After Stuck and Anything I knew that I wouldn’t embark on Chase without facing conviction. Jennie Allen has a way of hitting you right between the eyes with truth. The truth of our sin nature, the truth about the allure of the world we live in, and the truth about what it takes to be whole-heartedly in love with our Savior.
It took her exactly one chapter to tug my heartstrings by stating: what we love determines how we live. I read this line on a plane on my way to Togo in West Africa where I was headed on a short-term missions trip. As good as that may sound, to you, I knew my life still wasn’t reflecting what I so desperately wanted my love to show. Jennie says in her video intro to the study she says that she use to care more about people thinking she loved God then actually knowing and loving Him.
I was still clinging to too much me. Still within that first chapter she writes, ‘self esteem dies hard, especially for those of us who stand on a great performance. The work of Christ steals all shame but it also steals all of our pride’. Pride. If wanted to Chase after the heart of God I was going to have to sacrifice my pride. I was going to have to crush the image I’ve controlled, let go of my death grip on my earthly desires, and say simply: here I am Lord.
As I continued the study I knew that Jennie understood what we’re up against as Christian women. What keeps us from chasing after the heart of God? Fear. The fear of what that life would look like. Of the sacrifices it might require.
Chase is rooted in the story of David. If you’ve read about David in the bible you know that he made some huge mistakes. Murder and adultery for starters but he is also the one and only person the bible ever says the Lord called ‘a man after my own heart’. You need only to spend some time reading David’s psalms to know he was in passionate pursuit of the Lord’s heart.
In chapter three of the Chase study, the chapter on obedience Allen writes, ‘ as my view of Him grew, my trust in Him grew and my obedience to Him grew, not out of fear but because I wanted Him more than my own way’. This. This is what that tired, filthy mini-missionary in Africa wanted. I found that as I read Allen’s study I was desperate to want His way more than my own.
Each of Allen’s studies have challenged me, grown me, and pushed me out of being comfortable in my Christian existence and for that I’m grateful. Each study has had a profound effect on my faith walk and each has come to me at the perfect time. As I find that I am at the strongest my faith has ever been I am also realizing that I’ve reached the point in my walk with the Lord where I have to jump off the cliff into full surrender.
Allen’s Chase study includes a DVD with lessons for you and your group to watch weekly – a great feature for in-home bible studies. I love her honesty. I love how real she is. Most of all I appreciate how relatable she is in each video. The package also comes with a leaders guide, a member book, and my favorite feature – discussion cards. The kid has a box labeled ask and each week as a set of cards you’re to lay out on the table. Each member of your group will either have a key verse to read or a question to ask at the end of the group meeting. It is the perfect way to get everyone in your group involved (as well as relieve some of the pressure off you as a leader).
I highly recommend the Chase study, especially for a group that’s growing and thriving but ready to kick their commitment up a notch. This study challenged me – a bible study leader, a church worker, a long-time Christian and I know it will challenge you and your group. We wake up everyday and we are chasing either something or someone – the one. I hope that many of you will joining in chasing the heart of God even as I will be leading my own small group through this study over the summer.
*Please note: this study was given to me for review but the thoughts are my own honest opinions.