The Conversation of Community

How do you deal with those who are not ready for the conversations in grace in which community thrives? Wayne faced that challenge last weekend and lived to tell the tale. But first, he shares some encouraging emails about the transformations God is doing in various people and then talks about the kind of conversations that encourage people in that process and discusses the problem of having people in the conversation who have abusive views of God and are adamant about convincing others that their view is the right one. Community conversations are seeded with grace, openness, and honesty and those who try to force their fears on others present a challenge to the health of the conversation.

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  1. Wayne, when you mentioned “seeding community” near the end, a beautiful image came to mind that I think about often and personally hope my life daily mirrors in the communities I live. It’s the words by John O’Donohue that close out a film he did.

    “My hope is that these words and images have been a kind of casting of seed into the soil of the heart, and that someday when the bleakness or the storm comes that we might be gently surprised that a tree has grown inside where we can shelter and find relief and renewal to continue our journey.”

  2. It is too scary for some to think that God would actually allow someone the free will to choose evil, so when a senseless tragedy like the one in Boston happens, they feel the need to defend God, by saying He either caused it, or allowed it. Or they deny the existence of God by saying that a loving God wouldn’t have allowed the tragedy in Boston to happen at all.

    God will never compel us to love Him. That is against His nature. There are as many that turn away from God in times of trouble than turn toward Him. For the institutional church to think that God sends wake-up calls in their defense is putting God in a box. God is as much with those who are currently in rebellion to Him as He is with those who are not. His love for us doesn’t depend on how we respond. Repentance is ultimately a decision we make without the influence of external circumstances. It is an individual issue.

  3. Wayne I was moved by this pod cast. It reminded me of how the Lord pulled the wool from my eyes on how to be a sower of seeds.

    Just a bit of my story that goes with what you are talking about. For the longest time I struggled with how to say the right words or if I was sowing seeds for the Lord. I lived in fear that I was doing it the right way…

    It was song 20 years Jesus used something I heard in conversation in a home bible study I was part of about this topic. “I am being used in my daily walk by being myself.” That is all God wants of his children. The fear that I had to say things just right. I had to repeat or memorize the right words to say, bla, bla… It became clear it was from man. I was being a fairacy…

    I asked God to show me his will and help me to be used as needed.

    You can imagine what the Lord did. It was like asking for passions, be careful what you pray for thing.

    God opened my eyes to a world of freedom (in the Holy Spirit) and I saw God do things that I never have before then. I was able to say things that could only come from the spirit of Christ! WOW! I have goosebumps from just typing this.

    Once I was able to just be myself and have a obedient heart and spirit to the Lord. Is all God wants of us. I know this sounds easy on paper, but is much more easier and fun walking in Christ then in the flesh, my will.

  4. How can I find the type of community to which you speak, in the area I live? Do I post in this comment thread my nearest city and see if other folks are in this area? I have kept my “ears to the ground” in search of this for several years. Thanks for any assistance you can give. blessings, Nancy

  5. Nancy,
    There are two possibilities of. possible connecting with individuals in your area:
    One is the FORUM area on this site, the link to the Forums is at the top of the God Journey podcasts. There is a section in the forum area that you can post anyone from ? and your area and also see if anyone from your area has posted am thing. I have met a few individuals in my area which is Denver, Colorado through the forum and while there are no fellowships that I am aware of close to me I have met a few people for discussions over coffee about our individual God journeys and that is a real blessing. In the forums you can also get discussions going about various topics.
    The second is Waynes website which has many superb growth in God’s love resources as well as a connection area which you can take a look at.

  6. Nancy,

    I read through these responses and simply gave my email address to people I felt like connecting with. I put it right here in the text and invited specific people to chat with me. You could even make up a temporary email if you didn’t want your regular one out there.

    I did that about 3 years ago. I now have 4 good friends I email regularly. We are probably more honest because we don’t get together but now they are 4 of my truest friends. Many have joined and left but that’s okay too,

  7. That is a great idea Alan that I never thought of.
    Through the forum I have made some long distant friends and like you have come to see they are a very special part of my lifeeven though we may never meet.

  8. Wayne, I’ve listened for many years now but haven’t really joined the conversation much. Just a little concerned that I might not have much to add.

    My journey has lead me from being raised in a large church organization, to small church plants, to house church, and now back to a small church setting due to the needs of my family to be connected. Being a worship leader myself I’ve struggled with not being a part of something musical in my life that brings others closer to Him. I’m still struggling to be a part of the church but the Lord has comforted me to know that for now this is where we are supposed to be.

    This topic of community has really struck a nerve in me and brings up an old topic of “small groups” that I really don’t like or promote but I’m being asked to create a connection ministry for the church I’m currently attending. Many may say I’m just a “lay pastor” and I have no real bible school teaching other than my discipleship training over the years. I’m a very relational person and I’ve really struggled with the program church method and based on my history with it I don’t see much impact of these groups other than obligation. I can’t say I haven’t had some great times in small group settings with worship and prayer but they weren’t times that were leader driven but out of the need to support someone within the group.

    My heart is heavy each time I pray about creating a connection ministry with small groups or to stimulate community within the church. The Lord has told me to stay away from trying to do it myself. I truly believe that community is organic and something that can’t be managed, controlled, or directed. Its people choosing to be a part of something larger than themselves and their own family and knowing their are others out there that feel and see things like they do. It’s a place they can find support, strength, and reassurance of who they are and what they believe.

    I ask for your prayers and thoughts that I might hear the Lord’s direction on this.

  9. Karen’s letter spoke to my heart.

    Thank you, Father, for the courage of an associate pastor to break ranks with established power structures and to stand beside an individual during her time of pain and crisis. I believe Martin Luther King, Jr. stated “In the end, we will remember not the words of our enemies, but the silence of our friends.” I’ve seen that those types of wounds (from those “closest” to us) can be the most painful.

    I appreciate Wayne’s comment about Father using those painful times in our lives as a surgeon healing the wounds of the sick. That perspective helps me to understand how loving God is (using whatever means necessary to assist in our Journey). As the Great Physician massages our hearts, our souls continue to receive restoration and health.

  10. For some reason I could not find anything through the connection area on the lifestream site Carol. Perhaps I did not use it right. I am actually looking for a physical group of folks in my area who will not only discuss topics, but also share meals and service projects together.

  11. I’ve got to stop listening to these at night before I go to bed…they get me all stirred up and excited and then I can’t sleep! lol

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