Sharing the Cross in Sao Paulo, Brazil

This is Day 6 in Sao Paulo, Brazil, and I am having an incredible trip. I really enjoy the people I get to meet on trips like this, especially those who are beginning to see that the God of the Bible has been disfigured by the lies of religion. Most of the people I have met only know me by readingSo You Don’t Want to Go to Church Anymore. It has been translated and published in Brazil by the same publishing house as did The Shack. It has sold incredibly well through secular stores and has caused quite a buzz in this country. Traditional churches and pastors have spoken out against it, and many warn people not to read such a dangerous book. But so many others have read it, resonated with its message and wanted me to come to talk more about this amazing life with God and a different way to view the church.

We had a weekend retreat where 200 people gathered to talk with me and it was broadcast live on the Internet. They had never heard of He Loves Me or Transitions. Unfortunately most of them do not speak English and I do not speak Portuguese, so I had to work through translators, which makes it a bit more difficult. But I’ve had some wonderful translators, and one young woman who just graduated from a college in the U.S. stays with me all the time to help with personal conversations. It has been wonderful to talk to so many people and hear what Jesus is revealing to them as well as helping them sort through some of their questions.

I’ve been talking nonstop since I arrived, so I’m pretty tired. We had a five-hour meeting last night in a home with scores of questions about how to live this life individually and corporately. I love the hearts of these people, what they already know of him and what he is shaping in their lives.

Let me tell you about one moment that touched me deeply. Saturday night I shared the teaching of the cross, which has had quite an impact. It is a view of the cross that has not been taught in Brazil so many are just processing it for the first time and we had some incredible dialog about all of that since. But it is always difficult to teach that content through translators because it is highly nuanced and I’m never sure how it is being interpreted.

When I finished, I sat down next to a young woman I know understands English. I leaned over to her and asked if she thought all that made sense. So much theology in so short a space, I wanted to make sure it had communicated through the translation.

She turned to me and her eyes were filled with tears. She whispered to me in the most awed, grateful, overwhelmed in a good way, and breathless voice, “I have never heard that before,” as if she just discovered a tender Father she’d never known before. And she cried.

And so did I. It moved me deeply to see how God had made himself known to her in such a simple yet profound way. If people ask why I travel around the world, crawling into cramped airplanes for hours on end, sleeping in beds that are not my own, eating strange foods I don’t always enjoy, missing Sara, my children and grandchildren as well as the comforts and joys of home, moments like this are the answer. That one moment would have made this entire trip worth it for me if nothing else had happened here. A daughter meets the Father she never knew she had.

And she cried tears of great joy as if she had just discovered a father she never knew she had. It moved me deeply to watch her new found joy

So, yes, I guess he communicated. It has been so transforming for her and so many others. Person after person came up to me at the end and told me how much this had shifted their thinking about God. Others have struggled to grasp it, as I did when I first heard it. You want to believe its true but so much religious tradition has taught us otherwise.

One man asked me why I to the risk to share that. Because I believe it the foundational reality on which all else is built. Most people see God as the tormentor of Jesus, rather than the Father who was in Christ reconciling the world to himself. Because of that so many Christians live our lives trying to appease a demanding, angry God instead of living in the affection of a gracious Father. If we don’t get that right, we’ll never learn what it means to grow in him, share life with his family, or love the world with the same compassion Jesus did. (If you haven’t heard some of this teaching you can listen to it free on our Transition page.)

One more day here, and then I fly home for the holidays with my family.

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14 Comments
  1. Sarah December 9, 2009 at 5:26 am

    Thank you Wayne for sharing this. And thank you for doing what you do.
    Its exactly two years now since I read your book So You Dont Want To Go To Church Aymore that turned my spiritual world upside down. And when I look back, even though I am still “hanging in the air” (as we say in Switzerland…) a bit, I am amazed how my life has changed. And when I see people I have not met for a long time they always tell me how good and relaxed and content I look. Even on bad hair days…
    Then I think, I wish they could see and find out what I found out. And I have to take care of not trying to make something happen that is not in my hands. So it is very engouraging to see that there are people all over the world finding out what this life with God really is about.
    Thank you!

  2. Dwight Pond December 9, 2009 at 5:36 am

    Wayne,

    Sounds like the trip is timely and impactful. Father is at work all over our world. Thanks for breaking off a piece of yourself (a piece of the loaf) and passing it to those of us who are spiritually hungry. And thanks to your family who supports your trips and suffers your loss while travelling.

    Take care brother.

  3. Gustavo K-fé Frederico December 9, 2009 at 5:36 am

    Greetings,
    I’m really glad to read your report. Perhaps on some other ocasion you could also write about what you learned or what changed you being in Brazil.

    cheers,
    Gustavo K-fé

  4. Don December 9, 2009 at 8:14 am

    It is amazing how Jesus is building his church one individual person at a time.

  5. Sarah December 9, 2009 at 8:26 am

    Thank you Wayne for sharing this. And thank you for doing what you do.
    Its exactly two years now since I read your book So You Dont Want To Go To Church Aymore that turned my spiritual world upside down. And when I look back, even though I am still “hanging in the air” (as we say in Switzerland…) a bit, I am amazed how my life has changed. And when I see people I have not met for a long time they always tell me how good and relaxed and content I look. Even on bad hair days…
    Then I think, I wish they could see and find out what I found out. And I have to take care of not trying to make something happen that is not in my hands. So it is very engouraging to see that there are people all over the world finding out what this life with God really is about.
    Thank you!

  6. Dwight Pond December 9, 2009 at 8:36 am

    Wayne,

    Sounds like the trip is timely and impactful. Father is at work all over our world. Thanks for breaking off a piece of yourself (a piece of the loaf) and passing it to those of us who are spiritually hungry. And thanks to your family who supports your trips and suffers your loss while travelling.

    Take care brother.

  7. Gustavo K-fé Frederico December 9, 2009 at 8:36 am

    Greetings,
    I’m really glad to read your report. Perhaps on some other ocasion you could also write about what you learned or what changed you being in Brazil.

    cheers,
    Gustavo K-fé

  8. Bones December 9, 2009 at 9:12 am

    It has now been 3 years since I stumbled upon the Jake book, and my life will never be the same! It is in resting in my gracious, loving Father’s arms that I’m able to endure some very difficult transitions. And the relational difficulties that have seemed to accompany them, while unnerving, haven’t rocked the confidence I am experiencing in His goodness and sovereign ability to work it all for our good. There is a joy and peace even in the midst of uncertainty that I had not known previously in my more than 30 years of the journey of following Jesus. Thus, let me join with our Brazilian sisters and brothers in expressing my gratitude to you, Wayne, and the others I’ve grown to know and love via LIfestream, The God Journey, Windblown Media, etc.

    Bones

  9. Don December 9, 2009 at 11:14 am

    It is amazing how Jesus is building his church one individual person at a time.

  10. Bones December 9, 2009 at 12:12 pm

    It has now been 3 years since I stumbled upon the Jake book, and my life will never be the same! It is in resting in my gracious, loving Father’s arms that I’m able to endure some very difficult transitions. And the relational difficulties that have seemed to accompany them, while unnerving, haven’t rocked the confidence I am experiencing in His goodness and sovereign ability to work it all for our good. There is a joy and peace even in the midst of uncertainty that I had not known previously in my more than 30 years of the journey of following Jesus. Thus, let me join with our Brazilian sisters and brothers in expressing my gratitude to you, Wayne, and the others I’ve grown to know and love via LIfestream, The God Journey, Windblown Media, etc.

    Bones

  11. Heather Sterling December 10, 2009 at 1:28 pm

    Yes Wayne, I have met Sarah when she came to Alaska, and she does have that peace with her. It’s true. It’s delightful to know that these bothers and sisters all over the globe are waking up to the truth of Father’s great love for them.

    Love
    Heather

  12. Heather Sterling December 10, 2009 at 4:28 pm

    Yes Wayne, I have met Sarah when she came to Alaska, and she does have that peace with her. It’s true. It’s delightful to know that these bothers and sisters all over the globe are waking up to the truth of Father’s great love for them.

    Love
    Heather

  13. Ailton D. December 25, 2009 at 6:19 pm

    Hi Wayne,
    it’s a plasure to read your book and discover that many americans share about your point of view obout the church.
    I pray that you could come here in Rio de Janeiro and share with the brothers here that are hungry of the real living in the body of Christ.
    you are well come in my house, brother. 🙂
    See you!!!

  14. Ailton D. December 25, 2009 at 9:19 pm

    Hi Wayne,
    it’s a plasure to read your book and discover that many americans share about your point of view obout the church.
    I pray that you could come here in Rio de Janeiro and share with the brothers here that are hungry of the real living in the body of Christ.
    you are well come in my house, brother. 🙂
    See you!!!

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