First, let me share a few housekeeping items. I don’t think I’ve notified this bunch that we posted a new edition of The God Journey podcast last week, entitled Removing the Clutter, which re-visits some issues about learning to listen to God’s voice. Also, today we’re hopefully delivering the Jake Colsen book to the printers, so that’s a relief and first thing tomorrow I fly out for five days in central Pennsylvania… Whew! What a crazy week!
But the real reason I’m writing today is to share with you an email I wrote as part of an exchange I’ve had with a brother longing for fellowship and not finding any with others on this journey. This is how I responded to him:
I certainly understand the feelings youâ€™re going through. Of course I have no idea what he might be doing in your area, but I would encourage you not to look for the church he is building as a thing, or group or activity. It will be people in whom he is working and youâ€™ll be able to encourage that work in others as well as be encouraged in his work in you. Over time enough people might connect that will allow it to be a bit more visible to the human eyes, but that is not essential.
The time of de-toxing and learning to look only to Jesus have been important. It sounds like your friends are still going through some of that. I am convinced we keep sorting out our hurts with the system as long as Jesus hasnâ€™t become a real person to live with each day. Once he becomes real to us, those hurts get healed and we can move on to so many other things he has for us. Perhaps God has ways for you to encourage your friends how to know him better and they wonâ€™t feel the need to continue to rummage through the brokenness of the system they were in.
So I would encourage you to look for ways God would give you away to people around you (believer and unbeliever alike) and you will see his church emerge as those relationships grow. One of the dangers of people who wander outside the box is that they can become ingrown and look out only for themselves and their needs and not see that God has put them where they are to be a demonstration of his character to people around them. This is a marvelous process and it really pulls us outside of our needs/wants/desires to truly find the freedom to live as he lived in the world. Ask him how he wants to give you away right where you are, to people you already know, and maybe some ways to connect with others you don’t know yet.
I realize it may not look like there is a lot of concrete direction in what Iâ€™ve said, but there really is. Getting outside ourselves and loving others is when we begin to see church grow around us. And to that end you have my prayers.