Nice to MEET You.

Yesterday we hosted our second Meetup Event!  Thanks so much to all who were able to join us.  We had a great evening of discussion centered around the topic of Simon Sinek’s Golden Circle – “The naturally occurring pattern that explains how great leaders inspire others” and how to ensure effective leadership within small groups and ministries.

Our mission and passion here at Goodberry is to help Christians be disciples and to outfit churches with resources and tools to help raise disciples.  In addition, we also strive to create a community which allows people to connect, learn, support, and grow with others in a journey of discipleship.  This Meetup Event was a perfect medium to begin establishing a group here in our local community.

Our discussion generated a lot more questions of how we can not only get folks on board with the WHY behind our ministries and organizations, but also HOW.  We’d love for future Meetup Events to focus on effective leadership methodologies. We hope to feature speakers that have embodied the mission of their ministries and providing excellent maps – allowing others to get from point A to point B.

The next Meetup Event will be taking place on January 9th – Be sure to keep an eye out for more details.  We hope to see you there!

Daily Deals: Bethany Christian Fiction

Hello all! Today, we have 12 christian fictional eBooks from the publishers at Bethany. If you want to know more about them check them out at http://bakerpublishinggroup.com/bethanyhouse. These deals are all under $2, and they’ll be around until the end of the month.

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Get this and other deals every day at: Goodberry Deals.

Lectio Divina

The discipline of reading God’s word can often be a challenging habit to stick with, especially during this busy time of year.  I often find myself making excuses or reading the text without actually absorbing any of it.  I’m guessing many of you likely run into similar issues.  So how do we combat the roadblocks we face when it comes to studying the Bible?

One method we’ve come to love here at Goodberry is a practice called Lectio Divina.  Perhaps the greatest reason we love this practice is because of how it views scripture as greater than text to be studied, but as the Living Word of God.  The origins of this practice date back to the third century and have monastic roots.  What an incredible gift that we can still benefit from this method today!

Traditionally, the practice has 4 movements.  I would love to share these movements with you, as well as include a few suggestions that have helped me in adapting this practice.  Prior to beginning, I suggest finding a quiet, comfortable spot for reflection.  I typically prefer to be outdoors, though any space with limited interruptions will be best.

  • First Movement:  READ

    • This movement involves selecting a text to read.  Perhaps you have a daily bible study plan that you follow, or are reading through a particular book of the bible.  For this intent, I would recommend a shorter text, maybe 1 or 2 verses.  Simply start by reading through the text.  I often will read it several times, even saying it aloud once or twice.  A slow recitation of the text will allow you to absorb the content more fully.  A caution here is to avoid quickly jumping into interpretation or discovering meaning.  That will come later.  Simply focus on what is written.

  • Second Movement:  MEDITATE

    • This movement is focused on allowing the text to come to life before you.  Don’t be tempted to analyze just yet, but leave room for the Holy Spirit to intervene and consider the text from different angles.  Are there certain words or phrases that stand out to you?  Chew on them.  Consider why these words are resonating in your heart.  The passage may illuminated in new ways before you during this movement.

  • Third Movement:  PRAY

    • The third movement is all about savoring the text.  This an opportunity to come before God and thank Him for the living and active word that He has given you.  Share with Him your feelings, your questions, your doubts, your needs.  Ask for meaning.  This practice of communing with God will open your eyes to the specific truths you are reading.

  • Fourth Movement:  CONTEMPLATE

    • The final phases of this practice involves digesting the word of God.  In this form of prayer, your only role is to listen.  You have had a chance to read the text, speak it’s meaning to you, and seek the truth.  And lastly, you have the chance here to hear the word of God speak.  Listen for the whispers and the roars of the words to speak.  Your silent prayer expresses love for God and a respect for His word.

May you be blessed as you read God’s word!  For more information on the practice of Lectio Divina, please check out these great resources available on our website:

Lectio Divina:  Contemplative Awakening & Awareness

Lectio Divina:  How To Pray Sacred Scriptures

Discovering Lectio Divina:  Bringing Scripture Into Ordinary Life

Daily Deals: Same, Old, & New

Happy Tuesday! Today, we have deals from the publishers at Crossway and Bethany. There are some deals from before, if you missed out, and some new deals from John Piper and Albert Mohler Jr.

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Get this and other deals every day at: Goodberry Deals. If you aren’t seeing any books that you want or that interest you, check out Goodberry.net, and our competitive prices. Give us a call or email. We’re glad to help you with your order.

Daily Deals: Cyber Monday

Here at Goodberry, every day is Cyber Monday!  We’ve scoured the web to bring you the best resources at the best prices.  Today we’re featuring 23 books from B&H Publishing!  Take a look and find the perfect gifts for those special folks on your Christmas shopping list.

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Get these and other deals every day at: Goodberry Deals.  Be sure to sign up for daily deals in your inbox to get the best deals at your fingertips and act while they last!

Encouraging Vulnerability

 

A few years ago, Brené Brown, research professor at the University of Houston Graduate College of Social Work, delivered a compelling Ted Talk on the Power of Vulnerability.  This talk has stuck with me as the importance of vulnerability in developing relationships is a topic that keeps resurfacing, especially when it comes to forming effective small groups.  The potential benefits of small groups are endless, but they must have the key elements of comfort, communication, and trust.  And these are all things that must be cultivated.

Small group leaders occasionally miss the mark, thinking that these things will just grow as the group goes along, but it is important to pay attention and invest to create the best possible environment for growth.  So where do you start?  Brown’s findings suggested that the people who were living wholeheartedly simply had the courage to be imperfect.  “They had the compassion to be kind to themselves first and then to others, because, as it turns out, we can’t practice compassion with other people if we can’t treat ourselves kindly.”

For our purposes, perhaps the best place for your small group to start is in discovering who God says you are and how He feels about you.  In order to be vulnerably authentic in who we truly are, and to ever relate to others, we must first look to our Creator.  Start with this simple reminder in 1 John 3:1 which says, “How great is the love the Father has lavished on us, that we should be called children of God!  And that is what we are!”  Generate a discussion on how these truths match up with how we feel about ourselves, or what sort of impression we feel we must give off in our Christian communities.  I would even suggest creating a covenant of vulnerability in your group – solidifying your commitment to growth together.

A small group community can be an excellent haven for our humanity to emerge and for our quest to become more Christ-like encouraged.  Remember to encourage vulnerability, for Ephesians 5:13 says, “everything exposed by the light becomes visible—and everything that is illuminated becomes a light.”

 

Consider checking out the following resources for your small group: