Thursday, January 27, 2011

Our current Sunday morning series: using SOAP on Matthew

We just started a new journey with the teens at Stillmeadow.  From now until April 13 (Palm Sunday) the teens at Stillmeadow are working through the book of Matthew. 

We're proceeding through the book from front to back (although...reading it from back to front might be an exciting adventure at some point) and encouraging the students to read a portion each day.  Students can sign up for texts which the passages for each day.  I'm also updating my twitter and facebook status every day with those same texts.  Feel free to follow along!

The Method
We're also trying something new with the kids by giving them basic instructions on how to read the text.  There are sooo many ways, but right now we are emphasizing the SOAP method!  We are encouraging the students to use this method on their own during the week.  Then when we gather on Sundays we practice it together.  I'm stoked about it!

What is SOAP?  I'm glad you asked!  See the explanation below!

SOAP is an acronym for a simple way of reading scripture.  The intention is to guide you purposefully through scripture, taking time for and allowing God to speak through the reading.

Scripture: Before you read, take a couple minutes to sit in silence before Christ, remembering His sacrifice in the past and His ever present love.   Then read, knowing His Spirit is with you, opening your heart and mind to His truth.

Observe: Ask the who, what, when, where, how and why questions.  What does this passage say about God and/or humanity? How does this passage fit in with the passage before and after? Is there anything that stands out or that I have not noticed before?

Apply: What is God saying to you through this passage?  What does He want you to learn?  How does He want you to live differently?

Pray: Based off what you sense God is saying to you from this passage, take time to write out or form a prayer that focuses on the content of what you read and what you sense God calling you to do.  Then pray for family, friends and enemies.  Pray for your church and smaller group.  Pray for yourself. 

Hint #1: You may find it helpful to write your responses in a journal or on paper…

Hint #2: You will find some passages more difficult than others.  That’s okay! Bring any confusions or difficulties to class for questions!  More than likely others will have similar questions!

This method is adapted from something our worship pastor, David Brown, gave to me.  He adapted it from Wayne Cordeiro's book The Divine Mentor.

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

My Friend Doug Paul Has Moved

My good friend (so good he was my best man and I his!) Doug Paul (not this Doug Paul, the original sounding voice actor) has been a part of a church plant called Eikon for the past few years and has been blogging about the church's journey.  He has moved his blog.  I think it looks quite nice!

Also, if you are interested in the way of discipleship that his church is following, check out 3DM.  Very rooted, spirit-filled and innovative stuff happening through this.  Alan Hirsch, who has some great work on missional church work,  recommends 3DM with this youtube video.

This video does a good job of explaining why they are doing what they are doing the way they are doing it.

Monday, January 24, 2011

Gratitude thoughts from Brian Walsh

In a culture of perpetual dissatisfaction,
a culture where you are what you have made yourself,
a culture of ceaseless craving
……for new experiences,
……for consumer goods,
……for power,
……for sex,
……for wealth,
……for status,
a culture of hyperactive frenzy and anxiety,
a culture of paralysis and numbness,
……in this culture,
……gratitude can set us free.
Gratitude receives life as a gift,
not a self-made accomplishment.
Gratitude is rooted in deep satisfaction,
not held captive to dissatisfaction.
Gratitude replaces isolation
with community.
Gratitude replaces competition
with friendship.
Gratitude meets an economy of ‘more’
with the audacious experience of ‘enough.’
Gratitude abandons aggression
for gentleness.
Gratitude shakes off arrogance,
for humility.
If the peace of Christ rules in our hearts,
if we know the power of forgiveness,
if we have been renewed in Christ,
if love binds our lives together,
then we will be thankful.
If the word of Christ dwells in us richly,
if the word of Christ takes up residence deep in our lives,
if that word begins to bear fruit in us,
if wisdom begins to shape our imaginations,
then we will sing songs of profound gratitude.
If we have come to Christ,
if we give our whole lives to Christ,
if we submit every dimension of our lives to his loving rule,
if we do everything in the name of Christ,
……then our whole lives will be a thanks offering,
……our whole lives will give thanks to God our Father.
Christian ministry is not a duty,
it is an act of gratitude.

You can find the rest of Brian's stuff here.