GPS GUIDE | Week of June 7, 2020
Weekly Grow-Pray-Study Guide
This week marks the beginning of a new worship series, "Searching for Beauty - Returning to the Heart of Worship." Along with the worship series, we'll be sending out a weekly devotional guide called the GPS - the Grow-Pray-Study Guide - which will provide a weekly supplement of resources to guide you on your journey of faith.

In case you missed it, view this week's online worship service below.
Introduction to the Worship Series
Dr. Marcia McFee, UMC clergy, seminary professor of worship and designer of our worship series, introduces us to the worship series and to her colleague at the San Francisco School of Theology at University of Redlands, Dr. Wendy Farley.
Beauty, Contemplation and Compassion
Rooting Ourselves in the Goodness of God
READ | Scripture Reading
You are encouraged to use the spiritual practice of Lectio Divina as you read this week's scripture passage.

Try reading the scripture through 3 times, aloud if possible. Pause when a word or phrase seems to “jump out” or “shimmer” as you read. Why does that word or phrase seem to stand out? What is God saying to you in this moment? What action is God calling you to?

3 Consider Assyria, a cedar of Lebanon:
  beautiful branches, dense shade, towering height;
  indeed, its top went up between the clouds.
4 Waters nourished it; the deep raised it up,
  because its streams flowed around the place where it was planted.
From there, water trickled down to all the other trees of the field.
5   And so it became higher than all the trees of the field.
Its branches became abundant; its boughs grew long.
  Because of the plentiful water, it grew freely.
6 All the birds in the sky made nests in its branches;
  all the beasts of the field gave birth under its boughs,
    and in its shade, every great nation lived.
7 It became beautiful in its greatness and in its lush foliage,
  because it took root in plentiful water.
WATCH | Interview with Dr. Wendy Farley
Dr. Wendy Farley, seminary Director of Christian Spirituality, has a new book coming out soon titled, Beguiled by Beauty: Cultivating a Life of Contemplation and Compassion , based on the theology of beauty. Our 6-week worship series is based on the ideas in her book. Since the book's release has been delayed, we have been provided with weekly interviews to hear about the spiritual ideas which are the basis for our worship series.
REFLECT | Reflection Questions
These questions - based on the sermon & interview video - can be used as personal reflection questions, or as discussion questions with a friend or small group.
  • Can you imagine God as one who is “in love with the world,” and “beguiled by beauty?” What happens when we begin to see not with our eyes, but “with our spirits?”

  • Do you need practices that can help sustain you? How do you already have practices of “contemplation” as it was described by Dr. Farley? How might you be reminded to “micro-moments of deep noticing?”

  • How have you understood compassion and what new insights does Dr. Farley offer you about cultivating more compassion in your life?

If you'd like to join a Life Group for a weekly discussion, sign up here!
PRACTICE | Weekly Spiritual Practice
This series invites us to integrate spiritual practices into our daily lives as a way of opening to the Divine in deeper ways, thereby training our spirits for compassion in all things. This week’s practice is a time of meditative “watering.”
Set a reminder to pour yourself and drink a glass of water and then refill that same glass and water some other living thing… offering a glass of water to someone else or to a plant, tree, garden, etc. As you do so, allow your mind to slow, your heart to open, your eyes to drink in your surroundings.

You may want to put a note nearby, “Water is life. Water your life so you can water other life… for the beauty of the earth.”
Want to Go Deeper?
A new 6-Week Online Study begins this Tuesday, June 9!

Do you long for a deep, fundamental change in your life with God? Do you desire a greater intimacy with God? Do you wonder how you might truly live your life as God created you to live it?

Sacred Rhythms is a curriculum designed to help you arrange your life around a regular pattern of traditional spiritual practices that God can use to nourish your soul and transform your life.
To participate in the study, you will need to purchase a copy of the Sacred Rhythms Participant Guide .

Note: the participants guide is different than the original book, and is all you will need for this study; the videos will be provided.

We will use the Zoom platform to share the video sessions together, then engage in discussion. You can listen to the session and participate by audio only by dialing in by phone, or you can access both audio and video using your smartphone, tablet or computer and clicking the link to Join the Zoom meeting at the start time for each session.

Register for the study below, and you will receive the information to join.