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Photo by Kathleen Barry, United Methodist Communications

A small group gathers for Bible study at McKendree United Methodist Church in Lawrenceville, Ga.

Photo by Kathleen Barry, United Methodist Communications

Technological innovations, such as Facebook Live, give small groups new ways to gather and share.

Photo by Kathleen Barry, United Methodist Communications

A table is filled with small crosses that participants carried as they meditated on 12 Stations of the Cross during Holy Week at Brentwood United Methodist Church in Tennessee.

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New studies ready for early Lent



Lent 2018 begins on Ash Wednesday, Feb. 14, and ends at sundown on Saturday, March 31. Abingdon Press and The Upper Room have several new resources for groups and individuals to use as they travel through Lent and prepare for Easter.

Easter Earthquake: How Resurrection Shakes Our World (The Upper Room) is a six-week study designed to be used from Ash Wednesday through Easter. Written by the Rev. James A. Harnish, it draws an analogy between earthquakes and Christ's Resurrrection. Just as earthquakes shake one of our most basic assumptions – that the ground will remain steady beneath our feet – the Resurrection shakes some of our most basic assumptions about ourselves and God. It features a guide for daily meditation and prayer and an outline for small-group meetings. Each week contains five readings, a prayer focus, suggestions for small-group interaction and a hymn.

Embracing the Uncertain: A Lenten Study for Unsteady Times (Abingdon) invites readers to engage and wrestle with life's uncertainties, not ignore them. The first six chapters of Magrey R. deVega's study focus on six post-Transfiguration, pre-Passion stories in the gospels. Each is a signpost, pointing down at a world filled with uncertainty and pointing forward to a cross that can show how to follow Jesus with courage, hope and obedience.

In Made for a Miracle: From Your Ordinary to God's Extraordinary (Abingdon), the Rev. Mike Slaughter says that hoping the impossible will occur involves more than praying for God's transcendent power. Every miracle has two components: divine action and human responsibility. Everyone has specific talents and abilities. For a miracle to take place, God expects humans to apply these talents and abilities – acting with God to perform divine work. In addition to the book, the six-week study for groups or individuals includes a comprehensive leader guide, a DVD and a youth study book.

Sanctuary for Lent 2018 (Abingdon) contains brief readings for each day in Lent, including a Scripture, a short devotion and a closing brief breath prayer. These daily readings by the Rev. Katie Z. Dawson help readers faithfully journey through the wilderness of Lent as they prepare to experience the joy of the Resurrection. Sold in packs of 10, the booklets are designed to fit in a #10 envelope, enabling churches to include them in Lent mailings.

The Lord Is Our Salvation: A Lenten Study Based on the Revised Common Lectionary (Abingdon) invites users to explore God's saving and redeeming love through a study of the scripture readings for Lent and Easter, inviting us to a deeper understanding of the salvation Christ offers by exploring the various ways God restores us and our world to wholeness. Also by Katie Dawson, the study shows God's redemption at work in the men, women and communities of the Bible. Readers will hear a call to embrace Christ's salvation in their lives and in the world around them during the Lenten season.

What Makes a Hero? The Death-Defying Ministry of Jesus (Abingdon) offers an image of what it looks like to be victorious over trials and temptations. As he looks at pop culture heroes and others through the lens of faith, the Rev. Matt Rawle shows how Jesus turned the concept of hero on its head. Continuing with his "Pop in Culture" theme, the book examines how good vs. evil, right vs. wrong and overcoming adversity are fundamental to Christians' understanding of salvation.