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Bible Studies at RUMC

Current Bible Study:

This summer we will offer Bible study based on another book by Margaret Feinberg (the author of Taste and See).

The study is called, "A Time for Everything: Discovering the Beautiful Rhythms of Life", and it takes us on a journey with the beautiful poem of Ecclesiastes 3, “For Everything there is a season…”

We will resume the Wednesday morning Women’s Breakfast and Study time of 8:30 am at Sunrise Family Restaurant, will continue with the Tuesdays at 3:30 pm time at Hawthorne Inn.  If there is interest in an evening time, we will do that as well.  Summer offers a different rhythm to our lives – and this study will speak words of timeless truth into that reality.  If you wish us to order you a printed book, please sign up in the office. The printed books are $15.  If you wish to get an ebook on  your own, they are currently available through Christianbook.com for 1.99 or Amazon has a Kindle version for $4.99.

Patsy Clairmont wrote in the Foreword:

“I love watching Spring win over Winter.  Take the hyacinth: she butts her pretty little head against the half-frozen earth and somehow wins.  Up she comes from the darkness shouting victory in pink, purple and white regalia. And even when she finds herself petal-deep in late snow she shakes it off and lifts her curly bob to the sun.  You can almost hear her sing, “I got rhythm. I got rhythm” because that girl knows how to move to the music of her design.  And Hyacinth is aware as she pushes through the hardship of her circumstances that it’s her season to bloom.  And nothing is going to stop her – not winter’s icy grip and not earth’s dark tomb.

We hear the Creator’s song throughout creation in white-capped waves as they lap the shore, we see it in the drifting art of shifting sands, we listen toit in the soprano performance of a sparrow on a fence post, and in the raucous pattern of luminous raindrops spattering across rooftops.  We also experience it in our lives again and again as Spring skips into Sunner, and Summer cools into Fall, and Fall snowballs into Winter, and Winter melts back into Spring.”

There are seasons in our lives too – we grow and age and one morning find that our lives are in a different season. There are new things to discover.  There are new rhythms to learn.  We don’t move as we once did, but there is a grace in our movements nonetheless. Through the seasons of life, God invites us into deeper relationship. “To everything there is a season,” and God is the center of every season as we enter them.

Current Bible Study Reflection:

Week 1:  Introduction and Lesson 1

To everything there is a season.
Ecclesiastes 3:1

A Time for Everything: Discovering the Beautiful Rhythms of Life

The poem in Ecclesiastes chapter 3 surely is counted among the scriptural passages that most resonate with our souls.  Considering life as a series of seasons, each with their blessings and challenges, makes sense to all of us, no matter our age.
In this summer study, we will consider the seasons of our lives, and listen for how God is speaking to us in each one.  It is my hope that we will find fresh ways that God is speaking to us, regardless of our season of life or the circumstances in which we find ourselves.  God’s presence offers comfort in sorrow, guidance in times of losing, and strength in times of both breaking down and building up.  May we find the blessings of God’s presence in every season of our lives!

 

a time to be born and a time to die;
a time to plant and a time to pluck up what is planted;
a time to kill and a time to heal;
a time to break down and a time to build up;
a time to weep and a time to laugh;
a time to mourn and a time to dance;
a time to throw away stones and a time to gather stones together;
a time to embrace and a time to refrain from embracing;
a time to seek and a time to lose;
a time to keep and a time to throw away;
a time to tear and a time to sew;
a time to keep silent and a time to speak;
a time to love and a time to hate;
a time for war and a time for peace.

 

Questions for discussion:

1. What is your favorite season of the year and why?
Every season brings something new:  the new growth of spring, the activities and warmth of summer, the fall colors with the chance to enjoy cuddling up with a blanket or watching a fire, and winter with holidays and (at least for some of us) snow in which to play.  Solomon echoed the idea that each season brings something new in his poem in Ecclesiastes 3.  There is an appointed time, a season, for every activity under the heavens.

2. As you consider the seasons, which one resonates with your life circumstances right now?
Spring and new growth might be our season while we are finding our vocation in life, or having children – when the possibilities are opening up before us. Summer may be our season when everything is busy and at it’s peak in our lives: careers, families, hobbies all vie for time and attention.  Fall may connect with aging as some of our abilities start to fade, and yet we have more time to appreciate the beauty that surrounds us.  Winter is our season of slowing down in preparation for life’s ending – but it has beautiful moments too as we consider the legacy that we leave to others.

3. Read Acts 16: 16-25.  Paul and Silas find themselves in very difficult circumstances.  How do they respond?  Does anything surprise you about how they responded?  Does this inspire you in any way for times when you face difficulties and challenges?
4. Read Acts 16: 26-34, the next portion of the story.  Where is God in the middle of the story?  When you face difficult challenges, do you look for God to act?

5. Consider the season of life that you are in.  What might God be revealing to you about who God is, or who you are called to be?

6. Consider this from Margaret Feinberg: “Every season of life provides an opportunity to learn something more about God. Though we don’t always get to choose our season of life, we can always choose to call out to God.”  (Feinberg, 17)  How can you reach out to God for support, or to praise God in the circumstances of your life today?

 

A Time for Everything – week 2

“A Time to be Born” : A Time for New Beginnings

New ideas come more easily to some of us than to others.  You may have noticed that one person’s great new idea is another person’s really bad and uncomfortable one?  How can we make room for what is new?  As God’s people we have quite a few verses that tell us that God is doing new things!  As our author says, “God is always up to something new!” (20)

Questions for discussion:

  1. On a scale of 1-10, how comfortable are you with new ideas
    1 - 4 = Innovation makes me very or somewhat nervous

    5 – 6 = I am open to or generally comfortable with innovation

    7 - 10 = Innovation is exciting or it invigorates me

  2. Can you think of a time when you were a part of something new or creative that God used to reach others? What did you learn about yourself and others?Read Exodus 3: 3-10. God called Moses to do something new.  What were his hesitations?  How did God respond?
  3. How would you have responded to God if you were Moses?
  4. Who do you know that is doing something new to spread the love of Jesus to others? How can you support and encourage that person?
  5. Where might God be calling you to try something new to share the love of Jesus with others? What is stopping you from doing it?
  6. Read 2 Corinthians 5:17. When we give ourselves to Christ, what new thing does God do in us? Where have you seen this happening in your life?  In the lives of others?

 

A Time for Everything – week 3

“A Time to Die” : A Time for Necessary Endings

Leaving behind the familiar…..that is a kind of death.  It’s a kind that we face multiple times in our lives.  “We all have  movements in our lives when we sense God calling us to leave something behind in order to lay hold of the something new God has for us.”(28)  Sometimes what leave behind is a physical place:  a location, a home, a school, or a job.  Sometimes we feel a nudge to leave behind an unhealthy pattern, a relationship, or an attitude.  We all experience moments of ending. (28)

Questions for discussion:

  1. “When in your life have you made a significant change, a necessary ending, and discovered God had a new beginning waiting for you?”(29)
  2. What is the hardest part about a necessary ending for you?  Is it physical, spiritual, or emotional?(29)
  3. Read Luke 5: 27,28. There are many stories about the disciples leaving their previous lives behind in order to follow Jesus.  This is Levi’s story.  What was his response to Jesus’ invitation?  What have you left behind to follow Jesus? (29)
  4. Read Matthew 16: 24,25. Jesus taught – and showed us – that when we choose to die to ourselves and our own desires, we find more life in God. Have you tried to hold on to your life and discovered that God had something more in mind for you? (30)
  5. Read John 12: 23-26. How willing are you to sacrifice for the sake of others? How are you doing this now?  Have you seen new life through that offering, and if so, where and how?(30)
  6. Read 1 John 3:16. Who has laid down their life for you in the past year in some way?  Did you see Christ in them?  “When in the last year have you laid down your life and made a meaningful sacrifice for someone else?  What did  you discover about yourself through that experience?  What did you discover about God?” (31)
  7. “What necessary endings do you sense God nudging you toward in your life?  What’s stopping you from making those necessary endings?”(32)  What might moving towards one of those changes look like?

 

A Time for Everything – week 4

“A Time to Transition” : The Importance of Change

“For some of us change is easy. We love the excitement of trying something new, stepping out of our comfort zone, and experiencing a new activity.  Without something new, we tend to grow bored and disengaged.  But for others of us, change makes us uneasy.  We are more comfortable with the familiar and predictable. When life is stead, we’re ab le to not only come alive but thrive.”

Questions for discussion:

  1. Which attitude describes you? There is a quiz in the book on pages 36-38.  If you have the book, please do it.  Otherwise, just describe how you respond to changes.
  2. Read Genesis 47: 1-12. How did Jacob and his family respond to the opportunity to move to Goshen in the middle of a famine?  Why did they respond this way? (39)
  3. Read Exodus 1: 1-7. What were the blessing of Joseph and his family as they settled in Goshen and put down new roots?
  4. When did you sense God’s blessing as you put down new roots in a new location, a new job, or a new stage in life? How did you feel God was with you in the transition? (40)
  5. Read Exodus 1: 8-22. What changed in Egypt that made the descendants of Joseph ready to move?  Remembering the story, how did they experience God’s presence?
  6. Can you recall a point when you needed to be uprooted? How did you experience that transition?  What did you learn in the process?
  7. Read Revelation 1”8 and Revelation 22: 13. “Which is more meaningful in your own life – the idea that God is with you or the idea that God goes before  you?  Why?” (41)
  8. “What potential transitions are you facing in your relationships, workplace, finances, or living situation?” How is God inviting your trust to grow in this time of transition? (42)
  9. What potential transitions will you soon be facing in your life? How might God be revealed to you in the midst of them as “Alpha and Omega – the God who goes before you and with you every step of the way?” (43)

 

What are your thoughts?

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