The Geography of Jesus - Week 3

Thursday, December 14, 2017

Project: Bible - Week 1: Nov. 29/30
Dr. Wesley Avram
Session Three – The Bethlehem of His Birth

As we walk our Advent journey to Bethlehem, we will end with Jesus’ beginning. The birth story raises all sorts of questions in us: What did Mary and Joseph’s road in, shepherds’ fields, and innkeepers’ barnyards look like? What made Caesar Augustus send all his people to their ancestral homes to be counted? And how would “wise men from the East” have gotten here from Jerusalem?  In this session, we’ll unpack the Christmas story by asking, What does the place of Jesus’ birth tell us about its significance?

The Geography of Jesus - Week 2

Thursday, December 7, 2017

Project: Bible - Week 2: Dec. 6/7
Dr. Wesley Avram
Session Two – Jesus in Jerusalem

In the three synoptic Gospels (Mark, Matthew, Luke), Jesus’ whole ministry career happens in the Galilee. In villages called Capernaum and Nazareth and the countryside and seaside and hills and valleys of this region, he loved people well and taught them powerfully. In this session, we will follow Jesus steps over land and sea, and so learn how those places and the people who inhabited them impacted his words and deeds.

The Geography of Jesus - Week 1

Thursday, November 30, 2017

Project: Bible - Week 1: Nov. 29/30
Dr. Wesley Avram
Session One – Oh Jerusalem, Jerusalem

We’re not sure how many times Jesus went to Jerusalem. The Gospel of Mark paints his last week as his only time there, while Luke takes him there as an infant and again at age twelve, and John makes Jerusalem his familiar feast-day destination. What we know is that the time Jesus spent in Jerusalem was significant. In this session, we will trace out the specific places where Jesus walked in the Holy City, and show how knowing those places helps us to know him.

Saints Alive - Week 4

Thursday, November 16, 2017

Project: Bible - Week 3: Nov. 15/16
Dr. Allen Hilton
Saints’ Gift #3: Imperfection                                                     

The halo comes off in this session. Saints have been imitated, prayed to, and worshipped, but they have flaws and their feet are made of clay. We set ourselves up for disappointment if we expect anyone to be perfect. Many people have come to doubt the existence of God or grown angry at the church because of the failure of saints. And yet it is precisely their humanness that allows you and me access to these men and women. This session will open the question, how can I live into God’s calling to be inspiring and exemplary, too?

Saints Alive - Week 3

Thursday, November 9, 2017

Project: Bible - Week 3: Nov. 8/9
Dr. Wesley Avram
Saints’ Gift #2: Imitation     

We learn to live by watching others. Your handwriting probably still looks like the person whose penmanship you first copied, and it’s usually pretty easy to match kids with one of their parents, just by watching mannerisms. When the apostle Paul wrote to his new Christians, “Imitate me as I imitate Christ” (1 Corinthians 11.1) he presented to us the first gift of the saints. In this session, we’ll explore how these holy men and women become nearer proxies for Jesus, available for us to imitate.


Saints Alive - Week 2

Thursday, November 2, 2017

Project: Bible - Week 2: Nov. 1/2
Dr. Wesley Avram
Saints’ Gift #1: Inspiration                                                       

Who inspires you? You and I both know the brilliant feeling of being caught up in the glory of someone else’s excellence. The saints offer us that frisson of inspiration through the excellence of their lived Christian lives. The contagious holiness in them makes their way into our souls. This is true, both of formally-designated saints and of everyday people near us. Saints inspire us, and this session will help us see how.

Saints Alive - Week 1

Thursday, October 26, 2017

Due to technical difficulties we do not have a recording from this class.

Change That Lasts: Beyond New Year’s Failures

Thursday, October 12, 2017

Project: Bible - Week 6: Oct. 11/12
Dr. Wesley Avram
Change That Lasts: Beyond New Year’s Failures (Psalm 71.5-8; Philippians 1.3-6)

We’ve all done it. Enthusiastic about a new change, we game up for a New Year’s resolution and start well, but by mid-Feb we’re back to old ways. How can we build habits that last? People who help people change habits for a living try to simplify the change to three steps: Cue, Routine, Reward. People who change habits in faith listen to those experts and then pray always. Enduring change is a constant partnership with God. This week we’ll close the series with the secrets to transformation that lasts.

We Change the World

Thursday, October 5, 2017

Project: Bible - Week 5: Oct. 4/5
Dr. Allen Hilton
We Change the World: The Habit of Transforming Communities (Matthew 28.16-20)

Thinking that things will always be as they are, that good change can’t happen in the world – that pessimism is a habit of thought. And so is thinking, “With God all things are possible.” (Matthew 19.26) When we look at the world around us, we hope for better, and God calls us through those hopes – and through our grief for it. This week, we’ll look at how individuals and churches can develop a habit of world-changing.

“Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world; indeed, it's the only thing that ever has.” Margaret Mead

We Change Together

Thursday, September 28, 2017

Project: Bible - Week 4: Sept. 27/28
Dr. Allen Hilton
We Change Together: The Habit of Community in Transformation (Romans 12:3-8)

Have you ever started a new habit with a friend? People who study transformation emphasize the need for a supportive community. The Bible presupposes community (the authors’ culture is not nearly as individualistic as ours) and builds it at the same time (selfishness is not a new human trait!). This week we’ll ask why Paul’s transformation passage in Romans moves straight from “be transformed” to a strong meditation on community.

“Therefore encourage one another and build each other up as you are already doing.” (1 Thessalonians 5:11)

One Change at a Time

Thursday, September 21, 2017

Project: Bible - Week 3: Sept. 20/21
Dr. Wesley Avram
One Change at a Time (Romans 12:9-12)

Maybe you’re like me: when I get inspired, I want to change everything at once. I schedule my day from 5 AM to 11 PM with self-improvement in fifteen ways…and it never works. In his excellent book, The Power of Habit, Charles DuHigg cites brain scientists (yes, those guys again!) and suggests taking on one habit at a time. The four verses of Romans 12.9-12 list EIGHT changes. Wisdom says let’s do one at a time. How will you and God land on the next thing to change?

“Researchers have found that when people start exercising habitually, they often start eating more healthily, they also tend to use their credit cards less, they’re less likely to procrastinate at work. Creating just one new habit can spark changes that touch every part of how we live.” Charles DuHigg “Change One Habit to Change Everything”


Our Habits as God’s Workshop

Thursday, September 14, 2017

Project: Bible - Week 2: Sept. 13/14
Dr. Wesley Avram
Our Habits as God’s Workshop (Colossians 3:1-3, 12-17; Galatians 4:19)

When brain scientists study human change, they shine a big spotlight on habits. In a fast, instant society, we want our change done in minutes. But the Colorado River didn’t carve the Canyon in minutes. Real Change takes time! This week, we’ll ask how that science and the Bible’s wisdom on transformation can join one another in our lives.

“We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence is not an act, but a habit.” (Will Durant summarizing Aristotle)

Why Transformation?

Thursday, September 7, 2017

Week 1 - Sept. 6/7
Dr. Allen Hilton
Why Transformation?  (Romans 12:1-2)

What is it about God and about us that makes change so important? And how is Christian transformation different than the change motif that makes self-help books bestsellers? This week we will ask about “sanctification”: a ten-dollar theological term that features God’s character as change-maker and the divine plan for our development in Christ.

“God loves you the way you are, and God loves you too much to leave you just the way you are.” (Max Lucado, Anne LaMott, et al.)