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

LENT and Training

Two Things:

LENT
Sorry for the late notice… but Lent started yesterday and it’s ok to pick it up today if you didn’t know. Lent is the 40 days prior to Easter [the day most people celebrate the resurrection of Jesus Christ]. The forty day period is symbolic of the forty days spent by Jesus in the wilderness and other instances of 40 day periods in the Bible. Fasting during Lent is a way to identify with Jesus’ suffering, which according the Bible, Jesus underwent for the sake of humanity,

In past years many of us chose to fast certain foods, the internet [while at home], television, etc. to not only identify with Jesus, but to sharpen our spiritual sensitivity for what God is doing. I did it with TV a few years back and my mind was clearer then it’s ever been in a long time! Two things to help you [downloadable links]:

LENT Guide – A short explanation and some guidelines on LENT and fasting.
LENTEN Reading Guide – Short readings that can be done during the 40 days, daily. When you fast something you got to replace it with something.

We will do a community wide fast the week before Easter – info to come.

<<edit – renamed DOJO>> Discipleship/Leadership Training [3/1 – SUN – 9:30am]
We will be reshaping our first Sunday gatherings and re-purposing them towards practical training in being a disciple of Jesus and being a leader in our community. Our intention has always been to integrate our faith into real life – our heart is to grow in walking with Jesus every single moment of our lives. These sessions are open to all who want to deepen their life with Jesus and live courageously in our world. Starts his Sunday, March 1st, 9:30am @ Dave’s house [923 Alegre Place, San Jose, CA 95126].