Engaging Him

Connecting with the Jesus and his Father as he makes himself known to you was meant to be the simplest thing in the world, until our religious approaches got us all twisted up in our own performance and we felt we had to try and make “it” happen on our own. Many people miss that revelation because they are looking for something far more complicated or spectacular than how God draws us to himself.

Most people seek God with their physical senses hoping to see him or hear him in supernatural manifestations of his glory. While God does that some times, he is far more interested in helping us learn how to recognize him with the eyes and ears of our heart and to awaken those senses that engage the Eternal. God is always active around us—always moving, always speaking; it’s just that we miss him because we haven’t learned to recognize or trust our spiritual senses that engage him.

Over the last twenty-five years I’ve had the joy of helping many people find their way out of the religious jungle of self-effort to the trailhead of a growing relationship with him. Unfortunately time does not allow me to do it with all that write me or even that I visit, so a few years ago I put the key things I think help people the most to a set of videos. There are twenty-four of them, only about 5-8 minutes long designed to get people thinking in the space that makes it easiest to see how God is making himself known to us. We called the series Engage as a way of helping people see how God is engaging them.

We affectionately refer to this as the anti-discipleship approach because so many people have the idea that discipleship is building a relationship with God. In truth, discipleship isn’t about you building a relationship with God; it’s recognizing how God wants to build one with you.

Last week I got this email from Ed, as he is sorting this process out in his own life. I love the journey he’s on, and even though his hunger is satisfied yet it is obvious that the relationship he desires with God is growing in him. Yes, it takes time and it doesn’t happen the same way for everyone. All we can do is make ourselves avaialbe to him and then learn to recognize where God nudges his thoughts into ours and pours his strength and power into our struggles.

I honestly don’t even know how to relax into the relationship as you put it in the Engage series (currently going through those for the third time). I am so trained to be on the treadmill of religious performance that I feel anxious and nervous when I’m not doing something. I can’t ever remember a teacher or institution that wasn’t prodding me to do more, be more, give more, etc. Relationship with God has been modeled and taught to me as an exercise program. I seem to have been (religiously) born into an endless state of panic about how God views me and I’m driven to chase a never ending list of dos and don’ts in the hope that one day I’ll finally arrive at a state of “acceptable”. Honestly it’s exhausting just to think about it.

When my wife and I first left the our congregation I thought the joy I felt was me learning to walk in relationship and really experiencing the love of Father. Now I know that I was just so glad to be out from under the oppressive religious system we grew up in that I mistook that sense of relief for everything else. Now I perceive that the religious system was off of me but not out of me.

I’m listening to the Engage podcasts again (but being the religious performer I have to listen to more than one a day lol) and this morning I listened to #18 on the way to work. I had to listen to it twice because there was so much in it that spoke to me right now. Your relationship with Father is a present reality and you seem to just live out of that. I suppose that’s why my wife and I keep listening and reading your podcasts and books, because we truly want to see what a life lived in real relationship with Father looks like. We don’t see you as a “guru” but an example of the kind of life we hope for. I hope this makes sense but just your being (verb) is as significant to us as anything you talk about on the podcast.

Yes, it makes sense, Ed, and I do think that’s how life in this kingdom gets passed on. I’m glad not to be your guru; I only hope to be a brother pointing the way to a trailhead that lets you discover with increasing clarity how God is making himself know to you. Obviously that is stirring in you and in time you will become more comfortable listening with your heart.

Recognizing God in your life is not difficult because it’s complicated, but because it is simpler than we dare to believe.

8 thoughts on “Engaging Him”

  1. I struggled with learning how God wants to relate with me…for a while now and I am very grateful that you have put words to it…..because this struggle was just in my mind…and now that you have talked about it in this manner…I will be looking for Papa in the simple things…..I already believe he has found me….by making you write this

  2. My wife and I are so blessed to be growing in our own relationship as we grow in our relationship with the Father.
    I was raised in a toxic holiness movement and my wife as a Mennonite. As we have grown closer to the Father and more confident in His love, that Love expresses in and through us to the degree where we stand in amazement as we watch people being changed.
    Ultimately it is His Holy Spirit continually revealing the deeper mysteries of this undefinable love,
    as in 1 Cor ch 13. His agape love expressed in His person, His character, and His Word, ultimately the Logos.

  3. Sounds very interesting, but I get an error when clicking the ‘engage’ link;
    “You do not have permission to preview drafts.”

  4. Thank you Wayne and Ed. I recognize that same relief-mixed joy in myself even now, though I left the public performance lifestyle (and “jungle” is so apt Wayne!) over 5 years ago. I too feel that those ways of living are still in me but slowly being left behind. It is as if I have needed extended time to allow the old verbiage triggers to die off, so that when I hear certain words I don’t now have the same mindless, knee jerk reaction. “Freedom in Christ” is taking on a whole new meaning for me! Father is teaching me how to relax in Him and actually follow Him, rather than do things for Him. Thanks for sharing your life aloud with others, Wayne, so that we have some idea of what life with Jesus can look like when He leads the dance.

  5. Hello!
    I was once the Believer who would insist that without belonging to some church home and attending on a regular basis, growth in Christ was impossible. My husband and I had a blessed “ah-hah” moment(s) after reading two books you authored: He loves me, and Finding Church. We now are sensing new freedom in Christ, sweet fellowship that is not forced, and a revelation of his abiding presence in our lives. We were very active in “ministry” in our church and now realize that ministry is all around us, and if we pay attention to the Father, He brings those we can love-on across our paths, almost daily!
    Thank you Wayne for your diligence in continuing to serve Him and His Body!

  6. Hello Again Wayne,
    I have been listening to your material in earnest for over a year now and have previously e-mailed you. Just recently I endured a hardship pressed upon me by a person I dearly love of which the solution involved everything I have learned thru your material. So I thought I might write to you and emphasize the principles I stood on during this trial hoping others can also take courage with this example. My trial involved an attack on my reputation very similar to the one you endured and explain in your Encouragement CDs. BUt it went a step further and involved a legal proceeding (a tentative Civil Protection Order) of which I was completely exonerated. So I won the case and though relieved by the outcome I certainly dont feel like a winner. My opponent (legally speaking) left the courtroom completely embarrassed and as she walked away I couldn’t help but feel deep compassion and remorse. It is gut wrenching to be in a situation where you will sink or swim unless the weaknesses of another person, one you care deeply about, are “legally” exploited for your defense. I also must add, we are both sincere believers and I wish I could bring healing and peace to this person but she resists any conversation. This brings me to a point made in one of your CDs, the one where religious people say, God cant because we wont. Why do we find it so hard not only to trust in God for our own life, but especially to entrust the lives of those we love in God’s hands? Another point you make related to this involves the Prodigal parable and a question you pose, When in the parable does the father love the rebellious son the most? After my recent experience I am convinced it is when the father releases the son into his own freedom. When we do that, either with our children or a loved one, we are stripped of any control and must trust the Lord completely with our loved one. Parents certainly identify with this situation. Several weeks ago Wayne, you advised me on this situation that any personal interference may thwart what the Lord is doing in Tracy. I have to remember this and of course trust that Tracy, being a sincere Believer, is in the Lord’s hands and He working out the same processes in her as He did with me. Another explanation you made relative to trust n the Lord for the details of our lives involves the comparison of Adam & Eve in the Garden vs the crucifixion of Jesus. This point stayed with me very strongly during this trial, that is Adam & Eve, in the most pristine and innocent environment lost faith in their Creator and failed to trust, yet at the polar opposite end of the trust spectrum, Jesus, in the most “despicable” of situations, his mortal, human perspective having lost sight of the presence of God and expressing abandonment, eventually trusted completely with His last words, “Into your hands I commend my spirit”. Our lives, no matter who you are, lie somewhere in between these two extremes. Like your pilot’s license Wayne, knowing about flying a plane is not actually flying one. Living theses principles, pragmatically applying our “Christianity”, is an entirely different story. The process is at times very painful, as mine has been recently. Blessed are you when you are at the end of your rope! Certainly I was but the Lord did bring me significantly further in this journey and I am grateful. Now I must completely trust a loved to Him and hold firm and trust for my friend Tracy. Thank you Wayne…..and blessings to all. Bill B

  7. I grew up in a very strict religion. Very subtle though. They claim to not be organized but have a strict hierarchy with no exceptions or loop holes. They claim to have no rules or by laws and yet ex-communicate in a very rejecting way, any who disobey. Contradictory? Yes. Subtle.

    I finally saw the light when the leaders had a huge, hurtful fight over whether or not Jesus had human nature when He was on earth. My Savior is, has always been and always will be divine. Emanuel. God with us. In the likeness of sinful flesh but not sinful flesh. So I am no longer welcome with them and I wouldn’t fellowship with them anyway.

    After years of being steeped in their teachings, I struggle for freedom though. I can relate to the email from Ed. Thank you for your testimony, Wayne. It so helps to know there are others on earth who want the kind of relationship with God, Jesus and the Holy Spirit that Solomon wrote about in his song. I don’t just want it. My heart longs after Him

    Thanks again!

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