What in this chapter really resonated with your journey and why?
Here are a few good ones:
Imagine the church we would see today if Christians throughout the centuries had taken the effort and resources used to set up, manage, and pay for their institutions and invested them instead in learning to love people in a way that bore witness to his reality.
I have noticed the IC is nearly the opposite, and if you start talking about God’s love, you will see a lot of hate thrown at you, or you get verbally assaulted, or people tell you God’s love is balanced out by His justice (so God is made to look like a tyrant). This type of “God” is basically running a forced labor camp where people are treated visciously harsh if they don’t behave good enough or don’t do enough work.
In its earliest days, the church forgot that Isaiah prophesied that the government would rest on his shoulders (Isaiah 9:6), not ours.
…the Gospel was to “Come, follow me,” not to follow the book or religious leaders.
This is a big problem in today’s IC where people demand that we follow every whim of the leadership, especially when Jesus taught that his followers should not act as lords over others.
Our security is found not in any particular expression of church, but by our relationship with him.
This is what it’s all about… not a famous big name preacher, the denomination we belong to, or what kind of big famous church group we attend… it’s all about following Jesus, his love, and living by faith in him instead of self-effort.
The reason we don’t see one flock today is because we have hundreds of thousands of would-be shepherds leading people to follow their mission, vision, or program. Jesus said we’d be one flock when we have one shepherd. (John 10:16) As long as we have thousands of men and women claiming to lead on his behalf and ensuring loyalty to themselves and their program we will find ourselves in conflict with God’s goal to bring all things together in him.
This saddens me. I know there are a handful of people in this world that have chosen to seek after the one flock led by Jesus… but compare that to the millions that still need human shepherds… it is very discouraging. I feel like I am living underground… in hiding… with secrets that dare not be shared. It’s the most beautiful thing… but it still remains a secret for the most part.
Ruby from the snow covered small town of Calmar… (Alberta, Canada, North of 60)
Yes, it is incredibly sad. But Jesus has taught me over the years to set my eyes on him and what he is doing, rather than be discouraged by what humanity has done to his kingdom. In spite of all our flaws, his kingdom grows in the world. You don’t have to hide any more. Be a light in the darkness. The religionists may trash you, but others will find your journey a beacon to gravitate toward because they carry the same hunger in your heart as you do! That’s what’s fun!
This after mentioning Ephesians 1:9-10 “His plan to bring everything together under Jesus himself.”
Where does that begin? Inside each and every human heart that allows him to begin to untwist the powers of self and shame so that we no longer fall victim to our insecurities. Where we trust his unfolding purpose we will no longer fight for our own, and when his desires become ours we’ll find a growing unity with others who also living in the new creation.
That is where I now see God working, inside my heart. It’s as if “The Kingdom of God” is coming in my heart. The realm of Fathers effective will is starting to rule my heart. He is untwisting the me me me and replacing it with Him. Now that’s what I call filling me up. It’s the untwisting of the past ideas that I thought worked and a replacing them with gentler more caring ideas that help others.
Haha I say “it’s as if…” it is!! The Kingdom of God is coming in my heart and I want more please. No it’s not “rainbows and puppy dogs” as Brad says but " Please Sir can I have some more!!"
Ian near Heathrow UK
Jesus himself is the overwhelming focus.
At that rate, the overwhelming number of churches aren’t really churches at all. And it’s the people who are messing things up. Self-deception is epidemic. They get what they want till they realize they don’t have it. Then they blame anyone but themselves and lust after the next illusion.
The second paragraph of this chapter is particularly resonating, as I am currently watching the Presidential Inauguration.
To be continued…
I loved the paragraph on p. 108 about our well-intentioned efforts. It focuses on home groups. “The ones that worked well did so in spite of our structure. Friendships between people flourished not because of the program, but because people in them had a passion for Jesus that extended into their relationships.” This shared passion builds the church as we walk with each other. God uses relationships to cause us to ponder His love and mercy and to extend that to each other. This is, of course, the ideal. When we experience it, we know how real this love is…and we want to walk inside of it. “While they are still involved in this age–family, work, weather, politics, sports, and recreation-- people engaged with Jesus always find the conversation turning back toward Him and what he’s doing in them. Each person has a growing life in Jesus and that naturally comes out when they’re together, the things they are seeing that have touched them as well as the questions and struggles they’re still sorting through.”