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I was reading Michael Frost’s Incarnate: The Body of Christ in an Age of Disengagement (You can find it here). Frost describes a prayer exercise that I think would fit well with the lesson in which we talked about praying scripture (Find it here).

Frost describes a prayer cycle based on the prayers of Luke 1-2. The daily cycle goes as follows:

Upon waking, read/pray Mary’s response to Gabriel: Luke 1.38.

This prayer serves as an opening of your day and prepares you for those activities of the day.

During the morning, read/pray the Magnificat: Luke 1.46-55.

Frost rightly claims that your morning is often the busiest time of the day and so Mary’s praise of the power of God serves to focus us on the one who is important, when compared to those things we might claim as such.

Midday read/pray Zechariah’s song (often called the Benedictus): Luke 1.68-75.

Zechariah’s prayer focuses us for the rest of the afternoon to come.

In the afternoon read/pray the response of heavenly host: Luke 2.14

After a busy day, this response of the angels reminds us of the Lordship of God.

Close your day with Simeon’s pray to God: Luke 2.29-32.

Although Simeon’s prayer is a reflection of the end of his life, it serves us well as we close down our day and rest in preparation for the next.

I found this cycle beneficial and wanted to share it with you as you spend time praying scripture.

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As we begin a new series in our groups, we have updated our Current Lesson page (find it here) to include those lessons. This page will be updated as more lessons become available.

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We have updated the “Current Lessons” tab above to include the One Group Lessons over our study in the Gospel of Matthew. You can click that tab, or go there directly by clicking here.

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For those of you who were a part of South Plains’ Wednesday night series on spiritual disciplines (or if you were unable to be a part), I have included a new page with some suggested resources. These will help you continue your journey into practices that help us be transformed into His image.

You can find the list by clicking on the tab above which says “Bibliography” or by going directly here.

One question, though: What would you add to this list?

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I have a confession.

When Jesus talks about being a neighbor to others, I am not sure I really understand what he is talking about. I mean, I hear what he is saying and yes, I understand him, but as I look at my life, I am not sure it really looks like the life of someone who loves my neighbor.

I like to be around the people I already know.

I like to be around the people I already know who look and act and think like me.

I like loving my neighbor when I get some reward for doing so—at the very least, recognition of some sort.

I like loving my neighbor when I have a few minutes of free time and do not have to go too far out of my way.

I like … well, you get the idea, I think.

This Sunday evening, June 3 at 5:00 pm, we will gather at the South Plains building to wrestle with how best to love our neighbors.

Will you join us?

More importantly, will you come ready to share the stories you have of loving your neighbor and through that, help us all love others more?

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Summer Sundays

Here is our schedule for the summer:

June 3: Learning to Love Neighbors (at the building)
June 10: Learning to Study More (at the building)
June 17: Learning to Serve through Ministry (at the building)
June 24: Timothy and Tabitha Led Service (at the building)
July 1: Spending Time with Neighbors (in homes, parks, and other venues with 1 Groups)
July 8: Home Bible Study (in homes with your family)
July 15: Family Night (in homes with your family)
July 22: Serving through Ministry (at various venues with 1 Groups)
July 29: Timothy and Tabitha Led Service (at the building)
Aug 5: Party in the Park (at the building, picnic on the north lawn)
Aug 12: Home Bible Study (in homes with your family)
Aug 19: Ice Cream Social and 1 Group Connections (at the building, sponsored by 1 Groups)
Aug 26: Timothy and Tabitha Led Service (at the building).
I hope you will make plans to join us for this exciting time!

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Taxes and Groups

Tax preparation labels you. Although they are few, there are times in life when you are instantly labeled, put into one camp or the other. You are either an instruction reader or a “do it by feel” kind of person. You either ask for directions or refuse to admit you are truly lost.  You are either a morning or late night person. Coke or Pepsi. And you either keep a neat log with all your receipts and mileage records or you just throw them all into a drawer (if even that!)

I have heard about people who have a nice, neat, computer print out of all their expenditures and business miles printed in advance. Like … end of January advance. It often makes completing their 1040 as simple as filling in the blanks. In no time, they are done.

Others use more of a “somewhere-in-the-bottom-of-this-shoebox” system. They scramble desperately to get all of the facts and figures down on paper and put in the proper place before the deadline. (And yes, the bottom-of-the-box individual is often the ten minutes until midnight person as well.)

It dawned on me this year (it was a shoebox year, thanks for asking) that we often approach our groups in a similar manner. Sometimes we spend time all throughout the year developing relationships and spending time with group leaders or members. Our mutual encouragement, accountability, and support of one another flow easily as we continue to work through a small group year. When a crisis arises, we have already developed the relationships that enable us to smoothly sail the rough waters.

Other times, we desperately try to pull together relationships we have spent far too little time cultivating during the year, all the while knowing the small group year is drawing to a close and wondering what sort of harvest our groups will produce. When the challenges raise their ugly head, we have to scramble in hopes that we somehow make it through the difficult stretches.

Which category do you fall in?

Are you doing the little things every day that make the big moments of your group life seem as simple as just filling in the blanks?

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