Connections Summary

May–August 2018

Unit 1: Jesus’ Legacy

Sarah Reddish
Jesus’ disciples inherit a tradition stretching back to those first followers of Jesus. This four-lesson unit brings learners into two conversations Jesus has with his disciples in John’s gospel. Participants will gather at the Last Supper with the first disciples, and they will sit in darkness with Nicodemus, all while considering their inheritance as Christians. Along the way, these conversations can challenge them to claim this legacy of love, truth, spirit, and mystery for their own time.

Unit 2: The Way Through

Keith Herron
This four-lesson unit looks to Paul’s second letter to the Corinthians to explore how believers travel to glory. As learners examine the situation in Corinth, they may recognize, with those early believers, four planes on which Christ leads his followers. Death and life, temporariness and eternity, old and new, and appearance and reality—these themes frame each discussion of Paul’s letter, guiding participants to discover ways to make similar journeys.

Unit 3: Learning from David

Leigh Powers
David, the ideal king of Israel and the mold for its expected messiah, has shaped many understandings of what it means to be faithful. Participants will likely be familiar with many of David’s stories, and this unit examines five from 2 Samuel. With triumph and failure, each story invites learners to remember this biblical hero as a real person who encountered real struggles. As believers consider how to follow God in grief, experience, praise, patience, and temptation, they can find in these stories of David a source of encouragement and guidance.

Unit 4: The Bread of Life

Marilyn McKelvey Tucker
This unit leads learners to the Psalms and to the book of John. Each lesson begins with a psalm, inviting participants to explore their hungers for belief, life, belonging, and endurance. After each psalm, however, a passage from Jesus’ Bread of Life discourse invites them to imagine how Jesus’ teachings satisfy these needs. We hope that this practice of recognizing hunger and looking to be filled by Jesus might help learners to embrace and share the bread of life.

September–December 2018

Unit 1—James: Living with Integrity

Phil Logan

When the church needs reminding that Jesus calls it to an action-oriented faith, James does just that. In five lessons, Connections users will study James’s call for first-century churches to consider their relationships between word and deed. Along the way, similar questions will arise for our churches today. How do our actions reflect God’s wisdom? How do our words sow goodness? How do our prayers shape everyday life?

Unit 2—Job: When Right Feels Wrong

Aimee Day Yeager

After a month asking how faith functions in everyday life, it seems right to sit awhile with Job and his grief. This four-lesson unit will welcome participants to examine faith in light of Job’s suffering. Such attention raises questions about innocent suffering, God’s justice, God’s power, and our own theological convictions. Through these concerns, this unit will ultimately ask participants how they might grow together to follow God amid suffering—their own and their neighbor’s.

Unit 3—Being Disciples: Some Basic Practices

Prince Rainey Rivers

Those who seek to practice an active and compassionate gospel must look to Jesus for inspiration. This four-lesson unit will guide participants to reflect on four basic practices for following Christ. Three stories from Jesus’ life will highlight the importance of obedience, generosity, and insight in our discipleship. In the last lesson, the apocalyptic visions of the Messiah in Daniel and Revelation will invite us to consider how worship shapes our waiting for and participation in Christ’s coming.

Unit 4—Prophetic Voices for Advent: Anticipation and Fulfillment

John Carroll

During the season of Advent, the prophets will help us to await Christ’s coming. On the first Sunday, Jeremiah will raise our hope for freedom. The following week, Malachi will challenge us to join those who come to prepare the way for God. On the third Sunday, the prophet Zephaniah will remind us that God is already among us, working in the remnant. Then Micah, on the final Sunday of Advent, will envision the small and weak places where the Messiah comes in peace. Beginning with Christmas, our attention will move from the Prophets to the Gospels as we ask how stories from Jesus’ youth might shape our spiritual growth.