If you have a favorite or provocative quote from Chapter One you can post it here. If you want to make a comment or two about what it means to you, all the better.
I am reading on my Kindle. I am not sure of the page number.
“What would the church look like if it were made of people who were learning to live the same reality Jesus did?”
"Learning to live in the reality of the risen Savior evokes a much different respose to being a Christian than when asking, “What church should I attend?”
I think this is a powerful question because like so much of what Wayne writes (and talks about) it totally reframes what task we should be about and concerned with.
Dawna in Sacranento Ca
Page 23: ‘Just maybe your growing discouragement is not the proof of his failing, but the evidence of his working.’
After spending all my life in the institutional church, my growing disenchantment with playing ‘church’ worried and frightened me. After reading, ‘So You Don’t Want to Go to Church Anymore’, I researched around the internet for CHRIST followers who wanted something more, and I was so excited to find there were many, many more just like me, who wanted CHRIST but knew, as Wayne put it, ‘There must be something more.’ So I began to wonder if maybe Father was bringing His church out of what we call church. Or at least He is allowing the disenchantment to grow until we seek out a deeper walk with Him and those He places in our paths.
“The pathway to make my mark on the world and to succeed on my own achievements was too compelling and the road less traveled so uninviting by comparison.” I have retired recently from a much beloved teaching career. My identity is no longer found in my career. I am excited to rest in Christ and learn what it means to truly follow Him.
“She’s filled with love and tenderness, resilient in the face of trouble, putting God’s kingdom ahead of self-interest, relationship above conformity, compassion above agreement, and freedom above obligation. She expresses a depth of community, joy, and sharing that humans are incapable of producing on their own.” Small groups that I am privileged to be part of have given me glimpses into this kind of community. I look forward to growing into Father’s love and the love of others.
Picking out just one favorite quote from Chapter 1 has been a challenge. The one I have chosen to share is on page 26. “They are not looking for an unrealistic ideal full of perfect people, but a real community of flawed people who are being shaped by the love of God, and who can share that love together even beyond their imperfections.”
The closest thing that I have experienced to what this describes was in Al-Anon. It occurred to me that what I experienced in those rooms felt much more like what I had read in the
Bible about New Testament Christianity than anything I had experienced in a “church” over the years. I have been looking for that kind of connection and community since then, but with little to no success.
Margaret Ward-Wilson, Long Beach, MS
Oh Lord, transform us until we resemble this picture
Just maybe your growing discouragement is not the proof of his failing, but the evidence of his working.
I like the quote from page 14 in the Forward. "The good news is, when we finally learn that our place in the family of God is simply “in Christ,” we begin a new journey–one that makes the Lord Jesus central so we can look to him for leadership, guidance, comfort, and love."
And also, page 23 chapter 1: “What would the church of Jesus Christ look like if it were made up of people who were learning to live in the same reality Jesus did, with an eye on his Father and a compassionate heart for people around him? How well would we love one another and how much would we reflect his glory if we weren’t spending so much time and energy attending to our institutions?”
Page 23: Unless we’re willing to say Jesus has done a poor job building his church, the question begs us to consider that his church is something different than our human attempts can consistently reflect.
In my opinion. the biggest obstacle in this is somehow getting away from the definition of church as a building with four walls. You ask nine out of ten people on the street and I’m sure they will give you that definition. You define the church as people, and your sanity is questioned. I used to get that particular question all the time, ‘Are you going to church?’, never having the courage to respond, ‘I am the church!’ But I do believe it is true.
I can relate Margaret. The 12-step groups do a great job of fostering fellowship, as long as you continue to struggle with the problem that got you there in the first place. But much like the church building, once you leave for good, no one comes after you. You have to take care of yourself. Centering our fellowship around the eternal God guarantees it will go on forever.
My favorite quote would be very similar to yours, @Margaret. I’d just include the sentence right before it: “That’s what many people are wandering away from established congregations to find--a city whose builder is God.” (my italics added to emphasize my favorite part). What I’ve found is that my own efforts are fruitless, but when God does it: wow. Hang in there, Margaret, May God lead you into that sweet connection and community soon!
----- Pg.23 - “What if he [God] is actually behind this move away from institutionalized Christianity?”
I could see where this quote could be considered very provocative from some peoples perspective. I could see a lot of arguments arising from this one statement alone. Some of the people I used to know might reply by saying something like, “Isn’t that just double talk for saying something like, you think God told you to turn your back on God.”
It seems to me that once I tasted the greater fulfillment of discovering Gods love and walking by faith, that I also began to see that these things didn’t fit in with most IC’s that I had ever been in (whether contemporary or traditional). Eventually I sensed God leading me out of the IC to have more of Him in my life, and to discover even more things that he wanted to show me.
I use the analogy that it seemed like my life went from driving the boring Grizwald station wagon, and then moved on to the exciting adventure of flying off in the Millennium Falcon, and going faster than the speed of light. Sorry if that sci-fi analogy sounds goofy. Perhaps it was also similar to Cinderella living under an oppressive stepmother, and then suddenly something happens that dramatically changes your life for the better (and you never look back).
Just maybe your growing discouragement is not the proof of His failing, but the evidence of his working…which could be what I am actually currently experiencing.
But more on an ebb and flow basis. It’s like trying to resolve the intellectual/hypothetical with the reality of what is really happening in the Spirit realm which is so much more real that all I’ve studied and longed for over the last 25 years. An epiphany? My guess is TIME is the key element necessary to process the transition from universe A to universe B. And trying to hurry things along can bring with it a flood of conflicting and confusing emotional reactions as the transformed heart now takes it’s proper role of informing the mind/intellect rather that vice versa.
“How well would we love one another and how much would we reflect his glory if we weren’t spending so much time and energy attending to our institutions?”
"Hereby will all men know that you are my disciples, by the love that you have for one another"John 13:35 as well as “Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends.” John 15:13
Either of those would be a shocker to those still in the establishment but especially to those having exited, due to the magnitude of the paradigm shift in belief/perspective. Thankfully God is patient, sees our hearts, and is in no panic to transform us into the kingdom people He has always meant us to be.
“once you leave for good, no one comes after you”.
And you can pretty much guarantee the echo of 1 John2:19 will follow, “Therefore they went out from us, because they did not belong to us. For if they had belonged to us, they would have remained with us. But their departure made it clear that none of them belonged to us.”
Page 23: To embrace that reality, however, we’re going to have to see the church as he does, not how we’ve been taught to define her. The longing to find a church that fulfills the promise of Scripture is God’s gift, drawing you toward a greater reality than you’ve yet seen. I know how frustrating it can feel when your tastes of it seem to fade like a mirage in the distance, but his church is alive and well.
Slowly but surely I’m seeing differently. There is still so much that needs to be worked out in me. When we first left I thought I knew so much but as time goes on I realize there is so much I don’t know and that’s totally okay. There’s this quietness in my soul but it’s a quietness that has an anticipation attached to it. But on the other hand Father is still working out a lot of things in me that are still attached to severe trauma from the past which can be difficult. Growing pains, exciting and painful all at once!
Funny I was taken aback by your response…how the enemy works tirelessly to shake our faith…then I read a commentary based on the verse you quoted about the difference between the visible church, where there is a profession of faith, versus the invisible church, where there is a possession of faith, which has nothing to do with our location.
Don’t know the page number as I read on a Kindle but it goes like this
"What would the church of Jesus Christ look like if it were made up of people who were learning to live the same reality Jesus did, with one eye on the Father and a compassionate heart for the people around him?
When I read that I was lying on my couch, (practising to become a potato… ha ha,) and it was from that position to sitting and then jumping up wash of tingles everywhere inside of me. I said out loud to no one in the room. "That’s it in a nutshell that has to be the church you are building, that’s the framework right there and now Jesus all we need is the stones to go into the walls and bingo your church??
Ian in Colnbrook. Berkshire. Uk
jolemon, I love the way you phrase it…"…quietness in my soul but it’s a quietness that has an anticipation attached to it." I can totally empathize with that feeling… --joan
How funny. Yep, that verse is quoted. We were a 'dead branch being shaken out of the tree." --joan