It’s Not Chocolate

It's tragic how religion demands that we settle for the status quo, even if it is distasteful and irrelevant, rather than encourage us to pursue the promise that first drew us to God. Following up on an earlier podcast, Brad and Wayne explore how you can learn to recognize God's voice among all the competing voices that fill our head and the noise that fills our world. Through practice our senses can learn to zero in on God's voice, but for many of us that means coming to the end of ourselves, which is something we try to avoid and something our friends will almost always help us to avoid as well. Losing our taste for the false offerings of religion and dismissing the voices of guilt and shame are an important part of reducing the noise and recognizing God's impulses in our heart.


  1. “Being Thankful used to be something I had to fake/be…”

    With that thought, I’ve been reminded that (having been through both) – Depression & Organized/Performance Religion both have the trap of FEELING as though we MUST act a certain way and hide everything else.

    I am thankful that I am now of a mind that allows me to recognize His working and be thankful in anything.

  2. Firstly I want to thank you guys for discussing my comment on a post in the podcast that followed it – it was tremendously helpful. It was the one where I said I hoped God was offended at my sin – some of what you two said made a load of sense and gave me a new angle to view from. This podcast was terrific and not because I prefer chocolate 🙂 It was just great to ponder the way we can learn to discern. I was thinking about Abraham the other day and wondering if he thought it was a very strange thing when God told him to murder Isaac. I was wondering what I’d be thinking if I was in his shoes. It just would not make sense that the God I’d come to know was now telling me to commit a murder, I think I’d be wondering if the voice in my head was indeed the one who has been a murderer from the beginning. Anyway it made me ponder more deeply what Abraham said to Isaac as they walked to the mountain. I am fascinated by his response that God will provide the sacrifice. And then I wonder whether Abraham wasn’t that disturbed at all by such a request from God as he has grown up in a culture that sacrificed the kids in order to please ‘the god’ of rain and good crops and whatever else that kind of god needed pleasing for. So maybe it was in the moment that the angel stayed his hand that Abraham got a deeper insight into the God who had called him out of Ur. That this God was so not like the gods of his childhood. Not sure if any of that made sense – I was just thinking about discerning God’s voice and how it may have not been so cut and dried for the father of faith, therefore it ain’t gonna be always good chocolate for us either so just keep walking and learning and discerning will grow. And good things can grow in a bit of poop too.

  3. Holy bouquet … sheds new aroma on the value of the institutional “movement”. If one prefers religion over that of relationship, would that make them a church fly? Anyway, loved your laxative approach.

  4. This subject is so important – if we are going to embrace freedom in Christ then we need to know him and hear him. I can’t just be free FROM religion, I am free IN Christ.

    What many young Christians do not know is that other Christians have written about this for centuries. I don’t recommend books as a way to hear God but the collective experiences and lessons compiled over the centuries from pilgrims on this Journey are a great help. I highly recommend “The Spiritual Man” by Watchman Nee.but there a many many books – many are available for free on the Internet. And of course there are podcasts thst help a little too.

    God told me to leave this comment… 😉

  5. So good to know that in reality everything is much easier . The hard part has always been sifting and sorting through the maze of stuff within religion. When it gets broken back down into it’s relational form it is so much more spontaneous and real, rather than formal, fake and rehearsed.

    A child no longer needs to work for their father’s approval once they discover they were already born by his love. Hello rest! Realizing there are only minor religious differences and fleshy variations wihin the many forms of man-made religion is only done while sitting comfortably upon Abba’s lap. From this view our compassion grows for those burdened down from the trivial pursuits of religion.

    Russ – So glad you prayed, fasted, etc. (and reminded God of all he has promised you) about leaving that comment: How else would you ever had heard from him? Does Bill and Jim’s comments set forth an Apostolic or Liturgical president for “Comment Succession”?

    But suppose this is best left to those in charge of the outhouse!

  6. Debbie was not mentioned because we have no witnesses that her head was covered when she made her comment. We do hope she prays about that and responds by making a donation of M&Ms.

    This podcast gives “purging” a whole new definition.

  7. Thank you for the podcast, your patience and your kindness. You were very gracious with my posting and I appreciate that. I have a son that is nose diving (alcoholism) right now and I am sorting through chocolate and sh*t morsels. Not fun!
    Thanks for the laughs and the perspective of your journey.
    Have a great week where ever you are!

  8. I have often said Hershey’s is not real chocolate, so thanks for confirming that with this picture. I may even have to send you some yummy Cadbury’s to enjoy!

  9. **Puts head covering back on** – I was laying my sleepy head down last night and still observing the thoughts of this podcast swirling in my head when I had a new thought pop in about how even good soil needs a load of poo in order to grow a good harvest. The poo is important.

    @Michelle – my heart ached for you – it is so hard watching your child self destruct – there is an amazing group out there who can walk beside you in this without needing to fix you. Still tricky to find one that fits you personally so try a few if you feel inclined. You may already be hooked up with one for all I know – I just wanted to mention it because you need not walk such a nightmare alone.

  10. When you think about it, it’s pretty amazing how many IC terms fit the mould; a-poo-logetics, poo-lpit, a senior Vatican position, etc. Coincidence? Only if you’re a sceptic.

    Disclaimer: I wouldn’t typically be playing around with potty terminology like a mischievous six year old if it wasn’t for today’s podcast.

  11. Michelle, praying that your son will catch a glimpse of how precious he is in the eyes of Father, and how much he is loved.

  12. Why do they have to be so goofy and laugh as if they are not being serious about this? It is very hard to listen to the message.

  13. @Debbie — to stretch the agrarian reference a bit: while it is true that manure as fertilizer can be a very good thing, there are certain types of poo that are counterproductive. If I want yummy tomatoes, then allowing the local cats and raccoons to use my planters as a litter box is decidedly counterproductive.

    @Wayne & Brad — I loved the thoughts you shared about a child learning to discern a parent’s voice amongst the world of sounds that surround us. It made me think also of a recent experience while my wife & I were babysitting a two-year-old. She was rough-housing and when she kocked stuff over, she would smile broadly and say “Oh no!”. shrugging her shoulders as she picked things up. After the 3rd or 4th time, I realized, she was perfectly replicating the exact intonation and shoulder shrug I’ve seen her mom do while playing with her. The desire of my heart is not only to learn to listen for and become more proficient at hearing Papa’s voice — but also that when others see me face difficulties while playing, that they would see and hear in me the likeness and mannerisms of my/Our Papa.

    Thanks guys!

    ~ Keith

  14. That is a great point Keith. No raccoons here – maybe a wombat now and then! I guess we still do learn something even from the counterproductive.

  15. I appreciate Brad’s comments about the role that scriptures have in his journey. The tuning fork analogy is perfect. I have spent lots and lots of time over the years studying the scripture. I admit I did have to take a little break when I left my institution — it was too hard for me to separate the two. But reading and studying my Bible is still a great source of enjoyment for me, and I feel like I have access to God’s heart any time by just opening the book (not performance, just that it’s available to understand more about Him).

    I am trying to find the balance of not hitting people over the head with scripture (what’s “fun” for me may be perceived as religious directive by others.) But from my observation, those who seem to have a really vital relationship with God have at some time spent time studying the Bible. (Not necessarily vice-versa.)

    Oh, and here’s one I can’t resist, sorry. Re: what was Abraham thinking: Hebrews 11:17-19 – he beleived God would raise Isaac from the dead. Abraham understood God’s promise that the savior would come through his progeny. I am guessing that Abraham and the ancient pagan cultures understood that a sacrifice would be required to redeem man. And amazingly, he understood that God would raise the savior from the dead. It’s a figure, a foretelling, of Christ.

  16. I look forward to each new podcast and am listening to past podcasts until the new one arrives. I also appreciate Brad’s comments on how the scriptures have made his journey. I love the laughter as it makes me realize that we are way too serious about things. I am new to the podcast and starving for more. I too have found that I was looking to others to get my needs met. Now I look to Father and each time the feelings come up I ask it this from love or from fear?
    Wayne, I feel the same way about “whatever”… LOL…

    Thanks Guys,

  17. Jesus knew the voice of the Father. So did Abraham. They needed no validation, just as I need no validation when I hear my earthly father’s voice on an old recording. Even though it’s been over 20 years since his passing, I am absolutely sure it’s him. That’s because I learned his voice at an early age.

    The reason I find myself needing validate voice of God is because from an early age I was taught that other voices were His: teachings of “the church”, interpretations of scripture, sermons from the pulpit, moral lessons from the culture around me. Now, much later in life, I’m having to reconnect with His real voice and unlearn the fake voices I was always taught were Him.

    I am discovering that the true voice of God is the one encouraging me to be who I was created to be, and not the voices that are asking me to conform to some human system…

  18. I’d love to have an “it’s not chocolate” t-shirt. Is there anyone out there with the recourses and inclination to make one?

  19. About hearing God speak to us personally…

    Thanks to Wayne and Brad for your thought-provoking podcast about hearing God! This is the kind of useful discussion that meets each person’s individual need to engage in “living loved”. How do we “do that”? I think there is great value in sharing our personal experiences about this because each person’s unique perspective can contribute to our corporate understanding of the very practical elements of living in a relationship with God in today’s world.

    There are principles that are timeless and cross-cultural. There are processes that are similar for everyone. And there are practical applications that are unique to each person. The challenge is to engage the definite spiritual order under the leadership of the Holy Spirit – without having it turn into a “How-to program”. The crucial and critical element necessary is the abiding presence of the Holy Spirit! Imagine if the focus of a new convert’s teaching was upon hearing the Holy Spirit speaking to them individually! “My sheep shall know my voice”. Imagine if a significant portion of our fellowship together was focused around sharing our personal experiences of listening and responding to the Holy Spirit?

    Here’s my contribution to that discussion. As a young adult, I was privileged to participate in a fellowship of “Jesus-people” who were engaged in that discussion. One of the ways our corporate pursuit was described was “Vision Clear, Values Certain, Vents Open”. The Vision is to participate in the Kingdom of Light, where the Truth is that God is Love and Jesus is Lord. The Values are to move toward a fuller and deeper personal participation in that Kingdom, growing in our awareness of God’s love (living loved!), and growing in our heart-submission to Jesus as our Lord in the intimate, personal areas of our lives. The Vents Open part is about keeping our senses open to hear the Holy Spirit speaking direction, correction, and encouragement to us in a personal, individual, practical, and progressive way.

    There is a lot more to discuss together because “this is where we live” our daily lives. One of my goals has become “to discuss meaningful things with people who care”. Thanks for the opportunity to do that here!

  20. Happy Belated Thanksgiving!

    This is just verse observation I thought worth throwing out there.

    It is interesting to note what Abraham said to the two servants at the end of Genesis 22 verse 5, that he and Isaac will “come again to you”. It has always led me to believe that becasue of God’s ultimate promise to Abrabram, that in his heart, he just had to know that somehow, someway, his son Isaac’s life would be preserved.

    All God’s Best!

  21. Loved it when Wayne said: “We get accused of ‘you guys left all religion because you got hurt and you’re bitter.’ Not true! As hard as I worked it — and I worked it well — it never produced the fruit I understood it was supposed to produce. It’s not that that’s bad, it’s that in the middle of it I said, ‘there’s got to be something more’… It’s the honesty of life that takes you to the end of yourself… the risk is ymy best efforts, my best motives, my best doing all I can for God is in the way of my relationship with Him. You can’t get there from here.”

    Epiphany. Light bub moment. Hit pause and ponder. You really hit the nail on the head. Thanks, guys, for a wonderful podcast. VERY helpful.

  22. David, I really like that “Vents Open” phrase.

    Brad and Wayne mentioned a concept awhile back that has been highly applicable for me. I believe Brad coined it, saying it was good to be “unattached to the result”. I don’t recall the specific context in their discussion, but those 4 words have repeatedly liberated me from undue stress. I have a wife with a time-bomb like demeanor which tends to explode (into depression, coldness and destructive behavior) during events when we “should” be enjoying one another’s company.

    Now whenever we make plans for a date or a trip together, I make sure to ask Christ to help me detach myself from the result. Rather than trying to manipulate our activities to optimize the return for myself, I allow the events to roll out naturally—and by naturally I mean I let Jesus surprise us. This doesn’t mean we don’t run into turbulence, but I have found that my wife blossoms in the freedom I’m able to give her. I’m no longer holding an axe over her head and saying “you better not ruin this trip with more of your bullsh*t!”

  23. Hi, folks, I’m new here, just found this website, and I’ve enjoyed some of the podcasts.

    Something that stood out to me from this one was in the beginning, I’m still not sure which is Wayne speaking, and which is Brad. But one was saying that 20 years ago, it was hard to praise at Thanksgiving time. It made me reflect on the value of praise. It is a question that I’ve been hit with a few times, “What is this praise thing?” What kind of a trip is God on, anyway, that he wants a world full of sycophants? How come we have to keep telling Him how wonderful He is?

    I have often thought of it in terms of tame animals. The more the animals tune in to what the humans are doing, the richer their lives get, they become higher in life in some way. As C.S. Lewis puts it, they become “almost human”. So, the more we praise God and thank Him for all He does for us, the more we are tuned in to His ways and thoughts, and our lives reach a higher plane. We become “almost Godlike”, as we reflect Him more. The praise is not for Him, but for us!

    One more aspect of it, is something that Ionce read from another source (I think it was a prophecy someone received), is that the Lord teaches us to be thankful by bringing us through hard times. I have found that to be very true in my life. I believe that the most difficult times I have been through have been what was needed to get me out of my spoiled rut, and able to truly thank Him for the many gifts He blesses me with. I enjoy the simple things more, and my satisfaction is found in the simple things of life. In this respect, I am very grateful for all the difficulties I have been through, although I am also thankful that “The Lord delivereth [me] out of them all”. (Ps 34:19)

    Keep up the good work on the podcasts. You sound like you’re having a great time doing them, and it helps me have a great time listening. One suggestion might be to go to head mics, as it seems that you move around a bit in your conversations, as might be normal, but sometimes your voice is not as clear because of movement relative to the microphone.

  24. Hi, I’m back again. I’ve been thinking about this podcast (Chocolate) that I listened to yesterday (I’m a slow thinker!). The thing that has been going through my mind is the story from the poor woman who feels alone in her walk with the Lord for four years, and your answer. I found that a very good point to ponder. If you want to be successful in relationship (with humans, at least), you need to be prepared to give. It’s kinda like what the Lord said, “He that saveth his life shall lose it, and he that loseth his life, the same shall save it.” If we want to live the life He has for us here, we need to be prepared to lose our own life by investing it into His life, His plan, His love for others.

    This is not the same as church duty or expectation, or of having to earn the Master’s love and kindness. It is more the case of entering into such a great, beautiful love, and realizing that He loves each one the same as He does me. Looking at the older person who is still out doing his or her shopping and battling on, looking at mothers who are feeling overburdened with their children, looking at school kids coming home after a difficult day at school: if we can let the Lord love those ones through us through only a smile, a word, some little way of letting them know they are not alone in this world, then we’re letting the Lord’s love pass through us to those ones, being a channel of the Father’s love to them. It’s so rewarding!

    You mentioned in the podcast about needing someone to fulfill our needs so much that we can be like the only single in a bar, looking for a mate. In reflecting on that, it makes me want to look for some of those desperate ones, and help them to feel even just a little bit of Father’s love!

    I agree that one would expect the woman to find some company on her journey. I live in a very unChristian country. Yet still, in going about trying to spill a little bit of love into the lives of those I come into contact with, I have met several people who have very kindred spirits and a strong relationship with the Lord, whom even just being in the same room with is feeding and encouraging. Perhaps more importantly in some ways, I have build very feeding productive friendships with others who are not Christian, but who are seeking the same things, love, a purpose for living, the source of deeper life. These ones, because of their background, family ties and culture find it hard to quickly change over and say “I’m a Christian now. I believe in Jesus!” However, they receive the love, they are growing in understanding the issues of God’s relationship with man, and their lives, hearts and spirits are changing. It is such a reward to see light shining from eyes that were dark some months before, to see a smile of God’s love coming through them, even if they have been limited in what they can profess. I find fellowship with those ones too, and find myself being fed and strengthened by our times together.

    Sorry, I guess I’ve been rambling, but in brief, my observation is, if you aren’t finding the fellowship you need, start giving it to others around you, those who are looking for the same love, whether they are Christian or not, and the Lord will supply you with the ones he has for your encouragement.

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