What Brush Do I Paint With?
Whether it's our angst with the institutions of organized religion, or dealing with expectations of God and others, it seems easier for us to paint with a broad brush and stand on our own principles and judgments of others. Better still to paint with a finer brush of what God is doing in us and what he's asking of us, rather than to react in our own fears or hurt. Wayne and Brad sort through some recent email and blog postings and talk about the church not as an institution, but as an expression of what God is doing in people who are responding to him and whether or not God has expectations of us that we need to satisfy. And if we fall short, what then?
Update on the Orphanage in Kenya
As to expectations, a lot of wonderful things have happened in my life (pretty normal daily life things) but I have to say that most of it is not at all what I was expecting in my 20s and 30s and exerting lots of energy going after. And I really have come to believe that these unexpected realities and the daily life I have found is much much better than all those other ideas based upon former expectations could have ever produced even if I had attained some of what I was going hard after.
At the end when you talk about how Paul says I do the things I don’t want to do and I don’t do the things I want to do, and you said when you mess up you go to God and tell him, how does that compare to when paul says should I keep on sinning, no! I struggle with that because I feel like Paul is saying don’t keep on sinning. For instance, if you smoke, and you feel guilty and you think God wants you to stop but you keep on doing it even though you tell God how you feel, are you still continuing to live a life of sin?
Good question about what initially attracted us to a church. Sometimes the church changes and sometimes we change. Other times, things start to reveal themselves over time. Kind of like a courtship where you see the best of a person, even if you date a long time. Then you get married and learn some things–some of which you can live with. But sometimes you learn things that present a challenge and that can happen in churches.
We also often overstay, when what we’re trying to do is change a place and as you said, that’s not our place. Sometimes, at least for me, I reach a place where I wake up and realize that in a way I’m creating my own misery by trying to force change where it’s not wanted, when instead, I could do one of two things: a) accept things as they are or b) leave and find a place of greater compatibility.
Al’s Axiom (currently unassigned): “Expect anything you want. Be thankful for everything you get.”
Karen, I think we’re talking apples and oranges here. In Romans 7 Paul is dealing with sin he doesn’t want to do. It’s not that he won’t do the good, it’s that he gets robbed of it. In the second instance Paul is talking about those who abuse grace to justify sin. In other words, “I’m sleeping with my girlfriend, but I don’t care because I’m covered by grace,” or “I’m going to lie about you in court to steal from you, but that’s OK because I’ve changed my mind about the promises I made to you.” One involves a fleshy predisposition that I’m struggling with and the other involves a willful act to harm another and use God’s love as an excuse. Paul appreciates the first struggle, but exposes the second as fully fraudulent. Now all that said, I would disagree with your example that smoking is a sin. It’s an unhealthy habit that harms the people doing it and he would love to free them from, but Scripture doesn’t spell it out as a sin that violates the moral code of God in the universe. To think of it as a “life of sin”, gives it far more power than it deserves, and will lead only to guilt and further bondage…
This is my first time to post here. I have been listening to the podcasts since last Fall as well as listening to many of the archived ones. Last year, the small Sunday morning gathering my family and I had been involved with for many years dissolved by mutual agreement. A few weeks after that, a friend sent me the link for The Jake Book. Life has not been the same since. It is joy learning to live in daily with Christ in the love of our Father with no pressure to perform.
The part in today’s podcast about expectations was of interest to me because it relates to questions I have been wondering about over the past week. I was recently asked about those who came to Jesus with definite expectations to be healed (e.g. woman with flow of blood). To various people, Jesus said, “Your faith has made you whole.” So, the question is what role does our faith play in God’s work to make us whole? How does our faith, which is authored and finished by Jesus, relate to the reality of spiritual rest and simply receiving what our Father gives us.
It seems to me we can have the expectation of faith to be made whole while resting in God’s timing as to when He brings it about in our lives. I believe Wayne mentioned something along these lines in the podcast. I would be interested in the thoughts of others on this.
I’m sure you get many e-mails and I did not want to take up your time unnecessarily.
Please allow me to thank you for all you have done and are doing. Father has blessed me, and continues to do so, in many ways. It would be an understatement to say you have been used significantly by Father.
I would suggest you are somewhat of a “pioneer” and some of the road you travel may be difficult and troubled by obstacles. Perhaps you have heard it, but I would be privileged to point you to a particular song that may encourage you.
The song can be found on UTube. It is called Pioneer and is sung by a female artist named Honeytree.
May you continue on undaunted as the Father continues to lead you.
I just thought of something. I did not mean to bypass Brad as relates to the podcasts. It was just that I was focusing on all I’ve been reading and listening to from Wayne. I love your spirit Brad and may God continue to bless you as well.
It pains my heart to see some of what is written about the type of work you guys have been called to, namely, allowing God to build His church and I suspect some toes have felt stepped on as God works through you to “clear some of the brush on the path” so some of His light can shine through.
Blessings to you Brad,
I’m a schlub.
I recently purchased a new car and am receiving a steady stream of medical bills as a result of trying to ward off potentially life and health-destroying conditions. I went from trying to build a comfortable nest egg to enjoy in my ‘golden years’ to now virtually living from paycheck to paycheck to enjoy ‘my best life now’.
This from a regular guy and not a current and/or former religious expert.
The most enjoyable and life changing adventures of our lives can only be lived and shared in expectations unmet. As HE stirs the waters to refresh, go ahead, dive in and join HIM in the solitude of the deeper waters for there alone intimacy dwells. Gman.
Great chat gentlmen!
@Ron – As another schlub, I have experienced much of the content of this fine discussion, recently.
Sounds like you’ve decided to live! Recently got a new dog for much the same reason – follow your heart and live!
Expectations are as much about control as anything else. If we can set up A, B and C, then logically… It’s taking false comfort in the thngs we can see and control. Wayne has spoken before of “the illusion of control.” So true!
In life, there are items we can and certainly ought to mange (much as living within one’s means, etc.) These follow a common sense approach and experience. Expectations can become limitations. Why are we so prompt to limit an outcome? Misplaced secuirty, fear, etc?
I have pretty high expectations for certain outcomes at work regarding those fine folk. It’s rare to find someone who will help you without some sort of agenda of self. At times this surprises me? Now why on earth would it? Carnal people are most carnal and fleshy; I can also be when I stop lovng.
I have an eternal and internal motivation to help others, called love. My eys have been opened wider over these past few years. And for some silly reason I expect eveyone else to just get it – false expectations. It’s taken fifty years for me and these fellows are so much younger. This doesn’t mean the truth is hard to see, it simply comes down to what one wants to see. God moves differently with each soul, based on where they currently are.
There is ceratinly a set limit as to what most people will do on their own. I have began to see many will assist you when you ask lovingly. Love and relationship go hand in hand.
I am beginning to think this may be about love after all…
Thankyou Wayne and Brad for responding to my questions about expectations as they have been and can be such a stumbling block for me.
I really liked the idea of using the word ‘desires’ rather than ‘expectations’ in relation to God. God desiring me to behave in a particular way implies a feeling of Him being ‘for’ me rather than the coldness of Him ‘expecting’ behaviours of me. It does tie in, as you said, with what you were talking about earlier ie Him putting in us what He desires for us-we can’t manufacture it ourselves.
In relation to other people, I agree with you Mitch that there can be an element of control in our expectations of others, and as I look to have my needs met in Him, the pressure is off with looking to others and will then free me to love…obviously a process which I need to walk out with Him…( :
Another thing someone said to me recently which was helpful regarding expectations of others and when they are unmet was, “Be careful not to think of expectations as rights”; something that I think I inadvertantly do and which then leads to anger and frustration.
The great thing is, I’m starting to see a way out, not just in this area but others…there can be change but it is only found in Him-not through extensive Bible study, or quiet time but ultimately in believing and knowing that He loves me, desires what’s best for me and works in me and through me as I rest in Him..He is FOR me!!
Thanks again for these podcasts-they are so incredibly helpful ( :
Love the thoughts and conversation. Just as in the everyday world, everything isn’t always clear, including some posts. A good example is the Schlubs topic; Just simple differences in understanding this matter, plus those multiplied by billions of times in number and power, affect much of the world’s daily life, easily seeable in the various comments.
And somehow that is getting crazier, it seems, at about the speed of light. Maybe it is Facebook and co. that is sneakingly affecting us in ways where we can’t even communicate personally anymore. I admittedly find it frightning, especially since it seems very pushed and desired.
One thought to address the use of the word “Holy”, since it comes up in the podcast. The Christian Bible translation, unfortunately not available anymore, doesn’t use those kinds of church words, as they simply have no biblical connection. Instead of the “Holy” Spirit, the phrase used is the “pure” spirit. Everyone knows basically what the word “pure” means. The Greek word Hagios is used in NT texts a few hundred times in its various forms. It not only indentifies the Spirit, but also land, people, dough, kiss, body as temple, a city, prophets, behaviors, etc.; thus lending credence to the proper choice of the universal english word Pure.
For example, I know that my behavior can have a pure or impure quality or motive about it. See how much better it boosts understanding than “Be ye holy as I am holy”. “Pure” allows a very “Jesus Lens” simplicity, quality and understanding to the text.
So, good ridence to “Holy” as it joins the word “Lord” in the recycle bin of my vocabulary.
Just another sacred cow on the tip!
Much love, Robert
Robert is right, things are whizzing by. There have been a few notable breakthroughs in religion this year. The Pope was pleased to hear the news about the Higgs boson – it proved the origin of mass.
I plead guilty to the charge of painting with a very broad brush, and I do so for various reasons:
But firstly I need to emphasize that I doubt people are drawn to institutions based on some attraction. For me as for many it’s been ‘tradition’. My parents went and so I went along and so it gets passed on from generation to generation. We might have swapped institutions during our lifetime which I attribute to our search for that which our previous institution could not provide (and might I add neither will the next).
Now my reasons for the broom brush:
People do not need institutions and buildings to ‘organize’ themselves. They do not need ‘coverings’ or ‘affiliations’ to live in a relationship with Father. In fact, our unity is not based on our like-mindedness (which ultimately will lead to conformity by association) but rather because Christ is our unity (which allows us each to have a personal unique relationship with Father). From my perspective these institutions are substitutes for the true valid ‘temple’, you and I. In any event did God instruct us to organize ourselves?
Paul gives a useful truth in Acts 17:24-25 stating that God does not dwell in man made temples. The question here is not whether God can work in those institutions (of course He can) but rather what function are those institutions fulfilling? If they’re acting as Mediator between believers and God they’re invalid. And as much as we all believe these institutions are filled with sincere children of God (and I truly believe they are), if I can spare someone the time and effort to rather live in the freedom IN Christ then I need to take a stand, AS DID PAUL.
There is a huge portion of scriptures following the gospels that not only warn us against substituting Christ in our lives with certain futile activities or systems but it was the very message Jesus revealed to Paul on his way to Damascus to assist us in the very age we are living in. To not address this issue due to ‘political correctness’ would be to deny the message of Christ. For too long we have literally “chucked” a portion of scriptures to not offend anyone whilst it’s not about offense at all. We’re all searching for the truth, and the sad thing is, WE HAVE IT! We’re just denying it or shall I rather say Him (Christ).
So, at this point I apologize if I offended someone, but I do not apologize for the truth God has given us all, and which has been obscured through the centuries. But, if you’re willing to read the letters Paul wrote to the Churches (which make up the larger portion of the New Testament scriptures), you’ll soon realize God foreknew we were going to struggle with this IMMENSELY radical New Covenant of Grace, and therefor gave us ALL the assistance we need to understand it with our minds, because our spirits are complete.
Grace to you.
my wife and i are in the midst of a career change. over 10 years ago, i left corporate america to enter into full-time ministry. like brad & wayne, i lost my “church job” abruptly. that loss occurred 18 months ago. due to the economy (and, i’m certain God-sized factors, too), i am still looking for full-time work. the beautiful result is how Father has transformed our perspective as seeing this situation as a “gift”. we’ve been given an opportunity to “see behind the curtain” and better understand who Father is. the result is our being carried away into His unending love!
i connect with brad’s comment that he was, at one time, relying on the paycheck instead of God for his provision. for months my response had been that God owes me another full-time job so that i can provide for my family’s needs. i mean, doesn’t the Bible say that he will take care of our every need if we will seek his righteousness?
despite my kicking, screaming, and holding my breath until my face turned blue, Father has been faithful as our Provider in HIS own way. we are becoming dependent for His provisions daily and look for opportunities to connect with others however He orchestrates.
we are arriving at a place of deeper faith and dependence. Thank you for the encouragement we receive from your Podcasts and from the Journey you and your listeners are traveling.