Friday, March 16, 2007

"Doing" or "Being?"

Elder Robert V led the Care Group last Friday (09/03/07) at John and Jenny M's home. Kuya Rob used the opportunity to share an article by Robert L. Gallagher, Assistant Professor of Missions & Intercultural Studies at Wheaton College Graduate School. The article is entitled "From Doingness to Beingness."

We hope that the excerpts below will encourage every one of God's faithful servants to view the full pdf article by clicking here. Below are the opening paragraphs of Robert L. Gallagher's "From Doingness to Beingness:"

Zeal for the church’s mission nearly cost me my marriage. Ten years after being filled with the Holy Spirit, I entered full-time ministry in an Australian Pentecostal church. In less than five years, full of youthful energy and vision, I helped create numerous church programs: a Christian elementary school, an international magazine, a radio program, two bible schools, leadership training seminars, and various evangelistic outreaches. In a hurricane of activity, my young family was swept aside by my all-consuming zeal for the local church to grow.

Ignoring the pleas of my spouse and friends, I believed that every single minute of my day should be spent working for God. There was little time for prayer and the study of God’s word, let alone time for the family. There were no periods of rest and recuperation, no time spent playing with my two young daughters in the park, no afternoons of sitting with friends over a cup of coffee. The time was short, the mission immense, the laborers few, and too much work to be done for such frivolous activities. My imbalanced notion of God’s mission dominated my life. Ministry, I believed, flowed from doing things for God, not from a relationship with him. I had uncritically accepted the corporate business model for church life as the norm. Western society, rather than the word of God, influenced my concepts of mission.

This paper chronicles some of my journey that brought correction to this distorted picture of God’s mission. Over a period of two years, God graciously brought scripture, people, and literature into my life that caused a paradigm shift in my thinking towards mission and ministry1—that God’s mission does not come from doing a host of activities, but from a prayerful relationship with him through the empowering of his Spirit. In simpler terms, mission flows from beingness rather than doingness.
Professor Gallagher's webpage at Wheaton College can also be accessed by clicking here.

Elder Robert V's Study Handout:
Blacktown Care Group
9 March 2007

Acts 4:23-31 -- The Disciples' Prayer

1. Background: Prof. Robert L. Gallagher's article (in pdf).

2. The Disciples' Prayer in sections: (Pls click and drag cursor over blanks to see answers...)

A. Recognition of God's Sovereignty or LORDship, over (see Acts 4:24, disciples quoting Exodus 20:11) :

B. Recognition of God's Sovereignty over (Acts 4:25-28, disciples quoting Psalm 2:1-2) :

C. Recognition of God's Sovereignty over (Acts 4:29-30) :

Disciples' 3 requests to the Sovereign LORD God:
i. For God to consider their opponents' threats/Disciples surrendering of their opponents' fate to God
ii. For Boldness of Speech
iii. For Miracles/Signs that will point more people to CHRIST

3. Results of their Prayer (Pls click and drag cursor over blanks to see answers)


4. Application: (Closing paragraphs of Prof. Robert Gallagher article. Pls click and drag cursor over blanks to see answers:)

"...the life of Jesus in mission is not one of striving or struggling for bigger, or better. There was a pattern of beingness with God that is missing in Christian circles today. "But the news about him was spreading even farther, and great multitudes were gathering to hear him and to be healed of their sickness. But he himself would often slip away to the wilderness and pray"(Luke 5:15-16). A rhythm of spirituality is evident in Jesus whereby every major event in his earthly life is soaked in prayer. Luke records the importance of prayer in the life of Jesus like no other gospel writer. Luke sees Jesus in prayer at his baptism (Luke 3:21), in selecting the twelve (Luke 6:12), at Peter’s confession of faith (Luke 9:18), at the mount of transfiguration (Luke 9:28-29), before the teaching of the Lord’s prayer (Luke 11:1-2), at Gethsemane (Luke 22:41), and at Calvary (Luke 23:34, 46). Prayer surrounds every important event in Jesus’ ministry. Prayer is the means whereby God directs Jesus’ mission of salvation to "lost" humanity. It is the way Jesus apprehends the dynamic power of the Spirit for salvation history. The Messiah’s redemptive work flowed from his relationship with God in prayer, not from his many deeds.

In the same way, Luke records in the Book of Acts the early church having this pattern of prayer, Spirit and mission. The believers’ prayer in Acts 4 is just one example of the church praying and seeking the power of God before accomplishing mission. The prayerful disciples followed Jesus’ paradigm of mission flowing from beingness. They prayed to their sovereign Messiah and he refilled them with his Holy Spirit. Only then did they begin to advance to the next stage in the Kingdom’s mission of expansion from Jerusalem to Rome. The church today needs to re-evaluate its methods of mission. Scriptures teach that mission flows from beingness rather than doingness, but secular Western culture teaches that only by hard work can anything be accomplished. This attitude is summarized by Benjamin Franklin’s axiom: "God helps those that help themselves." Like the early believers in Acts 4, contemporary Christians must choose to follow Jesus’ model, and not the model of the world.

Also Interesting:

"Gospel-Driven Sanctification" (pdf) by Jerry Bridges, warning us against 'Performance-based' discipleship.

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