Choosing teachers, disciples

It was early morning, the sun was rising a wonderful new day, crisp sunshine, fresh new colours all around but things had changed. The hope, the incredible circumstances disappeared, he had been so violently taken from me Mary thought. When Mary Magdalene woke up early that Sunday morning and made her way to the tomb. Finding it empty, she asked what they had done with Jesus. Turning around with tears in her eyes, I wonder if it was one of those slow turns that took so long, but really it was seconds, there a gardener stood busying himself with caring for creation. He and she stood together in a garden, she was about to play out a narrative that would recreate, to eat from the tree of life just as ‘Ish’ and ‘Isha’ had done at creations dawn, what a great cause was about to be corrected.

Little did she know what she was about to play out, she mistook Jesus for the gardener, the creator, for a gardener yet it changes as soon as he called her by name, she recognised him. Her identity was established in the sound of the voice of Christ. Who she was Magdalene “strong tower”, a tower to the work of Christ, the first one following the resurrection to be a sent one, sent one, commissioned by the very sound of Christs’ voice, the one who was spoken of long ago “light be and light was” now speaks her name.

In the sound of her name, a response came, “Rabboni!” (John 20:1-16).
“Rabboni” (“my teacher”). The first thing that crossed her mind when she discovered the gardener was alive, was that he was still available to be her rabbi, that she could still be discipled by Jesus.

Here is a question, “Have you, like Mary, chosen Jesus as your primary teacher?” The one who cares for your garden, the one who created the garden of your life? Will you take on this gardeners burden, this teachers cause? For this gardener not only does he understand photosynthesis, but he is also the light of the world (John 1:4; 8:12).

This one that opens Mary’s world and is also wanting to open yours fully, not to religious knowledge but to a relationship. Not to structures of conformity but to the wide open space of freedom of a life lived by the life of another, not I live but Christ.

In the speaking of Mary’s name and yours you will find not only a gardener but an invite to a daily life school, from medicine, Great Physician (Mark 2:17).
An engineer and architect, who has designed and is building the church, that has stood the test of time (Matthew 16:18; John 14:1-4). For the mathematicians, you’re going to be amazed at what he can do with a few fish and loaves (John 6:1-15). For financiers, he can show you where to get an eternal return on your investment (Matthew 6:19-24; 25:14-30).
As the King of kings, he can teach you anything you want to know about politics (Revelation 19:16).

Rabboni. The first title was given to Jesus after he rose from the dead!
God’s word is meant to fill our minds, flow from our lips, and find a home in our hearts.

In handling the word of God you and I have choices, its’ either going to be a textbook, just a dry system of facts that we study so we can pass the test of being able to quote scripture. Yet it is not meant to be a book of information; it’s a book that brings about transformation. When we engage the Word of God, something happens, it is alive—literally! God breathed the “breath of life” into it and it lives and moves and has a life for us, as God began with Adam, Eve and all living creatures (Genesis 1:30; 2:7; 2 Timothy 3:16-17).

This Living Word that is the person of Christ, is peculiar, the Word has a purpose that cannot be thwarted, that is this Word accomplishes its predetermined intentions. A Living Word (Hebrews 4:12-13). The Word is a mystery revealed, a song is sung, a way of life presented. They are meant to be pursued and experienced.

Teachers of old, and probably some today, for example, those who taught the Law, the Old Testament had a way of removing the living beauty from God’s Word. We cannot allow this Word to become dry and dusty, shrivelled and crystallised. SO well dissected, the intricacies of Scriptures are killed as debating points.

Jesus in handling his instruction spoke with authority and life flowed that made him the centre of attraction, life begetting life. Jesus from his own living union with the Father and Holy Spirit flowed with a dynamic that handled all he had been given, which in turn he said he had given to the disciples. Jesus one day was asked a question “What must I do to inherit eternal life?” (Luke 10:25-37). Hold up, how can this be, are the words used correctly, it is wearied, you don’t earn an inheritance, you receive it don’t you. How can you do, to inherit? Inheritance is not a reward? Jesus replied, “What is written in the Law? How do you read it?” The teacher of the Law answered, “Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength.” (Deuteronomy 6:4-5). Jesus affirmed that he had answered well, but the teacher of the Law couldn’t help himself. He continued to dissect God’s word by asking, “And who is my neighbour?”
Jesus, immediately tells a story we call the Good Samaritan. Jesus answered the original question now in such a way that treated the Word as a living, infiltrating our “soul and spirit, joints and marrow,” for the living Word of God “judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart” (Hebrews 4:12).

I have this funny thought regarding this Jesus Teacher, we say that the best influence is when you have suggested a direction forward and the listener has taken it on board, and now thinks it is their own idea or thought. Jesus similarly when he taught, his listeners often didn’t realise they were being taught, this is masterful in every way. Powerful instructor, an amazing discipler!

Jesus grew people as he drew on their lives cycles, he stood in the field of their lives and took real things, close things to peoples lives. The teaching came from life as he spoke to people about their day, fishermen “fishers of men”. farmers planing fields, shepherd losing sheep. He took relationships that were broken, tense and challenged, look at relationships between people, children and parents, people and government, differences that separated people and used them as examples, pulling people into their classroom of life. The School of the Spirit was not behind a desk or in set teaching times but it was constant and always in session with Jesus.

I wonder how Jesus changed his language for synagogue and street, I wonder for publicans and Pharisee what his vocabulary was like, however, he reached into life and taught the teachable.

The choice of material that so fitted people caused them to continue with field work, animal husbandry, baking bread through their day, they thought on, what did this Jesus mean when he said “seeds”, “planning”, “lambs” and “yeast & dough”?

To understand meant you chewed over and over again the thought, teaching this way, Jesus revealed the heart of those listening as well as planned Word and truth, life and relationship with the Father which is seen in doing the Fathers will.

If you weren’t open to the things of God then you could just dismiss his stories as interesting but ultimately meaningless. But if your heart wanted the things of God, then you would dive into the parable and find the truth, and upon discovering that truth, you could respond.

Jesus had a way of taking old and making new, he took old ways and put new rhythm and sound into them while reforming thought and understanding “you say, but I say”, he would adjust and bring about liberty. As Jesus took his place to teach people, stood to listen and take on board they mind already and soul open asking what will he say next.

Now for you and for me this same amazing living teacher is there for us, the crowds of old stood and took note, you today can be taught by him. Listen, be open, malleable, ready to change be flexible and sure of this teacher, this Jesus Christ will amaze you.

People Joined To an END

Are we?

How do we?

What does it look like? 

I recall way back in the ’80s and 90’s a number of people I knew began a process of pressing education, in order to be a relevant voice in the generation in which we lived.   The process had a goal, to be relevant, an informed voice, undergirded by the total conviction that the church was to be the vehicle of the Kingdom, bringing the character, nature and order of God into our worlds, whilst being a catalyst for the Restoration of all things society, education, care, health, economics, and that this was the will of God as Christ would remain until a “season of restoration” Acts 3.

At that time I also joined the pursuit, in undertaking a pathway toward achieving an MBA.   At that time Business Science was being heralded as a new science.    The book for many that began the journey of business writing was “In Search of Excellence” by Tom Peters, it had great influence on many, and I still think undergirds much of business, especially industries that have to consider customer care.

This book considered design, improvement, and diversity, Peters said ‘excellent firms don’t believe in excellence…only in constant improvement and constant change’.    this thinking came on the scene when the work environment was busy breaking down workers and their work in set routes, timed routines got tasks achieved, becoming like machines, all the unnecessary was eliminated.   Life, in turn, became full of theories and routines which are becoming increasingly irrelevant to our world.   

Our world is certainly changing to the point that socially and  politically, it is beginning to look very different, the surge of the right wing,  the entrancing of nations into tribal thinking with worries about borders, the continual wars and local battles, the major corruption that is slowly taking advancing nations backward, into developing nations due to men and women at the top grasping power and money rather than streaming and serving the people.   People who are power hungry at every level. 

Theories, theologies don’t create but people are captured by a life they have seen in the future, or as the scriptures relate,  to manage that is to come.  

To be a people with the culmination of Gods end governing us, not achieving what we think the end looks like but aligning ourselves to the end God has revealed and is revealing.

David was a man who was connected to that which was to come, he was joined to the end in the immediate.   He could not build the temple but he did bring continuity by gathering all the materials, the trees were still planned and left in the ground not stored in the shed, to become a fully mature promise,  therefore a provision for another generation with a continual purpose.

The end continues to mature us, what God is after, is the only means to bring about a mature bride,  living with Gods end and intention in view changes everything Restored to God sultanate beginning.   God began with an end completed and set about as an outflow of love to bring Gods’ ultimate desire, Christ in all things, a family of people that reflect totally the Son which means the exact reflection of the Father by the life lived by the Holy Spirit.  

Therefore our quest now is living in the light of the ultimate which as in the garden has this question for us, how to be joined to the end?  a people living accordingly NOW, with all their efforts and maturing, to look like that NOW, making decisions in light of Gods’ goal.   How would my decisions change if this was life’s’ compass?

YOU ARE TO BE JOINED TO THE END PERSON, joined now to the resurrected Christ that fills all, that created all for him and through him.   The whole creation will respond with Sonship – better make sure we are living with the culmination in mind.   This opposes living for now with the individualist lifestyle, the life of amassing, but the life of self-emptying, participation with each other and God.

Joined to the end is a way of life

It is a way of living

It is an enabling, a direction deliver, a diversion former

It governs time, money, effort, application, friends, what and where I live.

Handling CRISiS, i’m learning.

Most of any one who takes responsibility for something will at some time feel or find themselves in a crisis of some kind.    it comes with the responsibility of decisions, and the changes that are required.   First we really  need to recognise the circumstances and moment we find ourselves in, a great old metaphor is, and some times this happens for us all, it is the putting a frog in hot water, the frog won’t notice the water is heating up until is too late.   Todays changes and shifts are happening so quickly the heating up is intense.   The questions is what can the frog do? 

We may have patterns of old, or handed down pathways, or ‘confidence’ keys, those keys used reliably in the past, at hand however we discover they don’t work or they just don’t fit, as every situation is unique.   Most shifts and changes are unpredictable, catching every one one us off guard.

We step back and take an over all view of all that is going on, if our emotion lets us, we ask what is actually going on and what does this mean to our lives, family and community?    what will be the long term impact?   how threatening is this?   Life was so simple before this!   

How ever the answers don’t have to be complicated.    Try these

Contain the moment and don’t get into panic mode:    to make decisions it does not help when we are under stress, be carful you don’t get into survival mode, beginning to get defensive is an indicator.   Deflecting responsibility tells you you are in crisis.

In leadership as a comment Rudy Giuliani (Mayor at the time of the twin towers) said “it is in times of crisis that good leaders emerge”, the true leader, here is willing to take responsibility, people who take pressure.   those who can rally people.

Avoid rushing into plan quickly:    when a change happens unfortunately it does not have  a start point or an end point, so creating a plan on many moving parts will not help.   once you allow time you can see mentally what is going on and the a course of action can be plotted.

Inspire and gather:   Know who is in this with you and for you.   There is time to find out and ask for more from them.    People by being reasonably distant  can see the forest for the trees.   People around you, trusted people can see the risks better than you, they can pinpoint events that you will miss.

Create a Story:    When influencing a community create a change story that is credible, relevant and emotional.    try telling the story in a paragraph or less with a tone that is meaningful, in order for people to grasp.

Find a simple message that people can attach themselves to .    A community that has a crisis will be willing to try radical moves that normally would not be considered and the bold steps change trajectory normally.

In Community Build a new team and take on new energy:    you need two types of people on the new team, one that can see beyond the moment and crisis, who understand people and can think ahead of every curve.   They will create value by aligning with the future if allowed to?   The other is some one with knowledge of all the ins and outs of the surrounding environment, of the people around.    These are the people that can put into gear the turn around but they don’t lead it.   

An American General of recent years  said “Great leaders are almost always great simplifiers, who can cut through the arguments, debate and doubt to offer a solution every one can understand”.   

Whether you are leading your self or a community, when crisis comes simplify or seek people around you who can if you can’t.