As much as I enjoy the process of getting the things God has put into my heart into book form, I am reminded over these past few months that my real passion is not writing books or traveling to speak to groups of people. My truest passion, other than engaging God mysellf, is to help people actually connect with God in a meaingful way. That’s why I write and travel. Watching someone open up to a new discovery about God and his character or purpose in them is a joy to watch. I realize the best way to do that is through a personal conversation, and though I can’t have that with everyone who wants, that’s probably why I spend way too much time answering emails.
I know that email is a very limited way to try to help people sort through some of the questions and struggles of getting past our religious ways of thinking about God and embrace him as he made himself known in the Incarnation. But sometimes it can help nudge people away from the religious thinking that is paralyzing their own growth and see a bit more clearly what God is doing in them and around them. For a long time, though, I’ve wanted to add a resource to Lifestream that would really help encourage people to embrace the relationship that I’ve written about in so many books and blog postings. So a year ago I set out to record some brief (5-7 minute) videos that people could listen to in two-week intervals and use the time in between to let God open up a new place in their heart in which he could reveal himself. I realize this could never replace a one-on-one conversation with someone who already knows him, but I hoped it would provide some clues for people who don’t know anyone that will help them learn to be his disciple withoug loading them down with a lot of dos and don’ts. I hope it will also give people some ideas who are wanting to help coach others into a rich and growing relationship with God throught he work of Jesus.
My greatest hope with this series is that it would spawn a conversation about discipleship again that allows brothers and sisters who’ve been on this journey awhile, to help others who are just begininng. I know discipleship gets a bad name when its about human effort or conformity to religious practices. But finding our connection to God and being available in the world to help others find theirs lies at the heart of the new covenant. In the end, I know that connection is God’s work to do, not ours. We can encourage, we can be the voice that drops the important question or makes the simple observation that opens people’s hearts to a greater reality around them than they can see with their eyes or find their way into by their own efforts. Knowing God is a work of the Spirit and helping others see into that reality has been the joy of my life. So many of our discipleship tools have focused on man’s efforts to connect with God. I want people turn that around and instead of thinking our efforts or disciplines would be the key to knowing him, they would learn to recognize how God is wanting to build a relationship with them. This is a reality to relax into, not something that human achievement can earn.
I posted the last one a couple of weeks ago and throughout the year I’ve been blessed by the number of people who taken the time to tell me how much these simple encouragements helped them find a better space in their hearts to engage God, listen to him, and recognize his fingerprints in their life. These videos will remain up and free of charge to anyone who wants to go on this journey. We are working now at putting them on DVD for those who want high-quality video for their own use or to share in small groups and you will find it in the Lifestream Store when it is ready.
Here a list of the twenty-four videos we made to encourage people on a more relational journey. You can access them all on our Engage page at Lifestream.org.
One: Why Engage?
Two: Starting Fresh
Three: How Do You See Him?
Five: With Him Not For Him
Six: Becoming An Active Learner
Seven: Relaxing Into A Reality
Eight: Following Him Not An It
Nine: Praying For Real
Ten: The Freedom To Fail
Eleven: Sharing Your Journey
Twelve: When God Seems Distant
Thirteen: A Quiet Place
Fourteen: What About The Scriptures?
Fifteen: What About Sin?
Sixteen N.A.T.O. Living
Seventeen: A Life Of Love
Eighteen: One Step At A Time
Nineteen: Living By The Spirit
Twenty: Letting God Win Our Trust
Twenty-One: The Only Thing That Counts
Twenty-Two: Tuning To God’s Frequency
Twenty-Three: That Your Joy Might Be Full
Twenty-Four: The Adventure Of A Lifetime