Ceasing From Our Own Efforts

Wayne is back from Germany with some interesting observations about the "scatteredness" of the body of Christ in the world both in the common passions we share as well as the suspicions we have of others who celebrate body life differently than we do. He and Brad talk about the unique challenges that confront us in this time of transition from the collapse of our religious approaches to God to seeing how Jesus gathers his family in the earth. Only by laying down what we think we must do by our own efforts will we be free to live as he desires us to today and able to connect with the larger work Jesus is doing in the world around us.

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  1. Many cases can be cited to illustrate how the Lord’s people are entangled in “organization,” to the detriment of their life. At first these servants of God received tremendous spiritual power and were mightily used by God to save and build up man. Later arose the need for some kind of “organization” or “method” to preserve the grace that was given. Due to needs, requests, and sometimes orders, these servants were required to undertake so-called “edifying” work. Thus they were bound by environment and no longer had the freedom to follow the Holy Spirit. Gradually their spiritual life ebbed, though the outside organized work still continued in prosperity. Such has been the story of numberless defeats. (The Spiritual Man by Watchman Nee)

  2. Loved the podcast….as always….and as for the recent “southern dig” -we love you in spite of them! But just to clarify: not everyone who has a confederate flag is for slavery and confused on who won the Civil War. For many of us it’s still a symbol of state’s rights in the ever-increasing shadow of a too-powerful government. As a born and raised southern girl, that’s what it means to me. And in my opinion, the Germans should have had a similar flag. They could have used it to rally against their tyrannical leader and been able to keep their beer cellars for beer! 🙂

  3. After about 4 years away from the institutional machine, I have found myself hungry for genuine relationships with Christians. My new wife likes the institutional machine and asks me why I don’t just go. So I have been in and out of her specific local gathering in the machine and it rubs me so wrong and so backwards. Your illustration of the bone naturally finding feelers and finding other bones really hit the nail on the head. Now I am focused on the relationships that I naturally move towards and build that sense of Christian community out of that. This is a brand new world for me, not forcing anything into a structure, but simply thriving with the relationships that I have.

  4. Sarah,
    Thanks for that insight about the flag. I’m a northern boy (yes, a boy with a name Stacey and I lived through Jr. High to tell about it.) and had never heard of that symbolism. I love being exposed to people outside my general walk. My world just expanded a bit and I feel I can relate to you as I feel the recent increase in government over all of us. I was always taught the war was just about slavery, but I can see where many were fighting for a very different reason. Great insight.

    It parallels my journey out of religion. The more people I meet that are walking with Jesus outside organized religion the more I feel my world expands and I feel a unity with people on a different journey. These are often the people I thought were lost. I feel like the narrowness of the way I was taught about religion has limited how much I could relate to people walking a different path. I find myself judging less and wanting to join them on their journey. This has been especially helpful with my kids lately.

  5. I’m a physician and loved the bone metaphor. It is simplistic, but essentially accurate. What struck me was that each piece of bone has no idea what the overall goal is. It just knows it’s job. It’s job is to put out feelers and connect with others. None of this is possible without a connection to the body. I love the picture of being connected to God and the freedom of being focused on what God calls me to do. In this scenario we are called to connect to others. When the bone is not broken those same cells are remodeling and strengthening bone, but only when there is enough resources to do so. In the metaphor those resources are God. Another layer is that they only reach out to other bone cells, not to other types of tissue. They have to recognize where God is leading them. They have to pay attention. If they reach out in directions that aren’t congruent with the overall plan, things can go terribly awry. This all reminds me of fractals. God designed our human body as a picture of His plan for us. Each layer is a picture of the next and previous. Thank you for using this analogy. It has really got my mind to whirring.
    As a second note: Your podcasts are mirroring the life of my wife and I. God has put these in our life right now as wonderful encouragement and as way to provoke excellent conversations. My wife resigned from ministry just over a year ago. The corporate life was bringing up old wounds. It started as family, but developed into something different. The breaking from a congregation that we had been a part of for ten years was quite painful and there are still some strained relationships. I’m loving the thought of living in Father’s love and trusting the Holy Spirit. I love the freedom of following God rather than inviting Him to follow me. God is helping me learn that I need to focus on Him instead of fixing this broken congregation. He is helping me to see that there are people there that truly love God. Thanks for all you do!

  6. Thank you , thank you , thank you, it’s so wonderful just to relax and be loved. Nothing required of me anymore but relax and wait on God. Everything I read on this I share with my daughter in law and son and she wrote on her message board . Whatever you are doing today God , I am in. My 9 yr old grandson wrote under it “me to God, this is Japheth writing this” We laughed cause he thought unless he told God it was him , God wouldn’t know who wrote it. 🙂 We get more and more smiles like this daily. It is a very wonderful day we are living now.

  7. Thank you too for a timely message although I’m somewhat ‘backdating’ 🙂 Here in NZ we have folk all over the country seeking ‘what is this love journey?’ On a NZ blog ‘Papas House’ we can get together and reach out to touch others across the islands and share our journeys together. For my wife and I we have meet a few folk in our city regularly (weekly) although some who are not familiar with coming out of the IC and are still finding it very hard with no structure there. We have a potluck meal and then share some things on our mind or hearts. Some are still struggling with ‘relaxing’ in Gods hands our fragile lives and feel ‘God gave us the tools we need to be doing stuff, He will not do the work for us’ while others are finding life has been pretty rough and have lost many things and ‘Gods promises’ seem so far away from coming true. How to deal with lose and not struggling is a condition of trust and it takes some time I think just to work though and find – God really is working sometimes in ways we just cant see ourselves. Bless you and your families this Christmas time of year.

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