Dear St. Paul's Family,
RHYTHMS OF THE HEALTHY DISCIPLE MARK 1:35 Very early in the morning, while it was still dark, Jesus got up, left the house and went off to a solitary place, where he prayed. 36 Simon and his companions went to look for him, 37 and when they found him, they exclaimed: "Everyone is looking for you!" MARK 6:30 The apostles gathered around Jesus and reported to him all they had done and taught. 31 Then, because so many people were coming and going that they did not even have a chance to eat, he said to them, "Come with me by yourselves to a quiet place and get some rest." MARK 8:27 Jesus and his disciples went on to the villages around Caesarea Philippi. On the way he asked them, "Who do people say I am?" ADVANCE AND WITHDRAWAL Frequently He would take them with Him in a retreat to some mountainous area of the country where He was relatively unknown seeking to avoid publicity as far as possible. They took trips together to Tyre and Sidon to the Northwest (Mark 7:24; Matt. 15:21); to the "borders of Decapolis" (Mark 7:31; Matt. 15:29) and "the parts of Dalmanutha" to the Southeast of Galilee (Mark 8:10; Matt. 15:39); and to the "villages of Caesarea Philippi" to the Northeast (Mark 8:27; cf., Matt. 16:13).
These journeys were made partly because of the opposition of the Pharisees and the hostility of Herod, but primarily because Jesus felt the need to get alone with His disciples. Later He spent several months with His disciples in Perea east of the Jordan (Luke 13:22-19:28; John 10:40-11:54; Matt. 19:1-20, 34; Mark 10:1-52). As opposition mounted there, Jesus "walked no more openly among the Jews, but departed thence into the country near to the wilderness, into a city called Ephraim; and there He tarried with His disciples" (John 11:54). When at last the time came for Him to go to Jerusalem, He significantly "took the twelve disciples apart" from the rest as He made His way slowly to the city (Matt. 20:17; Mark 10:32).
Many of us feel limited in our own discipleship and wonder how we can connect to the discipleship process of Jesus.
THE MASTER PLAN OF EVANGELISM
By Robert Coleman
Robert Coleman emphasizes this critical wisdom of Jesus in his development of the disciples: Jesus would accompany profound advances, or missions, of the Gospel with pro found "withdrawals", "time away", seasons where it was crucial to be able to reflect with His Father, or the new community of him and his disciples, upon "what just happened."
It was in these places and seasons of profound reflection that Jesus accomplished two things: FOCUS and IDENTITY.
FOCUS Jesus treasured the necessity of stepping back from all the doing of the gospel in order to engage the being of our spiritual life and relationships. For Jesus, the mission of God was deeply rooted in the being of fellowship with Him and one another, It was the being of prayer, life sharing conversation, struggles insights, and humbling breakthroughs that marked the dynamics of their fellowship. This kind of sharing gave deep focus. Often, it was out of the being that was found from such fellowship that Jesus and his disciples charted new course, new mission. This is what a healthy disciple does. They seek out prayer, fellowship, life sharing conversations, and reflection not to withdraw from mission but to gain the focus and insights of next steps in the engagement of the mission of God.
IDENTITY Out of these withdrawals of "FOCUS" came deeper understanding of identity, which is central to our sense of being. In prayer Jesus regularly discovered more and more about his own identity. In retreat settings such as the one at Caesarea Phillipi the disciples found breakthroughs into the identity of Jesus as Lord, and of who they were - persons of the cross just like Jesus, for instance. Of course, this all culminated in the most profound lesson of the relationship between Christian "being and doing His first command to his stunned disciples following his resurrection: "Wait." Jesus knew that if they rushed into doing, doing, doing they would do so without focus, without the sense of identity and purpose that would be necessary going forward, and that they would burn out under the pressures of the challenges a whole culture would throw at them, especially under the pressures of gradually dissipating cohesion, bonding, and life sharing conversation that would be desperately essential to avoiding becoming a fractious, ambitious, envy-filled movement.
ST. PAUL'S BEING THAT SHAPES DOING
In our St. Paul's vision chart we find that there is shared emphasis upon both the Being and the Doing of our Vision. That is why our Church Council approved our Spiritual Awakening vision first. We know that in order for St. Paul's to be effective in our "Engage" practices of Fresh Expressions, we must have the fuel of spiritual awakening We must find the FOCUS and IDENTITY insights that come only from reflective gatherings together in prayer, worship, Scripture, and life sharing conversation! encourage you to look closely in the weeks and months ahead at the Spiritual Awakening experiences that will be offered. Don't miss them! The discipleship health of you and of St. Paul's depends upon the "being we discover in our spiritual awakenings.
Every believer and every church was "made for more"; made to be "mobilized", made for "active service" in moving with Christ's mission forward in the world; made to Connect People, Transform Lives.
We are called to reproduce, make new disciples. Many of us feel limited in our own discipleship and wonder how we can connect to the Discipleship process of Jesus. Most of us wish we could become engaged in transforming our neighborhood and community.
When God's people are released to carry out this mission, we call it mobilization. Mobilization is the bridge between becoming a disciple and impacting our world.
The dictionary defines the verb "to mobilize" for us in the following ways
Prepare and organize for active service
Make something movable or capable of movement
Our mobilization problem starts in understanding how to become a disciple, and how to engage my neighborhood.
Our personal and church scorecards of our goals must change. For too long we have only measured results in terms of "nickels and noses." In the past this may have been sufficient. But, now we must have a scorecard that measures causes, those essential practices that produce results. And, we have to realize that money and attendance size are neither the best measures of a congregation, nor are they the most strategic measures.
We are often so busy with "church activity that we miss the real adventure becoming a disciple, engaging our neighborhood, transformation of the world.
Starting March 22 we will participate in weekly group fellowships that explore together the book of Ephesians. As we do so, we will realize that we have been made for more-actually, nothing less than changed living, and a changed world.
SHIFT ONE - FROM MORE EFFORT TO MORE JESUS
SHIFT TWO - FROM MORE VOLUNTEERS TO MORE
SHIFT THREE - FROM MORE GUILT TO MORE LOVE
SHIFT FOUR - FROM MORE HIERARCHY TO MORE
SHIFT FIVE - FROM MORE PROGRAMS TO MORE
SHIFT SIX - FROM MORE STRATEGY TO MORE
Log In below or post on our Facebook Page to share what Made for More means to you!