What in this chapter really resonated with your journey and why?
“For the first three hundred years of the church’s existence, no one thought of the church as a building and no one thought to build one. His temple is alive, beginning in an individual’s heart and then knit into a worldwide network of interconnected lives whose very relationships put on display the glory of the Lord. There’s no way human effort can build that, and all our attempts have fallen woefully short.” This is what I am looking for. I’ve experienced too many church’s only goal is to bring more people in for the good of their institution, Developing a true relationship with the Father does not seem to be the most important issue of sometimes not an issue. Comes down to tithes and not breaking rules.
When the focus is on the relationships he’s inviting us into, rather than the group we want to form, we’ll be focused on the more important part—how do we live in and share his love? It’s about relationships, not structures; friendships, not meetings. If you haven’t tasted that yet, a most amazing adventure awaits.
This right here seems to say it all for me…
I think I’m actually beginning to see a few things that I have missed through the years… This makes me smile because I feel like I’m moving forward in life again.
Let the adventure begin…
p. 111: The Incarnation demonstrated that our fear of God was a perception on our part, rather than what God wanted or deserved.
To me, the song ‘O Come O Come Emmanuel’ best describes the longing for the true God without fear, the word Emmanuel meaning 'God with us".
Wayne, I loved the analogy you gave of our warped impression of God and Jesus, as Jesus tied to the railroad tracks, and God driving the train that would kill Him. First off, Jesus is God incarnate, they are not two separate beings. Of course that requires a belief in a Triune God, which for me requires a supernatural happening, generated by God. Being raised Catholic, that was part of my catechism, but belief on a first-hand level did not come for me until years later.
To an unbeliever, this may be as absurd as for some who saw God as an African-American woman in ‘The Shack’. My answer to them would be, Jesus is enough. And once you have Jesus in you, it falls into place. I have to believe as a Christian I have Christ in me, and that Christ is visible to others in my interactions. How they respond or react is up to them.
As God is with me, I cannot control the outcome. Often it is a longsuffering process with much uncertainty. Realizing many will come, but few will enter, all I can do is welcome with open arms without judgment, leaving the results to God.
The church, to me, is nothing more than a corporation with God as its product. I’m sure it grieves God that he is perceived that way. But you see heads of churches as strong-willed and charismatic as you do CEO’s in the business world. The only difference is fragmentation among the congregations. For example, people with alternative lifestyles are not welcome across the board, as they are in companies. Of course, people are not being paid to attend church, they can simply go elsewhere, or not at all. But the church is definitely set up with the temporal world in mind.
This chapter really moved up the chapter ranks as I read and re-read it. I believe to date it’s top of my charts and is so encouraging as I contemplate my journey.
The new creation thrives where we simply respond to what he is doing in us each day, as the great tapestry of his purpose unfolds. The failure of humanity through the ages is to live as if God is not with us and as if he does not love us.
How true! What this encouraged me with this …
What I find, that is possibly the biggest change, and one I can only marvel at, is that since reading “He Loves Me” I can see a change that is so different in me and I can only put in in these words. “What I understood as a principle I now understand as alive”. Yes I knew Jesus loved me, I’d heard enough sermons, read enough of the scripture but it was merely in principle. When something went wrong I’d wonder “where is the love”, much like the Black Eyed Peas song, I questioned? Today when I wake up, most times I know I’m not alone. When things go haywire I am more a more turning into Him and away from panic, I find a calm rising up within. When someone treats me unfairly I am more and more finding myself not responding with hate. These are just a snippet of what he is doing within me and within all of us. It’s the daily moulding of the new me. The re-wired me. More reflecting Jesus me. The beauty i see arising is that I just know how long I tried, sweated and toiled to get this to work. I gave up!! Now Jesus has a hold, I believe it. Doesn’t mean that I never have those days where i suffer insecurity wondering what is happening. My thinking may have left the arena those days but Jesus and I are still very much together. I suppose this could be termed that his love has or is winning my trust as that is exactly where I feel I am at.
Ian_M, it’s encouraging to hear how much you were encouraged. It’s also encouraging when you explain how these things are coming alive in you.
Thanks so much for your encouragement Lenny.
I felt this posting reeked of me me me, I was knocking myself and laying the guilt trip. I think that comes from earlier battering to think of others and never yourself or your selfish. This discussion is wonderful, I am getting so much help with my own journey just reading other comments as they help steady the ship here, so many similars, better and worse things going on. All good folks leaning into Jesus, being guided by the Spirit and looking out for Fathers affection in their daily lives.
Wayne, I like it (pp.110) where you say that God “never asked for a temple to be built, seemingly content with the less permanent tabernacle.” I heard Francois du Toit describe it as a “skin covered mobile dwelling place.” And that is what we are! Ha ha!
I also like the line, “It just doesn’t have the fragrance of Father about it, does it?” I love how that contrasts to “the odor of human sweat.” How wonderful! When I hear (smell) something that doesn’t have the fragrance of Father it is usually when I feel someone putting guilt, shame, burden or expectation on me. That is when red flags go off for me. It has been so freeing for me to shed that stuff! And in doing “less for God” I feel/see Him doing more in and thru me.
These: “…determine whether an opportunity before me exudes the sweet scent of Father’s nature or the telltale odor of human sweat.” “The new creation thrives where we simply respond to what he is doing in us each day.” “Following him is less like following a four-point plan as it is catching a ride on the wind.” "When the focus in on the relationships he’s inviting us into…"
Over the past many months, in the course of relationships, God made it clear that marriages were struggling. He gently, quietly led 5 couples to meet and share their struggles and challenges and to support and strengthen each other. Yes, we are using a workbook to open up private, at home conversations, but our meetings together are the most amazingly vulnerable and open that I have experienced in a long, long time. And what our Father is doing in growing friendships is something that only His Spirit could have orchestrated. I am in awe of what Jesus has done. All I have done is leaned into Him…and tried to trust. This is WAY out of my comfort zone, but it is emphatically within His.