What’s Next?

I’m off to New Zealand and excited about so many of the conversations I’ll have there with some friends from my previous trip and a whole lot of new folks. I love that at this point in my life I get to be in conversations that matter, with people who care. There is nothing more fun and more productive. I’m excited about this trip for another reason. This begins a task that I sense Father has put before me for the next couple of years.

I have felt for some time he has been encouraging me to spend more time equipping those who want to help others live loved, especially those who feel they have a calling to help equip others on this journey. I will still spend time helping people learn to live and connect relationally, but know it is time to equip others to do what I do, consistent with what God is doing in them. I see the tendency such people have to create systems, garner an audience, or push themselves using the conventions of men to hopefully end up helping others. But often, it is more about THEIR ministry, than it is about genuinely helping people. And I think that often happens because they don’t see how else they can truly equip others in this journey.

Before I do that with what I see, I sense God wanting me to facilitate a larger conversation with those who’ve lived such lives over decades. I want to see what they see and learn from what they’ve learned as we sort out the best way to pass on this life to subsequent generations without burdening them with new structures, curricula, or methodologies. Relationship with Jesus runs so much deeper than that and the tools of human effort never reach to the heart. What do we say and do that genuinely encourage people into a meaningful relationship with him, and in doing so connect in meaningful ways with other believers that truly allows the kingdom of God to grow in the world?

One of the great treasures I have received in the past 20 years are the relationships I have with older brothers and sisters around the globe who are on their own relational journeys and many of them far longer than me. I have gained greatly from their wisdom and passion. Over the past few months I’ve sensed that God wants me to have some conversations with these dear people aimed at what they would pass on to a new generation of brothers and sisters on this journey. What do they wish they’d known sooner? What has helped them continually to grow over a life time in their own knowing of God?

Two of those brothers are in New Zealand and I’m going to get some time with both of them. And then there are many others I want to bring into that conversation over the next two years looking to answer a set of questions that will hopefully provide some wisdom as to how we encourage a new generation of pioneers to learn how to live loved and equip others to live loved, too, without being tricked into creating schemes and programs that cannot bear the glory of a real, growing relationship with Jesus.
You can help me in this if you want. If you had the opportunity, what would YOU ask these brothers and sisters about their journeys? What do you think would help others find their way into a meaningful relationship with Jesus and encourage them in discovering how to embrace the church Jesus is building in the world. If you want, you can leave your thoughts in the comments below. I will incorporate those I can. I’m not looking here for the questions about your own desire to live loved, but how we might be able to encourage people who want to help others live loved. It should be an interesting conversation that I will give regular updates on here and at The God Journey, even if we find out there’s nothing we can pass on. Perhaps this is only a work Jesus can do.

Finally, I did a podcast with the Family Room Media guys a few weeks ago, and they just posted it today. It takes a look back at some of my journey in recent months and the inklings I have on my heart about what God has put before me. You can listen to the podcast here. They are involved now in a new project called Jeff’s World, a theatrical movie about a disillusioned evangelical pastor sorting through the difference between following his heart and fulfilling the obligations that have controlled his life. It’s a light-hearted comedy with the subtitle, “Caught between the flock and a heart place.” Cute. Very cute! You can find out more here, and you can be involved if you want.

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18 Comments
  1. Daryl L March 8, 2012 at 2:09 am

    In lieu of being able to just be a friend and personally interact with these men who have walked in the freedom of Father’s love over these many years…. I would want to hear their story…. the process of how Father got them to where they are now in their relationship with Abba. It is in their stories that I am encouraged. It is in their testimony that I am reminded how faithful Father is in the reality of the struggles of ordinary life of regular but extrordinary adopted sons of God. It seems to me the Bible kind of does that. It is the walking out of the story of man’s interaction and relationships with Yahovah. I can use these stories to compare what I’m experiencing with God, and when I experience Father, there are broad similarities that I can relate to in how they experienced Him. It encourages me that I’m not alone, and am on the right track. And Wayne, have a wonderful time in New Zealand.

  2. Daryl L March 8, 2012 at 5:09 am

    In lieu of being able to just be a friend and personally interact with these men who have walked in the freedom of Father’s love over these many years…. I would want to hear their story…. the process of how Father got them to where they are now in their relationship with Abba. It is in their stories that I am encouraged. It is in their testimony that I am reminded how faithful Father is in the reality of the struggles of ordinary life of regular but extrordinary adopted sons of God. It seems to me the Bible kind of does that. It is the walking out of the story of man’s interaction and relationships with Yahovah. I can use these stories to compare what I’m experiencing with God, and when I experience Father, there are broad similarities that I can relate to in how they experienced Him. It encourages me that I’m not alone, and am on the right track. And Wayne, have a wonderful time in New Zealand.

  3. Susan March 10, 2012 at 4:03 pm

    I would like to hear about the kind of temptations away from a relational life they have experienced themselves or seen others fall to, both internally and externally. These seem to be getting harder and harder to recognize quickly in my own life. And how important is passion in relationship with Abba? We are starting to feel like an old married couple! I felt more passionate when I was busy, busy, but I don’t think all of it was because of the busy-ness and maybe i threw the baby out with that bath water.

  4. Susan March 10, 2012 at 7:03 pm

    I would like to hear about the kind of temptations away from a relational life they have experienced themselves or seen others fall to, both internally and externally. These seem to be getting harder and harder to recognize quickly in my own life. And how important is passion in relationship with Abba? We are starting to feel like an old married couple! I felt more passionate when I was busy, busy, but I don’t think all of it was because of the busy-ness and maybe i threw the baby out with that bath water.

  5. jacob March 13, 2012 at 8:13 am

    Wayne, I have just ran across two instances of the same message from two different authors talking about your question, “What do you think would help others find their way into a meaningful relationship with Jesus and encourage them in discovering how to embrace the church Jesus is building in the world? ”
    One is from Schaeffer’s ‘True Spirituality’,

    “Can faith be taught? People often ask me that, and I always have an answer: Yes, faith can be taught, but only by exhibition. You cannot teach faith only as an abstraction. There must be an exhibition of faith if it is to be learned. Each group must operate on the basis of God’s individual calling for them-financially and in other matters- but there is an absolute rule, and that is if our example does not teach faith, it is destructive. …The church or any other Christian group that does not function as a unit in faith can never be a school of faith. There is only one way to be a school of faith and this is consciously to function by faith”

    The other is from “The gathered AND scattered church” by Hugh Halter and Matt Smay. In the last chapter, “Legacy: Live as if you are really dying” they offer advice and what the younger generation would cherish the most from those who have been there and done that. This is part of what they say,

    “The biggest gift you can hand down is faith…..they will need our best people resources, our best financial resources, and our best prayer resources. But one thing will be treasured above all of these things that we can pass down….It will be the most important thing we need to model and display for them. Faith! Just as we are inspired by the writer of Hebrews to remember that cloud of witnesses, we, too must become of cloud of witnesses who model faithful, sacrificial, faith-exploding leadership.”

    I think examples of faith, of the communication with Father, and the trust in Him, are what will help others with their relationship with Jesus. We can know every passage from the bible, or every bit of theological truth, but without out that communication and trust it is as Paul calls it “dung”.
    I don’t know if our generation, or too many before us have been taught, how to trust. Faith is something we teach in theory, but not to often in practice, and is never shown to be done as a body. I don’t think you can go wrong by starting and ending your “methodology” with trust and communication with Father, everything that follows that is gravy.

  6. Michele March 13, 2012 at 10:40 am

    I’m learning that loving people is the path to helping others find a meaningful relationship with Jesus. When I love as He loves, others can actually experience who God is through me. As I reflect God (who is Love) people can’t help but be introduced to Him. I used to try to share my faith with a lot of words and scriptures. I tried to live out, as well as impose on others, godly principles, obligations, rules… It was about “doing what’s right and avoiding what’s wrong” so God would let me/them go to heaven. I lived in constant fear of hell for myself, my family, my friends, and others. I lived in the question that the pharisees lived in, “What must I do to have eternal life?” Then I realized, the reason Jesus always seemed to be answering a different question than they were asking was because they were asking the wrong question. He was asking them to change their whole paradigm. If you think that you have to “do” something, you will stay on that treadmill that never gets you anywhere. You will always feel conditional love, which is not love at all. It’s not about what you must do, but about seeing what’s already been done. It’s about opening your eyes to how loved you are. About seeing your true unsurpassable worth through His eyes as well as seeing others unsurpassable worth. Our worth is not about being in or out, doing good or bad, doing right or wrong. What we do doesn’t have anything to do with how we are loved. That is never at stake. We are loved no matter what choices we make, that is settled. Our choices matter in so far as they carry natural consequences that can bring us and others either pain and suffering or healing and wholeness. God cares about our choices because he cares about us. He, like all parents, only want what will bring their children the fullest life possible. Language like “right/wrong, good/bad, in/out” all have to do with eating from the tree of knowledge of good and evil. That was never the tree we were meant to eat from. When we eat from that tree, we ask the wrong questions. When we eat from the tree of Life, we don’t need to come from a place of judgement, only from a place of love.
    My husband and I have 5 children, three biological sons in their 20’s and 2 daughters we adopted from China that are 10 and 6. My religious world came crashing down when the “formula” didn’t work with my children. I couldn’t figure it out. We took raised them in church. It consumed most of out time, in fact. We fed them scriptures. We tried to model the “good” christian life… But then why did they stray? I was so frustrated and disappointed in them when they did wrong, and happy and proud of them when they did right, because that’s how I thought God felt about me when I did right or wrong. I reflected the image I had of my Father. He was a conditional lover, someone to be feared if you didn’t do what was right. As I’m getting to know my real Father, I’m reflecting a completely different image. I’m beginning to love my kids where they are. Our conversations are going from doing what’s right and avoiding what’s wrong, to meeting them where they are and loving them in their messes. We are now crawling into their pain with them, really listening to them, validating their feelings, reassuring them of their preciousness even in the midst of their mess, and reminding them that our love and God’s love for them never changes. We don’t make it about right or wrong anymore, but about how we all have been given the freedom to make choices. Our choices don’t affect the love we have for each other or the love Father has for us, but because they carry natural consequences that bring pain and suffering, or healing and wholeness to us as well as others, they matter.
    As I learn how perfectly I’m loved, it drives out fear. There are two basic emotions that all other emotions stem from Love and Fear. They can not co-exist. When I operate from fear, I am not operating from a place of love. I spent too much time operating from a place of fear. Fear can only cause conformity; only love can transform.

  7. jacob March 13, 2012 at 11:13 am

    Wayne, I have just ran across two instances of the same message from two different authors talking about your question, “What do you think would help others find their way into a meaningful relationship with Jesus and encourage them in discovering how to embrace the church Jesus is building in the world? ”
    One is from Schaeffer’s ‘True Spirituality’,

    “Can faith be taught? People often ask me that, and I always have an answer: Yes, faith can be taught, but only by exhibition. You cannot teach faith only as an abstraction. There must be an exhibition of faith if it is to be learned. Each group must operate on the basis of God’s individual calling for them-financially and in other matters- but there is an absolute rule, and that is if our example does not teach faith, it is destructive. …The church or any other Christian group that does not function as a unit in faith can never be a school of faith. There is only one way to be a school of faith and this is consciously to function by faith”

    The other is from “The gathered AND scattered church” by Hugh Halter and Matt Smay. In the last chapter, “Legacy: Live as if you are really dying” they offer advice and what the younger generation would cherish the most from those who have been there and done that. This is part of what they say,

    “The biggest gift you can hand down is faith…..they will need our best people resources, our best financial resources, and our best prayer resources. But one thing will be treasured above all of these things that we can pass down….It will be the most important thing we need to model and display for them. Faith! Just as we are inspired by the writer of Hebrews to remember that cloud of witnesses, we, too must become of cloud of witnesses who model faithful, sacrificial, faith-exploding leadership.”

    I think examples of faith, of the communication with Father, and the trust in Him, are what will help others with their relationship with Jesus. We can know every passage from the bible, or every bit of theological truth, but without out that communication and trust it is as Paul calls it “dung”.
    I don’t know if our generation, or too many before us have been taught, how to trust. Faith is something we teach in theory, but not to often in practice, and is never shown to be done as a body. I don’t think you can go wrong by starting and ending your “methodology” with trust and communication with Father, everything that follows that is gravy.

  8. Chet March 13, 2012 at 1:13 pm

    Wayne,

    I think that maybe a different set of questions to sort of “CHALLENGE” one’s view of God may facilitate what He has put before you as you engage in a meaningful, but not overbearing way.

    Which is more productive, WITNESSING to people about Jesus? Or is it people WITNESSING Jesus about you?

    Did Jesus call you to PREPARE a ministry? Or did he call you to the ministry He’s PREPARED for you?

    Did you FIND Jesus? Or did God REVEAL Him to you?

    Questions like these focus on 2 points: Relative vs Absolute. Plus, our efforts (the flesh, which profits NOTHING John 6:63) vs God’s efforts (the spirit). The Jake book showed how John challenged Jake’s perception of what it’s like to live Godly. The real discovery, transformed Jake as it did others who followed the story. None of us can live Godly by our own strength wisdom and understanding (Proverbs 3:5). It’s truly up to God to set us free from our carnal desires to try to please him and show us that the faith to please Him comes first FROM HIM (Ephesians 2:8-10). There are probably many other questions like this you may be led to ask. The point of which is to take a different view of His words (Isaiah 55:8-9) so that His light shows in us and endures through the trials we MUST endure in this life. Another question (if appropriate) is. If all you had today was Jesus manifested presence, would He be enough for you?

    Such questions sound simple to answer, but aren’t easy because one has to really think of all that they encompass.

    Well may His grace abound as you travel afar. And Wayne, be sure to ask that His Will be done.

    Chet

  9. Michele March 13, 2012 at 1:40 pm

    I’m learning that loving people is the path to helping others find a meaningful relationship with Jesus. When I love as He loves, others can actually experience who God is through me. As I reflect God (who is Love) people can’t help but be introduced to Him. I used to try to share my faith with a lot of words and scriptures. I tried to live out, as well as impose on others, godly principles, obligations, rules… It was about “doing what’s right and avoiding what’s wrong” so God would let me/them go to heaven. I lived in constant fear of hell for myself, my family, my friends, and others. I lived in the question that the pharisees lived in, “What must I do to have eternal life?” Then I realized, the reason Jesus always seemed to be answering a different question than they were asking was because they were asking the wrong question. He was asking them to change their whole paradigm. If you think that you have to “do” something, you will stay on that treadmill that never gets you anywhere. You will always feel conditional love, which is not love at all. It’s not about what you must do, but about seeing what’s already been done. It’s about opening your eyes to how loved you are. About seeing your true unsurpassable worth through His eyes as well as seeing others unsurpassable worth. Our worth is not about being in or out, doing good or bad, doing right or wrong. What we do doesn’t have anything to do with how we are loved. That is never at stake. We are loved no matter what choices we make, that is settled. Our choices matter in so far as they carry natural consequences that can bring us and others either pain and suffering or healing and wholeness. God cares about our choices because he cares about us. He, like all parents, only want what will bring their children the fullest life possible. Language like “right/wrong, good/bad, in/out” all have to do with eating from the tree of knowledge of good and evil. That was never the tree we were meant to eat from. When we eat from that tree, we ask the wrong questions. When we eat from the tree of Life, we don’t need to come from a place of judgement, only from a place of love.
    My husband and I have 5 children, three biological sons in their 20’s and 2 daughters we adopted from China that are 10 and 6. My religious world came crashing down when the “formula” didn’t work with my children. I couldn’t figure it out. We took raised them in church. It consumed most of out time, in fact. We fed them scriptures. We tried to model the “good” christian life… But then why did they stray? I was so frustrated and disappointed in them when they did wrong, and happy and proud of them when they did right, because that’s how I thought God felt about me when I did right or wrong. I reflected the image I had of my Father. He was a conditional lover, someone to be feared if you didn’t do what was right. As I’m getting to know my real Father, I’m reflecting a completely different image. I’m beginning to love my kids where they are. Our conversations are going from doing what’s right and avoiding what’s wrong, to meeting them where they are and loving them in their messes. We are now crawling into their pain with them, really listening to them, validating their feelings, reassuring them of their preciousness even in the midst of their mess, and reminding them that our love and God’s love for them never changes. We don’t make it about right or wrong anymore, but about how we all have been given the freedom to make choices. Our choices don’t affect the love we have for each other or the love Father has for us, but because they carry natural consequences that bring pain and suffering, or healing and wholeness to us as well as others, they matter.
    As I learn how perfectly I’m loved, it drives out fear. There are two basic emotions that all other emotions stem from Love and Fear. They can not co-exist. When I operate from fear, I am not operating from a place of love. I spent too much time operating from a place of fear. Fear can only cause conformity; only love can transform.

  10. Chet March 13, 2012 at 4:13 pm

    Wayne,

    I think that maybe a different set of questions to sort of “CHALLENGE” one’s view of God may facilitate what He has put before you as you engage in a meaningful, but not overbearing way.

    Which is more productive, WITNESSING to people about Jesus? Or is it people WITNESSING Jesus about you?

    Did Jesus call you to PREPARE a ministry? Or did he call you to the ministry He’s PREPARED for you?

    Did you FIND Jesus? Or did God REVEAL Him to you?

    Questions like these focus on 2 points: Relative vs Absolute. Plus, our efforts (the flesh, which profits NOTHING John 6:63) vs God’s efforts (the spirit). The Jake book showed how John challenged Jake’s perception of what it’s like to live Godly. The real discovery, transformed Jake as it did others who followed the story. None of us can live Godly by our own strength wisdom and understanding (Proverbs 3:5). It’s truly up to God to set us free from our carnal desires to try to please him and show us that the faith to please Him comes first FROM HIM (Ephesians 2:8-10). There are probably many other questions like this you may be led to ask. The point of which is to take a different view of His words (Isaiah 55:8-9) so that His light shows in us and endures through the trials we MUST endure in this life. Another question (if appropriate) is. If all you had today was Jesus manifested presence, would He be enough for you?

    Such questions sound simple to answer, but aren’t easy because one has to really think of all that they encompass.

    Well may His grace abound as you travel afar. And Wayne, be sure to ask that His Will be done.

    Chet

  11. Jill Day March 15, 2012 at 8:00 pm

    Thanks for this blog Wayne, I my heart was pounding as i read it. I feel martin and i are called to show others how to live in Christ, as he really sees them and who they really are.
    I have so many questions, but the two i feel keep me going back to Father for the answers are –
    What do i do with my frustrations about being misunderstood, I know it’s Father’s work, but i so want other people to see the freedom and wonder of “Living loved” So I know that’s more about my faulty relationship, but it is something i struggle with.

    Also we have a deep love for young people, youth really and without a structure and regular place for them to be, they struggle. Everyone wants to feel that they belong and numbers count for kids, so what does that look like? The kids at the moment don’t particularly want to join in with an family/ community get togethers, unless all their mates are going.

    I will stop there and be praying for your trip and new phase of live for you and Sara.
    Bye for now,
    Confused of Woking Jill

  12. Jill Day March 15, 2012 at 11:00 pm

    Thanks for this blog Wayne, I my heart was pounding as i read it. I feel martin and i are called to show others how to live in Christ, as he really sees them and who they really are.
    I have so many questions, but the two i feel keep me going back to Father for the answers are –
    What do i do with my frustrations about being misunderstood, I know it’s Father’s work, but i so want other people to see the freedom and wonder of “Living loved” So I know that’s more about my faulty relationship, but it is something i struggle with.

    Also we have a deep love for young people, youth really and without a structure and regular place for them to be, they struggle. Everyone wants to feel that they belong and numbers count for kids, so what does that look like? The kids at the moment don’t particularly want to join in with an family/ community get togethers, unless all their mates are going.

    I will stop there and be praying for your trip and new phase of live for you and Sara.
    Bye for now,
    Confused of Woking Jill

  13. Craig March 19, 2012 at 10:35 am

    Hi Wayne

    Just two questions I would be want to ask.

    What’s your message? and how did you get to this point in your journey?

    Love and blessings

    Craig

  14. Craig March 19, 2012 at 1:35 pm

    Hi Wayne

    Just two questions I would be want to ask.

    What’s your message? and how did you get to this point in your journey?

    Love and blessings

    Craig

  15. Michael K - Massachusetts March 19, 2012 at 6:56 pm

    Hi Wayne,
    It’s been almost a year since you came to New England; it would be great for you to come back up here again with someone else’s planning. I also see you are possibly going to Montana, I’d also vote for that since, Lord willing, I will be there All of June and July. As far as your questions go, my biggest struggle, is believing that there comes a time when Jesus’ Love on the Cross becomes a reality within us and we actually are comfortable as a child in Abba’s loving lap. I remember your story and how you can go back to a place in time to the exact spot where that reality hit you. “If I never taught another sermon, wrote another book, led another soul to Christ, God’s love wouldn’t change, all the striving was unnecessary, I was always loved no matter what” (rough paraphrase). Is this true in the stories of the two brothers from New Zealand? Do they have an Ah-ha! moment as well? I’ve had moments of the reality of God’s love but the unshakeable reality of what you describe has never hit me. I still struggle with the personal ness of Christ’s death on the cross and how that is the undeniable proof God’s love for me. I feel as if, I am just to keep coming back to Him and somewhere, someday, it will hit me and then there will be no turning back, because there is nothing worth going back to.

    Thanks for being real and open with us, and hopefully I’ll run into you again soon… Michael

  16. Michael K - Massachusetts March 19, 2012 at 9:56 pm

    Hi Wayne,
    It’s been almost a year since you came to New England; it would be great for you to come back up here again with someone else’s planning. I also see you are possibly going to Montana, I’d also vote for that since, Lord willing, I will be there All of June and July. As far as your questions go, my biggest struggle, is believing that there comes a time when Jesus’ Love on the Cross becomes a reality within us and we actually are comfortable as a child in Abba’s loving lap. I remember your story and how you can go back to a place in time to the exact spot where that reality hit you. “If I never taught another sermon, wrote another book, led another soul to Christ, God’s love wouldn’t change, all the striving was unnecessary, I was always loved no matter what” (rough paraphrase). Is this true in the stories of the two brothers from New Zealand? Do they have an Ah-ha! moment as well? I’ve had moments of the reality of God’s love but the unshakeable reality of what you describe has never hit me. I still struggle with the personal ness of Christ’s death on the cross and how that is the undeniable proof God’s love for me. I feel as if, I am just to keep coming back to Him and somewhere, someday, it will hit me and then there will be no turning back, because there is nothing worth going back to.

    Thanks for being real and open with us, and hopefully I’ll run into you again soon… Michael

  17. Wayne March 20, 2012 at 11:15 am

    I’d want to ask them how they came to know the Father’s love, especially if they didn’t feel loved beforehand. And it follows that I would want to know how to bring others into this KNOWING that “Father loves me”, not as a doctrine or platitude, but as a deep-down unalterable knowing that I’m loved beyond measure. I’m your age, Wayne, and I still don’t know that my earthly father loved me, even 12 years after his death. I was a Christian 35 years before I had this supernatural knowledge of the Father and His love for me. How can we prevent others from going for decades without knowing this?

  18. Wayne March 20, 2012 at 2:15 pm

    I’d want to ask them how they came to know the Father’s love, especially if they didn’t feel loved beforehand. And it follows that I would want to know how to bring others into this KNOWING that “Father loves me”, not as a doctrine or platitude, but as a deep-down unalterable knowing that I’m loved beyond measure. I’m your age, Wayne, and I still don’t know that my earthly father loved me, even 12 years after his death. I was a Christian 35 years before I had this supernatural knowledge of the Father and His love for me. How can we prevent others from going for decades without knowing this?

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