Worship happens in many forms. Some churches have full fledged, condensed, or contemporary services on Wednesday nights similar to their Sunday morning services. Some churches have fellowship meals. Some dedicate Wednesday nights to their youth programs, choir, and other groups. At Union Grove, we’re spending our Wednesday evenings in Bible study, and we’re meeting virtually. Join us at 7:00 p.m. at https://tinyurl.com/prayandstudy. You can catch up, revisit previous studies, or find out about an upcoming study below.

PS: Since it’s virtual, we won’t mind if you’re wearing your jammies or bring your fur-buddies. 😉

“Knowing Christ is where faith begins. From there we grow through the essentials of discipleship: Bible study, prayer, worship, Christian community, and much more. We learn to set godly priorities, overcome spiritual opposition and witness to others. These are the topics woven into each of the Christian Basics Bible Studies. Working through this series will help you become a more mature Christian.

Bible Study Leader: Nelie Page

“In Prophets, warriors, Harlots & Healers: Wild and Holy Women of the Bible, author Sherry Cothran leads the reader on a journey of encounter with unexpected biblical heroes. She raises up women’s stories that lay buried in the Bible and only rent decades have received attention from feminist scholars. From the warrior and prophet Deborah to the nameless daughter who became the victim to her father’s heedless vow, Cothran lifts up voices that call to women today to rise up and ‘live our wild, holy and precious lives.’ Each chapter, on women’s stories like Jael, Esther, Huldah and others, includes reflections on the wounds especially carried by women, traumas to their bodies and spirit, as illustrations of ways biblical women’s presence in their communities create possibilities of healing for women today. The subtitle of the book, ‘Leading Us on Healing Pathways,’ expresses the ultimate impact of considering these ancient stories. … As the author puts it, ‘Go ahead and follow these women into the wild still paces of your very own heart. When you finally answer the call home, it will be sweeter than ever before.'”

Dr. Johanna W.H. van Wijk-Bos, Professor of Old Testament Emerita, Louisville Prebyterian Theological Seminary

Join us starting Wednesday, April 20, as we dig into Rev. Sherry Cothran’s “Wild and Holy Women of the Bible” at Wednesday In the Word. Our Bible study group meets at 7 p.m. each Wednesday night on Zoom (www.tinyurl.com/prayandstudy). You do not have to be a member of Union Grove UMC to participate in the group.

Participants are responsible for ordering their own copy of the book (available in print or Kindle version) at:

There are now downloads for this study. The questions we’ll be discussing are at the end of each chapter.

Class schedule:

  • Week 1 (April 20) – Introduction & Chapter 1 – Women Warriors
  • Week 2 (April 27) – Chapter 2 – Deborah: Woman of Fire
  • Week 3 (May 4)    – Chapter 3 – Jael: The Slayer
  • Week 4 (May 11)   – Chapter 4 – Huldah: The Seer
  • Week 5 (May 18)   – Chapter 5 – Esther: The Survivor
  • Week 6 (May 25)   – Chapter 6 – The Beloved
  • Week 7 (June 1)     – Chapter 7 – Medium of Endor
  • NO CLASS JUNE 8 DUE TO ANNUAL CONFERENCE
  • Week 8 (June 15)   – Chapter 8 – Rahab: Harlot and Hero
  • Week 9 (June 22)   – Chapter 9 – Athaliah: Woman King
  • Week 10 (June 29) – Chapter 10 – Jephthah’s Daughter: The Wanderer

For the Common Good reminds us that the Holy Spirit gives each Christian one or more spiritual gifts to be used for the common good. It guides readers to discover their own particular gifts and learn to use their gifts to serve others.

Examining key passages in Paul’s writings, author Christine Harman leads readers through a personal spiritual gift assessment. She names 20 distinct spiritual gifts—including discernment, compassion, and evangelism—and helps people explore scripture references on each one. After identifying their particular gifts, clergy and laypeople will learn how to apply them for the good of their church, community, and the world. This book is ideal for both group study and self-discovery. The book also includes suggestions for how to build a ministry team or assign people to committees based on the gifts of each individual.

This Bible study series will begin on Wednesday, January 26. The book is available in paperback or digital format. Please notify Rev. Val if you will be joining the study and which format you prefer so she can order your copy. All Wednesday in the Word sessions take place on Zoom, so you can join in from wherever you are. You do not need to be a member of Union Grove to participate in a Wednesday in the Word Bible study.

Questions, Links & “Homework”

Participants should read each session’s assigned chapters and any scriptures included in the session handout before the week’s meeting. Because we meet virtually and are a smaller group than this study was designed for, I have modified some of the study’s activities and they will need to be done as “homework” prior to the relevant meeting.

Please note: There are only four handout files for this series. Some handouts will be used over two sessions (Ex: Session 1 Handout will be used for Session 1A and Session 1B, etc.)

Session 1A (Chapter 1) – Goals: Be able to describe the conditions under which Paul wrote the various epistles
addressing spiritual gifts and the rationale for studying them today. Discover the biblical foundations for spiritual gifts and the many examples of God as giver. Handout for Sessions 1A and 1B (opens a new tab or window).

Session 1B (Chapter 2) – Goals: Be able to describe the conditions under which Paul wrote the various epistles
addressing spiritual gifts and the rationale for studying them today. Discover the biblical foundations for spiritual gifts and the many examples of God as giver. Handout for Sessions 1A and 1B (opens a new tab or window). (same as previous session)

Session 2 (Chapter 3) – Goals: Discover each participant’s own spiritual gifts and explore various biblical
mentions of them. Explain how spiritual gifts have influenced participant’s current and past life experiences. Reflect upon the meaning of a renewed mind. Complete a survey of spiritual gifts. Perform Bible study of those gifts. Reflect and share how gifts have worked in each participant’s life so far. Handout for Session 2 (opens a new tab or window).

Session 3A (Chapter 4) – Goals: Identify God’s call in participants’ lives. Examine the various aspects of God’s call to ministry. Recognize abilities and skills as God’s equipping for action. Reflect on the dream that motivates participants’ lives. Handout for Sessions 3A and 3B (opens a new tab or window).

Session 3B (Chapter 5) – Goals: Identify God’s call in participants’ lives. Examine the various aspects of God’s call to ministry. Recognize abilities and skills as God’s equipping for action. Reflect on the dream that motivates participants’ lives. Handout for Sessions 3A and 3B (opens a new tab or window). (same as previous session)

Session 4A (Chapter 6) Goals: Be familiar with a variety of gifts-based church models and advocate for a chosen model. Develop a system of gifts-based ministry for leadership identification and deployment in the local church. Be able to describe the primary task of the local church and how each segment relates to the total system. Create a ministry description for a particular ministry in the local church.  Create an implementation plan for a local church to begin using a spiritual gifts-based system of ministry. Handout for Sessions 4A and 4B (opens a new tab or window).

Session 4B (Chapter 7) Goals: Be familiar with a variety of gifts-based church models and advocate for a chosen model. Develop a system of gifts-based ministry for leadership identification and deployment in the local church. Be able to describe the primary task of the local church and how each segment relates to the total system. Create a ministry description for a particular ministry in the local church.  Create an implementation plan for a local church to begin using a spiritual gifts-based system of ministry. Handout for Sessions 4A and 4B (opens a new tab or window). (same as previous session)

Session 5 (Reflection) – Goal: Read Genesis 1.  Reflect on what you’ve learned in this study about yourself, about each other, about existing ministries, and about needed ministries in our church or the community. There is no handout for this session. You will need note cards or slips of paper and a pen.

8

This book looks at six major verses as well as several others that have confused, confounded, and in some cases harmed.

“All Scriptures have passages with which people of conscience wrestle, and all liturgies at one time or another make proclamations that members of the congregation questions. The role of a religious community is not to be like sheep, despite all the sheep and shepherd metaphors in both the Jewish and Christian Bibles. Without casting any aspersions on sheep (one of God’s creatures, although not necessarily the brightest), we can have better career aspirations than to become better bleaters. Since the name “Israel” traditionally means “to wrestle with God, ” we do well to wrestle with passages that confuse and disturb us. More, we do well to wrestle with passages that have and can continue to cause harm.”

This study will begin Wednesday, November 10. If you plan to participate, please contact Rev. Val as soon as possible so your book can be ordered and delivered. The book is available in hard copy or on Kindle.

Sessions

Session 1 (November 10) examines Jesus’s call to a would-be disciple to sell all his possessions. Participants will explore why Jesus believed wealth was an obstacle to living in God’s realm and discuss some specific ways Jesus’s words remain relevant to people who have bank accounts. Difficult Words Session 1 Questions (the link will open a PDF file containing the questions discussed during this session)

Session 2 (November 17) questions the common assumption that Scripture teaches “family values” by scrutinizing Jesus’s call for his followers to “hate” their families, and even their very lives. Participants will have opportunity to evaluate the cost of their discipleship as well as to discern how the same Jesus who taught people to love their enemy could demand any form of hatred. Difficult Words – Session 2 (the link will open a PDF file containing the questions discussed during this session)

Wednesday in the Word will not meet Wednesday, November 24.

Session 3 (December 8) sheds ight on prevalent biblical language about slavery, including Jesus’s call for his disciples to “become as slaves” to others. Participants will discern not only what this metaphor means in terms of being a faithful disciple but also whether and for whom slavery remains a helpful metaphor today. Difficult Words – Session 3 Questions (the link will open a PDF file containing the questions discussed during this session)

Session 4 (December 15) reminds us that according to Matthew’s Gospel, Jesus initially commanded his disciples to restrict their evangelism to “the lost sheep of the house of Israel.” Participants will think together about why Jesus did not originally see Gentiles as part of his mission, will discuss how his encounter with a Gentile woman, desperate for a miracle, continues to challenge us about who we regard as worthy of our time, attention, and are, and will consider the potential benefits and problems of both universalism and particularity. Difficult Words – Session 4 Questions (the link will open a PDF file containing the questions discussed during this session)

Wednesday in the Word will not meet Christmas week or the following week, and will resume January 5, 2022.

Session 5 (January 5) invites participants to reflect on their beliefs about hell – is there eternal punishment for those who do not believe the gospel? The session offers a bird’s-eye view of how ideas about hell developed, and it confronts us with some of Jesus’s sayings on the subject. Participants will consider whether the Gospels speak of a literal hell, and whether the idea helps or hinders how we think and how we act. Difficult Words – Session 5 Questions (the link will open a PDF file containing questions discussed during this session as well as some additional information not inluded in the book)

Session 6 (January 12) tackles the problematic languages about “the Jews” found throughout the Gospel of John, including on the lips of Jesus, who was himself a lifelong observant Jew. Participants will hear how these Scriptures have been used to justify prejudice and violence against Jews to the present day and begin discussing ways that promote love instead. Difficult Words – Session 6 Questions (Final Session) (the link will open a PDF file containing questions discussed during the session)

 

Join us for a book study on Inspired: Inspired: Slaying Giants, Walking on Water, and Loving the Bible Again by Rachel Held-Evans as we take a look at selected stories from the Old and New Testament. We’ll be reading and discussing one chapter per week. This study will conclude on Nov. 3, 2021.

From the streaming television series, “The Chosen,” Season 1, we’re looking at and learning about the life of Jesus, what it meant to be one of his Chosen then and what it means to be one of his Chosen now. Our schedule is below. As we complete a week, we’ll add a copy of that week’s slides for those of you catching up. We also recommend you download the app offered by the producers of The Chosen so you can watch each episode uninterrupted (there is no cost for the app and no subscription fees to watch the episodes). However, we’ve also made a playlist on YouTube where you can watch the videos as well.

Schedule ( episode beginning/ending times are for YouTube playlist; please watch the assigned episode before each week’s Pray and Study):
How this study will work:
  • Beginning Week 2, watch that week’s episode before we meet.
  • This study is on Season 1 of The Chosen
  • Shortcut to videos for this study: https://tinyurl.com/ugumcchosen
  • Even if you’ve already watched it one or more times, it is recommended you watch it again to refresh your memory of the specific episode for that week.
  • Each lesson will have ten questions that we’ll discuss as a group
  • Bible verses for each lesson will be taken from the English Standard Version (ESV).
  • For free access to the ESV, go to https://www.biblegateway.com and select English Standard Version in the right hand “search box”
  • If you need to miss a week, you’ll be able to catch up on this page.