Listening To Your Yuck Meter (#477)

wolfeJimmy and Melissa Wolfe from Woodstock, GA thought they were headed for "ministry" as part of the mega-church movement in that area before God sidetracked them with a better journey. Wayne sat down with Jimmy (pictured at left with his "son" Benjamin) for a conversation during his recent stay in the Atlanta area. They discuss how a would-be church planter ended up on a road less traveled and what it looks like to live as a ministry as the Spirit knits them into the fabric of their community, rather than trying to start a congregation that needs to be managed. They talk about the nature of eldership in the church of the new creation and how love opens incredible doors to impact the world around us. This is what happens to those with well-set Yuck Meters and who don't ignore them even if it is in their self-interest to do so.

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  1. Hi Wayne,

    I like what you said – “Don’t love looking for an outcome.”

    I want to make a comment about bad experiences / pain.

    I know what people mean when they say “I’m glad I went through that.” But it bothers me to no end. I guess it is a way to cope and to make it seem like something was learned or something good came out of it.. but C’mon can we be real??? To take something really painful and say I’m glad I went through that, what kind of thinking is that?

    I went through something extremely painful and learned a LOT from it. I have awakened out of the Matrix as Jeff Turner would say. Yet I will not ever say I am glad about what happened to me. I even see this kind of thing in what you might call secular circles. The whole “No pain, no gain” thought process.

    I refuse to take evil and make light of it or make it seem positive, to me that reflects on all the ugly religious stuff I was taught about God chipping away at me to make me look like Jesus which I also know is complete bologna, because that is not the cruel god I know. The god that makes people helpless as He painfully chips away things that are bad in life.

    I’m sure there will be people who have a problem with what I am saying, but I believe God empowers me and walks with me and doesn’t want me getting into painful situations even though it might happen because of life on earth. If I were to believe he did want that then whats the point.. I’m just a piece of wood drifting in the current of a river and whats the point of even trying. Either that or I am a puppet resigned to be poked and prodded just so I can have some improvements I might not even want in light of the pain it causes.

    I liked what Jimmy said about God telling Him he didn’t have to do it anymore. That is exactly what God told me when I was broken hearted and feeling betrayed, I left my “church” and all the ministries. I had no choice but to listen and drop everything because of how wounded I was. But I am sure glad I did. The freedom I feel now believing God is good and for me and I don’t have to work for Him is amazing! I don’t have to do things to be come more spiritual. I can just be the best Holly I can be and enjoy my relationship with Him.

    Anyway, just felt like sharing my thoughts. Blessings to you, I always enjoy these podcasts.


      • Thanks Judy for letting me know that! It’s good to know I’m not the only one that feels this way! 😀

        Hope you have an awesome day.

  2. I tuned in to the podcast, specifically, to hear the discussion on what an elder, a deacon, an overseer, a preacher, etc. would be in the expression(s) of the body Jimmy and Wayne both experience, as it came up in my conversation with God this week, and I am navigating some of the encroaching institution in my little family of believers this week.

    It does not take maturity to be a dynamic speaker or preacher. A trained thespian could deliver beautifully constructed teaching from the Bible. One can evenbe trained to study the Bible intellectually and “inspire” people with their insight having never connected with the “capital W” Word; meaning the person of Jesus Christ.

    So many “white hat” kinds of Christians also fit this description. They are on fire for Christ and He has made such an impact on thier lives that they want to rush out there and share it with everyone. But they are untrained. They are relatively untested. They have not learned to rely on God for their supplly. Christ has done an amazing work in them, but they are still immature. The way it plays out in the flesh is that we want everyone else to come with us and join us on the ride and validate them.

    I believe it takes maturity to realize that my journey may not be the same as yours. God may be taking me in a totally different direction as some people that I dearly love. He has knit our hearts together in such a way that they will always be a part of my story. Last week I was looking at all of the times that Paul told the Christians in various towns and gatherings how he was encouraged by what he was hearing of them or how much he loved them, and how he longed to see them, even though he was far way and didn’t know if he’d pass by there again.

    Yet, instead of modeling our spiritual journey by the example of Christ and the apostles, we try to create some kind of permanence in our lives by constructing buildings with steeples and trying to get folks to come back to the same place week after week. We find comfort in the permanence of having a “church home.”

    Wayne, you have mentioned that you have your journey, your wife has hers, and you have a collective journey that you are on together. I assume this to be true of fellow brothers and sisters in Christ that you do community with all over the world.

    An elder, or overseer, or the mature in Christ, have settled into a relationship with the Father where they need less validation, or none at all, from those around them. They have settled into a space where they realize that the “journey” is with Him and that getting to love and be loved by other people is a gift that He gives us. I don’t really need anything from people, I get to live life with them. I don’t love them any less when I am gone. Do these people need encouragement? Absolutely. But not identity or validation from others.

  3. Upon returning to “church” after a near fatal life altering automobile accident, the senior pastor approached me and said, “I hope you understand why I didn’t visit you in the hospital.” So, yes, it really does happen.

  4. Listening to this, just so struck by the simplicity that is Christ. When Jesus broke into our world, he walked, he loved, he didnt seek anything for himself and in that he was the first born among many brothers and sisters.
    The simplicity of knowing this Christ life in us and just being. Living in whatever community we are in, embracing all that that is. Engaging every moment, letting it be real and present to us so that Christ lives utterly through us. Being that fragrance of Christ that astounds because we are alive in Him and aware and attentive in those moments. Each moment rooted and grounded in Love, His love in us, for us and for those who God has invading our moments. Loving, regardless. Loving because that is who we are in Christ, because it is who He was and is.
    Simple right? It is, and yet we know it isnt. There is this battle between flesh and spirit. Between that which is old and that which is vitally and lifegivingly new. Which is why Paul said “Rom 8:28 And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose.
    Rom 8:29 For whom He foreknew, He also predestinated to be conformed to the image of His Son, for Him to be the First-born among many brothers. ”
    We walk this old and ancient path, the road less travelled, pain and grief are just a part of the journey. It’s life, sh1t happens. But God! Every single stone, rock, thorn that rises up and bites us. Every fleshly, angry, hurtful decision we make that sends us crashing to our knees, is not God sticking his foot out so we crash and learn some “life lessons”! Its just life and part of growing up into the Head. BUT GOD, knows all this. He knows we are going to crash and burn. So he made provision for us in this, that in our belovedness and in our grief and in our lonelyness and in our hurt in our participation in His purpose of all ways being conformed into the image of his beloved son, that we would KNOW that he works ALL things together for good. I look back over those things in my life that, Oh my goodness I would never want to live in that space again without knowing what I know now, and I KNOW that this God of wonder and the lover of my soul has indeed worked all things together for Good. He takes my blunderings and weaves them into the tapestry of His love for me and my love for him so their outcome is one of the most intricate and beautiful patterns in the whole.
    I am my beloved and He is mine.

  5. I get the feeling I’m looking at a photo of Benjamin and Jimmie.
    How true it is that God is not a miser! He gives in the ways that are most truly needed, time after time after time.
    That is what love does.

  6. Holly, you went through something that brought about your decision about your church and came to know God’s heart for you…. In looking back, are you not thankful for that “wounded” time? Not too many ask God for hard times 😉 but they are going to happen and maybe we don’t have to be afraid of them knowing God’s with us in them. Have you noticed that people who say they are thankful for hard hurtful events……….it’s in the past tense…. of course. 🙂

  7. Hi Roxann and Holly

    Good thought provoking comments.

    I know the thought “I am glad I went through that” can sound masochistic, though I do not think that is what was meant here.

    I have come to see pain as an indication that something is not quite right, with the world, with me. If everything is going well and everything is happy, do we as humans in our sinful state forget about God?

    Speaking from my own experiences, pain actually brought me to the end of myself. What brings me to the end of myself is part of Abba’s mercy. The overarching construct that God has set up in that moving away from him results in inner pain and moving towards him bring inner peace. So I am thankful NOW that pain resulted in bringing me to him and a greater reliance on him which brings me to a place of greater peace. Part of the pain is our personal and internal struggle. But it also had outside sources – things that people did to me that all added to the equation, which eventually brought me to the place of greater surrender.

    Sin and man’s system is set up to fail (pain) because it leads us away from God, and that is not good for us. The pain makes us question with the potential to turn us around and look for help from God. Is that not merciful? Is that not something we can be thankful for? If the end result of removing lumps from the clay results in a beautiful usable vessel, is that in hindsight not a beautiful thing to be thankful for?

    That at least is how I have come to understand it…

    • Hi John,

      – How can anyone quantify pain?
      – How can anyone say that — If I didn’t have this pain then I would have never got to the place where I am.

      Isn’t God big enough to lead us to where is best without having our hearts ripped out in the process? I think He is. There are people that never recover from bad things that happen to them. They end up in addictions and suicide. I choose to call evil evil regardless of the outcome.

      I understand that we are in this world and bad things will happen and there will be pain, etc.. but I don’t cope with that by saying.. well this bad thing happened BUT it’s a good thing because of x, y, z.

      I don’t feel I need to do that. Why some things happen I’ve learned are not answerable. But I choose to get back up and make the best of wherever I landed knowing that God is still with me and is there to dust me off and off we go and hopefully have fun along the way.

      The place I am at now is just like being awakened out of the Matrix and most everyone is still in it. So when I say things against “religion” I constantly feel resistance and sometimes it doesn’t feel good. So I don’t feel I’ve landed in some Oasis. I feel like I am still navigating life hand in hand with Jesus.

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