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Chapter 11: Questions


#1

If you have question for Wayne, or would like to suggest a topic for the group in discussing this chapter, please post it here.


#2

Thanks for getting the discussion group going again… :slight_smile:

I’m glad your health is improving.


#3

So good to see you back and seemingly doing well. Many prayers and much love from Dubai.

Have a great year ahead Wayne.

Harshika


#4

Thank you, Harshika. I’m feeling so much better and back to about 90% of my capacity. So that’s awesome, being on nine weeks from open-heart surgery. I leave a week from Sunday to head to your neck of the woods—Jordan and Israel.


#5

Major trip so soon! Fantastic! Glad for you and your family. ~Beth


#6

Yes it is great to watch your recovery and hey Mr Schwarzenegger… good for you. :laughing:
We all love you and thanks for taking the time to keep helping us.

I have a question that has been on my mind.
I think it was whilst listening to the Jesus Lens somewhere that I heard it mentioned. “Discipleship precedes community.” two fold question really, is that true and how can that best be explained? I suppose in amongst that is how do you define Discipleship? and I suppose, could it be that the Spirit keeps us from crossing paths with others until we are ready. In that in being ready I mean more in tune with Jesus than yourselves rather than bowling in an causing pain to his bride.
I suppose to be honest, I do wonder sometimes what it is or why it is that I have not found or come across anyone who is happy to talk about Jesus and what he is doing in them. With no strings attached like joining their group or gathering on a Sunday. Just simply to talk as in good old fellowship. I know it exists His Church or I would of cut and run long ago but do feel God is working in me to change and there is something I’m not seeing possibly… ?

Ian near Heathrow UK


#7

Hi Ian. What I mean by that is that potential of community (in a Scriptural sense) is the synergy of people who are loving and following Jesus finding their way into connection and fellowship. People who are alive in Christ have no problems finding their way into heartfelt fellowship, discovery, and caring for each other. But try to do those three things without people coming alive in Christ and it’s a lot of work for extremely futile results.

I know many people try to start fellowship “groups” with people who don’t even know who Jesus is or how to walk with him. Oh, they think themselves Christians, but that’s largely because they subscribe to Christian beliefs or attend services somewhere. They have never learned to engage Jesus as a real presence in their lives. When I meet people like that I first want to help them learn to walk with him before I try to fashion some kind of community with them.

I might share some things I’m experiencing and if they’re hungry and want to find their way into that kind of fellowship with God then I’ll spend some time helping them do that. As they grow to know him our fellowship and connection will deepen and often we end up connecting with others. None of what I’m saying here is formal. I don’t make someone go to a “discipleship class” before sharing community with them. All this happens inside growing friendships and connections and looking to sense what is going on in the and where their hungers are.

As to why you are having trouble finding such people, I have no idea. The reasons could be many. Ask God about it. It takes being around people and being open to their journey without forcing anything. I’d ask God if there’s anything I’m doing (like pushing too hard) that provides a disconnect. I’d ask if there are places he wants me to be to meet those people, (yes, even a “church” service, outreach, or volunteer in the community), but I think the best way to discover people is to simply love the people that cross my path each day, without any expectation of return or any consideration of their beliefs. Just care about them and care for them. I think that’s the soil in which community is planted. Most of those relationships may go nowhere, but the ones that do end up being a treasure.


#8

Wayne I love that answer… I think it’s very helpful to a lot of us folks… especially that last paragraph.

I think I’m going to need to ask God about those things too.

Thanks…

And thanks for the great question Ian.

  • Lenny
    Bailey, NC

#9

Maybe part of the frustration finding genuine relationships is that we are still hung over with the notion of what used to be church, and we subconsciously are looking for something real that has a similar form and regularity. In fact, we know a very delightful couple who left the church when we resigned. We can spend hours in their living room enjoying their friendship and leave feeling refreshed and somehow richer and closer to the Lord for the time spent together. We can pray together without sounding like a prayer meeting. We can call one another any time and never feel like we have to protect ourselves from what the others might think. I know we’d all help anyone beyond ourselves whom the Lord gave us to help. Really don’t care to hang a “name” on our relationship and call “it” “our church,” but knowing them is far better than anything we’ve experienced in IC. [It has been ten years since we’ve had other friends like these. We had coffee every Thursday night and treasured one another’s friendship in the Lord, but when it was over, we all had to move on to other situations in life.] . . . . . . We ran into the most cheerful lady at the grocery store this afternoon. She belongs to another church in town. The last time we saw her was before the blowup at “our church.” Treasured the minutes together. Had no idea she had been praying for us. Everyone knows the ghost of everything in these small towns. But she shared that she too had been the target of gossip at a sad time in her life. Yesterday morning I thought I was going to lose my mind, but I came home walking straight up after a chat with a sister who had a few minutes to visit and hug. There is such balm in hugs! . . . . . . Maybe we all need to make like Boy Scouts and look for opportunities to do three good deeds a day!! LOL . . . . . . . . But the people who don’t get it just schedule their fun – my son’s take on the former arrangement. The “relationship” in IC might be steadier, but it can wind up sucking the life out of you. I used to come home needing to massage the smile off my face and wondering, “I do love them, but why do I feel like such a phony after I’ve spent the morning with them?”. . . . . . Grocery store encounters might be brief, but they are more lively and genuine. Hungering for more is better than wondering why bother.


#10

Yes I totally agree with Lenny… I love that answer, it’s very helpful. Looking at the broader picture of the last few months and what you said,

the best way to discover people is to simply love the people that cross my path each day, without any expectation of return or any consideration of their beliefs. Just care about them and care for them.

I meet people all the time albeit mainly at Gym which is in a hotel very local to me here. I have only been attending there for a few months following my knee surgery. When I go out I never try to make disciples of all I meet but simple I am friendly and being a very shy sort i have noticed that I naturally am able to start a conversation.
I liked this,

I might share some things I’m experiencing and if they’re hungry and want to find their way into that kind of fellowship with God then I’ll spend some time helping them do that. As they grow to know him our fellowship and connection will deepen and often we end up connecting with others.

This is probably not necessary to say but I know some from my past that if they read those words they would make a teaching out of it and say this is the only way this can happen and thus where does that end up…in the rule book on how to build community… gosh I hate rules and anything formal when it comes to having some fellowship of some kind and or just simply chatting.
I am going to ask God about it and more over that to show me how to. I make tons of mistakes and thankfully I’m not bothered with that just so long as I can hang on to the Holy Spirit and follow His leading a little better tomorrow.

Ian near Heathrow UK


#11

I completely relate. I would come home from church feeling like all I did was checkmark a box. I wanted more but the people really can’t give more. They can’t have unscheduled and unmanufactured relationships. Letting things flow and really knowing one another is not something people do where I live.


#12

Struggling with finding relationships here is well. I’m in a town that is Calvinistic, saturated with pastor worship and people are seriously unable to think outside any box. To be fair the churches have built boxes for people and people don’t know that they can exit. I have no idea if I will ever find relationships. It does scare me sometimes but then I just try to look back to God and trust He hasn’t forgotten me. I have so much religious gunk and junk still swirling in my brain.
Gadiela


#13

That describes it precisely. Same thing where I live. And it makes it real easy to let people go [kick them out] because they never really let them in to begin with.


#14

That’s precisely why I have better relationships with people outside the religious culture, and they are there. Only 17% of your communities go to Sunday services with any regularity. I find it easier even to meet people in the world and befriend them. I love just being their friend and sharing life stuff. Some day the Jesus thing will come up quite naturally and you can share your heart without any need to convince them to do what you do. Often they are interested in more when he isn’t being pushed down your thought, then you end up with real community with someone who wants to have a journey.

But convincing religious folks to have a relationship when they are already so programmed, is usually fruitless…


#15

Mmm, I think I’m “getting it,” much like finding out Father loves me as in “Getting It” is an inner awakening so too is this an inner awakening into Finding His Church. It’s so natural it’s staring at me, from my religious thinking, which happily is being rewired I felt for ages you need to bring up Jesus in the first few lines of talking to anyone. I haven’t done that for ages and regards people at work, which is mostly people from other religions l talk to them as a normal friend and so often Jesus and my experiences do come up.
Ha ha, I can almost hear a popular saying my dear Mum used to say to me, “Ian you wouldn’t see it even if it hit you over the head with a hammer.” :laughing:

I love just being their friend and sharing life stuff. Some day the Jesus thing will come up quite naturally and you can share your heart without any need to convince them to do what you do.

Your last sentence is what has been my experience,

But convincing religious folks to have a relationship when they are already so programmed, is usually fruitless…

At work I have buddhists, muslims and hindu and have spoken to lots of them at length regards their ways. I have to say I find it all runs so close to how things are in the IC or as people call it christianity. Their relationship is with a system, is is fruitless to try tell them there is another way.


#16

Gadiela your sentence,

I’m in a town that is Calvinistic, saturated with pastor worship and people are seriously unable to think outside any box. To be fair the churches have built boxes for people and people don’t know that they can exit

Sounds similar, mostly here I have people from eastern regions and very few english people. Of the local town and one that I visit most it has been said that the english language is rarely heard. People around me either come from Eastern Europe where I find folks have had a good helping of orthodox catholicism or are from further afield still heading east to India and beyond into the Far East. Religion of any sort seems to lock up a person and they are too scared to venture outside their traditions or what they have been brought up with. Like Wayne says in his reply,

But convincing religious folks to have a relationship when they are already so programmed, is usually fruitless…

So true.


#17

[quote=“waynejacobsen, post:14, topic:265”]
But convincing religious folks to have a relationship when they are already so programmed, is usually fruitless…
[/quote] I agree and have decided it makes more sense to have shallow conversations with my neighbors as I walk my dog than to drive 5 miles to some religious institution to have shallow conversations with people. And who knows, as I get to know my neighbors through those shallow conversations what opportunities might develop to be a channel of the love of God.