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Livewire - Catalytic Programs
Because You're Loved
Books by Paul Clayton Gibbs
Kingdom Patterns: Discover God’s direction
How to find your next step
Why does it seem difficult to get a straight answer from God?
“Lord, where should I go? What should I do?”
Could it be that it is difficult to give a good answer to a bad question? In Kingdom Patterns, author Paul Clayton Gibbs presents five diagrams to help you understand where God is leading you and what will happen next. Plus he offers you an alternative question to ask.
After all, a better question leads to a better answer.
Read an excerpt
Have you ever lost Jesus? Some of the best people have.
Every year Jesus’ parents went to Jerusalem for the Festival of the Passover.5 When he was twelve years old, they went up to the festival, according to the custom. After the festival was over, while his parents were returning home, the boy Jesus stayed behind in Jerusalem, but they were unaware of it.6
At first they had no clue that Jesus was missing, but once they did . . .
. . . they began looking for him among their relatives and friends.7
Have you ever felt that God was not where you expected Him to be? Have you ever lost a sense of connection and therefore a sense of purpose? Have you ever lost track of His direction in your life? Sometimes when we feel this has happened, we make the same mistake as Jesus’ parents. We look for Him in the wrong place. We search among our friends and relatives.
It’s human nature. So, when I ask someone to consider an opportunity, I bubble them.
You see, I find that when some people are presented with a deci- sion or opportunity, they might say, “I will pray about that.” But they don’t. At least, not at first. Instead, they search for God’s direction among those they love or respect. After they’ve done that, then they get around to prayer and reflection, but by that time their hearts and minds are no longer virgin territory. Their souls have been impregnated by everyone else’s opinions, and the task of recognizing the Holy Spirit becomes more difficult.
So I put them in a bubble. I make them promise not to talk to a single soul until they have first asked themselves a particular question, which I will share with you later. Then after an agreed upon period of time, I encourage them to inquire of others. The emphasis of my ‘bubble wrap’ is to help people go on a journey with God, rather than take a shortcut with their nearest spiritual guru or make a pit stop with a friend.
After all, we, like Joseph and Mary, are pilgrims.
A pilgrim is one who travels to a sacred place for religious reasons.8
Yet so many of us seem lost. I cannot tell you how many great and godly leaders I have sat down with in a coffee shop and listened to their lost-ness, their questions of: What’s happening? What am I doing? Why am I here? What’s next? What’s the plan?
And this crisis of fate is a problem.
Why? Because we are made in the image of God. And why are we
made in the image of God? So we can help others imagine God. I find that inspiring.
But I also find it awkward.
I am concerned that a fragmented, disjointed life may offer up an image of a flaky, dysfunctional God. One who is unsure what to do with us. One who toys with us in a lifelong game of spiritual hide and seek. That is not the image of God I want my life to project, and although I may not have all the answers to my colleagues’ questions, I do have an inkling of a pilgrim’s process. It is a process that starts with a better question than the ones we usually ask.
In order to share this question with you, however, let me ask you another. If we are to live by faith and not by fate, then where is this sacred ‘place’ that we are supposed to be heading?
Kingdom Principles: Develop Godly Character
How to think how God thinks
Is adhering to a list of rules really what God wants from us?
“What must I do to gain God’s favor? What can I get away with?”
Can misunderstanding what is in God’s heart cause you to be less than you can be? In Kingdom Principles, author Paul Clayton Gibbs encourages you to fight for the heart of the King and presents six values to reshape your character in order to gain the mind of Christ.
After all, we can learn how to think, not just what to think.
Read an excerpt
There is a line.
Many Christians commit themselves to living on this line. I would describe this ‘line-dwelling’ as the way we define and confine ourselves by trying to work out what we can and cannot do as Christians—what we deem morally correct and morally wrong.
And so, we dwell on the line.
We create two extremes. At one end, we look for a cut-off point of what we can get away with before we reap the consequences. At the other end, we create a marker for how far we must go to gain the rewards we seek.
In our world of line-dwelling, we ask the simple questions. On the subject of giving to God:
How much must I give in order to avoid chastisement? How much must I give in order to be rewarded for generosity?
In the area of forgiveness:
What sins perpetrated against me must I forgive? How often should I forgive to be known as forgiving?
In the area of entertainment:
What am I allowed to watch before I am judged as worldly? What rating can I get away with and still be called pure?
It is as though we draw a line in the sand on certain subjects, and our faith then becomes a continual working out of our position. Once we have defined our position, we defend it as law against anybody who thinks differently.3 Proving ourselves right becomes our mission, and so we embark on exactly the wrong kind of crusade. We are linear in our thinking and linear in our hearts.
But please notice: You cannot live above the line if there is no line to live above.
God’s laws serve a purpose. They help us know where we are failing, but they do not have the power to help us succeed. Only the Holy Spirit does.
The Kingdom Principles are not anti-line. They are a call to live above it. However, you and I have an enemy. Our foe uses a simple tactic that can be explained with a peculiar question:
Do you know how to hypnotize a chicken?
Simply force the chicken’s head down so its beak touches the ground and its eyes are pointed at the floor. Then from the place where its beak touches the dirt, draw a line by walking backwards. The bird will be transfixed. It will remain rooted to the spot, peering down the line you’ve created. It will not move. I guarantee it.
Do you know how to hypnotize a human?
Do exactly the same thing. Get them to look down and along the line. They too will become transfixed. They will struggle to move. You will both define and confine them so they will never fully develop the Godly character that is available to them.
So how do we break free?
Kingdom Pioneering: Fulfill God’s calling
How to know and grow your vision
Why do so few of us fulfill our God-given dreams?
Why is this happening?
Do we give up because we think things are going wrong when they are actually going right? In Kingdom Pioneering, author Paul Clayton Gibbs explains how to know if your vision is from God, presents the four stages it will go through, and gives advice to navigate their dangers.
After all, to be forewarned is to be forearmed.
Read an excerpt
Vision comes from an awkward conversation with God.
Let me explain.
One day as Jesus walked the dusty road stretching between the old and new cities of Jericho, blind Bartimaeus, the son of Timaeus, called out:
Son of David, have mercy on me!16
Why? Jesus was the son of Mary and Joseph.
‘Son of David’ meant more than being a son of a man called David. It was a label. Specifically, it was the title given to the One who would be known as the Messiah.
Bartimaeus’ statement was incredible because this visually impaired man saw something that many other people had been searching for and missed.
He was in the world, and though the world was made through Him, the world did not recognize Him.17
A number of groups in Jesus’ day were searching for the Son of David.
The Zealots thought the Messiah would be a militaristic hero. They believed if they could stir up Israel to fight the Romans, God would send the Messiah to free them.
The Essenes had given up on Jerusalem and the Temple and had run for the hills. They lived in a holy huddle, having nothing to do with the rest of the Jews. They had their own schools, their own shops . . . essentially their own community. They believed the Messiah would recognize that only they were the sons of light.
The Pharisees were looking for a Messiah sent by a Holy God. If they could only get Israel to clean up her act and eliminate the sinners, then surely God would send the Son of David.
Yet they made the mistake so many of us make.
We miss God in our lives, not because we do not know what He looks like, but because we have decided what He looks like in advance. Then, when He arrives, we are so busy investing our time, energy, thoughts, and finances in what we expect Him to achieve, that we fail to see what He is really up to.
We invest in the wrong Jesus.
For us to see, we first have to become blind.
Bartimaeus saw with his own eyes the miracles of Jesus, but only after his blindness helped him recognize the miracle that is Jesus.
When Bartimaeus called out to Him, Jesus asked him a question. What do you want me to do for you? 18
This seems like an unusual thing for Jesus to ask. Surely it is obvious. Unusual? Yes. Uncommon? No. Some Bible scholars estimate that
Jesus was asked 300 questions during His ministry and that he gave a straight answer to three. They also say that Jesus asked around 125 questions, many of which were in answer to questions He was first asked. In other words, if you asked Jesus a question, you had a one-in-three chance of being asked one in return!
Jesus was a pioneer but He was also a rabbi, and rabbis answer by asking.
Jesus said that the Bible contains new treasure as well as old. Why then do so few Christians study it? Is it too difficult to understand or is the issue in the way it is taught? Does the Bible have a middle-management problem? This updated edition of Haverim: How to Study Anything with Anyone offers a fresh approach to Bible study. It fulfills the needs of a society who want to pull information rather than have it pushed upon them. By researching the rabbinic method of education, author Paul Clayton Gibbs created a four-step method that equips you to study anything with anyone! You will learn how to explore the many facets of Scripture with those of no faith, little faith, or even another faith. Also serving as a companion guide to the popular Study Masterclass (studymasterclass.com), Haverim provides a practical way to create home groups that are inclusive rather than exclusive. It is a tool for friends who want to study together in order to know God and make Him known. Or, as the ancient Hebrews once referred to them . . . Haverim.
Read an excerpt
Why are many post-modern churches producing pre-reformation Christians?
Before the reformation, when the only organized and recognized church was the Catholic Church of Rome, it refused to allow scripture to be available in any language other than Latin. The people of God had to completely rely on those few religious professionals who could pass on the Bible’s message. They could not unravel it for themselves. No one could question an interpretation because few people, other than priests, could read it. For the most part in today’s evangelical churches, the Bible may as well be written only in Latin once again.
Few study it.
Even less pass it on.
We get all of our interpretation from the leaders we idolize. We are more likely to know the words of Max, Bill, Rick, and Francis than we are to know the words of Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John.
We may not live in the dark ages anymore, but when it comes to understanding the Word of God, we live in the days of willing ignorance, the era of acceptable limitations.
We live in the ‘dim ages.’
We need, therefore, to go beyond curriculum to culture.
If we truly believe that God will change our world and use our churches to do it, then now is the time to build our great, attractive, relevant churches with His understanding of study in mind.
The inventor Sir James Dyson said that reinvention requires a passionate anger about something that doesn’t work.
And something isn’t working, is it?
By that, I mean the purely invitational approach that brings in a crowd
through a great presentation to ‘study the Bible’ by filling in blanks on a
worksheet. That idea is compromised, incomplete, and a little perverted.
It can grow churches, but does it grow His Kingdom?
In most churches, only core members attend Bible studies, and they rarely experience a method of study that can be easily reproduced in other settings or for other passages and topics.
A Bible class experience teaches them what to think, not how to think.
I am committed to getting people on the same page and drawing them to absolute truth. The problem with most curricula, however, is that they
ultimately teach us to search for answers, but not for God. And by answers, I mean the one answer of the one presenter. Once we know that one answer, we quickly get bored. The Word of God becomes cliché: something profound, but weakened by constant repetition of the same over-used explanations.
It loses its vitality. It loses its surprise.
The further problem is that this method of study does not equip us to share that truth with others. It is inflexible, uncreative, and outdated. We live in a new world, with new opportunities, and the need for a new transferable way to share our Gospel.
As I write this chapter, I am sitting at a table in my local Starbucks. Nearby sits an older gentleman who is smartly dressed and a touch debonair. He has just tucked a paper napkin into his collar as he tries to avoid dripping mayonnaise while negotiating a turkey and cheese sandwich. I am wondering how I can start a conversation with him.
If I do manage to chat with him and he shows an interest in discovering faith in Jesus, I know that I now have a new way of sharing it with him —one that approaches the Bible from whatever angle he needs to approach it, one that will present questions not just answers, and one that will guide him through a multi-faceted journey until he can discover for himself the truth of Jesus.
I am also sitting here wondering how other followers of Jesus would feel in my position right now. Would they even want to start that conversation, or would they avoid it because they have no idea how to unpack the scriptures with a neighbor?
Is the spirit willing, but the training weak?
I think it may be.
Jesus not only commanded discipleship, He modeled it for us. Why then do so many struggle to disciple others effectively? Is it because we ourselves have never been properly discipled? Talmidim: How to Disciple Anyone in Anything offers a fresh approach to discipleship. Leading an organization that disciples thousands of people each year, author Paul Clayton Gibbs helps us fundamentally rethink the process of discipleship with a fresh understanding of what Jesus really had in mind. By researching and applying the ancient methods of discipleship, Gibbs provides a simple four-step template that will equip you to disciple anyone in anything! Also serving as a companion guide to the popular Discipleship Masterclass (discipleshipmasterclass.com), Talmidim provides a practical way to make discipleship a part of the culture of your church or organization. Jesus does not simply want His followers to know what He knows, but He wants us to reproduce in others who He is. That requires discipleship. The kind that makes disciples who make disciples. Or, as the ancient Hebrews once referred to them . . . Talmidim.
Read an excerpt
Question: How do you change the world? Answer: You start with an idea.
However, starting with an idea is one thing; ending with that same idea is another.
Parents may share a life lesson with their child, but will they grow up to adopt it? An entrepreneur may pioneer a company with core values, but will her customers experience them when the business expands? A church minister may teach a Kingdom principle, but does that mean his congrega- tion will live it out?
An idea, no matter how powerful it is, is just an idea. It is the delivery of that idea which has the power to change the world. At least, that is what Jesus Christ believed.
Then Jesus came to them and said, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have com- manded you.”
The Messiah had a vision. A dream so wonderful, no one had ever been good enough or bold enough to attempt it. He believed in a kingdom. Not an empire that would come by force under a black flag, but a people who would bring the world to its knees . . . under a white flag. A world of willingly surrendered hearts where things on earth happen as they do in heaven.
Yet it may have remained just an idea without the mechanism to make it a reality . . .
Sure, a charismatic teacher can attract a crowd and a competent leader can build one. Both may gain a core audience of superfans, but sadly, that is all that may happen. The world as a whole may remain unchanged. And, in Jesus’s mind, that was never going to be good enough. Christ has a much bigger plan and it involves the multiplication of His work through everyday Christians. His vision requires the whole of Christendom to participate, not just a few elite. Jesus therefore employed the ancient methods of disciple- ship to show anyone how to disciple anyone else in anything that advances His Kingdom.
My hope and prayer is that this book will help us understand the potential for discipleship to activate the entire Church.
In each of the four stages of discipleship, we will rediscover the practices of Jesus and His contemporaries, and I will explain why and how discipleship works both Biblically and biologically. Then, I will introduce the Talmidim Flow,2 a template I developed using Jesus’s model to help anyone disciple anyone else in anything.
The Talmidim Flow consists of four stages necessary for effective discipleship:
Experience It! Choose an experience to take people on.
Question It! Ask them questions they should be asking themselves.
Understand It! Fill in the gaps in their understanding.
Multiply It! Challenge them to disciple others in what they just learned.
Thirdly, I will unpack an ancient skill to help you execute that stage of dis- cipleship more effectively. In these chapters, we will look at the four Hebraic methods that were key components of skillful discipleship:
Talmidim. How to choose great disciples. Sh’eilot. How to ask great questions. Aggadah. How to tell great stories. Kavanah. How to get great results.
Lastly, for those of you who are not just interested in how to improve your personal discipleship skills, but also want to incorporate discipleship into your church, institution, or business, I will explain how the Talmidim Flow can help any organization make discipleship part of its culture.
The Talmidim Flow is going global and has been proven to work on six continents in the world. It is not a theory. It is being practiced right now and works with all ages and ethnicities. It is a rediscovery of Jesus’s method of discipleship, repackaged for a postmodern, post-Christian world.
It is a one-size-fits-all idea.