The Numbers Game

If you're counting anything as a sign of your fruitfulness in God's kingdom, you're already a step away from God's priorities. Fruitfulness isn't measured by the size of your audience, income stream, or the number of book sales or website clicks. Once you think it is, you will distort his kingdom to increase your bottom line and probably not even realize it. Wayne begins with a dip in the old mail bag following up on the John Lynch podcasts and then finds himself discussing how the priorities of Father's kingdom differs completely with the priorities of this world. You get to follow one or the other; trying to follow both is an illusion.

Podcast Links:
Wayne's Love Is Like Fire blog
Kenya Update for the Outreach in West Pokot
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  1. A lot of people are being “atheists” of the God of the Old Testament – of the God of religion – of the God of Paul.

  2. Thank you Papa and Wayne for this very timely message to my heart. I have no book sales or church memberships to track but I have had my eyes on the hoped for results that I have wanted for my actions and relationships with other people while on my journey. It is just as bad to judge yourself as being in God’s love or pleasure by counting the results in the very few you are around. If you building your own kingdom no mater how small the circle of influence it is still just your or wood hay and stubble kingdom.

  3. Thanks Wayne. I do a small afternoon service, Vespers it is called (although I have no idea how to vesp) at the local retirement center. As you can imagine, not many great, powerful, influential, etc. Although at one time they might have been.

    And I am having a blast. They are the kindest most appreciative bunch in the world. This last Sunday we were attempting to sing, me who is tone deaf, our pianist who, to say it charitably, had her best years behind her if indeed any of the years were that great. All of us attempting to sing the old gospel hymns, some of which I kind of knew sort of. Finally one kindly old gentleman in the back, who up to that point had been paying no attention, just sitting in his wheelchair and staring at the floor, straightened up and shouted “I feel like I’m in prison!!!” I asked him why? He said “I think we’re behind a few bars and can’t find the key!” which was absolutely true.

    I fell off my chair I was laughing so hard. Needless to say, we had a wonderful service. Everyone was wishing I would come more often.

    Thank you Lord, for the many blessings in my life. Even if I’m not very good.


  4. Thanks Ken…yes even in a small circle of influence…my circle is small but I also am drawn to a position of “counting and tabulating”. What wonderful freedom to slowly be learning to give that up as my focus is shifting more and more to “What is He asking me to do”. Mark thanks for your sense of humour. May Father bless you as you share your life with others.

  5. Numbers… They have power over a person.

    Thank you for sharing this podcast. It gave me a lot to think about. I am still attracted to the stats and I often wonder why. They don’t define my effectiveness. I think I know that. So what do the numbers have over me???? Seems like maybe something I picked up in the boxed up years. Numbers were important.. especially in the megachurch I was a part of for 10 years. It took years to get me weaned off from attraction of that. But part of me still wants to know I am making a difference and sometimes I still feel like the more people that read my stuff, the more effective I am.

    I just had a conversation with my uncle last night that reminds me how unimportant numbers really are.
    I sent him a copy of my one and only book (it was a book of poetry I published in 2008). I was excited to hear that he started reading it, even though I didn’t really expect him to. He doesn’t seem like a poetry kind of guy. Poetry was a season of my life that culminated in a publication. My Mom bought 500 copies and it seems like we still have a couple hundred left over. So the numbers weren’t that great.

    But every now and again, I hear a story or two of how that book has touched some one. Then the numbers become insignificant and the work it took to write, collect and publish my poetry was all worth it.

    Thank you again for a timely reminder, Wayne.

  6. Thanks for all the sharing on this podcast. I don’t respond often so I wanted to say that! I wanted to comment about the man who is despondent about his life and value to God. I think there are a number of us in varying states of what he described so eloquently. Please do have a podcast or more addressing the issues you heard him raise. Though I don’t feel as caught in the pit as he was describing, I still find myself struggling with some kind of unbelief in the different way God thinks than we humans sometimes do. I guess that’s probably why you wrote He Loves Me. And I go back to that book quite a bit. Sometimes the old way just doesn’t want to go away. It makes me feel hobbled when I see I’m still dragging it around. Thanks again for all your good words! Lisa

  7. Hi everyone,

    the comment you, Wayne, read from Jim took me to join this conversation actively. I started to think about God and my own journey with him about a year or so when first listened to the Jesus Lense and some teaching other than what was traditionally taught in our “church”. There is a feeling that this is real, this is warm, there is God in it… On the other hand it seems so hard to get:

    My former thinking of God was: He is the (somewhat distant, though loving) king, I am his subject, doing what He asks me to do (known primarily from the teachings in church). This concept worked for me as there seemed to be proof from scripture. AND: I could explain my suboptimal circumstances by saying – it’s about Him, I do not matter.

    As for your posting, Jim (thank you!), yes, I do think you speek for many. Our circumstances as family are such exhausting the last five to ten years. We hoped and prayed for changes, but all changes which seems to be indicated to be changes to the good, turned out to make everything even worse.

    The last year taught us not to focus on the circumstances and now, the prayer of my wife and me is: “God, show us that you are there. Please, give us your peace and the knowledge that you are with us and we are on the right way.” I believe, once Jesus would assure us that it’s desert time, but we are stepping in the right direction, we could accept the circumstances much easier!

    But we “feel” nothing, we do not “know” anything, we have no idea where to go next and we do not have that Godly “peace”. I’d like to jump on the wild-fire picture, Wayne talked about. It’s like I see that fire burning in what is told in this podcast and other places and I’d love to burn as well. But to start that fire seems so hard. I say, I want to and I know I want to – thus, Jesus also knows I want to.

    Now, back to the beginning: If Jesus is not that distant king, but more the guy enjoying sitting on a camp fire with me as His friend (I love that picture from “He loves Me, What Jesus’ Disciples
    Didn’t Know
    ”), than why don’t He respond to my wish? Why would He not make me feel Him? I can see that: Once the fire burns, it’s rather easy to feed it – but how to start it? Why would Jesus not want to start it? It’s certainly not a principle (I listened long enough, Wayne, to know that 😉 ), but why would He not do anything? And if it was: I see you, I am there, just keep track, everything will be fine in the end.

  8. Just a brief two sentences from one of my favorite movies “The very best Marigold Hotel”. It is about a group of retirees from England who can’t afford to retire in England and elect to move to India. They take a room at the very best Marigold Hotel, which is quite run down. However, it is run by a very optimistic Indian man, who sees the good in everything.

    “But there is no door to my room” says one Englishman. “Ah, the better to get to know your neighbors!” replies the Indian. (And now for the line.) “And just remember, in the end, it is always good. And if it is not yet good, it is not yet the end!”



  9. Thanks, Mark, really nice story – I didn’t know that film, sounds like it’s worthy to give it a try! 🙂

    But “…if it is not yet good, it is not yet the end!” Is that all we got? Isn’t there any deep knowledge to be sure about? Intellectually, I get that – but how to know with my heart?

    I’d love to be sure that God is with me, that He is ok with what I’m doing. In the moment, I am hoping that He is and, yes, to some degree my head says that, too.

    Yet, it feels that there must be something more, something deeper, more real and unequivocally sure…

    Anyway, for years I thought I knew everything important about God and believing. Now that I realize, there is so much more – my life of faith got definitely more exciting again. At least that is a good thing! 🙂

    Be blessed, too!

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