Connections Summary

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.

January–April 2019

Unit 1: Jesus Revealed: His Identity and Purpose

Stacey Harwell-Dye

In the first four weeks of Epiphany, Connections lessons invite participants to consider God’s revelation in Christ. Each passage is drawn from Jesus’ infancy and early ministry, and they call us to remember Jesus as God’s gift to the world, as God’s son, as God’s presence, and as Scripture’s fulfillment. By examining these records of God’s revelation, we may also look for ways that God continues to be revealed among us. Together we might uncover ways to bear God’s presence in a world still longing to be whole.

Unit 2: Toward Maturity: Growing in Faith

Nancy Ellett Allison

Having turned our eyes to Christ, the second unit calls our attention to Paul’s first letter to the Corinthians. As Paul teaches that early church how to become more Christlike, we remember our own need to mature in faith. These four lessons invite participants to consider love, belief, expectation, and the spirit as central dimensions of the Christian life. We will consider each area of faith in our individual lives as well as in our lives together as Christ’s church. Through Paul’s instructions to the Corinthian church, we look to share and grow together in the power of Christ’s resurrection.

Unit 3: Celebrate God: Blessings and Challenges

Bill Treadway

In this five-week Lenten unit, a variety of passages from the Torah and the Prophets call us to celebrate God. As we remember God’s presence, guidance, promises, teachings, and provision, each lesson invites us to reflect on the blessings and challenges that flow from a relationship with God. This season of preparation for Easter and these Old Testament readings help us to imagine ways that we might live in light of God’s sustained presence with us.

Unit 4: Easter at the Center: Before and After

Melissa Fallen

Easter centers this last unit. As we move toward and away from the Jerusalem tomb, readings taken from Holy Week and Revelation invite us to explore the places of death and resurrection in our own lives. This season, like these passages, challenge us to live in expectation of resurrection by sharing our experiences of new life with others.