An Invitation to…

    1. Talk 1: Journey towards Discipleship – Matt 4:18-22
    2. Talk 2: Journey towards Joy – Phil 3
    3. Talk 3: Journey through Grief and Loss – Deut, Job, Lamentations
    4. Talk 4: Journey towards a Reimagined Church – Matt 28:18-20

Talk 1: Invitation to Journey Towards Discipleship

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Talk 2: Invitation to Journey Towards Joy

Philippians 1:18 

18 What then? Only that in every way, whether in pretense or in truth, Christ is proclaimed, and in that I rejoice. 

To Live Is Christ

Yes, and I will rejoice, 

Philippians 2:17 

17 Even if I am to be poured out as a drink offering upon the sacrificial offering of your faith, I am glad and rejoice with you all. 

Philippians 2:18 

18 Likewise you also should be glad and rejoice with me. 

Philippians 2:28 

28 I am the more eager to send him, therefore, that you may rejoice at seeing him again, and that I may be less anxious. 

Philippians 3:1 

Righteousness Through Faith in Christ

3 Finally, my brothers, rejoice in the Lord. To write the same things to you is no trouble to me and is safe for you. 

Philippians 4:4 

4 Rejoice in the Lord always; again I will say, rejoice. 

Philippians 4:10 

God’s Provision

10 I rejoiced in the Lord greatly that now at length you have revived your concern for me. You were indeed concerned for me, but you had no opportunity. 

Journey towards Joy starts with Lordship

Paul warns us against false masters

  • 2 Look out for the dogs, look out for the evildoers, look out for those who mutilate the flesh
  • 3 For we are the circumcision, who worship by the Spirit of God and glory in Christ Jesus and put no confidence in the flesh—

Journey towards joy means renouncing old masters to chose the One Master above all

  • 4 though I myself have reason for confidence in the flesh also. If anyone else thinks he has reason for confidence in the flesh, I have more: 5 circumcised on the eighth day, of the people of Israel, of the tribe of Benjamin, a Hebrew of Hebrews; as to the law, a Pharisee; 6 as to zeal, a persecutor of the church; as to righteousness under the law, blameless. 7 But whatever gain I had, I counted as loss for the sake of Christ
  • “It is one of the major transitions of life to recognize WHO has taught us, mastered us, and then to evaluate the results in us of their teaching. This is a harrowing task, and sometimes we just can’t face it. but it can also open the door to choose other masters, possibly better masters, and one Master above all” – Dallas Willard, “Divine Conspiracy”, Ch 8

Transformation follows Lordship, the one Master over all

  • v 7 “I have come to consider them as less” not “what things were gain are now loss”

Vs 10. Discipleship is a relational knowing, not just a cognitive “knowing.” 

In a family or church pursuing discipleship, here is what grows…

  • there is real trust and vulnerability. (Gen 2:9; Ps. 22:4,5; 25:2; 28:7; 32:10; 37:5, and more – we can anticipate a good outcome; James 5:12)
  • Emotions are experienced in a genuine and healthy way.• Habakkuk – being completely real with God while having faith in His sovereign goodness
    • Eph. 4:26 – in your anger do not sin (Ps. 4:4)
    • Gal. 5:22,23 – the fruit of the Spirit
    • Col. 2:6,7 – real gratitude
    • 2 Cor. 5:14-17 – we love others not out of duty, but because Christ’s deep, personal, and permanent love for us compels and moves us to love them
  • We are free to give and receive comfort.
    • 2 Cor 1:3-7 – God comforts us in our troubles so that we can comfort others
    • Rom. 12:15 – rejoice with those who rejoice; mourn with those who mourn
    Out of a passionate love for individuals, seek out and share in the pain of those who hurt to love them and make them whole.

Talk 3: Invitation to Journey Through Grief and Loss

See if you relate to any of these ways we escape grief and loss

“Get a hold of yourself.”
“You can’t fall apart.”
“Pull yourself up by your bootstraps.”
“The living must go on.”
“He’s in a better place.”
“She led a full life.”
“God will never give you more than you can handle.”
“You shouldn’t be angry with God.”
* Taken from the “Grief Recovery Handbook

Do you relate to any of these “escapisms”?

Alcohol/ Drugs
Fantasy (movies, TV, books)
Shopping (humorously called Retail Therapy)
1) Describe the Wilderness matter of factly. Tell it like it is.

The Loss of Abundance (v. 1)
The Loss of Allies (v. 2)
The Loss of a Resting Place (v. 3)
The Loss of Happiness (v. 4)
The Loss of Prestige (v. 5)
The Loss of Courage (v. 6)
The Loss of Worship (v. 7)

2) Describe the wilderness from different angles

Confess as necessary.

1:18  “The LORD is in the right,
for I have rebelled against his word;

3) describe the wilderness as completely as you can

read. Let chapter 2 be a guide to let you tap into your emotions.
God made us emotional beings to reflect his image

Find the emotions that are driving the behavior:

anger–> blaming

anxiety–> placating

guilt –> rationalizing

shame–> distracting

4) ch 2:20, ask the tough questions
20 Look, O LORD, and see!
With whom have you dealt thus?
Should women eat the fruit of their womb,
the children of their tender care?
Should priest and prophet be killed
in the sanctuary of the Lord?

5) experience the hope found in God’s mercy

3:  22  The steadfast love of the LORD never ceases;
his mercies never come to an end;
23  they are new every morning;
great is your faithfulness.
24  “The LORD is my portion,” says my soul,
“therefore I will hope in him.”

My wilderness testimony: Wilderness (password is “fallingupwardsteve”)

My addiction to ministry

Spend some quiet time stepping through these 5 steps for losses in your own life. These could be job losses, relationship losses, church-related losses, health challenges, or anything else.

Talk 4: Invitation to Journey towards a ReImagined Church

  1. “Make learners/apprentices of Jesus”
  2. of all nations”. The frontiers of missions has shifted dramatically the last 100 years
    1.  our hyper diverse Bay Area 
    2. Mission is no longer about crossing the oceans, jungles and deserts, but about crossing the streets of the world’s cities. From now on, nearly all ministry will be crosscultural amid the urban pluralism caused by the greatest migration in human history from Southern hemispheres to the North, from East to West and, above all, from rural to urban.” – Dr. Ray Bakke “A Theology as Big as the City”
  3. “Going then…”
    1. a “Shame-reversal” Gospel
      1. Put into practice through vulnerable storytelling
      2. Sharing my “living sermon” via An Art Show and Concert for dozens of non-Jesus followers (don’t forward this link, and definately don’t post on social media)
      3. Explain through a new book chapter “Sharing God’s Love in an Urban, Pluralist Context” 
        1. This is an unedited book chapter I wrote for a new book on William Carey Publishers tentatively named “Honor, Shame, and the Gospel.” I.e., DON’T FORWARD or use without my permission!
    2. Kingdom Rice: mission and vision. (this link is public and sharable)
  4. “Baptizing”
    3:16 After Jesus was baptized, just as he was coming up out of the water, the heavens opened and he saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove and coming on him. 3:17 And a voice from heaven said, “This is my one dear Son; in him I take great delight.” Mt 3:16–17.

    1.  BECAUSE Jesus lives in this honor, Jesus was able to ward off all temptations in the wilderness. Jesus did not let the tests of Appetite, Ambition nor Approval detract him as it had detracted Adam and Eve, as it had detracted many many leaders, and possibly many of us. Let me share a picture of what this looks like:

    2. Where are WE deriving our honor from? – the things we do, obedience, or from the Father?
  5. “teaching them to obey everything I’ve commanded you”
    1. Not just teaching to know. I’ve been promoted too many times simply based on what I knew. Teaching to obey. Matt 25. Can only come from hearts honored, a heart filled w compassion
    2. Come up with a plan:
      1. What are the thresholds keeping you from discipleship, and what will it take to overcome these?
      2. “going then” – Who are the people around you most tough to love and value? How does Jesus see them and how would he engage them with God’s love?
      3. “baptizing” – come up with ways we can better speak our true identity to each other and to our youth and children. How can we better our culture and continue the exercise we did Sat morning?

Feel free to email me any comments or inquiries and I’ll try to address them either at the retreat, or after the retreat in partnership with Pastor Jamie.