Newly inspired: Liz reflects on writing our new Lent Study Guide

Liz Baddaley, our Church Engagement Manager, has been writing Embrace’s Lent Study Guides for several years. Here, she explains why our new resource for Lent 2019 was extra special to prepare…

Creating our study guides is always a treat because it involves weaving together inspirational Bible study, transformational stories from our Christian partners in the Middle East, and moving ways to reflect, pray and act in response to both.

But working on Living fruitfully was extra special.

Studying its theme was of huge personal benefit to me and the journey it started makes me really want to encourage you and others in your church to use Living fruitfully to explore growing in Christ-like character too.

At Embrace we are inspired time and again by the individuals leading our partner organisations.

The way they reflect traits of Jesus’ character in who they are and how they interact with other people, as well as through the work they do to help some of the most vulnerable people in the Middle East today, is eye-opening.

That’s why we were so hard pressed to choose just six of them to share with you in this year’s Lent Study Guide!

But it’s been a real privilege to celebrate, and learn from, some of the Christ-like people who lead the projects you support in the Middle East. And I highly recommend the chance to reflect on their example to you too.

Digging deeper again into the key passages in the epistles about growing in Christ-likeness has also proved to be a deeply rich experience; especially as I spent time exploring in more detail the emphasis Paul, in particular, was seeking to bring to the process of character growth and resulting transformation.

And, of course, I was led back to the gospels again and again, to study and worship the ultimate source of inspiration for Christians in the UK and the Middle East alike; Jesus himself. As always, fresh reflections on his character were more than inspirational – they were life-changing.

Each of the six sessions in the Lent Study Guide provides really valuable resources for Bible study and reflection, inspiration in the form of a story about one of our partners, and a spread of creative ideas to respond in prayer (using liturgy or symbols) and action.

Every week also includes an Inspired by the Vine meditation, which builds on the Bible study to reflect on a different aspect of Jesus’ character. I particularly enjoyed pulling these elements together. And I think they, and some of the other distinct elements from the guide (such as the partner story or prayers) would also work really well as a series to explore including in each of your church services during Lent, or sharing through your church magazine or email list.

Living fruitfully is just £1.50 for a single copy, or £6 for a pack of six A4 booklets, it’s an affordable resource to buy for each member of your small group or church, as well as for individual use – with the profits benefiting our Christian partners in the Middle East too.

You can order your print copies from our webshop or call 01227 811646. Or, download FREE printable versions of the guide to use.

However you or your church choose to use Living fruitfully this Lent, we at Embrace will pray you’ll be as encouraged by its focus as I have been.

And that it provides valuable inspiration to many more of us as we seek to grow further in Christ-like character this Lent and beyond – for the sake of all we are called to do together in the Middle East and here, and for the One who inspires it all.

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