Who Are You?


I am barnstorming Germany at the moment. I took a long, restful train ride through the countryside yesterday from Hamlen to Nuremberg. What a beautiful country this is! Except for that brief respite, however, this has been a grueling trip because I am having less than 24 hours at almost all of the stops I’m making. One day is not enough time to really get to know people and get to the important questions that help us sort out what Jesus is doing in individual lives. I’d never schedule a tour myself like this because it is so frustrating not having time to get past the curiosity questions and share more deeply. But this is what I have.

Today I had a bit of a break and went down to see the parade ground where Hitler held his public rallies. We toured the museum there and learned how he built his power over people by marginalizing, excluding, and even exterminating anyone who didn’t show a passion for his rule or tactics. It was sobering. So much of the language we heard was similar to what’s going on from those inside organized religion who want to challenge anyone who dares to question its authority, methodology or effectiveness of teaching people how to live in Father’s love.

What I have enjoyed about the trip is not only those in their 50s and 60s who have found fresh life in Jesus, but also the number of young people here who are passionate about a greater life in Jesus. They are not so much burned out by the rituals of religion as much as they are hungry to know an authentic life in Jesus that they didn’t find there to begin with. In every meeting I’ve been to there has been young, hungry, engaged men and women who are looking for what life in Jesus is really all about. It has been so encouraging. The Spirit is calling to a new generation to come to him in the freedom of simply learning to live as the Father’s children in the earth and not get lost in the religious activity of generations that preceded them. Amazing!

This is what we must encourage not discourage. If you care about God’s church in the earth you will discourage them or try to bring them into conformity with our tired religious practices. Interestingly enough, I received this email over the last couple of days from Becky back in the States that seemed to address this very thing:

I’m a 23 year old Christian who left “the box” 2 years ago. I was raised in church and after witnessing 3 pastoral affairs and 2 church splits, I threw up my hands and walked away. If that was God, I didn’t want Him. I didn’t know what to do. My decision to leave the church was against everything I’ve been taught here in the Bible Belt, but at the same time it was a decision that felt as right as choosing God in the first place. Interestingly enough, I had my first real and authentic conversation with God after I left the church. Although it was mostly filled with anger, it was the first time I allowed myself to be real with God. I spent my entire life in this passive aggressive state because all the formulaic prayers and activities didn’t lead to the life the Bible talked so much about. It seemed no matter what I did, I couldn’t feel alive and whole like the Bible said….

Reading The Shack last year changed a lot. I have never felt such a sense of relief after reading something. If that God is who God really is, THAT’S a God worth worshipping! I no longer had to be someone I wasn’t in order to love Him. What a relief. And although I feel confident in my decision now more than ever, I still often struggle with it. If this mindset is true, then why is it a 23 year old in 2008 was the first to figure it out? And that’s where you come in…. I’m starting from the beginning on your podcasts and plan to listen to them all. I just have to say thank you. It’s nice to know people older, with much more wisdom, education, and experience feel the same way.

I hear this so often from people. Who am I to think that these systems might be leading us astray? Wouldn’t those who are more intelligent or more experienced see it before I do? And if people don’t put that on themselves, those who set themselves up as leaders will do it for them. I can’t tell you how many people have faced a dismissive attitude from an elder or pastor with the same comment: “Who are you to think you can hear God better than me? If God were speaking those things today, wouldn’t he say it to me first?”

My answer to Becky would be, “Why not you?” Why not a twenty-three year old girl who simply wants to know Jesus? When Jesus was here he was excited when the simplest people captured the vision for his kingdom. He greatly rejoiced before God at such moments, grateful that God had revealed himself not to the wise and learned who were so busy trying to keep people under their authority, but to common people and children.

Wouldn’t we want to ask ourselves why our so-called leaders discourage what Jesus so blatantly affirmed? I wonder.

So, why not Becky? She is his—beloved daughter of the Most High God. He knows where she is and how to bring her along to where he wants her to be.

Why would God show her what others have missed?

Maybe it’s because her simple heart is unclouded by the need to build a group of people into an efficient organization. Maybe it’s because she doesn’t draw her salary from the success of her program and ideas. And maybe her vocational success isn’t tied to corralling a group of people under her control. If the truth be told most of those leaders who discourage people like Becky one day began with a heart just like Becky’s before it got confused by the obligations of building a Christian organization.

I don’t know about you, but I’d rather rejoice with Becky and encourage her to keep going. Keep coming to him and follow him as best as you can see him. Feel free to make some mistakes in the process and he will teach you how to live in his freedom and his glory.

Why not her?

Why not you?

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24 Comments
  1. Nils June 12, 2008 at 9:53 am

    Good stuff bro!

  2. Rudolf Roos June 12, 2008 at 9:58 am

    I love this post, Wayne!

    I really really like it because Becky is young. I’m also young (25), and I think I can relate to her questions. I stopped going to sundaymorning-meetings 4 years ago. It was something that God urged me to do. I remember telling God that if he wanted me to go that way, he would have to keep me. So far He has been incredibly faithful.

    I am pretty stubborn, but then it was hard for me that there were so few people seeing what I saw. Yet I felt that for me it was enough to be faithful to what God showed me.

    QUOTE: “It’s nice to know people older, with much more wisdom, education, and experience feel the same way.”

    So true. As a young person I want older people in my life. It’s tremendously encouraging to hear older people share and learn of them. And while I don’t know if you consider yourself old, Wayne, thanks for the ongoing encouragements!

  3. Fran June 12, 2008 at 10:07 am

    Wayne, your photo looks so much like Poland where we visited last month. We didn’t have a chance to connect with believers but did have a conversation with one young relative who said she didn’t believe in God. My husband gave her a copy of The Shack and told her that as long as she didn’t believe in God she might as well read about the really wonderful Father that she is not believing in. What could it hurt :-)))))

  4. Bill Lollar June 12, 2008 at 12:07 pm

    What a great letter, Wayne! Thanks for sharing this, as well as your insights. I hope you enjoy your whirlwind tour of Europe. We’ll miss seeing you in the British Isles this summer!

  5. Nils June 12, 2008 at 12:53 pm

    Good stuff bro!

  6. Rudolf Roos June 12, 2008 at 12:58 pm

    I love this post, Wayne!

    I really really like it because Becky is young. I’m also young (25), and I think I can relate to her questions. I stopped going to sundaymorning-meetings 4 years ago. It was something that God urged me to do. I remember telling God that if he wanted me to go that way, he would have to keep me. So far He has been incredibly faithful.

    I am pretty stubborn, but then it was hard for me that there were so few people seeing what I saw. Yet I felt that for me it was enough to be faithful to what God showed me.

    QUOTE: “It’s nice to know people older, with much more wisdom, education, and experience feel the same way.”

    So true. As a young person I want older people in my life. It’s tremendously encouraging to hear older people share and learn of them. And while I don’t know if you consider yourself old, Wayne, thanks for the ongoing encouragements!

  7. Fran June 12, 2008 at 1:07 pm

    Wayne, your photo looks so much like Poland where we visited last month. We didn’t have a chance to connect with believers but did have a conversation with one young relative who said she didn’t believe in God. My husband gave her a copy of The Shack and told her that as long as she didn’t believe in God she might as well read about the really wonderful Father that she is not believing in. What could it hurt :-)))))

  8. Bill Lollar June 12, 2008 at 3:07 pm

    What a great letter, Wayne! Thanks for sharing this, as well as your insights. I hope you enjoy your whirlwind tour of Europe. We’ll miss seeing you in the British Isles this summer!

  9. Charles Graham June 12, 2008 at 5:50 pm

    It’s just a matter of K.I.S.S. (Keep it simple saint)!

    Chas

  10. Bones June 12, 2008 at 7:52 pm

    Wayne,

    How refreshing to read your blog after listening to a commencement address last night at our kids’ MK school! The speaker, who is a casual friend of mine and leader of the international IC here in town, made three specific points in his talk: 1) pray; 2) read the Bible; 3) got to “church” (air quotes are mine). Interestingly, he spent about a minute on each of the first two points, but hammered over and over on the third for the next 10 minutes. Oh, the “oughts” and “shoulds” that were flying around!

    He had joked about never remembering the subject of even the speaker at all the commencement addresses he’d been subjected to over the years… I can only hope that that experience holds true for these poor kids! I’m saddened that so little was made of actually relating with Father, and so much of joining and serving in a club.

    I almost had to wonder if he wasn’t primarily addressing me! Ah, well! This cat is already out of the bag… and he ain’t climbing back in!

    Bones

  11. Charles Graham June 12, 2008 at 8:50 pm

    It’s just a matter of K.I.S.S. (Keep it simple saint)!

    Chas

  12. Bones June 12, 2008 at 10:52 pm

    Wayne,

    How refreshing to read your blog after listening to a commencement address last night at our kids’ MK school! The speaker, who is a casual friend of mine and leader of the international IC here in town, made three specific points in his talk: 1) pray; 2) read the Bible; 3) got to “church” (air quotes are mine). Interestingly, he spent about a minute on each of the first two points, but hammered over and over on the third for the next 10 minutes. Oh, the “oughts” and “shoulds” that were flying around!

    He had joked about never remembering the subject of even the speaker at all the commencement addresses he’d been subjected to over the years… I can only hope that that experience holds true for these poor kids! I’m saddened that so little was made of actually relating with Father, and so much of joining and serving in a club.

    I almost had to wonder if he wasn’t primarily addressing me! Ah, well! This cat is already out of the bag… and he ain’t climbing back in!

    Bones

  13. Cassie June 13, 2008 at 9:53 am

    Wow Becky! You go girl! Wayne, thanks for sharing what Father is doing in your life through these blogs. It shows me how simple it is to just go out and live and trust Him to bring you to the place he want us to go and to do – most of all to just be!!! If there is anything I have learned that I will alwasys take with me is to live my life trusting Him who gave me life! And that is what I am seeing in what Becky is doing and what you Wayne are doing! Thanks again for being that “older”

  14. Cassie June 13, 2008 at 12:53 pm

    Wow Becky! You go girl! Wayne, thanks for sharing what Father is doing in your life through these blogs. It shows me how simple it is to just go out and live and trust Him to bring you to the place he want us to go and to do – most of all to just be!!! If there is anything I have learned that I will alwasys take with me is to live my life trusting Him who gave me life! And that is what I am seeing in what Becky is doing and what you Wayne are doing! Thanks again for being that “older”

  15. Mike Morrell June 13, 2008 at 4:09 pm

    What an encouraging update, Wayne. I’ve been listening to Everything Must Change, the audiobook, for the past hour while cleaning the kitchen and sweeping (I’m kinda slow), and listening to Brian share all kinds of contextual-historical goodies about the places Jesus visited and the words he shared…it’s helping me hear them as if for the first time. His overall point: Jesus came to reveal his Father, a God who exalts the lowly and puts the religion and empire elites in their place, and proclaims a divine peace insurgency that subverts the dominant order, exemplifying God’s limitless love for all. How encouraging! And yet the tragedy is, the people who have erected power structures in Jesus’ name are wearing upon them the same spirit Jesus gave his life to oppose!

    It’s heartening to know that life-altering literature is being written (and, against insurmountable odds, actually published and read) to reveal the liberating truth that sets us free!

    Abundant peace as you continue your Germany sojourn.

  16. Mike Morrell June 13, 2008 at 7:09 pm

    What an encouraging update, Wayne. I’ve been listening to Everything Must Change, the audiobook, for the past hour while cleaning the kitchen and sweeping (I’m kinda slow), and listening to Brian share all kinds of contextual-historical goodies about the places Jesus visited and the words he shared…it’s helping me hear them as if for the first time. His overall point: Jesus came to reveal his Father, a God who exalts the lowly and puts the religion and empire elites in their place, and proclaims a divine peace insurgency that subverts the dominant order, exemplifying God’s limitless love for all. How encouraging! And yet the tragedy is, the people who have erected power structures in Jesus’ name are wearing upon them the same spirit Jesus gave his life to oppose!

    It’s heartening to know that life-altering literature is being written (and, against insurmountable odds, actually published and read) to reveal the liberating truth that sets us free!

    Abundant peace as you continue your Germany sojourn.

  17. guido.unterwegs June 14, 2008 at 1:24 pm

    Dear Wayne,

    Greetings from Germany 😉 … I did not see you und will not be able to see you during your traveling. I tried to come to the meetings in Nuernberg … but it was not possible, bacause my wife was in the hospital till wendsday.

    “barnstorming” … I had to look up this word in a dictionary: “to travel from place to place making short stops to give political speeches, theatre performances or aircraft flying shows” 🙂

    As I read your schedule for germany (www.gloryworld.de), I asked myself if you will have any time to rest. I did not thought of the restful train rides … 😉 … but you will have less traveling in switzerland and hopefully more time to realy relate to people …

    The next time if you come to germany, we would be glad to host you for some days … just for getting to know each other.

    Shalom,
    Guido

  18. guido.unterwegs June 14, 2008 at 4:24 pm

    Dear Wayne,

    Greetings from Germany 😉 … I did not see you und will not be able to see you during your traveling. I tried to come to the meetings in Nuernberg … but it was not possible, bacause my wife was in the hospital till wendsday.

    “barnstorming” … I had to look up this word in a dictionary: “to travel from place to place making short stops to give political speeches, theatre performances or aircraft flying shows” 🙂

    As I read your schedule for germany (www.gloryworld.de), I asked myself if you will have any time to rest. I did not thought of the restful train rides … 😉 … but you will have less traveling in switzerland and hopefully more time to realy relate to people …

    The next time if you come to germany, we would be glad to host you for some days … just for getting to know each other.

    Shalom,
    Guido

  19. Robin @ Heart of Wisdom June 14, 2008 at 7:22 pm

    Hello Wayne,

    I found your book “In My Father’s Vineyard” a few years ago and treasured it. I put a blurb about it on my site (before blogs). http://heartofwisdom.com/Seasons/springtime.html

    Now I finished reading the Shack and I see you are now in the publishing business. I popped you an email but then I found your blog.

    Keep spreading God’s love. If I can do anything to help let me know. My blog is popular in the homeschool community.

    Have a great time in Europe.
    Blessings,
    Robin Sampson

  20. Robin @ Heart of Wisdom June 14, 2008 at 10:22 pm

    Hello Wayne,

    I found your book “In My Father’s Vineyard” a few years ago and treasured it. I put a blurb about it on my site (before blogs). http://heartofwisdom.com/Seasons/springtime.html

    Now I finished reading the Shack and I see you are now in the publishing business. I popped you an email but then I found your blog.

    Keep spreading God’s love. If I can do anything to help let me know. My blog is popular in the homeschool community.

    Have a great time in Europe.
    Blessings,
    Robin Sampson

  21. Melissa June 16, 2008 at 7:44 am

    So good! Such an encouragement. Glad to know someone else has asked “why me?”

  22. Melissa June 16, 2008 at 10:44 am

    So good! Such an encouragement. Glad to know someone else has asked “why me?”

  23. Tammy June 19, 2008 at 2:57 pm

    Well, Wayne, I’d like to think I’m another youngster, and I’m sure some say that I am, I’m 37. But I, too, am undergoing this most incredible metamorphosis, from caterpillar to butterfly. Although I’ve mentally checked out, in a major way from “doing church”, I’m still attending an IC with my husband as we’re working things out, because he doesn’t see things as I do. The great victory is that, for the first time in my life, I don’t feel like I have to force him to see things my way. I’m ok accepting him where he’s at. I really could write so much more about this journey and change Father’s working in me (I’m sure it’s like many stories you’ve heard), but I’ll just say thank you, because were it not for Lifestream.org, the God Journey Podcast, The Shack, and SYDWTGTCA, I’d still be in some major bondage to religion. Thank you for speaking truth!!!!

  24. Tammy June 19, 2008 at 5:57 pm

    Well, Wayne, I’d like to think I’m another youngster, and I’m sure some say that I am, I’m 37. But I, too, am undergoing this most incredible metamorphosis, from caterpillar to butterfly. Although I’ve mentally checked out, in a major way from “doing church”, I’m still attending an IC with my husband as we’re working things out, because he doesn’t see things as I do. The great victory is that, for the first time in my life, I don’t feel like I have to force him to see things my way. I’m ok accepting him where he’s at. I really could write so much more about this journey and change Father’s working in me (I’m sure it’s like many stories you’ve heard), but I’ll just say thank you, because were it not for Lifestream.org, the God Journey Podcast, The Shack, and SYDWTGTCA, I’d still be in some major bondage to religion. Thank you for speaking truth!!!!

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