opening prayer
- Individually say memory verses from previous week; we memorize a verse each week
7:15pm - Break off into prayer partners. We keep the same prayer partners throughout the duration of each study.
- Confess / Accountability
- Praise
- Prayer Requests
- No gossip or slander. You will be shut down immediately.
- Each person prays aloud for their partner.
7:45pm - Discussion time
- Gather into main meeting area again.
- Discuss the study or sermon series.
- Please contribute whatever insights, questions, or highlights you encountered. We encourage everyone to contribute.
8:35pm - Weekly Challenge
- Share the results of the previous week's challenge. Any interesting stories?
- Then I will share (via video, unless you're in one of the groups I lead) a practical challenge for us to grow deeper.
8:55pm - Closing Prayer
9pm - Group ends

Interim Week is the week between studies / semesters / sessions (we use these words interchangeably). During this week, we usually have a potluck dinner party, go out to dinner, go bowling, etc. This is our chance to celebrate what God has done during the past study while welcoming new members for the upcoming study! If you're interested in joining D-Group, Interim Week will be the first thing you attend. Then, your personal study (at home) will begin the next day, and the following week we will discuss Week 1 of the study.

Sometimes we hang out during the week... that's up to each individual group. Feel free to plan something for your group! This is how we really come to bond as a group over time. It also helps us to be involved with each other to the degree that we don't waste prayer time "catching up", because we're already caught up. We want this to be a true community. It doesn't mean you'll be best friends with everyone right off the bat, but if you put in the time, pray for the people in your group, and show up... it will naturally evolve into more meaningful relationships.

There are only three requirements for joining a D-Group. You must be:

1. Christian
2. Committed
3. Teachable

We have D-Groups for women only, men only, and coed married couples. If you're interested in joining one of our groups, contact me: tlc [at] taraleighcobble [dot] com

I really hope you'll join us!

Grace & Peace,

Sunday, May 08, 2011


A friend wrote a blog post recently about the discipline of celebration, the beauty of choosing to revel in the days that are camel-colored, instead of just the saffron or sky-blue colored days.

My mother excels at this, and it is one of the things she labored to impart to me. She wanted me to know this more than how to fold a fitted sheet or iron a collar. And only once did she throw spaghetti through the air and make it stick to the cupboard in an effort to to teach me the finer points of pasta. But almost daily, she displayed life like an easel and pointed out the beautiful shades and textures hiding in the shadows of the trees.

She guided me through life like a docent, the world her museum of wonder. She is the curator of appreciation itself.

Tonight I raise my glass to Mom and to all the things she would’ve noticed about today: the beam of light across the room as I woke, for the sun on my toes as I sat on my balcony and read my Bible, the freedom of a calling that allows me space and silence to study the Word, for the girls I meet with weekly who enrich my life with aspects of His character to admire and worship in Him, for the way it feels to have my whole body exhausted after cleaning up from a 5-hour party.

These are all easy places to find beauty. But I’m just a novice at this. My mother could look at a trash can and appreciate its form and usefulness.

These are willful choices she makes in the midst of a flurry of family members, phone calls, sharpening chainsaw blades, shampooing hair, mowing the lawn, singing in the church choir, visiting friends who are shut-in at their homes, making up games with her grandchildren, feeding the horses, making the perfect crumbly-sweet cornbread, and calling the only one of her children who lives far away.

It takes effort and wisdom to see the reality of things but find hope and joy in the midst of it. It’s more fun to be blissfully unaware. It’s easier to be cynical and dismissive. But the strength to look at someone who is hurting you and say, “I believe in you” … that is my mother’s strength, come down from the Father. I pray it lands on me and I never recover.

Monday, May 02, 2011

Why Me?

This is on the inside cover of my Bible. I taped these pictures there in late September 2001. I've been praying for them both since then (and Obama, as well).

Last night when I heard the news my initial response shocked me. My heart felt so, so sad. For nearly a decade, I've been praying that God would draw Osama bin Laden's heart to His, that He would redeem this story in the way He redeemed Saul's life on the road to Damascus.

I was heartbroken, because my prayers engaged my heart toward this man, who is one of my enemies in a very literal sense. God's love is powerful. It changed my heart toward Osama.

So I'm left with one main question now: Why me?

Why me? Another day that I get to live and know and love Him. Another day that He hasn't killed me. Another day spared and blessed, undeserving. I've been so humbled by bin Laden's death. It awakens the reality that I deserve the exact same penalty. Yet Christ decided to spare me. I am truly baffled and so grateful.

I can't say how others should feel or respond. I can only tell you how I feel: It has humbled me, fixed my eyes on Christ, and I worship. Not because bin Laden died, but because bin Laden's death has reminded me that Christ died for sinners like me.