Below are a variety of United Methodist Lenten Resources for local churches, small groups or Sunday School classes to consider:
This Lent, Look at Your Mess Through the Eyes of Christ. Often we make a mess of our lives and wonder if there is any redemption. In this book, pastor and author Tom Berlin helps us see our mess through the eyes of Christ to find redemption and restoration. Using Scripture, devotional tools, and the writings of Ignatius of Loyola, John of the Cross, St. Augustine, John Wesley, Evelyn Underhill, and others, Berlin encourages reflection and meditation through our own brokenness. Only then can we focus on the cross as the place where we truly surrender control, leave our mess, and find redemption. Click here to order.
Lent is popularly known as a season for individual self-examination, penitence, and “giving something up” as a spiritual discipline. It seems to be primarily inwardly and negatively focused. It’s commonly seen as being about what’s wrong with me as an individual and what I’m willing to do to improve myself. While self-examination and some individual work are part of the work of Lent, the early church developed Lent to be primarily “other-focused.” Lent was created as the final leg of intense preparation and support for people who had chosen to learn to live the way of Jesus. It was, we might say, a kind of finishing school for those preparing for baptism and lifelong Christian discipleship. More here.
Join with hundreds of congregations and thousands of individuals and families across the country and around the globe. Deepen your faith as you give generously to provide healthy food for our hungry brothers and sisters through the work of Society of St. Andrew during Lent, March 1 through April 16, 2017. Also available is the Good Friday Fast booklet entitled, "Joy Comes with the Morning." Click here to order.
The rebel Jesus came with a renegade gospel to start a revolution, not a religion, contends Slaughter. Topics include:
-Discovering the Rebel Jesus
-The Most Important Question You Will Ever Have to Answer
-Seeing Jesus Today
-The Way of the Cross
The book is available in a hardback edition, as a large-print book and as an eBook. Supporting resources are Renegade Gospel Leader Guide, a six-session DVD to use with the book and guides for leading studies with children and youth.
Fuquay's study and reflections on seven "I am ..." sayings of Jesus are the basis for the sections of The God We Can Know. A video filmed in the Holy Land lets viewers see where Jesus disclosed his identity and provides a context for each saying. A guide for leading adults accompanies the video. Guides for groups of youth and children can be downloaded. The website, www.TheGodWeCanKnow.com, provides other support. An eCourse and a 50-day eDevotional based on the "I am" themes will also be available. The March-April issue of The Upper Room, sermon guides and worship media will also support the study.
Moffic explores Passover, the final meal shared by Jesus and his disciples. He begins with the Hebrew Bible (Old Testament) and Jewish history to show how these inform the roots of Christianity. His understanding of the Last Supper can change how Christians celebrate Communion and prepare for Easter. The book also includes background and resources for Christians seeking to experience an authentic Jewish Passover Seder and integrate it into their preparation for Easter. The 10-chapter book is available in hardback or paperback and includes a leader's guide.
Both small books offer themed Bible-reading plans to encourage 40 days of Scripture reading and guided spiritual reflection. Each day begins with a one- to two-page reading from the Common English Bible followed by questions and space to record thoughts and prayers. The Rev. Libby Baxter edited Forty Days of Celebration, while the Rev. Pamela C. Hawkins was editor for Forty Days of Meditation.
Give It Up!, Dottie Escobedo-Frank
Study writer the Rev. Dottie Escobedo-Frank reflects on things that hold one's attention, mind and time while isolating us from God and the world around us: social media, phones, the noise of life, the external and more. During the seven-week study, Escobedo-Frank urges giving up each one for a week and gaining a stronger relationship with Christ. A thematic Bible study, Give It Up! is designed for use by individuals and groups. Each chapter includes reflection and discussion questions, a prayer and a focus for the week. It is available as a paperback or an eBook.
Interruptions: A 40-Day Journey with Jesus, Jacob Armstrong
The Rev. Jacob Armstrong uses biblical and contemporary stories in meditations looking at the life of Jesus and providing insights on how to respond to interruptions. Looking at them from various angles, Armstrong considers:
Interruption as an opportunity
Living in a culture of interruptions
Jesus' response to interruptions
Jesus as an interrupter.
He Set His Face to Jerusalem, Richard B. Wilke
In this Lenten study, Richard Wilke explores Jesus’ commitment to go to Jerusalem. The Gospel of Luke says, “When the days drew near for him to be taken up, he set his face to go to Jerusalem” (Luke 9:51). Wilke looks at Jesus’ journey to Jerusalem in order to help us reflect on how we “set our faces” in life. He reminds us in the introduction, “As followers of Jesus, we are called to reflect on and pray about where we set our faces day by day. Where do we set our faces in our relationships with God and with our neighbor? Where do we set our faces with our ethical choices? Where do we set our faces when we see those who are poor and oppressed?” We might also ask other questions. What are our goals as people of faith? What are we resolute or determined about in our lives? As we set our faces to Jerusalem and to the ministry, crucifixion, and resurrection of Jesus, what difference does it make? What does Jesus’ determination say to us about our commitments and about our need to grow in love of God and neighbor?
He Set His Face to Jerusalem includes seven chapters, one for each week in Lent and one for Holy Week and Easter. Each session includes a Scripture reference, a personal reading, questions for reflection, a closing prayer, and a focus for the week. The book is excellent for small group and individual use.
Voices for Good Friday, Amanda Burr
These interpretive, dramatic monologues give voice to selected characters from the Gospels. Presented in a reproducible, copy-friendly format, the monologues provide a creative way to present Good Friday/Tenebrae services and to tell the story of the passion of Jesus Christ. The monologues can be presented as a collective work or can be used individually as sermon helps, Bible study presentations, and in other creative ways in worship settings.
The Way: Walking in the Footsteps of Jesus, Adam Hamilton
This is the final volume of the trilogy of studies on the life of Jesus that included The Journey on the birth of Jesus and 24 Hours That Changed the World on the death of Jesus. It is a 40-day study of the life, ministry and teachings of Jesus, designed as a church-wide emphasis during Lent (or any other time of year). It begins with Jesus’ baptism and temptations, moves to the healings he wrought, the things he taught, the miracles that occur the Sea of Galilee, his “friends in low places” and finally, the last week of his life. The epilogue covers the resurrection.
In addition to the book and the small group video, there is a 40-day devotional aimed at helping your church members to spend time in daily scripture reading, reflection and prayer, and there is a small group leader guide, a youth study and a children’s study. The entire program is aimed at unifying your entire church in a study of the life of Jesus that will deepen your congregation members’ faith.
Though it is not essential, the ideal is that pastors would preach on these same themes so that worship, small groups and daily devotions work together to create excitement and draw people to Christ. Abingdon has prepared a video designed for members to invite their friends to worship for this emphasis. Click on this link to see the worship promo. This promo is meant to be shared in worship the week before the emphasis begins, and for your members to use as a tool to invite their friends (e-mailing the link to them and posting it on their Facebook pages).
You know how important it is to plan meaningful, engaging worship services—especially during this season. What you don’t know is how you’re going to find the time to research dozens of websites and pull together all the prayers, music, sermon ideas, projection images, and everything else you need for an authentic encounter with God in worship.
What if all these elements were together for you in one place? What if all that help fit easily in your pocket or your purse? Welcome to Worship in a Flash. Drawing on a vast library of worship resources, we provide everything you need to plan worship throughout Lent and Easter, all on a convenient USB drive with room to store your notes as you plan worship each week.
The Worship in a Flash USB drive is compatible with Windows and Macintosh formats. It includes prayers, calls to worship, litanies, benedictions, sermons, music, projection images, and more. Liturgies, prayers, sermon outlines, and other text materials are in PDF format. Images are in JPEG format.
Give Up Something Bad for Lent, James W. Moore
During Lent each year, Christians give up something as an act of sacrifice and spiritual discipline. Often it is something like chocolate, knowing that after Easter Sunday they can once again enjoy what they have given up. James Moore challenges readers to take it further—to give up something spiritually that they would be better off not doing. He invites all to seek God's help to focus on eliminating one habit or attitude that is destructive. Imagine giving up envy, jealousy, self-pity, apathy, procrastination, gossip, resentment, or negative thinking, how much better life would be.
The forty days of Lent are ideal to use this study and prepare to give up something bad while preparing to fully embrace the "Good News" of Easter. Study includes seven sessions, one for each Sunday in Lent and Easter Sunday. Each session features a Scripture reference, a personal reading, questions for personal reflection or group study, and closing prayer.