Archive for the ‘Learning’ Category

It is certainly important to have all of the doctrinal ducks all lined up and think we’ve got it all figured out. There is a subtle pride however in stopping there. Sometimes I really believe we are afraid to listen to how another person concludes something different from our conclusions. There are never two or three truths but as we continue searching, God pulls back the veil a little more and we see something we never saw before.

I meet with a group of men for prayer every Tuesday morning. I have always known about faith and that God can do anything. These men really expect God to act. I examined that truth and really asked some hard questions and kept going deeper into it. I knew some of my friends might think I was going beyond the truth but I knew God would show me where that line was.

It reminds me of Hebrews 5:11-14 and how easy it is to settle for less than what God wants us to learn and experience. God is not afraid of our questions. Why are we satisfied with 1+1=2 when there algorithms? If we stop with addition, we might miss some confusion, but also a reality that could free us to do unimaginable things.

Think about making disciples. We talk about it, do Bible studies about it and even memorize verses related to it but it is not until we begin to disciple another that we really learn what it means to trust God to do what only he can through us.

Are you afraid to venture into the mysteries that God knows? Are you willing to let God pull back the veil a little more and show you something that will cause you to change something in your life?

Don’t be afraid of the light! Psalm 119:105 reminds us that the Word is a light and lamp for our search.

Taking hikes in the Idaho mountains can provide some exhilarating experiences. I saw a documentary on some people climbing frozen waterfalls in Idaho, something I will probably never experience. Why wouldn’t I consider this adventure? I can think of several reasons but beneath every one of them is that it seems too risky for this older body. I’ll let them take a GoPro camera and watch it on U Tube.

There is a risk that has far greater implications and consequences in life. If we really want to know what God is about, it requires risk in many ways but if we don’t take that adventure, we not only don’t experience something hard to put into words but we miss out on the essence of life. It’s true Jess is with us but the places he goes are often anything but safe. He challenges us to think differently or really live by faith. It seems safer to just not believe in any of this stuff, but that can be like never having a Turkish coffee. You can’t believe what you missed.

Job decided to get after it with God but take a look at Job 40 and see if you would want to be in this conversation. Why take the risk? We don’t know all of what Job learned but we do know some things. Look at Job 42:2-6. Verse 2 and 5 in The Word on the Street say  it like this-“I know you can do anything and everything you like, when you like, how you like…not I see you with my own eyes…” How much was this worth learning?

What is God asking you to believe, to trust him for, or to think differently about? Join a small revolutionary minority and experience life as it was intended to be lived.

Learning by Doing

Learning by Doing (Photo credit: BrianCSmith)

In 1991 I took several students to Athens, Greece on an 8 week summer mission project to work with refugees from several countries. The main purpose was to help these students learn in real life and from challenging situations, some aspects of what it meant to be a disciple of Jesus. Tight sleeping quarters, strange food (for us), language barriers, major traffic (5 million live in Athens) all contributed to our learning.

We could have done a Bible study on selfishness or how to get along with people who don’t agree with you, while sitting at Starbucks in Denver but that would be an inadequate setting to really learn about these aspects of life. It is doing life together where learning intersects our biases and preferences. It disturbs our comfortable lifestyle when you want Mexican food but there are no restaurants of this nature in sight.

When Jesus called the potential disciples to “come follow me” in Matthew 4:19, his plan was to spend almost 3 years with them in situations that would have caused most of us to change the channel on our TV and continue continue eating our popcorn. But think of what they would learn and how they would be impacted forever. Or consider what Timothy learned from Paul as seen in 2 Timothy 3:10 and 11. This could not have adequately been taught in a sterile environment.

Implications: Messages delivered on Sunday mornings, Bible studies in a living room, teaching done in an auditorium are ok but fail to deliver the necessary visual aid that only happens as we share life together.

How can you begin to learn like this and help others learn by sharing life together?

Learning by Doing

Learning by Doing (Photo credit: BrianCSmith)

You’ve tried over and over to get it to work but it just isn’t adding up. You go over your problem again, but nothing seems to be getting through. “Maybe I should consider majoring in General Studies rather than Math” you think. What makes something not add up anyway? Could be not having all the right information, or maybe having limited information or maybe the formula is wrong. Maybe the guy who wrote this book woke up after being out with friends till 4 AM and then started working on it.

We hear many wrong solutions regarding making life work as God intended. They often come from people who really do care, but for whatever reason they just don’t connect with where we live most  of our lives. The information sounds good but really it’s quickly forgotten after the meeting is done. But you think “I will go back again and maybe next week it will make sense.” But you begin to conclude that Christianity sounds great but it just doesn’t work for you.

The emphasis in our meetings should be about learning rather than teaching. We need teaching but how do we learn? A friend somewhere in my life told me “telling isn’t teaching any more than listening is learning.” One way we can learn is to have what is taught modeled. Dawson Trotman (Navigator founder) said  “tell them why, show them how, get them started, keep them going and check up on them. This is a lost art of discipling and learning. It is the essence of love-caring enough about someone that we can help them learn. If all we do is teach, at the best we probably are pouring our life down a rat hole but at the worst, do we really love them?

Check out John 13:1-17 especially verse 17 and James 1:22-25