Whoever Has An Ear…
Brad and Wayne catch up on some hilarious and insightful email and then find themselves in a discussion about our misconception of ministry as trying to get other people to see what they are not seeing, rather than to walk alongside them in their journey as God opens their eyes to see his reality. Do we really "minister to" someone, or do we walk alongside them as servants? The ministry of Jesus invited people into his life; he did not drag them kicking and screaming into something that didn't chose for themselves.
My husband and I have been on a long, long spiritual journey. Many years ago, a pastor we both loved and worshipped asked my husband to do a little bible study called Experiencing God. Up until that point we were pastoral hit men. Whatever our pastor wanted, we would make happen all in the name of God. Our definition of God working was what He was doing within the confines of “our” church. We were arrogant enough to believe that God was using us to make a difference. RA’s, GA’s, Sunbeams, TeamKids, Vacation Bible School, Committee on Committees, Finance Committees, Building and Grounds Committees–needless to say, we believed that God just smiled when He heard what else we were doing for Him. But, thank God, He knocked out the props out from all we knew when we realized that we did not have a clue where God was or what He was doing. Everything in our lives came to a screeching halt. Our church “family” did not understand why we could no longer do all the things that we had been doing–they did not understand that we could do nothing because we had no clue as to what God was doing. The blank stares we got when we tried to explain what God was doing in us made things even worse. Soon the blank stares became angry attitudes when we consistently stated that we could no nothing because we had no clue what God really wanted. No one at our church understood any part of our spiritual journey–nor did they care. They just wanted us to do the job that we had been doing. We hung on to church attendance until my husband one day got physically sick when he tried to open the front doors of the santuary. During this time, we had asked God to show us the way He saw us. Boy, did He ever answer that. We spent months on our knees repenting. We also asked Him to show us the church the way He saw the church. Again, we were blown away by the answer. We ended up at a small church down the road where most of the congregation was over the age of 70–my husband said that if God was working in this body we could not miss it. God did begin to do a work there, but we were still thinking that God could only work through the institutional church. We did begin a small group Bible study there. We saw God do so much in that group that our pastor wanted to stop having Sunday evening service so that the entire congregation could participate in small group Bible studies. Things exploded after that–not in a good way. The institution dug in its heels and made it very clear that there was a prescribed order of service and it was ordained by God, and nothing would get in the way of that. After that, the church that we begin to see God work in so wonderfully became a hostile place. There seemed to be no fellowship or unity in the body. We were once again feeling liked we failed–we were still looking for God to work within the confines of the four walls of a building. Long story cut shorter, we are now in a group Bible study that meets every week. We are learning to be the Church, not just go to church. We know that there is so much that God wants for us. A relationship! That He directs! That He initiates! Our eyes have been opened. We are learning to be sensitive to the Holy Spirit as He directs us to where God is working so that we can get involved in what God is already doing. We are taking Romans 12 to a whole new level to anything that I have ever experienced within the institutional church. Challenged each day to be transformed–laying my life down as a living sacrifice to the One who sacrificed for me. I feel just like a kid wallowing into Papa’s lap. Why did I think I could do any of it? What freedom in that–I can do NOTHING except what I see my Father doing! Love your podcast, even though it hurts to remember the bondage we were under and the bondage so many are still under.
Okay I’m rolling in the floor laughing!!!!! You two make pretty good plungers!! LOL!
I am so excited, this past weekend with the two of you has UNCLOGGED some seriously stuck places in the way I think. I’m still amazed at the results of saying yes to your invitations to see things differently. I experienced pressure upon my return to have answers about my future and in the midst of it I felt a gentle reminder that I don’t have to know, I really can wait and just let it unfold, that is profound for me. I chose again today to let go of the need to figure it out and just rest in knowing He has it and regardless of the out come, I’ll be and know what I need to when I need to.
Again thanks for some really awesome fellowship……….still chuckling you two are a hoot!!!!!
Wow, how awesome is our God. Thanks for sharing your story it is a great encouragement.
I listened to your podcast then visited the church our kids attend and listened to a sermon on evangilism. It was so full of ‘shoulds’ and ‘need to’s’ that I couldn’t sit through to the end so I moved out to the foyer to talk with someone abouit anything other than what was being preached.
When we ‘should’ on someone we take the place of God in their lives. When that someone then feels guilty and tries to clean up their act THEY take the place of God in their own lives.
Church really started when the meeting finished and the members came to our son and daughter-in-law to see their new, one week old, son. (Yes our third grandchild, and he is sooo beautiful).
Now mext to my favorite Eric Clapton Unplugged i have a cd titled Wayne and Brad unglogged/ A merry heart doeth good like medicine. I laughed myself whole. gread podcast…
“God grant me the serenity to accept the people I cannot change, the courage to change the one I can, and the wisdom to know it’s me. ~Author Unknown”
“Consider how hard it is to change yourself and you’ll understand what little chance you have in trying to change others.”
I posted these two quotes on my Facebook wall before listening to this podcast.. I love Father’s sense of humor and timing!! The only thing is I would tweak the first quote to be more reflective of being available for the life of Christ in me as the source of that change. Kind of something like… ‘Father grant me the serenity to love the people I cannot change, the courage to surrender myself to the changes needed in me, and the wisdom to always know that comes only through You.”