Tuesday, September 29, 2009

The Responsibility of Teachers and Learners

As a communicator/teacher of Scripture, part of the responsibility is help people see Scripture, perhaps in a new light, with the prayer that God will not only show them something new, but continue to work within, "carrying on" that which He's "begun (a reference to Philippians 1:6).

Scripture seems to illustrate this happens in a variety of ways. Jesus often told stories with little or no explanation, while the Pauline epistles often include very little, if no stories at all.

Often communicators can become trapped in a particular style of communicating. Part of this may be entrenched in training, education or personality, but as communicators our communication aptitude must extent beyond our own personal tendencies.

Intentional communication takes into consideration there are multiple people with a variety of learning preferences. Our prayerful aspiration is to make a meaningful, memorable and transformative learning encounter.

Teachers should also be perpetual learners and students. Being a student/learner isn't merely a passive endeavor. Learning requires not only humility, but intentionality as well.

Jesus expected people to wrestle back through the story, like one would turn a gem, seeking to extract as much application and insight as possible. On the other hand, Paul would often weave key words and themes throughout his letters, while addressing needs at hand, thus rendering a more focused destination to ponder.

For both,
learning and discovery happened as the audience would listen, reflect and pray. And, the same it true today. Optimal communication transpires as teachers are responsible to engage the audience and the audience is intentional about engaging the message.

However, regardless of the setting, ultimately, whether we are in the role of the teacher or the posture of the learner, we are responsible.

Friday, September 25, 2009

Philippians: Gotta Start Somewhere_Week Two

This week in New Community we began to explore God’s intention for us to experience personal transformation. Many of us desire to set a goal or change in some area of our lives.

Unfortunately, most of us hit a speed bump because we simply aren’t sure how or where to start. In this message, we continue our study in Philippians with the teaching “Gotta Start Somewhere.”

Philippians: Gotta Start Somewhere_Week Two from Jerrell Jobe on Vimeo.

Notes, Audio & Weekly Engagement Reflections can be downloaded here or here.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Exulting in Monotony

My children love watching the same shows over and over. It seems they never get tired of watching the same video. They love reading and re-reading the same stories. A child has an amazing ability to do what Chesterton called “exult in monotony.”

Interestingly though, as we get older and more "mature," we get this sense that somehow we've graduated beyond this. We hear sermons and think to ourselves, "I've heard this before," or "I already know this story," or "I know this passage." Yet, do we? We may have that passage "down," but has the passage been given space to get "us down"?

Perhaps we've mastered the text, but has it mastered us?

I was challenged deeply this morning as I read and reflected on something G.K. Chesterton wrote in his book Orthodoxy:

“A child kicks its legs rhythmically through excess, not absence, of life. Because children have abounding vitality, because they are in spirit fierce and free, therefore they want things repeated and unchanged. They always say,

"Do it again"; and the grown-up person does it again until he is nearly dead.

For grown-up people are not strong enough to exult in monotony.

But perhaps God is strong enough...

It is possible that God says every morning, "Do it again," to the sun; and every evening, "Do it again," to the moon. It may not be automatic necessity that makes all daisies alike: it may be that God makes every daisy separately, but has never got tired of making them. It may be that He has the eternal appetite of infancy; for we have sinned and grown old, and our Father is younger than we.” (G. K. Chesterton, Orthodoxy: The Romance of Faith, 31)

Monday, September 21, 2009

Leadership, Vulnerability & Self-Awareness

As the old adage goes, “we only know what we know” or “we can only see what we can see.” To emerge from the trenches of subjective tyranny to a more objective reality is a challenging leap for many to transcend. And, unfortunately there doesn’t seem to be some trite incantation that one can mutter, thus mystically enter into the reality of another stage, desire as they may.

However, two things, I think, have the potential of being great assets in the process of a leader’s human development.

One, greater self awareness can often only be provoked as one gains an awareness of others. In other words, I’ve had students/mentee’s/etc who have been entrenched in a particular mindset and attitude. They were, all the while oblivious to their disposition, not to mention the funk that was being releasing to everyone else. It seemed that no depth of teaching, instruction or even rebuking could dislodge them from this fixation. However, time and time again, once these individuals were put in a position with some oversight and direction (from a distance) to lead others with the same “funk,” something began to trigger within them. They experienced the tension of leading someone who didn’t want to be lead, or was giving push-back. In the midst of wrestling with this person’s stubbornness, blindness, etc, the leader discovered that this was a direct reflection of themselves. Often they would then return to me with no small apology, followed by a series questions seeking insight into developing past their “dispositions.”

Secondly, it seems the less interaction one has with true, honest and authentic “community,” the less chance one has of entering into such self-awareness. Some things are only exposed as we live life with others and experience the blessing of having someone tell us like it is. For example, I can’t remember ever repenting of selfishness prior to getting married. However, once I could no longer go where I wanted, when I wanted, like I wanted, I began to see traces of selfishness that I had not previously been aware of. This increased even more with my first child, then the second, and even more with the third.

There are certain elements of Christ-likeness and true leadership that can only be developed in the context of community. I would venture that many leaders (regardless of the context), though they may lead groups of people (even communities of people), yet they themselves remain at such a low level of self-absorbed stance, due to the fact that they themselves have never entered into a community experience.

Often, in order to grow as a leader, we much increase our level of self-awareness and upgrade our margin of vulnerability with the truth-tellers in our lives.

Friday, September 18, 2009

Philippians: We're All in This Together_Week One

This is the first message in the new series at Palm Valley Church's (Wednesday Nights New Community Gathering) "Philippians: Discovering God in the Midst of Life."

The Apostle Paul had a special and unique relationship with those at Philippi. He's heart was full of "affection" and "longing." In the first message of this new series on the Book of Philippians, we begin to explore the context in which the letter was originally penned, the posture of those who first recieved it and some initial reflections we can begin to ponder as it relates to us nearly 2,000 years later.

Philippians: We're All in This Together_Week One from Jerrell Jobe on Vimeo.

Reflections are available to download.

Audio available to download.

Free Audio Book :: God's Word Heard

Every month Christian Audio sponsors a free audio book download.

This month's feature is GOD'S WORD Heard! New Testament by Baker Books.

In the midst of our busy lives, it can often be difficult to find the time to get into the Word.

Now, whether you're driving your car or working at your computer, you can listen to the New Testament and let its message speak to your heart wherever you are! Read by Emmy award-winning narrator Stephen Johnston.

"GOD'S WORD is an easy-to-understand Bible. . . . It is a wonderful version." -Rev. Billy Graham

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Human Intentionality & Divine Initiative

Yesterday, as I was reflecting on Paul's journey to Macedonia and what later became the establishment of the church in Philippi.

As I was reading, I was struck by an interesting reality to Paul's journey and the events that surrounded the church at Philippi's conception.

Luke's account of Paul's journey
in Acts 16 is filled with an interactive exchange that seems to be indicative of God's intention for all of our lives. Pay close attention to the intentionality of Paul and the initiative of God's Spirit present in the following passage.

Acts 16:6-10

“6-Paul and his companions traveled throughout the region of Phrygia and Galatia, having been kept by the Holy Spirit from preaching the word in the province of Asia. 7-When they came to the border of Mysia, they tried to enter Bithynia, but the Spirit of Jesus would not allow them to. 8-So they passed by Mysia and went down to Troas. 9-During the night Paul had a vision of a man of Macedonia standing and begging him, “Come over to Macedonia and help us.” 10-After Paul had seen the vision, we got ready at once to leave for Macedonia, concluding that God had called us to preach the gospel to them.” (Acts 16:6-10 TNIV)

The back-story
of the church at Philippi is filled with this interactive exchange between of human intentionality and divine initiative.

“human intentionality” and “divine initiative”

Even the Letter of Philippians itself is filled with this reality.

Here's a couple of the verses where this is present in Paul's letter.
"For I know that through your prayers (human intentionality) and the help given by the Spirit (divine initiative) of Jesus Christ, what has happened to me will turn out for my deliverance." ~1:19

"Continue to work out your salvation (human intentionality) with fear and trembling, 13 for it is God who works in you (divine initiative) to will and to act according to his good purpose." ~2:12-13

"Do not be anxious (human intentionality) about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests (human intentionality) to God. 7 And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds (divine initiative) in Christ Jesus. ~4:6-7

Embedded in the subplot of this Letter is the simple truth: This life was intended to be lived with-God. We have a part, God has a part, and true biblical spirituality is the interactive exchange of both of those. Our response in faith to the Spirit and the Spirit's response to our faith.

Paul's ambition, it seems, is that we continuously grow in our awareness of God's present nearness and involvement in our daily lives. The Book of Philippians, in part, in simply about discovering God in the midst of life.

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Philippians: Discovering God in the Midst of Life

After four days of travel, the family and I safely arrived Saturday night in our new home of Mission, Texas.

We've experienced a great couple of days spending time together, getting settled in, starting Micah in school, not to mention myself, becoming acclimated to the awesome group of people I get to work alongside.

Tonight at Palm Valley Church ,we embark on a new teaching series. We will be spending the rest of the fall trekking through Paul's New Testament letter to the Philippians.

The more I've reflected, pondered, prayed through and studied this ancient letter, the more relevant, powerful and applicable it has become to the day in which we now live. I'm looking forward to the next series of Wednesday nights in New Community as we explore the powerful text.

Monday, September 14, 2009

Bird's Eye View

This past Sunday marked my last day on staff at Southgate Church in South Bend, Indiana. It was an honor to speak on this day. The last twelve years at Southgate have taught me much. God has used this place and this community to challenge and develop me in more ways than I can express. I am truly grateful for the heart and direction of the leadership at Southgate and look forward to an on-going relationship in the days to come.

The following
is the video of the message given. It's a inter-weaving of some of the lessons I've been learning in this recent season of sensing God's direction for my future, as well as that of my family.

The greatest risk of all in life
, is taking no risks.

Life has way of domesticating our faith. Yet the life God has called us is often full of risk as we journey into the unknown. One of the images God gives to us in Scripture is that of the eagle. There is much we can learn about our walk with God as we explore elements of this penetrating image. *Credit for the balance beam idea goes to Francis Chan.

Saturday, September 12, 2009

Like a Child

The average 4-year-old asks 300-questions a day. That number diminishes to 20 by the time one is 20-years-old. Somewhere along the way, we forget how to look, see, inquire and live in wonder. Jesus admonishes us to recapture the essence of child-like faith. This message was presented at Southgate Church.

Like a Child from Jerrell Jobe on Vimeo.