She’s Alive And Well

If you can't see the church taking shape in the world as the bride without spot or wrinkle, maybe you're looking in the wrong places. He has been preparing his bride for over 2000 years and it turns out he's doing a far more remarkable job than Wayne has known most of his life. In this special podcast, Wayne reads the first chapter of the book he's currently writing: Finding Church: What If There Really Is Something More? In this chapter he shares his life-long journey to find the church Jesus is building in the earth and how he has come to discover that she is far more glorious and much nearer to us all than we've dared to believe. (Photograph courtesy of Amanda at Turtle Pond Photography.)

Podcast Links:
Our Tour to Israel
Wayne's Upcoming Travel Schedule
Helping Clothe the Orphans in Kenya
The Greater Gathering Podcast
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  1. Wow… I don’t know what the rest of the book will cover, but the first chapter alone is something I could share with people trying to understand the “Journey”. It seems conclusive in itself. If I ever get in a position where I have to sum up my journey of discovering what Church was intended to be… I can hand them this.

    Thanks Wayne.

    It is still difficult trying to explain my God Journey with others and not seem broken in the process. There was so much brokenness that led up to where I am now and folks just see that as my bitterness towards the institution. I want to be able to share this story out of the healing that has taken place, not reflecting the brokenness and bitterness that so many people see and blame for my institutional departure.

  2. Wayne, thank you so much for sharing your journey. You have encouraged my walk with Papa greatly! I’m looking forward to the publishing of your book!

    Ruby, I can relate with the difficulty of wishing folks would look beyond the bitterness. I’ve been wondering if it may just be easier for them to focus on that, instead of exploring the possibility their thinking is not necessarily on track with Papa’s heart. Doing so may be too risky and shake up an otherwise comfortable existence.

  3. Ahhhhh, my heart just soaked this up, listened to it twice, in fact!!! Your succinct way with words. Wayne, and your heart of grace are gifts that help us all better express the God journey we’re on. Much grace to you and your clan and thanks for sharing.

  4. I have given up trying to find “real community” I do not think the people you describe here exist. I live my life 100% on my own except for my work….Nope I have decided it does not exist.

  5. Thank you Wayne.

    Your authentic journey has touched so many lives. That was your desire all those years ago, to guide people into real relationship and how blessed we are, that God in his infinite wisdom revealed to you in this sublime unique way that he has, that it is not in man-made structures of form and control.

    How true that those who have not yet arrived here, see bitterness and pride. When I am met by their ignorance, I rejoice in the freedom that Christ has given me for, in them, he shows me the prison I have escaped from.

    Then he blows my mind and makes my spirit soar by allowing hurting people to stumble into my life and I watch in awe as he uses me to bring wonder into their lives as he allows me to love them unconditionally. Truth be told. My heart pains when I see those who still function in the prison of religion, hoping to find the freedom they all desperately crave, believing emphatically that is where it is to be attained.

    Interesting, I have also been questioned as to why I do not speak about God as much as I used to….It is my supposition that while I was seeking him so assiduously, I spoke to convince myself that I had found him. Having found him in the deepest sense of the word, I no longer need convincing. Now I just get to love.

  6. Tricia

    I would say this to you. The community does exist but it does not look like perfection. It is made up of real people with real issues, imperfect, broken. It is made up of pastors who have had affairs and it is made up of people who have failed in so many areas of their lives.Grace is transforming them and it will complete its work in their lives. Grace is love in action and it is powerfully transforming, achieving what judgement and condemnation never will.

    The community of believers exists in the community of life, they are the imperfect souls who have allowed love to forgive them and in so doing find it easy to forgive others. Authentic life is Christ is so deep. There is no list of rules that need to be adhered to, only a response to the love of the Father epitomised in the life of Christ.

    It is not about perfection and getting it “right”. It is about trusting the process and recognising that every person is on a journey and our role is to encourage and rejoice with them in their victories and to love them in the squalor of their sin.

    I love the story in the Old Testament where God finds the baby covered in blood, lieing in the field, rejected and unwanted. The parents saw something in their child that revolted them enough to throw the child away. Whether what they felt was valid or not, does not matter in the story even though it may matter in our lives, where people are often offended by us or we are offended by them. Rejection is like lieing naked and vulnerable, distanced from any care. That is what the story is about. And in the story, God comes and sees value in this child and he cleans her and anoints her with healing balm, giving one to think there was something wrong. It is but an allegory of the wounds and sins in our lives that cause people to reject us and causes us to reject others. But love is unconditional and it heals and restores.

    So too, in our lives, when love is fully formed in us, we will love the unlovely, those who would call us bitter and proud and judge and condemn us, without us submitting their view. It is not about become enslaved once again to their way of thinking. That is death. It is about loving them and blessing them even while you choose to no longer submit yourself to those limiting mindsets. It is about loving those and walking with those who are no longer a part of those mindsets but who are struggling on this journey for many are as broken and imperfect as we are, yet love allows us to strengthen those who are weaker than ourselves, accepting that the wounds they inflict in their ignorance can be forgiven. Love seeks to love. Hurt makes us withdraw.

    You are loved Tricia. So very much. You have value and you add value. This is true even though you may feel it is not so. People have hurt you and offended you and may have mocked you, criticised you, judged you and condemned you. Love anyway for they are broken, hurting people masquerading as perfection.

  7. Wayne, personally, I think the title of this podcast would make an even better book title. Something like: “She’s Alive And Well: Finding The Church In Unexpected Places”.

  8. Tricia,
    I hear you. No amount of sermons, well meant advice or spiritual sounding words can change the pain and longing of being alone. And that’s what I hear in your voice. Pain. The last time I stepped through the doors of an “institution” was over three years ago – and I was already feeling alone before I stopped as Jesus began to reach into my heart and change the way I saw him, and those around me tried to convince me I was wrong to question the church. I haven’t found the community that Wayne is talking about – and sometimes I think maybe he gets to see it more because he travels so much and is so visible to everyone with where he stands. For those of us that stay in one place its not so easy to find.
    I don’t know if this will mean anything to you, but a while back as I was seriously doubting my relationship with Jesus, as I sat and cried over how lonely I was – whether he was really who I thought he was – whether he cared at all… he picked me up against his chest and he told me as he walked with me in his arms, that we were in the desert, kinda like Paul was for a while. That it was just him and I. With no one around. Because he needed some one on one time with me to shore up the cracks in my heart – the wounds caused by the lies I grew up hearing day in and day out. He told me that he was so much enjoying having me all to himself. That he wanted to seat his voice so deeply in my soul that no other person could shake me from the knowledge of how much he loves me. That he wanted to take care with my soul – fashion it gently and slowly because it had been so broken and abused.
    I’m still in the desert with him, and it is so lonely sometimes when his voice is so quiet and the voices of the world are so loud. I don’t know if I’ll ever be able to find that family Wayne is talking about. But I’ve seen such huge wounds in my heart (that I didn’t even know were there) being revealed and then with infinite tenderness his hands reaching in to heal them.
    Maybe we can’t be real with others until we’re real with ourselves – and we can’t be real with ourselves until he shows us how he sees us and we start to believe him that what he sees is really real. Haha – hows that for a lot of “reals”!

  9. Thanks Wayne, I really enjoyed what you read. I’m looking forwrd to reading the book when it’s finished.

  10. Thank you, Wayne, for the first chapter. I thought that I was about the only one Jesus had called out of the meetings. Finding your website was amazing. The biggest revelation was living loved. It changed my life. Reading the Jake Book chapter by chapter online changed the way I related to people. I found a community online.

  11. Tricia and Kerri, I certainly hear what you are saying. Many of us have never found a local community. I often wondered if it was my doubting His ability to provide community. I have often been jealous of Wayne and the communities he visits. For some of us Jesus seems to want us to find that He is enough. No matter how lonely it has been I have never been tempted to go back. I am so blessed that He rescued me, set me on the narrow path and teaches me himself. Hearing His voice is a blessing many haven’t found. I now have three friends I can phone or Skype but I don’t want to be distracted from my time with Him. I think He wants me loving the people who come across my path and to stop pining for community

  12. I love what is being shared here. Count me in with the ‘Me and Jesus’ crowd as well.

    I don’t find it peculiar that it is difficult, if not impossible, to find authentic relationships outside of the instiution, whether it be the church building, school, work, or even the family unit. Its been made to seem that relationships can only exist within these structures, not without them. Jesus cuts through all that and, at least to me at this point, provides the only relationship that exists for the sake of the relationship, not the institution.

    In my experience, take away the church building, the school, the job, and the family, and the relationships cease to exist as well. It follows that we experience aloneness, because all of our relationships came as the result of institutions, not the person of Jesus.

  13. Thank you so much, Wayne. Please keep it personal, telling your own story, like you are. I could feel what you were saying in my heart. And thank you all so much in the comments. I see the Bride in each honest, beautiful, encouraging thought. I have finally left the institution recently after about 5 years absolutely sure that things could be changed somehow…. And so these words are so full of truth and life and hope and peace for me that I kept falling asleep trying to listen!! Took 4 tries to hear it all! Please don’t let that discourage you, Wayne, from offering more in audio fashion.

    I have always assumed that Jesus’ promise about blessing over “two or three” was the lower limit on number, but now I think it is the “upper limit” for the heavy lifting involved in real relationship. I just made a typo and spelled it “realationship” It made me laugh at the adventure Abba and I are on now, flying without a net of an institution, now including work, etc etc (thanks Ron!)

  14. In response to Ron’s statement:

    “In my experience, take away the church building, the school, the job, and the family, and the relationships cease to exist as well. It follows that we experience aloneness, because all of our relationships came as the result of institutions, not the person of Jesus.”


    In my life time of relationships… Most of them came out of “institutions” if your criteria for institutions includes family, school, work and clubhouse Christianity (church) . Those four places is where I have spent the most time in my life. Even my husband is a relationship I started in the work place. And I have come to understand, that Jesus is in the middle of my “institutional relationships”

    Even for those who have taken the clubhouse Christianity out of the mix, we still have work and family and school. These are where relationships are built and where Jesus brings people into our life.

    Now that being said… that leaves neighbours… Are they an institutional relationship? I might have a shot then at a non-institutional relationship. Our new neighbours are the local Baptist pastor and his family. I first found it ironic and somewhat stressful… but maybe there is hope. We are already building a next door kind of relationship without a clubhouse connection.

    And here is my question…

    Is Jesus enough of a common ground to start a friendship or maintain one? I think so.

  15. Wayne, how the Spirit leaped within me as this chapter unfolded. In fact, as you began to describe the new “way of seeing” the Church, the words of the song, “How beautiful is the Body of Christ” kept resonating in my spirit.
    Then I remembered how, 30 years ago, my bride sang that song to a small group of us as we took communion at the Garden Tomb outside Jerusalem’s walls. Wish we could go with you in February but in the mysteries of God I’ve been overtaken suddenly with a terminal condition (unless the Lord intervenes) which will take me Home to the Bridegroom much sooner than I’d planned.
    Meanwhile, I’ll distribute this link as the Spirit leads.
    How beautiful!

  16. Excellent Podcast Wayne! Thank you brother.
    When I first heard it I wondered if you found my journal. I think that is the reason that your writings and podcasts resonate with so many of us. You are not stating what we should know, or ought to learn. You are stating where we have been and what we know to be truth deep within ourselves. That helps us to understand it IS the spirit we are hearing. Man is just trying hard to drown it out with his own interpretations, theology and doctrine.

  17. Ruby,

    I understand what you are saying in so much that those relationships can exist beyond the institution, for example, after graduation, after job loss, resignation, or retirement, after leaving the church bulidling, or even while still attending the building, between services. For me, a few of those relationships did exist for a time, but it became apparent that without the institution serving to bring us together on a regular basis, other factors of life split us apart.

    • Ron:

      I totally understand that. The relationships that are task structured will eventually dissolve when there is no task to maintain it. A lot of “institutional” relationships are task relationships.

      I have a task relationship with my sister. It seems that the only way we can relate is if we are doing something. I know that if it wasn’t for the fact that we are sisters… there would be no relationship.

      Here’s another question. Do all relationships need to last a lifetime? Maybe there is a handful of people that we can say are life long friends… others come and go and we are better for them having spend a part of the journey with us. Can we build friendships knowing that one day the road may divide and separate us? I think so.

  18. Ruby, keep us updated about your relationship with the pastor’s family. Father may have something in mind. We need to remember that they may read our comments, especially if you are able to share with them.
    About relationships: I think many relationships are for a season. They seem to disappear if I become too dependent on them. Some people have lifetime friends and others walk alone. I can’t imagine life without the internet. I believe Father led me to Lifestream.

  19. Thank you Wayne for expressing in that first chapter my journey except for the losing a leadership role. I have spent most of my life sincerely living and wanting to please God from my earliest childhood memories. I have always questioned things said and done whether they were true or not. I have been skeptical , but I continued on doing what I knew to do going to church. I have to say the things I questioned bothered me less than the skip,hop, and jumps through scripture that was manipulated for the thought of the day. As I learned more about God’s love story and purpose and connected the dots from Old to New, I changed and those on the same course of study changed. We are now outsiders when we were somewhat ousted to another meeting time to fit the agenda of the new pastor. We still meet because we love learning and interacting over scripture.
    I understand the feelings of those who feel they no opportunity for community. Wayne was already a gifted person who has many unique opportunities. Most of us do not have those avenues of connection.
    My grandchildren attend the assembly weI left and that leaves us feeling left out. When I realize though that most of those assembly relationships were just superficial acknowledgements in the vestibule, I understand but I still feel a loss.
    I care for an elderly mom and help a working daughter with twins and a 31/2 year old. My opportunities to know others or build relationships is limited. Age, health, even personalities and logistics contribute so much to how we will find community. It is not easy and I do not have answers. I am a social and I yearn for relationships.

  20. Just want to thank all of you for your thoughts and comments. Wow…this idea of community and how we relate to others is such a huge part of how He made us. He is also walking me through a season where all of the task based relationships (Presbyterian structure and some family members) are being shifted. I have discovered that He is more interested in me learning how He loves me, then… how I can share that love with others. The painful part of walking off the treadmill, having to come back and back to Him “Father I’m back to performing again…help me” is that in a very subtle way I still want to manage this process of healing! The “anti-discipleship” approach where I am invited to watch His work, as Jesus said “I only do what I see the Father doing”…is a process where sometimes I’m lifted and encouraged and then face bleakness. I resonate with what many of you have described as Jesus wanting a season where “He wants you all to Himself so that He can teach you and He can focus on building that relationship”. No surface or pat answers to working out that process. Learning how to love better and turn away from our self-absorption is a wonderful and at the same time very messy process.

  21. Very well said. I was so happy, Eve-Loraine, to see you making connections. I have prayed about that, you are connecting but differently. Nice.

    I have always had these connections, but did not recognize them as the church. They were, however, vital to my existence. Unfortunately I would have to say I was selfish in that my family did not have these relationships. Even now with my second wife there is a struggle. She did not attend the institution for a year and half because we were unable to tithe and she could not look the treasurer in the eye. Sadly, no one called, no one reached out. She wakes up to a radio program whose first words were last week (when the alarm came on) were “…..the more you pray the more Jesus loves you……” We went to hear her former pastor preach last weekend and he began with “I didn’t know if I should be rough on you or easy on you. So I decided to be rough”… Nice…..

    The title of his message (my words) “Jesus is good, you are bad, try harder” Or “Law, judgement and death (and by the way I can’t do this stuff either) . Sadly she really liked it. He has his doctorate degree and is teaching at two universities. Not once did he say “Jesus loves you and there is nothing you can do about that” My favorite personally.

    So struggles. I have a bumper sticker, my first in almost 40 years. It says “Grace”. It came as a rectangle. I made it an oblong circle by cutting off the sharp edges……..If you get my drift……


  22. Mark…nice to see your creative sense of humour still coming out in your writing. The busyness kept me away for a bit…now today able to write twice in one day! Mark thanks for sharing your family “bumpiness” in the walk. It seems that I (without consciously meaning to) have demands or expectations that Jesus will wave a wand and make it all ok. I am learning to take a few deep breaths, step back and watch His timing. Wow…I never knew it could be so hard and painful to give up this performance treadmill. I think my option (like Peter..”to whom else will we go?”) is to come back and back and back to Him. He has the patience for it, while I see that I don’t. Maybe knowing that as He walks with me through the process, it’s enough to know that He is there (always was) and that others are facing similar walks. We’re all learning in the mess how to love better (after we know that His love for us is secure).

  23. Just wanted to share an interesting thing that happened to me on the golf course today, a ‘Jesus’ moment or what have you, I’ll call it that anyway…

    Today I happened to have the day off from work and as I am want to do as of late, decided to go to the golf course for a quick nine holes. These golf dates of late have been solo experiences, because for whatever reason, my regular playing partners have been unable/unwilling to go. But I digress…

    About halfway through a very high-scoring round, nature calls and as luck would have it, a port-o-potty awaits in the distance. I go in and conduct my business, and as I walk out, on the wall attached behind the hand sanitizer is a gospel tract. One of those little comic books that tell a story and then ask you to give your heart to Jesus. I’ve seen those many times, in various places. But immediately, I thought, maybe, just maybe, it is Jesus’ way of trying to reach out to me. I have no idea who left the tract. I glanced at it, didn’t read it, but got the significance of it right away, and left to finish the round.

    And then I had the best finish to a golf round I’ve had in my life—hardly. Actually, it was one of the worst rounds I’ve had in a while. But the moral of the story is…

    when nature calls, Jesus calls as well.

    The way it goes with me, I highly doubt if that I was playing with someone else, that experience would have happened to me. A similiar thing happened at another golf course a couple of months ago. I was approaching a tee for a par-three hole, and one of the workers there introduced himself, offered me a bottled water, and asked me if I knew Jesus. I had the confidence to say I did. He proceeded to talk about the importance of going to ‘church’ (meaning the building), and mentioned how he loved watching the old Billy Graham broadcasts. I couldn’t tell you my score that day, but I can tell you about that experience. I never knew how good a bad round of golf could be.

  24. No one will ever find a Christian family if they are expecting perfection. They are not perfect themselves so why do they expect others to be? However we are told to meet with other believers as Gods family so of course if we don’t, then we WILL feel lonely. No Christian is meant to be alone, but to part of a church family. The more we cut ourselves off from others the more isolated we will feel.

    IF you feel alone at church, then join groups, get involved, volunteer, and you will soon get to know others and feel a part of that family. There will be others there who also feel lonely and you can make friends and meet together.

    As for relationships being part of an institution so what? Families are the bedrock of society and having close relationships with family members is what we are supposed to have. Making friends at work or church is also good and beneficial. God puts us in families. God gives us friends.

  25. Wayne begins his podcast with the introductory voice over ……”for those who want to live outside the box of religious performance in the awesome love of the Father”, Please do not shoot me if I have not got the words exactly correct. It is 12.28 at night in South Africa and I confess to being a little tired. So having got that out the way.

    Love = relationship
    We sometimes substitute religious performance for relationship, ie how many meetings and groups have we attended?
    Yes, we can get relationship from within these institutionalized social groups. I am not in an institutional church any longer and some of the friendships I made while I was there, have stood the test of time.

    The point is that we are all on a God Journey. Some people “get it”, the it being living in the awesome love of the Father outside of organised religion. Organised religion is not a swear word and something that needs to be scourged from our lives. It is just a place where some people are on their God Journey. There is no need to defend it, as if it is misunderstood, like a recalcitrant child misunderstands an adult. The organised institution is but part of the journey and in many instances a necessary part.

    It taught me A LOT OF GOOD THINGS but some of us outgrow it. That does not mean we wish to slander it but we are often frustrated by its lack of understanding of where many of us are at.

    And for those that God in his infinite wisdom, has chosen to lead out of that mindset and paradigm, there is at times a bewildering realisation that they cannot find a replacement for what they have left and so often feel isolated and alone, treated like pariahs by the former domicile. And so they wander in the desert, alone, frightened yet inexplicably knowing they are where they are meant to be.

    To them, I would say, trust the process and continue to lean into Jesus as he divulges deep truths into your lives and takes you from wonder to wonder along this kaleidoscopic journey into his heart of love.

    For those who look in mystery upon this stage of the journey and wish to give practical advice, it is alright that you do not grasp what the journey is about. It is a deeply personal transformation and deep calls to deep and the those who are at the same intersection recognise each other, even across continents. We celebrate the life of Christ that has brought you this far and trust him, who holds all truth to continue to lead you.

    • Interesting that some here feel that they are somehow more ‘spiritual’ than others, so therefore they have ‘outgrown’ the church, and have to move on to more ‘spiritual’ things. Paul clearly tells us not to stop meeting together. The most godly and spiritual believers I know are involved in their churches,. loving and supporting and helping others there. Not going for what THEY can get out of it, or thinking about whether it is good for THEIR needs, but working for God and being faithful and committed to a church family.

  26. Diana, your response saddens me that you would interpret my words as me trying to be more spiritual. I apologise for giving you that impression.

    I believe that all of God’s people are precious, where ever they may find themselves. Church is not a building. It is a community of relationships. That is what we have all found and it is what we live, where ever we may find ourselves, whether it is meeting together in a building or just relating to an international community via the internet. It is all about relationship and the most significant relationship is the one between the bride and the groom and each individual is a bride even while collectively we are the bride. A building does not guarantee that but it may facilitate it. And that is good. In fact it is rather wonderful if that is the case.

    Some have been called into the intimacy of the bridal chamber for a season while Jesus loves them to life. There is no right or wrong way to have a relationship with Jesus or with any person. You just have a relationship, where ever it may lead you. Implicit trust.

    • I appreciate its not a building, but we are told to meet with other believers, to pray and learn and worship God together. I have many Christian friends , from many different churches and they are the most godly people who are passionate about God and His children. Its not Biblical to separate yourselves from other believers. None of us are meant to go it alone, that’s when people, get into error and go off track. I have seen this time and time again..

      On a large Christian forum that I belong to, we get many such people who have left their churches. Most left because they didn’t want to be under the authority of the church leaders, and thought they knew better.Most have got into serious error and even heretical teachings. .

  27. Thank you, Mark. Even in the meetings I didn’t really belong as a solo mother. Once I remarried I still didn’t belong as we were failures. I was probably bitter at the time which wouldn’t have helped.
    What Shirley said is very true, “I understand the feelings of those who feel they no opportunity for community. Wayne was already a gifted person who has many unique opportunities. Most of us do not have those avenues of connection.”
    Thank you ,Michelle for sharing your insight about the mystery of this stage. .
    For some of those who are absolutely surrendered to Jesus and following his prompting day by day the way often seems to be lonely. He has such a lot of work to do in us that He keeps us for Himself. Don’t be upset if He has chosen you for the lonely path. There are unexpected blessings.

    • sometimes I think a like button would be nice. 🙂

      Thank you Eve-Loraine for your kind affirmations. You have a gentle spirit and it is beautiful to behold.

  28. Actually Paul doesn’t tell us to stop meeting together. I know many people think that. I think it is a misunderstanding. Here is a possible translation. Paul wrote it because people were forsaking the union we have with Jesus to go back to keeping the law.
    Hbr 10:23- 26 Let us hold fast the confession of our hope without wavering, for He who promised is faithful. And let us consider one another in order to stir up love and good works, not forsaking the episunagoge (higher or above union we have with Christ), as is the manner of some, but exhorting one another, and so much the more as you see the Day approaching, For if we sin wilfully after we have received the knowledge of the truth, there no longer remains a sacrifice for sins, but a certain fearful expectation of judgment, and fiery indignation which will devour the adversaries.
    see from

  29. Eve
    the early church met together and prayed and worshipped God and ate together. We are all part of the body, and Paul makes it clear that one part of that body cannot operate alone. We are all given different gifts and abilities that when brought together, operate as a whole.

  30. Eve
    I have been divorced and was a single mum of three children for 6 years. A church near me who had a few divorced people got together and set up a divorce recovery workshop to help others in their position, Christian and non Christian. There is much you can do to reach others who are going through what you have rather than isolate yourself because you dont feel part of the body. Not easy I know but opportunities are there for all of us. Rather than let these things make us feel rejected and alone, why not let God use these painful experiences for others in the body and outside the body?

  31. Thank you Michelle. I hope it is the Spirit of Jesus because it is not me.

    • Yes, Eve-Loraine, it is most certainly the Spirit of Jesus but more, it is you. Jesus brings forth what is within us and what is in you, is a beautiful spirit. Never doubt it! 🙂

  32. I can very much identify with the wilderness. I have been in it so long I cannot remember how long it’s been. For me, this season of wilderness did not change when we decided to try another church. Hoping, Praying, Longing for genuine community.

    The last church we tried was a few years back. We found a home group within the church of people our age and the couple leading the group happened to be on the worship team and was also very good friends with the pastor. The group was very warm and inviting, and on a surface level we felt like we belonged. But soon we realized everyone in the group was so very insecure in the understanding of our Dad’s love, that no one could be real with one another. Another couple from the group was having marital problems and several times during our group’s fellowship together, they voiced the issues their marriage was facing. The group froze. No one could handle the depth of the conversation, and their circumstance was made light of and passed over. On another occasion while her husband was working, the wife again brought up the topic of their ever deepening marriage conflict and through her tears expressed the magnitude of it’s intensity. Her tears penetrated my heart and my husband and I immediately asked everyone to place a hand on her shoulder and pray. I poured out my heart in prayer for this lovely couple. Everyone else stood by quiet and uncomfortable. Then once again the conversation was steered back to light-hearted topics. My point? The wilderness season happens even in the midst of attending church gatherings met for fellowship.

    We haven’t attended a church since. And although we have still maintained other Christian friendships, we have been in the wilderness, as the depth of those relationships are still not what our hearts long for (though they are deeper than the relationships I described above).

    However, it has been in this wilderness that (as mentioned by others previously) my Dad had me all to Himself, and through this time He has poured His Love into me in such strong ways and taught me the reality of His Grace in ways I could never known otherwise. Physically, I am in the season of life of young children. It has been in the combination of the wilderness season of my spiritual life of Him showing me His Love, mixed with my physical life’s season of young children, who in their immaturity constantly spill something. knock something over, or fall down and get an “owie” – it is in this collision of seasons that I have discovered what it means to be an immature child who spills something, knocks things over and who gets “owies” but I have also learned the Love of my tender-hearted Daddy who understands me and loves me as His child in the midst of all my immaturity.

    And now, I am beginning to see a clearing in the wilderness. He is starting to bring people into my life who love me and accept me as He does. So for those in the wilderness, I pray that you are encouraged. I do believe there is a reason for your season. And that reason is very much for your benefit.

    • Pam didn’t you think that by staying and showing those others about openness and honesty and Gods love that you could have made a difference? How will people ever know these things if people like you just leave?
      One couple can make a huge difference by showing that love to others.
      By the way, that couple needed to be directed to someone in the church who could have helped them in a more indepth way with their marriage issues. Good marriage counselling can work wonders.

  33. I had a really interesting experience this past weekend.
    Our high school graduating class (1979) get together every September to float the Illinois river and just love and bond and laugh. Something spiritual happens that week together. Some of my friends say “magical” but I see it as a spiritual experience. We all have a common past. Many of us have known each other since kindergarten but even if we werent close friends we have a common history.
    Some are high powered executives, lawyers etc…..some are carpenters, house cleaners and waiters. We have clean cut and hippies but we all love each other and can’t wait till next year.
    Every evening some people get out their guitars and drums and harmonicas (whatever) and it’s always a highlight. It’s just relaxing and such an expression of the love we all share.

    Well, this year someone got a little controlling and wanted to make it more structured. He arranged the seats like an auditorium and told people to be quiet and got very angry of all eyes weren’t on the “performance”. It happened before my very eyes…….the spirit was squashed.

    It was such a visual to me about how the spirit is run off from our structured enivironments. How the darkness comes when someone’s need to control overpowers the freedom and love.
    Its not just the church, but anytime someone starts trying to control and structure an environment that is meant for love and relationship.

    I learned something this weekend. Maybe it’s summed up like this love + freedom = relationship

  34. I’m sure my Dad did use the experience to help the others. While I do not know if they decided to seek out counseling or not, I encouraged the wife (and the others affirmed my recommendation) to read Stormie Omartin’s book “The Power of a Praying Wife” It talks a lot about how in the midst of marriage conflicts, our focus tends to be centered on how the other person needs to change. Though there is probably truth in that, the book demonstrates that if we as wives focus our attention upon how God desires to change US amid the conflict and let Him take care of our husbands without our judgment of them, whatever the outcome may be – His BEAUTY surfaces and there is peace.

    We didn’t leave the church right away. The group we were apart of ended up disbanding. One couple was a military family who received orders to change locations so they moved away. Then the couple who was in leadership of the group, the man was promoted in his job and they also moved to another state. The couple with the marriage conflict – the husband worked a lot and couldn’t attend many of our gatherings…. with all of that, the group just disbanded. Our decision to leave the church happened when we were praying about what to do now that our group now longer existed.

  35. Diana, you seem to think everyone should stay in a local congregation and make the best of it. What you may not realize is that most of the people who frequent The God Journey, did exactly that for years and years only to find it more frustrating that fruitful, both for themselves and the folks in the congregation. It’s a personal decision, when the noise to signal ratio becomes so askew that staying is more damaging to faith that going. What we have found is that God’s church is bigger than any local congregation can demonstrate and that there are many ways for believers to be connected, share life, collaborate together, and celebrate friendships without all the attendant political conflict and manipulative language that many congregations use to keep people active. I’m glad you’ve found one that works for you, but please don’t make the mistake of thinking Jesus wants everyone to do what you are doing. He is the head of his church and he can lead people as he desires whether that is to be part of a local congregation, or to walk away from it to find greater freedom, life and fellowship elsewhere. This podcast and blog exist to encourage people to follow his leading and not think that manmade institutions are the best way he makes himself known in the world.

  36. Wayne. no I am not saying that at all. We dont go to our local church, but go to churches that are informal and relaxed. .If we look hard enough we can all find a church where we feel at home.
    I agree with much of what you say and we have been to many different Christian groups /minsitries in the past years and met many different believers. However we can grow in Him while also being part of the body of Christ, The two aren’t mutually exclusive. We are supposed to have a family and a body who we can be part of.
    In todays world there is far too much emphasis on what ‘I’ want to do and now what is best for the body of Christ.
    I have seen far too many Christians who have left the body and gone off track Single believers have gone onto meet and even marry non believers, and others have got into serious error. The church isn’t supposed to be entainment for us, and how we can get our needs met, but for us to give and love and support others in the body. As we give we benefit and grow,

  37. Diana, you don’t see how much your posts are making judgments about people you don’t know, and then how telling them what they should do is presumptuous? To conclude that someone who hasn’t connected yet with some local people on a similar journey is because they are selfishly seeking what they want or seeking to be entertained and not concerned about the good of the body comes off a bit cruel. I realize there are people like that, but I doubt many of them are on this blog and preaching at them isn’t going to help them anyway. When you say that if people “look hard enough” they will find “a church” misses the larger point of this podcast entirely. Most people I know would love to find a piece of that family to engage where they are, but find many to be dominated by those who seek to control others and not trust Jesus to build his body as he desires.

    • 1. It is not our “job” to change people. That is Jesus prerogative.
      2. It is not about avoiding them and isolating ourselves. It is about being led by Christ to move away from empty structures into a deep, intimate and dynamic relationship that has challenges
      3. Remaining in church structures had other challenges and many remained loyal because they did not want to be seen as rebellious but the structures failed to make room for them to grow. I could go on a diatribe but it would serve no purpose because I agree with you that there are lots of lovely genuine christians in church.
      3. We are meeting as part of his body, just not in the form that you approve of.

  38. Yes believers marry unbelievers. So what! When we live in fear, we see life as a danger and choose to lock ourselves into safe zones and all the thou shalts and thou shalt nots, in the hope of keeping ourselves safe. As you said, it is all about “I”. That is human nature. You will stay in fellowship within a structured church because that is where you feel safe.

    No one who has chosen to walk away from the structured institutions, was looking to be entertained. What they have found outside these buildings, is a deeply intimate and rewarding relationship with Christ, which incidentally is what they were looking for within the church organisation. They do not fear falling in error or that they may accidentally fraternise with the “unclean”.

    I appreciate your perspective but sadly, I cannot agree with you. I have done more “work” for Christ, outside the church than I ever did within structure of the organisation. God in his infinite majesty has taught me how to love those that are broken and to bring life to those who have no hope. It is about being open to the leading of his Spirit so that inspiration and encouragement flow from within, powerfully transforming lives.

    It is about yielding to the Spirit when he beckons you to delve into the depths of self examination, learning about your strengths and weaknesses and the freedom that comes when you realise that nothing can separate you from his love and nothing you do, will make you less deserving of his adoration of you. Those are the truths that people on the God Journey have discovered and are discovering apart from attending meetings and fellowships et al. And this leads to them loving the unlovely, just as God would have us do.

    Nothing beats the sensation of watching God work through you without anyone else knowing about it. I can tell you many, many testimonies of how God has used me on the dance floor, in a pub, at a skatepark, at the horse races and the way he gives me words and insights that touches people, just makes me in awe of this amazing God that I choose to follow, outside the restrictive (for me) institutionalized organisation.

    But that is my truth.

    • Dearest Diana

      God adores you. You have fire and passion and are so keen to do what is right and you so desperately want to convince others to do the “right” thing.

      This conversation is going round and round in circles and thus serves no purpose. May you be blessed in every area of your life and may your continue to do the good work, God has called you to do. I wish you every success in every area of your life.

  39. Most of them aren’t empty structures. They are the body of Christ operating together to do what he has called us to do. We were never meant to operate alone, and God tells us not to do so.

  40. “We are supposed to have a family and a body who we can be part of.” Diana, I guess my question for you is, what is your definition of a family/body?

    After pondering this question myself, the scripture where Jesus is asking who his brothers, sisters, and mother were comes to mind (Matthew 12:46-50). I am no bible scholar, so please forgive me if I am taking this scripture out of context in anyway.

    I am happy that you have found groups you feel at home in. I just don’t think it always looks the same for everyone. I don’t have groups, or even A group. I do have a handful of individuals I am blessed to do life with as Papa leads. Maybe it is not the ideal, but it is where I am. No matter what family may look like for an individual at any given season of their life, as long as they are in Papa’s hands, they are right where they belong – don’t you think?

  41. Diana, how many times are you going to say the same thing? You’ve been heard even if people don’t agree with your limited view of what it means to be part of God’s family. This blog is designed to allow people to have a conversation about the content of the podcast, and I don’t want to see anyone hijack it as their personal pulpit. Please let it go, or I will have to remove further posts. You’re welcome to write me personally if you don’t understand or appreciate that. Thank you.

  42. We do meet with other believers regularly. Have you not been reading people’s responses?

  43. The trajectory of this thread has burnt itself out, giving off more heat than light. I have only twice stepped into this blog to moderate a problem in its entire history. But there is nothing that kills a conversation faster than someone pushing an agenda and others having to fight back. We lost our Forum a few years ago when someone hijacked the venue to push their agenda on others and I won’t let it happen here. I have appreciated the restraint so many of you have demonstrated here, but if we’re going to have more conversation here, let’s get back to the podcast, the kind of conversation that encourages each other to live more freely and fully in Jesus. I will moderate out any further posts that I consider a problem. Yes, I hate to do it, but I hate to lose the space for safe conversations about the journey that we have enjoyed here for so long.

  44. I have found this discussion with Diana interesting in terms of the book that you are currently writing, Wayne, especially as it relates to this first chapter you have read us and in fact relates to a number of podcasts where there are those who fail to grasp that the bride can exist (in fellowship) outside of organised structures.

    Here is the poser, is it ever fruitful to engage in a cyber discussion/debate with these people? It makes me think of political parties, when an opposing party member crashes into a party’s website and proceeds to be argumentative for the sake of proving their point. There is never an acknowledgment or a yielding from the troll. All that they set out to do, is to trumpet their point of view over and over again, as if that is sufficient argument and in that the disruption occurs and the focus of the discussion is arrested.

    But to go deeper. Conflicting opinions are as old as time and many who read your book with slander it from within their limited understanding. One of the things I believe many of us have discovered, is that we will always run into these type of people and it is pointless to engage with them,. The other thing, is that they are not always easily discerned but their circular arguments, refusing to take cognizance of what is said in response to their posts, eventually reveal them. I find it intriguing that people like this exist. What goes on in their minds?

  45. Wayne’s book So You Don’t Want To Go To Church Anymore (yes I know this should be underlined or In italics but the Ipad does not make it easy) is very clear that there are healthy church groups that are loving places.
    I have gone to church all of my life. I have the Sunday School pens from my childhood. So I have not come to this change easily. I have been away from a church building that I have been a part of for 35 years for over a year now. My fellow travelers and I discuss it has taken years for us to come to this decision. No one is more spiritual than the other, but we are seeking to know him for ourselves and to hear his voice in our lives.
    I have left because it became very apparent that if you are a serious student of the Bible and you don’t believe or repeat the same faith mantras then you are an outsider already. The church pastor today has a business plan to build bigger buildings and then corrupts the message often to fill those pews because bigger means you have succeeded, but also requires to constantly bring in more givers for the financial demands of those buildings. The people follow and become the worker
    bees. It may seem sarcastic, and that is not how I want it to sound, but people often feel they are doing their part and feel spiritual by doing rather than truly knowing their Father for themselves.
    Sometimes you have to answer the questions of why do we do church, worship, etc. the way we do?
    I live in the Bible belt and there are churches on every corner. A great many of them have family life centers because you keep increasing buildings etc. to supposedly grow the congregation. It is a never ending beast to be fed and you borrow large sums of money to make it happen. You are challenged to have faith and believe for what God is going to do through these efforts.
    I wonder what it would be like if we did not see our faith in terms of a building and more as fellow believers involved in our communities and relationships without an agenda.

  46. And so the God Journey continues because that is what it is all about, our faith is fellow believers involved in communities and relationships without an agenda.

    Living Loved translates into loving those around us and what a privilege that is. Truly!!

  47. Michelle, I don’t want the discussion to focus so much on Diana, or “that kind of person.” Honestly we don’t know what kind of person she is only that the way we were all communicating here wasn’t increasing the light, which is why I cut it off. Could be as much as the way we engaged her as how she engaged us. But I have learned on this journey that arguments are pointless. Once we have a need to convince others of our point of view, a conversation is over and manipulation sets in. I don’t argue with folks any more. I usually let them have their say, explain how I see it differently and then see what more they have to say. If it appears that they have a need ton fix me, I look to wind it up pretty quick in a gracious way. Can we love each other beyond our differences? Can we trust the Holy Spirit to show each of us what he needs to? Things like that. Internet forums make it very difficult because it is easy for one person to hijack a conversation. I honestly think it is best when someone posts like that and it is obvious they are not sharing looking for input, to just not comment and keep the more real conversation going. Once you take it on it’s like the old illustration of getting stuck in tar together and the more you try to help someone out the more stuck you get yourself. Conversation is an art. Sometimes you just gotta walk away when the conversation has ended and arguments have begun…

    • I would agree with you, Wayne. Thank you for taking the time to respond to my comment. I appreciate your insight.

  48. Hullo Michelle,
    I thought I would share my thoughts on your question if that’s ok with you. I’ve circled the outskirts of this blog for some time, shy to share my thoughts and my relationship with Jesus – and I’ve enjoyed most of the conversations going on here. I opened up further back in this group of posts and as I watched what unfolded afterwards, I felt unsafe and a little regretful that I had joined in. This was entirely due to my own memories and sensitivity to conflict – I am not blaming any person for how I felt. But the “debate” was tense and the comments full of barbs and barely concealed anger. I don’t think its ever “fruitful” to engage in such debates on cyberspace nor any other spaces.
    And I just wanted to add, my heart cries out for Diana – I have stood in her shoes and I have spoken the same way to a group of people that I thought were in the wrong. I preached as you say, from a “self appointed pulpit” – or as you put it “trumpeted my own view over and over again.” It was a horrible – and afterwards during the backlash, very shame-filled experience. I stood on what I thought was rock solid theology – and I used my head and my logic to shore up walls against uncertainty and doubt as I preached. And inside – where NO one could see – not even myself – I was sooo afraid! Afraid to be wrong – to have myself questioned. Afraid that I might not really know Jesus like others did. And the more afraid I was the more passionate I spoke. I was so threatened by others opinions – by anyone who might somehow prove how far away from Him I was. I was living in a space of fear – clinging to God by my fingertips – trying so desperately not to be shaken loose – never realizing that he had me securely in his palm and he was never gonna let go.
    Now I walk among family and friends who still live in that space – and they are so angry and hurt by me. They all have taken turns telling me that I think I am more spiritual than them – that the reason I quit going to that church building is because I think I am better than them. And in the same breath they tell me they are praying for me – my mom confronted me in desperate tears because she’s deeply afraid that I am losing my faith – that I am slipping closer to hell – that I am perhaps following a demon rather than my Love and Savior. She sees herself in a security net and me falling out of it. And it tears me up inside because I am finally – finally! feeling so LOVED by my Jesus and so ENJOYING him! And they can’t see it! The fear they feel for me is very powerful and real. But I cannot carry the ones I love – only Jesus can do that.
    And still, in some moments – I can feel that same fear as I used to – as Diana seemed to speak out of – I can always say how I don’t think I’m more spiritual than anyone – that anyone is more spiritual than anyone else for that matter – but in some deep place of me that Jesus will one day heal – I still sometimes compete – I still sometimes want to push in closer than others – because who doesn’t want to be RIGHT there! squished up close to his chest. And its hard sometimes to remember that there’s room for all of us there – that he doesn’t have to pick and choose favorites between us. It reminds me of that story in the New Testament about the disciples arguing over who is greater – and I always look at it in disgust and think – not me! I would never be like that! haha!!
    Soo, I just wanted to say – there is no them and us. there is just us. We can all step into fear at times. Thank Goodness Jesus is there to pull us out of it!!!

  49. THANK YOU Kerri for sharing. Your words ministered to me so very, very much. I have been in a season of healing from hurtful words. Recently, the Holy Spirit shared with me that the root of judgment is insecurity. I didn’t really understand this until I read your words. Thank you. Please, please, share as you feel led.

    Also, as a part of my healing, I have learned Ephesians 6:12 as more of a reality. The battle is not against flesh and blood. Those who are flesh and blood are very much dearly loved by God.

    Lastly, I have learned the necessity of hearing from Him before we speak, even if the words we intend to speak are Scripture. For the same One who says that He came not to bring peace but a sword (Matthew 10:34) is also the same One who says “Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called children of God” (Matthew 5:9). We NEED HIM to discern which Scriptures apply to each situation.

  50. Wayne,

    After listening to this first chapter, I’m intrigued to hear more details about the complete journey you’ve taken to where you are today. I love the title, as I think it will attract a different population than “The Jake Book” does. When I read “The Naked Church” all those years ago, I would never have picked up a book called “So You Don’t Want to Go to Church Anymore”, because my heart wasn’t there. Nor would I have likely found such a title at my local Baptist Book Store (now Lifeway). 🙂

    I understand why you feel “The Naked Church” no longer expresses your heart today, and I hope this new book will do just that for those who know there’s something missing, but are struggling to see past the stained glass.

    Godspeed on this project. I’m looking forward to reading the finished product.

  51. It would have been better had I not replied to the comment, “Paul clearly tells us not to stop meeting together.” I wasn’t thinking of Diana, as truth come by revelation, not by arguing. I was actually thinking of all the people reading along who have been beaten up by Hebrews 10:25. I wanted to reassure them. I did feel attacked but waited to see if Jesus gave me a reply. None was needed. I did wonder how she found herself on this site. Did Father lead her here and did we fail Him? We have probably all been in her shoes, arguing with our intellect and not waiting for His voice.

  52. Ken said, “I would never have picked up a book called “So You Don’t Want to Go to Church Anymore”, because my heart wasn’t there.”
    It was for me! It was just an article someone had printed from Wayne’s site. It was gold to me as I had been away from the meetings for several years and it expressed succinctly just what I was feeling but couldn’t put into words. I was so blessed.

  53. I had a really interesting experience this past weekend.
    Our high school graduating class (1979) get together every September to float the Illinois river and just love and bond and laugh. Something spiritual happens that week together. Some of my friends say “magical” but I see it as a spiritual experience. We all have a common past. Many of us have known each other since kindergarten but even if we werent close friends we have a common history.
    Some are high powered executives, lawyers etc…..some are carpenters, house cleaners and waiters. We have clean cut and hippies but we all love each other and can’t wait till next year.
    Every evening some people get out their guitars and drums and harmonicas (whatever) and it’s always a highlight. It’s just relaxing and such an expression of the love we all share.
    Well, this year someone got a little controlling and wanted to make it more structured. He arranged the seats like an auditorium and told people to be quiet and got very angry of all eyes weren’t on the “performance”. It happened before my very eyes…….the spirit was squashed.
    It was such a visual to me about how the spirit is run off from our structured enivironments. How the darkness comes when someone’s need to control overpowers the freedom and love.
    Its not just the church, but anytime someone starts trying to control and structure an environment that is meant for love and relationship.
    I learned something this weekend. Maybe it’s summed up like this love + freedom = relationship

  54. Maybe, if we stand our ground on this issue long enough the same thing will happen in the church that happened at my high school reunion. The free will out number the controllers and they will have no one to control and THEY will move on instead of us! 🙂

  55. Or maybe I should say “those of us who need to control to feel safe will not longer feel that need”

  56. Wayne, thank you for being willing to read Ch. 1 to us.
    I’m deeply inspired–this vision of church fills me with energizing hope.
    I’m praying for you as you complete the book and seek wisdom on how best
    to make it available to others.
    May the process continue to be an encouraging synthesis of all you’ve been learning on your journey.

  57. Hi Wayne,

    So thrilled to hear you are visiting the UK and even more thrilled to hear the first chapter of your book. It brought tears to my eyes as I realised that though I am still in a kind of wilderness, lonely at times but not alone, Christ is forever present even when I cannot sense His presence. Throughout all of this, despite my doubts, fears and pain, one constant remains: I find myself here because God brought me this far and wherever I end up or whatever happens next will be because I am only hearing and following the voice of the true Shepherd. I will not compromise that for the sake of relationship or to fit into the mould of Christianity others have made or experienced before me.

    I do not need to concern myself with being in relationship with other Christians in order to be part of the Body, but I’d better make jolly well sure that Christ is at the Head of the Body I so long to be a part of. If that is the case, He will bring the right relationships along in his good and perfect time.

  58. Sorry, but I had to chuckle. In the beginning of the Charismatic revival that swept this country during the late 60’s and early 70’s there were lots of churches. Lots of spirit. And lots of problems. One of my favourites (?) was a place that believed in dancing in the spirit. Like David did. Unfortunately it was done in your underwear. LIke David did……Things did not end well……But they were scriptural…….

    I have seen other churches in the discipleship/submission movement that kept files on their members. One man who had left that church, was seated in a restaurant over 200 miles from that church, at about 10:00 pm confided in me about the existence of the files. In a hushed whisper. In a town of about 300 people…… With no one anywhere near the diner…. He was still very afraid. Bob Mumford finally admitted in a national magazine that he had made a huge mistake with his thoughts on headship, accountability, authority of the pastors, covering, discipleship, etc., but much damage was done. Gene Edwards wrote a book for broken people coming from that movement “A tale of three kings”. Over the years it has helped me.

    So, in my experience, I have seen many hurting people come from churches. By the way, there are well over 2000 chuches/denominations. Which ones are heretical? Whose interpretation of scripture do you trust? No one, and I do mean no one, has a hammerlock on truth. Plus you don’t have to believe correctly to hear the voice of Jesus…..Shocker I know, but true.

    My brother in law just got out of a church after over 30 years. I almost went down and lit into them but then I realized I would be acting just like they did……..Beware when you fight the dragon lest you come just like him. Much pain and dysfunction, very cruel in their leadership. For Jesus of course. Right, white, uptight and vote right. Works every time……..

    Of course, some churches do quite a bit of good. I personally am quite happy in mine. But believe me, if church attendance, scripture memorization and accountability groups would bring the world to Christ it would have happened already…….a long time ago……..

    Be free little birds. Jesus loves you, and there’s nothing you can do about that!


  59. Thank you Mark for your insight. It continues to help to know I am not alone in facing some of the brokenness that splashes over from the impact of the buildings. Within my extended family I see it and the freedom from that, the process of becoming extricated and yet loving them when our paths cross…wow I feel aware of how much I need His help. In conversation with Him last evening over the pain of how I had been treated, He gently reminded me that I have previously behaved just like them…and He continued to love me through that. So it comes back to knowing we are deeply loved and then out of His life being able to love others. I find that I keep wanting to put a formula together but in the end it’s much better the way He builds things. It’s messy and the process takes s-ooooo very long (feels like it anyway) but in the end I’m seeing that it works out much better when He shapes the transformation.

  60. Wayne,
    I just listened to the chapter you read and can identify with much that you said. I think this book has the potential to bring a lot of freedom to God’s people, and it is for freedom that Christ has set us free (Gal 5:1).

  61. hi there,

    i noticed the language on thegodjourney is inclusive of the language “she” as well as “he” when considering god. thank you. it’s helped deepen my connection to the words spoken here immensely.


  62. Hi Mercedes, I like what you said “I am only hearing and following the voice of the true Shepherd. I will not compromise that for the sake of relationship ….. I’d better make jolly well sure that Christ is at the Head of the Body I so long to be a part of. “
    I am happy in my times of aloneness with Jesus. So much of us have spent time in the wilderness where we get to know Him. I have found a friend recently. She was unhappy in her church but I have to take care not to overwhelm her with all I have learned. I need to listen carefully to Jesus so I know what to share. I think He kept me alone until He could trust me to check with Him before I opened my mouth.
    Hi Mark, I enjoy your humour. Sadly many people have been controlled in the Sunday Meetings and I didn’t even see what was happening to me back then. Now I want to concentrate on the real walk Jesus intended us to have with Him.
    “Which ones are heretical?” I trust as I listen to Him He is slowly revealing the truth to me. “Plus you don’t have to believe correctly to hear the voice of Jesus…..Shocker I know, but true.” Surprising isn’t it. I am continually surprised when truth is revealed to me. I used to measure everything by what I was taught at Bible College.
    Hi Sue, I am sad that we were sucked in by the leadership and just let bad things happen. What I have found is that the non-believers see it so much more clearly. I am amazed that He rescued me. Why me? I thank Him continually. He told me so clearly to leave.

  63. The God Journey. so apt on so many levels.

    I amt loving my God Journey for it has led me into an incredibly dynamic relationship with the living God without any fallible human interference in the form of rules and regulations and thou shalt and shalt nots. He keeps making Ephesians 3.16-19 more and more REAL to me while 1 Cor 13.4-11 provide guidlines but these scriptures are not definitive nor are they the only guidelines. They are principles that keep being repeated in each stage of this magnificent journey, that my Lord and my Saviour is taking me on.

    I love that he does not always tell me what is coming but he promises me, that if I trust him, he will look after me and what an incredible journey it has become. He has taught me to love and my heart is in a constant state of awe and amazement and excitement. How he loves us!!

    So many testimonies are flooding my mind of how deeply he works within me within the seemingly most adverse circumstances. The verse that says the things of the Spirit are foolishness to those who do not have the Spirit. God does not work in a straight line.

    An advertisement was placed in a newspaper which I happened to find while doing my laundry at the laundromat (I do not have a washing machine). So I applied for the job and was called in for an interview. God said to me, he has something in mind for the woman I went to see. What a journey it has been. We had an “interview” but instead spoke of the deep things that are happening in her heart. Emails and phone calls abound as God in his infinite majesty and wisdom wants to love this worman back into wholeness. Compassion fills my soul even though it is not an easy journey with her. Broken people are by their very nature, rather prickly and stubborn, angry and aggressively defensive but oh what a privilege it is to love them back to life. God’s love within me, allows me to love in spite of….And that is the singular most awe-inspiring gift, I could ever have hoped for, for I got it without asking for it. He gives abundantly without any need to for us to ask. He does not give what we think we need but he gives what he wants us to have and it always exceeds our mere human ideas.

    It is ALL ABOUT LOVING!! When we are loved and loving in return, in a way that blows our mind, all other “things” cease to matter.

  64. Hi Michelle, Even though I have done my share of moaning about loneliness, I absolutely agree with what you have said. God loves broken people through me. It is awesome. I haven’t seen anyone find Jesus. That worries me.
    It is unusual to attend Sunday meetings in NZ. People roll their eyes if I talk about Jesus. I don’t talk about God as some people just believe in a supreme being but don’t know who he is.
    Jesus takes care of me in amazing ways and answers most of my questions in surprising ways. When we were visiting the city my little spoodle puppy went missing. It was hard not to panic. She is not safe in traffic. Jesus said ‘Do you trust me?’ I said yes, knowing that might mean still trusting Him even if she was killed. A Lady was turning off the motorway when she saw a puppy on the onramp. Cars were trying to drive round her. Her husband truly was a Good Samaritan, braved the traffic and rescued the puppy. Dog registration found us and all was well.

  65. Hi Eve-Loraine,

    Thank you for your kind words.

    You are so right. I also found it so hard to not be over passionate in sharing what God was showing me when I first felt Him leading me out of the system. Being too zealous and eager in trying to make others see what I was seeing is what alienated me even further from the ones I loved deeply and who loved me too. Sadly, I no longer have contact with any of them. My passion for God’s voice literally burnt our love out. A hard lesson to have gone through but I don’t think I shall be making that same mistake again.

    It is the easiest thing to fall in the same trap of trying to make others see what one sees in the Spirit and to pass judgement on their spiritual state based on whether they can see what you see. Nevertheless, I have come to accept and understand there is great purpose in this wilderness and “aloneness”, and I have also learnt to enjoy the peace that this solitude brings. But the most overwhelming and overriding feeling as I go thorugh this season of my life is not loneliness or even peace, but a great sense of freedom to be who God created me to be, a great sense of self-acceptance but at the same time the willingness to be moulded into who God sees I could become.

    There is no freedom like the freedom we find when we are truly in Christ. Yes, it is for freedom He set us free, and so I will not compromise that sacrifice He made on the cross for anyone or anything even if that means many years in this wilderness. I don’t want to miss what the Spirit of God is doing in the world, but I willl be at great risk of doing so if I follow the voice of man and not the voice of the Shepherd.

  66. I always enjoy these conversations. It is so interesting to see God active in lives in many ways.

    I myself do not experience any particular closeness, awedness or much of any other kind of ness unless you include madness…… Many times I am afraid and lonely, feeling a bit overwhelmed by life’s challenges.

    Which is perfectly all right. I get to experience all of life’s emotions without trying to systematize any fixes, memorize scripture for an escape, preach a sermon for relief, or any one of other fixes to a temporary mood. By not medicating I also get to experience real fellowship in coffee shop this week, in a conversation with a wife frightened as her husband is in a coma, mutual encouragement from another beat up fellow traveler, etc.

    Life happens. So does grace. I don’t need a neat Christian experience bow tied up in shiny victorious wrapping. In my experience when you open those type of packages they are filled with lots of stinky stuff…… I live by faith. In HIm. Which after 40 years or so has proved enough.


  67. I am amused. How different we all are. I am all about awesome and passion and ecstasy. Others are about faith with no emotions. Which is “right”? None. Would I want to live my relationship with Father with no emotions? Most definitely not. Do I rely on my emotions as evidence of God’s presence in my life? No. Often he is in the stillness of my soul. Yet seeing his hand in my life and the degree to which he is intimately involved in my life (Gosh that he KNOWS ME SO INTIMATELY……Welllllll) puts me into a state of awe and I am overwhelmed with his VERY REAL EMOTIONAL LOVE. But hey, this is my personal, subjective experience of God, a spiritual being. All spiritual experiences are subjective and thus, whether we respond emotionally or unemotionally, does not make the experience any less or more real.

    The other thing that intrigues me, is the various levels that we all are on. There are those who cannot grasp what the God Journey is about. There are those who have been so hurt by the church system (note, I do not say the church because we are the church) that any hint of conflict within these conversations makes them shy away from participating. This puts me in mind, when I was pastoring where I had to be so careful what I said to baby Christians so that I would not confuse them. It seems it is no different, no matter where we gather. Jesus admonished us not to let our freedom to be stumbling block for those who are weak and this remains a universal and ageless truth…..thus it remains that fellowship (in whatever form) will always be fraught with the danger of offense whether taken or given.

    Many years ago, I realised that because our Christianity is a very subjective experience and every one of us is zealous in our beliefs and yet insecure in ourselves (some less and some more), we seek fellowship with like-minded people in order to feel affirmed and to reassure ourselves that we are “right”.

    And then there are those of us, who no longer desire to be right but just to share the wonder and “isms” and superlative “ness’s” but we are still subjected to comparisons and rights and wrongs. Se la Vie and God bless all you beautiful people! God loves you! And so do I, May peace find you where ever you are, whether it consists of a superlative “ness” or not. All that matters is that you KNOW Him, who seeks to love you in depths and heights and lengths and widths. What an incredible amazing awesome magnificent God he is! I adore Him and his presence in my life, leaves me in a constant state of wonder and awe and I would not have it any other way.

  68. Well said, Michelle. I can only speak for myself. This year is seeing many changes. As I write this a very good friend has just passed away. (roughly two hours ago). Went into a coma three days ago and the doctors and family have decided that today is it. No response. Another friend has hospice in for his wife. Routine checkup a few months back and cancer everywhere. These two men have been part of my bible study for many years.

    Where is God? He feels distant right now. Yet I know this pain is a byproduct of a life lived in love. If I did not love, I would not feel pain. I would have shut down emotions so nothing can penetrate. I cannot live like that. So….. I must depend on Him.

    This life is not all there is. There is much more coming. For that I am being prepared. God does not waste a thing, pain, love, fear, laughter, life, death. All are in His hands. He holds my past, my present and my future. All things will be used in my formation, and my transformation. Of that I can be certain. I will embrace the pain as I embrace the joy. Pain will do it’s work. I will not go the route of medicated short cuts. But just wait…..

    My daughter is in love, and waiting to start a new future with a terrific man. Much better than her father, I must say. They will do well. She is all twitter pated. It is wonderful to behold. The mystery of love. The mystery of death. The mystery of life.

    When I was younger I knew so much more. Now, I just wait. The God who rarely speaks has much to say. About me. Personally. So I wait for Him. He does not appear to ever be on time but I have learned He is never late. He will speak to me now. If I wait…….But for now, I have been crying…..


  69. Hey mark 🙂

    I had a squiz on your post.

    Its great you open up the way you do, this is the only way God can work as the door has been left wide open. I bet you felt a whole lot better !!

    Clearly your days with Christ a far from over! I can sense just in what you write your heart is aching in the correct direction 🙂 Be encouraged that what you are going through will come to an amazing reality and a peaceful end, that instead of you waiting for god you are sitting with him as he is sitting with you. In times of our worry we are always saying, “where are you” ! but we are so loud within our selves we cant hear his voice saying ” I’m right here” 🙂

    I have recently understood that in trial God has his way of revealing to me, Be joyful in the times of trial because it is proof that you are my son. Then gently says now have faith 🙂

    This cant get any more simple than this, yet it is hidden from our enemy in such a unique way That only God could have made this happen 🙂

    Hope you can hear me.

    Love from a brother in Christ in Australia!!


  70. Hi Eve-Lorraine. Have been unable to jump into the e-conversation here…09/28 you responded to my posting re the pain of learning to love those who are still in the “building”..some of whom are family members. I think that in general sense this is the transformation that Father does. He is in the business of rescuing and rather than run from our “mess”, He walks us through it so we’re never left alone. (Some others have commented on that as well). This has begun to reshape the way I love. Wow what a profound learning that is…the Shepherd is a patient teacher. Mark…sorry for some of the pain you’re facing. Jesus is also walking me through some very significant “storms” right now (finances, some misunderstanding and coldness in relationships and my Dad’s diagnosis on top of everything else). I appreciate the way you described how b/c we love, we feel things that much more deeply. My heart resonates b/c I also will not take the “easy or medicated” way out. Jesus promises He will walk with us through it and will walk us out of it and to depend on Him is the only response I see worth taking.

  71. Hi Sue, I like to respond to some of the conversations as we often like to feel heard. At times I have written and wondered if anyone read it. We don’t always need answers; we look to Jesus for that. I think it is much harder in the US as so much revolves around the Sunday meetings. I don’t have family who attend. In fact it was the other way around. I have always been the weird religious one and I can see now just how religious I was. I read this today from TAS. He can be a little hard to understand but it is usually worth the effort.
    “This whole question of heavenly relationship with the Lord is a tremendously searching one, the fact that Christ has transferred everything to heaven and that nothing less than a life in heavenly union with Him will stand the test at any time. We will ask the Lord that He will take this – if it really is the truth – and search us. It may be that some of us will find comfort, because we shall see this is exactly what the Lord is doing with us. Why isolation? Why the testing’s? Why the loneliness in spiritual life? To save us from THINGS unto Himself, even Christian things, so that God’s end that Christ may be all and in all shall be reached; not things, but Christ; not Christianity, but Christ; not Christian work, but Christ. By T. Austin-Sparks from: That Which Was From The Beginning – Chapter 1 “

  72. Thanks Eve-Loraine for sharing your thoughts. I have often reflected as He has walked me through lonliness that if the end goal is to have a better job, to have more people like me and want to hear what I have to say ( “Let’s ask Sue”) then I am simply using Him to achieve what I think I need for myself right? As He has engaged me I find that the answer is, “But I want the depth of relationship with Him” and then let Him bring me what He decides out of love for me is best. After coming through a very controlled “Presbyterian system” some of the people very well meaning….I knew that I could no longer live that way. It was exhausting and interestingly enough…already as a child and teenager I intuitively knew there were problems but could not put words to it. God continued to lead me and the wonderful thing is that even through all of this control, He didn’t run away but continued to give me as much light as I could handle. I look back and can see how extravagant His grace was in all of those situations. Then four years ago now, I “happened” to hear a conversation b/t W and an interviewer in Canada. This led me to the podcast and his weekly conversations with Brad. I’m now in a place where I interact w/ family (still in the building) and I can see that I’m learning to love them better. Seems that Jesus has changed my focus (very slowly) to more where I can see His love. If I am loved by HIm, then I can face the storms b/c He is with me. The pain of lonliness and the grief over some of the “storms” He is walking me through is very real. What’s interesting is that I’m noticing my responses are beginning to change. I’m running to Him much more quickly and as the inner “noise” slowly is quieted, I can here His voice with greater clarity. Seems that the focus shifting over to Him changes some of these other things without our effort. (smile). Thanks for bearing patiently with my “overflow of words”!

  73. Well, i’m going to weigh in here about the book. Looks like i’m a little late. Sometimes a light shines on things and causes the pieces to be seen in a different light. Your thoughts, Wayne, about the way the body of Christ is experienced, in and out of structures and over the years, rearranged some pieces for me. I can catch glimpses of the body I have known and much of the silly activity I thought was so important falls below. So i do look forward to the whole book. I hope you won’t give it away. I’m guessing many, not just me, could afford to but it. The Engage series is super good, by the way! It is like widely spaced markers on a treasure hunt. And we all know what the treasure is! God bless you.

  74. Appreciate the thoughts. And yes, He is here. It’s just that I wanted to play catch and kept tossing Him a mitt and He wouldn’t pick it up…….. If He really loved me He’d surely play catch, wouldn’t He?…….

    Years ago I had a spiritual experience and wanted to know if it was true. I asked Him to provide a scripture that would last the rest of my life. Bold and foolish, all in one. So He did. Habakkuk 2:1 “I will stand my watch and set myself on the rampart, and watch to see what He will say to me, and what I will answer when I am reproved.”

    Yeah I know. Sucks to be me. I wanted power, glory, miracles. He replied with prayer, ordeals, reproof. And waiting. And watching. A life of prayer. Of faith. Habakkuk has many famous verses. “The just shall live by their faith.” “Hinds feet on high places” “The glory of The Lord shall cover the earth like the waters cover the sea”. Lots of good stuff in those few chapters. But it was a very tough time back then. For you theologians, chew on this. Habakkuk is the only book of the bible that answers a theodicy with a theophany.

    Frankly, it is enough.



  75. These comments are admirable… i so badly wish for a life and community such as this. Yet here i am and everything could still be so much better… I could still be so much better…

  76. Interesting how many respondents to this blog above are women. As a fellow “W” (woman not Wayne) it doesn’t surprise me that, at least anecdotally, there are more women than men. (although, in most ‘churches’ there always are more women…but my experience has been that while men are often desperately hurt in institutionalized religion, by far the most generally abused in the church are women and I find them often, searching for ‘church’ outside the ‘church. or abandoning church altogether.

    I too have altogether left my church “home” of fundamentalism after over 30 years. I have listened to Wayne for several years, sort of ‘feeling’ my way around trying to find footing, having had the rug pulled out from under my feet not only because I was born female, but entirely because I was born female. Most people here may not have such experiences because of being from more charismatic churches, but believe me, your day is coming. The arm of flesh will fail you. Institutionalism is the enemy of Christianity…even in small doses…of that I am sure…hence the house church is just a microcosm of the same ambition and bullying that occurs in the larger venue.

    Having left fundamentalism, but not my friends of faith, I began to discover that the ‘god’ that I had been taught was not really the God of the Bible…fundamentalism’s god loved the strong more than the weak, males more than female, pastor’s friends more than nobodies…so for the last three years I have been writing a book about my discoveries, from a female perspective, finding that Jesus loves all His people equally with a supernatural love that enables even the weakest saint to soar over the troubles that “confused carnal Christians” (to be kind) in the church impose on them. Most of my female friends had had the same experience of (deep down in their psyches) really believing that God really didn’t like females. Thankfully I have been relieved to find that this is a ridiculous teaching that, sadly, persists in fundamentalism and that is sometimes spreading to Pentecostalism and more, wherever it can find a disgruntled or ambitious male Christian and females to back him up…beware both men and women that you do not fall prey.

    There are so many evils, that sometimes, I conclude that churches seem to attract the attention of Satan more than any other places. Why are we so surprised? We should be expecting that! One discovery that works, is that “in the mouth of many witnesses” is the church established. When I started to talk to people from other traditions, I began to find a collective wisdom that could not be found in the church “clubs” of denominationalism.

    Out ‘there’ I found Wayne, and “God’s word to Women”, and “Christians for Biblical Equality”, and Gilbert Bilezekian, Ron Pierce and Mimi Haddad, Drs. Eddie and Susan Hyatt, and so many others. These have obviously already had to tread the strong currents of human sin that threaten to overturn the ship of faith… giant tsunamis that sometimes chew us up and spit us out like so many tiny Jonahs on the shoreline of the Kingdom of God. But here we are…all over the world… brushing the sand away and rising upright, still walking with Jesus and sharing with one another the joys of life in Christ!…from every tribe and nation…blessed and blessing!

    Sincerely in the name of Jesus, the Great King and only Head of the Church,


  77. There are aspects to church that I enjoy. There are reasons I desire to be part of a church such as finding friends for myself, & my children. I enjoy the group worship, I enjoy some of the sermons. But I do struggle with the institutionalism of the churches. The prescribed way of doing things the sitting and listening for 30 minutes, the feeling that my doubts & dissatisfaction make me less of a Christian than those I am attending with.

    But I have kids who want friends, I have teens who want to be part of a youth group.

    It is hard.

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