Archive for the ‘Comment’ Category

What Others Are Saying…

Posted on: June 9th, 2015 by Wayne Jacobsen 1 Comment

I have met few people or read few authors who have a critical eye without having a critical spirit. Wayne Jacobsen is one of those rare men and authors. In his recent book, Finding Church, Wayne sheds light on what the church was been created to look like in all of its (super) natural beauty. He also reveals the many forms of botched cosmetic surgery that has been inflicted upon it. Clarity, desire and grace for what God calls His church–you get it all in an abundance.

Gary Barkalow
Author of It’s Your Call and founder of The Noble Heart
www.TheNobleHeart.com

Where I’m at My Best

Posted on: December 1st, 2014 by Wayne Jacobsen 1 Comment

steepleA few weeks ago I received an email from a pastor who has been reading Finding Church. He told me that the timing of this book was critical for events he was facing in his own life. It has renewed his passion by reminding him why he does what he does. He’s also in the midst of a growing conflict between members of a growing leadership team on which he also serves. He sent me a copy of the email he wrote them, quoting from Finding Church as he invited them into a more constructive conversation. The last paragraph of his letter is solid gold:

So, I’ve been thinking, some praying, but definitely reading in regards to what’s happening with our leadership team right now. As I watch and listen to women and men whom I deeply respect, as I consider my own reactions and feelings, I see a growing movement away from the agape love that we have all experienced in Christ. Four of you who have had a tremendous impact in my life as Jesus followers seem to have a growing frustration with each other and in the different ways each approaches our process. Differences of opinion, not about Christ or the importance of love in community, but in how we go about creating the institution we are trying to run.

As I have tried to wrap my head around this, I read this passage from a book called, Finding Church: What If There Really Is Something More? Check this out:

In the end, Christian history may not prove to be all that different from Israel’s in the Old Testament – brief seasons of God’s visitation followed by generations of unfaithfulness to him. As institutions age they tend to harden into intransigent systems and displace the simplicity of life in Christ for their own needs. Our two thousand year old experiment proves that whenever we convey the life of the Spirit to an institutional arrangement, the institution wins – not always quickly, but eventually. While I’m grateful for the good they have accomplished they don’t seem to be able to sustain a community of love nor display an accurate reflection of God’s character.

How many congregations, mission groups, and Bible studies began with a small group of people in a home burned out on the rigidity of their previous group, hopeful for a better reflection of his life and love? Soon they grow into the very organization they had fled with the hope that this time all will go well because they have better people in charge. What they don’t realize is that organizational needs shape leaders, not the other way around. Many start out well-intentioned, hoping to reform the institution and bring it back in line with the priorities of Jesus. That effort is usually short-lived as the needs of the institution to protect and influence and resources of the group require greater control in the hands of fewer people. (Pages 56-57)

Personally, I was convicted by these words – both for our life together and my leadership at my fellowship. I feel the constant call from the “institution” to create good policy and good order, which at times pulls me away from what I know to be the ways of Jesus to build Christian community.

I am at my worst when I ask, “What does the church need and how can we get people to meet that need.” I am at my best when I say, “I, along with all my leaders are broken people, who need love, how can I love them even if that means the institution gets second priority?”

Isn’t that true of us all? When we look for what we think we need out of others, we are wandering back in to the old creation. The life of the new creation lies down the path where I look to love others the way God wants them loved.

No Sense of Urgency

Posted on: November 24th, 2014 by Wayne Jacobsen No Comments

fcdroidsI did an interview this morning with Chicago3Media about Finding Church with a host that really enjoyed the material. You can hear it here.

And I got this email from Diane in Ireland an so hope that what she describes is true of most of its readers:

I have been reading your new book on kindle and can’t wait to get some paper copies to give to friends who are asking questions about their journeys. The book really has the fragrance of Jesus about it! I love how you manage to explain the things I feel in my heart but can’t always put into words.

What I enjoy most about the book is that there is no urgency about it – we don’t feel the need to convince everyone that we’re right and that they must change and follow “Wayne”. There is so much freedom in this message that it has to be from Jesus. It’s up to us to choose and he’ll love us no matter what. But we can have a better journey. Our time with (others on this journey) is a true taste of heaven on earth and after being with them nothing else can compare. When we get together with them we feel accepted straight away as “equals”, no cliques, no pecking order, just love and acceptance. What a joy!

And I received a new piece of artwork that others might find useful when sharing from this book on their social media outlets. I love the Star Wars vibe with it…

finding-church-sticky2

The Oppressive Lie

Posted on: November 20th, 2014 by Wayne Jacobsen 3 Comments

bridedancethmbOver the weekend I received a fabulous message from someone I’ve known for a long time:

On Thursday, my daughter-in-law told me she was reading this amazing book given to her by a friend. I asked her about it since she and my son have walked away from the organized church, but have not abandoned their faith. The book is titled Finding Church!

Thanks again for being in our lives in a unique way! My daughter-in-law said that your book is the first thing she has read that put down in writing what she and Josh have been feeling and living. She has been ostracized by her two Baptist brothers and their wives for not being “under submission of elders and a pastor”.

I love that this book has encouraged them in the very difficult place of having family reject them for following the Lamb however he lead them. How can you not admire people who follow their hearts even when it risks the judgment and rejection of their own family?

On the other hand, my heart sinks whenever I hear this ungodly idea that to belong to Christ you must be under the covering of a pastor or group of elders. It is the most oppressive lie ever perpetuated among Jesus’ family and it divides people and families when anyone dares to confront it. Scripture makes no such claim that you need any covering other than Jesus himself. Those who say otherwise are teaching a false submission so they can abuse the bride of Christ for their own desires.

When did the covering of a man become a safer place than the arms of our Beloved? You belong to Christ alone and he will always keep you safe in his care.

Psst… Pass it on. Isn’t it time we confront this lie wherever it still exists?

bridedance

Looking Into a Wider World

Posted on: November 18th, 2014 by Wayne Jacobsen 3 Comments

openwindowHere’s a recent email exchange between myself and someone named Julie. I thought others of you would find it helpful.

Julie: My husband and I have been reading your new book. We just finished chapter 3. It is leading us to conversations. Back in 2009 we read So You Don’t Want to Go To Church Anymore. We were in a church that was quickly dying after part of the group packed up, headed out and started another gathering. David was an elder at the time. We were burned out with the “church experience”. I had been in church since I was born, 52 years, at the time. As we read your book it became clear to us that it was time to step away from the organization called the church… so we did. That was 6 years ago.

There is a longing to be with others to share life. We haven’t really had that since we walked away.. Truth is we don’t know where to find people. The only place we knew was in the institution. I just wanted you to know that we’re only in chapter 3 and things are stirring.. longings are rising up once again to be expressed. We look forward to reading the rest of the book.

Wayne: I love hearing that, Julie. I received this email earlier today that from someone that had an interesting discovery:

I was given Finding Church 3 weeks ago and it has taken me that long to read and process it. My “wilderness” has been 17 years of not fitting in to an organization/local congregation. Upon reading the book, I realize I have been a part of God’s church as I have been in regular contact with two close friends (both pastors who no longer are associated with organized religion either). Thank you for removing my guilt. I have felt so alone except for these people. Strangely, my relationship with the two has grown since reading the book. I can view them as family not just a life buoy to someone so estranged. Thank you. I’m tearing up now.

I love that this book is opening a window into a wider world…

Julie: Wayne, thank you for sharing that email with me. At times I can get discouraged as we desperately want people in our lives yet struggle to know where to connect without organized religion. The other day my husband said, “maybe we should go to a bar and hang out for a while, you never know who you will meet in a bar.” it’s sad when you don’t know where to go in your virtually new town to meet people on the journey. This email plus the book are stirring the desire up even more. I wonder what else we will see as we continue our reading.

Wayne: Your husband may be on to something…. I think it helps not to look for people on this journey, but simply people who need to be loved. Soon they will end up on this journey…

Julie: That is a perfect thing to say, Wayne! Thank you! That changes my perspective completely! Wow!

There Is a City Whose Builder Is God

Posted on: November 8th, 2014 by Wayne Jacobsen 1 Comment

cityonhillI am incredibly blessed to read every morning how people are being touched by Finding Church. Anne sent me this the other day:

This is what the world is hungry for, desperate for, a depth of reality and truth that when they scratch the surface they find more and not less, they find a compassionate, broken yet whole Church who know what it is to be LOVED, and without agenda or arrogance spread the fragrance of the One who makes it possible. So the journey is on, from the desert to the City whose builder is God, You have marked the path with Finding Church. More than breadcrumbs, it is a clearly marked less-traveled road.

I’m so grateful to see how this book is resonating with people who are looking to live in the fullness of God’s life and are willing to look beyond church-as-usual. Here’s what she sent me after reading the first chapter. And please, spend some time with her journal entry about the City whose builder is God. It really touched me with that same exhilaration at the work he is doing:

I just started reading this morning. Already feeling the thrill, after just the first chapter, that there is indeed something going on that is not obvious and loud but something deep and utterly profound as He builds his Church on a foundation that cannot be shaken. Built of bricks stronger than steel because they know what it is to be broken and vulnerable and to be loved. I haven’t written for years but have felt a keening almost, for something more, and over the past many months have been journaling that. I wanted to share the below from last week because it echoed my heart and seemed to resonate with something in the first chapter of your book:

If I know anything at all in this journey, it is that in reality I know nothing. Because it is mystery, but I think I know this, that love is the key. The more I read the more I see this. That the opportunity to love and be loved as he did is the prize, it is the THAT for which Christ called us. Anything else is desert. Of the very little I know, I hope I am beginning to know this.

What do we do when we KNOW we see a city built without hands in the distance,
Our eyes can see its towers and gates, its windows shining in the sun
Yet we are in the desert miles away
Part of us thinks it is a mirage and we get on with surviving in the desert
But every time we look up it is still there,
The little child is filled with wonder and excitement and wants to be THERE, but The Adult ruthlessly quiets her voice, being pinned in the world of sand while furiously digging for water
A desert full of the millions of grains of shoulds and musts and have to do’s.
Of busy busy busy and speed and bustle and occupation.
So one day we don’t look up anymore.
BUT
There IS a city, whose builder and maker is God
A place of transparency and light and deep calling to deep
Where Love is the beginning and Love is the end
filling everything in between
Love flows like rivers from a throne of brightness and we know as we are known
This City has Love is its rooting and grounding, its habitat its place of being.
Here we love without judgement without regard for our own self or agenda
Here we LOVE and are LOVED
And are filled to the measure of all the fullness of God
Here Grace saturates the air we breath
and we see each day as coming from the hand of Love, the hand of God
Here we see each other through the eyes of the one who inhabits us
The one who calls all of us BELOVED
BE LOVED
For he is the One who IS love
Here we find the rest that was promised and are safe
Here is a Kingdom filled with a body of people and He is the head.
He, the image of the invisible God
He, The firstborn of all creation,
He, whom all things were created in, through and for,
He is before all things and in Him all things hold together.
He is the beginning and the first born from the dead
All the fullness of God dwells in Him
Lover, Bridegroom, King.
There is a city, there is!
It is made without hands, and its architect and builder is God.
It is not a mirage; its a promise, and the flag will take us through the gates

Ann has posted this and other of her musings on a Facebook page: Papa Chronicles

The Exhilaration of the Heart!

Posted on: October 15th, 2014 by Wayne Jacobsen No Comments

FCStackthumbWhen a friend of mine was reading an advance copy of Finding Church, he told me the phrase that kept coming to his mind was “an exhilaration of the heart.”  With every turn of the page he would find his own hopes for a church more real than he had yet known could be in the world.  That’s one of the best comments I’d had on this book.  We’ve let our human institutions co-opt the word “church” for so long, that we define it based on how well they are doing, instead of looking for the church whose builder is Jesus and transcends all the institutions we know.  She is all he promised she would be and as we begin to see her, I hope it exhilarates all our hearts.

Then, last week while I was in Ohio, I got this email from someone who had just started reading it:

Oh Wayne, the words fail.  Great doesn’t even come close.  Even while I am reading your new book I am thinking the thrill is very hard to communicate—the thrill and the freedom.  Sometimes its just too much and I think my heart will literally explode.

I hope that’s a good thing!  His church is that amazing, “a bride without spot or wrinkle”, “the fullness of him who fills everything in every way”,”the temple in which God dwells by his Spirit”.  What could be more exhilarating than that?