How God Can Change a "No" to a "Yes" to DBS!

Michael never thought Charlie would agree to do a Discovery Bible Study. God proved him wrong.

Michael thought his friend Charlie would never want to do a Discovery Bible Study. In fact, Charlie had given him a straight up "no." However, Michael remained faithful in friendship and prayer for Charlie. Read Michael tell how God changed Charlie's "no" into a "yes!"

Text During Birthday Panic Attack Led to Spiritual Questions

Charlie is someone I’ve been praying for over the last few months. We both started at the same job handling covid tests on the same day back in June of 2020. Since then we’ve had many casual, meaningful, spiritual and even discovery conversations. On Monday morning, I remembered it was Charlie's birthday the day before, so I called him to wish him a happy belated birthday, but he didn’t pick up. A couple hours later, he texted me back saying he had been having an anxiety attack for 10-15 minutes when my phone call came. Charlie hadn’t wanted to answer the phone because he was panicking, but when he saw the prayer emoji next to my name he said he felt a bit better for some reason. He said he started to pray after that and then calmly fell back asleep. A few hours later, I had an opportunity to respond in our text conversation, so I asked him what had made him so anxious. “It’s weird," Charlie replied. "I was hungover so I was feeling really icky, so that had something to do with my anxiety attack. Then the fear of death just popped into my head randomly! That might’ve triggered it. And I’ve also been distancing myself from God and I’m not doing it on purpose, but I need to get back on track.” I asked him if something like this had ever happened before. He reminded me of a time several months ago when we had been working together and he had stopped smoking weed. He had had some episodes from that, but it felt so long ago to him that he didn’t think much of it. About this instance, however, he said, “I honestly just think god’s giving me a reality check.” I asked Charlie what he thought God was trying to say to him. He said, “to get closer to Him for sure,” and added that he maybe also needed to stop drinking for a while and get his life together. I asked him what he thought getting closer to God specifically looked like, to which he responded that he needed to attend his church again, pray daily and read his Bible app at least once a day.

Making A Winsome Invitation to Discovery Bible Study

Then he asked me, “What about you?” I took this to mean, “What do you think it looks like to get closer to God?” So I told that if those were the things he felt God was trying to tell him, then I thought he should listen. I also added that if he was interested in discovering God for himself through reading stories from the Bible, there was this thing called a Discovery Bible Study that I’d be happy to journey with him through. He then asked me to explain a little more of what that looked like. My mind raced faster than my fingers could type the words. I checked and re-checked what I was saying to make sure I wasn’t saying so little that Charlie wouldn’t know what to expect, nor so much that he would run for the hills. In the past, I had told people it would be a 26-week study. Recently, I learned that most human beings find that slightly overwhelming. Instead, I explained the basics of what the DBS was—the different questions we’d ask and answer, and how it would involve him and any friends or family who wanted to join discovering God for themselves through reading Bible stories. I clarified that it wouldn't be me teaching and I told him we could take it one meeting at a time. If he decides he doesn’t want to do it anymore, that’s fine, and if he does want to continue, we’ll make that happen. Then I waited.

God Changed Charlie's "No" to a "Yes"!

Months prior, Charlie had said “no” when I first brought up the idea of doing a DBS. He comes from a family that has some religious background and church experience, but I think much of what he learned has been mingled with various new age beliefs and practices. He had said something similar back then about wanting to read the Bible more. But when I offered up DBS as an idea, he said his spirituality was something he needed to navigate on his own. I now prepared myself for a similar response.

“Yeah,” he said to my surprise, “that sounds cool. You want to try it on Sunday?”

I couldn’t believe it. What had changed in the last seven months to turn what was a hard pass into a “tell me more,” and then a “yes, let’s try it”? But it’s God—of course He could do this!

Overcoming My Inflexibility to Make DBS Happen

Now let me tell you how I almost ruined it. Sundays are pretty crammed for me. They’re my one day off from work when my family and I have church in the morning, our DMC meets in the afternoon, and we host people in the evening. At first, I asked Charlie if there was another day that might work, still keeping Sundays open, but hoping for something a little less packed. When he responded that he would get back to me later in the week, I had a non-prophetic vision of a dismal future where either one or both of us didn’t follow up and the idea of a DBS puttered out and died. I thought to myself, "there’s no way I’m letting this opportunity slip by because I'm inflexible," so we decided right then and there that we'd have our first DBS meeting this Sunday. I asked Charlie if he could think of anyone else who might be interested in joining us. He said he could ask a few friends and see what they say, but that he had a feeling he knew what the answer would be—“no”. I pointed out it’s possible that his friends may have had a similar fear-of-death experience and just haven’t had anyone to talk to about it. I encouraged him to reach out and see what happens, which he said he’d do! And that is where we’re at. You guys, I’m so excited! I called my mom, I called Paul, I called Rebecca, and now I’m sharing with you all. God is amazing and is on the move! He is at work even in the life of my friend Charlie, who I figured would never want to do a DBS because he had told me so. But God has used the last year and a half to do work in both of us to bring us to this point, and I can’t wait to see what He’ll do next!

Pray for Charlie and This Potential Discovery Group

That said, we need lots of prayer. Please pray for Charlie this week and for our time together this Sunday—that the enemy wouldn’t be able to disrupt or interfere with this study happening and that Charlie would have the courage to ask other non-believers in his life if they want to join (and that they would!). Pray that the Lord would work in the hearts of Charlie and anyone else He draws so that this study would continue for weeks and months to come. Pray Charlie and his unbelieving friends and family transformed by the Holy Spirit and born again. Thank you so much for your prayers and for reading this far! Blessed be the name of the Lord!


 

Lessons Learned

Real friendship is crucial. This whole situation took place because Michael remembered Charlie's birthday. It's the little things that lead to big things. Don't make someone commit to a 26-week study when inviting them to a DBS. That can be overwhelming even for Christians. Take it one week at a time. If a DBS is really ministering to someone's heart, they'll want to meet again for DBS. That being said, let potential DBS participants know what they're getting into upfront like Michael did. Without over-explaining, tell them you're inviting them to study God's Word, obey it, share it, and invite others into it. Setting expectations early helps solidify the DNA of a group and avoids investing in people who ultimately won't be interested. Finally, God is able to change any "no" to a "yes"! What does it take? What we saw in Michael's story—faithful obedience and persistent prayer.


 

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