Letting God’s Plans Unfold

Many of you know we are trying to make a movie of the story of Jake and John in So You Don’t Want to Go to Church Anymore. We announced two years ago that we were going to make an opportunity for people to give towards this as a way to have some “passion” money alongside the investment money. I’m grateful for the many of you who responded. Unfortunately, we didn’t receive enough to begin production right away. My producer has been looking elsewhere for the necessary funds, which has been made all the more difficult by Amazon and Netflix scooping up the independent projects to create their own original content. It has changed the available money for making small, independent films.

Interestingly enough, on my recent trip east a couple of people asked me about the movie and where we are in the process. After catching one of them up, they simply commented, “I think the time is now.”

Honestly, I have no sense of that. Converting this story into a movie has always been a long-shot in my mind, as much as I’d love to see it done. I do what I can to help it along, but I know many projects get as far as we have that don’t make it into final production. Getting the right people and the money to the starting line at the same time is quite an endeavor.

So, I was surprised when my producer wanted to talk this week. He told me that he had a recent conversation with another filmmaker who was also asking about this project. At the end of it, that friend said to my producer, “Relax. This will get done. Projects like this have their own time.”

“The time is now,” my producer found himself answering, to his own surprise.

When he told me that, I told him the conversation I had the previous week and he said, “I’m bursting out with goose bumps all over here.”

I love how God’s work gently unfolds in our lives. I’ve come to trust it over my own plotting and scheming. I know the frustration of asking God to give me wisdom about something I wanted to do and then feel as if he’s gone silent. Looking back, I now see that I was asking God to give me a strategy so I could work toward the outcome I desired. God didn’t go silent; he just didn’t have an answer for that. So, when he didn’t say what I wanted to hear it was easy to make up a process in my own head and attach his name to it. That is a futile road, for sure. When he didn’t honor my process, I felt even more abandoned.

But now, I’ve been won in to different space, knowing that God’s will for us unfolds in the circumstances of life. We want a strategy to implement; he wants a relationship where he will walk with us. I’m convinced that the best way for God NOT to get me where he wants me in six months, is to tell me. I’ll actually try to get there for him and mess it all up. But if I’ll just follow him today, and again tomorrow, six months from now I’ll be right where he wants me to be. Almost everything I’m involved in now was not part of my planning, but I wouldn’t trade how God has fulfilled the passions he put in me for anything I’d envisioned in the past. I love being in the moment with him, free to respond to the opportunities that come, rather than trying to claw my way to the destination I desire.

Even the cover art (see picture above), which was a gift from someone I didn’t even know, who lived in Chicago at the time, conveys that same reality. Some people thought the book didn’t offer enough “how-tos” at the end, but it wasn’t meant to. The invitation was to an adventure with him down the road less traveled, rather than a new methodology to try and create his church in our image.

I meet too many young people who are trying to strategize a new way of doing ministry. It’s an exhausting road with little real kingdom fruit. I encourage them to draw close to the Master and let him guide them through the circumstances that come their way. Rather than trying to impose our will, we get to flow with his as it winds through the circumstances and opportunities of life. Then we’ll find ourselves being fruitful in ways we’d never imagined and watch him open doors we could never have contrived. It’s slower this way, to be sure, but it is a more joyful and fruitful way to live.

Part of that phone call with my producer this week was to let me know he thinks he’s found a path to get us to that elusive starting line. A fortuitous experience working with another film crew has opened up some new options. I can’t say more than that now, but it will still take people with passion, both on the casting and production side as well as the money side. But this looks far more hopeful than it looked a few months ago.

For those of you interested in the movie, we made a video two years ago to let people know what we were doing. You can view it here:

The budget is currently estimated at $2 million. While we have had, and will continue to have, conversations with both conventional movie and private investors, we also want to include people who have a passion for the story. That will give us a seat at the table to help protect its message. So we’ve come up with the idea of raising funds through Lifestream. Not only will that give you a tax-deductible receipt, but give Lifestream a stake in the movie. If it generates a profit, our share of return will go to help fund our various projects around the world.

Click here to SEE LOOKBOOK Click the button here to view a copy of our Lookbook. In the industry it’s a representation of the movie we want to make and a feel for how it will look.

If you’d like to be involved with us financially, please scroll down to the bottom of this page for giving and reward options.

11 thoughts on “Letting God’s Plans Unfold”

  1. Christine McKinley

    This comment does not exactly pertain to your article above. But I needed to share. THANK YOU for these emails and for reaching out to “us”. My husband and I have been in and out of church, trying to figure this journey out. We’re finally out of church and I think this is it. Quite frankly, we live in a very rural area and churches around us are just going through the motions and to be blunt, boring. Jesus is anything but boring. He is LIFE and that is what we want. I think in this journey I’ve been more worried about what everybody will think of us, rather than being worried about my relationship with a loving Savior, Abba. Anyway, THANK YOU again for your heart for all of us, and your heart for honoring Him with every breath. Much love and many blessings to you and Sara.

    1. You’re welcome, Christine. There is such freedom in no longer thinking you have to satisfy the expectations of “religious” people around you. I go through that lesson again and again as people seek to control me with comments like, “Well you would think a man of God would…” And when that comes from close friends and family it can be especially hurtful. But what they want is almost always in opposition to the way God is leading. No wonder Jesus and Paul warned us that if we’re seeking the approval of others, we will miss the reality of his kingdom. That doesn’t mean I don’t listen to others and see if God has something in it for me, but that usually doesn’t come when people are trying to be so manipulative.

      And I’m really sure I don’t honor him with EVERY breath. Someday. For now it is living in that tension between the Spirit’s calling and the flesh’s obstruction to his grace…

      I’m glad my life has encourage yours.

  2. David and Susan Page

    Hi yes WaYne that is what we have been learning the past many years since we have retired from so-called missionary work .
    finding the work even more exciting productive without our own agendas and living for the moment .
    What has helped us a lot has been reading the journal s or books of men and women of God in times …..past largely the Victorian era.
    What we count as productive ‘do lists ‘and technological advance is nt always in sync with Gods spirit.
    God speaks in sentences and words and phrases and doesn’t use downloads .
    Yes a resounding yes to your comments !

  3. I don’t know if it’s time to make a movie about God leading people out of organized servitude and into an organic (naturally forming) and personal fellowship outside walls and burdensome expectations, rituals, and customs, but I know that this “moving out” process is happening at a rapid rate regardless, and I think God’s Spirit is behind it. It was just over two years ago when I invited you up here to come and hang out with myself and a group of people, to explore this unfolding revelation. At that time I was convinced that this more personal approach to knowing God could and would be welcomed into the organized environment, especially if it was given the room required to be explored and encouraged in a non-threatening environment. I know I was all in…I was so optimistic…I could see it in my minds eye…a beautiful picture of voluntary expression, of brokenness and of healing by loves touch, of true generosity and not coerced-keep the lights on, obligation. I knew I could lead this new revolution, I had all the tools (tongue in cheek)…I even had Wayne Jacobsen, matches in hand, to help me light the fire that would burn down, tear the curtain, and knock down the walls of the same religious structure that Jesus came to liberate humanity from. I’m not sure what’s happened over the past two years in regards to that organized fellowship as my dream of liberation lasted approximately eight weeks before it became crystal clear that an organic approach to finding and knowing God is unable to grow within a man-made organized structure, and we said goodbye for the last time to the organized structure. Don’t get me wrong though, I’m not bitter about it, and I’m not hurt, and I’m not even disappointed,…I’m free. I’m free to finally get to know myself, who I really am behind my mask of memorized scriptures and cliche’s and supposed to be’s; I’m free to go anywhere with anyone, unafraid and unaware and uncaring of who may think what they think or if they think about my life and style. I probably look like a drunk and a glutton, and for the first time in forever I am becoming a true friend who isn’t interested in fixing people, or serving people, or saying the right thing, or expecting a certain response or behavior from people, and for the first time in my life I’m not concerned with popularity, or being liked, or accepted, or being rejected for that matter. Getting back to my point; I am not alone. This is the time. I have come across more people in the past two years of “throwing in the ministry towel”, who have stepped out of religious gathering, and many who have never stepped into religious gathering, but have a heart of love to know love and to walk in peace, than I have recognized the rest of my life combined. This is the time to make straight paths, true paths, your path, directly to Father. This is the time of the prophet’s way. It is of time alone with God in the wilderness and of random encounters, and of becoming less, and becoming nobody, so to discover “Somebody”, and Him becoming the MORE that He’s always wanted to be in the lives of his children. This train is clearly and visibly on the move and that excites me! All the best with the movie Wayne as I know you are one of those prophetic type dudes who has spent the last bunch of years discouraging a personal following, magnifying Father’s love and goodness, making yourself less so that He would become the More.
    (This being said, I am not a critic against anyone or their style or expression of their faith. As you say, this is an unfolding revelation, bit by bit, piece by piece, inch by inch. There was a time I was convinced that organized religion and organized friendship, and organized accountability was exactly what I needed as I am prone to wander, and I still believe that in that time it was good for me. Whether it was necessary or not I do not know for sure, but it was where I met my wife of 26 years, and many good friends who gave me my first glimpses of light of love. I don’t regret that time at all but am happy to be moving now in a new space.)

    1. Kevin, I remember so well our weekend together, and your hopes and passions. What I loved most was hanging out with you and your family and getting schooled in bocci ball by your daughter. LOL. And I enjoyed a lot of people who joined us for our time of contemplating what community might look like if the love of Jesus was the center of our passions. Alas, I could tell by some of the reactions, that there were enough detractors in that congregation that it would be a difficult environment for that fire to catch for all of them–like trying to light a campfire in a howling wind and rain storm. That’s when I look to ignite individual hearts, and not the “thing” as a whole. When everyone doesn’t want to embrace it you have to become as manipulative as they want to be to protect it.

      But sometimes it works. Not every congregation is so bent on its own way that it can’t respond to the fresh wind of the Spirit. But I love the journey this spawned in you. If you can find a congregation of people who are willing to walk in his light and love together, enjoy it. When you can’t, don’t let that deter you from the journey of freedom beyond it. Such amazing things change in our hearts when we give up the approval of others and walk in the love and freedom that he gives us. You’re right, then you just get to love people instead of trying to fix them and in doing so you become so much more a blessing in their lives.

      Love you, my friend! I hope Father has it for us to cross paths again in this life somewhere!

    2. Kevin and Wayne: just today I finally read this post in my email, and God gave me a response to it immediately. My first response was directed toward the small fellowship I am part of, but I figured I should share it with you, so I landed on this page. I was trying to decide where to put it and then came across the thread Kevin started, and the conversation — so here it is. [Kevin: great time with you July in Edmonton, bro!]
      A little background: Rick, our 63-year-old pastor died suddenly about three weeks ago. There has been a lot of grief so far, and now some fear and panic is beginning to creep in. It’s a small group of about 25; most are 70+. I sent the following to the others on our leadership team:

      I saw myself and my frustrations in this. [your post] I love to strategize. Rather than rest and trust. This is extremely difficult for me in daily life. I have always been a resolute go-getter, but now I don’t know where He is taking me. I desperately want a goal to pursue, rather than a few tasks to perform. It drives me nuts that things seem to take so long. But how long should it take to heal and untangle 60 years of my mess? Strategies and pursuits have just made my mess bigger and deeper.

      There is only one acceptable outcome in God’s eyes – transformation into the image of Jesus. The only human being who has any idea how to get there is Jesus himself. That’s because he is ‘it’ and he has completed it already, and he was the first to do so. The specifics of that process are as diverse as the number of human beings there are. We get to experience it the same way Jesus did during his physical life on earth.

      As for Rick, physical death is now part of his transformation process. Because he touched us, his death has become part of our transformation processes also, both individually and as a fellowship. But we remain on this side of the death veil. The question is, “How much of that transformation do I want to experience before I die?” (this is the ‘more’ I referred to in the meeting last night)

      The only Way of transformation is to walk with Father day-by-day as Jesus did. Each of us needs to walk that walk in a way that is real to us. (I think there are people in our fellowship that this is becoming real to, but I’m not sure) Only then can we decide if we want to continue walking together.

      1. Yeah it was great to connect in July Craig, great conversation. That’s a good word. What I’m finding is that the church has never really focused people with how to connect with God in a personal way. “Life teaching churches following biblical principles and truths” (rather than the boast of being a bible teaching church) would sure cause a stir with the doctrine police but this is what’s needed I believe. You’re so correct when you say that each of us needs to walk in a way that is real (relevant) personally. Everyone is in a different place and does relationship differently. How many people have lived on this planet, yet not two the same?? We’ve taught the bible stories over and over and spin them whichever way we need to in order to make our point…but that isn’t how to connect with God in a personal way; neither is an organized assortment of music to sing along to. I mean it’s great to invite parents to watch us at the school play singing and acting with all our friends in unison but that’s not personal; going fishing one on one is personal…hiking a mountain together is personal… . It isn’t taught how Jesus came to set captives free by freeing their minds, and how we can have our minds freed so we can truly live in each moment (in him, his love) and not the past regrets and distractions or the worry of seeing future expectations come to fruition. Our undisciplined minds just wander aimlessly, we are led along down all sorts of rabbit holes, and are drawn into depression and negativity. Jesus said we could truly love even when we’re mistreated; this doesn’t happen by developing good habits and morals; it happens when the person is set free from the minds rambling and is then able to do what it really wants to do, and that is to love. We’ve put the cart (corporate) in front of the horse (personal). Corporate happens well when personal is happening well. And that is a beautiful thing when that happens. It’s even more astounding when it happens organically and without human organizing. But hey my brother, just my opinion. I’ll probably contradict myself tomorrow haha, if I already haven’t….

  4. Yes!! A movie about the book that catapulted me into a relationship with the Father away from organized religion. Yeah!!
    Wayne you really encouraged me with your writings. Especially when family n friends don’t understand the way I am going and have the worst to say. Thank God that burden is lifted. I no longer have to prove myself and seek approval from others.
    The journey to me is most difficult in this part cause you feel hurt and not forgetting angry when ppl gossip about you. But now let them talk.
    I am learning to love them as they are. Of course they won’t understand organization is what they know and choose to believe. Everyone have there own journey to live. I want more and on mine. God bless you wayne

  5. Hey Wayne,

    I really enjoyed this. As one of those young people you mentioned 🙂 —-

    How far do you go when you do feel passionate about something? Don’t you make plans to make things happen in the sense of scheduling things, etc if it’s something you are indeed passionate about/desiring to do?

    How do you find the line between ‘trying to make it happen’ and just pursuing your passions?

    1. Hi Chris. Thanks for your comment and questions. I think this is why we have the Spirit to show us the way. Everything happens because plans are made and work done. The difference comes in whether we are doing plans and work based on our own best wisdom, or whether we are following the Spirit’s leading. And, unfortunately that is not an exact science. We have to trust his peace as he leads us, and trust your Yuck Meter, when it goes off telling us this is more about human effort that God’s leading and have the courage to back out. As we learn to follow him day by day with an eye on the passion he has given us, he will show us the doors that allow us to follow that passion, rather than us building our own doors to try to make it happen. The key I think is to pray for wisdom, not for strategies that depend on our implementation. Remember, he wants this more for us than we want it for ourselves.

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