Happy New Year!

2017 has arrived!  Big deal!  I’m not much on arbitrary dates like this. Oh, they are fun to celebrate with friends but I know for many dates like this haunt them for the lack of seeming progress they’ve made in their lives over the past year. But transformation doesn’t come in giant leaps and resolutions, but in a slow, steady heart that keeps leaning into Father’s reality and out of the illusions of this world and even our religious sensibilities.  God loves you. He lives in you and as you just keep opening your heart to him each day he is at work in you to will and to do of his good pleasure. Find your way into that reality today, even if you can’t see it’s impact in the way you would like, and that transformation will continue.  God wants you free and alive in him far more than you do!

Sara and I have enjoyed the week between Christmas and New Years at Shaver Lake with my dad, my daughter and her family and with some friends from this area that we don’t get to see often enough.  Kids, puppies and snow are quite a delightful mix as our new pup explored the white stuff. It amazes me how much all our dogs have loved the snow at first sight.  They bolt from the car and run through it like they’ve just discovered heaven. And they are barefoot at that!  We have had a great time up here and are getting ready to head home in the next day or two.

I’m now seven and a half weeks out of surgery and feeling pretty good.  Except for not being able to exert my heart as much as I would like, I’m pretty much back to normal and am so grateful.  The heart will take another 4.5 weeks to heal so we’re slowly elevating my heart activity to make room for that. I continued my walks up here, in the snow and ice, so it’s been brisk and beautiful.  And after all the trauma my body has been through I’m constantly amazed at the resilience of it as it finds it’s way back to “normal.” And hopefully it will be a new normal with a stronger heart and greater endurance.

Over the break I’ve been reading Colson Whitehead’s book, The Underground Railroad. It’s a novel that won the National Book Award about the people who risked their lives to help slaves escape to the north and the hunters who fought so hard to bring them back to be tortured so others wouldn’t be tempted to try it. It is a story of fear and great courage. I started reading it as background for the book a friend of mine is writing about the Civil War. I’m helping him with it and wanted to read an award-winning book in that genre.  I am fully hooked on the characters and the story and looking forward to continuing later today.  It’s got me thinking what kind of person I would have been back in that day if I’d be raised in the South.  There’s no way to know, of course!

The best “gift” I got this holiday season was the opportunity two days before Christmas to watch the final version of The Shack movie with my family at the Lionsgate Screening Room. I’ll write more about that experience in my next blog, but it was such a joy not only to see the movie myself, but to experience it with them and watch them and a roomful of other people respond to it. It exceeded my hopes. To watch people react with laughter and tears to the words and scenes that I helped to write was an extraordinary experience. Talking about it with my kids after was a further delight as they shared their thoughts and insights about it.  Will March 3 ever come?

But before it does, I still have a trip to Israel to make. Three weeks from today I’ll be headed to Jordan.  Yikes!

10 thoughts on “Happy New Year!”

  1. Wayne, you continue to be an encouragement to me, one who was in a prison of rules and regulations for 30+ years. Freedom feels more wonderful than I can possibly describe and my relationship with Father growing sweeter and sweeter. Thank you for the times you have visited Maryland and shared your heart and your insights. I’m grateful how Father has used you!

  2. Happy New Year Wayne. Good to read of your speedy recovery. Our God is faithful. Oh I can’t wait to watch ” The Shack” which I have read severally especially when I need some inspiration. When will it get to Nigeria?

  3. What do you think about all the hoohah surrounding the movie?
    All the stuff about it being full of new age crapola. Yes, I did say crapola. I read and re-read the book, and saw something different. My pastor at the time said to watch out for modalism. Let me state on the record, that in reading that book, the only thing I came away with wasome that God knew where I was and was orchestrating my life according to His purposes?
    Now, the talk around the water cooler is that Mr. Young is a universalist. So, what is your take on all of this?

    1. Hi Paul. It’s a great story of the redemption of a man who had been shattered by evil in the world. The crapola as you call it is simply what people have to say that don’t like it. There is no modalism in the book, especially since Father, Son, and Spirit are in most scenes together as interacting persons. They draw that from the misinterpretation of one line in the book and make a huge issue out of it. It’s sad, but all part of God’s plan too I expect. The more they rail against it, the more people are curious to find out for themselves.

      As for universalism, I don’t know if Paul is one or not. He was when he first brought be the book. When he begged me to rewrite it for him, I told him I wouldn’t if that was his answer to God’s love in the world, because I didn’t believe it and thought it cheapened the story. He abandoned that view during the rewrite and THE SHACK doesn’t teach it at all. It teaches quite the opposite. Lately he seems to be embracing his universalist views again, at least by reports I have. Since the lawsuit Paul filed against us he has cut off all communication with Brad and I except through “his people.”

      It saddens me deeply that the relationship was cut off, especially since it is the polar opposite of what we wrote together. I keep hoping that this is only the middle of a painful chapter and not the end of the story behind the story.

  4. Dear Wayne, Just wanted to wish you & your family a Very Happy & Blessed New Year, dwelling in the love & inspiration & Joy of Jesus & My Dad! & His Precious Holy Spirit.. I’ve been praying much for you during your op & recovery time & I am so happy & grateful you’re making such remarkable progress. As a nurse, I fully appreciate all the risks that could have been involved, but His healing power & the power of prayer has brought you through & God bless all the physicians involved! I met you in London last April & was so grateful for your encouragement when I shared with you that I’d recently come out of a cult! I still am working through some things but I’ve been greatly helped by some of your talks which have encouraged me to just wait on the Lord & not worry about pressure of time. Healing takes time. This year I’m starting the ‘Cover to Cover’ programme, which takes you through the bible in a year(www.cover2cover.org). God bless you Wayne & keep you safe in His Wonderful love. Love & prayers, Sheila

    1. Thanks, Sheila. Yes, this surgery and its aftermath has seemed so smooth at times that it’s easy to forget just how intrusive it was. I’m so blessed to have had the care and help I’ve had. Thanks for your kind words. May God continue to lead us all in his life and freedom.

  5. Hi Wayne and Sarah, Joyce and I wish you both a blessed New Year. Glad to read that you are recovering well and growing stronger by the day. Shaver Lake, now that is a place to revive the heart, I have fond memories of being there with you, walking in the snow there must be very special. You are often in the thoughts and prayers of your ‘Irish Family’, we send our love.

    1. Thank you! I’ve received lots of greetings from my Irish Family in this ordeal and every one has warmed my heart with love and fond memories helping the recuperative process immensely.

  6. First off, my apologies if I commented on the wrong post… it was supposed to be on the respond to critics of The Shack. I’ll be honest, I never read the book ‘The Shack’, because I don’t really have a desire to. One problem with what I’ve heard about it is that the main character ‘Mack’, seems to be portrayed as a victim. If Mack is taken to be representative of a sinner in need of salvation, then this brings up a genuine concern. Apart from God’s grace, we sinners are not at all victims to be pitied, but enemies of God and objects of the holy wrath of the Almighty Judge. This concern, plus the issue I have with the presentation of the Trinity make me worried for those who are young in the faith and who are growing in their understanding of God. I understand that The Shack is not meant to be a theology textbook, but if it only generates theological discussion and does not present a clear picture of the Holy Trinitarian God, then why write it? You are right to say that The Shack is “edgy enough to prompt some significant backlash.” Perhaps it is edgy because it presents a view of the God of the Bible that isn’t scriptural, and is instead something quite other than what the Bible teaches. This is simply how I see The Shack from the outset. I would appreciate feedback on my comment. I do not intend to attack you brother, I simply intend and desire to protect the truth of Scripture. I desire unity within the body of Christ, but never at the expense of right doctrine.

    Thank you,

    1. I’ll be honest, Will, you lose me as soon as you say you never read the book. What sense does it make to discuss its themes or conclusions if the only thoughts you have about the book comes through the interpretations or misinterpretation of others? My feedback is this: If you want my feedback, read it and come to your conclusions based on firsthand evidence, not the hearsay of others. If you don’t care enough to do that I don’t see how my feedback would make any difference.

      I’ve had many people over the past nine years offer me some criticism of the book AFTER telling me they hadn’t read it. The vast majority of those who have gone back to read it have since returned to apologize to me because the book was not what they had been led to believe it was and they were deeply touched by it. It’s not perfect, certainly, but I am confident after a lifetime of reading, studying, and teaching the Scriptures that it accurately reflects both the content of those Scriptures, the truth of the Gospel of Jesus, and the nature of the God who inspired them.

      Not everyone agrees, of course. Some in my view misinterpret what the book is saying and others seem to misinterpret the Scriptures because of their religious training. If you really desire unity among the body of Christ, I would think you’d want to have a discussion based on knowledge, not on ignorance. You make accusations here when you have no idea what the book is even about.

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