January 17, 2007

Giving and Grace

Searching for God’s Grace
One way to think of discipleship is as a lifelong search for a greater measure of God’s transforming grace in our lives. As people come together in small groups, seminars, and congregations, they become fellow searchers seeking the fullness and richness of God in their lives.
The new book by Stuart Tyner, Searching for the God of Grace, is an excellent guide for this search. The 18 chapters each include a story from Christian history, a story from the Bible, and a few discussion questions, as well as one or two suggestions for other learning activities. It is an excellent small group study guide with a strong focus on practical, spiritual issues but also an opportunity to learn about church history and theology.
This book was developed with a small group that meets in the author’s home in Riverside, California. He names the couples and individuals involved in the acknowledgments. Tyner is associate pastor for family ministries at the La Sierra University Church.
This is an excellent tool for at least two groups that exist in almost every congregation: those who have studied some of the basic materials and need to dig a little deeper, and those who may be burned out on faith that has been presented in a graceless manner over the years, including some who have probably stopped going to church.
This book is available from Pacific Press at your Adventist Book Center, or by calling 1-800-765-6955.
Stewardship Seminars Online
While most people think of stewardship in terms of money, properly understood it is directly related to discipleship. These seminars, offered for free on the Internet, touch on real-life examples of Christ’s lordship in our lives. Sixteen different seminars on topics such as time management, leadership, budgeting, family finances, church finances, tithing, and spiritual leadership are available online. From the Stewardship Department of the General Conference, many of these seminars apply discipleship to topics other than money.
“Discipleship—Tuning Hearts to God” is the basic curriculum in discipleship, with material for more than 20 hours of seminar presentation.
Half of these seminars have PowerPoint files, and the other half have only document files. I have not had the opportunity to read through all the materials (there is a large amount of material here), but I have known one of the developers for many years. Ben Maxson is senior pastor at the Seventh-day Adventist Church in Paradise, California, and served for a number of years as the General Conference Stewardship director. He is a gifted teacher and developer of curriculum materials.
For free downloads click here
Monte Sahlin is vice president for creative ministries at the Columbia Union Conference. He chairs a team at the Center for Creative Ministry that is implementing a Discipleship Curriculum Resource project for the North American Division. To offer your ideas and comments, contact him at [email protected]  or 1-800-438-9600.