Learning by Example (A Book Excerpt)
This excerpt is from the forthcoming book Stubborn Perseverance: How God is initiating Church Planting Movements Through Storying Among Indonesian Muslims. Projected release: 2nd quarter of 2014. For notification of availability, or to inquire about advance order discounts, email StubbornPerseverance@gmail.com.
This training novel aims to equip others to apply insights from God’s work among Indonesian Muslims
The story: Gripped by a vision to develop a Church-Planting Movement among their fictional people group, Faisal and his wife Fatima enlist and train their friends Yusuf & Nur and Nasrudin & Amina to join them in pursuing God’s blessing on their Muslim group. Together they embark on a quest for God’s blessing on their people. This excerpt demonstrates how the story models simple, reproducible means of training households (oikos) to reproduce by learning together from God’s word.
“Before we start, I think it is helpful to tell God what we are thankful for. I’d like us to go around the room and state one thing we are thankful for. I’ll start. I’m thankful that God gave me a good friend like Ahmad. I have so many memories of us growing up together and I’m quite sure I wouldn’t have finished teacher’s college if Ahmad hadn’t been there.”
Ahmad spoke next. “I’m thankful for a friend like you too, Faisal. I’m glad we could meet yesterday. You gave me a lot to think about. It makes me wonder if I have been searching for something and didn’t even know it.”
“I have another question for us. What are some challenges or struggles you are facing right now? Since I’ve had time to prepare I’ll go first again. I hit a dog and fell off my motorcycle a few weeks ago. I’ve pretty much healed but my shoulder is still sore.”
Precedence had been set, so Ahmad went next. “One of the teachers at my school is out on maternity leave. Since we teach the same grade, now I have to teach her class too.”
Faisal pulled out the piece of paper that he had brought along. “This story is comes from the Taurat, but I find it is easiest to print the story out front and back on a piece of paper. Ahmad, would you read the story?”
Ahmad took the piece of paper and read the story of creation and Adam and Eve’s fall into sin.
“Thanks, Ahmad. The story is kind of long and it has a lot of details. Hajar would you mind reading the story again?”
“In my family we take turns retelling the story. It helps us remember the story and brings it alive. Hajar, would you like to give it a try?”
“I’ll try as long as the others help me out,” she said shyly. Hajar slowly recounted the story, chuckling as she imagined a snake speaking to Adam and Eve.
“Excellent. Who else would like to try?”
“Now I have three questions for us to consider. First, what do we learn about God’s attributes from this story?”
“God is all powerful. He created heaven and earth.”
“He’s also all-knowing because He knew Adam and Eve had eaten from the Kholdi tree.”
“We know He is just because He punished Adam, Eve, and the serpent, but we see that He is also merciful because He didn’t destroy Adam and Eve and He provided animal skins for them.”
“Now for the second question. How can we apply this story to our personal lives?”
“If you meet a talking snake, run!” Ahmad quipped.
Hajar was more thoughtful. “For me, it is a reminder that nothing is hidden from God’s sight.”
“Any other comments?” Faisal looked around the room.
“Okay. Here is the third question: How can we apply this story to help someone else? It is important that we not only obey God’s Word for ourselves, but obey it to help others.”
“I’m not sure if this is the right answer, but this would be a good story for my friend who is facing temptation right now.”
As their discussion wound to a conclusion, Faisal said, “This has been a very enjoyable time, but I should be heading home.
“I have a story about Noah. Would you like to hear it next week?”
Ahmad smiled as he stood up. “Sure, why not?”
“Is there anyone else you’d like to invite?”
Hajar nodded. “My mom will be here. Can she come?”
“Well, of course!”