Many members of Grace Valley used the One Year Bible to read through the entire Bible last year. We heard great reports about the different ways in which they learned about God through that process. We really want to continue to encourage that sort of reading in 2017. For those that want to go deeper, and create a record of some of those things, we are using S.O.A.P. Journals.
SOAP is a simple journaling acronym to help us listen to what God is saying, and propel that learning into action in our lives. It works like this_
- S- Scripture- After reading todays passages of scripture, jot down a verse or two that stuck out to you. In this year, where we are focusing on generosity and courage, verses which highlight that are good things to look for as you read.
- O- Observation- What did you notice as your read this text? Did you learn or notice something new as you were reading? Did the reading bring up any questions for you?--I'd love to hear what questions you have as you read-- These are all good things to write down in this section.
- A- Application- What in this passage can I apply to my life? What in my life needs to change if I believe these words are true? What do I hear the Spirit saying to me?
- P- Prayer- We believe that true change doesn't just come from in us, but as the Spirit empowers us to make those changes. Pray that God would give you what you need to follow Him today.
After a while, this journal can become a living testimony to what God is saying to you in your life at this particular moment. Over time you may see some themes develop, and get some more clarity on who God is and how he is shaping and forming you for his Kingdom.
Here is a sample version of an entry of mine from earlier this week.
S— "By their fruit you will recognize them. Do people pick grapes from thorn bushes, or figs from thistles? Likewise, every good tree bears good fruit, but a bad tree bears bad fruit. A good tree cannot bear bad fruit, and a bad tree cannot bear good fruit…. Thus by their fruit you will recognize them."
O— This whole section of Matthew 7 is about how we respond to what we have been given. The story of the wise and foolish builders we often think about as simply letting Jesus be the foundation of our life (This is a good thing) but what the text says, “everyone who hears these words and puts them into practice lis like a wise man who built his house on the rock…” And “everyone who hears these words and does not put them into practice is like a foolish man who built his house on the sand…"
So our foundation is that we believe what he teaches in such a way that we are actually doing what he says. This is belief + action.
A— Where are the places that I am not doing what he says. Where are the sandy places in my life? The one I keep coming back to early this year, is the question about integrity. Am I consistently doing what I say I will do? Jesus says, let your yes be yes, and your no be no. I need to do whatever I have to to make sure I am keeping my word.
P— God help me to do the things I need to do, to make sure that the foundation I am building is on you. Help my life to produce fruit in keeping with your word, and may my actions reflect your teachings.
I hope this is helpful for you. If you have any questions, or want to get in a group that is doing SOAP journaling together. Please send me an email @ firstname.lastname@example.org