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by Marvin Anthony Moss

Most new leaders hear the same phrase in some form: "This is the way we do it here." Resistance to change is common, and it is deadly to new church leadership. Leadership transition is a critical point for the church and its new leader. Incoming leaders need a realistic perspective and practical ideas, whether their successor was long-term or interim, highly effective or dysfunctional, beloved or unpopular. The author writes from personal experience: He helped transform a small, dying congregation, and later transitioned into leadership at a nationally recognized, historic congregation. He draws from these experiences and biblical examples to focus on practical principles, empowering the new leader to build a solid foundation. The Next leader is calm, determined, and effective, no matter who came before.

Finding Bethlehem in the Midst of Bedlam - Youth Study

by James W. Moore

Christmas or confusion, Bethlehem or Bedlam... Which will you choose this year? The truth is, we don't have to choose, because Christmas always happens right in the midst of our confusion. God breaks into our confusion and makes himself known as a human boy. Christmas and confusion--weren't they intimately related at the first Christmas when Jesus was born? Sometimes we forget that. But, that's what this book is about--how Christ breaks into our chaos and confusion and brings Christmas--how Bethlehem always happens in the midst of bedlam. This thematic Advent study for 2013 has five sessions--one for each Sunday of Advent and one for Christmas. Each session is related to the overall theme of the book. This year's theme is Bethlehem or Bedlam? Discussion questions are included.

Finding Bethlehem in the Midst of Bedlam - Adult Study

by James W. Moore

Christmas or confusion, Bethlehem or Bedlam... Which will you choose this year? The truth is, we don't have to choose, because Christmas always happens right in the midst of our confusion. God breaks into our confusion and makes himself known. Christmas and confusion--weren't they intimately related at the first Christmas when Jesus was born? Sometimes we forget that. But, that's what this book is about--how Christ breaks into our chaos and confusion and brings Christmas--how Bethlehem always happens in the midst of bedlam. This thematic Advent study for 2013 has five sessions--one for each Sunday of Advent and one for Christmas. Each session is related to the overall theme of the book and offers an alternative to the lectionary-based Scriptures for the Church seasons. This year's theme is Bethlehem or Bedlam? A reflection is also available at the end of each session.

Bible Lessons for Youth Spring 2013 Leader

by Mary Bernard

Designed to make teaching Bible Lessons for Youth to your youth easy with each session broken up into small segments. The student book is reproduced as the center piece of each session in the leader guide and is surrounded by the minute-by-minute teaching plans printed in the margin. The instructions are provided for student book activities, discussion questions, illustrative games and short drama skits. Complete Scripture texts are printed in all books. (No need to pause while everyone hunts for the appropriate verse.) At anytime during the quarter you can refer back to the convenient Overview section found at the front of the guide and also take a moment to read the "Teaching Tools" article provided at the back of the guide. Don't forget to check out the "Out and About" activity that will allow your students to take what they learn in Sunday school outside the classroom, enhancing their faith journey. <p style="margin: 0in 0in 0pt;">Spring Unit Theme: Hope <p style="margin: 0in 0in 0pt;">Scriptures: <p style="margin: 0in 0in 0pt;">Daniel Luke <p style="margin: 0in 0in 0pt;">Acts <p style="margin: 0in 0in 0pt;">1-2 Peter 1-2 Thessalonians

Adult Bible Studies Teacher Spring 2013

by Von W. Unruh

Developed for use with the student book based on the Uniform Series, this leader resource provides a wealth of information, planning ideas, and lesson guides for each of the 13 lessons in the quarter. This resource includes detailed study of the biblical text, suggestions for developing lessons, teaching options, maps, and charts. It features articles that explore biblical themes related to the passages studied in the lessons. Don't forget to order your student books, which are found in the Related Products Section below. Spring themes: Hope - Beyond the Present Time (Daniel, Luke, Acts, 1, 2 Peter, 1, 2 Thessalonians) <p style="margin: 0in 0in 0pt;"> Learn more about Adult Bible Studies at <a href="http://www.adultbiblestudies.com/">http://www.adultbiblestudies.com/

Adult Bible Studies Student Book Spring 2013 - Regular Print Edition

by J. Ellsworth Kalas

Based on the Uniform Series, this quarterly study presents stimulating lessons that explore the biblical message and how to apply it to daily life. The curriculum helps adults move from a focus on the Word to reflection on personal, family, church, and community concerns. Ideal for a variety of settings, lessons are Bible-based, Christ-focused, and United Methodist - approved curriculum for use in adult Sunday school classes, mid-week Bible study, and small-group studies. Also available in large print and can be found in the Related Product Section below along with the teacher book. <p style="margin: 0in 0in 0pt;">Spring themes: Hope - Beyond the Present Time (Daniel, Luke, Acts, 1, 2 Peter, 1, 2 Thessalonians) <p style="margin: 0in 0in 0pt;"> Learn more about Adult Bible Studies at <a href="http://www.adultbiblestudies.com/">http://www.adultbiblestudies.com/

God's Gift of Life

by Nan Duerling Larry F. Beman

The study for Lent in the Scriptures for the Church Seasons series is based upon the Revised Common Lectionary scriptures for the church year, a three-year cycle that includes readings from the Old Testament, the Gospels, and the Epistles. The study will help Christians understand, appreciate, and participate in meaningful reflection during Lent and in joyous celebration on Easter. The Leader Guide, written by Nan Duerling, is combined with the Student Book allowing more flexibility for leading the study.

He Set His Face to Jerusalem

by Wilke Richard B Trust

Adapting from Luke 9:51, Richard Wilke looks at Jesus' journey to Jerusalem in order to help us think about how we set our faces in life. What are our goals as people of faith? What are we resolute or determined about in our lives? As we "set our faces" to Jerusalem and to the ministry, crucifixion, and resurrection of Jesus, what difference does it make? What does Jesus' determination say to us about our commitments and about our need to grow in love of God and neighborThe 40 days of Lent are ideal to use this study and for readers to set their faces toward Easter. Study includes seven sessions, one for each Sunday in Lent and Easter Sunday. Each session features a Scripture reference, a personal reading, questions for personal reflection or group study, and closing prayer.

My Strength and My Song

by Simon Peter Iredale

Few biblical books so widely and deeply resonate with spiritual pilgrims as the Psalms. Rich in powerful and evocative imagery, reflecting timeless human emotions and experiences ranging from the depths of despair to the highest joy, these ancient writings affirm the eternal truths that God is present, God loves, God cares, and God saves. From the heartfelt cries of individuals and the story of the Israelite nation woven throughout, contemporary readers join the psalmists in seeking and finding the God of hope, comfort, strength, protection, and renewal. Following an introduction, this book guides readers on a year-long journey through the Psalms, offering a personal study/reading for each week. Each reading carefully unpacks the psalm, highlights its key insights, and closes with a reflection and a prayer.

The Jew Named Jesus

by Rebekah Simon-Peter

Author Rebekah Simon-Peter says "Jesus was born a Jew, raised a Jew, lived a Jew, died a Jew, and resurrected a Jew. He was no backsliding Jew, but an observant Jew. He honored and observed the Sabbath and the Jewish holidays. But most of all, he honored and observed the Torah, the Hebrew Bible, or what we call the Old Testament . . . How could he do anything but love his own people? I believe it's important for the church to own that and to claim it proudly. Jesus was Jewish--through and through. Why is that important? I believe how we see, name, and claim Jesus has everything to do with how we see, name, and claim each other." Simon-Peter, an ordained elder in The United Methodist Church, was born and raised a Jew, first Reform, then later Orthodox. She challenges Christians to rethink Jesus' identity as a Jew, and in the process, to consider ways traditional Christian theology has contributed to anti-semitism. How can we continue to heal the breaches between Jews and Christians? How can the biblical texts enrich our understanding of Jesus as a practicing Jew? How can our Christian faith deepen and grow as we consider ways to respect Jesus' identity as a faithful Jew?

Immersion Bible Studies | Apocrypha

by David Desilva

Journey inside the pages of Scripture to meet a personal God who enters individual lives and begins a creative work from the inside out. Shaped with the individual in mind, Immersion encourages simultaneous engagement both with the Word of God and with the God of the Word to become a new creation in Christ Immersion, inspired by a fresh translation--the Common English Bible--stands firmly on Scripture and helps readers explore the emotional, spiritual, and intellectual needs of their personal faith. More importantly, they'll be able to discover God's revelation through readings and reflections.

The Gifted Pastor

by Kenneth H. Carter Jr.

Carter writes a piece which will stir the sympathies of pastors thwarted by their own efforts to emulate a congregation's successful predecessor. Within months, these pastors see little success as fatigue and burn-out set in. All Christians are graced with specific and distinctive spiritual gifts. Too often pastors forget that God has given them particular gifts for ministry. While all pastors must attend to the different tasks of congregational ministry, they need to discover those functions for which they have been particularly gifted. When they begin to make these gifts the focus of their ministry, then deep personal satisfaction and connection with others results. This book is written to help pastors overcome the false belief that if their ministry is to succeed, it must emulate that of a high-profile orator. Carter explains that when we make our distinctive gifts the center of our ministry, we lose the illusion that we are in control, and instead trust that God will complement us with others' gifts to meet the needs of God's people. Key Features: includes a "consumer guide" to spiritual gift inventories; resource lists including retreat centers, congregations, and publications. Key Benefits: Provides pastors a biblical/theological framework for understanding ministerial gifts.

Covenant Bible Study: Leader Guide

by Covenant Bible Study

This Covenant experience will guide participants in a comprehensive, in-depth study of the Bible over twenty-four weeks. Unlike the learning participants may have experienced in other groups, this in-depth study of the whole Bible emphasizes the biblical concept of covenant as a unifying pattern through all the books in the Old and New Testaments. It underscores the unique relationship that God chooses to have with us as God's people. This relationship is grounded in the faithfulness of God's love and on our ongoing commitment to stay in love with God while we share signs of that love with others. The Leader Guide contains comprehensive and detailed direction for each meeting experience. While each group's chemistry will vary, the Leader Guide contains the following elements: *The Group Meeting Experience--Each Covenant Bible Study episode follows the same essential structure by balancing conversational teaching from biblical experts with engaging discussion among the participants. Covenant is designed so that the meaning of the Bible isn't found in just listening to a biblical scholar or listening to one's own inner voice. Only through conversation in community, in the Covenant Group Meeting Experience, can we discover the Bible's transformative power. During some weeks the group might be so full of energy and questions that conversation leaves less time for the video. That's okay. The spiritual energy that wakes up and transforms a life is the most important result from this kind of Bible study. *Gathering Together (10 min)--The opening questions of this segment in each episode are designed to prompt conversation on a general topic that connects to the main theme of the episode. Begin by reading the scriptures in the Covenant Prayer section for Episode 1. Have one person say the phrase, "For those who . . ." and then the whole group responds by reading the scripture passage aloud (Neh 8:8 and then 8:10). *Reflecting Together (10 min) --This segment guides participants to share what they learned from the week's scripture readings with questions that tie their discoveries into a central theme. The study also encourages participants to memorize and share verses from the readings that they found particularly meaningful. *Video Segment (25 min) --Play the orientation video for Episode 1. The cohosts for this opening conversation are Reverend Shane Stanford, senior pastor at Christ United Methodist Church in Memphis, Tennessee, and Reverend Christine Chakoian, senior pastor of First Presbyterian Church in Lake Forest, Illinois. They will meet with a different biblical scholar in each video episode. *Discovering Together (15 min) --This segment in the following episodes builds on the insights of the biblical scholar and analyzes a single passage from the week's readings. The questions in the Group Meeting Experience section of the participant guide encourage a comprehensive look at the form, style, and central meaning of the scripture text. This segment will teach participants how to "go deeper" in the way they explore the Bible's meaning. If you handed out the participant guides before the first meeting, or if individuals downloaded the participant guides to their mobile devices, assign a single Bible passage (Deuteronomy 10) to be read before the meeting, as well. It will be discussed briefly at the first meeting during this segment. *Centering Together (10 min) --This segment provides a meditation, which is a devotional way to read the Bible. This is a critical part of the experience because it ensures the study experience is not only informative for the mind, but also formative for the heart. It will teach participants how to use imagination, prayer, and listening while reading scripture. These spiritual practices can strengthen their relationship with God. You may choose to have willing participants report on this experience (always located on Day 6 in the participant guide) if they are trying it at home. As an alternative, the leader guide includes this as a weekly group practice every week because some individua...

Covenant Bible Study: Covenant Meditations

by Covenant Bible Study

This Covenant experience will guide participants in a comprehensive, in-depth study of the Bible over twenty-four weeks. Unlike the learning participants may have experienced in other groups, this in-depth study of the whole Bible emphasizes the biblical concept of covenant as a unifying pattern through all the books in the Old and New Testaments. It underscores the unique relationship that God chooses to have with us as God's people. This relationship is grounded in the faithfulness of God's love and on our ongoing commitment to stay in love with God while we share signs of that love with others. Many participants find great personal benefit and contentment in an intimate connection with God through "praying scripture." In addition to the once-weekly meditation in the participant guides (on Day 6), a set of sixty-six additional covenant meditations is included in this ePub which can be used on a Kindle. Sample: A new heart When I make myself holy among you in their sight, I will take you from the nations, I will gather you from all the countries, and I will bring you to your own fertile land. I will sprinkle clean water on you, and you will be cleansed of all your pollution. I will cleanse you of all your idols. I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit in you. I will remove your stony heart from your body and replace it with a living one. Ezekiel 36:23c-26 Praying the word At times our hearts harden. We become stubborn toward other people, different opinions and points of view, situations that make us uncomfortable, and even toward ourselves. After reading this scripture passage, sit quietly and reflect on the last time you felt your heart harden--or become "stony"--toward someone or something. What was happening at the time? Why did you respond with a stubborn heart? What would it take for your heart to soften again toward this person or circumstance? Offer a prayer that God might help your heart come alive again toward whatever caused your heart to become stony. More Questions? Visit http://covenantbiblestudy.com/ for more information.

The New International Lesson Annual 2013-2014

by Nan Duerling John Indermark Jerome F.D. Creach David Kalas Stephen C. Rettenmayer

Years of reader evaluations yield a record of overwhelming positive teaching results. Teachers agree that The New International Lesson Annual gets highest marks for helping Christian educators in the classroom, making Scripture understandable or intelligible, relating Scripture to contemporary living, and challenging students to respond with positive life-changing actions. Based on the Bible study foundations of America's leading ecumenical Bible educators and editors in the venerable Committee on Uniform Series. Inside discover: * Easy-to-use design with tint boxes, thumb index, goals for learners, and a key-word pronunciation guide * Easy-on-the-eyes clear type * The only lesson commentary with popular easy-to-understand NRSV and CEB translations (Combined with your own King James Bible, NIV, or any other Bible translation, you have a multiversion parallel.) [Karla, multi- forms a closed compound] * Eight pages of Bible background, interpretation, and step-by-step lesson plans keyed to learner goals for each lesson make lesson preparation thorough without requiring difficult and tedious research * In-depth quarterly teacher enrichment articles and Bible background covering both the big picture and close-up views. Complete index to background Scriptures and occasional additional helps such as maps, charts, and timelines * "Faith in Action" section gives ideas for placing faith concepts of the lessons into action * "Preparing Our Hearts" section with Bible reading and reflection questions for the teacher's personal spiritual growth * "Continue the Journey" section includes ideas for prayer, learner preparation for next week's session, activities the learners can do during the coming week to live out what they have learned, and a suggested closing hymn and benediction * Edited by one of the nation's leading Christian educators, Dr. Nan Duerling

Converge Bible Studies | Kingdom Building

by Grace Biskie

Since New Testament times, the kingdom of God has presented a paradox for believers. Although it's both here and at hand, it's also not quite here in all its fullness. That's where we come in. In Kingdom Building, Grace Biskie offers insight into how Christians can collaborate with the Creator of the universe and bring this Kingdom into the here and now. We do this in community with other believers; and we start with the poor, our enemies, and those we despise. Building the kingdom of God isn't easy. Sometimes it happens inch by inch. Sometimes it makes us uncomfortable. But few things are more satisfying for a Christian than being involved in God's plan for changing the world, and it starts in our world. Because whether we know it or not, we're all longing for God's kingdom to be here entirely. And when that happens, God will make all things new. Converge Bible Studies is a series of topical Bible studies. Each title in the series consists of four studies on a common topic or theme. Converge can be used by small groups, classes, or individuals. Primary Scripture passages from the Common English Bible are included for ease of study, as are questions designed to encourage both personal reflection and group conversation. The topics and Scriptures in Converge come together to transform readers' relationships with others, themselves, and God.

Converge Bible Studies | Sharing the Gospel

by Curtis Zackery

Evangelism has become a virtual four-letter word in some circles. Sharing one's faith can be intimidating; and Christians through the ages have disagreed on what evangelism means. But at its most basic level, it's simply sharing the good news that the Son of God became human and died for the sins of humanity. Join popular speaker Curtis Zackery as he uses Scripture to explore the questions of evangelism. Sharing the Gospel will help you discover how to share your faith in a way that works for you. Converge Bible Studies is a series of topical Bible studies based on the Common English Bible. Each title in the series consists of four studies on a common topic or theme. Converge can be used by small groups, classes, or individuals. Primary Scripture passages are included for ease of study, as are questions designed to encourage both personal reflection and group conversation. The topics and Scriptures in Converge come together to transform readers' relationships with others, themselves, and God.

Converge Bible Studies | Reclaiming Anger

by David Dorn

As Christians, we process grief, show love, understand compassion, and accept forgiveness. But when it comes to anger, we often reject it as not being useful or holy. There simply is no place for anger in the worldview of many Christians. We're told to just "let it go," "get over it," or "count to ten." In the church, anger is treated like a dirty little secret. But why? God gets angry. Why can't we? We're made in the image of God, and being truly human is to fully embrace who God made us to be. In Reclaiming Anger, David Dorn asserts that anger doesn't have to be a forbidden, destructive emotion. Biblical anger serves a purpose. In this study you'll discover what anger is, how God gets angry, when we need anger, and when we need to let it go. Converge Bible Studies is a series of topical Bible studies. Each title in the series consists of four studies on a common topic or theme. Converge can be used by small groups, classes, or individuals. Primary Scripture passages from the Common English Bible are included for ease of study, as are questions designed to encourage both personal reflection and group conversation. The topics and Scriptures in Converge come together to transform readers' relationships with others, themselves, and God.

Converge Bible Studies | Women of the Bible

by James A. Harnish

Many biblical women play critical roles in the drama of God's salvation. Women of the Bible grew out of a desire to discover how some of the women who made a difference in the Bible can make a difference in our lives today. Join Pastor James A. Harnish as he takes a closer look at the stories of four extraordinary women in Scripture: Deborah, Abigail, Mary Magdalene, and the woman at the well. You'll be drawn into a fresh awareness of what it means for all of us--men and women alike--to be more faithful disciples of Jesus Christ. Converge Bible Studies is a series of topical Bible studies based on the Common English Bible. Each title in the series consists of four studies on a common topic or theme. Converge can be used by small groups, classes, or individuals. Primary Scripture passages are included for ease of study, as are questions designed to encourage both personal reflection and group conversation. The topics and Scriptures in Converge come together to transform readers' relationships with others, themselves, and God.

Converge Bible Studies | Who You Are in Christ

by Shane Raynor

From childhood through adulthood, most of us spend a considerable amount of time and energy trying to figure out who we are and who we want to be. And there's no shortage of people in the world willing to give us their answers to those questions. Who You Are in Christ takes a look at how our faith in Jesus radically changes who we are and our relationships with God, each other, and the world. Using passages from Paul's New Testament letters, this study explores our identity in Christ as well as how our self-perception affects who we become and what we accomplish when we choose to live according to God's ways of justice, mercy, and love. Converge Bible Studies is a series of topical Bible studies based on the Common English Bible. Each title in the series consists of four studies on a common topic or theme. Converge can be used by small groups, classes, or individuals. Primary Scripture passages are included for ease of study, as are questions designed to encourage both personal reflection and group conversation. The topics and Scriptures in Converge come together to transform readers' relationships with others, themselves, and God.

Converge Bible Studies | Our Common Sins

by Dottie Escobedo-Frank

The disciples were fairly ordinary people. They had regular families, made their livelihoods in regular ways, and had typical and varied political leanings. But they met Jesus and started to live extraordinary lives. Because of their closeness to Jesus, we tend to think that the disciples lived lives with less sin than we live with. We imagine that Jesus' love rubbed off on them so that they were also extraordinary humans. But the Gospels show us differently. They show us that Jesus' close companions were as human as we are. And it is because we recognize the sins of the disciples as our own that we can relate to them so closely. They are our common sins. Converge Bible Studies is a series of topical Bible studies based on the Common English Bible. Each title in the series consists of four studies on a common topic or theme. Converge can be used by small groups, classes, or individuals. Primary Scripture passages are included for ease of study, as are questions designed to encourage both personal reflection and group conversation. The topics and Scriptures in Converge come together to transform readers' relationships with others, themselves, and God.

Worship in the Garden

by J. Wayne Pratt

As individuals, we often find peace, comfort, and a close connection to God in a garden. Gardens often provide a space for worship in a neutral setting outside the church for people to gather and share a faith experience. From Easter sunrise services to church retreats, the special worship experiences described in Worship in the Garden can enhance one's experience of God as a congregation worships together outdoors. The beauty of creation enhances these sensitive, meaningful liturgies for Communion, Blessing of the Animals, Healing, Renewal of Wedding Vows, Resurrection/Memorial Services, Graveside, Baptism, Baptismal Reaffirmation, along with other services. Inside you will learn about liturgical gardens and biblical precedents for outdoor worship.

Altars for Everyone

by Nancy C. Townley Stephanie Davis

The altar sits at the heart of the worship space, reminding everyone that here is where we lift our hearts up to God. Often the altar is decorated, but almost always in the same way: with flowers, candles, or a cross. But what if the altar could be made a more integral part of the worship experience? What if the visual elements on the altar could be designed to fit in with that Sunday's scriptures, hymns, prayers, and sermon? And what if it could be done, not only beautifully, but simply and inexpensively, so that churches of any size could benefit from this enhancement to their worship? That is just what Nancy Townley and Stephanie Davis are offering in this helpful and practical book. Worship leaders and artists, they have assembled dozens of beautiful, worshipful altar designs, pictures of which appear in the book. Detailed instructions accompany the artwork and illustrate how to create the design, and how and where to find or purchase the component elements with the least effort and expense. Designed with the needs of small membership and mid-size churches in mind, this volume offers indispensable guidance for anyone who wants to make worship a more enriching and transforming experience.

Thank God It’s Thursday

by William H. Willimon

Thank God It's Thursday is the prequel to bestselling author Will Willimon's highly successful, Thank God It's Friday. Following the book of John, Will Willimon focuses on the Jesus' teaching of his disciples prior to his own death but also before their own hour of decision. The climax of the Gospel is when Jesus pours out his life on the cross--surely an enactment and demonstration of the power of God's self-sacrificial love. So to sustain and fortify his followers for the difficulties ahead, Jesus prepares them by teaching and offering sacraments of self-giving,, through which they (and we) experience the grace and presence of the risen Lord. This book can equip Christians to face their hardships as they humbly serve with the promise of God's abiding presence already made good by his outpouring of sacrificial love. Written with the clarity, depth, and insight that are Will Willimon's trademark, this book offers afresh the challenge and grace of the message of the Resurrected One.

To All Nations From All Nations

by Justo L. González Carlos F. Cardoza-Orlandi

Sharing the Good News might be understood as the prime directive of the Church from its earliest times, but the Church soon discovered unforeseen obstacles and its own set of temptations, including its lust for power and domination. Although the gospel might be joyfully offered, it was not always received in the same spirit. And the Church was not always gracious with dissent and criticism. Even so, the Church continues to reach out to the least, the last, and the lost--attempting to bring them into the family of God. But for mission to be effective today, it must take advantage of indigenous resources and recognize its limitations as well as its gifts. This book broadly introduces prominent missionary practices and major historical figures using three perspectives. First, it takes into account the missionary activity proceeding from the margins rather than only discussing the center of theological and ecclesial activity. Second, it narrates the cross-cultural, cross-confessional, and cross-religious dynamics that characterize Christian missionary activity. And third, it emphasizes that much missionary activity is generated by national rather than international missionaries. The text concludes with a chapter on the postmodern and postcolonial world.

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