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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.