About Each Semester
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Creation Series – A Discussion of the God The Father
1) Why do Bad Things Happen to Good People?
- This ancient “problem of evil” is explored in an honest way. The concept of “monotheism” is introduced (belief in one God). We take up the question of the Devil and whether or not he is a god. We wrestle together with the concept of the sovereignty of God.
2) How do I Pray?
- Prayer is universally human. We study the Lord’s Prayer as a model for prayer. We talk about praying to the Father in the name of the Son in the power of the Holy Spirit. We take a peek at praying in tongues. We give people a chance to pray in their groups.
3) The Bible for Dummies. How do I Get Started with the Bible?
- From where did the Bible come? What’s the basic storyline of the Bible? What version should I choose? We do a simple, sample Bible study together in the groups.
4) How do I Live an Abundant Life (Manna and Daily Bread)
- Where did the idea of Christian poverty come from? Is God the Father wealthy? Being fruitful and multiplying. Jesus the builder. The concept of Shalom, well-being on all levels.
5) The Gifts of the Father (Romans 12:6)
- The Father is not stingy with gifts. Exploring the lavishness of free grace. The “motivational” gifts in Romans 12 (the gifts of the Father).
6) Music and Me (Worship)
- Music is “present art” and God is in the present. Octaves and the composition of Creation. Sacred music: the Psalms of Zion. Temple worship; Sacred music history; Experiencing worship together.
7) RETREAT: How to Experience the Father’s Love
- We create an experience around an extensive study of The Prodigal Son” in the Bible. “I will arise and return to my Father” is a phrase we invite (but do not pressure) people to make their own today. Highly experiential and (according to your congregation’s theology) sacramental/ordinance-oriented.
8) Creation and My Place in It (Vocation)
- Design in Creation. Where did this all come from? Why am I here? Worldviews in conflict. God’s distance and God’s presence. We are made in the image of God. We are to create and add value; be fruitful.
The Jesus Series – A Discussion of GOD THE SON
1) How Can Jesus Be the Only Way?
- The choices out there: the Bible and other paths. Mohammed, Buddha, Earth/Nature, Science/Positivism, Agnosticism. The pros and cons of each path. The case for Jesus.
2) Jesus and the Kingdom
- The Parables. The Malkuth/Basilea (Kingdom). Jesus’ cosmology. The place of the supernatural realm in Jesus’ thinking. Living supernaturally.
3) Jesus and Healing
- Romans 8 and body-soul-spirit. Some healing stories from the Bible. How to heal, according to the Bible. Time to practice healing in the groups.
4) The Leadership Gifts (The Gifts of the Son, Ephesians 4:11-13)
- One God in three persons. Leadership in the early church. Apostles, prophets, evangelists, pastors, teachers (definitions).
5) Jesus and Demons
- The biblical vocabulary of the “dark side.” Jesus vs. evil (stories from the New Testament). Boot camp for spiritual battle (Ephesians 6).
6) Is there Life after Death?
- The biblical vocabulary of the afterlife. Comparing different religions and their view of the afterlife. The problem with reincarnation. Jesus, Paul, and the afterlife. Where do I go when I die?
7) RETREAT: How to receive and walk in forgiveness (atonement, and reconciliation with others).
8) The Last Things—How does this all end?
- End-times vocabulary from the Bible. The big questions on the “last things.” Different end-times views compared (without choosing one—your church is free to emphasize your preference at this point) How does the end of history affect the middle (the “now”)?
- We use The Walk To Emmaus story from the Bible to give people an opportunity for a highly experiential encounter with Jesus.
The Spirituality Series – A discussion of GOD THE HOLY SPIRIT
1) Why would I need the church?
- Labels and churches. The fabric of community. Civilization and voluntary collectives/tribes/teams. The purposes of the church. No one belongs here more than you.
2) So you think you’re spiritual? (Romans 8)
- Everyone is saying “I’m not religious, but I’m spiritual.” What does this mean? The three story self from Romans 8. We people have a spiritual dimension. How the Spirit communicates with our spirit. Listening to Jesus (my sheep hear my voice).
3) Trapped in the blackberry bush. (Galatians)
- The human condition. How the Law and Sin entrap us. We use the illustration of the blackberry bush to describe this state of being.
- We live lives of broken responses to impossible demands. How to find freedom from the human condition through Jesus.
4) Holiness in a WTF World (Alcohol, sexuality, media)
- WTF is an obscene acronym, but along with OMG is one of the most popular text messages our culture uses. How can we live a Christian lifestyle in this R-rated world (media, sexuality, etc.)? Learning how to use clean language; Having firm media boundaries; God’s plan A for sex.
5) Using your super powers (1 Corinthians 12-14, Gifts of the Spirit)
- Our “expectation deficit syndrome.” More on the Kingdom. Living with Kingdom awareness. The Bible’s command to use our super-powers. Miracles. A walk through Luke 9 and 10. John 14:12. Raising awareness and confidence in spiritual work.
6) How to speak for God (the Word gifts).
- We are in the presence of a God who speaks. “Even more I want you to prophesy!” –Paul. What does it mean to speak for God. Balancing everything with the Word. More on the Word gifts.
7) RETREAT: Free Refills! We do a study on the person and work of the Holy Spirit, and invite people to experience the biblical filling of the Holy Spirit in line with what we read in the book of Acts.
8) Be contagious! How to share your faith. How to enter into a non-defensive conversation. 1 Peter 3:15. The Great Commission. Evangelism and Missions.