Men ALIVE! FED DAILY WITH WISDOM AND GRACE FOR THE JOURNEY
An investment of 20 – 40 minutes every day (preferably at home, before everyone else wakes up).
Find a time you are fresh, a place where you will not be interrupted and build a habit.
What to have with you:
The Readings of the Day from the menAlive journal of the website. Or you may use another bible reading program A pen / highlighter to jot in your bible
A journal to record your reflections
A notebook to record those distracting thoughts or ”to-do’s”
Adopt a method:
Pray and put yourself into God’s presence and ask for his wisdom
Read the readings for the day – read them all through and then go back and spend more time with the bit(s) that you feel drawn to. Be active and jot notes and underline. Let God lead you in your reading – “listen” as you read. When you are ready start a new page in your journal and start writing!
SOAP - ing up!
1. Some basics - at the top of the page write date, title and page number; and then write down the page on
every 6th blank line the letters SOAP - i.e. S, go down 6 lines then O, 6 lines A, 6 lines P.
2. Next to "S" write The Scripture that most spoke to you. What words or phrases jump out? – the reference
and the scripture itself or a summary.
3. Next to "O" Your Observation about the scripture. What strikes you?
4. Next to "A" What Application this has to your life. Pray, listen, and ask God what He is saying to you
today in these readings. Listen again.
5. Next to "P" Write a simple Prayer that captures your response to God.
- You read the Text – it informs, encourages, consoles, instructs… reveals God and his purposes for you.
- The Text reads you (if you let it – reflection/listening!) - this book is God’s Word quickened by the Spirit not just any text – it penetrates us.
- God speaks to you as you bring your life circumstances the the readings. The Scriptures come alive.
- You become a living Text, in your daily life, for others to read.
Don’t miss out!
Spend some time after you have read and prayed, in intercession. It is a great tool to keep in your journal a running list of things you are interceding for. Record:
The date you started
The thing you are praying for and
Then the date your prayer was answered.
It builds your faith to record the answers and to look over the amazing way that God answers prayer.
STARTING AND MAINTAINING A JOURNALLING GROUP
JOIN A GROUP
Pray and journal with others:
Once a week or fortnight organise a group of men who you can meet with for an hour to pray and journal together – in a home, at a coffee shop ...... This helps to keep you accountable to the discipline, and has the benefit of building strong relationships with men as committed as you are to growing in faith and action. Take a 20 : 20 : 20 approach:
- 20 minutes praying and reading individually
- 20 minutes writing in your journal
- 20 minutes sharing your thoughts and reflections
Provides an essential basic framework – it's the most primary spiritual discipline we need to learn – like writing, reading and arithmetic. It centres and anchors daily prayer – a non negotiable essential a in a secular age.I can't live a Christian life without knowing and reading the Word of God....."Ignorance of the Scriptures is ignorance of Christ" - Pope Paul VI . (WE READ THE TEXT)
This is a methodology that can be used irrespective of experience and maturity in the Christian walk.An unreflected life is a wasted life. We rare either growing spiritually or going backwards!Helps us to listen to God for daily direction and discernment. (THE TEXT READS US)
Heb 4:12 For the word of God is living and active. Sharper than any double-edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart..
2 Tim 3:16 All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, 17 so that the man of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work.
It disciplines us to use intercession and encourages us by results.We retain important reflections in an index and build a library of personal wisdom. It alerts us to key moments of inspiration and insight for our life journey – these may be truly life changing. Spiritual goal setting in response to God's Word and the prompting of the Holy Spirit is the most important goal setting we do.Using a once a week method in a group setting, as well as the daily individual reading/prayer/reflection provides sustainable fellowship – another non negotiable basic for the Christian life.
We learn from one another as we hear other's responses to God's word. It provides a basis for reaching out to others including new Christians and even those disconnected somewhat from the church. It drives us towards witness and mission. (WE BECOME THE TEXT)
Start with a committed and stable core of say 4 and aim for a sign up of 8. This helps with absences that will happen in busy lives.
Guard the method (SOAP) remembering the emphasis is on what the Scripture is saying to ME, here and now, not just an intellectual reflection on the meaning and value of these particular Scriptures.
Ring around regularly to check and encourage in the early weeks and develop a simple phone Email trail to advise upcoming absences.
Keep a focus on growth and outreach.
Keep the meeting arrangement practical and workable. The right time, a place near to work and not too hard to implement are key issues. Keeping the time to one hour has proven effective.
Leadership skills, basic group skills and some Scripture background helps a lot.For those meeting weekly, alternating journaling one week with sharing about your life generally in the next week can make for a good balance.This keeps people linked to a bigger vision and sharing about their mission - be it at home, in society or in the church.Questions,
Puzzles and contradictions should be answered and can be. Short overviews of a particular book especially in the OT answer question such as.... who was Jeremiah? His historical setting was ...? Key themes are..? Study programs are a good adjunct but NOT a replacement if it becomes just an intellectual study of the texts.