Chapter 6: Following the Lamb

Note: This is the sixth in a series of letters written for those who are alive in Jesus at the end of the age. Once complete, I’ll combine them into a book. You can access the previous chapters here.  If you are not already subscribed to this blog and want to make sure you don’t miss any, you can add your name here.

“I don’t hear you talk a lot about obedience, and that’s all I heard growing up. If I’m not obedient to God, he won’t bless me. I’ve heard so many things God expects of me that I just can’t do it all. How important do you think obedience is to God?
Lael, single, ski instructor and trail guide in the Rockies


I’m so glad to hear you’re still out on the Colorado trails, taking in that beauty every day. Does it ever get old?

I love your question; obeying Jesus is more for our benefit than for his. The reason you don’t hear me use that word a lot is because it is so weighted with religious expectations that people miss the real invitation. Many see obedience like a child doing what they are told, often against their will, or even with hostility. Others, like you, think of it as obeying all the Scriptures, and are overwhelmed by how far short they fall.

Obedience to Jesus isn’t like either of those things, which is why I use different terminology. I talk about learning to rest in his love and about following him, which is obedience by a better name.

Let me illustrate through one of the most engaging days I’ve ever experienced. It happened on a visit to the home of C.S. Lewis, called The Kilns in Oxford, England. A couple of friends took me there, as I was doing a seminar in nearby Wales. A young, American student living in the home was to be our guide. When we arrived, however, she said she was happy to do the tour, but if we could wait thirty minutes, we would be in for a treat. We had no idea what she meant, but we were intrigued enough to take her up on the offer.

She ushered us in to Lewis’s library and told us to make ourselves comfortable. We gawked wide-eyed at his books and the desk where he wrote. Eventually, two men came into the house and entered the study. After a brief introduction of first names, the older of the two men started telling us about the house, but in surprisingly intimate terms. He talked of conversations with Lewis and shared anecdotes of their relationship, which was warm and humorous.

It took me a while to work out who he was but when I did, I gasped. This was Walter Hooper, Lewis’s secretary in his later years, and the editor of his posthumous works; I had read many of his books about Lewis. For the next hour and a half, we walked the house and grounds with him. It was the tour of a lifetime, not just of the home but into the mind and manner of Lewis himself, from someone who knew him well and had spent much time with him.

Following Jesus in this world is much like following Walter Hooper around The Kilns, only way better. Jesus doesn’t just know God; he is God. He partnered in the creation of the world and knows exactly how it functions and how the life of his Father finds its way into the chaos of its brokenness to redeem us out of it. Who wouldn’t want to follow him?


Wherever He Goes

“They follow the Lamb wherever he goes.” (Revelation 14:4)

From the first time I heard those words at a very young age, they captured me. For reasons I couldn’t explain, they caused my heart to soar with the thrill of adventure. What would it be like to follow the Lamb wherever he goes?

As I grew older, however, and became more schooled in the performance demands of Christianity, the words became less inviting and more ominous. Instead of following Jesus, I learned to obey the Scriptures, thinking them the same thing. And while I tried to do that, it took a long time for me to realize I was trying to apply the interpretations of the Bible by those who saw it as a rule book to appease God. The thrill of adventure vanished as I became a rule-keeper instead of a Jesus-follower. I felt constrained by admonitions such as, “love your enemies,” “die daily,” and “lay down your life.” It seemed God always wanted the worst thing for me, and trying to do that on my own was fraught with frustration and failure.

Even still, wanting to ingratiate myself to Jesus in my late teens, I gave Jesus a global “yes,” telling him I would follow him—even if I didn’t like it, even if it cost me my life, even though no one went with me. Of course, I mostly failed, but I would repent and try harder the next time, aspiring to be the most radical Christian I knew. Unfortunately, it often led me to think better of myself than I merited, and to looking down on those who weren’t working as hard.

My first real surrender to him was over my career. At eighteen, I wanted to be an air traffic controller, but I had moments where I felt “called to ministry,” words I wouldn’t use in that context today. During my senior year of high school, through an extraordinary circumstance, God confirmed to me that he wanted me to teach the Scriptures. So, with some disappointment I went off to earn a Bible degree, and afterwards went into pastoral ministry.

Following him at this stage often came with regret and fear as to what he might ask of me. After all, the words about following the Lamb wherever he goes comes from the book of Revelation, for many, the most terrifying book in the New Testament. John is describing the 144,000 whom God puts his seal on before the tribulation of the last days. There are 12,000 from each tribe of Israel. Who are they? I’m not sure, to be honest. Some say they are redeemed Israelites; others say they are a metaphor for those who will be saved at the end. I’m not sure either of those is correct, especially since Revelation 7 describes another multitude in white robes too numerous to count who come out of the great tribulation as well.

Many have tried to turn this 144,000 into a special class of Christian; I’m making no such claim here. God knows who they are, and what role they will have in the end, but how John describes them is how I want to live:

“These are those who did not defile themselves with women, for they remained virgins. They follow the Lamb wherever he goes. They were purchased from among mankind and offered as first fruits to God and the Lamb. No lie was found in their mouths; they are blameless.” (Revelation 14:4-5)

“Defiled by women,” is an unfortunate interpretation of those words. Women don’t defile men, and I don’t think the encouragement here is only for males. He may be addressing certain people who in the last day are virgins, but it’s a strange conclusion that God’s gift of sexuality, properly embraced, defiles someone. The appeal here is most likely for sexual purity.

“No lie was found in their mouths.” I love that. The most painful conflicts I’ve had have come from people who don’t know what’s true or refuse to live in it. They lie under pressure and spread misinformation to gain leverage over others. We’ll talk about the passion for truth in a future chapter.

But the gold here is found in this simple expression: “They follow the Lamb wherever he goes.” I love the simplicity of those words. They don’t have to get everything right, they are not perfect, gifted, specially anointed, or powerful people. They just follow the Lamb wherever he goes. Simple? In concept, yes. I only need to see him in my life and follow what he reveals. But simple isn’t always easy.

An Exquisite Invitation

Admittedly, up until my early forties, most of my obedience was out of obligation or fear. That’s not all bad. Doing what I thought pleased him kept me from paying the price for some of my selfish desires. However, it did not make me perfect, and, more importantly, it did not endear me to him. The constant struggle for obedience frustrated me since my aspiration to follow was greater than my capacity to do so.

Looking back now, I realize that trying to follow Jesus out of fear won’t take us far. We will not follow someone for long that we don’t love and admire, and with whom we feel safe. You may get a few things right living like that, but you won’t follow him wherever he goes because you won’t be close enough to him to see where he’s going.

In my early forties that began to change for me. In another decisive moment, the betrayal of a close friend opened another door for me. Jesus invited me not to fight for my position. “I have more to teach you if you walk away than if you stay,” were the words that kept stirring in my mind. I tried to argue around them, wondering what I still needed to learn. I thought I had it all figured out. Little did I know how far off the mark I was. Rote obedience to our concept of God’s expectations does not invite us into kingdom life. Over time, following him down that road changed my life in ways that answered the deepest hunger of my heart and made following him the greatest adventure of my life.

As I weathered the anger of betrayal and the fear of how I would provide for my family, I began to learn the most important lesson of my life—obedience was not the way to gain his love and favor; I already had it. The essence of the Gospel and the fruit of Jesus’s Incarnation demonstrated that I am loved even in my brokenness. Following the Lamb wherever he goes was not a command at all, but an exquisite invitation into an extraordinary way to live.

In these days, Jesus is wooing his bride back to himself, waking her from slumber, drawing her into his love so that she can discover the joy of walking alongside him through joy and pain. If Jesus is in the periphery of your vision, now is the time to set your focus on him.

Where to Begin

If you want to follow Jesus wherever he goes, you will want to first learn to relax deeply into his Father’s love. That took years for me, but as I did, I became more aware of his presence. I could sense his affection for me and recognize more consistently his care and the insights he offered.

Now, I had Someone to follow who cared about me and invited me into his story of redemption not only for me but also for the world around me. Even when he invited me down difficult roads, trusting in his love made it possible for me to follow, knowing he had resources beyond mine and would care for me even when situations didn’t turn out as I hoped. He always had another path that would invite me deeper into his way of thinking.

Rarely, if ever, did he demand me to do anything. He offered me opportunities to follow him. When I did, wonderful things happened even when it meant a more difficult path than I would have chosen. When I ignored his invitations, thinking I already knew best, circumstances usually got worse, were hurtful to others, or led to unresolvable pain.

As I become more attuned to his heart, I find him a steady presence to navigate the chaos of a fallen world. There’s no way my marriage with Sara would have survived her trauma if he had not walked us through it by preparing us in advance, holding our hearts when the darkness came, and lighting a path that drew us back together in a way that made her trauma our trauma, so we could walk a healing path together.

While he is willing to guide us at times like this, he also wants us to learn how to make wise and wonderful decisions inside his love. He doesn’t want to micromanage us. He cares about what we think, and the choices we would make. He responds to our concerns and questions, though often slower and more subtly than we might hope for and with insights that will challenge us into his truth. It is like looking through a darkened mirror most days but keep looking for him and you’ll see his fingerprints and sense his nudges.

In the joy of walking with him, however, I am always aware that this is not a friendship between equals. He is God after all, with all the wisdom and strength I need to make sense of life. He knows the best way to traverse every stage of my journey as he unravels the darkness with the wonder of his glory. I don’t want to convince him to do things my way anymore; I want him to make his way clear enough for me to follow.

You will find no greater purpose or no better path to wholehearted living than you will partnering with him in his unfolding purpose for you. It will perfectly dovetail with the better side of your personality and the hungers that lie deep in your soul. That’s why describing it as obedience doesn’t do it justice. It’s a journey inside all that is right and true about the universe and will make you part of the world’s redemption instead of adding to its misery.

His desire is not to order us about so he will look good, or to enlist our free labor for his benefit. My most profound moments of sensing his will and following him have all come as invitations, not demands. While this has surprised me many times, it really shouldn’t have. What kind of bridegroom would boss his bride around, and what bride would willingly endure it?

Tenderly and graciously, he invites his bride into his heart. To coerce her would be to violate her nature, as would trying to gain power over her through threats or intimidation. That’s why his predominant image at the end of the age is a Lamb, not a roaring lion, as we’ll see in the next chapter.

If you’ve lost the thread of following Jesus, perhaps distracted by the shiny things of the world, or worn out on a religious obligation that never seemed fruitful, maybe you never got the chance to learn how to truly follow him. Like me, you may have been chasing a set of rules instead of experiencing a depth of love that you will want to follow to the end of your days. It’s not too late.


Volunteering Freely

In the chapters to come, Lael, I will unpack some things that have helped me follow, even through my darkest days, with an ever-growing sense of adventure. It’s no different than someone having you alongside them, guiding them to the best alpine lakes. You’re not there to control ever detail but to give them options and keep them safe.

We’ll see that following him is not endlessly seeking a “word from God;” it is walking alongside the One who knows you best and loves you most, interacting with him as circumstances come your way. The best place to start is by asking him to show you a love so deep that following him becomes your delight.

He’ll invite you to process your doubts and struggles with him and release a divine creativity he has instilled in you to touch the world with his beauty. Cared for by him, you’ll have the space not to live self-focused, but to be more aware of others around you, and how you might lighten their load. He’s not going to ask you anything that is not inside his love for you and his ability to protect and provide for you through whatever happens.

Who wouldn’t want a guide like that to help them negotiate the illusions and challenges of this fallen world and embrace the beauty of his kingdom coming? When you find him as engaging as I do, you too will find yourself wanting to follow the Lamb wherever he goes. This is how we were meant to live and the fruitfulness of doing so bears its own rewards. That’s what David saw about a future where, “Your people will volunteer freely in the day of Your power.” (Psalm 110:3)

If you want to follow the Lamb wherever he goes, dive into his love and you will joyfully follow him to the ends of the earth.



You can access previous chapters here. Stay Tuned for Chapter 7 


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Sara’s Story of Hope and Healing

Sara and I are in Charlotte, NC. The first day we got here, Vince Coakley asked me to be on his radio show. He hosts a Transformation Tuesday segment, and wanted us to share our story. Unfortunately, Sara had a conflicting appointment, so I went to the studio alone. We had a great conversation. (It begins at 31:40.)

That evening, Sara and I had been asked to share with The Barn Brothers, a group that normally meets in a barn south of Charlotte. The barn is currently being refurbished, however, so they met in a furniture store. (see picture above). I’ve shared in a lot of different venues, but this was a first for me.

Normally, it’s a men’s meeting but for this night they opened it up so anyone could come. They wanted us to share our story there, too.  Sara and I talked about The Deepest Love in the Darkest Place, the title of a new book we are working on. We hope our story encourages people to embrace God in their pain, not try to run from it or get it fixed first.  In the utter darkness of our experience two years ago, Sara and I discovered a deep place in Father’s love that held us through the storm and launched us on a trajectory of healing. Sara was amazing! It was the best I’ve ever heard her share, so clear, so deliberate, so full of hope for others. I admire her so much for the way she tells her story and how much she cares for the people she’s talking to. And people hung on her every word. Tears flowed, stories found their way to the surface of deep trauma and people were grateful for Sara telling this story.

If it wasn’t for Sara’s insistence, we wouldn’t be sharing any of this. I would have hidden this all away in my heart, except that she wanted to give hope to others in the same way others had encouraged her. Yes, it was recorded, and you can watch and listen here. This story goes way beyond Sara and me; it is also about God’s redemption in the world and how his heart breaks for us when we feel lost in the darkness. He’s not there to judge our faults, but to hold our hearts and point the way forward.

After telling our story last night, we focused on three encouragements for those who came:

  1. Risk the darkness. When something dark emerges in your life, whether it be trauma, a false belief being uncovered, or an entangling sin, don’t run from it or push it aside. Invite God into the darkness. You will find him a comforting presence and a guide to move forward.
  2. When darkness pushes you into fear, anxiety, or despair, ask Jesus how to move you back to a comforted place in his care. You cannot make positive changes outside the window of tolerance when you feel panicky or terrified. Instead, lean into his heart where you can be comforted first and then see what he wants to do from there.
  3. Be a soothing, safe presence for others who find themselves struggling with darkness. They don’t need our shame or condemnation; they have that in mega-doses. What they need is a caring heart and a listening ear.

Here are some texts sent to us this morning:

  • “What an amazing evening last night! Your redemption story is by far the most remarkable one I have ever seen.”
  • I believe lives were changed and encouraged. Sooo much courage from you both. What an example of true love, how to love someone unconditionally. My heart was challenged in a good way.”
  • “This is the most significant and impactful message of the Team Jacobsen mission, built on the foundation of the messages from prior decades.”
  • “Last night was deep, powerful and I think, like Sara’s amazing grace chains breaking, a lot of other chains broke last night too. Let’s keep taking ground…”

I love how Jesus walked us through the trauma and the darkness that surrounded it, rescued our relationship, and now we are able to encourage others when trauma comes knocking in their lives. I have learned more about God and how he works with broken humanity in the last two years than my previous sixty plus.

We finished last night with Isaiah 61, the declaration of the New Covenant—God’s desire to have us understand better how Jesus heals the broken-hearted, sets the oppressed free, opens blind eyes to his truth, and proclaims the year of God’s favor. No wonder that was the first text Jesus preached, according to Luke 4.

To Jesus and his Father, our salvation wasn’t primarily about the after-life, but about being saved today from all the places darkness seeks to own us. That’s the Gospel.

And for those concerned about Zoey, she is now two weeks out from her surgery. We took her to the vet today to have her stitches removed from her two surgeries, and all looks well. She is thrilled to have the cone-head off and to be able to begin to walk a little bit outside. She’s been such a good sport, but we’re excited to get her out of her caged quarters and join the family again. Mandy, the seven-month-old pup, was able to sleep next to her again, which delights her little heart.

So, all is well. We’re having some wonderful personal connections here as well. We have a few more days here in Charlotte before heading north to Roanoke, Charlottesville, Richmond, Baltimore, and Lancaster County, PA.  The journey continues…

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The Water Is Flowing

This is a special thank you for all who gave or prayed with us to find the resource to help restore water to one of the tribes in Kenya whose solar array was destroyed by high winds and blowing debris. They had been without water for three months.  We were able to raise enough to get the well repaired and water flowing again.

This is what we received from our friends and co-laborers in the Gospel there—a video and a message:

Overflowing water from borehole

The Pokot people are very happy and they are thankful to God and Lifestream for the big support. Now the water is ready and they are completing to put the protection to prevent future damage.

May the Lord bless you abundantly.

You have enriched the lives of a starving people in the northern reaches of Kenya, who only a short time ago were nomads wandering in the bush and warring with other tribes. Today, many of these people have come to embrace Jesus as their Savior through the love of those who came to serve them in his name.  It’s a great story!

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Tragedy in Kenya

A few years ago we helped five starving tribes (over 100,000 people) in North Pokot each to develop a water and agricultural project to give them life. They had no water and had to travel overnight to the nearest well and bring back water to survive. We drilled wells, provided the infrastructure for people to get water, a trough so the animals could drink, and a field where they could grow their own crops. Each of these has exceeded expectations in the first five years. The generosity of the Lifestream and The God Journey audiences gave over three million dollars to help over 13 years.  It has blessed me beyond measure.

However, three months ago tragedy struck one of these projects. High winds and the debris in them damaged the solar array that drives the well. Since then, they have had no water for themselves, their livestock, and their crops. I found out about this yesterday when they sent me this video. It describes what happened and the impact it is having on this village.  

Fellow Kenyans have donated $1370.00 to help make it operational but that is well short of what it will cost.  They need an additional $12,796.00 US to complete the restoration. Would you please help me provide this for them? It is critically important to the survival of these people. Providing water allows them to grow their own crops and water their cattle so they can continue to live.

If you can help us raise this money, please see our Donation Page at Lifestream. Just designate “Kenya” in the “Note” of your donation, or email us and let us know your gift is for Kenya. You can also Venmo contributions to “@LifestreamMinistries” or mail a check to Lifestream Ministries • 1560 Newbury Rd Ste 1  •  Newbury Park, CA 91320. Or, if you prefer, we can take your donation over the phone at (805) 498-7774.

Thank you for your consideration of this need.

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Oops, My Bad!

I completely botched the announcement for the next live, online, He Loves Me conversation. I originally got the date wrong and now Sara and I have had a shift in our schedule that means I now have to move the time up half an hour. I’m so sorry for the confusion and inconvenience this causes.

Here is the corrected information:

Our discussion about chapters eight and nine of He Loves Me will take place
this coming Saturday, December 9 at 12:30 pm,
half an hour earlier than previously announced.
We will be discussing chapters 8 and 9.

If you’d like to join us, you can find the link for this conversation on the Facebook Group Page, or if you are not a member of Facebook, you can write me for a link. These conversations are held and recorded on Zoom. We stream them live on my Facebook Author Page for those who don’t want to be in the Zoom discussion, and you’ll find our previous conversations there.

No, I’m not blaming the new puppy; I only chose the picture, hoping the cuteness will make people smile when they read about my mistake!  But Zoey does wonder from time to time why we let this little, yippy, biting furball into the house. Watching them bond is hilarious. Mandy is all in; Zoey has her moments. In time, we know that these are destined to be best buds.

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The Tyranny of the Favor Line

The next gathering of the He Loves Me Book Discussion will take place on Saturday, November 11, at 1 p.m. Pacific Time. You can find the link for this conversation on the Group Page on Facebook, or if you are not a member of Facebook, you can write me for a link. These conversations are held and recorded on Zoom. We stream them live on my Facebook Author Page for those who don’t want to be in the Zoom discussion, and you’ll find our previous conversations there.

This week, we will discuss chapters five and six, two pivotal chapters for my journey, and what I see in others who seek to live in God’s affection. If you grew up in a religious environment, you were probably convinced that God’s love, favor, or blessing were things you had to earn. Without referring to it by name, you were taught that God has a Favor Line. If you’re good enough, spiritually active enough, or zealous enough, then you can rest in his love.

So, every thought of being out of sorts with God sends you sifting through your life to think about what more you must do or what sin is causing God to dislike you. If you believe God’s love or favor is something you can earn, you will chase it to frustration the rest of your days. When you realize that affection is something you cannot attain, even on your best day, you’re ready to discover that you already have it.

This excerpt from He Loves Me tells about the day a young Pharisee discovered that truth. He was called Saul on this day, but afterward, he became known as Paul, the apostle:

In that moment, Saul discovered God’s favor when he had done absolutely nothing to earn it. Instead of being punished, he received an invitation to come into the family he had tried so hard to destroy. Instead of the death he’d brought to others, he was offered a life that he never knew existed.

Saul was left with one inescapable fact: he had done nothing to propel himself above the favor line, but found himself there nonetheless. He found that Jesus had loved him even when he had no idea who he was. For Jesus had shattered the favor line to free Saul from its tyranny. It changed him more than all he’d previously learned about God.

This is where relationship with God begins. It may sound impossible especially if you’ve hoped for this in the past and, like the young mother at the beginning of this chapter, you have only been disappointed by how remote he seemed when you needed him the most. All you knew to do was try even harder to be good enough to win his affection.

But such thinking will never lead you closer to him. Instead of teaching you to love him, it only leaves you angry and frustrated that you can’t do enough, or that he isn’t being fair to you. He wants to break this cycle the only way he can—by making his favor a gift instead of something you earn.

I know you’ve heard me say it often: our awareness of the Father’s love is not something we can achieve; it’s something we relax into. And I know how hard that is to believe, especially if you’ve never known or “felt” his love. But his love for us is as sure as the sun rising in the morning and as certain as his Son dying on the cross to rescue us.

You are already loved!

And now a bit from my story in chapter six:

God doesn’t need us to serve him as a means to attain his love or affection. He wants us to serve him out of the love and affection he already holds for us in his heart. If you have never tasted that reality, you cannot imagine the freedom that lies ahead of you. My Father brought me to the place where I realized that even if I never preached another sermon, never counseled another person, nor ever led someone to Christ again, he still delighted in me as his child.

That doesn’t mean he approves of everything I do, but it has freed me to know that he loves me—absolutely and completely. I had served God for thirty-four years always with an undercurrent of trying to earn his favor. It has only been in the last twelve that I’ve learned to live in that favor and I’m never going back.

That’s when it became clear. It is not the fear of losing God’s favor that takes us to the depth of fellowship with him and transforms our lives with his holiness. It is our certainty of knowing his unrelenting love for us, even in the midst of our weakness and failure, that lead us to the fullness of his life.

Fear had never taken me to the depths of his life or his transforming power; discovering his delight has. I now know that the key to God’s favor doesn’t rest on what I give him, but what he already has given to me.

He delights in you, too. Can you see him that way over you, exalting and dancing with joy?

No? Do you think your failures and doubts diminish his love for you? Are you afraid you can’t offer him enough to make him notice you?

He doesn’t delight in you because of your deeds or your gifts. He delights in you simply because you are his.

Even if you don’t know that yet, it doesn’t change the facts. He wants you to know, at the core of your being, how deeply loved by God you are. Talk to him about it. Look for his fingerprints and whispers doing our day. He is best seen in subtle movements and heard best in quiet moments. Ask him to help you relax into that reality and cease the fruitless striving that cannot earn what has already been given.

The reason I write, podcast, and hold these conversations about He Loves Me is so you, too, can know that reality. Join us if you want, or listen to these conversations later. They are real people also learning how to live in the reality of his love

If you’ve missed the previous chapters, you can find them here:

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The Melody in the Wind

Can you hear it?

It is the Song of the Ages, still playing beneath the stresses and strains of this world, fresh from your Father’s heart. Regardless of all that’s going on around you, it invites you into his reality.

It’s not the loudest song in the wind. Fears and anger will scream louder. The rancor of political discord will drown it out, and it can easily be swallowed up by the cacophonous strains of anxiety that dominate these troubled times.

But beneath it all, his song still plays, as certain as the rising sun, more triumphant than the most exquisite symphony.

You won’t find it while groping for certainty in your imagined future. You won’t be able to focus on it while arguing your politics or putting your hope in yet-to-be-fulfilled prophecies about a coming revival.

You have no idea what is to come, and neither do all those voices. The honest ones will tell you that. Your certainty now has to be in Jesus and him alone. All others are mere illusions, which may comfort for the moment but, when they fail you, how deep will that pain be? Circumstances, both favorable and unfavorable, will come and go.

The only refuge is to abandon yourself to the amazing love of a gracious Father and see his divine purpose unfolding around you. He will never let you down.

Surely God is my salvation; I will trust and not be afraid.
The LORD, the LORD, is my strength and my song; he
has become my salvation.
ISAIAH 12:2 (NIV)”\

Excerpt from July 4 reading in Live Loved Free Full: 365 daily reflections to draw you deeper into the desires Jesus has for you
by Wayne Jacobsen

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Until His Love Overwhelms You

All of our attempts to live a Godly life will continue to frustrate and fail us until his love overwhelms us. When you know how deeply loved you are by God you will go on a journey that will continue to open your eyes to the lies you tell yourself and the truths of God we have a hard time believing.

Sara and I just finished reading together The Deepest Well by Dr. Nadine Burke Harris, a great encouragement to the medical profession to take Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACE) into account as they assess the health care options available to their patients. A surgeon friend of mine recommended it, as he is now using ACE assessment in his cardiology practice and finding it illuminating.

So, now it was time to select another book and Sara wanted me to read He Loves Me to her. I love this book, and its companion devotional Live, Loved, Free Full. This is the most significant message I put into the world, learning to live each day inside the Father’s affection. So, as we work through the book, I might be sharing some of my favorite quotes from time to time. Here is an excerpt I love from the Introduction to the Third Edition:

What the Father showed us in the gift of his Son is that he was unwilling to settle for the indentured servitude of fearful slaves. He preferred instead the intimate affection of sons and daughters. He knew love would take us deeper into his life than fearful obligation ever would. It would teach us more truth, free us from our selfishness and failures, and make us fruitful in the world.

Since I published this book, I’ve heard from hundreds of people who have told me that God used it to transform their own journeys as well. Many told me that I had put into words something they knew deep inside was already true, but they were afraid to believe it. Others have said it completely redefined the life of Christ for them and sent them on an amazing journey mining the depths of that love and affection.

I hope you, too, come to the end of these pages convinced that he loves you with a deep and unrelenting affection. Nothing fulfills his purpose more than when his love overwhelms you, then transforms you, and then leads you through the rest of your life as a reflection of his glory in the earth.

— He Loves Me! Learning to Live in the Father’s Affection by Wayne Jacobsen

I know we can’t control when that “overwhelming” takes place, where the gravity of his affection becomes more believable than the fears and anxieties that constantly assail us. It is Jesus’s job to lead us into our awareness of the Father’s affection and there is nothing more beautiful. All he asks of us is a ready and receptive heart, open to him as he begins to reveal the path he wants to lead us down He is the Way, remember. We cannot do this ourselves only learn to relax into his reality.

He wants nothing more for you. I you don’t know it yet, just keep coming to him and leaning into his heart. That will provide a fertile place for the seeds of his love and the beauty of his wisdom to take root in you. It takes time, sometimes years, so don’t be discouraged if he seems elusive. He never is, but the distractions of this age can make it seem so.

And if you want to connect with me this weekend, I am holding two Zoom opportunities:

Someone asked me this week to consider a Zoom book study through He Loves Me, and I may well do that when we finish the Jake Colsen Book Club. We will hold the next discussion of  So You Don’t Want to Go to Church Anymore on Saturday, February 4, at 1:30 pm. We are going to talk about Chapter 8: Unplayable Lies, where we’ll explore how God wants to lead us out of the hard places some of our choices have put us in and, while doing so, teach us how to trust him and his wisdom. You can email me if you’d like a link for that. Anyone can join in; we only ask that you re-read that chapter so it’s fresh in your mind. You can also listen live (or afterward) as we stream it on my Wayne Jacobsen Author Page on Facebook.

And, there’s still some room in our Sunday conversation for those Wrestling with Trauma or those who love someone who is. We will gather on Zoom this Sunday, February 5, at 11:00 am PST. If you’d like to join us this week, please email me for the Zoom link. We’ll be limiting it to the first twelve who request a link, but don’t worry; we will schedule more such times. These are not teaching sessions, nor will they build on each other. Each will be a conversation to serve those who join us and help encourage them to the Way Jesus wants to lead them through the pain of trauma into his increasing freedom. These conversations are not streamed live or recorded. They are for the personal benefit of those who can join us.

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When Trauma Comes Knocking

Joy in life comes not from trying to control your circumstances but by being ready to respond with God’s heart in whatever happens to you.

When people ask us what we have in mind for 2023, part of me laughs inside. We rarely get to live according to our plans; life is too chaotic for that. Tragedy, relational breakdowns, trauma, or even an unexpected need can kick all your hopes and plans to the curb. Then what do you do? Do you hide in your anger frustrated that life didn’t go your way, or do you lean into Jesus and find the Way he will guide you through the darkness?

When last year started, Sara was already in a desperate fight for her life when a childhood trauma she didn’t even know was exploding to the surface like a re-awakened volcano.  I, completely unaware, was working on a new book as well as traveling again after COVID had subsided. Through a shocking set of circumstances last April, I discovered my wife was in real trouble. At that moment, everything came crashing down around me, and only one thing mattered—seeing how Jesus wanted to rescue my wife and follow his lead in whatever he wanted from me. If Jesus had not been in that mess with me, I don’t know how I would have survived it. His insights and peace in the face of such great despair, rescued us and brought incredible healing to Sara’s heart.

Admittedly, it was a very narrow road filled with pain for both of us. That’s why I was so blindsided a few months later when Sara told me that she wanted to share her trauma story publicly. In her struggle and desperation, hearing other people’s stories had been a lifeline to her and she wanted to be that voice of encouragement to others. And, wow, has that ever happened, not just in the podcasts but in hundreds of conversations during our RV trip around the U.S. and continuing in emails and phone conversations!

I’m still unsure what direction God has for us in years to come, but part of it will be helping people deal with trauma. It’s been so encouraging to see how others have come to recognize the signs of trauma in their own reactions, or in the life of someone they love.

Here is a sample of the overwhelming feedback we’ve had:

I listened with painful tears as the Redeeming Love podcasts began. This is as real as a God journey gets. It will help so many traumatized people by validating their pain and directing them to a loving Father who is in them and will help them walk through it.  (Australia)

I recently went through a situation with someone that was confusing and frustrating for me. However, I took into account that the person’s behavior could be linked to trauma, which turned out to be the case. If you and Sara had never shared your stories, I probably would have gotten angry and gotten into a fight with them. Instead, I tried to give the person space, keep an open mind, and take them seriously. This helped bring healing. I think that a lot of symptoms of trauma came up because I was no longer an obstacle. (unknown)

I really want you to know those podcasts cracked me open, and something landed deeper in my heart toward my parents through your personal story. You helped me grieve with God for what happened to my mom and dad, and to gain a clearer understanding of them as humans doing the absolute best they can. What magnificent love is available to us, through each other, from God, forever and ever amends! Wowza. (Oklahoma)

I was molested by my dad’s best friend starting at age 15. It makes me nauseous to even type that. I have thought I had dealt with it, but only through you two sharing these stories did I realize that I’ve only shoved it down. I’m realizing how much all of this has affected my actions and reactions to things and people, and my relationship with Father. (Texas)

I still meet some old friends who have no idea what happened to us last year. We hadn’t seen them and they hadn’t been following my blog or podcasts. While I don’t expect all my friends to stay up with my personal life, there is no way for them to understand my journey now without appreciating what Jesus walked me through last year. Sara and I learned so much, and it changed us so much that we stand in a very different space than we did a year ago. None of it was in our plans, though all of it is now part of our story.

Sara and I often wondered on our trip whether or not we had retired. It’s a joke since in many ways I retired almost thirty years ago in that I have been free to do the things I love to do—write, podcast, sit with God about the pain in the world, and hang out with people exploring their life in Jesus. That was even more true when we resigned our salary at Lifestream two years ago so we have no obligation there. I’m unsure what I’ll write next, but Kyle and I have already discussed where The God Journey might travel this year. There is so much we want to unpack together about what Jesus doing in our lives and how we can interact with our listeners.  Stay tuned, and if you haven’t been listening for a while you might want to re-engage. I have a feeling this next year is going to take us down some very different roads that will help you learn to live more deeply in Father’s revelation.

Sara has some shoulder surgery scheduled next week so we’ll be laid up here for a bit, but she wanted to continue the conversations about trauma that we had on our trip. We don’t have an agenda, just a desire to interact informally with those who are dealing with trauma in themselves or someone they love. We are going to have some occasional Zoom sessions to see where those conversations might go. They are going to be small, each limited to only twelve people, though we’ll try to have enough of them to eventually include all who would like to join us.  We are not experts at trauma, just a couple who have survived it and have a sense of how Jesus can lead people through it. We do know this:  There is no grief so deep that God cannot share it with you and walk you through it to a greater glory and there is no trauma so entrenched that God cannot root it out and break its hold on you. Join us if want to to ask some questions about what we shared on the Redeeming Love podcasts or to explore your own struggles with trauma. You do not have to listen to the podcasts to join us, but it would certainly be helpful.

Our first Wrestling with Trauma conversation will be held this Saturday, January 14, at 11:00 am PST.  You’ll have to do the math to figure out what that might be in your time zone.  Like the Jake Colsen Book Club, we’ll be moving these around to different times to help accommodate people in different parts of the world. If you’d like to join us this week, please email me for the Zoom link. We’ll be limiting it to the first twelve who request a link, but don’t worry, we will have more. These are not teaching sessions, nor will they build on each other. Each will be a conversation to serve those who join us.

And for those who are interested in the next Jake Colsen Book Club, we will hold the next discussion on my book, So You Don’t Want to Go to Church Anymore, the following Saturday, January 21 at 1:30 pm. This one will be on chapter 7, When You Dig a Hole For Yourself, You Have to Throw the Dirt on Someone. This chapter deals with how religious performance destroys relationships by making them competitive rather than living inside Jesus’s love for others. You can also email me if you’d like a link for that or you can listen live (or after) as we stream it on my Wayne Jacobsen Author Page

I’m excited about what 2023 might hold, and all the more, because I have no idea what will come my way. I do, however, have a relationship with Jesus that I know is real enough to carry me through the darkest places.

Sara and I want nothing more than to help you find that reality in your own journey.

When Trauma Comes Knocking Read More »

Another Emergency in Kenya

[Update on Friday, November 11:  As of this morning, we have received all of the funds needed for this project. Thanks for your incredible generosity toward these incredible children and those who are managing for their care.  Of course, the needs will continue there, so if you want to send extra, I’m sure they will put it to good use in future needs in Kenya. However, I did want you to know that this need has been met.]

Before I get to the Kenya news, here’s an update on our journey home. Sara and I are spending a couple of days alone just for fun, and then we’ll begin the push to get home by Thanksgiving.  This has been the most amazing trip and his light and life continue to unfold along the way. We are so grateful.

On the way, we are set for these stops:

  • An afternoon/evening this Friday between Bentonville and Fayetteville, Arkansas
  • Saturday, November 12 – an afternoon (1:30 – 4:30) in Tulsa, OK
  • Sunday, November 13 – an afternoon (3 pm – 6:00 pm) in Edmond, OK
  • After that, we’ll be heading to Dallas and then on to home through Gilbert, Az.

You can get the details on these conversations here.

And we also bring some sad news on the Kenya front. If you’ve followed this story, 300 children were abandoned on the steps of the Forkland School a few months back because of a deepening drought and drug-addicted parents. Our friends there took them in. To help with their care, we purchased additional land and built dormitories for the children to live in a few months ago.

Recently, local government officials have done an evaluation of this new center and say that it is too congested and violates national guidelines meant to protect children from pop-up orphanages that exist mostly to raise money overseas and provide inadequate care to the children. During theur inspection, they began interacting with the children. The public health officer began to feel sorrowful and wept. He saw they were enjoying good education, medication, and food. Surprisingly he said  in front of others, “I don’t have any words to express for the loving people from America who sacrificed their lives and helped to set up this rescue center.”

He added that he didn’t have any capacity to change the rules of the government and he encouraged the children to believe God more and pray more that God would provide a way. He said God could do exceedingly beyond their thinking, and he gave us five thousand dollars to support the children. The physical planning officer said that he would do all the architectural work free of charge and gave it to us on Monday. They joined the children for a short prayer before they left.

Michael, our contact there, added these words:

The hunger which is taking place in Kenya is a great surprise to us. We have never experienced such a horrible time, which has affected almost everyone. Hunger has affected even the lower villages like Forkland now, and suffering is taking place. We have rescued their lives and if they close us down, we are cutting their hope and life forever. We asked the children’s department not to close us down but to give us a chance to find a way to make things according to their recommendations.

We understand that these children are congested because they have to share a bed. The ministry of children recommends one person, one bed and that is why they have new guidelines since the pandemic affected the world.

All the children were supposed to be 300 but one family took ten and took fifteen. This leaves  275 children still in the home. The architectural plan is meant to avoid the collapse of buildings which has been reported in some parts of Kenya. When the officers came to the Rescue Centre, rumors spread that they are closing the home. A sympathetic neighbor sold us land valued at 2.7 million for $30,000 in order to rescue this Centre.

So we appeal again to our brothers and sisters over there to sacrifice once more so that these children may not lose their education and care. We have not yet slept since we were given this short notice. We need $168,000.00 to fulfill the requirements of the government and continue our care for these children.

I know I’ve come to you many times to help with these needs in Kenya. We are winding down our involvment there given new priorities God is asking of us. But we wanted to see if God would stir your hearts one again and provide this critical resource for them. I’ve been involved with these people for many years. Their hearts are sincere, the need is genuine, and they have always been accountable and honest with every thing we have sent hem.

Please pray for them and consider if you might help us this holiday season of gratitude. This is a great way to give something back if you’ve been touched by Sara and my life this year. As always, every dime you give goes directly to them. We take nothing out for financial transfer fees or administration.

If you can help us raise this $168,000 to keep this center open, please see our Donation Page at Lifestream. Just designate “Kenya” in the “Note” of your donation, or email us and let us know your gift is for Kenya. You can also Venmo contributions to “@LifestreamMinistries” or mail a check to Lifestream Ministries • 1560 Newbury Rd Ste 1  •  Newbury Park, CA 91320. Or, if you prefer, we can take your donation over the phone at (805) 498-7774.

Another Emergency in Kenya Read More »