Last Monday, 12 of us - 9 from the Reading and Silchester Circuit and 3 from the Slough Circuit - began the 34-week Disciple 4 study course entitled 'Under the Tree of Life'. There was a buzz of excitement as we old friends from the earlier Disciple courses met together again. After a year off we are ready to get stuck into our studies again and grow in faith and fellowship once more.
This course will concentrate on the Writings - Ruth, 1 and 2 Chronicles, Ezra, Nehemiah, Esther, Job, Psalms, Proverbs, Ecclesiastes, Song of Solomon, Lamentations and Daniel - and, in the New Testament, the Gospel of John, 1,2,3 John, James, Jude, and Revelation. Each week we begin with a video that introduces the week's subject and explains its background, and then we discuss our homework, which comes under 3 headings - Fruit from the Tree of Life, Marks of Faithful Community and The Radical Disciple - and there is extra reading to be done each week.
This week we have an easy introductory week because we are studying the lovely, human story of Ruth, but in the next two weeks we are set the task of studying the 65chapters of Chronicles 1 and 2! So don't be surprised if I find that my time for blogging is very limited. It also coincides with a host of church meetings that expect me to be present and it's the apple-picking season! I have 5 apple trees and, though I will get help with the picking, it takes time for me to sort them out and store them properly.
Questions to be discussed this week include -
What threatens relationships of lovingkindness in families?
How does your experience of faithful community strengthen or weaken your family's cohesiveness?
What determines the effort and/or the sacrifice you are willing to make to maintain connections with extended family?
Identify some of the inconveniences that keep us from including the outsider in our family life?
What actions and attitudes overcome barriers of inconvenience?