Archive for study

Advent Small Groups

GroupLife has scheduled two short-term small groups to meet during Advent to discuss excerpts from the Advent devotional and/or weekly sermons. All are welcome to participate.

  • Tuesdays (December 5, 12, and 19), 10:00–11:30am in the Resource Center, led by Jan McDaniel
  • Thursdays (December 7, 14, and 21), 7:00–8:30pm in the Resource Center, led by Bob Olah

Growing deeper together is how we do life in all seasons! Please contact grouplife@laumc.org with any questions.

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?

God Is Still Speaking, Aug. 6 – Sept. 3

The “canon” of the Bible was closed long ago. But neither creation nor God’s word stopped once that original story was told! In this final month of summer, we will explore some of the ways God continues to speak to us, in ways we can hear now. Come for the sermon and worship service at 8:00am or 9:30am, and/or come for a deeper study of the day’s text at 11:15am with Senior Pastor Kathi McShane.

August 6: God Is Still Speaking … In the Words of Poets
Poetry offers meaning on many different levels. Readers can consider the intentions and circumstances of the poet as well as the ways a poem speaks to their own experience. This process of reading poetry parallels the way we read scripture. Senior Pastor Kathi McShane will give the message. Holy Communion will be served.

August 13: God Is Still Speaking … In the Stories We Tell
Associate Pastor Sam Lewis will preach.

August 20: God Is Still Speaking … In the People Around Us
Associate Pastor Jon Visitacion will give the message, with scripture from Acts 2:5-18.

August 27: God Is Still Speaking … In a Starfire Trip to the United Kingdom
Minister of Music and Worship Arts Dirk Damonte will preach, sharing about the recent trip the high school youth choir took to the UK.

September 3: God Is Still Speaking … In the Work We Do
Pastor Kathi will give the message, themed around Labor Day and with scripture from Genesis 4:1-5 and Galatians 2:19-20. Holy Communion will be served.

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.

Being Mortal: Screening and Discussion

If you are aging or dealing with aging parents, come to a video screening and discussion about what people really care about when aging. Screenings will take place on Thursday, March 9, 10:00–11:30am and Thursday, March 16, 7:00–9:00pm in Creekside Main. The group will watch Being Mortal, the PBS video of Atul Gawandi’s book by the same name. This thought-provoking video shows the dilemma that we all face, as patients and caregivers, when confronted with the kind of care we want at the end of life. It helps introduce the kinds of conversations we all need to have to ensure that the medical system respects our desires, rather than those of a somewhat impersonal medical system. After the video, there will be a group discussion.

You may come in person or participate online via our livestream page on either date. The discussion will be led by Dr. Bill Buchholz. Contact Bill for more information.

Invitation to Pause for Lent Together

Are you interested in connecting with a small group during the six weeks of Lent and engaging in intentional spiritual time to center your heart and mind in preparation for Easter? Several new and existing groups are available for you to participate in, starting the week of March 5. Just show up – no sign-ups needed!

  • Sundays, starting March 5, led by Jeff Jenks (men’s group)
    12:15pm, Live Oak Room
  • Mondays, starting March 6, led by Senior Pastor Mariellen Yoshino
    9:30am, Resource Center
  • Mondays, starting March 6, led by Pastor Mariellen
    12:00pm (bring your own lunch), Resource Center
  • Tuesday mornings, starting March 7, online group (details in process)
  • Wednesdays, starting March 8, led by Perrie Erickson
    7:00pm, Resource Center

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. Read/do the daily devotional on your own, then meet with your group on campus for six weekly sessions to discuss the words and experiences of the past week, going deeper in faith together. Contact GroupLife with any questions.

Conflict Resolution Class, Feb. 26

We all find ourselves with differences of opinion or outright conflict at times: with work colleagues, kids, friends, or spouses. On Sunday, February 26, at 11:15am in the Resource Center, come take a one-time class with Sue DeLong, who will present a process for safe and respectful conflict resolution, whether in business or personal relationships. This process is useful for everyone and keeps down the drama so that you can handle conflicts in a more positive way. If you need childcare during the class (ages 0–4), it will be provided in the church nursery. Contact Adult Ministries Chair Bob Olah for more information about the class.

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.