What in this chapter really resonated with your journey and why?
I found a few good quotes that I can really identify with:
Institutions need that kind of conformity for an aggressive program, but any unity it produces is artificial, contrived, and short-lived.
The multifaceted wisdom of God is spread through the entire body, and only as we learn to live in love with one another will we be able to see the fruits of it.
People are so busy conforming to doctrine or rituals that they never find the freedom to ask the difficult questions, find their own journey inside of the new creation, and get to know God in a way that transforms them.
Since truth sets us free we’ll want to embrace it even if it challenges some of our pet theologies.
Bailey, NC (USA)
I forgot to give an explanation for these quotes…
I have been in traditional and contemporary churches and a few different kinds of house churches and organic churches… I can honestly say that many of them fail in these areas… Most have had contrived means of creating unity and all those techniques failed… Many have had pet theologies that they were not willing to let go of and thus many problems arose from that issue also.
I have even seen some church groups that had their own church literature that taught about God’s love and about turning away from self-effort, yet the leadership didn’t follow that ideology and blatantly spoke against that ideology right to my face, and even denounced that same church literature. Go figure… It was all hypocrisy… Those same leaders also acted as lords over others (contrary to Jesus teachings about not acting as lording over others).
As for me I will continue to stick with my relationship with God that is based on His love, and turning away from self-effort. I will also share His love with others if they are willing to listen.
I hope God gives me a better ability to see those people that need His love and are willing to accept it and listen to encouraging words about His love. And I hope I will pay closer attention to the nudges of the Holy Spirit to share with people that are willing to listen.
"When people out of diverse backgrounds come to complete unity of heart, purpose, and focus, God is unveiled in a way nothing else can accomplish. Of course this is the Father's to do. It would be impossible for humanity to produce anything close to it, which is why Jesus asks his Father to give it, not his disciples to work on it."
My current journey — just listening, following, trusting — no longer “doing,” except in response to his nudges. I’ve dropped the list of “things a good Christian does.” I’ve quit looking for … I don’t know … whatever it was that I used to “expect to find” in a Christian community. He’s been able to work in that freedom and reveal Himself in ways that I can recognize Him in community that I never could while I still held expectations.
I’ve seen glimpses here and there of that unity of heart, and it often seems to flow out of those that are whole-heartedly in love with the Father, and who love Him more than they love themselves or their pre-conceived ideas of who He is or what He expects. Or maybe in those who are genuinely seeking Him. It’s beautiful. He’s so present in those moments.
I can remember having had thoughts like "Ugh … I sure don’t want to be “one” in Him with these people! I don’t like talking with them for three minutes put together, let alone having to spend eternity with them! (Just being real, folks!) But in those “unity” moments, with people who love Him and know, or are coming to know Him, I can totally see it. I “get” glimpses of that Bride of Christ and it’s not repulsive. I don’t dread it. I look forward to it. And it’s been so rare here, this side of eternity so far. No wonder people often leave “church” (IC) and other manufactured religious experiences empty and frustrated. We’re trying to orchestrate the Spirit -
or a spiritual experience, or … something… There’s nothing like that unity and we just can’t manufacture it ourselves no matter what we try.
Hi Erin. Welcome to the discussion. Sorry I haven’t been here much since I’m on vacation. I do love what you wrote here. Thinking of being one with those given to religious obligations and manipulating others to do what they think best would be horrible. Unfortunately that’s all most people know from religious setting–the fear, guilt, and anguish. But as you said, people who are really on a journey of learning to live in Father’s love are so amazing to be around. I’ve been with them all over the world and I find them absolutely engaging, fun to be around, and insightful about the ways in which God works…
In my re-reading of this chapter, it’s one I have read a good few times and it’s little wonder Wayne says that we have been leading up to this chapter since the book began. It is an amazing chapter, and for me shows what real church is like with the diverse peoples living in a community that is becoming unified under God and why we need each other.
The power of the church lives in the unity they find together - men and women loving and working together wholeheartedly because they found their life and joy in him instead of their own preferences and ideas.
A little later…
It’s not because we’ve read the same books or memorised the same catechism, but because we have coming to know the same father and learning to trust him enough to lose our own agenda and embrace his.
As I think on this chapter and just allow the beauty of it just to soak in, I can’t help but notice that there is a learning to trust him enough to lose my own agenda and embrace his. The other one I highlighted in bold instead of their own preferences and ideas.
So important and it’s something that for me God has been really showing me personally how important it is for me to lose my own agenda and embrace his.
Excuse me if I somewhat slow on this reality, only 35 years too slow really…
Interestingly this very subject came up in one of Wayne’s teachings recently released on Lifestream, 3rd one in on Living in the Father’s Delight, The Father’s Life… Wayne talks about “Repent and Believe,” being an abandoning of our agendas and a taking on of God’s… the explanation there of the understanding of Repent and Believe was a wonderful eye opener…
Interestingly and something I marvel at how God works, all this follows a prayer I prayer I prayed asking Father to show me where I am thinking of myself and being selfish in my ways… I think this journey just got a whole heap more interesting, I feel my eyes have been opened to a whole new dimension and I must say I am looking forward to learning how God changes that in this stubborn old coot.
here’s a link to it if you wanna listen…
Thanks for posting that Ian,
I recently listened to those recordings that were recently released as free downloads… I listened to some at home and others on a long trip I recently took… Wow! I learned so much from those recordings that it felt like my life went from driving a old run down automobile to trading up for a space ship that goes faster than the speed of light (like in the science fiction movies), because my life is becoming a thrilling adventure.
Thanks for those recordings Wayne.
Bailey, NC (USA)
I’ll have to check those out! Thanks for the resource!
Hi Erin, if you not done this already go to Waynes websites and register your email for updates, I have on Lifestream, The God Journey and Finding church. That way I receive:relieved: emails when anything happens, I don’t use Facebook much and when I do I was finding Ooo I missed stuff…
Brilliant Lenny, I have thought a few times if you and I lived closer I sure think we’d have shared a few meals and been banging on each others doors in the middle of the night… You think??
Thank you, Ian_M! I went ahead and registered. Much appreciated!
Ian, I sure wish that we did live close and could often visit each other… I would love that… In my opinion, the fellowship we have here in this discussion group is great too. I sincerely thank God for the friendship of you folks here in this discussion group.
I feel like I could have written your post, especially the ‘being real’ part. But I have had such wonderful experiences with those who, too, are tired of conformity and are seeking the Truth; those willing to give up on their notions of the truth and be honest about their questions and feelings. God has brought us together when I needed it most. It isn’t a dread…it is energizing. I had gotten so sick of 'trying to orchestrate a spiritual experience in church. It all seemed so fake. But the Truth…Jesus…satisfies.
Thanks for sharing,
I really appreciated the starfish and the spider leadership models. The idea of there not being “one brain” in charge (Remember the book A Wrinkle in Time: IT?), but multiple arms that can regenerate and spawn new life. Centralized vs. decentralized leadership. I have been pondering this concept and see the dangers in placing so much confidence in one single strong leader, no matter how godly. This isn’t good for the body OR the person who is leading. Too much authority, too much control.