from Aug 29, 1996 Baptist Press:
Binary code newest dialect of
'Experiencing God' study
By Terri Lackey
[NOTE: Mr. Kennedy's list-serve is no longer
active; this is posted for historical FYI]
NASHVILLE, Tenn. (BP)--"Experiencing God" comes in
many dialects -- Papiamento, Tagalog, mandarin, binary code. The first is spoken in the
Netherlands Antilles; the second on an island in the Philippines, the third in China, and the
fourth in space. Cyberspace, that is.
Taught in at least 30 languages across the world,
"Experiencing God," a 13-week study offering Christians the skills to find God's will for
their lives, transcends time and space beginning Sept. 16. That is the day Christians and
non-Christians alike from America to Zimbabwe will connect via computer and modem to begin
jointly studying the popular course produced by the Baptist Sunday School Board's
discipleship and family development division.
The idea of studying "Experiencing God" via
internet originated with Thomas Kennedy, a native of Canada and resident of Holland, Mich.
When Kennedy's work visa expired before his new one was issued this summer, the computer
consultant found himself with time on his hands.
"God kind of used that time to kick this thing
off," he said of the "Experiencing God" Internet study which will be launched three times a
year in January, May and September "until the people quit subscribing." Kennedy said he
explored several on-line Bible studies recently, but had become disillusioned with them when
the cyber chat about Scripture turned into theological bickering.
"I spent a lot of time on different Christian
computer mailing lists, but it seemed like many of the people on them were just trying to
throw Bible verses back and forth like they knew more about theology than the other person,"
he said. "I thought to myself, 'If I was a non-Christian, I wouldn't want anything to do with
that.' "I was ashamed that we had this incredible technology and it was being used to divide
the body of Christ instead of joining people together to edify him," Kennedy said. Just as he
was tiring of all computer-mediated Bible studies, Kennedy said a friend lent him an
"Experiencing God" workbook. "After the first week, I was so excited about the study that I
wanted to find some other people to study it with me. So I posted an e-mail message asking if
anybody was interested in studying 'Experiencing God' with me. "In the first three days, I
received over 200 messages from all over the world. I was totally overwhelmed by it," he
said. "Tears literally ran down my eyes."
Kennedy said before posting the message asking for
"Experiencing God" study partners, he decided if God gave him 12 people, he would go through
with coordinating the computer study. "I guess I should have been more specific with God and
requested a maximum of 12 people," joked Kennedy who indicated the number of people
interested in the on-line study as of the end of August had reached 600 from 35 countries and
was still rising.
Requirements after joining the study are simple,
Kennedy said. Buy the adult workbook and study a chapter a week -- preferably the same one
everybody else is studying. Those interested in posting comments on the newly created forum
may do so.
"The list will be used for two purposes," Kennedy
said. "One, I'll be sending e-mails to the list, offering food for thought and other ideas
from the teacher's guide. And two, anybody going through a study problem, who doesn't
understand something, or who just wants to issue a praise report can send it through the
list. All e-mails come through me first for approval."
Once participants subscribe to the list, they
receive a return e-mail outlining the rules and regulations, Kennedy said. To join, a person
must send e-mail to "hub@XC.Org" (some people may find it necessary to put
"Internet:" before that address). In the message field, not the subject field, write:
subscribe expgod. Those who choose to be on a digest version of the list should write in the
message field: subscribe expgod-digest. People who subscribe to the digest version of the
study will receive a compilation of e-mail messages a couple of times a week, Kennedy said.
They will not receive mail every time it is sent by a fellow member of the list
In his "welcome" message to new subscribers,
Kennedy gives the price of the notebook (U.S. $10.95 + 2.50 shipping and handling), and where
and how to order it. For those who feel they cannot afford or obtain the book, Kennedy
includes this message: "Note: if you are unable to obtain a book for any reason (country,
financial, etc.) please send an e-mail to "TKennedy@XC.Org" with the subject, Book Needed. Include
information on your address, etc. in the message text. We will do everything we can to get a
book into your hands." In the same welcome message, Kennedy then appeals to sponsors who can
purchase a book for those who are unable to buy one for themselves.
"It is incredible how God works. We receive
e-mails on a daily basis from those who are unable to afford the workbook and from those who
wish to purchase workbooks for others. I have always had enough e-mails come in from sponsors
to cover those in need. It is real neat to see God work in this area." Kennedy said recently
he received an e-mail from a person in the U.S. who wanted to sponsor someone overseas. The
next day he received an e-mail from a lady in Denmark who needed a workbook. "So I connected
the two together," he said. "One thing I've learned is that when you obey, God accomplishes
what only he could do."
***give me your comments about this
check out the Highest
& posted: Sept 2000