DOJO Session #3b: Loving Others

Our recent DOJO was spread over 2 months and was led by Rachel and Dave King. The goal of this DOJO is to practice living out Jesus’ simple command to love our neighbor as ourselves. Here are the notes from the sessions led by Rachel and Dave.

What is Love – the biblical definition

-Patient
-Kind
-Drives out perfect fear
-Protects
-Trusts
-Hopes
-Perseveres
-Rejoices in truth

What is NOT Love

-Rude
– Self Seeking
– Easily Angered
– Keeps records of wrongs
– Delight in evil
– Fails
– False

John 15:12-13 My command is this: Love each other as I have loved you. Greater love has no one than this, that he lay down his life for his friends.

God’s example of love: Jesus dies on the cross for our sins. Did he require anything back from us?

1 John 4:17-19

There is no fear in love. But perfect love drives out fear, because fear has to do with punishment. The one who fears is not made perfect in love. We love because he first loved us. If anyone says, “I love God,” yet hates his brother, he is a liar. For anyone who does not love his brother, whom he has seen, cannot love God, whom he has not seen.”

THE APPLICATION

How do we actively apply these attributes of love?

We will break into groups of 2-3 and select out certain locations for people to have a list of tasks that they can choose to do 1 or all. The group can decide before heading out. Pray together for 3 minutes in your group when you arrive at location. Listen for God. He may even require you to do something off the list which is even better! They are just starting points. However, while the goal is to always make disciples and love, this isnt’ meant to be a bait and hook type of activity  to get people to sit and listen

We will break into groups of 3-4 and select out certain locations for people to have a list of tasks that they can choose to do 1 or all. The group can decide before heading out.

Pray together for 3 minutes in your group when you arrive at location. Listen for God. He may even require you to do something off the list which is even better! They are just starting points. However, while the goal is to always make disciples and love, this isn’t’ meant to be a bait and hook type of activity to get people to sit and listen :)

1.) Love Beyond Money

- Treat a stranger to coffee or quick lunch at Panera or McDonalds. If the opportunity arises, explain that money shouldn’t be more important that loving a brother/sister. Your needs are already met by God.

– If it’s a hot day, one group can grab a big cooler loaded with cold water and just pass it out.

Philippians 4:19 And my God will meet all your needs according to his glorious riches in Christ Jesus.

2.) Love the Youth

Inspired by Jaeson’s 365 days of love project. Kids love balloons and it’s a simple way of spreading love to a lot more kids because balloons aren’t too expensive and they make anyone happy. Also note that he doesn’t just give it to them, he talks about Jesus with them and teaches them to share.

Mark 10:13-16: And they were bringing children to him that he might touch them, and the disciples rebuked them. But when Jesus saw it, he was indignant and said to them, “Let the children come to me; do not hinder them, for to such belongs the kingdom of God. Truly, I say to you, whoever does not receive the kingdom of God like a child shall not enter it.” And he took them in his arms and blessed them, laying his hands on them.

3.) Spread Love

This could be used with the balloon version as well. Hand out flowers to people this is why it’s better to do it in small groups but also give them 2 and encourage them to give the other one to someone else out of an continue the act of spreading love. It’s like that one commercial where you see one person do something nice for someone else and someone else sees it and does the same thing–it turns into a chain reaction. Sometimes, it can also help replace an unwanted emotion, such as anger.

4.) Love your neighbor

Loving your neighbor could literally mean your neighbor but also indicative to its own definition, those close to you. There is some nice blank stationery provided by Tiny Prints that everyone can take (1-2 cards) and write to someone that God brings to mind. It can be an encouragement, a note to say hello, or an offering to help. You’d be surprised at the impact a written note can make. If you want accountability to write it, let us know. I will make sure you send it.

Matthew 22:37-39: Jesus replied: ” ‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’ This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’

>>>>

FOLLOW UP STORY:

The 2nd part of our LOVE DOJO was more practice time and there were some very encouraging stories from our forays into the city. We talked to people that couldn’t believe that we would actually give away things with no strings attached. There were many who were skeptical of what we were doing, but eventually gave way to the fact that they were being loved and that was that.

We learned a lot on these mini-practice sessions. A few things we realized:

  • Loving your neighbor isn’t rocket science.
  • Genuine love is rare in our culture… but rarer in places where people have a lot.
  • People always expect you to try to sell them something.
  • The biggest obstacle is often ourselves.
  • A good enough reason to love is because Jesus loved us.

Another story from our love practice sessions here.

Dojo Session #2b: Nurturing Spiritual Hunger [TRUST]

Challenge:

:: Prayer: “Lord, what about my life do you want me to trust you with?”
:: Prayer: “How do you want me to do so?”
:: OBEY

Overview:

Intimacy with God is hard to teach. Because intimacy is something to be experienced, not learned. You can never collect enough data on jumping out of airplane or savoring a slice of tiramisu or enjoying the bliss of being in love. So how is knowledge and experience bridged? It’s bridged by trust.

And the truth is that we can’t love without it. We speak often about “loving God” being at the top. But how can you love someone you can’t trust? The lack of trust will always keep you at a distance. And for many of us who claim to follow Jesus, it’s the exact thing that’s been keeping us from really experiencing God.

Trust [in relation to God] essentially means this: I put my possessions… my worth… my life into your hands. And I will follow your leading over my own. Even Jesus had to do it. Mark 14:36, Jesus says:

“Abba Father, everything is possible for you. Take this cup from me. Yet not what I will, but what you will.”

My own little paraphrase is this:

“Daddy, you can do anything. If it were up to me, I’d like not to die. But your way is better than mine.”

It’s a very human moment for Jesus, one we’ve all been through and will encounter again in our lives. When God whispers into our ear and asks, “Will you trust that my way is better than yours?” Will we trust he’s knows what’s best? Will be embrace whatever he’s got whether we want it or not?

If you were Jesus, you wouldn’t want to die either. But why did he die? In Hebrews 12 it says that he did it for the “joy set before him.” What does that mean? Maybe he did it because he knew that his death would bring life to the ones he loved. Or maybe he did it because he just wanted to do what his father told him to do. Maybe both… either way he made a decision. And his decision was that he trusted that God’s way was better than his. And because of that we live.

If you’re going to experience Jesus… you will need to follow him. If you’re going to follow him… you will need to trust him. Go places that you may not always want to go. Do things that may not always make sense. Believe in things that may not have happened yet. But in that you will experience God and the breadth of his character and the depth of his love in ways you may never have before.

It’s a hard teaching – but the essence of Jesus, what he did, what he’s about, his call for us is this:

“If anyone would come after me, he must deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me. For whoever wants to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for me will save it.”

Essentially it means this:

“Following Jesus… trusting him… will lead to your utter destruction. But your utter destruction will lead to life. Life for you and for those around you.”

Blessings to you this month as you hear his voice and begin to ruthlessly trust him with everything that you are.

Questions? Comment!

Dojo Session #7: Self-Leadership

DOJO – December 2009

Many of us move from spiritual high to spiritual high wondering why we can’t just be spiritually baked all the time. If you live that way you soon realize that you can’t avoid the struggles, the heartbreaks, the failures. The highs are beautiful and needed and God is gracious to give them. But God is gracious to give the low times as well… because it’s these times that God uses to restore, remake and refine the child he loves… you and me.

So how do we “lead ourselves” during both the highs and lows so that we are moving towards being more loved by God, loving him back and tangibly loving the world? Or maybe simply…

How do I grow during both the highs and lows?

We’ve spent other DOJO’s talking about nurturing our lives through spiritual disciplines [ie. Bible reading, prayer, fasting, etc.]. And we’ll come back to that again. But some basic tenets to begin with:

+ Growing is fueled by a spirit of SURRENDER. > Romans 8:1-8

So often struggles in life [regardless of whether it’s brought on by us] reveal areas where we hold on to too much control. And God, responding as a loving-father, uses these times to loosen our grip and help us to trust His lead for our lives. Yield to his control… learn to let go.

+ Growing is allowing God to bring correction. > Hebrews 12:1-11

God’s most loving act is often to point out our most glaring weakness. It’s His heart to train, build up and correct for the good of ourselves and those around us. Which means that our mistakes become the most fertile soil for growth. Listen for what God wants to say especially during times when you mess it up.

+ Growing is trusting Jesus over the circumstance. > Philippians 4:13

We don’t learn contentment when things are going well. In fact we often settle into greater dissatisfaction [ie. American consumerism]. We learn contentment when we don’t have what we want… and that’s when we learn authentic faith and a genuine trust for a God that is bigger than our circumstances.

+ Growing is believing God is doing a work in you. > Romans 8:28-30

God has NOT given up on us. And He won’t until He’s finished. We often deal with parental-figures who are always calling out our flaws. Thankfully God never forgets to see our potential and will never tire of helping us get there. Even when we don’t see our growth, He does. Believe it.

Continue reading

Generosity Challenge

Our heart has always been to find ways to live out the Gospel of Jesus and find tangible ways to love our city. With the way we’re setup, we have the latitude to allocate a larger percentage of our funds back out to loving and serving people. We tried version 1 of this challenge last year with varying level of success. This year we’ll try again and use the money that God has blessed us with to bless others. Here are the guidelines and parameters:
GENEROSITY CHALLENGE v.2
>> Objective: To find ways to “act justly and love mercy” [Micah 6:8] within the community that we live.
§ Practice hearing God’s voice and being generous;
§ Develop an eye for people who are poor, marginalized, neglected, under-privileged;
§ Find creative ways to make our resources matter to those who need it; and
§ Put our faith into action.
>> Summary: Each person in the group is expected to give towards the challenge – if you tithe regularly, use
your October and November giving and put it towards the challenge. Total up the amount for the group and Haven will match what you’ve collected up to $5,000. Listen for what God wants you to give and give it.
The hope is NOT that we would just donate money, but that we’d pray, seek God’s heart and see our local
community through his eyes. Find opportunities to tangibly love those around us and use the money to
serve people. The goal is always to love God and people.
>> Suggested Pathway:
1. Pray – Pray for God to see people who are marginalized,
neglected and experiencing injustice.
2. Investigate – Investigate the needs of these people.
3. Discuss – Discuss tangible ways to serve, love and
empower these people.
4. Devise – Devise a concrete plan [objective,
costs/materials, date, required personnel].
5. Pray – Pray for God to revise, adjust and provide in
regards to the plan.
>> Sample Ideas [not limited to]:
§ Building Handicap Access Ramp for People
w/Disabilities;
§ Establish and Resource a Computer Lab for a
Community Center in an Under-Resourced
Neighborhood;
§ Helping to Renovate a Food Bank or Shelter; or
§ Prepare and Give Out Street Survival Kits for Homeless.
>> Other Parameters:
§ If project requires, Haven may provide more funds upon request.
§ You may choose to donate some money to a charitable organization – however do NOT donate more than 50% of it. Use a significant portion to put you into your community.
§ Invite in your friends/coworkers to join in your challenge.
§ Compete Project by March, 2010.

Our heart has always been to live out the Gospel of Jesus and find tangible ways to love our city. With the way we’re setup, we have the latitude to allocate a larger percentage of our funds back out to loving and serving people. We tried version 1 of this challenge last year with varying level of success. This year we’ll try again and use the money that God has blessed us with to bless others. Stories to come of how God will use and challenge us. Here are the guidelines and parameters:

GENEROSITY CHALLENGE v.2

Objective
: To find ways to “act justly and love mercy” [Micah 6:8] within the community that we live.
  • Practice hearing God’s voice and being generous;
  • Develop an eye for the poor, marginalized, neglected, under-privileged;
  • Find creative ways to make our resources matter to those who need it; and
  • Put our faith into action.
Summary: Each person in the group is expected to give towards the challenge – if you tithe regularly, use your October and November giving and put it towards the challenge. Total up the amount for your house community and Haven will match what you’ve collected up to $5,000. Listen for what God wants you to give and give it.

The hope is NOT that we would just donate money; but that we’d pray, seek God’s heart and see our local community through the eyes of God. Our heart is to find opportunities to tangibly love and serve those around us and catch a glimpse of God’s heart. The goal is always to love God and people.

Suggested Pathway
:
  1. Pray – Pray for God to see people who are marginalized, neglected and experiencing injustice.
  2. Investigate – Investigate the needs of these people.
  3. Discuss – Discuss tangible ways to serve, love and empower these people.
  4. Devise – Devise a concrete plan [objective, costs/materials, date, required personnel].
  5. Pray and Listen– Pray for God to revise, adjust and provide in regards to the plan.
Sample Ideas [not limited to]:
  • Building Handicap Access Ramp for People w/Disabilities;
  • Establish and Resource a Computer Lab for a Community Center in an Under-Resourced Neighborhood;
  • Helping to Renovate a Food Bank or Shelter; or
  • Prepare and Give Out Street Survival Kits for Homeless.
Other Parameters:
  • If project requires, Haven may provide more funds upon request.
  • You may choose to donate some money to a charitable organization – however do NOT donate more than 50% of it. Use a significant portion to propel you into your community.
  • Invite in your friends/coworkers to join in your challenge.
  • Compete Project by March, 2010.

Questions/comments: info [at] ihaven [dot] org

Dojo Session #5: Life on Mission Pt.1

CHALLENGE for the Month:

1. 10 Minutes Daily – PRAY > LISTEN > OBEY
2. DAILY
check in with your Zealot group to discuss 1 question: How have you been obedient to God today?

OVERVIEW:

In order to respond to God we must hear his voice. In order to hear his voice, we must pray. Prayer and hearing are aided by giving simple daily attention to what God and Satan are doing in our lives. But when we hear Him, we got to say YES, Father.

PAY ATTENTION > PRAY > LISTEN > OBEY

>> Spiritual Warfare – Dave K. started our time by asking, “Why does Satan attack us?” He shared about a recent attack where he couldn’t move in the middle of the night and needed to pray for release. We all came to conclusion that Satan attacks us in order to intimidate, scare and cripple us from living the lives God has called us to.

Rachel K. shared about a video she saw on YouTube that showed some students praying for healing in Disneyland and doing crazy miracles, helping people see Jesus. Her question for us, “Why aren’t we [Haven or anyone else] seeing the same miracles among us?”

>> Faith and Obedience – We dialogued on the “why’s” and realized that ultimately we are NOT OBEDIENT when God prompts us to do something… whether that’s praying for healing or encouraging/exhorting someone or any other form of risk where God has to deliver. Most of us are afraid of making mistakes or making a fool of ourselves.

But we all agreed that God will lead us to places and circumstances where we must trust Him and He must deliver. These opportunities deepen our faith, expand our vision of God and miraculous happens. See video link above.

>> Hearing God and Just Doing ItSo how do you know when God is calling us to do something? Our first obedience is to the Bible. Read it, do it. Stop assuming you know what it means and skim over. Read it, ask God to show you something and then do it. We pick and choose and avoid doing what the Bible says. If you start doing what the Bible says you’ll never find it boring.

Secondly, the Holy Spirit prompts us to do things… ie. words of encouragement for people, tangible acts of love, prayers of healing, etc. If you feel the Holy Spirit pinching you to do something… DO IT. We want 100% certainty, but most of the time we won’t get it. Why? So we’d learn to trust God more. Don’t be afraid of failing or making mistakes. As you continue saying “Yes Lord, I’ll do it.” your view of God will get big real fast. The more you say “Yes”, the more you’ll see him. The more you say “No”, the less you’ll hear his voice. Say “Yes”. And then do it.

Looking forward to hearing stories of obedience and miracles from this coming month.

Test of Fire

Thanks to Alan and Luanne for investing in our couples… I am more and more convinced of the critical need for whole and intact families – especially for our generation. We are experiencing the fall-out from the lack of whole families as we speak. Read this interesting article in TIME.

A short story from Alan about being a man for our wives and families… timely exhorting and very Alan-esque!

THE TEST OF FIRE

We were sitting around the other day with our adult children when the subject of future spouses came up. I mentioned how I would find the right man for my daughter. As the family braced themselves for another Gospel According to Al, I proceeded.

First, in the middle of nowhere, I would build a campfire. All men are attracted to fire, you know. Then I would find a place away from the fire to observe who it will attract.

  • Man #1 comes up to the fire, sits down and begins to warm himself and stay hunkered down. Not good…
  • Man #2 comes up to the fire, sits down for a bit. Then he gets up, goes out to gather more wood and come back to tend the fire. Better…
  • Man #3 comes up to the fire, sits down for a bit. Then he gets up, goes out into the wilderness. When he returns, he has one arm full of wood and the other arm full of meat…

That’s My Man!

My observations?

Man #1 is worthless. He comes into a nice situation, does nothing but fill his needs. He will either move on to another location when the fire dies or just freezes in the dark and die. I call him a sluggard to nth degree or worthless pile of pud.

Man #2 is better. He observes and takes the initiative to maintain the fire. He goes out to gather more fuel and tend to the fire making sure it does not get too big or too small. This one has potential.

Man #3 is a lot like Man #2, he observes the situation, assesses the needs of the future and goes out to fulfill those needs. He recognizes that there is more to life than just the fire and brings things in to maintain not only the fire but also the body. A Keeper!

Men, this is how our marriage relationships are. Your marriage/relationship could be like Man #1 – you just ease back after the wedding, not do anything and just let things happen around you without you doing anything about it. Your marriage/relationship will be like the fire and eventually it will burn out. You’ll either move on or just die.

Or like Man #2 – you work at your marriage and when things come up, you go fix it. Always steady, making sure things do not get out of hand where you cannot handle it. And if told to do something, it gets done.

But, Man #3 – not only do you work on your marriage, but you strive to make it better. You want to do more than just maintain. You want to begin building on it, feeding it, giving it strength and growth. You look far enough ahead to know what it takes to maintain the marriage/relationship now and in the future. You put forth the effort without having someone to tell you all the time. You share what God has given you into the marriage/relationship.

Want to keep that fire burning?
Want to keep that marriage hot?
BRING ON THE MEAT!!!!!

Dojo Session #3: Loving Others

Challenges for the month [explanations below]:

  • LISTEN – Show love by listening [and asking good questions]. Give your opinion ONLY when asked.
  • ENCOURAGE – Write at least 3 notes of encouragement to to 3 different people. 
  • WELCOME – Find 3 ways to welcome a stranger. 

Overview:

1. SURRENDER – For many of us, what’s holding us back from really experiencing God is a simple need to surrender. Surrendering has the connotation of “losing” – and in fact it is. It’s saying to God, “Your way is better than mine.” And sometimes we don’t see this until we’ve reach our “end”. If we’re wise, we won’t wait until then. The first thing that we surrender to [and rediscover over and over again] is that He really does love us. It’s no hoax. Check out the passage about the father and his young son in Luke 15:1-24. 

>> Additional challenge as you read this: would you pray right now… “Father, your way is better than mine.”?

2. LOVE OTHERS – The natural outflow of God’s love for us is a love for those around us [John 13:34-35]. Love always moves outward… doesn’t control, let’s go so it can give life to others. The Bible is loaded with verses that direct us to love one another. And each one gives a glimpse of what Jesus first did for us on the Cross. We focused in on 3 that are a lost art in our world of attention deficit and immediate/self gratification.

>> LISTEN

Galatians 6:2 – Carry each other’s burdens, and in this way you will fulfill the law of Christ [NIV].

There are many ways to carry each other’s burdens. But one way that crosses all cultural and gender boundaries is listening. We don’t know how to listen. In conversation, we wait for the moment we can get our own opinion across. We give trite solutions to complex problems – and we think we’re doing them a favor. But most of the time, we just need a listening ear. It’s an expression that we’re willing to sit with someone in their pain, without judging… it’s putting their needs above our own. It’s a huge way for us to bear one another’s burdens. It’s a glimpse of Jesus bearing our burdens on the Cross as well. 

CHALLENGE – Listen! In your regular conversations commit to NOT giving your opinion unless asked. Instead listening intently, reflect responses and ask good questions.

>> ENCOURAGE

1 Thessalonians 5:11 – So speak encouraging words to one another. Build up hope so you’ll all be together in this, no one left out, no one left behind [MES].

You ever have someone give you a compliment? For something you did or said? It felt good didn’t it? You felt alive, huh? One of the reasons it felt good was that we were recognized for the good that God has built in us. Someone recognized a small portion of our potential. We live in a world that is waiting to point out our faults, to highlight the areas we fall short. Let’s take advantage of the power of encouragement… and do what Jesus first did for us… give life and give it abundantly.

CHALLENGEWrite out 3 notes of encouragement to 3 different people. Point out things people do well, their heart, character… things that others may not notice. 

>> WELCOME

1 Peter 4:9 – Show hospitality to one another without grumbling [ESV].

The word hospitality has the connotation of “welcoming a stranger,” helping them feel like family. It’s not just heating up some bagel dogs for your buds while they’re watching the game. For those with homes, you can open a room to someone in need. For the rest of us who don’t own homes, how can we welcome someone and help them feel like family? How about:

Buying the new guy at work lunch?
Or a cup of coffee?
Giving someone a ride to work?
Including someone new into your weekly poker game?
Bringing over a pie to a new neighbor?

Be creative… you know how. It’s bringing someone from the outside into the safety of your own world. It’s sharing what you have and helping this Silicon Valley be a little less lonely. Yes, it’s a risk on your part… but Jesus did it for you… bringing you into his world, welcoming you when you didn’t deserve it. We can do the same for others. 

CHALLENGEFind 3 ways to welcome 3 different people; people you may not know as well, people on the margins, people that could use a gesture of welcome and embrace.

We will talk through all these the next time we meet… I’ve already been hearing good stories from people. Continue to just do what Jesus has done for you. Blessings to you this month as we go out and listen, encourage and welcome. Share your stories in the comments.

Dojo Session #2: Nurturing Our Spiritual Hunger

Challenge for the month:

>> 10 minutes EVERYDAY with God.
>> Share with 2 people what you believe and why you believe it.

Read on for more detail on this and what we covered.

OVERVIEW

  1. Everything Revolves Around the Gospel – As a continuation from last time, we discussed how everything revolves around Jesus’ life, death and resurrection [we call this “the Gospel” – the message that God sent his Son to take our place in paying the penalty for our sins and restoring us to new life through his resurrection].
  2. What Separates us from God – We often think it’s the endless things that we do wrong. But what separates us from God is that we replace him in our lives with either ourselves or “things”. This can be analogized with a husband who gives the love that belongs to his wife to another woman or even his career. Or a son who rebuffs the authority and embrace of his father and goes his own way.
  3. Who/What is Your Functional Savior? – If we’ve pushed God from his rightful place in our lives and replaced him with something else… what is it? One question that may help us discern, “What is the one thing that if you lost it, you’d find little hope to live?” That my be the thing.

NURTURING SPIRITUAL HUNGER – FEEDING OURSELVES

  1. AW Tozer – Your faith is never really real unless you encounter God alone.
  2. Spiritual Disciplines – It is often a battle of the wills… to sit and wait on God… instead of God waiting on you.
  3. Learn to Savor God’s Voice, Listening for Him, Enjoying Him – The goal is not just to have the Bible read or have spent enough time in prayer. It’s time spent with Father, with the one who loves you unconditionally.
  4. When you hear something, when God asks you to do something… DO IT.
  5. Nurturing Our Souls is Much Like FARMING – You plant the seed, water it, get up early the next day and do the same thing. You may not get much yield in the beginning. But as you faithfully plant and water and trim, you will yield a harvest.
  6. Simple Questions as You Read the Bible:
    >> What does this teach me about God/Jesus?
    >> What does this teach me about People/Myself?
    >> What am I supposed to do?

CHALLENGE

  1. 10 Minutes EVERYDAY
    Spend at least 10 minutes everyday with God… this would include reading through Scripture. This would also include days where you are stopping what you’re doing to be in silence, listening, conversing, interacting with God. 10 minutes every day. Begins now.

  2. Share What You Believe and Why You Believe It with 2
    Great sharing this past Sunday… keep it on, we’ll ask again next time.

Questions/comments? Throw them out in the comments… thanks folks.

Dojo Session #1: Bible Overview and Being God’s Son/Daughter

Here’s an overview of what we covered at Dojo Session #1. And YES, we’re going to drop “discipleship/leadership training” and go with the simple name of “DOJO”. Why? Because the other name is long and boring. And this one communicates more simply what we’re trying to do. The Dojo is the place where students of the martial arts come and train. They receive instruction, practice their forms and prepare themselves to do battle in the real world. Sounds right huh?

Overview of Material:

  • The Entire Bible Points Toward Jesus – The entire Bible [OT and NT] points towards Jesus’ life/death/resurrection AND his promise to return and redeem the world. As we read the Bible, we should look for how it paints a fuller picture of Jesus <Luke 24:44-46>.
  • The Gospel = MANGER + CROSS + CROWN – The essential message of Jesus can be summarized by God coming in the form of man to sacrificially take upon himself the guilt/shame/death we deserve from our sin through his death on the cross. He did it because he loved us and because we can do nothing to save ourselves. And he promises to come back to be the final judge and restore people and creation to what he intended <Philippians 2; Ephesians 2:4; Revelations 21>.
  • Result of Jesus’ Sacrifice: We become his SONS and DAUGHTERS – Jesus’ sacrifice restores our true identity [which was marred by sin/rebellion]… reuniting us back to the Father as his SONS and DAUGHTERS <John 1:12>. TRUTH: Because of Jesus, we are God’s beloved sons and daughters.

Questions to Ponder:

  • What are the life messages we’ve accumulated from our fathers, mothers and earthquake events in life? [ie. I’m not worth anything. More money equals more security. I have to be perfect to be loved or respected. Failure is final. Others’ opinions determine my worth/value.]
  • How do these messages conflict with the message of Jesus? …with the essential message that we are loved not because of what we’ve done, but just because he does… that our salvation can’t be earned or bought… but is given completely by God as a gift of grace. Is there a conflict? If so, how?

Practice:

“I pray that you may be active in sharing your faith, so that you will have a full understanding of every good thing we have in Christ.” <Philemon 6>

The basic gist of this verse… share the good news so that you will understand how good the good news really is.

  • Share the message of Jesus and why you believe it with 2 people [by the next time we meet for DOJO – April 5th].

This is how I want you to approach this – there’s no need to go out to the malls to share with strangers [unless you want to!]. Pray every morning, “God would you open an opportunity to share about you today.” And look… listen… for God to open a door. And when he does [and he will], share it. We all have people we regularly connect with [friends, family, co-workers, store-workers, mail/UPS workers, etc.]. When God opens the door, share with your friend about Jesus… why he means anything/everything to you. Why he’s so good… why the good news is such good news. Ask God to open doors and walk through the ones he opens.

Thanks folks – look forward to meeting back at the Dojo and practicing and preparing to live boldly in real life. QUESTIONS? Leave a comment on this post.