What quotes from this chapter especially touched you?
“All along he was inviting me to live beyond the elementary principles of this world - inside the new creation Jesus had inserted inside the old. Discovering his life meant I had to learn an entirely different way to live.”
“I found it disheartening that one could know so much about Jesus without being shaped by his life.”
“Most parishioners were too dependent on the program and the staff to explore their own spiritual journey.”
“By simply following what Jesus put on my heart and loving people around me, I found myself living squarely in the middle of the church life I had been hungering for all those years.” (This one is my favourite!)
I really loved the last 3 paragraphs in the chapter, but what really seemed to set the stage for those things was in the previous 1 & 2 pages (I think page 39 & 40).
We began to discover how deeply loved by God we were…
I ended up with vibrant connections to other people who were also learning to live the life of Jesus. We were having conversations that stimulated us to live more deeply and gatherings that were rich and encouraging…
These portions seemed to embody the love of God that I have seen over the last few years.
If you combine these quotes with the last 3 paragraphs in the chapter, it seems to blend together to form a beautiful picture. Those last 3 paragraphs seemed to show that when we try to control things, it gets goofed up, but when we let Jesus build the church like he said he would do, it blossoms in a beautiful way.
_They are warm, engaging, kind, generous, and passionate. They allow people to be honest even about their doubts, struggles, and failures. They free people from shame, not exploit it for their own ends, and they will encourage you away from the bondage of religious obligation that has little impact on how you live your life with Jesus.> _
Jacobsen, Wayne. Finding Church: What If There Really Is Something More (Kindle Locations 584-585). TrailView Media. Kindle Edition.
This couple of lines in the third chapter is what I long for. There were people along the way that were able to walk in varying measures of the attributes mentioned. For the most part, though, with the rise in the ‘do it yourself’ self-help, positive confessions only, fake it until you make it (if you ever do), etc., within the world, it seemed to be more isolating to have to wear the masks behind which I felt left to deal with doubts, struggles, failures, shame, and waining capacity
I grew up attending regular weekly services, singing in the choir for one service and working in the nursery for the second one. Aside from a few people along the way that, in retrospect, seemed to be a step beyond other congregants in some way, as was visible in their character, it just seemed like church was a perfunctory, routine ritual. Not doubting the existence of God, just not something extraordinary, and definitely short on the personal relationship plateau.
At home, the God is Omnipotent, Omniscient, and Omnipresent pretty much was used when being berated for perceived wrongs, and a lot of times for false accusations. Being angrily admonished to be thankful to God for having a roof over my head, food in my mouth and clothes on my back grew to be wearisome and embittering, especially when being charged with some evil I hadn’t committed.
When I was 12 yrs. old, one of my brothers died in an automobile accident. That situation saw our ‘family’ fall into even greater dysfunction and saw me slip into what I now realize was a long-term depression. About three years later,after babysitting till the wee hours of the morning, my response to my mother’s repeated attempts to get me up and about in order to get ready to go to church, I advised her that I would not be attending. Reminding her of the Omni attributes of God, I explained that if God was those things, he was there right then, he would also know that I was not sure about his reality or interest in me, and that in his power, he could certainly present his reality to me if it really mattered all that much to him because being all present, he’d know where to find me. I was being serious, and somewhat facetious at the time. I was also struggling with the psychological residue of my brother’s passing and the continued deterioration of what was loosely called our family.
I didn’t leave the congregation solely for the organizational aspects of it that first time near as much as I really wanted to know there was something more to life in and beyond congregational context. About three years later Father ‘ambushed’ me in a pretty clever sequence of events. The essence of his invitation held promise to be able to attain to the attributes in the paragraph quote from Chpt. 3, even though I may not have been able to identify them verbally, the draw was withing my heart.
The journey since that time has brought the hoop jumping within the confines of several denomination lines of thought and doctrines, until that time I left a service, yet again, and in silent desperation whispered to Father that I couldn’t go on… no disrespect intended, and not wanting to fall into interminable rage against him. After a few more years, he beckoned me to a new level of understanding, which sees me at this point still seeking sanctuary, with fewer distractions of externals that seek to dissuade.
Ha ha what favourite quotes especially touched me??
I read on a kindle and looked back at chapter 3, so much of that chapter is highlighted. I re-read the chapter this morning to try fasten it down to one and realised that something new was coming out. Don’t you just love it when that happens?
I realised that some of the happenings of past where taking on a new meaning and that despite all my trying and thinking I was headed in the right way, God was awakening me to the new creation all along. The first few lines of the chapter is what set that up,
It took me more than thirty years to wake up to the reality of the new creation that Jesus first planted in my heart aged nine.
So true for me and I have thought a couple of times that the time limit of 30 years, give or take, seems to come up often, not just with me but a couple of people I know. Maybe it should of been the biblical 40 years but Wayne saved me the 10 years or so… Ha ha… Thanks Wayne
I was saved, as I called it them days, in 1982 and it was around 2012 I read “He Loves Me” a book that changed the path of my life from religion to a path that has lead me into the “Heart of the Fathers affection.” and I’m still discovering what that means.
I was only a few weeks into walking with Jesus when I joined a youth group that had broken away from the Assemblies of God in Cape Town South Africa.
I wanted to please and found myself quickly engaged in leadership, which I was not even ready for, but kept striving at. To be very honest and looking back I feel the leader was onto something far more real and could of been a part of the real “Church” so much so that as I move down this current journey I am being reminded of how close and warm the people where that I met all those years ago. Sadly That leader decided he was “The Key” to the church of Jesus and out of our little group would arise the church of the new creation, a church in the world united and one with God and thus bring Jesus back. Oh how I was sucked into all that so fast. Then some of us started noticing things where not quiet what they should be. I will spare the details as they were far from fun but always shocking!!
A little over half way in the chapter really opened my eyes again to the fact that what God starts he never stops no matter how far off the path we venture he always brings us gently back to where we can enjoy life in his love and where we are being moved into His family.
By simply following what Jesus put on my heart and loving people around me, I found myself living squarely in the middle of the church life I had been hungering for all those years.
I haven’t moved fully into that place yet but feel comfortable and at peace that Father, Jesus and Holy Spirit are able to get me there in this lifetime. I have seen a few inklings of “The Awakening” in my own life that is encouraging and so very exciting. I am also learning patience as we go… oh help my Paps… ha ha I’m not good at waiting.
Ian in Colnbrook Berks UK
His church does not arise from the old creation and thus will defy all our attempts to contain it or manage it. His church is a reality we recognize as our relationship with him grows. Our task was never to build it, but only give ourselves to the new creation and watch as his church takes shape around us as he links our lives with others. We don’t have to name it or try to control it, but simple cooperate with her as long as she takes expression around us. When it has served its purpose we can let go of that expression to see what he will do next. The relationships endure, not necessarily the task or the program that gave it shape.
I don’t even know where to start with this. I may have shouted, “YES!” aloud when I read it and then sent it to a friend to read and got a similar response.
The biggest thing that stands out to me is the lack of control and the joy of taking our hands off and not wearing the wearying responsibility of “growing a church.” That was never the mandate and that’s what sucks the life out of so many vocational pastors.
The concept of not naming it (let alone not branding it like a marketing campaign) and just being it and then letting it go when it’s time is revolutionary. IC as a corporation cannot do this though because of the amount of work hours (paycheck) and effort that has gone into many of these programs makes it not cost-effective or feels like failure. And then that gets personal.
However, the flipside is that we often don’t even know how to handle that much freedom. So we try to do what we have seen modeled only to become frustrated once again as we copy that same model.
So much to unpack…
p. 41 'The church Jesus builds is a family living in the growing reality of his affection.
Two words in that quote especially touched me, that are true in Jesus’ church, but seemingly not in man’s church. The words are ‘family’ and ‘affection’. They indicate it is not important who you are and what you do, but you are simply a creation of God. My being is a result of God’s joy. I wasn’t an accident, although to my parents, I may have been. Ultimately my earthly parents will pass away, but my heavenly father is eternal, and to whom I belong.
pp. 35,36 "For those of us steeped in religious performance, the moments when we know it isn’t working can be incredibly confusing. Looking back now, I know it was the new creation awakening in me, pushing against the religious obligations I was trained to revere. Like a seedling pushing past the rocks and through the soil, his growing life was reaching for the surface. …
… Discovering his life meant I had to learm an entirely different way to live. …
… the system we had inherited… had its flaws… we had nothing else, or so I thought. …"
I well remember the times when some of us children and teens would gather at the “church” when no adults were present. We would sing. pray and the presence of God would visit us in such a real and wonderful way. I longed for that every time we went to “church,” but it seemed so elusive. As an adult, the times when I have experienced the presence and love of God most tangibly have not been in a “church” building, but in the privacy of my own home at times when I least expected it.
Not until I finally read “So you Don’t want to go to church anymore” and now “Finding Church” did I even consider that there might be another option!
Margaret Ward-Wilson, Long Beach, MS USA
“…caught between a growing desire to live freely in his affection, and the confusion of our human systems that do more to undermine that desire than fulfill it.”
That summed up the whole internal conflict I wrestled with for years. And still do I suppose. I see so many good people trying their best to follow Jesus. It inspired me. I feel guilty if I don’t do what good people say is what I should do. I wanted to be like them. And so I become like them and not like Jesus! And what makes me think I can hear Jesus well enough? (besides the fact that the bible says so countless times… ).
So yeah, the phrase “caught between” really grabbed me.
“I ended up with vibrant connections to other people who were also learning to live the life of Jesus. We were having conversations that stimulated us to live more deeply and gatherings that were rich and encouraging. We even collaborated on tasks Jesus seemed to nudge us toward with great joy and fruitfulness. We didn’t feel the need to create formal attachments or press into weekly meetings.”
"They are warm, engaging, kind, generous and passionate. They allow people to be honest even about their doubts, struggles, and failures. They free people from shame, not exploit it for their own ends, and they will encourage you away from bondage of religious obligation that has little impact on how you live your life with Jesus."
This has not been my church experience. I long for these types of relationships and people. I felt this just summarized what the body of Christ should be.
As I was looking at your post, I was just wondering if you have ever read Wayne Jacobsen’s book “He loves me”? It might be helpful, if you haven’t read it yet. You can buy a printed copy, or you can get the free e-book on Wayne’s Life-stream website - https://www.lifestream.org/free-books/
- Lenny from NC
I read it a couple years ago when so much of my math felt shattered after we left our church. I am now rereading it slowly because at the time my mind was in such distress and the things Wayne writes about are not what you hear in church. I really have a huge struggle on my hands. I hear how Wayne talks about God and how God loves us and I so want that to be true. When I read the Bible I don’t see this Abba father. I am coming from a very Calvinist background. The crazy thing is that when I fully grasped what Calvinism was saying my soul rejected it on one level but there was this overriding emotion that I had to inevitably accept it because this is who God is. I was always presented with the Calvinist view of God. To not accept it was to reject God and who He really is. I hear Wayne talk about God and I so want God to be that God. My fear is that God is the Calvinist one, and THAT God is a monster to me. I want the truth. God loves those who want the truth. I have never wanted to make God into what I want Him to be. Fundamentally I don’t know how to see a loving God in Scripture.
By the way, I am not suggesting that Wayne is wrong. I’m saying that I really want this loving God but am still trapped in the doctrine I have been fed for 20 years. I was never a marginal church attender. I have read all the books, Piper, Sproul (he makes me crazy) Pink and Packer and many other approved Calvinists. I DO NOT read them anymore but the after mess of all they have said is deeply rooted in me. I long for a day when I can read the Bible and it doesn’t get all twisted up.
“The fact that we have hundreds of thousands of such groups all claiming to be the church and that they have so little in common renders the term meaningless.”
“If we just had an organization that represented the one true church led by the right people then we would know who is in and who is out, except that every group who has ever tried it has ended up arrogant and abusive in trying to keep it pure.”
“The church that humanity has attempted to build”… and"the community of the new creation that Jesus is building" are “not the same, though they can gloriously overlap on occasion.”
I am thankful for the overlap that has provided me with relationships that have brought me closer to people and into a more transparent relationship with Jesus. My husband is a scientist, and his growing understanding of Jesus has also illuminated my own. At one point in time, I condemned his understanding and worried about his walk with God. I can now thankfully embrace what God is doing in his life and in mine. I no longer judge him, but entrust us both to the great love of our Father. The Holy Spirit is our teacher.
Very perceptive for being so young. Love it!
Federal Way Washington
It has been almost 4 years out of the IC for me and I’m just now reading the scriptures, but not a lot. Also I have been reading them in the message translation, which in the past would have been totally taboo. For so long I have had the voices of men attached to the scriptures but I’m so thankful that now their voices are growing dimmer and dimmer.
Federal Way Washington
I think I understand. I heard this first on the Jesus Lens, I believe… about reading scripture like a love story instead of an owner’s manual.
We have been taught to read the bible like it was a requirement for existence. Daily Food for my spirit, I was taught. I would read and then be disappointed because at times it felt more like ingesting cheese doodles than a full course meal.
I understand love stories. I was a big fan of love stories when I was a teenager. I soaked them up. So even back then I was hungry for a good love story. My Mom bought me a picture bible… and I ate that up too. It was about stories, not doctrine. I immersed myself in the stories.
After high school, I went to bible school and that is when it all changed. My hunger for love stories changed. I was not presented with doctrine and theology. It was no longer a love story. In the last years, my bible reading has been more sporadic, but I have found that when I pick up a portion of scripture… I am drawn back to the love story. I am not reading it anymore because I have to… to survive… I am reading it to enjoy the love story that God has given me. What isn’t attractive about that? God’s love story… main character… Jesus.
If we can let go of the obligation of reading every day as method of survival… maybe we can be drawn back into the love story. Maybe then will we want to pick the book up with a hungry heart instead of a guilty conscience.