Archive for January, 2017

Chapter 12: Not Made With Hands

Posted on: January 21st, 2017 by Wayne Jacobsen No Comments

The book discussion of Finding Church continues on our discussion forum with Chapter 12: Not Made With Hands. I’m getting ready to leave for Israel, but let’s start this chapter and see what we can discover over the next couple of weeks. This is one of my favorite chapters. How do we learn to trust God’s efforts more than our own. This is the key to being fruitful and fulfilled in his kingdom. It won’t make us couch potatoes, because we’ll be more active than ever, but not with our own futile efforts, but cooperating with the way he is making himself known to us and people around us.

Here’s Paul’s story in Philippians 3:3-9 (emphasis mine): For it is we who are the circumcision, we who worship by the Spirit of God, who glory in Christ Jesus, and who put no confidence in the fleshthough I myself have reasons for such confidence. If anyone else thinks he has reasons to put confidence in the flesh, I have more: circumcised on the eighth day, of the people of Israel, of the tribe of Benjamin, a Hebrew of Hebrews; in regard to the law, a Pharisee; as for zeal, persecuting the church; as for legalistic righteousness, faultless. But whatever was to my profit I now consider loss for the sake of Christ. What is more, I consider everything a loss compared to the surpassing greatness of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord, for whose sake I have lost all things. I consider them rubbish, that I may gain Christ and be found in him, not having a righteousness of my own that comes from the law, but that which is through faith in Christ — the righteousness that comes from God and is by faith.”

How do you think God accomplished that in Paul? Is it something he learned at a seminar or in the school of hard knocks, where is own best effort could not work the works of God? God has often in my life led me to the end of my own efforts and because I’m a fairly capable person that took a while. I finally gave up trying to make anything happen and instead follow the simple nudging he puts on my heart. The difference has been amazing.

How is this happening in you? How are you losing confidence in your abilities and finding more joy cooperating with this?

Excerpt from Chapter 12:

But his temple keeps rising. Each added person only reflects his multifaceted glory with more accuracy and will confound the wisdom of the world by the power of its love and the simplicity of its life. Wherever people are learning to live in his love and love others, the temple rises. Whenever people learn to listen to him instead of the manipulative voices of religious leaders, the temple rises. However people find ways to work together by laying their lives down in kindness and generosity, the temple rises.

You can find the discussion board here and see the list of topics we’ve covered. You can start at Chapter 1 and work your way through, or just join us in Chapter 12.

Chapter 11: In First Place…

Posted on: January 5th, 2017 by Wayne Jacobsen No Comments

Before I had to have surgery and the holidays came upon us, we had just completed Chapter 10 in our discussion of Finding Church. I’m sorry that my surgery and the holidays interrupted our flow here and hopefully we can now finish the book over the next few months. We’ll start the new year with Chapter 11, _In First Place._

The church of Jesus thrives where people are relating to and focused on him. Most of us have learned to negotiate human relationships based on our competing desires and affections and who has the power to get their way and who is forced to go along. The church Jesus is building doesn’t play that game. As people engage a growing relationship with Jesus their conversation begins to reflect his presence in their life and his character begins to shape the way they respond to people.

Religion gets us focused on our performance, our failures, our identity, our group’s identity, and how to get our needs met. Everything about God is a tool to make our lives easier. Jesus had something better in mind, those who would embrace him, not a religion about him, and by doing that find their lives changing within.

In this chapter let’s sort out how it is that our lives begin to orbit around his priorities and character, rather than getting him to meet our expectations. What has helped you become more preoccupied with Jesus over the course of your life. What distracts you from that reality and what draws you into it with ever-more passion?

Excerpt from Chapter 11:

God never intended for us to live in such conflict and isolation. His desire has always been for a world where genuine affection and concern for others replace our selfish ambition. From the beginning it has been his purpose to bring everything that sin separated, including heaven and earth, into one glorious, new whole. He wasn’t the author of conflict or violence, but the one seeking to rescue the creation from its brokenness. His plan was to bring “everything together under Jesus himself.” (Ephesians 1:9-10) Where does that begin? Inside each and every human heart that allows him to begin to untwist the powers of self and shame so that we no longer fall victim to our insecurities. Where we trust his unfolding purpose we will no longer fight for our own, and when his desires become ours we’ll find a growing unity with others who are also living in that new creation. This is the community our hearts long for, a society that lives outside the human need to manage power. (p. 103)

You can find the discussion board here and see the list of topics we’ve covered. You can start at Chapter 1 and work your way through, or just join us in Chapter 11.