What in this chapter really resonated with your journey?
I really liked the 2nd to the last paragraph in the chapter:
They are gracious in conflict, quick to seek forgiveness, and quick to offer it. They don’t carry agendas to push on others, and they look out for the interests of others as well as their own. They see themselves as part of a larger kingdom that is not in their control and they freely embrace what Jesus asks of them. They are a joy to be with and people come away from them encouraged and stimulated in their own journey. This is a different kind of person who gives expression to the church, and that’s why the passion they have for those still trapped in the old creation is not to control them, but to love them into a different reality that will free them from their self-preferring coping mechanisms that destroy their relationships with others.
This is where I am in my journey, and I’m seeing this in my life… I have also seen the typical problems with cash, credit, control and obligation…
The more I concentrate on Gods love, the more I try to show it in my actions toward those that will accept it. I do this by helping poor people and those on the rough side of town, and I try to encourage those that are discouraged.
“What if the church of Jesus Christ isn’t built on human systems at all, but with “living stones” (I Peter 2:15)—those people who are learning to live by the breath of the Spirit instead of human ingenuity?”
"So we search the Scriptures to craft a set of principles we think will make us good Christians and then try to live up to them"
“No one told us about the new creation already inside us, or how to embrace it. We were simply told to pray, read their Bibles, live by God’s rules, and love others as best we could. And above all, attend “church” and submit to the traditions and doctrines that have stood for centuries.”
This is what I highlighted on my first read. I guess it is what stands out for me, because it is so real still in a lot of people I hang with. Their faith was handed down to them by generations of doctrine. I guess in a way, mine was too for a long while. Faith is something we pass along like a baton in a relay race. Only problem with that is we find ourselves in the middle of a race not knowing what the beginning looked like and no sight of the end.
What if it wasn’t a faith that was handed down, but just a family member we were introduced to. A real person instead of a book of doctrine and generations. Even when we are introduced to the real person, he always seemed to come with a lot of baggage. Knowing him wasn’t good enough.
Thankfully, I am getting beyond the “What if’s” and really embracing the reality of Jesus walking though the door… no baggage, just him.
“Participating in the new creation is an invitation to all, but never a demand. You can live in the old way if you want. God will still love you and make Himself known to you, but His desire will be to win you into His love so that you can enter the more spacious place your heart desires.”
"No one told us about the new creation already inside us, or how to embrace it."
I am seeing that this is God’s desire. For us to believe in the new creation, and trust Him to not only teach us about it by His Spirit but teach us how to embrace it too. It took my wife and I a long time to decide to step out of the Organized Church boat and we just recently took that step. Now we need to keep our eyes on Jesus and not on other’s approval or what others think and really embrace this new direction and new life. We are excited and yet feel guilty at times thinking we should be going to church instead of finding the new creation that is inside of us and embracing that.
“The hope of the Church is not in some as of yet undiscovered system, but in a different kind of person who lives at the pleasure of Jesus instead of seeking his own.” A new way of thinking. Transformation and Transfiguration where we are filled with LIGHT (THE NEW CREATION) and learn to LISTEN to JESUS which is what God told the disciples to do in the transfiguration story up on the mountain. Listen to my SON and do what HE says. Paul also says in 1Corinthians 13 that three things remain: Faith, Hope, and LOVE and the greatest is LOVE. If we can learn to Love Jesus and desire what pleases HIM and not ourselves, then LOVE will begin to direct us and guide us in all relationships.
I would love to get to the place in my journey where I “freely embrace what Jesus asks” of me. I am realizing that He is love and that I don’t need to be scared of what He might ask. All my life, I have felt that “the harder, the better.” So, of course, I am really uncertain that joyful living/serving is of God. I used to focus on all of the “hard” scriptures—“I never knew you,” “you are lukewarm,” “deny yourself,” and I would feel so inadequate–and frightened. I have been focusing on the gospels over the past year or so, reading through them to know Jesus better, and I see a bigger, broader picture. Wayne had a recent blog—God delights in me more than I delight in my grandchildren. WOW. That is mind boggling to me. Gently, God has recently asked me to lay something down that has the potential to hurt me and others. It has so clearly been a loving, clear revelation to me. Love, instead of fear. That’s what I am learning and what I want to freely embrace.
“As much as we love the book we know that you have not yet realised that Jesus did not leave us with a system to manage but his Spirit to follow.”
That’s it for me right there …
If anyone has listen to Wayne you will probably be familiar with this saying, “if you knew how much God loves we would treat each other differently.”
I think if folks in Christendom could grasp being lead by his Spirit our lives would be different.
If we concentrated on being led by the Spirit instead of feeling the need to build something we feel might help and left the drive to the Spirit our churches would look different today.
Probably easier said than done which is a definitely in my case. God is not in any hurry and if I am I will go steaming ahead and when I look around I discover I’m on my own and as I look back along the path just trodden there is Jesus waiting by a branch in the road that I didn’t see in my hurry. ( He is normally tapping His foot with a look of, there you go again… ha-ha.)
I look back at my Christian life and see there are two hands involved, the hand of man and that is where I find the most destruction of life and all the pains. Then there is the hand of God which has brought healing and gentle building.
I was always told in the past life, never look back. However it is in the looking back and even remembering past happenings and events that Father has brought me much healing if not all of it. There is still much to go but I am so grateful to have been able to find His loving hand to hold and be lead forward in this journey. It doesn’t always ring with pleasure bells and sparklers in fact very seldom does, but it is one far more exciting and wonderful road to be on.
One of my wonders is how much is this the same for others that God does take us back before he takes us forward? Having spent nearly 8 years so far and finding there is so little I know and see and Father is still dealing with me, sort of like cleaning the house after bad tenants have been trashing the place…
Still I’m loving it and hoping he soon brings someone across my path that I can grow close to in this lifetime.
Same quote for me. Trying to keep a church out of trouble is like trying to child-proof your home from an active three-year old. Can’t be done. Just rules and policies on top of more rules and policies trying to protect yourself and the church from trouble and prevent unfairness and misunderstandings and dumb stuff, etc. It’s as bad as working for a state agency. There is no room for love.
For years I was content just to “do the work” with no expectation of being loved. I was like a program running in the background. I thought that was just part of serving the church. But it finally dawned on me that if they didn’t love the pastor and his family, they probably don’t really love each other much, either. Well, when it came down to it, that’s just about the way it turned out. I’m not looking for the perfect church, heaven help me! I just want to be with some folks who love the Lord and have time to listen and talk and share the life together for the sake of others. I’m not the enemy.
I am listening to the audio version of the book as we journey through it together. I listened again to Chapter 7 yesterday and this line stuck out in my head.
“The book we wrote remains a great story. It has touched lives the world over and continues to do so, but the story behind it is now less a reflection of the way God works.”
Being honest… my heart was broken too.
Our lives are filled with great stories, and behind those great stories are greater stories. It is those greater stories that are the reflection of God in our lives. When we are in the moment of those greater stories… Can we look at that reflection and see ourself in the best story ever… Jesus and his bride! Everything else is… just a great story.