The NOOMA Community

CONTACT: Rev. Tom Cook         Wednesday Night at 7:00 PM (Commons Room)

How do we follow Jesus if we don’t much know him?  How do we get to know him?  And when we know him, how can we best follow?  Try NOOMA!  NOOMA is a thought-provoking community of faith exploration for people who want to know Jesus more and who want their faith to matter to life.  Through a series of 20 insightful messages from noted author and speaker Rob Bell, our NOOMA community will be invited to think in contemporary and challenging ways about who Jesus is and who he asks us to be.  We’ll hit on some of life’s bigger questions, and we’ll explore the nooks and crannies that arise in our own spiritual experience.

Each week’s session is an independent unit – you don’t need to attend every week to participate! 

NOOMA will be facilitated by the Rev. Tom Cook with contributions from the Rev. Lisa Wiens Heinsohn and others. No homework or preparation needed!  Sure to be lively, social, provocative, and, well, fun!  Life changing?  Could be.  Come and grow with your church family.  Come and learn about Christian faith.  Come and see!

We will on the following dates for the following topics –

September 13: Rain

Where’s God when life isn’t going like we want it to? Things don’t always work out the way we want them to, or the way we think they will. Sometimes we don’t even see it coming. We get hit with some form of pain out of nowhere leaving us feeling desperate and helpless. That’s the way life is. Still, it makes us wonder how God can let these things happen to us. How God can just stand by and watch us suffer. Where is God when it really hurts? Maybe God is actually closer to us than we think. Maybe it’s when we’re in these situations, where everything seems to be falling apart, that God gets an opportunity to remind us of how much he really loves us.

September 20: Flame

Could love be the most misunderstood and misused word in our vocabulary? I love those shoes. Really? The same way I love my wife? What’s up with the word “love”? It doesn’t have much meaning when we use it so loosely. Maybe we don’t really get it. Maybe we don’t understand what real love is. What it involves to really love somebody. What it means to give yourself to someone else. We mistake things like friendship, commitment, or lust for love, but God wired us a certain way to experience all that love was really meant to be. Not to hold us back or to make us miss out on the best that life has to offer. God created love, and wants us to feel it all in the way it’s meant to be felt.

October 4: Trees

Do our lives even matter? We want to know why we are here. If our lives really matter. How our religion is relevant to this life. Today. We want to understand what significance this minute, hour, week, month, and year has to our lives. To our world. We need a God who cares about this life, in this world, right now. We want to understand why everything we think, everything we say, and everything we do matters. We don’t want to just sit back and wait for something to happen or someday to come. We want to know if all the choices we make now will shape our world and lives for eternity. Because we want our lives to have meaning today, and our lives today to have meaning forever.

October 11: Sunday

Do we get so wrapped up in religion that we miss out on what’s important to God? Why do we do the things we do? Why do we go to church or give money away? Because we’re supposed to or because we think God needs it? Do we honestly put on our best clothes for an hour once a week, stand and sit at all the right times, and sing all the appropriate songs for God’s sake, or because it’ll make us look better to the world around us? We’re tired of all the empty rituals and routines. And so is God. God hates it when we call ourselves Christians but ignore all the things he really cares about. He hates it when we go through hollow religious routines out of some feeling of duty or obligation. God doesn’t want the meaningless rituals. God wants our hearts.

November 1: Noise

Why are we so afraid of silence? Why is silence so hard to deal with? Why is it so much easier for us to live our lives with a lot of things going on all the time than to just be in silence? We’re constantly surrounded with “voices” that are influencing us on how to think, feel, and behave. Movies, music, TV, Internet, cell phones, and a never-ending barrage of advertising. There’s always something going on. Always noise in our lives. But maybe there’s a connection between the amount of noise in our lives and our inability to hear God. If God sometimes feels distant to us, maybe it’s not because he’s not talking to us, but simply because we aren’t really listening.

November 8: Kickball

If God really cares about us, why don’t we have what we want? We always think we know what’s missing from our lives in order to really make us happy, don’t we? If only I had that car, or that job, or if only I could lose those 15 pounds, then I’d be happy. Really? How often do we want something only to find out that it wasn’t that great after all? Sometimes we ask God for things and if he doesn’t deliver right away, we start questioning whether God really understands or even cares. Do we really trust God? Do we trust that God is good and sees a bigger picture than we ever could? It’s easy to want what’s right in front of us, but maybe God knows what’s better for us, and sometimes we just can’t see it.

November 15: Special Group Event

More details to come!

December 6: Luggage

Why is it sometimes so hard to forgive? Maybe a friend turned their back on you. Maybe someone you loved betrayed you. We all have wounds and we end up carrying around these things that people have done to us for weeks, months, and sometimes even years. It isn’t always easy to forgive these people and after a while these hurts can get really heavy. So the only way to feel better seems to be somehow getting back at the people that hurt us, to get revenge. But does revenge ever truly satisfy? Maybe forgiving isn’t something you do for someone else to let them off the hook. Maybe forgiveness is about you. God didn’t create you to carry these wounds around. God created you to be free.

December 13: Dust

What does God see in us? Believing in God is important, but what about God believing in us? Believing that we can actually be the kind of people we were meant to be. People of love, compassion, peace, forgiveness, and hope. People who try to do the right thing all of the time. Who act on the endless opportunities around us every day for good, beauty, and truth. It’s easy for us to sometimes get down on ourselves. To feel “not good enough” or feel like we don’t have what it takes. But maybe if we had more insight into the culture that Jesus grew up in and some of the radical things he did, we’d understand the faith that God has in all of us.

December 20: Bullhorn

Can we really love God without loving others? God loves everyone, so a Christian should, too. In fact, Jesus said that the most important thing in life is to love God with everything we’ve got and love others the same way. But it’s not always easy to love everyone around us, is it? Sometimes we strongly disagree with other people’s political views, religious beliefs, behaviors, or something else, and it makes it hard to love them when we feel like we’re right and they’re very wrong. But Jesus doesn’t separate loving God and loving others. So maybe the best way for us to show our love for God is actually by loving other people no matter how hard it sometimes is. Maybe it’s the only way.

January 3: Lump
January 10: Rhythm
January 17: Matthew
January 24: Rich
February 7: Breathe
February 21: You
March 7: Store
March 14: Today
April 4: Name
April 11: Open
April 18: NOOMA Group Supper
May 2: Shells