Our House Church Groups begin on Monday, February 27. The readings for each week are listed below. Feel free to add comments and insights to the page. Enjoy the book and your groups! If you are looking for a group contact the church office at (413) 584-9392 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Week 1 - Feb. 27 Introduction through Chapter 2 (A Deeper Loyalty) p. 1-49 [...]
“The Great Spiritual Migration: How the World’s Largest Religion is Seeking a Better Way to be Christian” By Brian McLaren Inviting all believers, questioners and questioning believers to a rich faith discussion! First Churches will begin home reflection groups for the Lenten Season beginning on the week of Monday, February 27 and continuing for 6 weeks until Holy Week and Easter in mid-April. Groups will meet weekly, and we hope to offer 4-5 different times and locations in the day and evening. Sign ups will begin as soon as we set the sites and dates. (Please contact email@example.com if you are willing to be a group facilitator or willing to host a group in your home. You don't have to do both!) Books will be on sale at the church starting Sunday, February 5 at a cost of $15. Here [...]
Monday noon Bible Study resumes on Monday, September 12 in the Church Parlor. For the first few weeks we will explore the lectionary scriptures for the coming Sunday. Each week the lectionary focuses on four texts, a Psalm, and one reading from the Old and New Testaments and an Epistle. The group is discussion and real life oriented, and we finish at 1 PM for those who need to get back to work. You are welcome any Monday! Click here for the weekly Revised Common Lectionary readings.
BIBLE STUDY "The Book of Comfort” Monday Lunchtime Bible Study, The lunchtime Bible Study group will be starting a new phase April in our study of the prophet Isaiah. After weeks looking at the strong justice message of strong oracles by the prophet, the second part of Isaiah turns to the promises and hopes as people long to escape exile in Babylon. Some of our best hymns and images of faith come from the following list of passages: Isaiah 40: Comfort, Comfort, O My People… Prepare the Way in the Desert… Eagles Wings Isaiah 43: Behold, I am doing a new thing Isaiah 53: The suffering servant.. a man of sorrows, oppressed and afflicted Isaiah 55: Come all who are thirsty Isaiah 60: Arise, shine for your light has come Isaiah 61: Good news to the poor, the year of Jubilee [...]
“The lion and the lamb shall lie down together…Your swords and shields shall be beaten into plowshares and pruning hooks…God will raise you up on Eagles’ wings…” The book of Isaiah stirs the imagination and hope for a better world. Jesus quoted more from Isaiah than anywhere else in the Bible. There are 37 hymns that refer to Isaiah in our hymnal. “Comfort, Comfort, O My People…Prepare the Way…Holy, Holy, Holy, Lord God Almighty…Here I Am Lord…Eagles’ Wings…” Our Monday Noon Bible Study will explore these writings in depth, searching for meaning in the historical context as well as modern relevance. Join us in Pastor Todd’s study starting January 11th. We meet weekly except for holidays.
Week of November 9 - Read Chapters on Roots and Home, pages 133-193 Roots How important are your genealogical roots to your sense of well being (on a 1-10 scale)? Identify one important way that your roots matter to you. DBB writes, “[We] have forgotten who we are and where we came from. We are nomads in time….So we go about as historical nomads, picking up random names, dates, bits of odd information, souvenirs of the past. But the big picture is gone, save what we reassemble.” (p. 141-142) How true is this and what is the spiritual impact of being nomads? What is the role of church in a nomad society? What importance are the genealogies in the Bible? What most surprised you about biblical genealogies? In what ways to our personal and Biblical [...]
Week of November 2 Read Chapter on Sky, pages 97-126 in "Grounded" by Diana Butler Bass We are beginning Week 3 of our House Church groups on Monday, November 2. Use the questions below to stimulate your thoughts and discussions. If you missed a group meeting, remember you can always catch up on Sundays at 11:30 in Pastor Todd's Study. Copies of the book are still available for $20 from the church office. Are you a “star gazer” who stays up to see celestial events like eclipses or meteor showers? Describe an event that impacted you and why it was meaningful. Jesuit scientist, Pierre Teilhard de Chardin suggested that the cosmos is unfolding in a spiritually purposeful way, toward a human awakening. (p. 107) Discuss the merits of this idea. In what ways might it be true, or what situations [...]
Week of October 19 - Read pages 1-30 for first meeting The beginning of the chapter quotes Wendell Berry, "What we need is here." Reflect on how this sets the tone for the opening of the book. Why does Bass believe this? Bass's central question in the book is "Where is God?" Reflect on where God is from your view. What unresolved thoughts or feelings do you have about where God is? Discuss your views on the phrase "God with us" or "God within us." How does a "God with us" faith impact your daily life? Are there ways you like a God who is in heaven, and separate from human affairs? On page 19, Bass writes, "Separating the material from the spiritual is, perhaps, one of the saddest philosophical missteps of Western culture." In what ways to you agree [...]
Reading Assignments for "Grounded" by Diana Butler Bass Week of October 19 - Read pages 1-30 for first meeting Week of October 26 - Read Chapters on Dirt and Water, pages 31-96 Week of November 2 - Read Chapter on Sky, pages 97-126 Week of November 9 - Read Chapters on Roots and Home, pages 133-193 Week of November 16 - Read Chapters on Neighborhood and Commons, pages 193-266
“How to Read the Bible with All Your Mind, Heart and Soul” There is no one way to read the Bible, and it is best to read it several different ways. When I preach, I often use four different ways of reading scriptures to open different levels of meaning. We will explore together the follow four ways for a week each: Reading the Bible as literature helps us remember that there is a story behind the story. Jesus doesn’t just show up from nowhere and start preaching. The Gospels come from a rich matrix of tradition, including Moses and the Exodus, the prophets, and exile and conquest of Israel and Judah. Reading a text out of context limits the possibilities. Knowing some historical context and basic timeline helps in this process. The Bible is not just full of [...]