This chapter asserts that Jesus can lead us into a spiritual life unmediated by another human, growing community unmanaged by a system, and network of growing friendships that don’t need to be maintained by organizing a new entity. All of this involves trusting Jesus to provide these things for us. It is his to do, but if we just sit on our couch hoping any of this will show up at our front door, will lead to frustration and disappointment. What ways have you found to cooperate with his work, without taking over the need to “start something” to find the connections your heart longs for?
I’m learning to just listen during the day for when someone comes to mind, ask God if there may be a certain reason for this or if he wants me to just give them a call or drop them a message and then see what comes from that. Sometimes we might get together and other times just catch up with one another. Sometimes it doesn’t go anywhere and then on other occasions someone will call me and ask if we can go get a coffee and then I do my best to make space for that. Now that I’ve begun the transition out of the IC model that
I’ve lived in for 40 years and which had my nights and weekends full with “commitments” I now seem to have a little more space to respond. Still new for me at this juncture but I’m learning as I’ve been traveling on this fresh path. Since the Lord has began this process of disconnecting my identity and significance from “ministry” and so this seems to be a whole lot easier. I’m really looking forward to how this evolves.
Hi Jay, wowzers, you’re on THE journey for sure. Can you believe this, I ditched the IC in 1991 (kicked out of a board meeting for asking too many questions). Took me 8 years to detox, and then we eased into home fellowships. Quite a journey in the wilderness, but I got to know my Savior and my Lord in that time. Now we have a small home fellowship
meeting in three houses, As leader, I find it’s all about becoming less of me and more of Him.
I had to laugh, Amistigoso, because unlike you who were kicked out for asking too many questions, I was disfellowshipped (as an apostate) for giving too many answers!
I was sharing with others in the congregation what I saw in the scriptures, that were not company line. When the elders called me in for an examination, I provided the scriptural basis for all that I was sharing. After two hours one finally asked me whether or not I believed in one of their high-priority dogmas. When I said that I couldn’t see any Biblical basis for their definition, it only took five minutes to decide I was an apostate.
For most, being disfellowshipped is a traumatic experience, but for me it was my day of liberation, and as an added bonus, they happened to announce it to the congregation on the 4th of July!
Since then I have come to know Jesus much better, and in fact have been given my life’s mission - teach others to know God and Jesus.
Now, church is wherever my students and I get together to discuss spiritual matters. Much better.
Actually, I met Jesus experientially and revelationally within a week of ditching the IC. I had been saved by “gunpoint” at 6 yrs by a zealous mother and similarily baptized at age 10. Depressed at age 12 living in “holiness” (God’s always angry?) environment and continued slip/slide from there. I planned on running away starting at 12 yrs but got out at 15 yrs along with my Irish twin sister of 16 yrs. Much anger, confusion, and frustration deepened me in the depression until I knew I was at a place from whence people seldon return. By now I was 30 yrs, married w/2 children and my wife the fairest of 1000’s (still is after 47 yrs married). Back to the now. I had a praying mother by whom God was watching, loving, caring, guiding me. Have had heart surgery and 2 rounds of cancer, but am as well as any 65 yr old can be. A bit disjointed all the preceding, but enough to say this, there’s a tragic number of people out there that call themselves Cristians and have never met the Lord and been experientially, revelationally, and permanently transformed, wholistically and in every other way (how’s that for an oxymoron?) lol. God help us to be the transmitters of Life Eternal to the lost and dying in the IC and in the community around us.
I have done a few things recently:
1 - I saw that there was a guy in my home town, that kept clicking “like” on Wayne’s Facebook page, and so I got up the courage to contact that person and have met with them a couple of times and had very good conversations.
2 - I also recently had a good conversation with a friend where he started the conversation by asking me why churches are so messed up these days. I explained a few things (like things discussed on this forum and in the book FC), and he said he has seen some of those things also, and was glad that he was not the only one with these views. I don’t think he understands God’s love and how to step away from self-effort and religious obligation, so I’m asking God to help him see those things. I will need to let God do those things in His time, since my friend typically will not read books nor will he listen to audio books.
3 - I’m also seeing that I need to get out more often and talk to people. Although I don’t feel any nudge from the Holy Spirit to go in any specific direction with that other than to be nice to people I meet in the local stores and businesses I go to.
This chapter asserts that Jesus can lead us into a spiritual life unmediated by another human, growing community unmanaged by a system, and network of growing friendships that don’t need to be maintained by organizing a new entity.
Whilst I totally agree not just in my head with this, but also in my heart, it’s this part I need to look at and whilst I see how it can work it’s the training side that I feel I need to “get it.”
All of this involves trusting Jesus to provide these things for us. It is his to do,…
Please correct this what I am about to say if it’s off the wall or incorrect…
Could this be part of what it could mean to be discipled by none other than the Holy Spirit with no mediator other than Jesus and Father, walking and talking as I simply going about my daily life?
Looking and Listening to those “nudges,” which most times I get wrong but it’s that one leads into a great conversation.
They happens but not often …
…> but if we just sit on our couch hoping any of this will show up at our front door, will lead to frustration and disappointment.
Now I read this and thought… Oops!! me indeed, guilty as charged, and looking back at my actions and how many times have a sat on my couch and felt the disappointment that I am not worthy of His church and found myself inside all the frustration etc…
Gosh… all true, sorry for the moment of "Oh ye of little Faith, as it appears… in beat up mode… driving myself to nowhere…
But thanks to God who never leaves us, I get to the moment where reality arrives again and I remember it is His to do but it needs me to co-operate as and when He drops that still small nudge into my heart, “I want you to talk to that person over.”
I jokingly do feel I must add, I do still use my cough for my vegetation moments, reading fictional novels, general relaxation. But be assured there was a time when if I read the line above regarding sitting on my couch I would move chairs…
from Colnbrook near Heathrow UK.
Wayne, You kept saying this journey is about finding some one to walk along side. After my nephew’s funeral in January, I received a letter from the mother of his former girlfriend. She had gotten close to my nephew during the time the kids were dating. Ben’s death hit her and her daughter hard. That letter I got started a friendship I could never have anticipated for a lot of reasons. I have been able to share my journey with her and she has been reading some of the things I have written since I left the IC. It is encouraging to, as you say, “walk along side” her in her journey.
I never knew that such a treasure could come out of such a tragedy. I am thankful I can continue the legacy of love that Ben left. I was looking for a friend and I found one that can help me heal and someone I can help in her healing process. I didn’t need to join anything or start anything… but I definitely found a connection my heart was longing for.
Ruby from Calmar, Alberta, Canada!!!
Wow Ian!.. It sounds like the Holy Spirit has been teaching you a lot and guiding your life a lot lately. I think The Holy Spirit has been showing me a lot of similar things also. God bless you… Your open and honest comments are inspiring to me.
Bailey, NC (USA)
Wow Ruby!.. I’m sorry to hear about the family tragedy… but I hope God takes this tragedy and turns it around to bring some good fellowship, some good sharing your heart moments, and some great encouragement with others like these folks you mentioned in your comment.
What a great story, Ruby! I’m glad you’re there for her and in the space to help her see the Father in the midst of her pain and grief. That is what it means to live alongside and I’m so glad God has you there for such a time as this…
Thank Lenny for the encouraging words and glad i can say encouraging words. A few years ago I might of huffed at that possibly?
None of this seems easy and it is through much hardship that I am learning to be lead by Holy Spirit. However it is still adventure and I am enjoying the way God does teach us.
When I was back in the IC isn’t it funny we all seemed to hope things would go our own way. That little article you posted a while back is never far from me. Waynes article on “The Deepest Freedom.” https://www.lifestream.org/the-deepest-freedom/
Wow that is so true and it’s good to read the scriptures in line with it as I am starting to notice a shift in me towards welcoming the hard times just to see how God changes me and my heading. (Now how crazy is that ?? )
Would you be “starting something” if by obeying Jesus instruction to “love one another”, you intentionally open your life and home to provide a safe, nurturing environment for brethren (babes and mature) to facilitate mutual growth in trusting, loving and befriending Jesus and each other?
E.g. open your home for a family meal, inviting Gods kids to come along for the purpose of expressing their thankfulness towards Jesus for dealing with the ‘law sin death’ issue through his sinless substitutionary sacrifice (broken body and spilt blood) and celebrate our being made safe by him through our adoption into the one family of God through our trust of him personally (Christ in us) as his sons and daughters living in and under his ‘gifted favour’ (grace)?
And if this did not qualify as “starting something”, what do you think would be needed for God’s kids to have a continuing confidence that such a gathering could/would be managed by Jesus in such a way as you suggest e.g. “that Jesus [alone] can lead us into a spiritual life unmediated by another human, growing community unmanaged by a system, and network of growing friendships that don’t need to be maintained by organizing a new entity”?
Also, would you agree that the primary evidence that any gathering of Gods kids is being ‘managed by Jesus’ would be their experiencing a spirit of ‘oneness and unity, freedom and love’ in such gatherings achieve through them being protected from the sort of ‘dividedness and competing, conformity and relationship manipulation’ that such gatherings of Gods kids appear to always eventually degenerate into?
Hi Ken. By “starting something” I meant an institution, program, or ministry that is set to exist in perpetuity. Opening your heart and home to others and intentionally connecting with them in growing friendship is one key way his church takes shape in the world. I hope I didn’t say anything to indicate otherwise. We seem to always fall victim to trusting a program to accomplish our better ambitions when they need to be heavily managed to survive and in the end still grow stale.
Growing friendships, however, especially with Jesus as the focal point can lead people into life and freedom. It takes courageous and discerning people to learn to facilitate such gatherings and connections without trying to manage them with normal human conventions. It is being done all over the world, however, where we trust Jesus to make the connections he wants and grow he friendships he desires. But it doesn’t happen without our responsiveness to him.
G’day mate. I didn’t doubt for a second what you meant by “starting something”, only felt others might find re-assurance by clarifying should they be doing something intentional like I mentioned or thinking about it.
I agree completely that “it takes courageous and discerning people to learn to facilitate such gatherings and connections without trying to manage them with normal human conventions” and look forward to fleshing out ways we can better recognise those folk in coming chapters……
Ha ha ha! Great question! I love it! TBH, I have honestly just followed the nudging of the Lord. I ask Him to fill me up to overflowing with whatever the people I’m around/talking to/interacting with need from Him and spilling it over onto them through me. He seems to do that pretty well, and I’ve seen God make himself known at family parties where God has never been important before. He gives me nudges about places to go sometimes, people to talk to sometimes. I just try to be sensitive to those nudges and I figure that, if I’m wrong, at least I’ll have been obeying what I thought He said instead of ignoring it because He hadn’t hit me with a bolt of lightning. It usually proves to be His prodding after-all. I walk away just shaking my head and grinning at His goodness!
Some of the more astounding (to me, really, maybe not to anyone else) things he’s nudged me to do were to throw a coffee-party for all the neighbor ladies in our HOA where we own our vacation cottage. He connected me with another searching child of His that way. Also having me invite my entire church (IC) over to our house for coffee one Sunday - goodness He showed up in spades that day! And now he’s nudging me to invite a whole bunch of families to come camp out at our lake house and barbecue and swim and boat and have bonfires, etc. Labor Day weekend. No biggie, right? Yeah, boy! Ha ha! I’m an introvert! These things are huge for me! On those “Spiritual Gifts” inventories — “Hospitality” always shows up DEAD LAST. Not kidding. In my weakness He sure does show His strength. He knows well enough my inclination to pride. He picks the hard ones for me and says, “Go to it!” Ha ha ha ha! So I listen to His nudges and figure that the ones that seem so uncomfortable are probably good for those involved as well as training me to just trust Him.