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What Agendas Do I Need to Abandon?


#1

Perhaps the greatest barrier in our own relationship with Jesus as well as connecting to his church in the world is to lay down our own agendas and expectations to let him truly be in control of the process. That’s the most difficult obstacle for us humans to face. We’re afraid if we let go, we won’t get what we want. And that may be true, but the hope of the Gospel is, when we give up we’ll get something better than we were trying to hold on to because he does know best about everything.

In your spiritual journey, what agenda in your heart has been (or still is) the most difficult to recognize and lay down?

For me, it was wanting to follow Jesus AND get the overwhelming approval of other Christians around me. For nearly forty years I never saw the inherent conflict between those two things, but my need for significance nonetheless made me double-minded in a way that caused me to miss countless times the life Jesus was nudging me into.


#2

Hi, Wayne! Been a while. We moved and started over. Kinda’ hit the wall. It was hard to even think about “church” in any form or fashion for several months. Had to put everything on auto-pilot. Starting to feel human now. We aren’t pastoring, but my husband wanted to stay in an IC for the present. Found a real sweet bunch who is convinced we belong with them, so there we are. They are cheerful and love their pastor and each other. Lots of laughter.

Guess you’d say I’m doing a mental detox right now. It’s the “church” *agenda that I need to abandon, but I’m discovering that being IN it is actually helping me see it better now. I’m discovering things as a member that I couldn’t see in the pastorate. Church is lonely if you want more than participation in the calendar. I know better than to ask too many Why?s, but I’m thinking them. And I’m watching out for people who are looking for more. May just have to run along a parallel track for a while. Trying to read Scripture outside the old box. I’ve switched from nations in Matthew 28 to every person in Mark 16. I’m not pushing myself to have everything figured out for all time and eternity. Just looking for the next step to take and trying to relax!!

Wishing you and yours a Happy New Year! ~Beth

*Just rethought that – I meant the calendar-driven, programmed, inflexible IC agenda, ya’ know!


#3

Hi Beth. Glad you’ve found a spot. You’ll participate differently now as you can see. Always, eat the chicken toss the bones, and don’t let anyone rope you into something that isn’t in your heart. I pray God will give you next steps too, when the time is his…


#4

HI Beth… You are right… It’s been a while. I have saved our letters so I won’t forget you. This is a journey and we go where the journey takes us. Sometimes we travel on the highways and sometimes it is the muddy dirt roads… but we can find joy on the highways and on the dirt roads. I hope you continue to find joy on this journey. It was joyful for me to have you walk along beside me for a while. Thank you for that. Like I said… I won’t forget you.

Ruby from Alberta Canada


#5

I guess my goal on this journey is to continue to ditch the need for everyone to agree with me. I can find peace on this journey even with people who will never agree with me. It is the hardest thing to let go of the need to change everyone’s theology to match my own… but I am experiencing peace when I can connect with people on a deep spiritual level… even though we graze in different pastures. (sheep metaphor from a former sheep farm dweller)

Thank you Wayne for putting this forum together. I know it was helpful to chat with others on this journey. Maybe we can do this again with your new book!

Ruby from Alberta Canada


#6

These days I’m trying to lay down my knee-jerk reaction of “I don’t have to be in church” – many days I just really don’t want to go … okay, pretty much every single week.

I have really wanted my path to be one away from the IC but God keeps gently nudging me, telling me He wants to pour out His love on people in our IC, and He reminds me that I told Him that I would be the channel for His love however He wants to use me.

Also my husband keeps hinting that I’m setting a bad example for the children not to go … blah, blah, blah. And I’ll admit I’m a little rebel. Tell me I have to do something and you can bet I won’t do it, even if I was going to already, just to show you that I won’t cow-tow to you. I have been heavily under someone’s thumb my whole life, and the independence I’ve fought for in the last ten years is precious to me. So I bristle when the husband tries to coerce me into going. I’m sure the Lord is working on helping me develop meekness…

This is a real struggle for me, can you tell?

I really don’t want to go. There is no “rule” that says I have to go. And yet, He is asking me to, in order that I may complete his tasks and be His hands and feet for Him. I suspect He’ll keep me there until I soften and am content to go sit in that inane service every week. I probably ought to thank Him for asking me to be there, and thank Him for doing His work in Me and in others, ain’t so?

<> Definitely a struggle…


#7

Ruby, blessings! I’m finding there are others who do agree. They aren’t saying it quite the same way, but they are asking the questions that point in the same direction. I think we’re all in the midst of a big turn in the history of the church, and it’s hard to see it clearly on the ground. My husband keeps saying that it’s not the change that’s hard – just MAKING the change that kills you. Hey, maybe we can think of ourselves as the front-runners!


#8

Erin, So many Sundays I walk out wondering, What was that all about? But what keeps me going are the small interactions with persons who surprise me from week to week. Like last Sunday, I was mildly disruptive in Sunday School; just so tired of the cliches – so I tried to give input that actually dealt with the biblical text (the literature is the pits!). Are they going to kick me out??? But afterward, a lady who has barely spoken to me before came up to ask about a couple she was concerned about. I have been concerned for them, too. Slowly getting to know another lady who is homeschooling her kids, so we share a common interest. Sitting through services is the price to pay right now. Hoping to get beyond that down the road, but people around here aren’t good to get together outside of the walls. And we are new in town. I guess it’s just going to take some patience. . . . . . . The pastor is very frustrated (“We’re just not cuttin’ it!”), but he is so busy trying to keep things going that there is no time to STOP and THINK through what we are doing and why. I would like to talk to him about the whole deal, but he is already so weighed down with “distractions,” there is no time. . . . . . . As for being a good example for your kids, I think they see through it all – or will later if they are younger now. I have spent hours and hours over the years with my younger son talking about church. Being a preacher’s kid, he’s seen the worst. Have never tried to kid him about any of it or hide things from him. He doesn’t want to have anything to do with “church” now, but he has not turned his back on the Lord. I’m thankful for that. I had him read The Jake Book, and he liked it. . . . . . . . . It is so hard to get away from the idea of “church” as a place and an organization, isn’t it? I think I’m going to be an infiltrator! LOL?


#9

This is difficult for some of us, because we all have blind spots, which makes it difficult for us to see the exact things that we are holding on to that hinder us.

I learned a lot from a couple of Waynes articles where he showed that we often fall prey to the tyranny of self and the tyranny of our own agenda’s. This was a major eye opening experience for me, and I had never heard of some of the things listed in those articles. I also liked the way that he mentioned the acronym NATO, which stood for - not attached to outcome… This showed that we can talk to people without trying to force them to our side of the issue, but instead we can just have casual conversations, and don’t worry about the outcome of the conversation. I’m still working on some of these. I’m noticing a more loving attitude within me, and I’m more at ease since learning these things.

Maybe my agenda that’s difficult to let go of, is trying to get other people (and family members) to stop badgering me, simply because I believe in a loving God, and that I believe a person doesn’t need to attend an IC in order to love God or have faith in God.

Lenny
Bailey, NC


#10

P.S. - I asked Papa several times what I was holding onto that might be hindering me, and I think I finally found it (or should I say He showed me). It’s a little embarrassing and humbling, but I think I need to be honest and open about it. I want to keep things real, and hope that others can learn from my mistakes. So here is my explanation…

I have a hard time understanding why God loves people that reject His love (even when His love is clearly presented as delightfully kindhearted), and why does God love people that reject other believers that present a loving God… So sometimes I get a bit of a bad attitude and feel like we should just give up on all of those people who reject God’s love, and I begin to hope that God will push those people aside or maybe even wipe them out, so folks like us can do things in this world to promote love. I then think again and remember that God is love, and remember that we are to love others also… I then remember how I used to be the legalistic guy that didn’t really believe in the ideology of a loving God… yet Papa worked to bring me around to believe in His love, and He can still do that for others also. I have slowly been growing to be more of a loving person over the last few years, but this subject of people with harsh attitudes has kept coming into my mind and hindering me.

I recently began to feel dry and lifeless in my journey through life, and I asked God several times about what is hindering me. I kept asking several times over the last week or 2. I almost got a little frustrated that I didn’t get an answer within 1 day… However, I have been watching Waynes “Engage” video series where he says to keep asking God to show you things, because sometimes we don’t get answers quickly. So, I tried to be patient and keep asking Papa for help.

I finally realized some things when I went through an article I recently saw, which showed that we show love to God through loving other people. Also, if we hate people in this world, then maybe we don’t really love God as much as we think we do. Wow!!! That brought me up short, considering my bad attitude. However, I finally got an answer from Papa, and was really glad that I got an answer, but at the same time I was a little embarrassed at how unloving I had been. Here I was, the guy who was trying to promote God’s love, and yet at the same time I was the guy fighting against love by wishing God would wipe people out. I then asked God to give me some kind of supernatural power to love other people, and for Him to use that power to wipe out my bad attitude. I can now feel His love once again working in me, and I feel the old harsh attitudes melting away.

Thanks Papa. :slight_smile:

Lenny
Bailey, NC


#11

Love that, Lenny, and so appreciate your honesty. I know I was used to seeing love as a chosen way to act, rather than as a place we hold in someone’s heart. God can’t stop loving us because we do hurtful and hateful things, because love isn’t how chooses to respond. It’s the way he is. I don’t love my kids less when they make poor choices, or even take out on me, because I’m not pretending to love them. I just do. And that love is bigger than anything they can do to me. Learning that with others, is a journey, that’s for sure. And, hey, I’m going to be in Raleigh next month if that is near you… And Charlotte too, actually.


#12

Thanks Wayne… You’re right on the mark…

I hope to see you when you come to the Raleigh area. :slight_smile: