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LaFlave
Jul 18, 2019
In Chp 9 - July 15-21
The Jesus film was on the screen behind me, but in my mind, I could see two screens flashing different images. On one of the screens were the events of the past forty-eight hours: 100 percent of the village showing up two nights in a row to hear about Jesus. Six truck drivers asking for gospel tracts. The banana leaf guy from the village searching for God. The lady saying that a lot of the people in her village would want to know Jesus if we could just stay and teach them more. On the other screen ran thoughts of a fraternity house and students back home who had told me that they didn't want to hear me share about Jesus because they had already heard about him so many times. I thought about churches where I had preached back in the States in which the people had become inoculated against the gospel because of their repeated exposure and lack of response to it. Then, somewhere before reaching the generator, I just began to weep. I thought, "This is so unfair. Why do some people get so many opportunities to hear the gospel, while others never get a single chance to say yes to Jesus?"
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LaFlave
Jul 18, 2019
In Chp 8, July 8-14
Before launching into the bulk of his argument, he asks a prerequisite question: If the model is, "follow me around and you'll learn what you need to know", what will someone learn by following me around? He reminds us of the fact that none of us are already perfect or have already obtained this and are pressing on, forgetting what lies behind, but it's worth reflecting on. I'm never "off-the-clock", as much as I'd like to be. Would they learn patience, prayer, gospel responses, sincerity, discipline, audacity, slowness to anger, guarded lips, readiness/watchfulness, repentance, evangelism, hope, or joy? Would they learn works-based righteousness, antinomianism, fear, abdication, self-pity, laziness, argumentativeness, coarse talk, or ill-content? Obviously everyone starts somewhere, and there is grace for the upward call, so let's start now. But I imagine that if we more intentionally involved people in the mundane of our lives, it would help us as much as it would help them, shining a light on those things we'd rather hide. And then as we repent, they learn.
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LaFlave
Jul 03, 2019
In Chp 7 - July 1-7
I think I'm starting to pick up what he's putting down. On page 131, "When the focus of a relationship or small group becomes growth of those in it, their growth is actually stunted... You will lose all of the beneficial issues that being on a mission raises." Beneficial issues. As you disciple, having a missional focus does not take your eyes of the person you are working with, but it does help take their eyes off of themselves. I've noticed a similar thing when managing as well, maybe because of this book. Focusing primarily on a person and what they should be doing tends to motivate them less than focusing on a task and helping them figure out how to tackle it (this may also be because we are less of an honor society now - it doesn't seem to hurt most people's pride to be a poor worker). Anyway, another interesting thing that I have little to no experience with and will probably need some help with is the New Disciple. He says a non-specific approach is most appropriate for new disciples (establishing stage), and getting more personal should wait for the equipping stage. Obviously they kind of overlap (see missional discipleship above), but I wouldn't be surprised. One thing that I'm surprised I haven't seen is how he would relate the advice about not doing new teaching but helping to apply the messages he hears, versus having a curriculum. I'm sure there's a synthesis for most situations.
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LaFlave
Jun 24, 2019
In Chp 6 - June 24-30
Finally this dude starts talking straight! Excellent chapter, and I especially loved the exhortation on 106 &107. Though I think a friendship is a unique relationship with unique opportunities and benefits, how often have I failed to introduce God as meaningful immediately, and then had to wade through tiers of shame in order to move forward with the gospel in a friendship (if I even get there)! - "Don't be scared to start talking about Christ when you first meet someone. Be afraid of waiting!" With regard to creating interest, I've got two inclinations pulling at me, and I'll demonstrate them with two quotes, both of which I heard/read today. First from Bob, pg 91: "I needed some biblical evidence that we were actually not just supposed to present the gospel, but we should also try to get people interested in the gospel." Emphasis his. He goes on to show biblically that the forms of persuasion seem to come mostly from offers of God, ones that are man-centered by his own admission (or explanation) later in the chapter. Pg 99, "Please understand that no totally depraved and unregenerate man or woman will ever come to God for noble or unselfish purposes." Second, from R.C. Sproul, quoting Aquinas in a sermon about Romans 1, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gYdeFVoXq-k : "The reason people assume that the pagan person is seeking after [interested in?] God is because we look at that person, and we see that they're seeking after the benefits that only God can give them. They're looking for peace of mind, for purpose, for relief from guilt, and all the rest, so we assume therefore that they're seeking after God. They're not seeking God; they want the benefits of God without him... all the while running as fast as they can away from God." This is in the context of American Christians I believe. So the question is, when presenting God to people, do we forget not all his benefits, or do we stick to the core gospel because it is the power of God for salvation? Or more practically, is it better to lead with tales of transformation, answered prayer, and community, or is it better--as has gone around on social media recently, "Your testimony is not the gospel"--to start with the main thing and be clear? Obviously there's a spectrum of evangelism from cold to best friends, but will the gospel fall on disinterested ears if it comes first, or will it stave off a godless hunt for things only he can provide?
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LaFlave
Jun 23, 2019
In Chp 5 - June 17-23
And he gave the evangelists, the shepherds and teachers, to equip the saints for the work of evangelism, for the englargening of the body of Christ, until we all attain to the mulitiplicity of the life of myself and the knowledge of how to muliply, and so on. So, I know he gave a disclaimer earlier on about how all sorts of things are necessary for a healthy church, and peeking ahead I see that he answers some of my gripes (like exactly the verse above that I adapted). But this chapter, even worse than chapter 3, had some yellow and red flags. Yellow flag: Since I read ahead, I know that what he means by "multiply your life" or "multiply yourself" is a lot more innocent than it sounds, but I wish that, almost halfway into the book, he would have given an indication that he's not actually rallying to turn the great commission into a spiritualized pyramid scheme. Red flag 1: pg 72 - "We need to get ourselves into communities where we will..." pg 75 - "When looking for a church,..." pg 77 - When looking for a church to join,..." pg 78 - "I want you to immerse yourself in a culture of multiplication..." There are places in this chapter where he mentions fostering a culture of multiplication in a church you are already a part of, but his intended audience seems to be consumeristic. Red flag 2: pg 74, 75 - The countries, regions, and "CITY IN CHINA" saw their churches grow tens of thousands in far less time than it normally would take to prepare the new shepherds and teachers. They are not "recent converts", are able to prove they can "manage their households", and have a depth and breadth of sound doctrine which accords with godliness, such that they can "guard the deposit". Now, with God all things are possible, and the miraculous nature of these missional explosions seems to be good, and we can always only trust God to make his wife without blemish. But I wonder if Bob's vision of "cell churches with well developed coaching strategies [that] have grown into hundreds of thousands of members" comes from actually equipping for the full list contained in Ephesians 4, or from an undue emphasis on adding members. If indeed our expectation is hundreds of thousands in one generation, and we are doing discipleship training in lieu of discipleship or other emphases of ministry (pg 78 & 9), I don't see how we are going to avoid a 2219 version of what we have on the east coast today: rainbow flags flying high next to buildings with crosses on them - buildings filled with people who invoke the name of Christ to enable and promote evil. However, he will answer my gripe somewhat in chapters 8 and 9 I believe. Red flag 3: He neglects the Oxford comma To end, I should say his exhortation to prayer was excellent, and helpful.
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LaFlave
Jun 12, 2019
In Chp 4 - June 10-17
Big chapter, lots of gems. I am helped by, reminded of, and agree with most of everything in the chapter, and love the idea of a renewed focus on churches (community) and discipleship. What I wonder is whether or not his negative appraisal of 1-1 meetings is warranted, especially after his own personal testimony regarding Jay so many years ago. Perhaps a group setting is missing, but not to supplant 1-1 meetings but to supplement them. Having been under and lead both group and 1-1 meetings, I can testify to the helpfulness of both for different types of people and problems.
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LaFlave
Jun 12, 2019
In Chp 3, June 3-9
Thoughtful application of biblical principles can yield explosive results... There are laws of the harvest that have been established by the Lord... God will be faithful to do his part to multiply our lives... We can learn from them and be highly effective too... Let's move on now to discovering the factors that are necessary to see this vision become a reality... Apart from the cringeworthy language in this chapter, I think he does have an oft-missed point that the wealth of information that we use to understand biblical truth is acquired through natural means with natural processing. While that means that it is subject to biblical scrutiny, it also means that if we want to apply any biblical principle, it will take what I think God calls Wisdom to carry it out. His example of mixing red and blue dyes to get purple is an obvious one, but it extends to many things. Our grasp on English determines our grasp on Bible verses; our grasp on literature determines our grasp on the meaning of entire books of the Bible; our grasp on ancient manuscript languages determines the quality of our Bible translations; our grasp on social cues determines our grasp on biblical stories and dialogue (like most of the gospels); our grasp on agriculture determines the usefulness of parables; and so on. A population (or individual) that is ill-equipped to handle the experiential truths of God's earth is one who will struggle to apply or even understand biblical principles. I'm looking forward to see his research.
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LaFlave
Jun 12, 2019
In Chp 2 - May 27- June 2
"When she met him, he was living in a little apartment building in a lower-class section of Stockholm. Her father's room was squalid and had dust-covered empty liquor bottles lining every windowsill." God will accomplish his will, with or without me. This man's labor was the means by which an explosion of the kingdom came, yet he succumbed to bitterness in the process. McNabb does not give us his response to hearing God's success story, but given the anger he still harbored so many years later, I would not assume repentance. "See to it that no one fails to obtain the grace of God; that no root of bitterness springs up and causes trouble, and by it many become defiled; that no one is sexually immoral or unholy like Esau, who sold his birthright for a single meal. For you know that afterward, when he desired to inherit the blessing, he was rejected, for he found no chance to repent, though he sought it with tears." There have been seasons of spiritual despair where I wanted to enjoy God, and wanted others to enjoy God, but was feeling hopeless with regard to my own salvation. I would pray things like, "If not me, then them." And although God can accomplish anything in spite of people who dishonor his name, how much better it is that he should accomplish the great commission with and through people who cherish his name? David Flood spat angrily, "God forgot all of us," much like Israel in the psalm: "My way is hidden from the LORD; my cause is disregarded by God." But how much better will it be at the end of our lives to say, with confidence and joy, "those who hope in the LORD will renew their strength." I am glad that Bob included both stories, one where God worked in spite of a bitter man and one where he worked through a chain of women who loved him and each other, and worked with what they had been given. Looking at the picture on page 40, it strikes me how beautiful God's faithfulness really is, and how much his plan really is out of our hands, but how much his plan includes our sanctification. How broken that chain would be if any of those women failed to obtain the grace of God!
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LaFlave
Jun 12, 2019
In Chp 1 - May 20-26
His four questions at the beginning were really helpful in highlighting a problem. I could not answer those questions briefly or succinctly, and his question is whether I'm trusting God the way he wants me to. I think the issue runs even deeper, that I'm not as concerned with multiplication as I should be or even have been in the past. And later he gets to the core issue: since multiplication is the meaning of this life for one concerned with the Glory of God (pg 23), I'm not concerned enough with the glory of God. Thanks for the rebuke, Bob. As for his question on pg 24, does multiplication work in the real world, outside the lab conditions of theology or as he says, college campuses? I would have to agree with him on page 32, that I must reexamine how I've deviated from the Master's model, from the picture of the early church in Platt's foreword, because my experience at work has been that my approach is far more passive, and impotent. Let's pray for a revival of the love of the treasure of the gospel, of God, and of the Christians and Lost around us such that we fulfill our purpose in training them to obey all that Christ taught.
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LaFlave

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