Hereâ€™s another look over my shoulder. What a way to wake up to this new day! I go this email today from some dear friends I met in New Zealand during my stay there. I love what God has been doing in them and donâ€™t mind being called â€˜Jimâ€™ at all if it puts the focus where it belongsâ€”on Jesus himself! And I love her story of the lamb and freedom, and sensing by the Spirit that it was first for her before it was for otherrs. I love the way God sets people free in him. He’s amazing!
I just wanted to say how much we have first of all, enjoyed your book So You Don’t Want to Go to Church Anymore. I have lost count of how many I have ordered from your office. A friend lent it to us and we have found it fantastically freeing. I have given it away to numerous people who are all plodding along on this journey, and I would say that every one of them have also found it so freeing. Some of them, who have read it, have already been living in real freedom; others, like me, feel like it was a door into more freedom in Jesus. And then I ordered your 8 CDs on Relational Living and the Cross, and I personally would say, that the book is just the appetiser to the CDs. I saved them all to my computer, and have copied them numerous times onto CD for others to enjoy. Knowing that I have a Dad in heaven who loves me more than I can ever knowâ€”is that wow or what? I wake up most mornings asking the Lord to show me how much He loves me, and I ask Him to help me live loved. I realise that I haven’t had a clear concept of “Daddy” where I can sit on His lap and be just loved by Him. When I was young I remember envying another kid who was sitting on his dad’s lap, and wishing that my dad would do that to me, but he wouldn’t. So I’ve asked Him to heal that in me, and for Him to be my daddy, and I know He’s doing that in me.
Now we also have to confess Wayne, that we have renamed you â€˜Jim!â€™. I gave the CDs to some very close friends of ours, and we have all listened to them so much, and are getting such a new revelation of the cross, and living in Him, and we often start saying, “What about when Wayne said this, or Wayne said that.” And we know it’s not about you! And I know that you know that too! So we came up with laughingly calling you Jim for a while. I hope you don’t mind!
As you know, we are on a sheep farm. We have just finished our lambing season, which is our busiest time of all on the farm. My job during this is to “mother-on the sheep.” This involves taking an orphaned lamb (either her mother has died, or the mother has twins or triplets and doesn’t have enough milk to feed all her lambs), and putting her with another mother and getting that mother to adopt the orphan lamb as if it were her own. Often the mother will accept her new lamb within 2 or 3 days, but sometimes I get a very “stroppy” ewe, and I could take up to a week working with her, for the mother to accept the lamb.
One of the ways that we get the mother to adopt her lamb, is by tying one of the front hoofs of the mother to a fence, and also tying the lamb up to the fence as well. The rope is about a metre in length, and the mother sheep can move along the fence about 4 feet, before she is stopped by another fence post. She can then eat the grass in this area that she is tied to. And hopefully the lamb is able to tuck under the mum and have a feed. Every morning and evening, I will go and make sure the lamb has a good feed of milk from the mother, and then after she has fed, I will move the mother and lamb on to the next block on the fence, so that she is continually getting new grass to eat, which keeps her milk supply up.
Anyhow, I had a particularly “stroppy” mother who DID NOT want to adopt her new lamb. As I would walk up to her, the mother would jump up and down, racing up and down her little patch of fence, and I would hold her tight so that the lamb could get a feed. I was beginning to wonder if she would ever accept the lamb, and then one morning, when I came to her, I found the lamb full, and the mother was bleating her (which is a very good sign of accepting the lamb as her own.) They were finally ready to let go! The ewe was sitting down, so I quietly untied her, and the lamb, and walked away so as not to disturb them. As I watched from a distance, I realised that the ewe did not know she was free, so I walked back to her to give her a gentle nudge. She leapt to her feet, and ran to the end of her fence post, and stopped sharp. She still thought she had the rope on her hoof! As I walked away, I thought, “She’s free and she doesn’t even know it.” And I also realised that although she didn’t know that she was free then, by the time I came back in the evening, she would’ve discovered her freedom, and nobody would’ve told her, she would’ve found it by herself.
And then I thought smugly (yes smugly!) to myself – “Well, that would make a good object lesson to share with others!”, and almost immediately came the thought, “so how does this apply to you?”, and I felt the Lord say to me, “You’re free, and you don’t even know it.” Well I blinked back a few tears at that, for it was the truth. And now I have to say, my Dad is now showing me what it is to begin to be free. And it’s awesome! And it’s incredibly relaxing, as I begin to learn to live in Him. Do I think I hear Him much? No, I don’t reckon I do very much. But that’s okay too. I’m free in that, realising that I’m puddling along, day by day. It’s really cool.
Anyhow, time is ticking by here. I have just had my 16 yr old son come in. He has really enjoyed your Jake book, and also listening to the CDs and he said to say, â€œPlease feel free to come stay!â€ Seriously, if you ever feel to come back to NZ, we in Fairlie would be keen to catch you up. Our other son who’s just got engaged and is in Christchurch, would also want to hang out with you.
And I’d love to hang out with all of you again someday, should Jesus have it in his heart for me to return to New Zealand someday!