Archive for December, 2015

German And Spanish Translations Available

Posted on: December 21st, 2015 by Wayne Jacobsen No Comments

I love how Finding Church is finding its way into the world and the interest there is translating it for other cultures. A few months again it was released by Glory World Medien in German as Die Gemeinschaft der Neuen Schöpfung (The Community of the New Creation), bringing to five the number of my titles they have released in German.

Also, as a labor of love someone translated Finding Church (Encontrando a la Iglesia) into Spanish and you can download for free here .

Soon it will also be available in French and Dutch. Apparently lots of people really are looking for something more.

Taking Shape In the Neighborhood

Posted on: December 18th, 2015 by Wayne Jacobsen 1 Comment

When we stop seeing Jesus’ church defined by a building, a meeting, or a program, we begin to see her take shape in the most remarkable ways. One of the joys of publishing Finding Church is that so many people send me stories of how Jesus is building his church in the simplicity of loving people wherever you engage them and watch how his life takes shape among them.

Mike is a friend of mine from Florida, who sent me the following letter used to be a vocational pastor and then for a brief season was part of an attempt to build a house church network. Now he works in sales, coaches basketball and has found the church growing in his own neighborhoods as he was a catalyst for helping neighbors connect and care for each other. A recent tragedy brought all of that into focus.

I have told you a little bit about this neighborhood we live in and how there is a lot of sharing meals and helping each other out. Father has shown me community here. Steve and Diana live just a couple doors down from us. Diana is a firefighter and races motorcycles. Two Sundays ago I received a text from one of my neighbors to come outside. He proceeded to tell me Diana had been killed that morning in a fiery crash. Her and her best friend were on her new Ducati and slammed into a truck pulling out of a driveway.

In the week that followed I have watched this neighborhood act in extraordinary ways. Instantly two neighbors went with Steve to the hospital. We decided to stay back for the time being. I sent a text to one of them, John, asking that he let Steve know we were praying for him and that he (John) and his wife were the right people to be there with Steve. John’s response to me was “I have no clue what to do or what to say”.

My response, “THAT is why you are the right person. There are no words. It’s just about being present.”

He thanked me for the encouragement.

That short text exchange, a bit of discipling? Could it be that simple and organic? Me thinks just maybe it can.

Over the course of the week our neighborhood had dinners together to be with Steve and each another.

John and Tara arranged to go with Steve to make funeral arrangements. (It ended up that the fire dept. took the lead and they didn’t have to go) But they offered and were willing. Perfect. John had a conversation with Diana’s teenage son who didn’t want to go to see his mom’s body at the hospital. John opened his life and shared from his own hurts and regrets and encouraged her son to go. John’s wife Tara said she had never known her husband had these hurts and was amazed to see him show that level of vulnerability. This was NOT her husbands norm or hers for that matter.

At times we would meet out front in the street to discuss logistics of the funeral reception. People pitching in time, money, and overwhelming love for neighbor and one another. On the day of the funeral I counted at least 10 families represented from our small neighborhood. People had taken off work to support their neighbor. One guy came back from North Carolina to be here, having moved north this past spring.

Loving one another. Love for neighbor. Bearing one anthers burdens. Grieving together. I believe Jesus spoke of such things.

Wayne, during this past week I watched gifts, real gifts being shared. Leaders, elders, etc. No titles, no committee meetings, no jockeying for position. It has all been organic and fluid. Seriously one of the most beautiful expressions of church I have seen. The Holy Spirit present in people’s lives who didn’t even recognize it. So beautiful. For the most part these aren’t people who “go to church” although there is one family of that persuasion. Some of these folks would describe God as, “The big guy in the sky.” But yet to deny the presence of Jesus in our midst would be foolish.

I came home one evening and a few neighbors were standing outside talking. When I asked what was going on Tara said her and John would like to talk with Kim and I again sometime soon about some struggles they were facing. We invited them over for dinner a few days later. We had dinner and talked late into the night about the struggles of life, Jesus, church, living in the reality of grace instead of belief systems, and on and on. Numerous times we all had tears in our eyes as we talked about some of the things Jesus said. John had gone to sunday school some as a child but neither one had been raised in religion. They said when their kids were young it was their intent to “do it right and go to church on Sundays but when Sundays came around they always decided to go to the beach or spend time as a family some other way, figuring God was probably ok with it.”

We all hugged. They walked next door and Kim and I looked at each other and just said, “wow, that was awesome.”

So yea, that is just a glimpse. Life is FULL here these days.