O cenário descrito pelo profeta é negro e em nada poderia diferir de um qualquer jornal diário dos nossos dias. No entanto a razão da “crise” é bem conhecida, “Aproxima-se o dia do castigo do Senhor”, o povo e os seus líderes deixaram deliberadamente de caminhar com Deus. O alerta do profeta é também para mim hoje “Convoquem uma assembleia solene, reúnam os responsáveis do povo e toda a população, … e dirijam ao Senhor as vossas súplicas.” Sou hoje desafiado a orar pela cidade e pelo país, pelo líderes, pelas famílias por cada indivíduo que caminha pelas ruas. Se a alegria se foi, o amor esfriou, se a santidade quase desapareceu é tempo de clamar a Deus, que a acomodação e o meu conforto sejam “chocalhados” pela Palavra e que a cada instante possa buscar uma intimidade com Deus através de Jesus, sendo a cada inspirado por Ele e achando graça para a poder partilhar com o meu próximo.
Adapted from Redemption by Mike Wilkerson
KEEP IT SHORT: 10 MINUTES OR LESS!
Usually, it’s good for one person in the group to serve as a timekeeper for the storyteller and to give a 1 or 2 minute “heads up” near the end. If you’ve never told your story at all, you might be surprised how quickly 10 minutes goes! And if you have told it before, you may be perplexed that we’re only giving you 10 minutes! How can you tell your life’s story in 10 minutes?
You can’t. And we’re not really asking you to. We know that there is far more in your life that is significant than can be packed into 10 minutes. We’re asking you to spend 10 minutes telling us some of the most significant shaping events, relationships, and patterns in your life that will give us a window into where God has you at this point in your spiritual journey. For now, we just want to have everyone weigh in with something significant. We’re not trying to hear everything there is to hear up front. We’ll look forward to hearing more from each other over time.
WHERE TO BEGIN?
How do you choose which themes and details of your life to share in such a short time? You may very well have 4 or 5 strands or themes within your story that are very meaningful and would give us insight into who you are and how you view yourself. Choose one or two. Others may come out over time as the group moves forward.
Share something that reveals where you are today, not just where you’ve been in the past. Telling about the past merely serves the purpose of filling out the context that helps us understand your present experience. So pick a theme that’s alive for you today. If there’s a particular concern that has brought you to a DNA Group, you should include that concern and it’s context in your life. Within that theme, share the details that most significantly shed light on where you are today. For example, your parents may have been divorced—no doubt a significant event in your life. Should you share it in your story? If it doesn’t provide some context for your current struggle, considering leaving it out (at least initially). On the other hand, if their divorce has been a shaping influence that leads up to where you are today, it might be helpful to share.
Get the idea? Think about where the action takes place in your life today, and work backward to prioritize what of your past to share.
Your story is not really about all the facts of your personal history: where you grew up, how much money your parents made, the fact that you were born on a “cold and stormy night…” Those are facts about your past that may or may not be relevant to the meaning of your past. We’re looking for meaning. Share facts of your life that help to communicate a particular meaning.
Choose only the facts that best communicate the significant meaning you want to share. Let the other relevant but secondary facts come out over time. Avoid sharing facts that don’t have significant meaning in your story at all.
WHAT IF I DON’T SEE THE CONNECTIONS YET?
Maybe you’re not sure how your story fits together with your present. That’s OK. It’s a lifelong process for all of us. Perhaps this experience of being a part of a DNA group will help you gain some clarity on what God is and has been doing in your life. Share what seems relevant and be open to gaining more clarity over time.
COMMON SHAPING INFLUENCES
Here are some events that can have profound shaping influences on us. (See the section below for some ways to discern which of these might be truly significant to telling your story and which may be less relevant.)
- extended family history
- parents relationship
- your relationship to either of your parents
- relationships with siblings
- moments of intense trauma (physical,emotional,financial)
- moving to a new city, home, school
- harm, abuse, betrayal done to you, once or many times
- leaving home and moving out on your own
- harm you’ve done to others
- patterns of habitual sin
- conversion to follow Jesus Christ
- physical ailment, injury, defect
- patterns of social pain, suffering, conflict, trial
- times of great blessing (emotional,physical,financial,spiritual)
IT DOESN’T ALWAYS BEGIN WITH “ABUSE”
Often, the most shaping influences are our lives are suffering of various kinds. So if you’ve experienced abuse, harm, betrayal, severe suffering in your past that is a shaping influence, share it. Share the full weight of it. Don’t minimize it.
On the other hand, don’t try to dig for something to label as “abuse”. You may have some significant themes in your life that we need to hear about that don’t have any apparent connection to some abuse in your past.
So tell it like it is, like you see it, without feeling like you have to add something into your past in an attempt to “explain” the present. Speculative explanations won’t help, and may only distract you from getting to core issues in your heart.
SOME QUESTIONS TO GUIDE YOUR SHARING
Optionally, you may use some of the following questions to guide your sharing.
- What are your deepest wounds?
- Who wounded, abused, or hurt you?
- How did you deal with it?
- What lies did you come to believe?
- What suffering do you experience that is beyond your control (like abuse)?
- What battles do you face that you brought into your own life (like sinful habits)?
- What do want most deeply?
- What or whom do you most love, or most hate?
- When do you get the most sad and depressed? When do you get hopeless?
- What do you get the most excited about? What brings you the greatest pleasure?
- What do you especially want to avoid?
- What do you think you need? What are your “felt needs”?
- What do you see as your rights? What do you feel entitled to?
- Who must you please? Whose opinion of you counts? From whom do you desire approval and fear rejection? Whose value system do you measure yourself against? In whose eyes are you living? Whose love and approval do you need?
Matt Rogers is the teaching pastor at The Church at Cherrydale in Greenville, SC. His church has developed an interesting way to help their people read and understand Scripture within their small groups. I asked Matt if he would share about their tool and how it lines up with their discipleship objectives.
There is often a vast disconnect between the awareness of the need for disciple-making and practical tools that actually aid in this work. Three factors are essential: Scripture, relationships, and time. Discipleship happens when the life-changing truth of Scripture is infused into genuine relationships over an extended period of time.
Our desire was to create a simple, reproducible strategy that would facilitate this process. This led us to develop a simply strategy for small clusters (2-3 people) to meet together regularly and talk about the Scriptures and apply them to their lives.
The seven arrows of Bible reading were an attempt at developing a tool for proper hermeneutics to power these relationships. We did not want our people to simply talk about the Bible. We wanted them to understand the Bible and know how to apply it to their lives. Each cluster would read a predetermined passage of Scripture and discuss it using these seven arrows.
The goal was for the clusters to start by summarizing the main point of the passage as succinctly as possible, ideally in one sentence.
Next, the clusters sought to discern authorial intent for the passage by asking what it meant to its original audience. Since a text of Scripture can never mean what it never meant, it is necessary to begin by discerning what the text meant. Often this may require the clusters to consult other study tools or cross-reference other Biblical texts to arrive at the meaning of the text.
Thirdly, we asked what the text tells us about the nature and character of God and specifically His work through the person and work of Jesus Christ.
Fourthly, the text was analyzed to see what it tells us about humanity. Bryan Chappell refers to this as the “fallen condition focus” of the text. What does the text reveal about sin and mankind’s need for the gospel?
Then we moved the clusters to application. Since we had now rooted the clusters in the meaning of the text, they were now positioned to rightly apply it’s meaning to their lives.
From there we wanted our clusters to apply the Scripture to their relationships with others. Ideally, they would discuss how the text shaped both how they related to other believers and how they lived on mission in the world.
Finally, the clusters rooted their prayers in the Scriptures. Hopefully, the previous six arrows kindled the flames of passionate prayer in the lives of the clusters – both for their own sanctification and for their mission to the lost.
With these model, we touched on three important areas for discipleship:
- Scripture – Disciple-making was rooted in a rightful understanding of Scripture and not in simply doing life together, unpacking another sermon, or dependance on classroom instruction.
- Simplicity – Disciple-making was simple enough for everyone to get involved. All believers could take these principles, a Bible, and a relationship with a young Christian and get to work.
- Stickiness – Disciple-making through understanding and applying Scripture was etched in the minds of our young church. They could use these same arrows to not only guide their cluster discussions, but also their personal Bible Study, small group leadership, and comprehension of sermons.
To further encourage and aid our people, we gave them bookmarks with the seven arrows on them. These arrows have proven to be a unique tool in our disciple-making toolbox that the Lord is using to call and build faithful and fruitful followers of Jesus.
Sou hoje colocado perante a importância de agir de acordo com o ensino de Jesus. E se no texto de Mateus a importância é dada ao tipo de terreno (rocha vs. areia), em Lucas sou advertido para a forma como estou a construir. A construção da minha vida espiritual deve ser sólida e profunda, não ligo à aparência externa ou à observância de “regras” religiosas, o que importa é o fundamento, Jesus, n’Ele e na Sua Palavra quero construir a minha vida. As minhas palavras tem de ser coerentes com a minha obediência. Hoje reafirmo o desejo de caminhar ao lado de Jesus diariamente.
Conduta e carácter são expressões do que esta no âmago do nosso coração. A árvore é um símbolo do nosso coração, o fruto as nossas acções. Não posso mascarar as minhas pretensas boas obras, o essencial é o coração, dele provem a conduta e o carácter. Desejo que Jesus reine no meu coração e assim as minhas acções serão moldadas pela Sua vontade em mim. Quero que a Palavra encha e abunde no meu coração, e assim ainda que de forma simples almejo espalhar o aroma de Jesus por onde andar.
Sou desafiado a alinhar o meu coração e acções com o coração de Jesus. Preciso de a cada dia amar incondicionalmente sem esperar reconhecimento ou agradecimento. Isto é algo com que o meu “eu” ainda vai lutando. Emprestar sem esperar receber de volta. Sou recordado que fui alvo da extrema e amorosa misericórdia de Deus na minha vida, por isso nada é meu e nada posso requerer. Quero apenas ser grato pelo que Deus me tem concedido e partilha-lo com os que Deus vai colocando à minha volta.
Quem me dera descansar em ti! Quem me dera que viesses a meu coração e que o embriagasses, para que eu me esqueça de minhas maldades e me abrace contigo, meu único bem! Que és para mim? Tem piedade de mim, para que eu possa falar. E que sou eu para ti, para que me ordenes amar-te e, se não o fizer, irar-te contra mim, ameaçando-me com terríveis castigos? Acaso é pequeno o castigo de não te amar? Ai de mim! Dize-me por tuas misericórdias, meu Senhor e meu Deus, que és para mim? Dize a minha alma: Eu sou a tua salvação. Que eu ouça e siga essa voz e te alcance. Não queiras esconder-me teu rosto. Morra eu para que possa vê-lo para não morrer eternamente.
Estreita é a casa de minha alma para que venhas até ela: que seja por ti dilatada. Está em ruínas; restaura-a. Há nela nódoas que ofendem o teu olhar: confesso-o, pois eu o sei; porém, quem haverá de purificá-la? A quem clamarei senão a ti? Livra-me, Senhor, dos pecados ocultos, e perdoa a teu servo os alheios! Creio, e por isso falo. Tu o sabes, Senhor. Acaso não confessei diante de ti meus delitos contra mim, ó meu Deus? E não me perdoaste a impiedade de meu coração? Não quero contender em juízos contigo, que és a verdade, e não quero enganar-me a mim mesmo, para que não se engane a si mesma minha iniqüidade. Não quero contender em juízos contigo, porque, se dás atenção às iniqüidades, Senhor, quem, Senhor, subsistirá?
Confissões – Agostinho
Jesus alerta-me constantemente a alinhar a minha vida pela Sua Palavra. As minhas prioridades precisam de ser a cada dia revistas e moldadas com os Seus princípios, sou estimulado a olhar para os que Deus vai colocando à minha volta, grato pela oportunidade de fazer parte da história que Deus já está a escrever nas vidas deles. Almejo apenas permanecer em Jesus permitindo a cada dia que Ele me molde e use.