A New Reading Plan

Happy New Year!

This year, we are going to change things up a bit and try a new approach to our reading plan and weekly blogs.

On Mondays and Fridays, we will work our way through Psalms and Proverbs.

Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday we will read through the books our Senior Pastor, Matt Dumas, has identified as particularly close to his heart: Genesis, Daniel, Luke, Acts, Romans, and Revelation.

We will continue to use Saturday as a day to read through the passage for the weekend sermon.

We will take a break from the reading plan the 40 days leading up to Easter and we will conclude our reading plan at this year’s Advent season, yes – only 352 more shopping days before Christmas!

I hope you enjoy the plan we have laid out for you – we wanted to incorporate Psalms and Proverbs in a way we could enjoy them and mediate on them.

Billy Graham once said, “I read five psalms every day – that teaches me how to get along with God. Then I read a chapter of Proverbs every day and that teaches me how to get along with my fellow man.”

As we look at yet another year in the Lord’s kingdom I encourage you to spend time this year reflecting and meditating on the Bible.

When reading scripture, don’t just read through the plan treating it as a checklist, read with the understanding that God wants to talk to you, teach you, and transform you.

When we pray, we talk to God – when we study the Bible, He talks to us.

One of the methods I use and one we have taught frequently here at Central is the technique known as S.O.A.P.

Scripture, Observation, Application and Prayer.

The idea is to get a journal/notebook, pen and highlighter and use them while you are reading.

When reading though the scriptures for the day, highlight all the particular verses or passages that strike you as you are reading.

When you finish, take one of the verses or passages you highlighted and copy it into your journal or notebook.

I like to draw an S and make a dash after it and then just copy the verse.

The next step is Observation – this helps us keep the passage in context – what was the writer or author speaking to in this passage or teaching us? What is the big picture?

Make an O – then write a couple of sentences that captures an observation about the verse or passage.

Next we have Application. The idea here is to think through and write how we can apply what we have learned today into our lives.

So, make an A – then write out a few sentences or a paragraph, whatever you need to articulate how you can apply God’s teaching to your life.

Finally – we write out a prayer or just pray over the passage and its application to your life.  So P is where we write out a prayer.

That’s it, that’s SOAP.

This practice has had a profound impact on my own life over the last 10 years or so and I hope you find it as rewarding as I do.

Whatever method you use – take the time to reflect upon what you have read, pray over it, look for ways to apply it and then think about it throughout the day.

Be ever mindful that God’s Word, a prayerful heart, and The Holy Spirit will indeed transform you to live and love like Jesus!

Another thing we are going to do this year is blog as a team – giving the other members on staff a chance to blog on the subjects close to their heart.

I trust you will encourage them as much as you have encouraged me the past couple of years.

Well, that’s it… Until next time – keep reading!

Jim

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