Anglican 1000 - Michael Breen on Outward Focus of Discipleship
By Mike Breen in Dallas
March 7, 2012
PLANO, TEXAS---One of the marvels of today is anything Apple. Steve Jobs and his killer apps for his Apple operating system. In coding language, GUI= Graphical User Interface. This interface makes the operating system available for the average user.
What is the operating system of Jesus? What is his programming language? The Bible. He was always referring to the Scriptures. "Verily, verily" was a reinforcement of the usual text. This afternoon, I am going to talk about the Scriptures as a programming language written in a binary code. It is the invitation to relationship with God and the responsibility of taking that relationship seriously and productively.
The Operating System is discipleship. How does he do this? He calls people to follow him; come walk with me and be my disciples. He talks about discipleship all the time. His operating system is making disciples. The GUI - graphic interface - is imprinting stories on the minds of those he is teaching, using rabbinical teaching methods.
What is the killer app? The Church.
99% of all clergy in the Ang. Communion have a different operating system. Jesus made disciples first and then got the church.
We try to build the church and then make disciples. It is very hard and not very productive. We are not submitted to the methodology of Christ, the Lordship, yes, but the methodology, no. It is unmistakable. We try to make/build the church first and then made disciples.
A disciple can be described in plain language as a person identified with the character and competency of Christ. But here's the thing. Our methodology is more defined by the enlightenment than by Scripture. It is important for disciples to have the right information. Tremendously important that having the right information, we give them the freedom to innovate. Have a go at it.
But the means by which we get to innovation is not from information but from imitation. 1 Corinthians 4: 14. "Disciple" as a word disappears from New Testament after Acts 21st chapter. Discipleship is the great commission. No doubt that this is what Jesus wants us to do. And commands us to do it. So, why does word disciple disappear? Why? By the time we get to Galatians, the Church has travelled beyond the cultural heartland of the Holy Land. The picture, the guiding metaphor of rabbi and disciple no longer works. Who is it in Corinth? A foreigner with a n unusual haircut. That's how they saw the disciple that came to teach and lead them. The Socratic method is familiar, but Paul has to develop a guide for the next generation. The method Paul develops is the method of the parent and the child. The leaders are to function as spiritual parents. Paul describes as non-gender specific language as father-mother and from this metaphor of discipleship, he reinforces what a discipling relationship is. Sosthenese was the synagogue ruler in Corinth. He was seized and beaten by the mob in the presence of Gallio , the Roman governor, when he refused to proceed against Paul at the instigation of the Jews (Acts 18:12-17). This event led him on journey toward Jesus. Comes to Paul for teaching and Paul says, "I am sending you my son, Timothy."
Paul wants to underline the necessary components of imitation. Englishmen have a problem with being thought of as taking a place or being on center stage. We leave that to Americans. We are indifferent about that. When I am doing discipleship training with the leaders of UK and Europe, I say, "Ask yourself, do I have a life that anyone wants? Is anybody interested in what I have? "
For us to be the model that can be imitated, it means we have a life that somebody else wants. Then they go through the process of imitating what we do. This is the process of a disciple following Jesus. We don't just want to know what the rabbi knows, but who the rabbi is. This is a process of imitation. Trained in Rabbinical school of Gamaliel, he is a clear picture of what everyone knows about Jesus.
Pedagogy: is role of the pedagogue (skilled teaching by observation) in the Roman household. Child was weaned, then put into care of a parent who teaches the child the basics: "writing, reading and rithmetic" three r's
Paidagōgeō (teacher) gives the necessary information that a child needs to progress to the next state. At the age of 12, there is a special ceremony for the household and the child is brought to the same-gender parent. A girl would be placed at shoulder of her mother and from then on, she would learn the incredibly complex task of running a Roman household. The Roman house hold is the center of life: both social and commercial. When she marries, she knows how to run a Roman household. From age of 12 to the point of marriage, she imitates and learns from mother.
A son taken to shoulder of the father and taught a task to use in adulthood. We are pretty sure Paul was trained to be a tent maker. He knew how to make rope and create structures for all kinds of weather conditions. Years of imitation. "Lots of people," says Paul, "Function as a pedagogue. But you need to grow up and graduate from paidagōgeō to parent. Your life is to be about information and imitation." Then he gives the perfect example, saying, I am sending you my son, Timothy.
Timothy's mother and grandmother are spoken of in high words earlier in the New Testament. They hand Timothy over to Paul for training. Look at how he speaks about Timothy - almost same terms as father speaks of Christ at his baptism. If you look at him he'll remind you of my way of life. What you see and what you heard. Imitation.
We've been so far off on our discipleship that we focus almost exclusively on information .
All kinds of people who watch you are trying to do Christianity the way you do it. Imitation. Not information.
Story about when he was with daughter and he was shaving. She had soap all over her face and used a comb and she asked when do I get to do this? He replied, not yet. The desire of the child to imitate.
Restructure your life such that you have the time to illustrate and teach by imitation.
Jesus' last words were the Great Commission: Go and make Disciples...
Are you creating a context where disciples can be made by you?
Are your disciples making disciples?
Unless you figure out the exchange between you and your disciples, they can't make disciples. If you make disciples, you will get the Church. Not the other way around. Look at the American church and tell me if that is correct.
How did Jesus actually make disciples? What is that he did? In my view, he lived out the programming language through his operating system. He lived out an invitation and then gave a challenge that was commensurate with the invitation he just gave. Look at the whole 3 years of his ministry. Jesus said the time is right, the Kingdom is at hand. Peter and Andrew, come and follow me. This Invitation was followed by, "All authority on heaven and on earth given to me: therefore go and make disciples of all men..."
Invitation and then challenge. Invitation to covenant with him such that we are one. So you get this, I am taking these elements so familiar to you and making them the covenant meal between you and me. Jesus is constantly calibrating invitation and challenge. We see the next morning: Jesus delivered a man from a demon at the synagogue in Capernaum, and the disciples look for him and hunt around, but can't find him. He's way up on the mountain top that he is always going to. The wilderness, the dry place. They find him. They say, "Lord, we've been looking for you."
He replied, "Yes."
They continue, " Well, everyone is looking for you. Let's buy a tent and have a meeting every day. There could be Book contract; it will be awesome. Let's have a Revival. Lets' hang it up here."
Jesus said, "Let's go somewhere else."
The disciples protest, "But they want to listen to you."
Christ replies, "Yes, but let's go somewhere else." He gets them across the Galilee and then gives them the next challenge, sending them out in pairs to do ministry that they have seen him do. Saying, "You've watched me do this and I want you to go in twos and do the same thing: Declare the kingdom, heal the sick, cast out demons, and raise the dead. Everyone good? Terrific."
They go out and come back, and tell him that this is amazing. Jesus looks at crowds and looks at the guys and says let's get some rest. Invitation. Matthew 11: Come to me all you who are heavy laden...
Again, they get into the boats and go to Bethsaida, NE edge of the lake and get out of boat. 5000 people waiting. Jesus teaches them the whole day. The disciples come to him and say it is getting late and we need to send them home to eat. Jesus said, "You feed them. What do you have? Some fish and a few loaves. " There's the Challenge. Again, they watched so they could imitate. They could do these things just like Jesus did.
Once I took a Youth group on a skiing trip to Italy. 24 hours home on the bus. Kids were starving but they had spent all their money. They emptied out all their change, there were 20 of them. We came up with a a couple of pounds. I told them, "I want you to pray and see what the Lord can come up with."
It was the most intense prayer they ever prayed in their lives. We stopped at a cafeteria. As I walked towards the door, people from all over Europe put money in my hands. Had enough money to feed all the kids then and for the rest of the journey.
Jesus said test me. He does this in your life all the time. I know this because when I uncover it, people say yes that's how it works. Those people are the ones who have identified the operating system. He made his creation with this operating system. Recognize it and use it.
[4 minute video on Monty Roberts the famous horse trainer. The goal is to get their confidence and the horse looks at the first rider not as an adversary but as a partner.]
Jesus is doing this in your life and you can replicate this imitative model so your disciples can make disciples.
Here is Monty doing something tremendously imitatible. Your heart opens and says that is so right.
Jesus is using the code of invitation to covenant, and then challenge of his joining his kingdom with you. Invitation and challenge. We can learn to imitate. It is true that you have disciples. The question is can your disciples make disciples?
To complete our time today, let me stretch you one bit further. 1 more set. Matrix with two axis. Axes are invitation and challenge. Vertical axis is the invitation axis. High on the axis is high invitation. Lower vertical is low invitation. Horizontal axis is challenge. The right side is high challenge and left is low challenge.
When you observe Christ with the disciples, you see him calibrating invitation and challenge, creating a culture of discipleship of invitation and challenge. How strong an invitation? How strong a challenge? That's what he is calibrating. This is the culture of discipleship. It is possible to have both high invitation and high challenge. That places you in the upper right quadrant of the matrix. That is the culture we want to build, so that the outflow is good. Discipleship is genuine and reproducible.
If you have high invitation and no challenge, you have Anglicanism. It's a warm, cozy culture of high invitation but not much challenge. This is the upper left quadrant of the matrix. Less than discipleship happens here.
Englishmen have a fear of challenging people. You in America have picked up the virus. We find it difficult to calibrate the strength of the challenge. We don't do that well.
High challenge and low invitation, produces a stress culture. Stress falls into discouragement.
Low invitation and low challenge, you get the Episcopal Church. No real invitation, the in-crowd only, like a club. And no challenge. You don't have to do anything. You don't even have to believe anything. But, fill that pew and come when you can. Clearly, it is possible for us to live in any of these cultures and reproduce any of them.
Low invitation and low challenge is "the valley of the shadow of death." That's when you start talking about the shepherd and stop talking to him. " Your rod and your staff comfort me? " No, they frighten me. Lots of descriptive, no intimacy. No imitation, no real relationship. This is not discipleship, it is far less. Give your people, God's people, real discipleship. Teach them through imitation and let them learn Jesus' operating system and incredible killer apps. Teach your disciples to make disciples. Blessings to you all.
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