Last weekend Sara and I spent four days with a wonderful group of believers around Youngstown, Ohio. That’s them above at or Saturday night barbeque. They are two years on a journey of discovering relational life together. They gather weekly in various homes to share God’s life and also have a Wednesday night Bible study for those interested. We hung around a retreat center together for the weekend and were joined at various times from some folks further north near Lake Erie and some from the Pittsburgh area. What a weekend!
We talked through something you’ll be reading more about on this website in coming months. There is a block on my website reserved for The Journey and The Story, . I’ve just begun to post some things there to help people see God’s working in their own life to move them closer to him and prepare them more effective participation in the life of his body and in living out their mission in the earth. In my own life and in others I’ve connected with in recent years I am recognizing a progression of God’s work in growing us up and setting us free. They are not steps but simply things we need to ‘get’ to learn to live relationally with God, other believers and the world.
By growing daily in the reality and depth of Father’s affection for you you will find yourself growing to trust him and his purpose sorting out in the experiences of your life. As you grow to trust him you’ll find yourself embracing true freedom and knowing what it is to live free of guilt and condemnation, free of other people’s expectations, and free of your own agenda for your life. This growing freedom will allow you to discover how the Body of Christ can share God’s life together, freely without trying to make others provide for you what you’re not finding in him. Body life can now be a place for people to grow in Christ and encourage each other without manipulating or judging each other. As we learn to share life among the body we’ll also find our hearts spilling over with God’s love for the word and we’ll find ourselves incarnating that love quite naturally as we live simply in God’s reality in events around us.
This is an amazing process and there is progression here that is quite helpful. In other words people who aren’t growing confident in Father’s affection will never know what real trust or freedom is. People who aren’t growing in God’s freedom will only see the body as a place to manipulate others with their own need, ‘theology’ or agenda. But these are not steps of achievement. I see them more as an ascending spiral. We’ll continue to discover more of each of these areas as we grow up in him and will not complete any one of them before moving on to the next. In that sense, we’ll grow in them together.
For each of these five areas I will be providing some of the lessons God’s taught me in sorting out each of these areas in my own life. I’ll also include resources from Lifestream that will help you work through these specific areas to greater life him.
Also, let me add an unrelated postscript here. If you would like to see the incredible beauty of New Zealand, I’ve posted some of our favorite New Zealand Pictures, . It really is a magnificent country as you will see!