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Chapter 8: Favorite Quotes


#1

What in this chapter really resonated with your journey?


#2

"What’s more, Jesus made a way for us to know that love tangibly. You don’t have to take someone’s word for it and try to convince yourself to believe it. It’s a revelation in the heart that comes from knowing him and seeing how he responds to us.

This is his to win, not ours to find."

I get this… I so get this… I have experienced Love and I continue to taste the fruit in my life. It is amazing to experience the all fruit… Love, Peace, Patience, Joy… It is real fruit to be eaten, invested, digested, enjoyed, savoured.

It is difficult when I see others struggling to experience the Love. I need to remind myself

This is his to win, not ours to find.
This is his to win, not ours to find.
This is his to win, not ours to find.

I can’t give others a map or a to-do list. I can only introduce them to Jesus and let him win over their hearts. Easier said… harder to let go.

Ruby from Calmar, Alberta


#3

First of all, I have to say, “Amen” to this whole chapter. I loved it. Great job Wayne.

Here’s my favorites.

Until we discover how loved we are by him, we have no hope of loving others.

&

Knowing how loved you are by God invites you into a river of affection that draws you into him as an endearing presence in the universe and also flows from you toward others.

These 2 quotes from the middle of the chapter really resonate with what God has shown me about His love over the last few years.

In the summer of 2004 I had an experience similar to another quote a few pages over (in reference to people learning about Gods love):

For some people it is coming to the end of themselves in a cathartic moment of surrender.

This is basically what happened to me. Ever since that moment, it has been a thrilling ride at times, and at other times it’s sad and lonely. I wish I could push a button and have people instantly realize how much God loves them, but I realize it doesn’t happen that way.

God set me free from being an arrogant know-it-all who looked down my nose at others. I thought I was better than everyone else because I knew a lot of theology. It was a humbling experience, and a big eye opening experience to learn about God’s love.

I have been trying to help others get to know God’s love for a few years now, but I think that some of the in-depth material in this chapter opened my eyes even more to Gods love. Thank God for that. :slight_smile:

Lenny
Bailey, NC


#4

Sometimes (hey,more like OFTEN!) something can be right under your nose and you don’t even see it:
1 John 4:10 - This is love, not that we loved God, BUT THAT HE LOVED US . . . .

First love is not how much we love Him, but how deeply God loves you.

[We] came to see God’s love for us . . . . as a commitment rather than real affection - and our love for him as a command that required us to pretend we loved him even if he seemed detached and unconcerned.

Jesus made a way for us to know that love tangibly. . . . . It’s a REVELATION in the heart that comes from knowing him and seeing how HE responds to US.

Jesus’ purpose was not to make us worthy of God’s love, but to set us free to see that we ALREADY have it.

When Jesus told us to love our enemies, he was actually letting us know that HE has enough love to pour into our hearts that one day we will have affection even for those who have deeply wronged us.

It may take some time. He’s not withholding from you; he is untangling the thoughts you have that are unworthy of him and of yourself.

[Discipleship] precedes community. . . . . When people begin to discover how loved they are then they will live increasingly in his new creation and the community it spawns.


#5

This was mine as well. His to win. I think one of my fears is He won’t do this. I often feel forgotten or that He isn’t doing anything because of all the turmoil inside.


#6

[Discipleship] precedes community. . . . . When people begin to discover how loved they are then they will live increasingly in his new creation and the community it spawns.
BINGO! This line Really struck something in me. Could it Really be this simple? Answers a big “why?” in my life. If getting people to "accept Jesus as your Savior " is seen as the Goal, not the beginning of a journey, no wonder there is so little real Community in so many church buildings.

This is his to win, not ours to find."
Like Ruby, this is something I need to tell myself over and over and over. At times I work Really Hard to make myself believe things about God- certainly that He loves me is one of those things. It’s hard to accept the reality of Divine Love when you haven’t experienced much Human love, but I am learning.


#7

“Jesus’ purpose was not to make us worthy of God’s love, but to set us free to see that we already have it.”

I loved the section on Wayne’s conversation about the Great Command. I had never thought about Jesus’ new command in this way: ‘Love one another…as I have loved you…’ The focus is on God’s love for us FIRST. The Old Testament Great Command involved our striving…and I have done a great deal of that in my life. Problem is, striving begets more striving, and it never seemed to get me to that place of loving God with everything in me.

I have also felt confused and saddened about ‘losing my first love.’ Again, the focus was on MY love for God, not the way I experienced His love for me. He loved me FIRST.

And I absolutely love the realization that God just may hold more delight for me than I do for for my children or grandchildren. Just maybe…but that’s a good place for me to start. The delight I have for my grandchildren is so deep—and I love winning them into my love. It’s a lot more than words.

I love this chapter!


#8

I’ve been reading the conversations regarding this book for a few weeks now and decided to jump in.

I struggle with this chapter. And it bothers me that I’m struggling! I grew up in church and in a Christian home and I’m told I “accepted Christ” at the age of 4 years old. I don’t even remember doing that! But needless to say, while I “KNOW” God loves me, I often realize I don’t really “KNOW” what that means. How can I be loved by Someone I can’t see or touch? How can I love Someone in return that I can’t see or touch? Very difficult for me to wrap my brain around, much less fully experience. Have there been times in my life when I’ve felt loved by God? There certainly have. But do I have any concept of what it is like to walk in that love moment-by-moment? I don’t really think I do. But I want to.

I am a “newbie” in the no-longer-attend-institutional-church group. It’s only been a couple of months, although I emotionally stopped about a year and a half ago. I think I am still de-toxing. I am discovering that the longer I am away, the more my eyes are opened to how performance driven I’ve been. And how hard I worked to gain approval from others. I spent hours and hours on church work. Too many hours if I’m to be honest. I neglected other things I should have been doing instead. But I want to let go of my striving and busyness and all of those other things I have focused on and just rest in His love. And then let any “work” I do stem from that and that alone.

This is a chapter I will read, and re-read, and re-read again.

As for a favorite quote, I think it would have to be: Page 76 > “…there is a world of difference between assenting to the principle that God loves them and living every day as His beloved child.” And I also rest in the idea that, “This is His to win, not ours to find.” I don’t even have to strive to discover how deeply God loves me. I just have to wait on Him to show me. What a vast difference from how I’ve lived the last 50 years of my life!


#9

Wow!! pjb61, Firstly welcome to the group…
I really enjoyed reading your “jump in” it oozes with God and that He is at work in you.

I was in a similar place trying to wrap my brain around all this but I really feel you have the ticket out of that yourself as you say

I have heard it said so many times just rest in his love, take a year or two and do very little just rest in his love, Keep asking for Father to make himself real to you and see where you are a little ways down the path.
God loves to answer that prayer…


#10

If it wouldn’t stress you out, I would appreciate understanding a little more about your attitudes about church a little before you arrived at the point about a year and a half ago to emotionally disengage from churchianity. You mention overwork and the need for approval. What were your expectations that apparently were not met? I’m trying to understand better what drives the “members,” what’s really going on in their heads to do what they do and call it church. Some are so determined to fight to keep going what they think is church. I’m still in between a dying “church” and a group who is outside now but still wants to be a church. Trying to help those outside to get a vision of what could be - but they have to own it. Going real slow. A few have the Jake Story. It’s a one-day-at-a-time adventure. I’ve been coming at things from the viewpoint of the pastor, and that’s really different. Anything that comes to mind could be helpful – if you don’t mind. Thanks!


#11

Wow! That’s not a simple question for me! Don’t get me wrong…I don’t mind at all! In fact, I love to dig deep! But it may take me a while to process. So I will answer now but also reserve the right to add to or change this response as I think on it some more. :slight_smile:

It’s a little hard for me to talk about my attitudes about church without giving some background, because that history is what shaped where I am today. As I said before, I grew up in church and in a Christian home. My parents were always very involved in church as lay persons. Then when I was 11, my dad entered pastoral ministry at the age of 40. So for the last half of my “growing up years” I was also a “preacher’s kid”. When I got married and moved away from home, it took a couple of years of looking, but we finally settled on a church to attend. We were heavily involved in that church for 17 years but we left with a large group of people when the church split over a denominational stance that we strongly disagreed with. That was in 1999. About 40-50 people left and a large percentage of us began meeting together on Friday evenings in our basement to encourage and support each other. We were just all a little lost because literally all of us had been very active church members. To make a long story short, we eventually realized that we, together, were already a “church” and decided to start a new church in town that was non-denominational.

It’s interesting for me to look back on that time now. I remember having thoughts that we should be a different kind of church…not traditional. I didn’t exactly know what I even thought that would look like, although I did have a few vague ideas. But my efforts to discuss it were met with blank stares. Everyone just wanted to start a new church and have it look very much like the old church…or maybe a newer, updated model of a church. But still a very traditional church that met on Sunday mornings with a typical worship service (although we were the first church in town to ditch hymns and use praise music!), Sunday School, and ministry teams to oversee the various functions, etc. I just kinda went along with the crowd. I guess I was in a similar position to the one you are in now. Except I didn’t have any concrete ideas to offer. Just a gut feeling.

Because I was the only musician in the group (I play piano), I was put on the worship ministry team. I very quickly became the “go-to” person for all things worship related. I planned all the services and everything that was involved in doing that. I spent hours and hours on church work. It was my passion and my obsession. And I was good at it. I read countless books on the subject and spent untold hours on the internet learning more about how to do it better. I was a homeschooling mom of 5 at the time and I spent too much time on church work and not enough time on homeschooling. (As a side note…not to worry…my kids are all extremely bright and survived quite well. They are all functional adults. Thank you, God, for that.) I viewed our church as a child I had helped give birth to and then nurtured and helped to grow. And things were good. In the early days, we really were like one big, happy family. We loved on each other, we spent time together, we encouraged one another, we looked out for each other. And we grew. We were “successful” by all “church” standards.

There is much I will leave out to avoid writing a book, but in the spring of 2015, there were some things that took place that left me feeling very rejected and hurt. I honestly could not believe how awful I had been treated after all of the time and energy I had invested in the church. But at the same time, I judged myself for those feelings of hurt because, if I were really doing what I did for God, then I shouldn’t feel the church “owed” me anything. And I should try to see the best in people because they apparently didn’t realize how awful their actions were. Regardless of all of that, I made a decision to back away from the church and I systematically removed myself from all involvement in the church over a period of a few weeks.

There was a group of people in the church that I would have considered to be some of our closest friends. They invited me and my husband to a meeting in one of their homes to tell us that we just couldn’t leave the church. They said that we were too important to the church and that if we left, others would follow, and in a year or so, the church would have fallen apart. Because our pastor had been a large part of what happened to me, and because there had been increasingly ongoing issues with him, they wanted to conspire together for a way to get rid of him. The idea was to have a serious conversation with him to see if he would step down. In the midst of all of that, when our pastor got wind of my stepping away from involvement, he came to me and told me (confidentially) he would be leaving the church in the summer. He wanted me to know in case it made any difference in my decision.

At first it did make a difference. I decided to stay. I even ended up on the pastor search team to find a new pastor. I threw my heart and soul into it. However, our old pastor left and I am heavily involved in finding a new one, and yet I notice that I still have lots of nagging thoughts. I realized that our pastor did not act on his own. The elders all went along with what he did. And I noticed that the people who invited us to that meeting never asked me how I was doing or really seemed to care about ME. One couple even told me that they had been hurt by the pastor, too, but they just forgave and moved on. I felt judged. They were really just worried our leaving would hurt the church. I faced the fact that my relationships with these people had really dwindled over time. The only time I talked with any of them any more involved church work. They no longer met the definition of a friend. All of a sudden, I became aware of the fact that this church had taken on a life of its own and it was demanding a lot of time and energy and resources but it gave nothing back. It made me sick. It made me even more sick to realize that I’d been a part of that. I realized that I’d often had misgivings that I’d ignored. Little thoughts that crept in and I reasoned them away. I am usually the type of person to question things, but I didn’t let myself question. The consequences were too big. I was too entrenched. It was too easy to go with the flow. Change is hard work.

In spite of all of this awareness, I continued to go to church for about a year and a half because my husband did not want to leave. He is a good man, always sees the best in people, never sees the bad. He’s quiet and reserved. I love him and respect him. So I went for him. We even taught the high school Sunday School class together for a few months earlier this year. But every week I felt like a little part of me was dying inside. I reached a point where I really began to resent the fact that I was going for my husband. We had a talk. He told me he wouldn’t ask me to go any more. So I stopped. The last time I attended was the last Sunday in July. 2 months. So this is still very new. But I can tell you that I feel such freedom in being gone!

I don’t know that anything I’ve shared is helpful for you. I left because something woke me up and forced me to face some truths that I had avoided for a long time. Now I find that God is revealing things to me right and left. And so many of them are things I recognize as things He’d tried to show me before. I just wasn’t listening. I’m not sure there is anything you can do to help a person see the light. My husband is still in church and wants to be there. While he doesn’t judge me for leaving, he is concerned about it. He doesn’t question my faith, but I think he questions if this will have a negative impact on my faith long term. I think he feels somewhat dependent on the church to keep him spiritually alive. Plus he works out of our home and travels a lot with his job and doesn’t even really have any social contacts outside of church. I think he would feel very isolated if he left. I do have other friends and other connections. But they are all female. So I pray for Him. And I pray that God would show Him what is true. I have to let God speak to Him because my efforts have not been good.

I’m sorry this was so long. I do NOT have the gift of being concise. :confused:


#12

Thank you! I have little faith in my own ability but great faith in the ability of my Father. :slight_smile:


#13

Ha Ha! I don’t have that gift either! Maybe it’s a female thing; we want to be understood. And after years of teaching kids, we say things five different ways to make certain we are understood!!

I appreciate all you have written. I was the music minister many years, too, and I struggled with leading genuine worship rather than creating a program. Tried hard to involve others, but it was still basically an upfront show any way you went at it. . . . . . . My husband and I are not on the same page right now. We aren’t in our former tracks, either. Guess it’s got both of us off balance. If he does take another church (which at our age will be a miracle), I’ve got to figure out how to thrive. Being convincing when you have serious doubts about a thing is just not good. Sort of like the other discussion about being loving and acting loving, ya’ know?

I’ve seen many versions of the problem you pointed out. People will do virtually anything to keep a tradition or program going before they will look to see if it’s even worth continuing. It’s like they are horrified to fail - at least they seem to see stopping something as failure. They refuse to say, We don’t need to do this anymore. They are driven to keep going. I see our “former” church doing this right now. Maintain the programs and keep up the activities. The illusion of church. . . . . . .The people on the outside don’t have the illusions to maintain. They are getting restless. They really do want community, but they don’t want the shallow stuff (they see now that it was). So, I’m going to do what I can to start some conversations to examine what would be real and needed rather than recreating the old that wasn’t real at all. Obviously, the old church was not following the Spirit. What would it look like if “we” did? Couldn’t we just have supper together? Listen to His voice? Be sheep? I’m excited thinking about the possibilities. No name, though, and no steeple. We’ll see. . . . . . And thanks again for your story. I really appreciate you writing it out like that. Wow!


#14

Thanks for your stories, pjb61 and Beth. My heart always hurts when I read these things. As one person said, “It’s not that they are bad people, but the system creates an environment where they are forced to make bad choices.” That’s why I don’t see how we can systematize this great Gospel. The moment we do it becomes more about the survival of the “congregation” than it does the thriving of people in the life of the Father. You weren’t loved well, pjb61, that much is obvious in your story. People cared more about keeping the “thing” intact than they cared about you as a person. My wife was told something similar when we left, “If you don’t come back this will fall apart and it will be on your head.” Fortunately, my wife either didn’t believe it or didn’t care. The ‘it’ can fall apart. It’s people that need love.

Wayne in Thousand Oaks, CA


#15

Sounds like we have several things in common. I will keep you in my prayers. God will use you for His purposes, I’m sure.


#16

Thank you. Your words mean more than you would know.


#17

P. 77, Third Paragraph…

It is His to win, not ours to find.

That statement puts the burden on God to win us to His love, not the burden on us to find His love so we can be won over.

I was given a Bible by a friend about 25 years ago, when I first became a Christian. In it, in the notes section, he wrote the heading for the ‘love’ chapter, First Corinthians 13. Looking at the chapter now, it doesn’t seem to tell the whole story. It tells us what love is, but not who love is. It was a well-meaning gesture, I appreciated it, it was effective for the time, but not all-time. I could be patient, kind, longsuffering, etc., and still not be loving. Had he wrote, ‘God is Love’, it would have been more effective than any verse he had chosen. Maybe except…God showed His love for us by sending His only Son (1 John 4:9)…again, a who, not a what. And that God took the first action. It wasn’t meant for us to take it.


#18

I’m grateful. Thank you!


#19

About the right under your nose and you don’t even see it…my post for example. Referencing both the Bible verse right after yours, and the quote from the chapter which two others have already referenced. I’m not really concerned, though, it tells me I am not alone.

P.S. Make that THREE people (lol)!!!


#20

Been there. Done all that. Amazing to me how many people like me there really are. For years, i thought I must be the only one. It gets easier, it really does. Give yourself whatever time you need to detox and get better acquainted with our God. Welcome to the group, BTW. My own opinion about the longwindedness of the female is that we work things through by discussing them. Once we have the understanding we need on the issue, we stop talking.