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Chapter 9: Who Are the Not-Very-Persecuted?

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Questions 9.1:

1. Have you ever mistakenly judged someone because you didn’t understand their motives?

2. On what basis are you evaluated in non-Christian circles?

3. How can we recognize that only God can judge correctly, but still make the judgments necessary to choose friends and people for various positions in the church?

4. What are your motives for the roles you play?

I think judging is a hard topic to discuss because the Bible says, "Do . . . but don't." What are some qualifications you might think of to allow judgments to be made within the boundaries of love?

Notice, this week, any differences between how you judge your own motives and how you judge the motives of others.

Questions 9.2:

1. What are you tempted to brag about besides God?

2. What missions has God called you to?

3. How have you risked looking foolish, weak, or disrespected in those missions?

4. How is God calling you to a mission where you risk looking foolish, weak, or disrespected today?

I don't much like looking like a fool. I work hard to figure out the social conventions of any situation and fit in. I want to be part of the 'in' crowd.

This week, though, watch for ways, without being purposefully offensive, to express your love for Jesus even when it might not quite be the proper thing to do.

Questions 9.3:

1. Who have been your guardians in Christ? Who was your father or mother?

2. Who do you know who models a willingness to look foolish, weak, or disrespected?

3. How would a Christian from a different culture act differently than an American Christian?

4. Who do you know who puts you in touch with what God’s people are doing worldwide?

As people, we watch each other. Without saying a word, every choice we make communicates to the rest of our community what is and isn't okay to do. As I write this, I am thinking of the man in our church who cared for his wife through Alzheimer's, faithfully bringing her to church as long as they could. I will never forget the sermon his actions preached.

Are there people, this week, who could become new role models for you?

Questions 9.4:

1. Do you use power to control or to empower others?

2. Does your community respect people who lead with humility?

3. How do you feel when a leader shows weakness?

4. How are the power of God and the wisdom of Christ displayed in your community?

We all have a certain amount of power, some more, some less. We use that power to control our lives, and depending on how far around us our circle of power extends, those boundaries are appropriate and important. But what about the other people in those circles? Who do we have the power to influence?

Notice, this week, where you might empower and encourage others in their God-given callings. Sometimes, it might be as simple as noticing that you admire someone else . . . and telling them.

Comments:

Posted by Barbara on
9.1- I have certainly done this...but I've also seen that most people don't know their own motives. Everyone seems quite blind to want is going on in their own heart. I once decided I wouldn't volunteer for ministry or use my gifts until my motive were pure......I ended up doing nothing for a long time. So now I just pitch in and trust God with my heart. Similarly, when someone extends good will to me - I just take it and don't wonder about their motives
I am evaluated in non-Christian circles based on my usefulness. So, I try to be useful.
Although we are told not to judge...in the severe sense of it ....we do need to evaluate. I did lots of this when my kids were little. I was responsible for them and protective of them so I often asked myself if a situation or person was safe. I don't have to think along those lines as much now. But when children enter the scene again, it's time to evaluate.
Posted by Barbara on
9.2 - Because of my job teaching homeschoolers, many teachers don't understand me. Why would I waste my time? What about medical benefits? It gives me opportunities to talk about faith. I am not always good at taking those opportunities because of fear of what they will think. I do want to be more courageous.
9.3 - My dad has the gift of evangelism. He loves to share the Gospel....whether it fits into the conversation or not! His telephone voice answering machine invites people to pray and accept Jesus right then! He has always been a model for me and helped me to see that the Gospel is more important than man's praise.
I do love hearing from missionaries what God is doing world wide. I subscribe to Christianity Today. I also follow many missionaries with their blogs and e-mails. Now adays it's easy to stay in contact. Taking the time to pray for all of them is harder!
9.4- I have noticed for myself as a leader and others, it's important to take time out for the "lowly" jobs - making coffee, answering mail, going door to door. As I do it, I am more thankful for the others that do it all the time. When I watch another leader do these jobs, I appreciate them all the more.
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