This would be a great place to share from your own experience. If you have been out of traditional services for awhile, how have you seen God build community around your life? This can be frustrating for people who feel isolated and haven’t found those kind of connections yet. How did you find them and what did you learn in looking for people to find and share life with?
I had to look for people that, are hungry for God’s love and hungry to learn to avoid merely living by self-effort and religious obligation… Otherwise, if I discuss this kind of stuff with people that aren’t hungry for it, it only ends in arguments, bad attitudes, hurt feelings, and lost or hurt friendships. I have also noticed that it’s almost a waste of time to try to show people this kind of stuff if they aren’t hungry for it, or if they blatantly reject it. If they reject it, only the Holy Spirit can teach them.
It has been very rare to find people that are truly hungry for these things… Sometimes it seems like I would almost be better off if I would simply walk around having casual conversations with people, and doing some random acts of kindness. I think I would recommend this approach more than anything else. I try to do these things sometimes, but I am a very shy and quiet person… so, it’s a little difficult for me.
There were a few rare occasions where I met people that were hungry for this stuff, or were at least willing to listen or have friendly relationships. Through the last 10 years, I could count on one hand the amount of people that I have met that were hungry for this kind of stuff. Some of those friendships were very precious. The most precious was one friend that moved away.
I met a couple of people in my job, refurbishing old houses… One guy I met that helped us was a Hispanic guy that asked me why churches are so messed up these days… I took the opportunity to share a lot that I knew and had seen. I even shared the Spanish version of “So you don’t want to go to church anymore. He said he liked it so much that he couldn’t stop reading it all night, because it made his heart feel so good. He moved away after about 1 year, which made me very sad, because I considered him to be one of the best friends I had met in years.
Another guy, I still work with, has also seen a lot of problems in IC’s these days, and he listens to a lot of what I say about this subject. He doesn’t like to read books and doesn’t seem to like to listen to audio-books either. However, I told him about the movie “The Shack” and he said it sounded interesting, so I purchased the DVD this week and he watched it a few times already. He seemed to like it a lot, and I think he learned a lot.
I recently found a guy in my area that kept clicking “Like” on Wayne’s Facebook page. We share a few nice encouraging things on Facebook sometimes.
Recently my nephew began living with me and he visited my parents traditional IC a few times, and told me that he hated it, and hated most IC’s he attended in his life, because they made him depressed and suicidal due to all the bad things he had seen at those IC’s in his lifetime. I shared some things with him, and he told me that one book I gave him to read, has already brought peace to his heart after 2 chapters, because it teaches God’s love and how to avoid merely living by self-effort and religious obligation.
It has been a long and lonely journey since being out of the IC for about 10 years, but I have learned a lot. I have also learned a lot in the last few months since going through this book, getting involved in this discussion group, and seeing Wayne’s articles on the tyranny of self, and the tyranny of our own agenda’s.
I have tried to visit various types of house church and organic church groups over the last 10 years, but I was uncomfortable with the groups I saw. Many seem to be merely peddling their own forms of pet doctrines and practices, and some are too excessively meetings oriented (with their own systems and programs) instead of being oriented around God’s love and friendly relationships between people.
Sorry for the long length…
Bailey, NC (USA)
This part I find is where the rubber really hits the road. It’s this very process of being intentional about friendships excetera excetera and getting out of the comfort zones that I probably have found myself in for too long. Or is it that? Haha…
What I’m talking about here is the fact that this is where we learn to swim. Where we used to lean on others doing everything for us it’s now me and God and no one else.
I work nights and am predominantly around Asian people that follow other religions and have done from birth. Don’t feel many nudges happening whilst I’m at work when I come home, of late, have found that whilst navigating my bone on bone knee problem, (Osteoarthritis) and I await my hopeful Total Knee operation I literally fall into bed or rest so that I can navigate the following days work.
A lot of this has brought me to places where yes I’ve got to to if God even exists or where has he gone. Then the next day I find the strength through all of this to get through my day of work. And because it’s so severe I have to lay myself down and say that was God’s Help. Is this where I should be is it not where I should be???
Questions questions questions always I really have no idea. But there’s this I feel God working into me a trust. Some days I feel really strong with that some days very useless. This is the battle that I am in at the moment and I believe that I’m never going to change your move away from believing that at the end of the tunnel God is going to come through somehow. He will be there and that’s what I’m holding onto.
So have I found myself into a world where there’s loads of people to lean on? No. Do I have people to call up and find a shoulder to lean on sometimes? No.
To be frank this is the hardest moment of my life at 58 coming up 59th my knees are severely damaged I struggle to walk around let alone try and work.
Please excuse this posting seems negative but it’s my current experience
I just hope I haven’t hurt the relationship too much already because I do get upset with Him. Where’s he been, others get healed. And I know I’m not alone in these thoughts they are plenty, we all go through them when things get this bad. Bla Bla Bla… I could be saying here…Me Me Me
Part of Me feels that yes this is a process because I asked God show me myself. Could this be him doing it?? I don’t know the process but I’m happy enough to leave it in his hands and hope that the end of this something changes. I feel like I’m changing and trust is growing. I am feeling I love him more today than I did yesterday. I suppose I’m also just looking for a complete relief and a hand to move this into a new direction because I’m very tired of this pain. Very tired of the struggle going to work getting things done.
Sorry for what seems like a very negative but very real posting this time. It’s where I am and is totally real. Which is scary enough but I needed to get it out…
Little updated at last.
I had a phone call this morning inviting me to an early opening for my total knee operation on the 5th December. I’m very grateful but very scared, so if anybody reads this and feels to pray for me please do.
I just saw your last 2 comments here… and I will be praying for your knee operation…
I didn’t think your previous comments were selfish, but it just expresses concerns that a lot of us have from time to time. Some of us simply don’t say what our concerns are… I actually appreciate you saying those things because I think it was courageous of you to say it, and I think it shows that you are real, honest, and a sincere person… I really appreciate that kind of person who is honest and keeps it real (so to speak). So I would like to say thank you for keeping things real and honest.
Thanks for your kind words, I find it most encouraging when you’ve opened up and try to say things as they are, and after all that’s gone on in my past it can be a scary thing to do. It’s good to know that there are some genuine good people that will listen and not judge. It’s good to know they still exist and you’re one of them Lenny thank you.
I’ve given myself a nickname jelly legs as I am days away from this operation. I just keep thinking God is with me whatever happens and however I feel things will work out. What I’ve been asking him to do is get me up and get me onto that physio because that will spell the release of a life for me again. It’s been nearly two years of hobbling around and struggling with work trying to ill health retire me, feeling like a cripple but however much I’m scared there is a hope pouring into me that there’s a new release of life coming my way. With it I just feel inside there is a freshness coming up ahead. I think in a year or two my surroundings will be very very different. I’m holding on to that because I feel that God is bringing me into something new and inviting me into a fresh season. I’ve felt these things in the past before and it’s wonderful as you near that new chapter it’s almost as though you can I feel that the chapter’s coming to an end and the new ones about to start. Yes there will be a little bit of pain to go through, I really feel hopeful of something fresh spiritually as well as physically. We truly do have a wonderful saviour and friend in Jesus.
I’ve been spending a little bit of time just thinking about what Jesus has done in me since we started this discussion and I have to say one of the most profound things is He’s brought the scriptures back to being something that I treasure. They were terribly abused in my past and every time I opened them I just felt I needed to do something. That’s all but gone thanks to Jesus, the Jesus Lens as well everything I’ve read as I followed the nudges God lay on my heart and in front of me. The podcasts teachings I found amongst the Lifestream the website. All good…
God bless you Lenny and all who read this and are on a path with only you and Jesus walking daily.
May our Lord lead you quickly to that door where there is no sign outside but within are a family. A vibrant,warm and welcoming family.
His family. A place that we can all call our home and be feeling at home.
Thanks to Him who makes it all possible.
Ian, I just read your post…surgery today! Praying for your recovery and healing, and that you can rest in the love of our Father.