Going Against the Flow (#496)

againstflowWhen everyone else seems to embrace a reality that pegs your yuck meter, what are you supposed to do? And when you follow your heart against the flow of the world or the religious culture around you, how do you know you're right and not just rebellious? Wayne considers these questions in light of a contemplative summer and stumbling across a recent Charisma Magazine that Wayne used to write for years ago. As it celebrated "Forty People that Changed the World", it confronted him with a lot of decisions from his past and thoughts of, "what might have been?" Wayne invites you into some of his personal journey this summer and why he finds himself more content than ever with the path he's taken. He also reads from the concluding column of the magazine that deals with how human ambition and greed destroyed the Charismatic renewal and subverted the work the Spirit had begun forty years ago. He found himself in enthusiastic agreement, even though it seemed to undermine everything else the magazine had spent a hundred pages celebrating.

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Wayne's Upcoming Travel to Indianapolis, the Bay area of California, and Colorado
Lee Grady's article, Don't Quench the Spirit in the Next Move of God
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  1. Thank you Wayne. My yuck factor, I think is very similar to yours. I believe in the foundation of Christ, the Holy Spirit and our Father, yet I am closer to God, not in the “church.” I am on a journey of seeking Christ, letting my Father love me and loving others because of my Father’s love. Thank you for being a voice, that helps draw us to relationship.

  2. And conversely, some pastors know that some people will stay at a certain church if they visit, and so they discourage people not being at their own churches. Under a spiritual guise, of course.

  3. Hi Wayne

    Thanks as usual. I just had a conversation with my sister. In the course of that I realized the space I am in is requiring miracles in order to survive. I listed three insurmountable obstacles in my life, dealing with retirement, my line of work and a non profit that I am treasurer. In each place God is working behind the scenes, or rather he needs to be, because without that I am sunk.

    What a wonderful spot to be! Devoid of human intervention powers or secondary resources, understanding my assets and realizing their limitations, there is nothing left but to depend on Him completely. In each area I can be overwhelmed, yet I have learned in my 40 years of wandering that He is faithful, moving even when I cannot quite yet see His hand.

    Thank you for affirming that. The celebrities get the ink. I get to live out my faith. Wouldn’t change a thing. Would love to win the lottery, but first I would have to buy a ticket. Not gonna happen, just trust Him.

    Blessings and love my friend whom I have never met.


  4. Wayne,

    I found value and positive challenge in that interview with your fellow student from ORU. While I can’t speak for either of those men, I can speak for myself. I am starting to use slightly different language and different understandings of how I experience God while affirming the way that Jesus showed us to live and the power of the resurrection. While I don’t fit into an evangelical’s bounded set of “Christian doctrines”, I do fit within a centered set of Christ followers. I love that the Church is continuing to learn how to hold our beliefs loosely and stay in communion rather than channeling the spirit of the antichrist by warring with each other over extra-scriptural doctrines.

    Several years ago, I rejected the fundamentalism and evangelicalism in which I had grown up and became a closet atheist – I couldn’t admit it to my family and so, while I took my toddlers to “church”, I plotted how to later rescue them from religion. Then I found some of your work and your stories of real people following Jesus re-awoke my understanding of divine truth outside this physical reality. God used your work to help turn me back to Her 😉 and I will always be thankful for that. On the other hand, I rejected the fundamentalists’ god(s?) for good reasons and there are some fairly traditional beliefs I don’t think I’ll ever come back to.

    I know it is useful to check our compass regularly to make sure we’re still heading toward our intended goal, and one way to do that is to make sure we’re not falling into common traps. It does seem to me like it can be easy to turn that compass check into an obsession in itself (like the “skeptic” community), and I was wondering whether I heard a tiny bit of self-righteousness in your voice a couple times.

    Anyway, I realized that I had never shared my story with you and I wanted to affirm our brotherhood and the blessings I’ve seen thanks to you even though we have some different understandings about God.

    I love you,

  5. Hey Wayne

    So right on in every way possible. Amen…and….again, Amen.
    Super Wayne.


  6. Hi Wayne,
    It’s been almost over a decade ago since I wrote you or was writing on LifeStream. I’ve listened to so many of the podcasts…but while listening to the past three, each time I’ve sensed our Father encouraging me to write you again.

    I think it was sometime back about 2004 that I got to meet you when you came to see friends in Tacoma or Puyallup, WA area. And then you were kind enough to make a trip out to my home. I almost cringe at the memories of a couple people who were there (mostly to “check you out” or discredit you) because one of them was extremely unhappy that I had chosen not to be involved in the big institutional church, and even pulled away from his smaller church because the underlying theme was still control and accountability.

    But you were so very gracious. At that time, my husband who has since then become my ex was a bit distracted & uninterested because he had allowed smoking weed to become his idea of freedom while our seven children were confused, coming into puberty and adulthood. They were hurting inside, having watched our family leave after 24 years, a ministry that had turned into a cult and now their mom (me) who had always sort of been the spiritual backbone…was now pulling away from even “normal churchianity.”

    I loved that you would not let our little gathering turn into some formal meeting. And at one point you went out to the shop with my son, Judah and shot pool with him. Judah is now 24 years old, a wonderful father of his 3 yr old son…and he has NEVER forgotten you. You, reaching out to him in such a simple way has kept a soft spot in his heart & he has even asked me to continue writing his best friend who is in jail; and each month, I’m able to print off another chapter of “He Loves Me” for him to read.

    I know this was a lot of rambling…just to refresh your memory of our meeting. A lot has happened since then. Much pain…personal family growing-pains, children trying to figure out who they are; I’m now divorced from Thom since 2007. I’ve been to Zambia several times working with friends in a ministry there. I was at one point going to marry my beloved there and move to Zambia about 3 years ago….but to shorten this story, Father chose to take Mambwe home.

    From the time I read an article of yours about a bird in a cage & then He Loves Me, I knew I was on a journey that would change my life forever. The whole reason I was drawn to your writings was because of a divine discontentment stirring deep within me (and at times even scared me). But somehow…I knew it was God whispering to my spirit. I had such a deep longing for intimacy & He was wooing me.

    After your visit to our home, I never questioned nor looked back at my choice to stop going to the large church I’d been so caught up in…I was weary of programs, teaching Sunday school, and facilitating women’s Bible studies. Yet, I tried to go to another, smaller church for a year (the pastor being my son’s father-in-law)…and yet they became caught up in titles & gifts & “unity of doctrine” which opened the door to a lot of spiritual arrogance. But they had also been responsible for introducing me to my beloved fiance` & I was involved in his ministry there in Zambia; at the same time trying to be part of a ministry here in WA where we also fed & clothed the homeless. But the head of the ministry here got irritated with me when I refused to be her personal assistant when she wanted to become a “star” with Patricia King and later Heidi Baker. She was about making a name for herself…and that’s when I said I’d had enough of ANY of it.

    So, I remained involved with Zambia, my finance` and our ministry with the orphans there. I made a lot of dear and close friends in Zambia…and still help as I can with our few orphans & widows. Tho many there were hoping I’d still move to Zambia, I cannot even imagine it without my beloved Mambwe and so far, Father has not shown me to do otherwise.

    In the meantime while here stateside, I’ve worked at a local retirement community for the past six years and been very involved with my children & grandchildren who all still live withing a 20 mile radius. I LOVE the elderly folks where I work, and they have almost become my extended family. It’s amazing the freedom & favor God has given me there to love them and share openly His wonderful love and grace.

    I’ve never really felt the need to find a “group” of us to get together with. Life seems so full. The Lord has opened doors for me to befriend young people who finally come of age and escape the “cult” I was once a part of. I was once close friends with their parents, but when you leave there, you are labeled, shunned and lied about. So, it sort of surprised me when so many of them looked me up at different times…feeling lost, cut off from their families; some of them professing to now be atheists because of what they’d experienced…but they know I will spend time with them, listen to them and not judge them as they wade through all the muck coming away from there. I let them know I no longer believe in that god that was toted there to be the almighty; but I ask them to keep a little crack in the door of their heart…just in case Jesus should want to draw them, comfort them & heal their broken hearts. At times, they’ve asked me to try and make a regular gathering time for them to all come together and share their “lives after the cult.” I told them I think it’s best if we can just do it whenever it works out, but nothing on a regular basis. What seems to have become regular is each of their contacts with me through email, phone calls, personal visits and facebook. I also have a couple of very dear and close friends…one lives only a few miles away who I visit with over coffee or lunch about once a week on my day off. The others are in Nevada, Kentucky, and Alabama…so our visits are usually over the phone or texting.

    I guess I wrote you all of this…because I too question “what am I doing?” and why do I continue to go against the grain or tide. Most of my children have come to accept it. I know the “normal” church meetings for some of them…still meet a need in their lives. My closest friends (in heart not geographically) seem to understand exactly why I do what I do (or don’t do).

    Three months ago, I had surgery (a left hip-replacement). The time I was re-habbing seemed to drag on forever. I was longing to be back to work with my residents. But the Lord used that “forced” sabbatical as a time where I re-evaluated the choices I’ve made, and look at what God has and is doing. Though there have been times of pain, rejection, and even loneliness as I miss Mambwe so much….I cannot say I’d ever choose to go back and change anything. Not because I didn’t make mistakes or was even treated wrongly….but because Father has chosen to find me, draw me close and bless me in this wonderful, amazing journey.

    As for you, Wayne…thank you. God used you, your writings, and the podcasts to re-affirm to me again and again that I’m right where He wants me. So many times, I’ve sat with my friend, Bev at the computer and we’re sipping coffee and we listen to your podcast. She starts laughing and says…”Wow, Charisse, I guess we’re not the only crazy ones on this journey, eh?” Bev is 80 years old and appreciates your words of encouragement too. Thank you for being you….and encouraging and comforting so many in their walk and journey with our amazing God.

    • Thank you Charisse. Your words have encouraged me greatly this evening. Mark

  7. Charisse, of course I remember you and your family and my time there. Thanks for circling back around and sharing how that time affected you and the family. It’s amazing what a brief time together can accomplish in our Father’s kingdom. Glad your’e still not he journey through all the pain you’ve been through and still find ways to give yourself a way to others in his magnificent love. I’m blessed and proud to know you, Charisse. Thanks so much for sharing part of your story here…

  8. Yeh, I could identify with everything you said in this podcast. I appreciate how honestly you share about your younger days and the enticing “pull” of worldliness camouflaged as successful ministry. Surely bucking the straight jacket of religion is something that goes all the way back to Jesus. And yet it can be incredibly lonely at times, unsettling and disorienting to be bucking a system that has previously been the status quo for most of our lives.

  9. My husband and I are at the beginning of our journey out of church and I so appreciate your words of wisdom. Many days we’ve asked ourselves ” why are we doing this? Are we weird? Is there something wrong with us?” A friend recently asked me if we were “anti-church” and I had to tell her no but we were “done”. She understood but many do not. More often than not, I get a pitying look that says , “oh, they must be difficult to please .” This is probably the hardest thing we’ve ever done in our walk with Christ but we feel it’s right where he wants us.
    Thank you again!

  10. Hi Wayne, It’s been a few weeks since I’ve listened regularly. I loved what you said … I always have such a sense of peace and security when I listen to you. You know how to bring it together. I’m glad you are not a mega star cuz then I probably would not listen to you and then I would miss out on all the gems. 🙂

    I love all the comments and especially enjoyed reading Charisee’s comments … wow, what a story and following the Father and being in tune with the Spirit! I haven’t read Finding Church yet but imagine it incorporates stories such as Charisse’s … if not that could be an idea for your next book.

    Lots of love,


  11. Hi Wayne:

    As I listened to you talk about the “40 most influential charismatics,” I remembered a list I saw just the other day published by Christianity Today: “10 Most Influential Women.” I had a yuck moment. Really! Who determines that these women are the most of anything? What about my friend Brenda who serves courageously in a hostile corner of the world and who shuns the limelight? What about any number of other people serving Jesus without fanfare? I don’t know why these “Christian” publications do this. Just because People magazine does it? I don’t think Jesus thinks too much about these lists.

    I, too, have had my share of these charismatic people coming to town and claiming “God is doing a new thing.” Really? What makes them think He isn’t already here, working quietly in our lives? Yuck. Recently I visited the church pastored by one of these people and you know what? There were hardly any people there.

    When you were talking about your own journey compared to the 39 others, I remembered what my son-in-law (PhD in Psychology) told me. He said that most CEOs and heads of large churches are narcissistic. They have to be to climb that high and not care what other people think. Is this what Jesus called us to do? No, in fact, He never said “Change the world.” He did say, however, love one another. Wayne, you know you are on the right path, the narrow path that few find, and you know it as you look at your relationships with your family and friends and friends of friends. You have grown in love and that is evidence of Jesus.

    I am so grateful that Jesus pulled me away from the institutional thing nine (!!) years ago. I am so very different than I was before. Thank you, Wayne, for being one of the loving voices speaking into my life through the God Journey.

    Blessings to you,


  12. As a Pentecostal I will say that we cling to His promises to fill us again and again. Fasting and praying is simply part of Christian life. As the deer pants for the water… It should not be used to gin up anything. Maybe the hucksters duped the masses because not many preach on God’s sovereignty in all things.

  13. I hadn’t had chance to listen to this until recently.  I have to be honest it broke my heart a little.  I hear Lee Grady’s desperate cry for “revival” but wonder if, as Father walks through that valley of dry bones again, asking “Son of man, can these bones live?”, our answer maybe ought to be “Oh no Lord, not again”.  I know it’s how I feel.  I have no cry in my heart for revival.  Heretical maybe but its an external influence from an external god which will AGAIN be abused, manipulated and mimicked.  I have instead a deep yearning for the beloved of God, the Bride of Christ, this true church made not of walls but of living hearts, to truly take her place.  For her to truly rise up out of the befuddlement of centuries of dogma and tradition (not all bad I know!!) and find her life again in her first love, her lover, her life giver.  Lee says in his article that God “told me, from verse 6: “Waters will break forth in the wilderness.” ”  I am sure God spoke to him, I am not sure it will be anything like he expects.  

    Waters breaking forth in the wilderness and rivers in the desert speak to me of the exodus, those who have left the Egypt of the old way of doing things, of the slave mentality, of pyramids of doings, and high minded buildings, to a very different place.  A wild, uncertain, out of our control place.  A place of retraining from the desperately old prisoner mentality under a god of judgement and anger and hell fire,  to that which is an invitation into LOVE, into an expanse of being which seesaws between scaring the s*** out of us to an exultation that screams YES this is it.  Because here we find the Lover of our souls, the true King of our true self.  

    Oh I KNOW she feels it, this steel of LOVE that is strengthening feeble hands and weak knees, that is causing rivers to flow in the wilderness and rivers in the desert, that out of the burgeoning life of this beautiful awesome powerful bride will come a “revival” unparalleled in history.  There will be no masters, no mouthpieces, no pulpit hoggers or celebrities, there will be a gentle, humble serving bride of a gentle humble serving King, who will bring life and love and joy and hope and healing to a broken world and broken “church”.    Like the Joel army this bride will have the face of a lion and the feet of a gazelle, she will be breathtakingly beautiful in her brokenness and vulnerability, in her honesty and fierceness.  Oh beloved… maybe I am foolish to think this, to believe this, maybe Lee is right and God will again persevere and make the dry bones live again for a while, but I hope not.  I hope that the accepted usual “flow” will stumble wildly over the strengthening road less travelled.

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