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2007–2008 Horizons Bible Study Illustrations by Fiona King

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Above and Beyond:
Hearing God's Call in Jonah and Ruth
by Carol M. Bechtel

Suggestions for Leaders
by Joyce MacKichan Walker

What does it mean to hear God's call?

It is often assumed that only those who go into some kind of formal, full-time ministry have heard a "call." In the 2007–2008 Horizons Bible study, Above and Beyond: Hearing God's Call in Jonah and Ruth, Old Testament scholar and pastor Carol Bechtel looks at what God's call meant for Jonah and Ruth. Not just a "fish story" or a "Cinderella tale," these biblical books, says Bechtel, offer us insight into what it means for each of us to hear and heed God's call.

No matter where you are on your life's journey, this study will challenge you to ask, "What am I called to do? Who am I called to be? What am I called to say?"

Order the 2007-2008 Horizons Bible Study PDS# HZN-07-100; $6
(plus shipping and handling, 10% of order total, $5.25 minimum, $65 maximum)

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Related Resources available in 2007

Large-print version
Suggestions for Leaders

HZN-07-150, $10*

Order the Above and Beyond Large-print version

Audio CD
HZN-07-172, $15/set*

Order the Above and Beyond Audio CD

Note cards
HZN-07-412, $7.50/pk of 9*

Order the Above and Beyond Notecards

Korean translation
HZN-07-120, $6*

Order the Above and Beyond Korean translation

Spanish translation
HZN-07-110, $6*

Order the Above and Beyond Spanish translation

Workshop for Leaders
HZN-07-101, FREE
Download the Above and Beyond Workshop for Leaders

Clip art for use with workshop
Download the Above and Beyond Clip art for use with the Workshop for Leaders

Above and Beyond Flier
Download the Above and Beyond Flier

Above and Beyond Bulletin Cover (Color)
Note: This item available for download only.
Download the Above and Beyond Color Bulletin Cover

Above and Beyond Bulletin Cover (B/W)
Note: This item available for download only.
Download the Above and Beyond Black and White Bulletin Cover

"Answering God's Call" hymn
Note: This item available for download only.
Download the Above and Beyond "Answering  God's Call" hymn

Above and Beyond Handouts
Download the Above and Beyond Handouts

Teaching Tips
Download the Above and Beyond Teaching Tips

* (plus shipping and handling, 10% of order total, $5.25 minimum, $65 maximum)

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About the Authors

photo of Carol  Bechtel Carol M. Bechtel is professor of Old Testament at Western Theological Seminary (a seminary affiliated with the Reformed Church in America). Carol grew up on a farm in Fulton, Illinois. She attended Hope College and Western Theological Seminary, and received her Ph.D. in Old Testament from Yale University in 1992. She now lives in Holland, Michigan, with her husband, Tom Mullens, and their four teenagers. Carol was the Bible study leader for the 2000 Churchwide Gathering of Presbyterian Women and has written several books, including Esther: A Commentary for Preaching in the Interpretation Series, and two devotional collections, Glimpses of Glory and Life After Grace, all published by Westminster John Knox. She also authored three Bible studies for Kerygma—Hallelujah: The Bible and Handel’s Messiah; Sowing Tears, Reaping Joy: The Bible and Brahms’ Requiem; and Job and the Life of Faith: Wisdom for Today’s World.

photo of Joyce MacKichan Walker Joyce MacKichan Walker is minister of education at Nassau Presbyterian Church in Princeton, New Jersey. A graduate of the Presbyterian School of Christian Education (now Union-PSCE) and a certified Christian educator since 1983, she has served on the Christian Educator Certification Council, the national cabinet of the Association of Presbyterian Church Educators, and two General Assembly workgroups on the Role and Status of Christian Educators. Joyce also teaches PC(USA) educator certification courses and is a visiting lecturer at Princeton Theological Seminary. She wrote the eighth-grade course for Logos Systems Associates, Teaching Children Worship in the Sanctuary with Carol Wehrheim (Louisville, Ky.: Office of Church Leader Support, 2004) and a leader’s guide for Marcia Z. Nelson’s The Gospel According to Oprah (Louisville, Ky.: Westminster John Knox, 2005).

About the Artist

photo of Fiona King Fiona King attended the Kootenay School of Art in British Columbia. Afer graduation, she worked as a graphic artist. In 1983, she moved to California and for the last 16 years has focused on illustration. She has illustrated many books including The Wild Muir—Twenty-two of John Muir's Greatest Adventures (Yosemite Association, 1994) and the People of the Book series for the International Bible Society (2001–2002). She resides in Colorado. Fiona created mandalas for each lesson using he scratchboarding technique. Manda is Sanskrit for "whole world" or "healing circle." Mandalas are found in both Eastern and Western religious traditions. In Christianity, the circle is accepted as a symbol of eternity and the everlasting God.* The mandalas created for this study use symbols from each lesson's scripture to illuminate the central issues in the story.

*George Ferguson, Signs and Symbols in Christian Art (New York: Oxford University Press, 1961).


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Schedule for Bible study resources in Horizons magazine

Every issue of Horizons offers a Bible study resource to help unpack one or more lessons of the Bible study. The resources planned for Above and Beyond are written specifically for individuals, providing ways you can apply what you learned in a given lesson in the weeks between Bible study meetings. So encourage the members of your group to subscribe now (or they'll all want to share YOUR copy!)

As your group sets its meeting dates to explore Above and Beyond, use this schedule of Bible study resources to factor in which resources will be available and when.

  • July/August 2007: Lesson 1
  • September/October 2007: Lessons 2 and 3
  • November/December 2007: Lessons 4 and 5
  • January/February 2008: Lessons 6 and 7
  • March/April 2008: Lessons 8 and 9

Note: Your issue of Horizons should arrive in your mailbox within the first two weeks of the first month of an issue; for example, you'll receive the July/August 2007 issue in the first two weeks of July.


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Other Resources to Enrich Your Bible Study

Looking for a creative way to engage the stories of Jonah and Ruth? Consider investing in a story stole or parament for Presbyterian Women in your congregation, presbytery or synod! Story stoles and paraments featuring images from Jonah and Ruth are available from InStitches.

The Presbyterian Outlook will publish a ten-article series of helps for Above and Beyond: Hearing God’s Call in Jonah and Ruth. Rosalind Banbury, associate pastor for adult ministries at First Presbyterian, Richmond, Virginia, is writing helps that will provide additional information and interpretation on Jonah and Ruth. The articles will begin with the August 13, 2007 issue of The Presbyterian Outlook.

Encore issues of the magazine and previous Horizons Bible studies are also available through Presbyterian Distribution Service (PDS) 800/524-2612.


Parament of Jonah and Ruth





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