Jesus Sends Me… As He was Sent.

Are you ready and willing to be a living exhibition of what life with God is like? Jesus invites you to join him in this adventure. Connecting in our World is the contact of the eternal with the mundane—and it can be a transforming adventure that we unwrap everyday.

“Then Jesus came to them and said, ‘All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.’” —Matthew 28:18-20 

The command here is to “make disciples.” The context expects us to be out in our world accomplishing this ultimate priority. While going, we are to multiply ourselves by making new disciples, baptizing them and guiding them until they are living out these truths in their own lives—making disciples themselves! Jesus demonstrated his own commitment to “going” by his birth and life among us. He identified with those he loved as he sought to make disciples. I wonder if instead of following Jesus’ example, we practice a “Great Omission” today—we post a sign or run an ad and wait for the lost to find their own way to us. As shepherds, let’s go meet the sheep where they are. 

Scriptures emphasize going. John 15 focuses on going and bearing fruit. In Mark 16 Christ says, “Go into all the world and preach the Gospel to all creation.” In John 20:21, Jesus says, “As the Father has sent me, I am sending you.” Yet we often say, “Come, come, come. Come to our ___________ program. Come to our beautiful facility. Come to our activity.” We even have it turned around so that we find ourselves getting mad, disgusted and discouraged with our friends because they don’t come—yet Jesus told us to go. We have no right to expect others to draw close until we have been faithful in going. 

HUNGER FOR GOD

The Bible teaches that our lives are “letters” read by those people around us (2 Cor. 3:2). The disciplemaker must take time to cultivate the spiritual disciplines of Bible study, prayer, evangelism and spiritual breathing (confession of sin and complete yielding to the Spirit). We should be able to say, as Paul said to the Corinthians, “Follow my example, as I follow the example of Christ” (1 Cor. 11:1). Students can sense the intensity of my relationship with God when they spend time with me. My personal time with Christ spills over and affects people around me more than any other time investment I make—students know when my quiet time is going well, and they can tell when it isn’t. 

COMPASSION FOR PEOPLE

Jesus lived in a world of hurting and needy people. Matthew 8:14-15 describes an instance when Jesus was at Peter’s house, and he saw Peter’s mother-in-law sick in bed with fever. Jesus touched her hand and the fever left her. The teen years are hard. The challenges students face are only intensified by struggles with self-image, acceptance and meaning in life. We must compassionately understand the basic needs students have if we intend to minister to them. In Five Cries of Youth, Merton Strommen details these basic needs and how we as disciplemakers and even youth workers can deal with them.

Strommen surveyed more than seven thousand teenagers about their values, beliefs, opinions and concerns about themselves, their friends, their world, and their God. He writes, “If you listen, you can hear cries, rising out of the data with compelling insistence: sobs, angry shouts, hurrahs, protests and jeers.” Our love for hurting students should come from an overflow of our personal relationship with Christ.

Mark 1:40-45 refers to this principle: “A man with leprosy came to him and begged him on his knees… Filled with compassion, Jesus reached out his hand and touched the man.” 

Likewise, we need to let compassion come alive in us as we interact with students. 

Leaders must be prepared to confront the questions students are facing: Who am I? Why am I here? Where am I going? In Leadership, Barry St. Clair describes a leader’s role in the lives of students:

Webster defines leadership as the ‘ability to show the way or guide the course of action of another by going before or going beside.’ As you examine that definition, one thing becomes apparent about being a leader. You can’t show someone else the way to go unless you have been there (or are going there) yourself. In other words, the quality of your life will determine the quantity of your influence. As you minister to students, you must catch hold of the concept that, ‘If I take care of the depth of my spiritual life, then God will take care of the breadth of my disciplemaking adventure.’ Simply stated, leadership is a life-style. God can use you to influence others, but your influence will be in proportion to the type of lifestyle that you lead. 

My connecting skills are only valuable when they are supported by a meaningful relationship with God. 

RELATIONAL ABILITIES OF A DISCIPLEMAKER 

Because of the significance of the connecting intentionality, we realize that disciplemakers need to develop several convictions: 

WILLINGNESS TO SPEND TIME WITH PEOPLE (for example as Youth Workers with Students) 

Many students today lack significant relationships with adults due to the breakdown of the family, economic pressures requiring both parents and teens to work, and the development of a youth subculture that tends to breed mistrust and misunderstanding between generations. If people only see us on Sundays, and we are “phantom” Christians the rest of the week, they may easily conclude that we don’t really care about them as individuals. We must earn the right to be heard and show our concern for them by learning about their interests and becoming involved in their lives. 

SENSITIVITY TO PEOPLES’ DEVELOPING IDENTITIES (for example as Youth Workers with Students)

Like many of us, students are people in transition. As disciplemakers and youth leaders, we need to be aware of the emotional, mental, physical and spiritual makeup of our students (and our friends & neighbors) and their various stages of development. Be careful not to stereotype or categorize others—each deserves individual attention and care. This individual love means accepting students even with their imperfections. It’s common to know students, family and friends who are struggling to form their unique identity—and to see them undergo personality changes and try new fads. We must strive to accept each individual as God’s creation rather than condemn or judge their self-worth.

Our sensitivity should include speaking the truth in love when a student’s new individuality infringes upon the rights of others. Remember that discipleship and discipline are as closely related as they sound. 

A DOSE OF AGGRESSIVENESS 

Growing up, my mom and I used to go fishing. We never just sat in the boat waiting for fish to jump in. Of course not! We aggressively went after them, making an effort to find out where the fish were, and then caught them. “When he [Jesus] saw the crowds, he had compassion on them, because they were harassed and helpless, like sheep without a shepherd. Then he said to his disciples, ‘The harvest is plentiful but the workers are few. Ask the Lord of the harvest to send out workers into his harvest field.’” —Matthew 9:36-38

Jesus called us to join him in fishing for men, not waiting for fish to swim up to us. We must aggressively, but lovingly and tactfully, go after them. In John 4, Jesus said, “Lift up your eyes. Look into the fields. See that they are white unto harvest.” Often we are so busy planning our own programs and looking at our own problems that we fail to see how ripe the harvest is. That’s why Jesus urged us to look around and see how ready the harvest really is. Compassion should lead us to vigorously pursue Christ’s example and commission. 

WILLINGNESS TO IDENTIFY WITH THE ANOTHER’S WORLD

For example, Teenagers can easily develop a dichotomy in their minds—the church world, and the “real” world. What goes on in the church world is good and valuable; but it doesn’t relate, in their minds, to the real world. When we penetrate the real world that students live in by going on their turf, the dichotomy breaks down. Our teaching has new value as they realize that a daily walk with Christ does relate to them. A side benefit of entering the world of students is that we gain a better understanding of what life is like for them. Too often we teach from theory or old personal experiences rather than dealing with the real issues this generation is facing this month. 

CONSISTENCY IN CONNECTING

We must have the conviction that connecting is as important two years into our friendships and ministries as it is during the initial months of our friendships. We must guard against the “sigh of relief” syndrome that says, “I used to do that, but thankfully, I’m past that stage.” Connecting is a continual process that expresses the value we place on people. Threats to consistency: 

Connecting takes time and effort. Building relationships and penetrating circles of friends does not come naturally. If we fail to take the time or encourage other leaders and students to make intentional contacts, we soon will become an ingrown group without any non-Christian friends or fringe students close enough to impact. 

Connecting takes courage and boldness.

A problem that we face in maintaining a connecting intentionality is what Pat Hurley refers to as the stomach problem—visiting a high school campus, students’s homes, local hangouts, etc. all require a certain amount of guts. 

Perhaps this is what Paul was experiencing when he wrote to the Corinthians: “I came to you in weakness and fear, and with much trembling” (1 Cor. 2:3). Fear is a natural response as we leave our own spiritual and peer comfort zone to “cross-culturally” contact teens. But if we are afraid to go to them, isn’t it easy to see why they would be terrified to come to a church or church-based group? Remember Christ’s promise: “I am with you always, to the very end of the age” (Matt. 28:20). 

Results may come slowly. We must face the possibility that we will not see the impact of our connecting intentionality for a long time. I remember my first contacts well. Not only was I nervous, but I felt awkward and out of place; yet I was always praying and asking God to help me know what to say. I wanted students to know that I was truly interested in their lives and cared enough to spend time with them. Connecting is slow and often discouraging, but trust develops over time. 

Remember the wisdom of Galatians 6:9: “Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up.” 

—by Dave & Rennie Garda, Cadre Missionaries, dave@cadremissionaries.com

 

Are You Aware of Jesus’ Disciplemaking Secret Sauce?

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Because of your history with CadreBlog, we want to honor and thank you in a special way. 

You are among the very first to hear about Cadre’s brand new bookThe Disciplemaking Genius of Jesus: The Why, What, and How of Disciplemaking Friendships that Multiply.

That’s right. We wanted to do something special for our longtime friends like you—so we’ve printed a limited number of special book covers we’re calling our “Pre-release Friend Edition.” 

Here’s how the brand new book is laid out…

Section 1 The WHY of Disciplemaking Friendships

  • Introduction: Are We Confidently Walking In Circles?
  • Chapter 1 Why Disciplemaking Like Jesus?

Section 2 The WHAT of Disciplemaking Friendships [Discover the Secret Sauce]

  • Chapter 2 It All Starts with TW
  • Chapter 3 Add Generous Amounts of K4
  • Chapter 4 Stir It All Together with D3

Section 3 The HOW of Disciplemaking Friendships

  • Chapter 5 Start Here Start Now—with PIE
  • Conclusion: Your Disciplemaking Friendship Stories

This book explores…

  • Why disciplemaking friendships is a way of life is for every follower of Jesus.
  • The three irreducible minimums for Jesus-like disciplemaking friendships that multiply (a.k.a., Jesus’ disciplemaking “secret sauce.”
  • Tons of real-life stories that reveal the nuts and bolts of Jesus-like disciplemaking friendships.
  • Almost 400 questions to make you think and wrestle what disciplemaking friendships that multiply looks like in real life with your family and friends.
  • The three most important first steps for engaging God and others in a disciplemaking friendship.
  • How to listen and respond to the Holy Spirit’s leading in the formation and development of disciplemaking friendships that multiply.

Plus, each of the five chapters concludes with application and discussion questions perfect for reading and wrestling what you learn together with family and friends. 

We’ve built-in bulk-quantity discounts up to 33% off for larger quantities. And discounts start for as few as 5 or more.

  • Buy 5 – 10 and get 10% off
  • Buy 11 – 20 and get 15% off
  • Buy 21 or above and get 18% off
  • Buy 50 or above and get 33% off
  • Go here: to order your copies today.

Insights from a Communal Perspective As you put away your Selfie Stick…

 

One of of my favorite chapters in Lois’ new book is Chapter 7. It calls us to the joy of mutual community and hovering friendships as we engage God as a people of friends…  a y’all of a faith community:

Here is how the Chapter “Insights from a Communal Perspective” begins:

Did you know that you can now order a copy of a Bible translation called “Your Personalized Bible” which will insert your name in more than seven thousand verses?

Here are a few verses from my copy: Lois like a sheep has gone astray. Lois has turned to her own way; and the LORD has laid on Him Lois’s iniquity. (Isa. 53:6)
Lois is the light of the world. (Matt. 5:14)
You have made Lois a little lower than God, 
And crowned Lois with glory and honor.
You make Lois a ruler over the works of Your hands.
You have put all things under Lois’ feet. (Ps. 8:5–6)

You might think I’d be a fan of this style of study. I’m single, never married. I’m self-employed. I work by myself out of my own home office. I have no boss, no husband, no children. I’m queen of my own pleasant little world. I’ve heard the siren call of individualism and succumbed as much as anyone, so you’d think I’d want to read my Bible that way.

The more I study the Bible, however, the more I’m realizing the many ways that an individualistic approach misunderstands the text.”

… And later in the chapter…

Part of the reason we read the biblical text as if it were addressed to “me personally” is because English only has one word, you, which can be either singular or plural. Unlike Greek, Hebrew, and many other languages, we can’t distinguish whether a speaker is addressing one person or a group. As a result, English speakers have a habit of reading every “you” in the Bible as if it’s addressed to “me all by myself” rather than “me within God’s larger community.”

American Southerners have an advantage here, because they use “y’all” when they address a group. Maybe the antidote to the “Your Personalized Bible” is to publish a “Southern-style” Bible where Jesus says, “Y’all are the light of the world,” and Paul says, “Y’all are the temple of God,” so that we’d know both were speaking to groups rather than to individuals.

Putting Away My Selfie Stick

I hope I’ve awakened your appetite to read more. I am…

Excerpt From
Reading the Bible with Rabbi Jesus
Lois Tverberg
https://itunes.apple.com/us/book/reading-the-bible-with-rabbi-jesus/id1276245722?mt=11

 

Are you “Good” Book saturated and dripping it out with others?

A Book Report: Communal Reading in the time of Jesus.

An Endorsement by D.A. Carson, Research prof. of New Testament, trinity Evangelical Divinity school:

The last few decades have witnessed a substantial move away from picturing the early church studying texts to assuming that most Christians could not read: orality trumped written text. Various efforts to balance the evidence have collided with one another. Enter this groundbreaking work by Brian j Wright, who demonstrates how common ‘communal reading events’ where in both Jewish and Greco–Roman Contexts. Reading and hearing are suddenly not so far removed from each other as some have thought. Wright’s richly supplied evidence from primary sources is convincing; one wonders why these things have not been brought to light before. These results are important, indeed seminal, not only to those who working this field, but to our knowledge of early Christians who give every sign of being book-driven believers. —End Endorsement

9781506432502

I’ve pulled some thoughts together to highlight a book I’d love to have you read, reflect upon and then share… (Dave)

Autor’s Preface

FollowingThM Studies at DTS–years later when I began my PhD program at Ridley College in Melbourne, Australia, I remember starting with a host of assumptions related to this volume. For example:

  1. I would’ve told you that reading in the ancient world was largely an elitist phenomenon; 
  2. That text played more of the symbolic role than utilitarian; 
  3. That around 90% of the population in antiquity was illiterate; 
  4. That a “professional” scribe was behind every document, unless proven otherwise; 
  5. That writing materials were expensive and in short supply; 
  6. and more…

My views on all of these and a number of others, however, change during my PhD studies and are still developing today.

Consider this sampling of New Testament PASSAGES that call us to communal reading:

1 Timothy 4:13 NLT Until I get there, focus on reading the Scriptures to the church (devote yourself to the public/communal reading of Scripture—esv), encouraging the believers, and teaching them.

1 Thessalonians 5:27 NLT I command you (put you under oath—esv) in the name of the Lord to read this letter to all the brothers and sisters.

Colossians 4:16 After this letter has been read aloud to you all, make sure that you read communally in the church of the Laodiceans. Make sure you also read communally the letter from Laodicea.

A JESUS EXAMPLE: Luke 4:14-30 NIV

Jesus returned to Galilee in the power of the Spirit, and news about him spread through the whole countryside. He was teaching in their synagogues, and everyone praised him. He went to Nazareth, where he had been brought up, and on the Sabbath day he went into the synagogue, as was his custom. He stood up to read, and the scroll of the prophet Isaiah was handed to him. Unrolling it, he found the place where it is written:

“The Spirit of the Lord is on me, because he has anointed me to proclaim good news to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim freedom for the prisoners and recovery of sight for the blind, to set the oppressed free, to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor.”

Then he rolled up the scroll, gave it back to the attendant and sat down. The eyes of everyone in the synagogue were fastened on him. He began by saying to them, “Today this scripture is fulfilled in your hearing.”

 

A glimpse into the historic importance of reading aloud together:

Justin Martyr (an early church father) refers to the communal reading of the apostolic memoirs and the writings of the the Lord’s Day: “on the day called Sunday, all who live in cities or in the country gather together to one place, and the memoirs of the apostles we’re the writings of the prophets are read, as long as time permits.” (1 Apol. 1:67)

William Johnson, professor of classical studies, concludes ”Reading in this society was essential in the construction of the community. Group reading and serious conversation devolving from reading [Dave note, havering] are twin axes around which much of the elite man’s community turns.

…According to Augustine, there was one word in Jerome’s Latin translation (the Vulgate) of Jonah 4:6 that differed from what they had been hearing read communally for generations, and it caused an uproar in his congregation.

Insights gained about communal reading events the time of Jesus:

1. No historic doubt exists that communal reading events we’re part of the first Century Greco-Roman socio-historical milieu.

2. “Before launching further into this study, then, these details need to be addressed. Similarly, it should be said from the outset that the more common “public reading” which is used in most modern translations and academic works, Will be avoided because of the confusion that often comes (or may come) from the word public.“ The word communal is preferred because it both highlights the social aspect of reading and defines the reading event as one in which two or more persons are involved. In other words,” communal reading” can be public or private, but not individualistic. 

3. The gospel was launched into a season of history where sharing ideas publically (after first having them written down) was more of a norm than a rarity. Also it was a season of great mobility where travel was easier than in previous generations. [The soil of culture was ripe for Jesus House of peace strategy — sending friendship pairs to find others who would welcome them and consider their truths]

4. French historian Jerome Carsopino wrote one of the classic texts on ancient Roman life, with an entire section devoted to communal reading and recitation events. He observes that communal events crossed social boundaries: Examining the contemporary literature, you soon get the impression that everyone was reading something, no matter what, aloud in public all the time, morning and evening, winter and summer.

5. Writing down original or learned thoughts, poems, lyrics or perspectives and then reading them aloud (to be heard and also discussed) WAS THE FACEBOOK, INSTAGRAM or SNAPCHAT of the FIRST CENTURY! During 10 to 100 AD we were out social media’d by a pre-technology culture.

a. Some people wrote their ideas and shared them, some even wrote their ideas on the spot so they could then immediately share them, others took a great season and depth to write their thoughts and story before communally sharing them. Others mocked the communal reading (if they didn’t agree or weren’t interested) while others took notes as they listened to what others were reading to later reflect and re-share them with friends.

b. Bookstores and libraries existed as well as publishers. 

c. Some wrote thoughts as pamphlets that would be shared as they spoke—the ancient equivalent of keynote or PowerPoint to go along with their “presentation of the text.”

But there is no mistaking the profound social impact and desire to share written documents for others to interact with in the process of shaping thought ideas and connections. 

6. Where did communal reading events take place: History reveals that it was common to encounter people sharing communal reading (with 2-3 friends or a small crowd) in the village market place, assembly Halls, at receptions, at synagogues, in a theater, in the houses of both poor and elite, in urban settings including crowded tenement buildings or out in an open space between villages.” 

They were both:

  1. indoor and outdoor settings…
  2. sacred and secular events…
  3. Both Christian and non-Christian…

7. The observation is made for the Christian context that, “while church elders had substantial discretion about “how” to do it, they had no discretion about “whether” scripture was read aloud.”

Reminders:

  1. 1 Timothy 4:13 “Until I arrive, give attention to the public reading of scripture, to exhorting, to teaching.”
  2. In 1 Thessalonians 5:27 we are given the directive, “I put you under oath before the Lord to have this letter read to all the brothers,”
  3. In Colossians it’s taken for granted that they practice communal reading, “And when this letter has been read among you, have it read also in the church the Laodiceans; and see that you read also the letter from Laodicean.”

8. Study showed the pattern that Communal reading started at home and was essential in the education process of the day…

9. The Old Testament has frequent communal reading events starting with Exodus 17:14-16 Where Moses is told to write down the events that just occurred, and then read the written account to Joshua.

10. Synagogues practiced communal reading as an essential component of their community and role.

Summary: 

  1. Communal reading events were widespread and to systematic to be accidental in Greek, Roman, Jewish and Christian contexts.
  2. Readers included: clerks, emperors, students, Young boys, politicians, scribes, … fathers, old men and women.
  3. Hearers included: emperors, children, man, Women, slaves, assemblies, … soldiers, invited guests and crowds.
  4. People heard these readings while: standing, sitting, running, bathing, eating, and swimming. (Think of how we encounter the modern podcast or YouVersion Scripture reading wearing our AirPods while we sip coffee, workout or relax.)
  5. The New Testamentt valued what had been written before: In over 300 passages, the New Testament includes 317 direct quotes of the Old Testament. Add in illusions and parallels and there are 2,310 Old Testament references.

My modern applications include:

  1. Starting with my family but then extended to friends and neighbors we are invited to embrace what I refer to as a Scripture Saturated life that we drip out as we life life together. It so increases the collection of truth lego’s (resources, building blocks, truths, insights into who God is and how he works) that the Holy Spirit can call to mind, heart at the moments they are needed. i.e. The more Scripture in our minds and hearts the more greater potential I have for an aligned life, “I’ve hidden thy word in my heart that I might not sin against thee.” —Psalm 119:11
  2. We should encourage each other to more frequently write and share our God stories (testimonies), journal, express artistically, write song lyrics and songs, write creative stories to share and to copy down word-for-word sections of Scripture as to later READ ALOUD what we’ve written with family, friends and others who are interested (Remember Jesus House of Peace Strategy).
  3. Join in with YouVersion or ReadScripture.org to commit to daily reading scripture (even have it read aloud to you and your spouse, kids or friends. Commit and embrace to reading Scripture every day (ever consider like they did in the first century reading more than once per day — See the first chapter of the printed or digital Getaway Like Jesus, by Dave & Rennie Garda to learn more.)

Why not practice right now by reading aloud (to help Word saturate yourself to give the Holy Spirit truth to knead into your life today. How about starting with Psalm 78:1-8:

 

My people, listen to my instructions. Open your ears to what I am saying, for I will speak to you in a parable. I will teach you hidden lessons from our past— stories we have heard and known, stories our ancestors handed down to us. We will not hide these truths from our children; we will tell the next generation about the glorious deeds of the Lord, about his power and his mighty wonders. For he issued his laws to Jacob; he gave his instructions to Israel. He commanded our ancestors to teach them to their children, so the next generation might know them— even the children not yet born— and they in turn will teach their own children. So each generation should set its hope anew on God, not forgetting his glorious miracles and obeying his commands. Then they will not be like their ancestors— stubborn, rebellious, and unfaithful, refusing to give their hearts to God. 

Kavanah: The linking of God’s Power & Presence with our Obedience…

The very nature of Kavanah is the discovery of a life where God’s presence AND power wraps His arms around us. But not us in any mind-set, but rather us as yielded, available and obedient so that God can work in, through and around us. The understanding of Kavanah is best grasped as an english paragraph contained in a single Hebrew/Aramaic word.

Kavanah transforms life as we know it. We enter a life where we willingly join God with a blank-page invitation for Him to actively live in and through us with His unlimited presence and power. This isn’t a Sunday morning hour of sitting but rather a 24/7 life-together. Kavanah doesn’t fit in a box, program or hour, it busts out all 8 sides of the box and ushers us into a daily way of life with God, together. Kavanah powers and connects us intimately with God and then to each other as we share in His Word, Prayer, Love and daily life. Sadly, Kavanah illustrations have often been limited to the context of intentional prayer. Don’t get me wrong, Kavanah & prayer are essentially linked, but so are Kavanah & the Word, Kavanah & our being loved to love, and Kavanah & all of life.

To better understand the transformational power of a Kavanah life we need to grow in our understanding of how the Bible makes us aware of God’s manifest presence, not only his omnipresence:

Kavanah is the difference that moves us beyond saying “God is everywhere,” to saying “God is here with me.”

As we travel the Route 66 of our disciplemaking friendships we encounter an intentional link between a live lived in God’s presence, our obedience and His active power—these knit together to form the intersection and clarity of Kavanah.

Following are some passages that call out Kavanah invitation to live a transformational life with God. What passages would you add?

God answered Moses: “My presence shall go with thee, and I will give you rest” (33:14). The Hebrew word for “rest” here translates to “a comfortable, peaceful confidence.” Notice how God’s presence results in a change to how I live.

I love how the active presence, power and leaning in of Abraham leads a heathen king to declare, “God is obviously with you, helping you in everything you do…” (Genesis 21:22)

God promised Joshua that no enemy could stand against him when his Kavanah was active: “No one will be able to stand against you as long as you live. For I will be with you as I was with Moses. I will not fail you or abandon you. Be strong and courageous, for you are the one who will lead these people to possess all the land I swore to their ancestors I would give them.” (Joshua 1:5–6). 

The angel of the Lord appeared to Gideon and affirmed his Kavanah, “Mighty hero, the Lord is with you!” … “Go with the strength you have, and rescue Israel from the Midianites. I am sending you!” (Judges 6:12, 14).

God told Isaiah of a special Kavanah promise he makes to those he loves: “O Israel, the one who formed you says, “Do not be afraid, for I have ransomed you. I have called you by name; you are mine. When you go through deep waters, I will be with you. … because you are precious to me. You are honored, and I love you.” (Isaiah 43:1-2, 5).

God’s Kavanah comes through the power of the Holy Spirit with us: “But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes upon you. And you will be my witnesses, telling people about me everywhere…” Acts 1:8

In the Old Testament God places himself with his people, but they don’t always respond in Kavanah… God leans in regardless of our leaning back because it’s the nature of His grace (WHILE we were yet sinners, Christ died for us, Romans 5:8). So God’s presence alone isn’t kavanah, yet God let’s us know that it’s his desire for his people to have Him in the midst of their daily lives: “I am the one who brought them out of the land of Egypt so that I could live among them” Ex 29:45-46; ‘The Lord says, “Shout and rejoice, O beautiful Jerusalem, for I am coming to live among you.’” Zech 2:10-11.

But kavanah rings loud when he combines his presence and our leaning as pictured in Ezekiah 37:27: “I will make my home among them. I will be their God, and they will be my people.

In the New Testament God continues to let us know that he desires to dwell with us: “So the Word became human and made his home among us. He was full of unfailing love and faithfulness.” John 1:14

But the joy of Kavanah is when his presence is responded to as we receive (gospel) this presence: “And this is the way to have eternal life—to know you, the only true God, and Jesus Christ, the one you sent to earth.” John 17:3; and ‘For we are the temple of the living God. As God said: “I will live in them and walk among them. I will be their God, and they will be my people.’” 2 Cor 6:16

I love the simplicity of disciplemaking that shares this life of Kavanah as our bullseye—the intersection of God’s presence, God’s power and my heart in obedience.  We see this clarity painted when the Babylonian Talmud Berakat 32:b stresses that four practices particularly require this Kavanah bullseye:

Our Rabbis taught: Four things require to be [always] done with Kavanah, namely, study of the Torah [to intimately know it’s author], good deeds [our response to be being loved as we overflow love], praying at all times, and one’s worldly occupation [in all of life starting with our family].  

Jesus isn’t shy about linking himself to this picture of active Kavanah when in Matthew 11:28 he declares “Come to me (with/presence), all of you who are weary and carry heavy burdens, and I will give you rest.”

I never tire of reviewing how Kavanah is woven start-t- finish into the disciplemaking friendship challenge of Matthew 28:18-20.

“Jesus came and told his disciples, “I have been given all authority in heaven and on earth. Therefore, go and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit. Teach these new disciples to obey all the commands I have given you. And be sure of this: I am with you always, even to the end of the age.” — Matthew 28:18-20

Where do you see the weaving of the Spirit’s active power, our being sent wrapped up in Jesus assurance of his continual presence?

I invite you to join me in leaning in with Kavanah clarity as you live today, tomorrow and the next day. And know like Moses and Jesus that this means you’ll not be alone, you have God’s active presence so that others will notice that “there’s something different about you because God is with you wherever you go…”

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If you want to live and grow in Kavanah I suggest you walk through The Disciplemaker’s Living Guide with family and friends. You’ll embrace our 25 favorite disciplemaking passages with Kavanah and each other. I promise you, you’ll look at life and live differently. —Dave Garda, Your Cadre Disciplemaking Friend & Missionary of Encouragement
For the portable digital edition you can go directly to the iBookstore on your iPhone, iPad or computer.
For the printed edition or reader’s PDF edition you can visit us at our online disciplemaker’s store…

For live disciplemaking training, Disciplemaking Learning Communities, Preaching, teaching or training with your church, group or ministry you can contact rennie@cadremissionaries.com