Monday, May 1, 2023

Renewed by Michelle Rayburn


"Renewed" is the first of four Bible Studies within the "Remade Series" written by Michelle Rayburn. An experienced author, speaker, and home decorator, Michelle loves sharing about the ways that God can repurpose our life into something beautiful. Her graphic design talents are on full display as each book in the series is a portion of one large image. 

The beautiful cover is a foretaste of the gorgeous interior awaiting the reader. I love the size of the book: 7.5 inches by a bit more than 9 inches.  Not too large to be cumbersome but not so compact that you struggle to read (helpful for aging eyes!). The floral theme is carried throughout the interior in black and white (just begging to be colored in!). 

The "Re-" theme is carried out in the 6 weeks of the study covering the following topics:
  1. Redeem
  2. Restart
  3. Repurpose
  4. Revise
  5. Rejoice
  6. Repeat
The author offers a helpful "Welcome" section explaining the series, an explanation of the Bible translation used, as well as notes for both leaders and participants. I love the flexibility to do the study either within a group setting or as an individual. Michelle offers a detailed description of the format for each week within the study which includes:
  • First Thoughts (offers an opening reflection)
  • Story (relates an everyday experience to the truth of the chapter)
  • Prayer (offers suggestion for a time of prayer)
  • Explore the Word (digging into the meat of the lesson)
  • Prayer Journal (space to write out prayers and help guide corporate prayer when doing as group) 
  • Micro Studies (daily lessons used to reinforce the week's theme)
  • Hope in Action (creative ways to apply the lesson content)
Each page has extra-wide margins to allow ample note-taking space throughout the book. Michelle also uses the margins to sprinkle in notes about historical context, vocabulary, or explanatory notes about verses. These "extras" are optional; they offer an interesting supplement to the lesson for those who like to dig deeper.

The content of the study offers a relatable, down-to-earth study that allows women to share at whatever level they feel comfortable. I like that the study is designed so that anyone can facilitate. Groups may even want to share the duties of the facilitator. It's a study that seeks to draw women to one another as everyone learns together (so not a lot of advance preparation for the facilitator).  This study has something for everyone: great biblical insights for academics, stories from the trenches for those needing encouragement, lots of journaling space for those who learn by writing, and of course graphics to color in for the art enthusiast. 

Readers will be challenged, encouraged, and inspired to draw closer to the Lord and have their faith renewed. The daily assignments are a manageable length so that you can spend time really thinking through the questions and the Scripture verses without feeling rushed to get through too much material. And there are 5 days worth allowing flexibility when you have a super busy day. 

I have done two other studies by Michelle Rayburn--one with a group of women. We all loved her writing. Michelle brings out wonderful insights and sprinkles in humor while being transparent about her own struggles. Her studies make you feel like you are sitting down for a good chat over coffee in her home.  I highly recommend "Renewed" and look forward to the next 3 in the series!   

Check out the author's website for a sample chapter of Book 1 and to learn more about the series. When you sign up for updates (which include release dates for upcoming studies), you'll receive a free graphic image download with a verse that is suitable for framing. Grab your copy at Amazon (that's an affiliate link--adds no cost to you) and invite some friends to be renewed with you. 

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