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New every morning is your love, great God of light, and all day long you are working for good in the world. Stir up in us desire to serve you, to live peacefully with our neighbors and all your creation, and to devote each day to your Son, our Savior Jesus Christ. Amen.

"A Liturgy for Morning Prayer," Upper Room Worshipbook

Used by permission from the Book of Common Worship, © 2018 Westminster John Knox Press. All rights reserved. This prayer appears in “A Liturgy for Morning Prayer” in Upper Room Worshipbook.

 

Today's Reflection

Effective small-group leadership requires active listening. This type of leadership is an opportunity not to lecture but to invite people into authentic engagement and to prompt meaningful discussion. Active listening skills will help you hear the current needs of the group and respond in ways that encourage vulnerable sharing and spiritual growth. Your main role may be to get others to talk and to listen acutely so that you can engage with genuine concern and love. You can develop your active listening skills by focusing on nonverbal elements that communicate your interest and attentiveness. Make eye contact and lean in toward the person speaking. Nod and offer minimal encouragers that let the speaker know that you are listening. Authenticity is key.

—Angela D. Schaffner, Gather Us In: Leading Transformational Small Groups (Upper Room Books, 2020)

Today's Question

When has someone’s attentive listening encouraged you or created a deeper sense of connection? Join the conversation.

Today's Scripture

This is the confidence that we have in our relationship with God: If we ask for anything in agreement with his will, he listens to us.
—1 John 5:14 (CEB)

Prayer for the Week

Abba,
You have given me life.
You have filled me with your Spirit.
I am your child, not a slave to fear.
I am your child; light my path and guide my steps.
I am your child; hold me.
Hold me tight.
Amen.

(Adapted from Romans 8.)
Submit your prayer to The Upper Room.

Something More

This Father's Day, celebrate Dad by making a donation to The Upper Room in his honor or memory. Give today.

Lectionary Readings

(Courtesy of Vanderbilt Divinity Library)

Looking for lectionary-based resources? Learn more about The Upper Room Disciplines.

1 Comments | Join the Conversation.

 

Today's Reflection

Your group may benefit from identifying two or three values that will guide and focus your work and then defining how you know when your group study and discussion are being guided by those values and how you know when you have strayed from them. Maybe your group decides that faith, hope, and love will be your underlying values. Or maybe you will embrace service, scripture, and stability. Whatever your values, be sure they are simple and clear. Take time to decide together, using behavioral terms, how you will know when you are living by your group’s values in your meetings and how you will know when your values have been compromised.

—Angela D. Schaffner, Gather Us In: Leading Transformational Small Groups (Upper Room Books, 2020)

Today's Question

How do you keep track of whether you are living by your values? Join the conversation.

Today's Scripture

But be doers of the word, and not merely hearers who deceive themselves. For if any are hearers of the word and not doers, they are like those who look at themselves in a mirror; for they look at themselves and, on going away, immediately forget what they were like.
—James 1:22-24 (NRSV)

Prayer for the Week

Abba,
You have given me life.
You have filled me with your Spirit.
I am your child, not a slave to fear.
I am your child; light my path and guide my steps.
I am your child; hold me.
Hold me tight.
Amen.

(Adapted from Romans 8.)
Submit your prayer to The Upper Room.

Something More

This Father's Day, celebrate Dad by making a donation to The Upper Room in his honor or memory. Give today.

Lectionary Readings

(Courtesy of Vanderbilt Divinity Library)

Looking for lectionary-based resources? Learn more about The Upper Room Disciplines.

2 Comments | Join the Conversation.

 

Today's Reflection

As we lead Bible studies, we need to carve out time for our own faith practices. Faith is a lifelong process of learning, shaping, and reshaping our understandings. Paul urges us to “work out your own salvation, with fear and trembling” (Phil. 2:12). We can work out our salvation with tools like prayer beads, meditation, a morning walk, or some other form of prayer. If we really are working out our salvation, fear and trembling will be involved. But we’ll find comfort and a transcendent peace in God. We can enter boldly into the spaces of fear and trembling, working out our salvation as we go. Even though we haven’t arrived at some final destination of faith, we can still lead. In fact, it may be a great relief for members of our small groups for leaders to acknowledge that we have not yet arrived either.

—Angela D. Schaffner, Gather Us In: Leading Transformational Small Groups (Upper Room Books, 2020)

Today's Question

Which faith practices help you step forward courageously in moments of “fear and trembling”? Join the conversation.

Today's Scripture

Therefore, my beloved, just as you have always obeyed me, not only in my presence, but much more now in my absence, work out your own salvation with fear and trembling; for it is God who is at work in you, enabling you both to will and to work for his good pleasure.
—Philippians 2:12-13 (NRSV)

Prayer for the Week

Abba,
You have given me life.
You have filled me with your Spirit.
I am your child, not a slave to fear.
I am your child; light my path and guide my steps.
I am your child; hold me.
Hold me tight.
Amen.

(Adapted from Romans 8.)
Submit your prayer to The Upper Room.

Something More

This Father's Day, celebrate Dad by making a donation to The Upper Room in his honor or memory. Give today.

Lectionary Readings

(Courtesy of Vanderbilt Divinity Library)

Looking for lectionary-based resources? Learn more about The Upper Room Disciplines.

5 Comments | Join the Conversation.

 

Today's Reflection

Most mental health problems intensify in the face of social isolation, so the social nature of the small-group experience can be both spiritually and emotionally transformative. When we avoid relationships, we can only imagine and guess at what people in our lives think and feel. To know relational truths, we have to go beyond imagining and guessing. We need to interact with people. Groups give us the opportunity to check out our assumptions and to hear that we are not perceived as negatively as we sometimes feel. We are not as undesirable as our inner critics would determine. Groups also help us keep our ego in check as we engage with others’ concerns and needs.

—Angela D. Schaffner, Gather Us In: Leading Transformational Small Groups (Upper Room Books, 2020)

Today's Question

How could you benefit from participating in a group with others? Join the conversation.

Today's Scripture

Two are better than one, because they have a good reward for their toil. For if they fall, one will lift up the other; but woe to one who is alone and falls and does not have another to help.
—Ecclesiastes 4:9-10 (NRSV)

Prayer for the Week

Abba,
You have given me life.
You have filled me with your Spirit.
I am your child, not a slave to fear.
I am your child; light my path and guide my steps.
I am your child; hold me.
Hold me tight.
Amen.

(Adapted from Romans 8.)
Submit your prayer to The Upper Room.

Something More

This Father's Day, celebrate Dad by making a donation to The Upper Room in his honor or memory. Give today.

Lectionary Readings

(Courtesy of Vanderbilt Divinity Library)

Looking for lectionary-based resources? Learn more about The Upper Room Disciplines.

4 Comments | Join the Conversation.

 

Today's Reflection

Every group dynamic differs. Groups have people in them, which makes them complex, frustrating, fascinating, and exhausting at times. Yet groups are also deeply rich, rewarding, and full of love and opportunities for emotional and spiritual transformation. We can best experience the beauty and complexity of the body of Christ in healthy groups.

—Angela D. Schaffner, Gather Us In: Leading Transformational Small Groups (Upper Room Books, 2020)

Today's Question

When has a healthy group helped you experience spiritual transformation? Join the conversation.

Today's Scripture

And all of us, with unveiled faces, seeing the glory of the Lord as though reflected in a mirror, are being transformed into the same image from one degree of glory to another; for this comes from the Lord, the Spirit.
—2 Corinthians 3:18 (NRSV)

Prayer for the Week

Abba,
You have given me life.
You have filled me with your Spirit.
I am your child, not a slave to fear.
I am your child; light my path and guide my steps.
I am your child; hold me.
Hold me tight.
Amen.

(Adapted from Romans 8.)
Submit your prayer to The Upper Room.

Something More

This Father's Day, celebrate Dad by making a donation to The Upper Room in his honor or memory. Give today.

Lectionary Readings

(Courtesy of Vanderbilt Divinity Library)

Looking for lectionary-based resources? Learn more about The Upper Room Disciplines.

3 Comments | Join the Conversation.

 

Today's Reflection

The Holy Spirit is present in and among believers as a unifying and influential facilitator of faith. The Spirit leads us toward truth by guiding us gently in directions that speak to our hearts on deeply individual levels and by uniting us in central truths as believers in Christ. Groups honor the great commandment to love neighbor as self, a relational calling to every believer. (See Matthew 22:39.) None of us is exempt from the call to be in relationships—even introverts who need a lot of down time; even people who don’t like forced fun in the form of icebreakers; even people who need things to be ordered and predictable. We all are included in God’s call to love one another, and fulfilling that call requires interaction.

—Angela D. Schaffner, Gather Us In: Leading Transformational Small Groups (Upper Room Books, 2020)

Today's Question

What interactions lately remind you of God’s call to love one another? Join the conversation.

Today's Scripture

I give you a new commandment, that you love one another. Just as I have loved you, you also should love one another.
—John 13:34 (NRSV)

Prayer for the Week

Abba,
You have given me life.
You have filled me with your Spirit.
I am your child, not a slave to fear.
I am your child; light my path and guide my steps.
I am your child; hold me.
Hold me tight.
Amen.

(Adapted from Romans 8.)
Submit your prayer to The Upper Room.

Something More

This Father's Day, celebrate Dad by making a donation to The Upper Room in his honor or memory. Give today.

Lectionary Readings

(Courtesy of Vanderbilt Divinity Library)

Looking for lectionary-based resources? Learn more about The Upper Room Disciplines.

3 Comments | Join the Conversation.