The God With Us
As Wayne recovers from his recent trip to Russia and Holland, Brad joins him for a discussion of his trip. They talk about Wayne's perception of the Russian people he was with, the unique challenges of their culture, and their passion to learn to live loved in a culture where only a very small slice of people are engaged with spiritual realities. In the course of the conversation they discuss how people tend to view God. Is he the awesome deity enthroned among the angels that we have to approach by jumping through a bunch of cleansing rituals and protocols, or is he the tender Father who comes to us even in our most broken moments to invite us into his reality?
Links to John Beaumont's resources on the web, and the PDF download of his latest article, Jesus is Building His Church.
Great Joy in Kenya
Muchly appreciate your comments about your brother’s passion for Russia and the honor revealed as Father’s love was multiplied all along your journey. I sense that a depth and breadth of love was imparted during this journey that you will continue to hear about over the coming years. The fruit will look nothing like the seed, and Holy Spirit will remind you… “…That started during your Russia trip…”
Our prayers are with you in this more intense travel season, and our hearts celebrate with you and Sarah as your anniversary approaches. May our LORD open mega-special moments for you two love birds in your upcoming trip. Congratulations and HUGE blessings!!! Thank you for flinging Father’s love all around!
You guys are definitely living loved!!!!! You are back on track. God bless you.
Thanks for sharing your thoughts. Your fatigue helped you get out of the way even more, today. Thanks for the imagery of your daughter falling into your arms in tears. I have been in conversation with some friends, brothers and sisters who are still into “going to church.” I’ve been trying to explain to them that I really don’t care if they do that whole thing, but would they please drop the “solo” Christians will die, thing. One even pointed out that you have a “greater chance to serve, and share, and love” in a congregation that you do outside. I begged to differ. Would that the whole of our worship experience is found in our 24/7 resting and residing and abiding in his presence. I don’t need a group to be connected with the Vine. I have really been thinking long and hard about John 15 and there is nothing in there that even suggests a gathering congregation as are so prevalent in our society. I’m not out there trying to convince them that one way is better than the other, but rather that being in fellowship and worship for any other reason than recognizing that we abide with and in the Father, Son, and Spirit always is empty and founded on some other issue. I WANT to be with Jesus WHEREVER I am. I don’t ever want to NOT to be with him, though I know that in my darkness I often shove him out of the way. I can rest in Father’s arms like your daughter knew she could rest in your. Thanks.
Found the story of Wayne’s daughter and his response very poignant. (Don’t think you shared that one before although you’ve shared many) : ) Interesting to hear about Holland and their responses as my parents were both born in Holland and I was raised in a “strict Calvinist” home. To ask the question about God’s character (is He the one in the palace w/ clothing changes required and climbing 50 steps or is He the Father who comes into the garage and takes you weeping and hurting into His arms…the One who comes near) impacted me in a big way. Father has been slowly and gently working a very large transformation in my life. I still have many questions about engaging my family who are still in the “distant, palace God” mindset and Father is sorting that out in His patient way. Thanks for sharing your conversation Wayne and Brad and blessings to you.
Interesting discussion regarding ‘connecting’ with God. I’ve previously written about it, but would like to say again, that I would like to think our reconciliation with God entails much more than a relationship ‘repair’, which might leave the impression of a continual distant relationship. Though I feel my relationship with God and my every day encounters with people are what life is about I console myself to the fact that God has reunited us with Him and made us one. However you prefer to look at it, the unity Christ prayed for in John 17 not only referred to the unity between us as followers of Christ but rather emphasized the unity between us and Him. Paul explained ample times that Christ has become our life. I see no other way for me to really change in my inner spirit than by His life and love inside me. His continual revelation to me of what He did for me and who He made me inspires me that I am who He wants me to be. I don’t need to strife to become that either through self effort or concentrating on relationships (thank God). Though I am an individual anything less than His life in me sounds familiarly similar to a Covenant of ‘either party contributing’. My love and compassion for those around me find their roots in Christ’s life in me. After all He had faith too; faith in me. Grace can mean many things to many of us but when He reveals Himself to us we start to understand the grace of God, which has no contribution made by me at all. I hear two people who understand the grace message and who really have the heart of God pounding in them and I sincerely hope God will transform me also by exposing me to His love and heart. Grace to you all and thanks for the pods. Jacob
Hi Jacob. Thanks for sharing your thoughts. Could you perhaps expand on your everyday encounters with people on how that fits into your relationship with God? I struggle with how this practically happens and works out in our lives. I guess I am still on a journey of learning and unlearning! I find Wayne and Brad (and everyone else’s) discussions incredibly helpful, but I would love to just hear from someone what their life is like now and how this all unfolds on a daily basis. I mean, someone who has a 9 to 5, kids, etc. and has now filled the void of “church” with other relationships and meaningful conversations and relationships.
I feel the pendulum might have swung just a tad too far in my life and I’m now so conscious of trying to not have an agenda, and not not being a victim, that I’m not sure how to have a conversation about God! I have a number of people around me who are on this journey as well, kind of like the blind trying to lead the blind 🙂 and we all inevitably end up talking about all the stuff that hurt us before and all the wrong stuff and I would so desperately love to talk with someone who is a bit more advanced down the track and can rather talk about who God is and how He reveals that in their life and where to from here!
Just simple little things like that, haha 🙂
I hope you don’t mind my jumping into the conversation you are having with Lezel. Lezel, I hope you don’t mind my adding to this conversation. If I am completely off track here, please tell me.
You said, “I feel the pendulum might have swung just a tad too far in my life and I’m now so conscious of trying to not have an agenda, and not not being a victim, that I’m not sure how to have a conversation about God! I have a number of people around me who are on this journey as well, kind of like the blind trying to lead the blind and we all inevitably end up talking about all the stuff that hurt us before and all the wrong stuff and I would so desperately love to talk with someone who is a bit more advanced down the track and can rather talk about who God is and how He reveals that in their life and where to from here!”
You talk about having a 9 to 5, as we all do. We have normal, daily lives that we lead. Just live it. Like Jacob said, think about the relationships you have with family and friends. Do you have to force a conversation with them? Or does it just come naturally? I’d daresay it just happens. You don’t have to force the conversation about the Lord, it just happens when it is supposed to and doesn’t when it is not supposed to.
Having just left my pastoral position and now just living in community with my church family, I at first felt guilty not “having something prepared” to talk about. Invariably, the Holy Spirit brought something up through one person in the group or another so that what I prepared was, frankly, irrelevant. Now it is just about conversation wherever I am. I had one yesterday with a guy who just finished his D.Min at the same time we were talking with a hedge fund manager. No “deep spiritual” talk, just stuff about life and how faith in Jesus interacts with all that.
It is in the common conversations of our daily lives that Christ works best. A couple of places in the NT that really helped me understand this was in 1 Corinthians 1 where Paul talks about “I planted, Apollos watered, but God brings the increase.” It is God who does it, not our conversations. Also, Luke writes about Lydia in Acts 16 how the Holy Spirit opened her eyes. Paul and Barnabbas could have spoken until they were blue in the face. If the Holy Spirit doesn’t want someone to see because it is not his or her time to see, it just won’t happen.
Just live your life. The Lord is faithful to give you the time, place, interactions, and words necessary to be his witness. As far as talking about painful church experiences, that’s normal. The institution that is the church has hurt a great many people. But God is faithful, and knows how to heal those wounds. It is simply as we focus on who Jesus is that we will find our conversations changing; away from the pain and turned toward the hope that lies within us.
I hope this helped more than hurt.
Hi Lezel, I’m not really qualified to answer your question other than share with you what it means for me. Once I got past the systems and structure mentality I went through a phase of possible guilt for leaving the system but also a period of ‘loneliness’ until the light went on. Our relationship with Father is not hinged/ dependent on affiliation to church organizations, how much we do for God, or our behavior. Think about your relationships with your own family and friends. Then as I progressed through my journey other things became clearer to me like understanding that my actions don’t determine how close God is to me because He will never leave you nor forsake you. And then I started understanding that there is a message beyond the ‘cross and grave’ message (which is where most organized religious churches stop) and you can read about it from the pen of Paul. Understanding that Jesus not only died for you but as you, which is why Paul can say in Gal. 2:20 that “I am crucified with Christ, nevertheless I live, yet not I, but Christ lives in me, therefor the life I now live I live by the faith of Christ, who gave Himself for me.” If you spend some time reading Pauls letters you get an understanding that all is already done for us and we can not add to it. Also understanding that we are what God wants us to be through Christ, we just need the revelation. I need to stop trying to be or even to become what God wants me to be as I am already there. As I progress through life in this relationship with Father I have ups and downs but God is with me and He reveals Himself and His personality to me. All is not always plain sailing but the pressure is off to perform and comply with certain criteria. We live in the age of grace, thank God, and Paul had that revelation and tried to share it with us. The only problem is most organizations still try to mold us into what God wants us to be and actually what we already are. If you feel the need to contribute from your side to the redemptive work of Christ then He died in vain. Hope some of this helps. My advice: relax, relate and rejoice…
Hi Frank, thanks I agree. I prefer not to lambaste the organization, and that’s not my intention here, but would like to point out that I see it over and over that the demands of organized religion leaves one with a sudden void once you leave, which, initially can lead to leaving you feeling obliged to comply with filling it. Accompanied with that is the guilt feeling, which is unfounded/unjustified actually. And so after a while when the dust eventually settles, and for some it’s longer than for others, we find ourselves in a more conducive position to hear God because the “spiritual noise” has settled and He can get through to us. This transition phase is the deserted feelings, hunger for fellowship because of the guilt, and also we ponder on the system we left and the hurts we experienced etc. All things which are not valid and eventually will be satisfied more than we can imagine. So Lezel, hang in there, you’re not alone. God is with you and the purging you are experiencing is just the process of deprogramming and settling in to a life and relationship with Father that is natural and true. Soon you will find the system is no threat to you and your path with God is so rich it dulls the past because you are on an exciting journey, forward. God Bless
Thank you both Jacob and Frank. Your comments have been most helpful.
How exciting to hear that others are further down the track and really experiencing this life of “living loved”, as Wayne calls it.
I hope and pray that the Lord will send more like you on my path that I can sit down with and pick their brains and we can learn from each other!
Blessings to you, and the God Journey team!
Hi Jacob, Lezel and Frank…as I am reading the thread of your conversation I am also thankful for the way you all express your questions and encouragement from those who are “further along” on this journey. This has helped me as I am processing some of the same things. Thanks.
Wayne, are you able to share the website of that guy in Holland who has had “He Loves Me” influence his music?
Rosa, his name is Edwin van Splunter and you can find his latest album here: http://edwinvansplunter.bandcamp.com/
Sorry if I sound a bit petty, but sometimes Brad sounds like he’s talking in a box! This was one of those podcasts. Perhaps Brad reclines a bit too much in his chair sometimes and just needs to sit a bit closer to the mic?