Archive for March, 2016

The Hunger for Real Community

Posted on: March 8th, 2016 by Wayne Jacobsen 3 Comments

These are the Scriptures that make people hungry to see the expression of Jesus’ church on this earth, and why they are not satisfied with our human attempts to create it continue to fall far short of it:

My prayer is not for them alone. I pray also for those who will believe in me through their message, that all of them may be one, Father, just as you are in me and I am in you. May they also be in us so that the world may believe that you have sent me. I have given them the glory that you gave me, that they may be one as we are one— I in them and you in me—so that they may be brought to complete unity. Then the world will know that you sent me and have loved them even as you have loved me. “Father, I want those you have given me to be with me where I am, and to see my glory, the glory you have given me because you loved me before the creation of the world. Righteous Father, though the world does not know you, I know you, and they know that you have sent me. John 17:20-25

They devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and to fellowship, to the breaking of bread and to prayer. Everyone was filled with awe at the many wonders and signs performed by the apostles. All the believers were together and had everything in common. They sold property and possessions to give to anyone who had need. Every day they continued to meet together in the temple courts.They broke bread in their homes and ate together with glad and sincere hearts, praising God and enjoying the favor of all the people. And the Lord added to their number daily those who were being saved. Acts 2:42-47

Someone sent me those a few days ago telling me that this is what they are looking for. “I have seen many forms of Church but have never found this. Is it possible to find a community of believers who Love Him and Love others and that is their devotion. Do you know of anyone that might have this on their heart or do you know of any churches that this is being lived out.”

Here’s how I responded:

For what it is worth, it is my experience, that no human and no program will fulfill those Scriptures. They describe a work of the Spirit not the work of humanity no matter how well intentioned. I don’t know of any “churches” living this out, but I know pockets of people all over the world who have found their way into that reality and share that kind of life with others. I have many connections that fall into this reality, but none of them would consider themselves a “group.” Instead this is an ever-expanding well of interconnected friendships that do all of those things by gathering sporadically as the Spirit indicates. Sometimes you’ll find pockets of those kinds of relationships in existing congregations, but it is not the congregation that creates it, but the work of the Spirit knitting lives together.

We don’t create it. We can’t create it. It’s what love creates as people learn to love the next person in front of them and watch what comes from that. It’s a lovely process but not one we can control or organize. The more we try the more it seems to elude us.

Finding a Place in the Family

Posted on: March 3rd, 2016 by Wayne Jacobsen No Comments

Here is a question I get often. I love his hunger and the openness of his question. I thought others might appreciate looking in on our exchange:

I recently graduated from college and started a teaching job at middle school near there. I am having a hard time right now, trying to figure out who I should be walking through life with right now. My closest friends have either graduated and moved away or are about to after this semester. I used to lead a college small group but I would feel awkward continuing going there. So I have been trying out a young adult group.

On top of the transition, I am just feeling resistant to being committed to my local church or really any local church. I’ve read “So You don’t Want to Go to Church Anymore,” “The Shack,” and listened to transitions and the Jesus Lens. I am wanting to be discipled, live life with a family of believers, grow in understanding of the Bible, be apart of furthering His kingdom, yet I am dissatisfied with the structured means by which the church is trying to accomplish those things. Anyway, just looking for any wisdom you have on next steps to finding people to grow in God with, while wrestling with this resistance toward church structure.

My response:

Follow him…. It’s the best counsel ever.

I don’t know what he has for you, where he can connect you with others on this journey, but he does. It may be through a structured congregation or it may not. But if you go to one, go for the relationships ,not the programs. The structure is only helpful to the degree that it helps sustain community. When it subverts it, ignore it. The connections you seek could also come outside of it in some unanticipated way. How are you going to know? Just go an an adventure with him. Wake up each day and ask him to lead you. Follow his nudges wherever that may take you.

Don’t overly spiritualize it. If it feels good in your heart to go to a fellowship, or get involved with a small group, do it. See if what you’re hungering for happens there. If not, see what else he might have before you. As you follow those nudges, love freely the people that cross your path, and follow up on any leads toward others who might be hungering for more of a family connection, it will eventually become clear how Father is tying you into his family. Don’t try to figure out a grand strategy, just follow his leading and eventually it will become apparent how you fit in his family.

But it takes time. So relax (as best you can) in the process as he works his glory in you.

A Book Cover and a Book Discussion

Posted on: March 3rd, 2016 by Wayne Jacobsen 1 Comment

I posted it at Lifestream, but forgot to post it here. We have selected the cover for Wayne’s upcoming book and you can see it above. It was a variation on the middle cover in our survey. If you want to know why, you can read my blog at Lifestream.

Also, here’s a head’s up for those of you who would like to get into a book discussion of Finding Church. Later this month I’m going to begin a book discussion chapter by chapter through Finding Church. If you’re interested, stay tuned here for details.