A Weekend in Kalispell, Montana

I’m finishing up my weekend with some believers in and around the Kalispell, Montana area. This area is awesomely gorgeous, though it has rained three of my four days here. On the Friday, however, I got to go for a hike on a mountain above Flathead Lake with some old friends from the YWAM base near here. What a beautiful hike and we fouind a rock at the top fo the hill where we could look almost 300 degrees around at the lake and mountains and the landscape was as awe-inspiring as any I’ve seen. I love the mountains and forests, so this is like heaven to me.

I arrived here not ever having met the folks that invited me. We had corresponded a bit on the ‘net, but that was all. But in the plans to come up here, many others emailed me to find out where I was going to be and expressed surprise that there were others in the Flathead Valley thinking outside the box. God is definitely stirring a large number of people in this area and freeing them from religious boxes that have distracted them from knowing him.

What a weekend! We did nonstop yakking from Friday afternoon through Sunday evening sharing this incredible journey, affirming the things God’s been teaching his people and celebrating our unity in Christ. A couple of things really stand out from the time this weekend.

First, Father has already been speaking into our hearts the things he wants us to know. For many people here the things I shared weren’t brand new to them, but there were many ‘Ah! Hah!” moments where people recognized that the voice that had been whispering similar things to them all along, but they hadn’t really thought it was God’s voice because it ran so counter to the religious things they’d been taught all their lives. That is so fun! What God is doing to draw people to himself today is a work of the Spirit in the hearts of those who long for him, it is not a movement initiated or controlled by any author, speaker or organization. Leaving people freer to follow the Shepherd’s voice is the greatest joy of doing what I do.

Second, God is preparing people all around us to live more fully in his life. We may not know them yet, or know what God is doing in them, but it is easy to see how easy it would be for God to connect a few dots and we would see how incredibly whole and healthy his family is in the world. When people get together who are on the journey of knowing God more deeply and being transformed in his image, fellowship is so easy and so inspiring. I love the connections that happen in an area simply because people who’ve found their way to my website, get to meet others who live near them who hunger for similar things. Many who thought they were all alone in their passions, find they are not and that there are others around them with whom they can connect.

And as I was finishing this, Eugene Peterson returned my phone call of yesterday. He lives near here and we had met years ago at a small writer’s retreat that Leadership Journal hosted near Chicago. There were only a dozen of us that got to know each other over four days. Even so, I was shocked he remembered me. I just wanted to bless him and tell him how much I have appreciated his translation of the Scriptures and his other writings. Even though we are a few miles apart in how we view the Church, we are kindred spirits in the Father we love and the journey we have walked to live in him more deeply. He’s as genuine a human being as I have ever met and it was icing on the cake to have a chance to reconnect with him today.

I’ve got a few more folks to visit with today and then have a late afternoon departure to head home. I get in pretty late tonight, but there is nothing like the trip home! I always love getting home to Sara and those crazy pups of ours!

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4 Comments
  1. strong warrior September 13, 2005 at 2:30 pm

    Joh 6:15 – Therefore, when Jesus knew that they were about to come and take Him by force to make Him king, He withdrew again to the mountain by Himself.

    See the example of Jesus -When they tried to make Him king, He escaped from their midst. Note the difference of leaders today, who relish in glory people give to them, and allow themselves to be put on petistles, who allow their voice to be heard above God’s.

    Note the difference we see in the authority of the Church – to recognize the myriad of leaders He has placed within His Body, to submit to one another in the fear of God.

    The institutional church is not our enemy. Inevitably organization is going to happen. Institutions will be built. The key is to allow the Organization of the Church to be led by the Spirit of God – join the Institution that He heads up, and forsake the institution that is built by people. The institutional church is not our enemy, simply because part of the Body of Christ lies within it. If we dissassociate from the "institutional church" completely, we have cut ourselves off from part of the Body of Christ. We then are not perfected in love. If we fear going into anything that might look ‘religious’ to us, we are not perfected in His boldness and care for these people.

    Religion is inevitable. "Religion" can be used in a positive and a negative way. Jas 1:27 – "Pure and undefiled religion before our God and Father is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress and to keep oneself unstained by the world."

    People who try to be non-religious or uninstitutional often have a subtle or masked-form of religion or organization (ie. they become religious about being ‘non-religious’). It might seem care-free, loose, unstructured, but the structure exists in a different form. To understand His structure, we must seek Him and ask Him for it. We must be willing to hear what God is saying through other parts of the Body of Christ, not just a ‘special few’. Administration is a gift of the Spirit, and to move in administration and ‘leadership’ apart from His Spirit is to presume upon God and create human-made organization. To deny organization of the Spirit is to act in rebellion against God. Some have in fear of looking idle, create intricate forms of litergy, not bothering to ask God if He wants something different, or be willing to change in the middle of a service if He is leading in such a way. Others have in fear, ran from such forms to the extent of not having any organization at all (seemingly).

  2. strong warrior September 13, 2005 at 5:30 pm

    Joh 6:15 – Therefore, when Jesus knew that they were about to come and take Him by force to make Him king, He withdrew again to the mountain by Himself.

    See the example of Jesus -When they tried to make Him king, He escaped from their midst. Note the difference of leaders today, who relish in glory people give to them, and allow themselves to be put on petistles, who allow their voice to be heard above God’s.

    Note the difference we see in the authority of the Church – to recognize the myriad of leaders He has placed within His Body, to submit to one another in the fear of God.

    The institutional church is not our enemy. Inevitably organization is going to happen. Institutions will be built. The key is to allow the Organization of the Church to be led by the Spirit of God – join the Institution that He heads up, and forsake the institution that is built by people. The institutional church is not our enemy, simply because part of the Body of Christ lies within it. If we dissassociate from the "institutional church" completely, we have cut ourselves off from part of the Body of Christ. We then are not perfected in love. If we fear going into anything that might look ‘religious’ to us, we are not perfected in His boldness and care for these people.

    Religion is inevitable. "Religion" can be used in a positive and a negative way. Jas 1:27 – "Pure and undefiled religion before our God and Father is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress and to keep oneself unstained by the world."

    People who try to be non-religious or uninstitutional often have a subtle or masked-form of religion or organization (ie. they become religious about being ‘non-religious’). It might seem care-free, loose, unstructured, but the structure exists in a different form. To understand His structure, we must seek Him and ask Him for it. We must be willing to hear what God is saying through other parts of the Body of Christ, not just a ‘special few’. Administration is a gift of the Spirit, and to move in administration and ‘leadership’ apart from His Spirit is to presume upon God and create human-made organization. To deny organization of the Spirit is to act in rebellion against God. Some have in fear of looking idle, create intricate forms of litergy, not bothering to ask God if He wants something different, or be willing to change in the middle of a service if He is leading in such a way. Others have in fear, ran from such forms to the extent of not having any organization at all (seemingly).

  3. Linda September 21, 2005 at 9:47 pm

    Hi Wayne,

    I had emailed you some time before your week in Kalispell so that my family and I could somehow cross paths with you while you were visiting our grand state, but it didn’t work out so I guess it wasn’t meant to be this time. However, I was wondering if you know of anyone there that we could get to know as fellow believers in the freedom in Christ? I sure would like to get to know others in our immediate area that share our desire to experience Christ relationally; the way you talk about throughout your ministries.

    You had emailed me with someone’s email address to contact about your schedule but it turned out that this person did not know what I wanted to know. I was glad to hear that you enjoyed your stay. What a blessing to have you visiting some of my fellow Montanans. My family and I are located in Missoula, about 125 miles south of Kalispell. But we have our extended family there in Kalispell so we have made many trips back and forth. I would have enjoyed meeting you and others with you.

    Thank you for all of your work and the ministries you provide all of us. I enjoy the blogs, the MP3’s of the discussions and all the great articles. May the Lord continue to bless you and your family as you are all a blessing to us.

    In Christ,

    Linda

  4. Linda September 22, 2005 at 12:47 am

    Hi Wayne,

    I had emailed you some time before your week in Kalispell so that my family and I could somehow cross paths with you while you were visiting our grand state, but it didn’t work out so I guess it wasn’t meant to be this time. However, I was wondering if you know of anyone there that we could get to know as fellow believers in the freedom in Christ? I sure would like to get to know others in our immediate area that share our desire to experience Christ relationally; the way you talk about throughout your ministries.

    You had emailed me with someone’s email address to contact about your schedule but it turned out that this person did not know what I wanted to know. I was glad to hear that you enjoyed your stay. What a blessing to have you visiting some of my fellow Montanans. My family and I are located in Missoula, about 125 miles south of Kalispell. But we have our extended family there in Kalispell so we have made many trips back and forth. I would have enjoyed meeting you and others with you.

    Thank you for all of your work and the ministries you provide all of us. I enjoy the blogs, the MP3’s of the discussions and all the great articles. May the Lord continue to bless you and your family as you are all a blessing to us.

    In Christ,

    Linda

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