Kavanah: Cool Idea or Way-of-Life Conviction?

"All the Athenians and foreigners who lived there spent their time doing nothing but talking and listening to the latest ideas."
—Acts 17:21

Make no mistake about it: We live in an Athenian culture.

This is especially true in the church/ministry world of North America.

When we read books or go to a conference, we get ideas. I'm not against ideas.


When we wrestle the Bible together, we get convictions.

I like books, conferences, and ideas. I really do.

But here's something I love more:  Deeply rooted biblical convictions.


People with ideas are fascinating conversationalists (like the Athenians), but people with convictions change the world—regardless of their education, social media platform, or oratory skills.

Think about it.

Jesus' disciplemaking movement has never been built on ideas alone.

Jesus' disciplemaking movement is built on regular people who get totally captured by Jesus—and then share His disciplemaking way of life with others. It's a 1 John 2:6 conviction: "Those who claim to live in God should live their lives as Jesus did."

There's always another new book of cool ideas coming down the pike. And I find some of these interesting—but not compelling; informative—but lacking in their ability to transform.

And make no mistake about it: The need of the hour is not for just information—but for transformation.

I contend that we'll never get there unless we start doing the hard work of wrestling the Bible—not just books—together.

It's the people of God wrestling the Word of God empowered by of the Spirit of God to fulfill the mission of God.

We call it, disciplemaking friendships.

The What, Why, and How of Kavanah Conviction

I challenge you to move beyond good ideas to a conviction about Kavanah.

What's Kavanah? That's a great question.
Kavanah is a Hebrew word that helps us understand how God empowers us to live as disciplemakers. 

In its simplest form, Kavanah means “to aim and hit the bullseye.” In disciplemaking, it describes the place where my disciplined actions meet God’s active presence in my life.

If disciplemaking is about following Jesus together, every day, we need his power to do it. And Kavanah helps us see how.

We find the roots of Kavanah in the Babylonian Talmud. Berakoth 32b says, “Our Rabbis taught: Four things require to be done with Kavanah, namely, [study of] the Torah, good deeds [loving others and showing kindness], praying always, and one’s worldly occupation.”

Kavanah is how we hit the bullseye as a disciple. It enables us to be filled up by Jesus, anticipating what God is going to do in us, through us and around us.

We practice these four intentionalities with others, depending on the help of the Holy Spirit to hit the Kavanah bullseye...
1. Studying God’s Word to know and love God.
2. Prayerfulness
3. Loving others as an overflow of God’s extravagant love for us.
4. Living a Colossians 3:23 (C323) life of worship where we live, work, and play.

Why is this so important?

As we study, pray, love and live together, we hit the bullseye as disciples—who makes disciples—who make more disciples.

How do we move from "Kavanah as a cool idea" to Kavanah as a way-of-life conviction?

Open your Bible to the Gospel of Luke—together with a friend—and every time you come across one of the four Kavanah priorities in your Bible reading, you make a note in your Bible like so...
* "W"[blue] = study God's Word to know and love God
* "P" [yellow] = prayerfulness
* "L" [red] = loved extravagantly by God to extravagantly love others
* "C" [green] = a C323 (Colossians 3:23) life of worship

Use four different colored pencils/highlighters—one for each of the four Kavanah priorities. When you're done, you'll have a fun and simply way of seeing just how much Kavanah is in the New Testament.

Well, there are only two questions left to ask:
1. Are YOU in?
2. Whom will you invite to join you?

The better, stronger relationship with God that you've always longed for will not happen accidentally.

With whom do you need to share this post?

What are you waiting for?

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