In the Zone – Ha-Makom

We want to impress on Harmony Bible group leaders the importance of disciple-making friends and the skill of listening, asking powerful questions, and provoking a faith-filled response. This article is an introduction which we would be glad to explore further during a training workshop. 

Rabbis call it Ha-Makom which means ‘the Place’. They’re not talking about ‘basketball’ or ‘flow’ but the “inter-subjective space” in which the reality of our communion dissolves the boundaries of what is yours and what is mine, the haves and have-not’s, the teacher and the learner (John 17:21).

On Thursday of the Passion Week, Jesus say to his disciples John records an intimate moment between Jesus and his disciples writing, “I have called you friends” (John 15:15). The greek word for used here for friend is philos (φίλος). The modern Hebrew word for friend, haver (f. havera) and Rachel Adler explains that the root of the word means means “to join together at the boundaries.” Elizheva Hurvich writes that the Aramaic word hebruta, which coincides with haver, refers to the “practice of learning in pairs”.

C.T.Studd Quote
To whom are you called to share the Gospel?

Isn’t this the reality also of our experiences. Friends who follow Jesus together learn more, encourage and strengthen one another. Spiritual abuse emerges in communities that fail to respect and value each person.  In the company of true friends we find belonging and its lateral dependencies shown in the Emotivational Spectrum which are: connection, and value. The practice of being a friend eliminates false barriers, covetousness, and fears, while fostering harmony, love and mercy. As illustrated in the Emotivational Spectrum the polar compound of Connection is Interdependency (and its lateral dependencies are intimacy and freedom).  With this understanding we see essential facets of such friendship and can begin to comprehend why making disciples requires us to engage in relational ministry.

As iron sharpens iron (Prov 27:17), Elizaheva explains “‘Two scholars sharpen one another’, through discussion and debate, forming each other’s insight into the text (Ta’anit 7a)”. We would emphasis listening and dialog more than debate or discourse, just as we would emphasize friendship and discipleship over authority and dogma.  If you want to get a head start on learning these skills and values I suggest you read up on “Appreciative Inquiry” and “Powerful Questions“.

The Harmony of the Gospels reveals 138 questions which Jesus answered. Taylor Holmes reports that 52 were questions Jesus posed while teaching; and 61 questions were asked by others (25 of these by the disciples).  One of the questions the pharisees asked Jesus was on Tuesday during Holy Week in their final effort to ensnare him, rather than learn or hear the Good News. It is recorded in Section 135 of the Harmony of the Gospels (Mt 22:34-40 / Mark 12:28-34) – “Teacher, which is the greatest commandment in the Law?” And Jesus answered quoting from Deut 6:5 and Lev 19:18. His reply in the Gospel according to Mark began with the word “hear” (shamah) translated listen, heed‘ and “thou shalt love” (agapaō). I am sure that if we would employ these two commandments we would experience an evangelistic explosion!

To wrap up this lesson, disciple-makers elicit the spiritual aspirations as they engage in disciple-making friendships.  They explore the scriptures together, learning from one another, making room for questions, connection, and prayer in that sacred space (Ha-Makom) where our communion strengthens our friendship (haver). In that moment, in that context, we fulfill the first and the second greatest commandments, honoring both our covenant with God and our covenant with our community of faith.


Behold, the Lamb of God

Week 17 | Section 26, 27

Behold, the Lamb of GodWord of John the Baptist’s ministry reached Jerusalem and concerned enough of the Jews there that they sent the a cadre of priests and scholars to investigate. Was he Elijah? The Prophet? or the Messiah? Why was John baptizing folks? In humility, John replied, I am “a voice” and I my role is to “make straight the way of the Lord”. These were familiar words to such learned Jews that should have resounded as good news, but perhaps it was their self-interest for personal significance that prevented them from responding to the good news. Let those who have ears to hear, hear what the spirit has to say.


Section 26
John 1:19-28
19 This is John’s1¯2 testimony, when the Jews sent priests and Levites from Jerusalem3¯4 to ask him, “Who are you?”¯5  20 He declared, and didn’t deny, but he declared, “I am not the Christ.”6 21 They asked him, “What then? Are you Elijah?”7 He said, “I am not.” “Are you the prophet?”8 He answered, “No.” 22 They said therefore to him, “Who are you? Give us an answer to take back to those who sent us. What do you say about yourself?” 23 He said, “I am the voice of one crying in the wilderness,9 ‘Make straight the way of the Lord,’ as Isaiah the prophet said.” 24 The ones who had been sent were from the Pharisees. 25 They asked him, “Why then do you baptize, if you are not the Christ, nor Elijah, nor the prophet?” 26 John answered them, “I baptize in water,10 but among you stands one whom you don’t know.11 27 He is the one12 who comes after me, who is preferred before me, whose sandal strap I’m not worthy to loosen.” 28 These things were done in Bethany beyond the Jordan, where John was baptizing.13

Section 27
John 1:29-34
29 The next day, he saw Jesus coming to him, and said, “Behold,the Lamb of God,14¯15 who takes away the sin of the world! 30 This is he of whom I said, ‘After me comes a man who is preferred before me, for he was before me.’16  31 I didn’t know him,17 but for this reason I came baptizing in water: that he would be revealed to Israel.” 32 John testified, saying, “I have seen the Spirit descending like a dove out of heaven, and it remained on him. 33 I didn’t recognize him, but he18 who sent me to baptize in water, he said to me, ‘On whomever you will see the Spirit descending and remaining on him is he who baptizes in the Holy Spirit.’ 34 I have seen, and have testified that this is the Son of God.”19

Group Dialog:

  1. What anxieties have upset your life? Were they God-sent or spawn in fear, doubt, and uncertainty?
  2. What is your vocation in ministry?
  3. What experiences do you have of receiving foreknowledge?
  4. How do you discern the will of God, and the activity of God in your life?
  5. How does one go about testing to know whether what is begin preached is accurate, true, honoring God, and faithful to the Scriptures?
  6. What are the names of Jesus which offer you most comfort, courage and confidence?

Learning Objectives:

vocation, humility, commitment, disciple, servant-leadership, service, Messiah, prophesy, discernment, spiritual gifts, christian community, God’s perfect timing, responsibility of spiritual leaders

Study Notes: