Treasure Hunts, Angel Feathers, and Sozos (#454)
Wayne plows through his recent email, getting comments on past podcast themes and then covers at length one asking about the current so-called revival movements that draw people fascinated by the hope of signs and wonders. How much of it is genuine, and how much of it is a distraction to the greater journey Jesus invites us into? This is straight talk from someone who has been involved in past incarnations of this movement and has settled on a very different view of them as he's learning to live in the affection of the Father. He talks about the manifestations many think demonstrate the power of the Spirit and about the misguided energy that seeks to educate people in techniques that are supposed to produce signs, wonders, and healing at our command. No one he knows who engages Jesus deeply is fascinated by the pursuit of signs and wonders, and no one he knows in the pursuit of signs and wonders is deeply engaged in a relationship with Jesus. That’s not to say they aren’t there, only that he hasn’t met them yet.
The new web page for Finding Church, when we launch it!
Kenya Update for the Outreach in West Pokot
Add your voice to our question/comment line: (805) 539-6980 or Skype us at "TheGodJourney"
As I listen to these podcasts, and keep getting filled up with this Jesus life, I keep finding myself wondering what you two guys believe about “The Insider Movement” in world missions. I stumbled on this incredible issue of Mission Frontiers magazine a couple of years back (http://www.missionfrontiers.org/issue/article/jesus-movements), which opened my eyes to how Jesus is changing the lives of people of other religions all over the world, who are remaing Buddhists, Jews, HIndus, and even Muslims, while living completely in Christ. I find a real connection between the excitement I feel when reading about “Insider Movement” missions work and the excitement I feel when listening to Brad and Wayne discuss living loved and loving others.
Would you be willing to address this issue, which so many Christians (or so many religious Christians) are so scared of?
“…stink stuff is happening…” Sorry – couldn’t help but LOL at the slip of the tongue. Very courageous of you to broach this topic. Good stuff…
“Do not should on yourself” is one of my favourite sayings, so when you used it in response to my post, I just had to laugh. After I had posted my comment, I also realized that all I am called to pray for or be involved in is what the Spirit leads me to. The rest would become an enormous burden. Thanks Wayne for confirming that.
I have heard it said that if the enemy cannot get you to sin, then he will start to accuse of not doing enough. Anything to fill you with condemnation.
My prior performance based, obligation driven understanding of relationship with God has been abandoned, but it still sneaks into my thinking when I least expect it.
Thank you. Once again I did not see clothes on that naked emperor when the gold dust folks came to town.
Hey, you guys got some serious concepts sizzling on the grill. It makes me laugh. You people are dangerous. ha ha So, I pastored for 30 something years and then took a break. I moved to another city and went to church. My wife Kathie and I would come home saying “Is that what we use to do? We said, “Why do people attend.” That made us laugh even more. For awhile we felt guilt for not liking church.We knew to much I suppose. So we started hosting people in our home. Of course, we attracted all the rebellious people. That made us laugh too. The Lord has graciously used all of this to bring us to a revelation of the revelation… Jesus! Imagine that. Jesus, knowing and loving him and being satisfied with him. Our world no longer rises and falls on ministry. Incredible. Keep bringing forth the ‘one thing message’ with out the condiments. This is what the Lord is doing. And, one more little thing. Don’t forget the 80/20 principal. Tom Griner
An adulterous generation seeks signs and wonders…would certainly seem to be pointing out the flesh as the origin of these things claimed as such. Living out of being loved and loving is just so much simpler, isn’t it! And those who long for it, but cling to the flesh to fulfill it are merely attempting to bring about what love does in the heart. Many, as myself had, were religiously following the wrong shepard, legally…and mostly out of an ignorance with feigned acceptance through conformance…until you rock their boat.
i haven’t even listen to the podcast yet. but, i would like to put in my thoughts now before i do. after i listen to the podcast, when i get around to in a few days probably, if my thoughts change or i have anything to add i will.
i love signs and wonders. for 2 main reasons .
1) like most people i like the spectular. (but, this reason has little relevance to my life).
2) more importantly, is because i love Jesus more than signs and wonders.
signs and wonders are in the heart of god. just look at the things Jesus was up to here on earth when he was ministering to people in human form.
i dont chase signs and wonders though. i don’t need to. i just rest in him and if i sense he what’s to perform a sign or wonder,i let him. even help release the sign and wonder if meant to.
i usually prefer a sign or wonder that helps people practically. but, i had a big revelation about gold dust recently. if that’s one way father uses to tell his child he loves them, and he could do anything if he choose,
than i want it too :-). but, i don’t really need it. i know he loves me with or without gold dust. but papa can do what he wants and i lavish the experience if it comes.
also just because i see a sign and wonder that i marvel at, it doesn’t mean i always assume it comes from holy spirit. i test it.
your will be done lord. have your way in everything you do whether it be powerful signs and wonders or a simple act of kindness.:-)
Dear Wayne, I am both a person who has a deep intimate relationship with God and has had many signs and wonders occur in my presence. Listening to the podcast, I noticed you talked from one extreme to the other. I do agree with your statement that a school for the sole purpose of teaching a technique to perform signs and wonders is over the top. The friends and acquaintances in my life who are gifted by the Spirit to have these things manifest through them, haven’t attended any school for that purpose. They are also people like myself; ones who have wonderful relationships with Jesus. This is usually the thing we talk about when any of us get together. With us, signs and wonders are more a by-product of Jesus’ love for us and ours for Him.
If I may give one example that just happened today: I was praying in the Spirit over a young man who had a very bad case of bronchitis. As I was praying, I heard the Spirit direct me to start to declare this man’s healing. So, I did. After I prayed, he stopped me and said he sensed the power of the Spirit touching him from head to foot. Then his breathing got easier and the congestion in his chest left! Have to tell you, I am both blessed and jazzed Jesus would use me to work His miracle through!
In this existence we all share in this life before eternal life, you will always have people who are going to be used by the enemy to confuse people and attempt to break the relationship we have with Jesus. This is why it is very important to be grounded in what we believe. It is why it is even more necessary for the person whom the Lord uses to be well attached to the Rock of our salvation. The discrepancy in your seemingly negative position on this topic comes from putting a good many of the people who walk in the gifts in the same basket. When Jesus talked about and to folks who wanted a sign, He was speaking to the Pharisees of His day. Most people I know are genuine in their love of God and the desire to allow Him to work through them. I can only speak for myself when I tell you how humbled I am that He graciously lets me help with His Kingdom work. I am well aware He doesn’t need me, this is just an outpouring of His love for me and His grace at work in my life.
Thanks for letting me tell my slant on your story! In Him, Karen Lee
i was part of such a “church” for a few year until recently. Love all the people there so much and i know them and know they have a heart for jeseus and are geniune. But after a while i had more questions than answers in my heart..and the irony thing for me now is that i saw so much miracles, saw the gold happenings,people were touched by the pastor then falling to the ground( i was touched alot of times but never fell down and i always wonder why not me but everybody else), prayed in tonges( cause everybody else did it so good and i should then also!) , some of the staff went to malls on saterdays , made a list of people that God showed to them like someone with a yellow shirt and a chils or a women with a hat on etc.( and i alwyas felt and not there yet, but i want to do that also and felt ashamed a bit because i cant do it after i tried..)the latest was some pastor from zimbabwe giving prophetic word calling telephone numbers out, names of people, where they live etc., now the pastor of the church is going into that more and more, giving prophecy in services and numbers etc..(sometimes wrong about it, but thats how you are actually learning to hear HIM RIGHT?), and then the one thing that my heart could not get a rest in- the money talk, sometimes 20min of talking about how money is not bad but in hands of good people its good and we are inly making then do more with the money ( which are all true ) now recently bying a peace of land and then building a church in it, and needing money for it….. even i started praying for people after a weekend of setting people free to pray for people (and the the pastor really helped me cause the whole weekend the pastor talked about jesus and how we are free from ouir sins etc, and talking alot about the cross…) people that i prayed for got healed right before my eyes..not alot but a few ( and i got myself into alot of situations when people dont got healed…)
These people help me learning more about jesus and grace etc. Than i ever knew my whole life!and maybe i am wrong abiut a few things i said here..im just sharing my journey…
But after a while of doing all these things and praying in the hospitals for the sick and and and..after really been honest to myself one day, my relationship with jesus was just..empty..i could believe it cause i did all these things and people got helaed when i prayed for them..it was really hard for me to be honest about it and to God..and all i can share here, and its just my story..my relationship with Him just went so empty..bad habits of my old self suddenly came back in my life and i couodnt understand it..i felt that God wants me out of it all and just be part of nothing..doing nothing for the sake of just doing it cause thats how the New grace revival jesus follower christian are doing things..
My relationshipn with father are so much deeper now..seeking him everyday..asking him to show himself in my daily living..and somedays His more real to me than any of the healing, miracles, sings, gold, prophetic word, speaking in tonges etc..
I think that out of this deep relationship, this real relationship, alot of these things will happen..at this stage i am just waking up and looking for him everyday..
Thanx for reading a bit of my story and journey..
Great podcast once again! It could not have come at a better time! I am in the middle of a situation that this speaks deeply into. I do believe it is or flesh that seeks after physical things that our eyes can see or touch . Either to convince us of Gods existence or that He loves us. If that was the best way to reach us I belive he would . I see Him weaning me off of what I phisicly see and building trust in what He is doing around me that I don’t see . Great stuff here !
I have a thought I’ve been pondering .. Could it be that this journey is as simply as this? Each day we live loved we are one day farther away from living unloved.
Harvey, God is spirit. You can’t physically see Him. Yet we believe with our spirits and hearts that He not only exists, but that He loves us so much He gave His Son to die for us. We’ve never seen any of this, yet still we believe. Why is it then so difficult to believe He can (and does) speak to us through His Spirit using signs and wonders?
Don’t throw the baby out with the bath water because there are some false people out there looking to make a buck on the things of God. It has always been this way and will continue until the Day of the Lord. If we used the rational that if one is bad then all are bad, we’d never believe in anything. Even when Jesus was alive there were people who were claiming to be the Christ. They were found out to be false and justly dealt with. I believe if we are grounded in what we believe, nothing of the false can ever sway us from the love of the Father through Christ Jesus!
In a way, maybe this comment is off topic, but listening to it helped me see this.
It feels like I’ve been going thru a long season of everything I ever thought I knew about God, and myself in His eyes, has been being shaken. When I already thought I was living “outside the box” I am coming to see that there’s been a “box” in my own heart.
In the past I have many times rejoiced in what I like to call “fresh evidence of God’s love for me”. These happenings range from very small incidences to not so small, and I do still see them as His graciousness to me. What I’m realizing though, is that as long as I am relying on these things to confirm His love to me, I am at the mercy of the daisy petals, so to speak. I think God is wanting to bring me to a rock solid assurance of who He is. To my dismay and delight, my careful efforts to please Him have never been necessary to earn me a spot on His lap, or a place in His heart!
I’m feeling so undone and blessed by this truth, I know revelation is a giant step in my journey. That God would go too such lengths, risking my good opinion of Him in the process, to make me utitimately secure is overwhelming. Bless the Lord, oh my soul…
Good catch, David! I almost edited that out, but thought it may have been prophetic in the end. I knew this podcast would be difficult for those who have found comfort or excitement with some of these things. It isn’t a podcast against the supernatural, but against a pre-occupation with the supernatural that produces contrived “manifestations”. When we learn to walk with him the supernatural will unfold in our lives, but it won’t be a distraction to the greater joy of knowing him.
Wayne, thanks for the clarification of your podcast! I was a little dismayed thinking a program I like so much (yours), was going to leave out a good deal of the New Testament! Ever since I left the institutional church for the church Jesus is assembling, I have walked in such freedom from the monitorings of leadership toward the supernatural giftings. It was a bummer to think a guy who wrote “So You Don’t Want to Go to Church Anymore” , was going to disappoint in his take on the supernatural.
Hope you read my initial comment. There are really some of us out here who love Jesus with all we are and still walk in the gifts. Truly, it isn’t a dwelling on the supernatural, as much as it is a pleasant suprise when something happens in the spirit realm!
Will, sorry, I know nothing about the Insider Movement, unless it’s just people touching people relationally and the Gospel spreading that simply. If so, that’s what I’ve always treasured, but naming it and calling it a movement does disfigure it a bit, in my opinion. Why can’t we just let God do what he does without trying to give it a cute name and try to make it sound like something bigger than it is?
Karen, did you listen to the podcast? That was exactly the point. I believe God does extraordinary miracles, heals the sick, and attends to us with angels. But he didn’t give us techniques to “work” them, but draws us into a relationship where we can cooperate with his working. But anyone who does is still more enthralled with their relationship with Jesus than signs and wonders and counseling techniques. He alone is life!
We see so eye to eye on so many core values, which is really cool. like we are discoverying though most things we seem to come at it from a different angle.
I hate the fake. Love the genuine articular.-I love it when you feel lead to
Ask someone you don’t even know from a bar of soap with a prophetic
Gifting to pray for you. By jeepers there are times when you know it’s definitely god.
I hate it when people chase signs and wonders over god himself.-most of the people that
I know though that chase after miracles, signs and wonders, are actually in their hearts
their pursuing of god himself. I know it was for me until i
Learned that he’s already pursuing me. And that i just need to rest in
him. I find Interest though when we naturally just express ourselves back to
God, similar to people desperately expressing themselves in pursuit for god, god seems
to move supernaturally (well actually normally,). Holy Spirit can move like
That in an insist though and it doesn’t have to be worked up to.
The schools. I don’t think they are so much about technics. I thought the schools were
more about learning to see yourself as god sees you (identity) and out of
That, going and sharing it with others. i think they transform people for
the better than for the worst. My observations of the schools is that they
rapidly take people along the path that father is taking them in that
Season at the school. The community aspect alone has the power to transform
People for ever, as genuine community does.
Treasure hunts. In my experience they do more good than harm. A chance to
Practise hearing god, it helps to have others to do it with you sometimes. There probably
Needs to be less pressure to hear god though. Like honesty should
Be more highly valued. Like “i haven’t got anything” “that’s cool, you don’t
have too hear anything”. They actually teach to go out with wisdow. Don’t
go up to someone and say “gods going to heal u “. Say things like “can i
pray for u and we’ll see what god does”.
I don’t think Wayne some of your comments were very helpful or fair. The
Comment about the guy who said you’re not from that church. – One insistence (looking too much into it).
People get hang up because just because it’s Christian. Maybe someone made a mistake. But
how do you know your statistics are even accurate about the people with good
Experiences or not, did you say it was 6-8% having a good experiences. That was probably a bit rough and in accurate. I dare you to go to Redding and do a fair honest study and report back to us, your findings, if you want to back up your statement. I know I’m being strong but I mean it in all love.
Where your treasure is there your heart will be also. People active for god become passionate. People pursing miracles, signs and wonders in attempt to find god may be a little miss lead, but god loves the passion people give back to him. And it’s nothing for him to guide a well-meaning heart/lover than compared to someone stubborn set in their ways not open to the move of the spirit (the move of god himself on the earth), not willing to partner with him when he’s moving.
What do you mean Wayne that theophestic and inner healing sozo doesn’t work? Do you mean doesn’t work all the time?
I like to try things and test things if I think there is good theory behind it. I tryed theophestic about 3.5 years ago. Not much happen. Last year though papa set me up and messed me up. Father called me to get some theophestic ministry. It was so amazing/profound. It didn’t take very long and papa took me to an event in my childhood where I picked up the belief I can’t do it. He set me free from that belief that I’d carried deep down in my heart most of life and always prevented me moving forward. I don’t now encourage anyone to go to pray ministry unless they feel papa calling them.
Ideally schools might not be the answer, but, given our fallen humanity I think god uses it, even intentionally sets them up for his purposes at times (if you really look at the fruit you would see why). In and of themselves there really is little wrong with them and each individual needs to work out their own values with in their own hearts. If our imperfect ways are not hurting people, I don’t think they really bother god. Papa comes to us, all of us, and uses our broken and imperfect ways to reach us in them if we let him.
Thank you, Wayne, for your response to my question: once again, I think you’re speaking wisely here, and I agree.
A few years ago I went to a city-wide gathering to “intercede for the city.” The speaker gradually turned his talk to “gold dust.” I just kept my head down and did what I had come to do–pray for my city. It broke my heart to see how the agenda was hijacked by sensationalim. There is a crying need for discernment whenever “signs and wonders” take the stage.
hi again Wayne. taking my last comment a little further, and trust me i mean no disrespect. just trying to take the conversation deeper into truth, whether i’m right or wrong, attempting to seek truth.
it’s not the systems in and of themselves that are wrong. whether it be schools or church groups. systems by themselves are actually lifeless. sometimes they are meant to be and sometimes they are not. some church groups and schools are full of life and some are not.
the focus shouldn’t be on the systems, but the people. man should be in control of the systems and let the systems serve them, not serve the systems and let the systems control them. it’s the people that contaminate or bring life to the the systems. people should be free to step in or out of the systems as they are required.
take the concept of a pastor. some control, some don’t. at the core of it, it is one person trying to encourage/help a group of people. hang on a sec, isn’t that what your doing Wayne? even though your not a pastor, arnt you a person trying to encourage/help a group of people? isn’t it therefore clear it’s about how we conduct ourselves, reinforcing my point it’s. about us (mankind). as god gave mankind authority here on earth and how we use our authority that makes the difference. your system is a podcast (which i’m very glad your not forced by your system to have one every week). pastors systems are what they coinsider to be their traditional churches. not much difference between them in my eyes, except they are run differently which makes all the difference.
how i long to discuss the finer points of these topics, whether i’m right or wrong, to consider others perspectives. that and getting to some of my brothers and sisters some more is really all i’ve ever wanted in my engagement with the god journey, ever since i made 1st made contact. but if people don’t know how to respond to me, that’s alright. it’s not just about me.
i hope everyone finds my comments insightful and helpful, even though they tend to be from a different perspective.
My friend, Cecelia, went with her husband to the Pensacola revival shortly after she had been diagnosed with breast cancer. They had great hope and faith that God would work a miracle of healing for her. When the invitation was issued for people to come to the front for healing prayer, she stepped forward in complete confidence. Prayer ministers gathered around her, laid hands on her, and began to pray fervently. In a few minutes, one lady leaned in and asked her if she had a sister. My friend told her she was an only child. The woman said, “well, I don’t understand. I keep hearing ‘tell sis I want to heal her’.” My friend’s face burst into an excited smile as she responded, “My name is Cecelia, but I go by Cis!”
She died less than a year later.
I can’t deny that “something” happened that night in Pensacola, but attributing that to God is problematic for me. IF that was God, then He is a cruel and sadistic prankster. The fact that Brownsville Assembly has been on the verge of bankruptcy from the large building they built to accommodate the crowds does not help. (Like God played around for a while then said “I’m done. See ya!”)
I know there is another realm other than this three-dimensional world. But, I remember that the Egyptian sorcerers were able to replicate many of the signs that Moses performed. I also know that there are unexplainable phenomena that take place in Voudon religious ceremonies. A few years ago, there were purported appearances of Mary on a farm near us; thousands of people, on stretchers and wheelchairs, crowded onto the property, with many testimonies of divine healing.
I don’t know how to explain what happens on the reality show, Long Island Medium, even though the lady talks of Spirit speaking to her. I just know that I feel very wary and cautious of anything “supernatural” that is loud, splashy, requires a professional clergy, only happens in the context of a “service” where there is lots of music and priming the audience, or where there is a big public “hoopla” over any supposed miracle. It seems contradictory to the almost private and quiet way Jesus performed miracles.
I love what you said, Wayne, about watching for the miracles of the Gospel. While we have had some amazing “miracles”–even ones that broke all the laws of physics–the ones we are most thrilled about are the miracles of changed hearts, changed relationships.
Excellent podcast Wayne. The summation is what it is all about. There is real and there is fake but when we love (in the depth, width and height beyond understanding) the genuine occurs.
Reading some of the comments above, made me think of all my Christ-related experiences and all I can say is that getting to the truth can be like trying to find sleeping beauty through some very dangerous and cruel, thorny vines. At the end of the day, I listen to all the underlying beliefs that shape people’s reality and either respond with sadness in my heart as I hear the prisoner screaming to be set free while the key is inserted in his heart or with excitement as I recognise love in them as I have come to know it. Sometimes we greet each other with silence for love is all we want to experience in whatever way it manifests.
There are so many wandering around, half lost, half found but all we can take responsibility for is our own truth and the love we show to another human being who is within arms reach, who can hear our voice and we can see with our eyes.
Sometimes we have to accept that our love changes nothing in terms of beliefs for it should not be an argument. We love….with a depth, width and length that is beyond our understanding.
Just something that I found amusing and not necessarily significant….. John 3.16-19 and Ephesians 3.16-19 combine to encapsulate the love of God for me. That is my truth.
Even before you mentioned your yuck meter going up, mine skyrocketed. I still feel a bit queasy thinking about the school teaching about signs and wonders, and angel feathers, and sozos. To me it smells of pure manipulation. I’ve been there; I’ve also tried to manipulate God to do what I thought he needed to do, and I have witnessed miracles. But the most profound miracle I have ever witnessed is the change Father is producing in me as I’m learning to rest in his love. And I’m amazed at how far my family has come. That is all the miracle I want; the simple beauty of transformation that cannot be bought or taught. There is nothing that compares to the joy of living in a Father’s love.
Thank you for your podcast.
Given the timing of your comment. I can’t help but think did your comment originate within the heart of god, your heart or both. Either way, I sense Jesus testing me to see if I will allow his fragrance to oozes out of me.
I wonder who the man is you think is screaming from a prison. I know for my self i have come a long way along the journey of true life in Jesus with a along way to go. Similar to your comment about people being part found and part lost. I have much to give/offer and much to learn. I know i have never been more freer in my life knowing 1st hand the freedom, healing and love Jesus offers. I hope and pray we can all experience the love of Jesus more and more.
There are some ideals in your comment, such as loving people within arms reach and it should not be an argument. They are good as ideals, only, i don’t know if realistically life in Christ is so straight forward. As this world is full of mess and grace, papa throws ideal to the wind sometimes, and uses the unthinkable to reach us. Without recognizing mess and grace, in some moments following ideals is the worse thing that we could do. consider Paul and Barnabas, both passionate men full of Christ’s love, their argument is a big example of mess. And yet arguably, John mark received exactly what he needed, Grace. Mercy (acceptance) from Barnabas and a strong word from Paul letting John mark know how serious his actions were, Grace.
Grace as i see it is the offer of empowerment to walk in freedom. Grace is acceptance of where one is at while keeping freedom in mind as the goal. Acceptance alone can sometimes be empowerment enough for somebody to walk in freedom. Usually though, It is a process and a journey of healing. Grace says it’s okay to be where-ever you are at, for the moment, as you cannot be made whole if you demand yourself to walk in righteousness instantly. god can choose any vessel he pleases to deliver grace. The bible is full of god using the least or the foolish things of the world to accomplish his work. In every contact with a person, papa could be speaking to us. It is though, ultimately up to each individual to hear god for themselves and work out with papa what he is saying to them or calling out of them, whether it be exactly what the messenger is saying or not.
Michelle you mentioned truth being like trying to find sleeping beauty through some very dangerous and cruel, thorny vines. I would have to agree that it is at times and in certain places like that. This picture raises many questions for me. should we than, in those places, even embark on the search of truth with its danger or is it still vital that we boldly set forth to find sleeping beauty? maybe this picture reveals the need to go slowly working our way though as not to hurt ourselves, as I have done many times before. but than again, i have only been made stronger though it all as i have learned like David to strengthen my self in the lord though trail.
truth can have 2 or sometimes many sides to it, this alone makes truth very difficult to find. For example the lord is a fierce lion a mighty warrior and yet at the same time he’s a gentle lamb. How do we know which expression of himself he is walking in at any given moment? The only way i know is to walk with Jesus. Anyone else have any ideas of working out what Jesus is doing in any moment or how to find truth?
If people stand only on one focus or side of truth, it makes it extremely difficult for people to walk or find the truth together. Lord knows I’ve hurt people with my strong stances before, I hope they will forgive me. In the body of Christ, ideally, i think love should be able to bridge the gap of 2 peoples strong views. There are so many people in the body of Christ that cannot positively talk about their brothers and sisters, acknowledge the issues but constructively talk about them (for eg. the conservatives and the charismatic), and yet still preach love. If only these people would truly believe what they preach. Maybe though, that will only fully happen when we are all fully restored, as again this world is full of mess and grace.
Good comment Michelle. It gives a lot to think about.
Thank you for the response to my post. It is good to think, I think. 🙂
Much of my comment was figurative, an allegory of the experiences of the soul within the body. Sometimes when I listen to people speak I can hear that they are LIKE a prisoner screaming to be free. Their belief system is such that it imprisons them, preventing them from living in the fullness of life that God created for us to live. So many examples spring to mind but all that it means is that In many ways my beliefs imprisoned me in ways of thinking that prevented me from living a full life as God had intended.
Loving people at arms reach without an argument is less of an ideal and more about humility and compassion. It is about accepting and understanding the brokenness within them and covering it with love. Not as an ideal but as an attitude and action and even words if necessary. It is not passive but when we truly love, we somehow respond appropriately whether it be through a challenge, reprimand or just quietly listening. Love must be allowed to lead us, There are times when I my heart hears the person is so trapped in wrong thinking which is causing their agony but to challenge them at that precise moment, would make them respond aggressively because their heart is not open right then. Love assures me, he will rectify their thinking in time, I just need to listen for in their talking is healing, not in what I “do” or don’t do.
Truth is relative. It is your truth at any given moment and it may change and it may differ to someone else’s truth. Truth is made of so many facets, ideals, beliefs, upbringing – Daddy told me, Mommy said. Your truth is your truth, just become aware of the fact that your truth is not necessary the same truth of others and we can offer our truth to others but we need to do so without being offended when they reject it. We should not seek affirmation of our truth through the acceptance by others. Our truth has to go deeper than that. It is intrinsically our very own truth which we hold to. Should it change? Yes, if necessary. Let the humility and daring of love guide you. Seek not to harm yourself or others for love does not do harm.
And lastly. Do not concern yourself so much with others reaching enlightenment. It is a waste of energy for you do not have the power to change them, even though we all like to think we do. Take responsibility for yourself. Change yourself. Love others unconditionally and not with the intention or hope of changing them. This is not selfish as it may seem. Love your neighbour as…….
Forgive yourself. Their forgiveness or lack thereof has no power in your life. Guilt is what you feel when you have judged and condemned yourself. Absolution, of necessity, must thus come from you. Try it. When you apologise while unforgiveness towards yourself, is still resident in your heart, the sense of guilt and condemnation remains and you will continue to “hope” THEY will forgive you. no. It is you who needs to forgive yourself.
The turning point for me in this conversation was when one of my students at a supernatural school of ministry I was overseeing asked me if we could talk. We had just finished another morning to night, three-day conference of non-stop worship, preaching, ministry times, offerings and product selling. We held these conferences monthly and each time I left there not feeling refreshed, but completely exhausted and in desperate need of recharging. The guest speaker for this particular conference was a man who spent many of his countless hours of microphone time sharing testimonies of arms growing out, children being raised from the dead, and him being transported from one country to the next like Captain Kirk, supernaturally beamed thousands of miles in an instant to preach to a crowd of Muslims carrying AK-47s.
The young student shuffled his feet and stuttered a bit as he begun. “I have a lot of questions after this weekend. We spent the whole weekend here, much of it listening to incredible stories of signs, wonders, miracles and diamonds falling from the sky that made me feel like I might not even be saved. This is the 4th or 5th conference we’ve had this year, right? And they all seem to kind of go the same way. When Sunday afternoon comes and the prophet bids adieu to standing ovations and great fanfare, I go home and wonder why once again none of these miraculous signs and wonders happened while he was in our building. Why do they only happen when he’s … over there. I don’t want to be a cynic or a “doubting Thomas,” but seriously, why didn’t we see any of these new eyeballs from the “parts room” in heaven? Why weren’t we allowed to experience gold dust and feathers falling from the ceiling, or someone’s cancer projectile vomited to the floor? The one guy who did get healed, threw off his crutches and knee brace and walked boldly down the aisle to the raucous roar and cheers of the eager conference goers. Well, I saw him last night and he is already back in his brace and crutches –just one day later. He’s sore as hell and blaming the devil for “stealing his healing.” Seriously, my miracle highlight of the year is when I found someone at WalMart wearing a red shirt and prayed her headache away. Do we not have enough faith, or gifting, or intimacy with God for the big stuff? Is this man of God making these things up or embellishing his stories from Africa, Asia and other parts of the world? Am I in sin even asking these questions?”
I said, “Well, to tell you the truth, when I am laying exhausted on my couch on Sunday afternoons I wrestle with the exact same thing. Could this level of exhaustion fall into the category of the “rest of God”? Are we doing His will, or are we becoming more and more conformed to the world? Have we become just like the Pharisees, the group he called an “evil and adulterous generation” exhausting ourselves seeking after signs just like they did? Has this “leaven” so permeated our fellowship and our culture that we have become blind to the fact that as we glory in all the intimacy with and revelation from God we are walking in, that in reality we can’t discern even the simplest signs of the times? Are we like the emperor, proudly strutting naked down the street in our fine set of clothes?”
It was only a few months later that I felt God was leading me on into the next chapter of my journey with Him. Exhausted and in dire need of a break, I moved on from the place and people that had become so dear to me to seek the simpler, quieter life of faith, family and close friends. I tried to transition out smoothly and gracefully, but things just didn’t work out as well as I’d hoped.
During this painful transition, Mark 8: 11-13 became a fascinating read for me.
The Pharisees came out and began to argue with Him, seeking from Him a sign from heaven, to test Him. Sighing deeply in His spirit, He said, “Why does this generation seek for a sign? Truly I say to you, no sign will be given to this generation.” Leaving them, He again embarked and went away to the other side.
What Jesus wanted most was to make a way for us to walk like He did – in growing relationship with His Father and his friends. Along the way to the cross, He would model a life of loving and caring for the ones in front of Him with the same love He felt from the Father. The Pharisees, who represent religion, desired flashy signs. They needed Him to perform miracles to prove His worth. When they failed to attain to the lofty persona they boasted to possess, they would embellish and manufacture shows of piety, righteousness and charity to fool the masses into believing that they were better than they really were. Jesus was completely annoyed at that age-old spirit within them. When repeatedly asked to perform signs, He told them “no, I won’t be performing for you like some circus monkey today,”(my paraphrase) and then paddled his boat to the other side of the lake – as far away from them and their leaven as possible (See Mark 8, Luke 12, Matthew 12 & 16).
I soon discovered that the other side of the lake, away from all the hype and pressure to perform, was just what my weary soul needed. I desperately needed some time away with Father and friends who were ok with the simple life of walking with Him and each other. We had tried our hand at “changing the world” for years and found ourselves exhausted, burned out and disillusioned. I learned so much about myself in that season.
A few years later now, I am learning that the small things in every day life are amazingly fulfilling and miraculous. Having the time to genuinely be engaged with my wife, children, family, friends and strangers I meet every day has made all the difference. I am learning to rest in quiet simplicity in the middle of an exhausting, noisy, and celebrity-obsessed culture. In life, there are many distractions that pull you away from what truly brings life. Thank you Father for the other side of the lake.
Loved your email, Matt and the place where Father has led you. I loved your student’s question as well. The guest speaker’s stories sound a bit to Brian Williamsish for me. If people could really do those kinds of miracles at will then they would do them at the conference, not talk about them from past times. Jesus never seemed to talk about his miracles, he was out doing them. Those who can’t do, teach, is an old proverb and seems to work as well for people selling books about making money from real estate auctions and for fabricating miraculous stories. People exaggerate stories all the time under the guise of building up other people’s faith, when in fact they are just puffing themselves up to an adoring crowd, most of which if they were honest come out as disillusioned as your student. Love the way you worked through all of this.
Thanks Wayne. I agree. I am learning that it is very easy to fall in love with the adoration and limelight that comes from holding the microphone. We are human. I have seen many with the sincerest and humblest of hearts be drawn into “show time” by the inner desire to be one of the special ones. I admit I have had a few moments where I got carried away with the emotion and momentum of the moment. Later, sitting in my easy chair I would think, “who was that guy?”
Me, too, Matt! Sadly!