Bible Project Acts 1:        https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JQhkWmFJKnA

Bible Project Acts 2:        https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oiVAbkINtRU

Bible Project Acts 3:        https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fglsbcGSr3A

Bible Project Acts 4:        https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FJsiwOB0Pvg

Questions For Consideration

Acts is the second part of Luke’s story about who Jesus is and why he matters.  What Acts is all about is how those who follow Jesus live into their ministry.  I hope that you will relish and explore each of those stories.  When we meet here is what I hope we can consider in each story:

  • How does the character live into the way of Christ or struggle to do so?
  • As we see the encounters with people or communities at that time – what are similar opportunities or challenges for today?  (As one example the Ethiopian Official is interested in the faith but needs someone to guide him.  Is there a similar or parallel example today?)
  • How are we as a church living into this way the early beloved community shows us?
  • How are we struggling whether like them or differently?

Make sure to send me your questions or things you want to talk about in advance so that I can compile them and so we can dive right in on Monday, June 7.


  1. Who is Jesus according to the Gospel of John?
  2. What striking things are different in this Gospel compared to the Synoptic Gospels?
  3. Jesus enters into extended conversations with individuals and groups.  What do you make of those conversations?
  4. He embraces the “I Am” statement.  Where does that come from, how does it strike you when Jesus uses it?
  5. The ministry of Jesus takes different paths than in the other Gospels (in those he only goes to Jerusalem once, here he goes quite quickly).  What do you make of the first miracle stories – how are they different?
  6. What do you really like about John’s account?  What do you struggle with?


Questions for Consideration

  • Remember that our goal is to consider who Jesus is and why he matters according to Matthew.  Before our meeting, please try to write that definition in not more than one or two sentences.
  • How do you understand the word “Righteousness?”  Remember to try and find examples in the Bible to uphold your claim.  Try to take the time to read the link below for NT Wright’s idea (note – it is a bit dense, just keep reading).
  • What in the Sermon on the Mount stood out for you?  Any surprises?  What is your takeaway from that section?
  • Take a look at both the Yoke (from 11:29) and the parable of the Mustard Seed (13:31-32).  Remember to look for additional translations for the yoke (I suggest www.biblegateway.com ) and the link below for the mustard bush picture.
  • Finally how are we doing as a church to live into what Matthew is calling for here?  Be open and honest about where we might be doing well and where we need to do some work.

Resources (please note that each are links):


Disciple Week 20 – Gospel of Mark

Questions for Consideration:

  • What was your over-all reaction to Mark’s Gospel?
    • Who is Jesus according to this Gospel?
    • Who are we called to be as followers or disciples?
  • What do you like about it, what do you find challenging or lacking?
  • Christ literally means “anointed one.”  To be anointed is to be sent for a particular purpose.  It is a term that often is interchangeable with the Messiah.
    • In what ways did Jesus fit the mold of Messiah?
    • In what ways did he not?
  • In the video, I mentioned the idea of Markan Sandwiches – they exist in these passages:  Mark 3:20-35, Mark 5:21-43, Mark 6:6-31, Mark 11:12-21, Mark 14:1-1, Mark 14:53-72, Mark 15:40-16:8
    • To read a short article about them click HERE.
    • This is one example of knowing how to read the Bible can help our understanding of the material – I look forward to whether you find it compelling.
  • The Bible Project link can be found HERE.


Disciple Week 14

This week we take a look at two different ways that ideas of “Right” living are explored in the Bible.  I hope that the video is helpful as you read and prepare for our time together.

Preparation Notes:

  • Throughout your reading and examination, consider what Title you would apply to this chapter.
  • Read Psalm 112  – what does it mean to you – how would you put it in your own words?
  • After spending some time with Proverbs write one of your own!
  • Think about the way Ezra and Nehemiah define the new religious gathering both as it echoes past truths and new realities.
  • The workbook talks about costly obedience to God’s laws on page 104 as a primary calling.  How would you phrase it?

Conversation Outline:

  • Gathering/Sharing (David)
  • Opening Prayer
  • Questions you Want to Explore
  • Reaction to the Proverbs
    • What did you find compelling or interesting?
    • What surprised you?
    • What challenged you?
  • I want to look at Ezra/Nehemiah mostly at the regathering and the subsequent commitment of the people.  What jumps out at you?  What are the cornerstone of our own church’s gatherings?


Disciple Week 13 – Songs of the Heart

Click here for Walter Brueggemann, Praying the Psalms, chapter 1: “Letting Experience Touch the Psalter”


Disciple Week 10

What a wonderful day to meet the prophets and I am looking forward to our time together.  I will follow up shortly with a link to the video.   It is short and I hope helpful.

Here are a few things I hope to accomplish today:

  • Fundamentally the most important thing for us to tackle is to get a better grip on prophets.  Look carefully at Carolyn’s article paying special attention to:
    • What Prophets See, Say and Do
    • The Prophet for Us today and the three things there
  • We will spend most of our time on Amos
    • Remember the context of Amos – a time of significant wealth disparity in Israel – what might that say to us?
    • He is a master of rhetoric:
      • Notice the focus both in Sharp’s writings and Amos on “seeing.”
      • Watch the warnings and how they ensnare the people to cheering along – “yes – punish them!!”  until it comes full circle back to them.  It is a technique that Paul will us as well.
      • He is a master of ambiguity.  Notice in those warnings there is the line “I will not revoke the punishment” followed by that little letter that says the translation is literally “cause it to return.”  The NRSV makes a choice to translate it as they did but it is really making a choice as to something that is utterly unclear, what would it be like to leave it a bit more unsettled (which is in some ways the goal of Amos in a larger way)?
      • Both of these things come full circle in Chapter 3 with those wonderful sayings that get the people thinking.
      • Look at the “plumb line” image – is it helpful for you.
      • All of that leads to pronouncements of doom.  How do you react to that?  May your feelings have changed in the pandemic.
      • Notice that it ends with restoration.
  • We will let go of Jeremiah and look more closely at the call of Isaiah.

I look forward to being together!



Disciple Week 9

Disciple Study – Unit 9

When we started the study, I asked you to think about what the Bible meant for you and how you understand its authority.  I hope that you are continuing to think about that as we enter into a few weeks that focus as much on what people are doing/up to as it does on what God is doing/up to.

Before you do too much – I invite you to wrestle with “Our Human Condition” and the claim it makes about what we hope from our leaders.  Also spend some time thinking about whether you have different expectations for religious leaders versus civic leaders.

**Please note the helpful suggestion to read quickly and not get bogged down as there is a lot of reading – let the story and the characters sweep over you a bit.**  If you are not used to doing the daily prayer – try it – it is a good one this week.

A few things to note as you read:

·       Last time we explored the difficult texts of Joshua/Judges about the encouragement to not allow other nations to influence Israel, instead to stand firmly in faith.  Note the words that the people use in asking for a king “Appoint for us, then, a king to govern us, LIKE OTHER NATIONS.” (1 Samuel 8:5).  How is this yearning to “be like everyone else” an ongoing challenge for the Biblical narrative?  How is it still a challenge for the church today – how do you see it playing out in our own church?

·       I want you to pay attention to the characters in these stories for they are real and true and helpful (both in good and challenging ways).  While it would be great to pay attention to all five, perhaps pick one or better two to go a little bit deeper.  Part of the goal here would be to see how these faith leaders might be models for your own faith leadership.  Perhaps for each think about how they related to God and God’s calling.

o   Hannah – what do you learn from her?  What traits do you see that are admirable or good that you might try to emulate?  How is she faithful?  Look particularly at her prayer in 1 Samuel 2:1-10 and pay attention to its ties to Mary’s Magnificat.  I understand that Mary leaned on Hannah’s example when she faced her own significant moment.  Who do you lean on from the Bible in such times?

o   Samuel – he is a bridge between the judges and the prophets.  What do you learn from him?  He is in a position to have to confront Kings (both Saul and David) – how does his approach to people of such power inspire you in these times?

o   Saul – the first king.  Firsts matter – first loves, first experiences, first leaders.  What can we learn from him about church leadership?  What things are most problematic for you?  How can we avoid being Saul in our own responsibilities?

o   David – the great king.  Perhaps no other character in the Bible is as full of complete contradictions than David – amazing highs, despairing lows, great achievements, great failings.  What do you make of the fact that God built a covenant upon David despite significant shortcomings and failings.  How does David’s life model something for you in the midst of your own imperfections?

o   Solomon – the regal one.  Great prosperity comes to Israel and the Temple under Solomon and his “wisdom.”  How does that lead to challenges?  How does Solomon respond?  What challenges do we face and how are we responding?

The questions under “Marks of Discipleship” on 70 & 71 are meaningful this week.  I hope you might share some of your answers or at least thoughts on them.

Finally, the book makes the point that Samuel is God’s Man Person.  In that the book means that Samuel accepts the leadership or authority of God in his life.  The book makes the point that asking for a king is a rejection of God because they want different authority.  In the UCC we claim that Jesus is the “head” of the church. How do we honor that?  How do we fall short?


Disciple Week 7


Disciple Week 6

  • Pray for those who lifted joys and concerns.
  • Watch the teaching video with Pastor Brent.
  • Complete Section 6 of the Study Manual entitled “Order”.
    • Make sure to take notes each day of your reading.
  • Questions to Consider:
    • What is the purpose of laws or rules?  If you were to create a title (Order) and subtitle (God Sends the Law) for this section what would you name it?
    • You may not have thought about the Golden Calf since Sunday School.  In what ways are we not so dissimilar?  One thing that strikes me about this story is that Aaron, who has only recently been ordained and who will go on to do great things, is so complicit in all of this.  What does that say about our religious leaders?  What does it say about forgiveness and second chances?
    • The idea of the Nazirites is a fascinating one.  It marked people for a temporary vocation.  How might that be a helpful idea as we think about people stepping forward for ministries in our church today?
    • There are some tough things in Deuteronomy.  In chapter 7 there is the notion of not making a covenant with anyone and instead destroying them utterly.  This is hard to reconcile with our faith teachings.  Why do you think that those rules are in place.  What do they say about God?  About Humanity?
    • When you have lived fully within the calling or way of faith – what have you noticed about your life?



Disciple Week Five  

    • Pray for those who lifted joys and concerns.
    • Watch the teaching video with Pastor Brent.
    • Watch the Bible Project Video on Youtube Exodus Part 1.
    • Complete Section 5 of the Study Manual entitled “Deliverance”.
    • Make sure to take notes each day of your reading.
    • Questions to Consider:
    • What is your over-all take on this story?  Do you remember a grand journey that changed your whole life?
    • There are two songs of deliverance in this section – the one Moses leads and the one Miriam does.  Which one did you like better and why?
    • The last question on page 41 deals with empathy and compassion.  Do you find those traits changing or growing for you in your own Christian journey?  How?

Week FIVe conversation guide


Disciple Week Four 

Pray for those who lifted joys and concerns.

    • Watch the teaching video with Pastor Brent.
    • Watch the Bible Project Video on Youtube Genesis Part 2.
    • Complete Section 5 of the Study Manual entitled “Covenant”.
    • Make sure to take notes each day of your reading.
    • Questions to Consider:
    • The families and people of this section each have their own issues yet God found ways to use them.  How might that help you get past your own issues to hear God’s call?
      • This relates to the questions on page 29 of the Study Manual – how did you answer those?
    • Is there a particular character you resonated or want to know more about?  How might you?


This week (Week Three)

  • Pray for those who lifted joys and concerns.
  • Watch the teaching video with Pastor Brent.
  • Complete Section 3 of the Study Manual entitled “The Rebel People”.
    • Make sure to take notes each day of your reading.
  • Questions to Consider:
    • How do you react to the title of this section?
    • How did the story of David and the corresponding Psalm strike you?
    • The last question on page 25 describes us as part of the collective wickedness of the world – is that true?  How?  Is there another thing that we are capable of being part of in the world too?

week three conversation guide

This Week (Week Two):

  • Pray for those who lifted joys and concerns.
  • Watch the teaching video with Pastor Brent.
  • Read the Introductory Sections to the Pentateuch and Genesis
  • Complete Section 2 of the Study Manual entitled “Wonder”.
    • Make sure to take notes each day of your reading.
  • Questions to Consider:
    • How did you answer the question on Page 17 of your Study Manual – what does it mean to be made in the image of God?
    • Look at page 18 – “what does Eden symbolize to you?”
    • Look at page 19 – “Describe a time when you felt such wonder at the majesty of creation that you could only praise God?
  • Contemplate any prayer concern you want to share with the group.

Week Two Conversation Guide


Week One:

  • Pray for those who lifted joys and concerns.
  • Watch the teaching video with Pastor Brent.
  • Read “The Canons of the Bible” in the New Oxford Annotated Bible (p 2185). Those who do not have that Bible can find it by clicking here.   Please note you will keep clicking next and read until the heading changes to Textual Criticism.
  • Complete Section 1 of the Study Manual entitled “Authority.”
  • Questions to Consider:
    • Why do you read the Bible?
    • What is your favorite passage? Why?

Week One Video:


Introduction Week: 

Please contemplate these questions and be prepared to discuss:

  • How do you view the Bible?  What kind of authority does it have and why?
  • What would be a one sentence description of the Bible you would share with an alien from outer space who had never heard of such a thing?
  • Why did you sign up for this and what do you hope to gain from it?

Our goals for this class will be:

  • Introduce the participants, the study, and the format.
  • Outline materials needed for the study and how to gain access.
  • Consider how the Pastor will be engaged and a resource to you.
  • Talk about the use of small groups and how they will function.
  • Share principles for Bible Studies in general and guidelines for this one
    in particular.
  • Answer any remaining questions.
  • Share prayer concerns with each other and end with blessing and peace.