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This summer, our lessons support the theme of "Community." The writer of the student book lessons is Robert Gardner; the teacher book writer is Martha Myre.
A New Thing
Spiritual Practice - Study
Scripture - Deuteronomy 8:1-10 | 1 Kings 18:20-39 | 2 Kings 22:8-20 | Hosea 1:2-11
If you look at the texts of this unit in the sequence they are laid out over the four lessons, it may not be immediately apparent why the unit theme is "A New Thing. While Lesson 1 presents God's charge to ancient Israel to keep the commandments, Lessons 2 and 3 focus on incidents brought about by the people failing to keep the commandments, and Lesson 3 adds the note of divine judgment. It's only when we get to Lesson 4 that the new creation theme emerges. But after the journey the first three lessons takes us through, the need for a fresh start is obvious, and the message of restoration that God announces through Hosea is most welcome.
A New People
Scripture - Jeremiah 23:1-8 | Daniel 1:8-17 | Daniel 3:19-30 |Nehemiah 9:9-17, 32-33
Spiritual Practice - Prayer
While the Lord invites all to be people of God, the Old Testament is essentially the story of God's dealings with a specific group of people, the Israelites. The four lessons of this unit give us an opportunity to look at some key stories related to those dealings: God and the remnant, the community's connection to God, God's care for the people in a time of great stress, and how God's love for the people continued despite their unfaithfulness. All these stories have applications to us today, but we begin to learn about God's ways through biblical stories about God and the Israelites.
A New Way of Life
Scripture - Luke 19:1-10 | John 4:7-30, 39-42 | Luke 10:25-37 | Matthew 15:21-28 | Mark 5:1-20
Spiritual Practice - Hospitality
The Bible passages in the five lessons of this unit are all intended to enlarge our understanding of the word neighbor. Four of the five are incidents that directly involve Jesus, and the fifth is a parable Jesus told expressly to show what it means to be a neighbor, the parable we call the parable of the good Samaritan. All these passages are important, for they elucidate Jesus' summary statement of one of the two most important commandments: "You must love your neighbor as you love yourself" (Matthew 22:39).
- A comprehensive Bible study plan with more flexibility in terms of Scripture selection and topics.
- Additional information, as well as suggestions, designed to help leaders and facilitators lead with confidence.
- Observation of the church seasons, including Advent and Lent.
- Suggestions for developing spiritual practices (prayer, confession, worship, mindfulness, solitude, community, hospitality, neighboring, service, and celebration).
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