Archive for GroupLife

Sign Up for Short-Term Fall Groups

This month the GroupLife team is excited to offer a number of discussion groups, each lasting between five and eight weeks. There are a variety of topics and times to suit everyone! Groups begin the week of August 21. Skim the options below and click on the title of a group for more details and to sign up for that group. You may also visit our Group Finder for a searchable list of groups. GroupLife leaders will be available after worship on August 6–20 to answer any questions and assist with group registration.

Pity Is Not Compassion, hosted by Perrie Erickson
Mondays, Beginning August 21, 7:00pm, Resource Center (no meeting Labor Day)
Watch TED Talks for a careful look at the difference between pity and compassion and discuss what it looks like to be compassionate Christians.

Narnia: The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe, hosted by Rev. Sam Lewis
Tuesdays, 6:45pm, Garden Room
Explore how Narnia can shape our faith in today’s world.

Narnia: The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe (for kids), hosted by Michelle Caudle
Tuesdays, 6:45pm, Live Oak Room
This is a one-hour study for children led by our new Children’s Ministry Director Michelle Caudle!

Narnia: The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe, hosted by Rev. Sam Lewis 
Wednesdays, 12:00pm, Resource Center
Bring your lunch!

Becoming Human, hosted by Rev. Kathi McShane
Wednesdays, 12:00pm, Live Oak Room
We all yearn to share the traits that Jesus lived out: vibrancy, love, commitment, clarity, and joy. Study Jesus to discern how he sees the potential in us to become as he was. Bring your lunch!

Becoming Human, hosted by Rev. Kathi McShane
Wednesdays, 7:00pm, Creekside A&B

Invitation to Romans, hosted by Bob Olah
Thursdays, 7:00pm, Youth Room
This short-term Disciple Bible Study format explores how people have interpreted Romans through the ages as a lens to view the history of Christianity itself.

Science and Faith, hosted by Brian Jones
Sundays, Beginning August 27, 10:45am, Room 8 (no meeting Labor Day weekend)
How do we reconcile the competing worldviews of science and faith? What is truth, and how do the two relate to it?

GroupLife Fall Preview

Beginning in late August, GroupLife will offer several short-term small groups on a variety of topics. You may pick the topic you want to attend for 6–8 weeks. Your challenge will be how to decide among these fabulous choices!

  • Science and Faith, hosted by Brian Jones
  • Pity Is Not Compassion, hosted by Perrie Erickson
  • The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe, hosted by Rev. Sam Lewis
  • Becoming Human, hosted by Rev. Kathi McShane
  • Invitation to Romans, hosted by Bob Olah

Mark your calendars for groups to start the week of August 21 and get ready to enhance your faith and fellowship. Sign-ups will begin in early August.

Animate: Bible Series, April 19–May 31

You are invited to try out a brand new opportunity for adults and youth! Come together for food, fellowship, and a fresh approach to faith. Starting the Wednesday after Easter, April 19, we will gather for seven weeks from 6:00pm to 8:00pm in Creekside Center for no-cost dinner and fellowship, watch a short video from the Animate: Bible series, and then engage in discussions around our tables about the Bible.

Through short, creative videos featuring current Christian thought leaders, we will explore the history of the Bible’s sacred texts and what they offer for us today. (You can watch a trailer here.) The series offers centrist Protestant theology, and it focuses more on asking questions for viewers to engage with than on giving all the answers. The video segments feature Eric Elnes, Phyllis Tickle, Rachel Held Evans, Nadia Bolz-Weber, Jose Morales, Will Willimon, and Jay Bakker. Participants are invited to sketch, doodle, and create in the provided journals, then share their thoughts.

Come be part of the fun, and invite your friends! Each session stands alone, so you don’t have to commit to all seven. The GroupLife planning team wants to plan how much dinner to provide, how many journals to purchase, and how many childcare staff to schedule, so please register if you plan to attend.

GroupLink to Find a Group for Lent, Feb. 26

Are you interested in joining a small group during Lent and engaging in intentional spiritual time to center your heart and mind in preparation for Easter? You have an opportunity to link with others and form a small group right on the spot! GroupLife is hosting a GroupLink event on Sunday, February 26, at 9:30am in Creekside. This event is designed to help people interested in a group to find each other based on availability, agree to a time, and reserve a room on the church campus to meet each week. No complicated sign-ups needed!

All groups will use the daily devotional Pauses for Lent by Trevor Hudson. The book includes 40 theme words (one for each day of Lent), each one paired with a scripture and short meditation. Individuals will read/do the daily devotional on their own and meet with their group on campus for six weekly sessions to discuss the words and experiences of the past week, going deeper in faith together. If you are unable to attend the GroupLink event on February 26 but wish to be in a six-week Lenten group, contact GroupLife or check back on this website starting February 27 for a list of the groups formed during GroupLink and choose one to join.

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!

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.