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“Just do it! Amazing! Loved it! Would like to do it again!”

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Garden to Garden Registration

What is Garden To Garden?

Spark Church and Spark Learning Seminars presents, "Garden To Garden: The Grand Narrative of the Bible," a community Bible study experience through Genesis to Revelation! This study focuses on the Grand Narrative, discovering the primary themes running through this beautiful, ancient Text. We move through approximately 10+ chapters of the Bible a day, six days a week, completing the entire Bible within 5 months.

Drawing on their broad ministerial experience and education, from Fuller Seminary to Jerusalem University and the Land of Israel, Pastors Danielle Parish and Kevin Neuner provide weekly teachings and curriculum to accompany the readings, focusing on historical, cultural, geographical, and linguistic context. 

Come join us for this incredible journey! All are welcome!

Schedule & Location

Tuesdays, 7:30pm, University AME Zion Church in Palo Alto

Participants will begin reading the Bible on January 1st, 2017 and complete the reading June 10, 2017.  Video recordings for distance participants will be provided.

 

Please contact Danielle if you are interested in developing a satellite location for a small group or church and we can assist you with facilitation. 


Past distance participants have been located in the following cities: Benicia, CA; Brooklyn, NY; Burke, VA; Grand Rapids, MI; Hayward, CA; Heron, MT; Houston, TX; Indianapolis, IN; Kirkland, WA; Los Angeles, CA; Minneapolis, MN; Mooresville, IN; Nashville, TN; New York, NY; Sacramento, CA; San Francisco, CA; Stanford, CA; Temecula, CA; Visalia, CA; Washington D.C., and Makati City, Philippines. 

What Makes this Study Unique?

One of the reasons many of us fail at reading through the Bible is that we lack understanding for much of what we are reading. We know there is something we are missing, but we don't know quite know what it is, or where to go and find it. At our weekly meetings, you will receive teaching that provides historical and cultural understanding as well as plenty of time for Q&A.

  • The guided reading plan is designed to bring portions of the Scriptures together that help you connect stories and passages.
  • This study is designed to be done in community with others, facilitating conversations and deeper learning.
  • This study is interactive. Questions and discussion are highly encouraged.
  • Pastors Danielle and Kevin are "guides" bringing insight and understanding through a one-hour teaching on the passages read that week.
  • Videos of the teachings are made available for distance participants, and to review if desired.
  • Additional materials are provided to supplement our reading that provide historical, contextual, and devotional understanding.

Everyone is Welcome!

Anyone interested in better understanding the Bible through studying the cultural, historical, geographical, and linguistic context. For both Christians and non-Christians, this study will provide a greater understanding of this ancient literature, what it meant to its original audience, and how it speaks to us today. Understanding the Bible in this way will also enrich our reading of literature like Twain and Shakespeare, and our musical and cinematographic history.

Preparation

Prerequisite reading: Sandra Richter's Epic of Eden, available at Amazon.com.

Please also view the video,"How to Study the Bible," prior to our start date.

Testimonies from Past Participants

“I just wanted to drop you a note and let you know that this Bible study is changing my walk with Christ, and my life in many ways. The Lord is showing me through His word many of my downfalls, like ways I have not been upholding my marriage vows the way He wants me to, the way I have not been trusting Him. Also, I have felt a 'block' with witnessing in the past and I feel like I am getting past that. I shared with a non-believer a snipet of what I am learning and how it all starts in Genesis and is a beautiful rescue plan that God has set in place for us. I feel more confident in sharing God's word. Thank you for being such a inspiration and amazing teacher of The Word. If you decide to do this plan again, I'm in.” ~ M.C.

“I finally GET the Kingdom of God and Jesus’ explanation in parables. The 'already and not yet.' I never got the wheat and weeds and mustard seed parable before. I always had it explained in other ways. I feel like I will be approaching the Bible in a whole new way now, a way that I can understand. Now, I have all the shelves in my closet ready to start organizing the data. Thanks for the blessing.” ~ G.C.
 
“Something I want to share: I used to think ‘back in the bible days’ everything was so 'chauvinistic' and 'geared towards men.' Looking at it through ‘western culture eyes’ it was, but reading this book (learning about the Bible culture) I am seeing so much of God’s intent of love and protection for the family in the way they lived. All that to say, I am so excited about reading the Bible!” ~ C.D.

“Before this class, reading the Old Testament was like reading a Spanish book. I would catch a few words here and there, but not really get the whole message. Thanks again!" ~ A.S.
 
“I just want to thank you for tonight’s Bible study - and for leading us through the Bible. I keep raving about it to my friends. It's such an eye-opener. I’ve never seen the entirety of the Bible until now (well, still far from it - but getting there). Just wanted to say that tonight’s discussion was so exciting I sat shaking with excitement in my car afterwards. It made me think of the conversation we had about figuring out calling and passion. I can see why you lead Bible study! And I am beginning to love love love engaging in conversation about Scripture myself. Who knew I would ever get fired up about the Old Testament? I’m marking this day as a milestone in my journey towards getting to know the God we serve. Thanks!” ~ J.C.

“Thank you so much for last night’s Bible study. I was so excited I got up this AM and reread all of Matthew.  Wow what a difference to hear Jesus speaking to Jews of his time in their reference of the OT and prophets. Thanks abundantly!” ~ D.M.

“I read the Torah completely differently now. The foreshadowing and anticipation of the new covenant makes the major prophets really exciting! God is consistent throughout Scripture.”

“Wow. I came to appreciate God’s love and mercy on such a deeper level. It’s amazing how much I’ve learned about Him. Learning the history helps so much. I honestly have no complaints except that there just wasn’t enough time to learn even more! Sessions could have been 2-3 hours and I would have loved it all!” ~ L.D.

“Gave me a reason to talk to people at work about the Word of God again as I witnessed God’s love and redemption thread. Really loved reading so much at a time . . . saw the Son of God so much clearer.”

“This study helped me to see even more God’s amazing love for humanity!!!  Seeing the big picture is amazing! ALL Bible stories have more meaning and depth for me now. Even the “little” incidents in the New Testament stand out now. I really enjoyed the culture and geography lessons too!”

“Reading at such a rate brings the Bible into clearer focus. [This study] impacted my relationship with God in bringing about a closeness that I only sense when involved at this kind of level.” ~ S.M.

“[This study] impacted my relationship with God in that it gave me a deeper knowledge of God’s Word; greater love for His Word; desire for deeper study; wonderful historical and cultural context; painted a beautiful picture for me from Garden to Garden and I am now seeing the Bible in new ways.”

“The timing of [the] readings was good to reinforce lessons and encouragement during various situations in my life. I’m really glad that I had this to teach me, remind me of God’s sovereignty, love and grace.” ~ G.C.

“Really grew in my love for Him and my amazement and gratitude towards Him. Gave me more compassion for others. Saw how wonderful God’s plan of redemption was from the beginning!” ~ V.G.

“It was so great to be immersed in the Word - it also enhanced me in my ability to talk with my kids about God and history.”

“[This study] was so timely. I had been seeking God strongly for a year but was frustrated with my biblical illiteracy. [This study] gave me the opportunity to change that. I learned about His nature, His love and His faithfulness. My relationship is so much stronger not only because of my knowledge but because of my faith. I 'struggled' with others and was encouraged in my journey to seek Him.” ~ A.H.

“God spoke so clearly to me through His Word. He revealed to me ways I was sinning and also how wonderful He is and how much He loves me!”

“It’s been such a blessing to engage in something so challenging with a community. I’m starting to understand the challenge it’s been for God. I love that God seems more cohesive and the same in the OT as the NT.”

“God sustained me through His Word; speaking to me in times of need. I loved it! I feel like I understand God’s love for me more.” ~ J.G.

“Helped me to have a fuller understanding of the Gospel. I see the OT differently now - I see how God loves us and has loved us all along. I’ve never had such good teaching on the cultural background of the OT . . . this study has showed me that the OT God is the same God in the NT” ~ J.C.

“Definitely strengthened my relationship with God as I felt I was able to place in context more the things that I would hear about Him at church, from preachers and other people. I definitely look forward to participating again!" ~ K.A.

“Really helped me to see - really see - God’s love for His people, including me, throughout the reading. I used to see more punishment in the OT and now I see so much love and compassion in spite of short comings and failure. God is great and a true friend.” ~ P.S.

“It was an IV (huge infusion) of God’s love. It strengthened my faith even more! My husband told me he was inspired by my diligence. Hopefully, he will join me in [the] future.”

“Got me to a place where I fully trust Him and His Word. I no longer have the doubts in back of my head about Him. [This study] has created intimacy between God and me far beyond my imagination . . . it makes Him so real, especially if you were not raised in Church.” ~ F.P.

“I no longer feel like there’s a big void. I follow God’s Word, but what does it say in all those books I haven’t read. Now when someone approaches me with a false teaching, I am armed.” ~ G.C.

“I feel that I know Him on a different level. My love for God has grown and I feel more confident in sharing about my God. Thank you!” ~ E.C.

“This study really changed the way I read the Torah and OT.  I see God’s redemption and love in the books now.” ~ L.L.

Advice from Past Participants

“Come to the class, even if you’re behind! Don’t be discouraged if you fall behind because any reading of the Bible is more knowledge for you.”

“Stick with it! The beginning is really hard. Allocate 60-90 minutes a day but don’t stress if you fall behind. Use the audio for times you can’t read . . . it is definitely worth the journey. It was also great to do as a family and with friends. This created a whole new area for sharing. It brought the Scripture alive even more having family to wrestle the Text with. I enjoyed every part!”

“Don’t give up if you fall behind, but also make the commitment of time everyday, even (especially?) if you have to give up something to make that time.”

“Take the time to meditate first before reading the Word, partner with your assigned “talmidim” (disciples) and read the handouts sent by Pastor Danielle.”

“Take Facebook off your iPhone!”

“Promise yourself that you won’t watch the t.v. program you’re looking forward to until you’re done with the day’s reading.”

“Don’t let yourself get behind. Set rules at the beginning. Come up with creative strategies before it gets tougher. Pray!”

“Read the Text and ask questions!”

“Keep your Sabbath holy!”

“Mix your reading with audio! Even at the gym I could read and listen. (It helps so much with many of the difficult pronunciations).”

“Take a deep breath. Pastor D. is amazing and will encourage you to keep on!”

“It’s going to be a struggle keeping up but don’t give up! Get your hands on an audio Bible if you can. Hang in there because every bit you read counts and helps tons.”

“Listen to the Bible while reading. It helps keep pace and active listening is another rich way of interacting with the Text.”

“Engage with other [participants]. It helps immensely!”

“Keep reading and try out different translations if that helps.”

“Pray and ask God for discipline and accountability if you’re falling behind. Really relax and enjoy your Sabbath day so you can start anew again.”

“Find a partner and don’t try to delve deep or over spiritualize the reading time but practically make time to read each day.”

Garden To Garden FAQ's

What happens if I miss an evening Bible Study?

Nothing! We won’t be keeping attendance and you won’t be kicked out if you miss a week or two. We believe the evening meetings will be a source of understanding, encouragement, support, and accountability, enabling you to successfully complete your goal of reading through the Bible.  “And let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds, not giving up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but encouraging one another, and all the more as you see the day approaching.” Hebrews 10:24-25, NIV

Will there be childcare provided?

Unfortunately, there will be no childcare provided.

Do you have any tips for keeping up with the reading?

Pray! We have the great blessing of hearing the very words of God every time we open up our Text! His power and presence are with you as you read and hear His voice.

Change it up! If you are having trouble staying focused throughout your Bible reading, try a different translation than the one you are most familiar. For example, if you read the NIV, try the New Living Translation, which is written to be read aloud. If you read the New Living, try the NIV.

Break it up! Try breaking up your reading throughout the day.  For example, 3 chapters for breakfast, 3 for lunch, 3 for dinner and 1 for dessert! Or, set aside the same time every day to complete your chapters.

Listen while you read! Try listening to the Bible on MP3. BibleGateway.com has free online audio. Listening to the Bible while reading along with a print version can help you keep pace. Or, listen while commuting or exercising.

Make a Deal! Determine that you won't go on Facebook, or watch TV, or have dessert, etc., until you have completed that day's reading. It may sound silly, but aiming towards a reward can move us from just being motivated to read, to actual completion of the reading.

Reach Out! The great thing about doing this all together, is that we’re in it all together! Commit to attending the meetings. Call a fellow participant and ask for prayer and encouragement. Connect on the blog. Encourage one another and be encouraged if there you are struggling to keep up.

What happens if I miss a day or two of reading?

Catch up! You can do it! Or, if you’re like those of us that get demoralized, easily succumbing to feelings of failure, giving up if you’re not with the group, simply note the day you missed, keep up with the group, and pick up the reading from that day as soon as you can. Because of the accelerated reading plan, is easy to fall very behind, very quickly. Do your best, stay with the group, and remember, the mere fact that you signed up for this challenge puts you in the category of awesome, so be kind to yourself, dust yourself off, and read your chapters for the day. You’ll catch up soon enough, and know that you’ve already read more than you did the day before! Success!

AND LISTEN! If you don't have time to read, listen online, find a good audio Bible ... and if you find yourself drifting off, that's okay! Don't back up the recording ... just keep listening.

What if I want to participate but cannot commit to the reading?

Come join us! Read or listen to what you are able, and then attend the weekly meetings. Like anything, you will get out of it what you put in to it. The best way to participate in this Bible study is to immerse yourself in the Bible, hopefully successfully reading through the Text, whereas in the past, many of us have been unsuccessful, finding the Bible too confusing. The weekly meetings will give you helpful study information and structure for reading through the Bible, whenever you are able to commit to that journey.