Archive for GroupLife

Learning to Apply “Love Does”: Sign Up for a Small Group

love-does-book-coverIn addition to using the New York Times bestselling book Love Does by Bob Goff as the basis for our fall morning worship series, we will also use it in small groups! To help us figure out how to apply the lessons Love Does teaches, how to “do love” in our own daily lives, GroupLife has arranged for new small groups to meet weekly this fall and work through a five-week DVD and study guide. Anyone is invited to participate in a group!

You can choose from a variety of days and times, listed below. Register online for your preferred group. Contact the GroupLife Team with questions.

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  • Sundays, 3:30–5:00pm (starts October 2)
  • Sundays, 7:00–8:30pm (starts September 25)
  • Mondays, 7:00–8:30pm (starts September 26)
  • Mondays, 7:00–8:30pm (starts October 10)
  • Tuesdays, 10:00–11:30am (starts September 20)
  • Tuesdays, 12:00–1:00pm (starts October 4)
  • Tuesdays, 7:00–8:30pm (starts September 20)
  • Wednesdays, 10:00–11:30am (starts September 21)
  • Wednesdays, 7:00–8:30pm (starts September 21)
  • Wednesdays, 7:30–9:00pm (starts September 21)
  • Thursdays, 10:00–11:30am (starts September 22)
  • Fridays, 7:00–8:30pm (starts September 9)

Bob Is Coming Sept. 25!

Get out a pen or your electronic calendar and highlight September 25. No, really: Do it now before you forget. On that Sunday, we will have Bob Goff as our guest speaker in all three morning worship services. Who is Bob? He is a crazy guy who loves Jesus and tells incredible stories. He is the author of the New York Times bestseller Love Does. He is a lawyer, Honorary Consul for the Republic of Uganda to the United States, and founder of a nonprofit that helps children in Uganda and India. He has an office on Tom Sawyer Island at Disneyland (read his book for more details). And he is coming to share with us at Los Altos United Methodist Church. The back of his book puts it best: “When Love Does, life gets interesting. Each day turns into a hilarious, whimsical, meaningful chance to make faith simple and real.” We hope you will come on September 25 to hear Bob speak, explore Love Does with us this fall, and invite friends to come, too!

The God Story: Lent Worship and Small-Group Theme

Can you see your place and purpose in God’s story? Throughout Lent, we will examine God’s story as shown throughout the Bible and find our own place in the narrative. Our worship themes each Sunday will focus on classic story elements. Small groups are invited to use Jacob Armstrong’s The God Story as their study guide in this season, helping each other find our roles to play in the story of God’s people.

Worship Themes

Sunday, February 14: Introduction (Genesis 1:1-2, 26–2:4)

Sunday, February 21: Suspension of Disbelief (Genesis 18:1-15)

Sunday, February 28: Rising Action (Exodus 16:2-4, Numbers 11:4-6)

Sunday, March 6: The Inciting Incident (1 Samuel 16:1-13)

Sunday, March 13: Soundtrack (Zephaniah 3:14-17)

Sunday, March 20 (Palm Sunday): Waiting for Resolution (John 12:12-19)

Sunday, March 27 (Easter): Twist Ending (John 20:1-18)

Small Groups

Several small groups welcome new participants to join them in studying The God Story for Lent, and at least one new group is forming especially for Lent! If you are interested, check out one of these options:

Mondays, 9:30am, Resource Center: Back to the Bible

Mondays, 12:00pm, Resource Center: Brown Bags and Bibles

Wednesdays, 7:00pm, Resource Center: The Big Questions

Mondays, 7:00pm, Garden Room: A new Lent group is forming.

Another weekday morning group may form for Lent, depending on interest. For more information about finding a group, contact GroupLife Intern Kristen Wandryk.

GroupLife Workshop for Lent, Feb. 6

TheGodStory_CoverGraphics smallGroupLife invites current small-group leaders and anyone interested in potentially leading a small group for Lent to a workshop on Saturday, February 6, 9:00am –12:00pm in Creekside C/D. Jacob Armstrong, the author of our Lenten study book, will join the workshop by video call to inspire leaders in their own spiritual practices for Lent and equip them to use his book, The God Story, in small groups. The workshop is free, but please RSVP to GroupLife Intern Kristen Wandryk so the organizers know how much breakfast to provide.

Advent Worship and Study Theme: The Uncluttered Heart

Uncluttered Heart book coverThis Advent season, our worship theme and GroupLife’s featured curriculum for small groups will be based on the book The Uncluttered Heart, by Beth Richardson. The Uncluttered Heart will take us through Advent and Epiphany as we prepare our hearts for the birth of Jesus. Each week’s theme is listed below.

November 29: Hope

Senior Pastor Mariellen Yoshino will give the message at the morning services and Pastor Debbie Weatherspoon at the evening service. The scripture is Jeremiah 33:14-16.

December 6: Peace

Senior Pastor Mariellen Yoshino will preach at the morning services, from Isaiah 11:1-2, 6. Pastor Dirk Damonte will preach at the evening service. Holy Communion will be celebrated at all services.

December 13: Joy

Senior Pastor Mariellen Yoshino will give the message at the morning services. Pastor Sam Yun will preach at the evening service. The scripture is Luke 1:46-53.

December 20: Love

At the morning services, Senior Pastor Mariellen Yoshino will preach from Matthew 1:18-21, 24-25. At the evening service, Pastor Dirk Damonte will give the message.

December 27: Presence

Update: Seminary student Scott Kimball will give the message at the morning services and LAUMC member Phil Pompei will give the message at the evening service. Senior Pastor Mariellen Yoshino will give the message at all four services. The scripture is Isaiah 61:10-11.

January 3: Epiphany

Pastor Dirk Damonte will preach at the morning services. Pastor Sam Yun will preach at the evening service. The scripture is Isaiah 60:1-6.

Summer Reading and Study

The GroupLife Ministry Team has several suggestions for summer reading and study, either individually or with your small group. Stop by the Resource Center for more ideas!

Making Sense of the Bible: Rediscovering the Power of Scripture Today, by Adam Hamilton
Adam Hamilton addresses the hot-button issues that plague the church and answers many of the questions frequently asked by Christians and non-Christians alike. Did God really command Moses to put gay people to death? Did Jesus really teach that everyone who is not a Christian will be assigned to hell? Why would Paul command women to “keep silent in the church”? Were Adam and Eve real people? Is the book of Revelation really about the end times? Who decided which books made it into the scriptures and why? Is the Bible ever wrong?

Amazing Grace: A Vocabulary of Faith, by Kathleen Norris
Struggling with her return to the Christian church after many years away, Kathleen Norris found it was the language of Christianity that most distanced her from faith. Words like “judgment,” “faith,” “dogma,” “salvation,” “sinner”—even “Christ”—formed what she called her “scary vocabulary,” words that had become so codified or abstract that their meanings were all but impenetrable. Blending history, theology, storytelling, etymology, and memoir, Kathleen uses these words as a starting point for reflection and offers a moving account of her own gradual conversion.

Love Wins: A Book About Heaven and Hell and Everybody Who Ever Lived, by Rob Bell
Rob Bell addresses one of the most controversial issues of faith—hell and the afterlife—arguing, Would a loving God send people to eternal torment forever? With searing insight, Bell puts hell on trial with a hopeful message—eternal life doesn’t start when we die; it starts right now. And ultimately, Love Wins.

Why? by Adam Hamilton
Adam Hamilton brings fresh insight to the age-old question of how to understand the will of God. Rejecting simplistic answers and unexamined assumptions, he lays out core ideas for comprehending God’s plan for the world, including:
God will not take away our free will, even when we use it to grieve him.
God will never abandon us, especially in the midst of our suffering.
While God is not the author of suffering, God will bring blessing out of tragedy.

The First Paul: Reclaiming the Radical Visionary Behind the Church’s Conservative Icon, by John Dominic Crossan and Marcus Borg
Meet Paul again … for the first time. Two New Testament scholars use the best of biblical and historical scholarship to expose the church’s conspiracy to silence Jesus’s most faithful disciple, the radical apostle Paul.

Tattoos on the Heart: The Power of Boundless Compassion, by Gregory Boyle
For twenty years, Gregory Boyle has run Homeboy Industries, a gang-intervention program located in the Boyle Heights neighborhood of Los Angeles, the gang capital of the world. He distills his experience working in the ghetto into a breathtaking series of parables inspired by faith. Arranged by theme and filled with sparkling humor and glowing generosity, these essays offer a stirring look at how full our lives could be if we could find the joy in loving others and in being loved unconditionally.

Revival: Faith As Wesley Lived It, by Adam Hamilton
Wesley’s message and his faith continue to speak to 21st-century Christians—calling for a revival of our hearts and souls so that our world might be changed. Wesley’s story is our story. It defines our faith and it challenges us to rediscover our spiritual passion. Six sessions with DVD and leader guide.

Why Did Jesus, Moses, the Buddha, and Mohammed Cross the Road? Christian Identity in a Multi-Faith World, by Brian McLaren
When four religious leaders walk across the road, it’s not the beginning of a joke. It’s the start of one of the most important conversations in today’s world. Can you be a committed Christian without having to condemn or convert people of other faiths? Is it possible to affirm other religious traditions without watering down your own? Brian McLaren proposes a new faith alternative, one built on “benevolence and solidarity rather than rivalry and hostility.” This way of being Christian is strong but doesn’t strong-arm anyone, going beyond mere tolerance to vigorous hospitality toward, interest in, and collaboration with the other. Affirming other religions can strengthen our commitment to our own. And in doing so, he invites Christians to become more Christ-like than ever before.

Disciple Bible Study: Introduction to Romans
Exploring how people have interpreted Romans through the ages is a good lens to view the history of Christianity itself. Compare what Paul writes in Romans to what theologians like Augustine, Luther, and Calvin say in trying to understand Paul in their time. At the end of this study, your group will have a more informed commitment to Paul’s radical vision of God’s relationship to both Christians and Jews and to their relationship to each other, thanks to the “love of God in Christ Jesus.” This eight-session short-term Disciple class with DVD and leader guide is exceptional.