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Surprise the world: 2021 Lenten Study

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Ash Wednesday, February 17, 2021, marks the beginning of Lent.  We will be marked with ash, be reminded of our mortality, and know that from dust we came and to dust we shall return. But surprise: God so loved the world that God gave his only Son, Jesus, not so that we would die, but that we would live! We die, but we don’t? That is surprising.

And the culmination of Lent, Easter Sunday, this year is April 4, 2021. Everyone thought they knew how the world worked. Who had the power, what the rules were, who was in, and who was out. They killed the one who came to turn the world upside down, and called anyone who followed him a fool, but then what happened? Surprise! He is not here. He has risen from the dead. Nope, dead is not dead, and what we think we know for sure, well maybe, just maybe there is more. Way more.

God is not predictable. God is mystery and beauty and amazing love and joy. And God’s presence in our life and world breaks in and through in the most surprising ways, leading us to places and new beginnings that we thought impossible.

We who have encountered this surprising God, who have been on the journey from death to life, we too live different lives. Lives that the world often considers unusual, surprising, but that we know to be the best and only way to live. This Lent, we want to be a part of surprising the world. We invite you to join the movement!

What you need to know

Here are the video messages from our district superintendents lifting up one of the habits of people who surprise the world, based on Michael Frost’s book, Surprise the World!  Bishop Haller provides encouragement and inspiration for our Lenten journey with a special video for Ash Wednesday. We encourage you to get the book for your own study (Cokesbury.com or Amazon) and form small groups in your church. 

Videos will be posted here for congregations or individuals to download or view. Small group study guides are posted below so churches can access them at any time. If you are looking for additional resources to supplement these, you can find more here 

So church, are you ready?  Can we out-love the world? Let’s see if we can #surprisetheworld!

VIDEOS AND RESOURCES

Week one, Ash Wednesday, chapters one and two: Living questionable lives and  surprising faith,  presented by Bishop Laurie Haller. 
Download a copy of this message | Lenten Study 2021 week one study guide | Bulletin insert PDF | Bulletin insert Word document | direct link to the video | 2021 Lenten study videos and resources

Week two, chapter three, Bless, Rev. Bob Ruedebusch 
Download a copy of this message | Lenten Study 2021 week two study guide | Bulletin insert PDF | Bulletin insert Word document | direct link to the video | additional resources

Week three, chapter four,  Eat, Rev. Rebecca Trefz 
Download a copy of this message | Lenten study 2021 week three study guide | Bulletin insert PDF | Bulletin insert Word document | direct link to the video | additional resources

Week four, chapter five, Listen, Rev. Kris Mutzenberger 
Download a copy of this message | Lenten Study 2021 week four study guide | Bulletin insert PDF | Bulletin insert Word document | direct link to the video | additional resources

Week five, chapter six, Learn,  Rev. Joel Winckler 
Download a copy of this message | Lenten Study 2021 week five study guide | Bulletin insert PDF | Bulletin insert Word document | direct link to the video | additional resources

Week six, chapter seven, Sent:  Sent, Rev. Ben Ingebretson 
Download a copy of this message | Lenten Study 2021 week six study guide | Bulletin insert PDF | Bulletin insert Word document | direct link to the video | additional resources

Week seven, The Surpise of Easter,  Bishop Laurie Haller
Download a copy of this message | Bulletin insert PDF | Bulletin insert Word document | direct link to the video

UMC

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