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.

what he’s saying…

A question for you… when was the last time you heard God’s voice? Maybe it was just moments ago, maybe it’s been a while. But stop for a moment, quiet your soul, clear your mind and ask:

“Jesus, what do you want to say to me right now?”

And wait.

Repeat at lunch.
Right before your presentation.
During your coffee break.
Right before you talk to your boss.
What is he saying?

If you’re willing to share, put it in a comment below. Thanks folks.

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!

Bread

Some words for the day:

I am the Bread of Life. The person who aligns with me hungers no more and thirsts no more, ever. I have told you this explicitly because even though you have seen me in action, you don’t really believe me. Every person the Father gives me eventually comes running to me. And once that person is with me, I hold on and don’t let go.

<John 6:35 MES>

Which part of that hits you?

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.