Conversations about the Journey
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1560-1 Newbury Rd #313
Newbury Park, CA 91320
Phone: (805) 498-7774
Fax: (805) 499-5975
Good news for those of you waiting for Finding Church overseas! Finding Church is now available everywhere, at least by e-book. I'm sorry the expenses of International shipping are so exorbitant. But if you want hard copies of the book sent to overseas destinations, please write our office for a quote rather than trusting the shipping calculator on the website. It does not work well, which is why it's best to write us first. Please keep in mind that in most cases we can send four books to the same destination overseas that we can send one book. If you do order through the site and the shipping cost is too high, Sara refunds the difference but there are some merchant fees that get attached to that as well.
In other news, I was invited on the Untangled Podcast with two good friends of mine, David Fredrickson and Loren Rosser to discuss Finding Church. I enjoyed their enthusiasm for the book. It is a Skype interview so the audio is a bit rough in places, but you can still enjoy the conversation with us.
We've added a new page to Order the Book page at FindingChurch.com so that you can easily order it from Lifestream, Amazon, or the e-books from Kindle, iBook, or Nook. Happy reading, everyone! The way this book is touching people so far is way beyond anything we would have hoped for.
If you'd like to stay up with the growing conversation, you can subscribe to email updates at FindingChurch.com or "like" our new Facebook Page to get regular updates on the conversation there. There's a new blog posting today I think you'll enjoy about The Day Finding Church Went to Seminary.
I love the way his church grows in the world. On a recent trip to Kentucky and upstate Ohio, someone from Cincinnati figured out I was probably passing through Cincinnati as I made my way up from Lexington. He wrote to say there were some people in Cincinnati that would be interested in meeting with me if I had time for lunch passing through, or even an evening if I could stay. Over a few days I began to feel that this might be something in Father's heart about that and contacted the people who had invited me to Ohio to see if they had anything planned my first evening there. They didn't and said they'd be happy to share one of their nights if it looked like something was happening in Cincinnati.
So, instead of passing through, I spent an unplanned night in Cincinnati. What's more that time allowed me to connect with someone I've known but never met south of Cincinnati, to meet a businessman in Cincinnati that I worked with years ago from a group in Las Vegas, NV, and to have an evening with those who wanted me to stay over. They also encouraged me to invite any other folks who have read or listened to my things in the area. So on very short notice I sent an email to those on my Travel Notification list for that area. My hosts planned an evening meal around a campfire and perhaps 12-15 people showed up. From the first connections it was obvious that this was a special night for people to connect with each other. I was surprised at the depth and honestly that people shared some of their struggles on this journey with complete strangers, but one said later that the environment felt so safe she plunged right in. Others obviously felt the same, and the connections that were made that night still reverberate on Facebook. I love that. When people discover they are not alone in their hunger, with people who live near them, some amazing things can happen.
I went to bed that evening grateful for what those people got to experience that evening and overwhelmed by the generosity of a family that would let me and strangers from the Internet gather in their home that evening, and for a brother in Ohio who was anxious for me to get up there but was willing to delay that a bit to bless others. On the verge of sleep I felt nudged to share with the host home the next morning that their generosity had expanded Jesus church in the world. It didn't take much, just a willingness to ask and provide a place for others to gather. I love that. I also got to tell the man who picked me up the next morning that his generosity to give up one of the nights I was going to be with them also expanded his church in the world. Later we found out that there's a couple I've long corresponded with living 22 minutes from them out in the Amish country of Millersburg, OH.
I am convinced that one of the most important reasons Jesus asks me to travel around a bit is to help people who otherwise wouldn't know each other, begin friendships that help knit his famly together. Often the most important thing someone takes away from a gathering I'm in is a relationship that soon grows into a friendsip. I get that email from people all the time and I watch those connections grow on Facebook from places I've been in the past.
I love the simplicity of how relationships can grow if people will be true to the nudgings in their heart and live with a hospitable heart toward others. That's really all that's needed for people to connect, for hearts growing in Jesus to be knitted to other hearts. And his church grows in the world. It is really that simple.
Early in November I'm headed for South Texas. Though I'd announced it earlier, we just shifted the schedule to add a night in Austin. Some people there wanted to know if I could stop by and my host in San Antonio was willing to give up an evening to bless them. So on Monday, November 3, I'm going to be in Austin with any who would like to join us.
The reason I don't publishing times of meetings and locations is because my visits are not about attending meetings whre I speak, but hanging out together and seeing what God does. This means that our times are somewhat flexible, and we leave open times for the connections and relationships that God might want us to explore. So while anyone is invited to come, it's important to check with the host about the arrangements and be flexible enough to see what God has in mind while I'm there. Often the biggest blessing in my coming somewhere is that people get to meet others on this journey from their own area, whom they may not already know.
So, now my Texas schedule looks like this:
- Houston, TX - November 1-2
- Austin, TX - November 3
- San Antonio, TX - November 4-6
- Corpus Christi, TX - November 7-9
Please see out Travel Page for contact information.
I'll also be bringing some copies of Finding Church for those that want some copies and haven't ordered them yet.
I continue to be blessed and amazed by the early feedback from many reading Finding Church. Thanks for letting me know how this book has impacted you. Today we have revamped our FindingChurch.com website to help support this growing conversation, both for those inside out and outside of congregational settings. I'll be blogging over there from time to time, as well as blogging here. If you want to keep up with that conversation, you might bookmark that page, or subscribe to the email updates from there. I want to get back to blogging here about people who are on a journey learning to live inside the reality of Father's affection and share that freely with others.
Since we are publishing this book ourselves, the only place you can order the hard copy right now is through Lifestream.org and Amazon.com. However, over the last couple of days the e-book is now available from Kindle, iBooks, Nook, and most other e-book outlets. We do have books here available at bulk discount in quantities of 12 or a carton of 46. And, please, if you are ordering from overseas, email our office for a shipping quote. The calculator on the website adds exorbitant pricing.
FindingChurch.com provides tools, links and encouragement to help expand the conversation on the web. There are ideas and images there you can post on your website as well as ideas about sharing the book in your circle of friendships if you want to do so. We also have a new Facebook page to help facilitate that conversatio and you can "like it" if you want to follow the conversation there. I'm not sure how long we'll host these additional resources. It will depend on how well they work and how much time I have for it, but I am excited.
This is today's post at FindingChurch.com. I will include some posts in both places while people are still getting used to following this conversation in both locations:
When 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?
Yes, I know I'm just back from Kentucky and Ohio, but in a couple of weeks I'll be off again to South Texas on October 31 and staying in the area until November 9. I spend the first weekend in the Houston area, the week in San Antonio, and the second weekend in Corpus Christi. If you're nearby and want to join us, please contact my host at any of those locations and they can give you all the details for our get-togethers. See my Travel Page for more information.
I continue to find that the best part of these trips is not the meetings themselves, though I realize they are very helpful to talk about issues on this journey in broad strokes and give people an opportunity to meet others in their area who are crazy enough to attend one of these things. What I love is the personal connections and conversations that open up just because we're together.
Here are just a few of those meaningful conversations from my last trip:
An old friend with a conscience strong enough to walk away from an incredible offer to be the senior pastor of a group, because he couldn't live with what the job would turn him into.
- A couple learning to separate approval from affection when as they just discovered her daughter was moving in with her boyfriend.
- A former worship leader feeling her destiny might have been lost when her marriage blew apart, when she really was just beginnning to live it out in an awesomely new way.
- Encouraged a passionate business man as we got together to record an interview about Finding Church on Encouraging Others in Christ Podcast.
- A man with a passion to help others experience the life of his church, just opening to the idea that it isn't something we can achieve by a set structure, but something we recognize God building by the way we live alongside others.
- A young mother undone by the revelation that God wanted to build a relationship with her much more than she wanted to with him.
- A seminary class discovering that his church is a whole lot bigger than the institutions to which we've consigned it.
- A group of people in Southern Ohio, who found each other one evening around a campfire and an environment safe enough to share their hurts and struggles.
- Too many people coming out of abusive environments when headship is placed in a human being other than Jesus.
- And many people disovering how to put the "play" back into their life with God and not take everyhing so seriously. Why wouldn't he enjoy that aspect of our relationship as much as we enjoy the playful moments in ours?
Those are just the ones I can name off the top of my jet-lagged head this afternoon. More than the meetings I go to, I enjoy being in life with people and see how God makes himself known. Now I'm excited to experience some of that at home before heading out again and see what we can find in Texas!
I awake this morning to finish my time in Lexington, KY and head to Cincinnati, OH, for an all-too-brief one day visit. But this was a late add-on. I'd intended to go straight to Millersburg, OH today, but God opened some doors in Cincinnati and the people in Millersburg were generous enough to give up one of their days so I could hang out in Cincinnati. I am very much looking forward to the connections there.
This is my second time in Lexington and what I appreciate is how much deeper the conversations go with those I met the first time around about a year ago. It seems when I arrive somewhere for the first time the conversations seem to revolve around issues about theology, church, and Scriptural understandings. Only later do the conversations turn to life—how people are sorting out their own journey and how they are engaging God in doing so. Yes, I've been with lots of new people this trip, too, but the conversations that have come with those I met previous are a delight. I enjoy seeing growth in people's lives as well as fleshing out their story more.
These four days have been a whirlwind. We started out with day-long open event for whomever wanted to join us and we used the building of a local congregation and some of their people joined in. Over the days that followed I have been with old friends from my college days, shared for a few hours about marriage with a group of young marrieds at an Alliance fellowship, shared with a seminary class about Finding Church and The Shack, helped a good friend with a novel he's writing about the civil war, spent some time with an Army Ranger who has just returned from Afghanistan, a young wife whose thirteen-year old sister just passed away in a tragic accident, and three other gatherings with people as well as numerous other lunches and dinners with various people who've wanted to hang out together. I've been in so many different conversations the past few days that have enriched my life, and hopefully theirs.
Yesterday afternoon I met with a judge and some of the young men he meets with weekly at the local Panera. It started a few months ago as he had lunch with a man in his twenties and shared with him how at 30 he everything about his life looked successful on the outside, but he was dying inside. An older man somehow recognized it, connected with him, and helped him find a better journey. The young man he was with obviously wanted the same engagement. So the judge sent an email to half a dozen young men, explaining where he'd been at at 30 and offered to get together to start a group if others would find the same time to be helpful to them. Well, they jumped on it. Too many of us live in isolation, either needing encouragement or having encouragement to offer and not finding space to do it in. These have found that space. They just get together after work on Tuesdays at Panera to talk about their journeys and to encourage each other. I love those times.
But now it is on to Cincinnati. Recording a podcast this mornign for a friend, having lunch with someone I met years ago in Las Vegas, and then heading to an evening of fellowship and sharing with people I've never met, but who have been reading some of my things. I am amazed at the life I get to live and the people God lets me know. It is really worth crawling out of our comfort zones and connecting with people who are on a marvelous journey of learning to live in the Father's affection. Ask God to connect you, too to people around you that you can either encourage or be encouraged by. Hopefully you'll discover both, even with the same people. Befriend them and let the relationship take its course. That's how his church grows in the world.
I know it's been a long wait for many of you. I've had so many people cheering me to the finish line here in anticipation of reading my latest book, Finding Church. They have arrived at last and today we were able to get out a good chunk of the first pre-orders. It will take us a few days to get caught up in the backlog, but we are now shipping the book for those who have waited. And it has seemingly been as much torture for those waiting to read it, as for those who got earlier editions to read. I got this last week from someone reading a PDF version of the book in preparation for my appearing on a podcast that they co-host:
I've been reading the advanced copy of your book in preparation for the podcast (I’ll) be doing with you in October and I must say having to keep this under wraps until it's released has been pure torture! This is a fantastic book! It really is a book I'd like to put in the hands of every hungry believer. I'm only up to chapter 8 and already I've come across several quotes I wanted to share with friends. Reading this book feels the same as when I attended a college football game a couple weeks ago and watched my team throw a beautiful pass and run it all the way down the field as I stood by screaming, "Yes! Yes! Keep going! Yes!" Then they scored the touchdown. "YES!!!!!!" Many head for the goal but don't quite make it. This one is a touchdown!
Well, Loren, and others, you no longer have to wait. Feel free to post some of your favorite quotes from the book and let others in on it as well. I have to honestly say this is not the book I set out to write. Of all the books I've worked on this one turned out to be a total surprise to me. I discovered so much about my own journey and how all the facets of it brought me to this season of my life. It was a grand discovery for me to write it. I told Brad today on a podcast we were recording, that if I'd only written this book for me and no one ever read it, it would have served its purpose. Doing so has helped me see more clearly into a wider creation than I knew before I began. I never saw that coming.
While I am sure this book will be helpful for those who have already given up on institutionalized forms of church, it was not written for them alone but for anyone who is struggling between the promise of Scripture and the reality of "church" as we've come to know it in the 21st century. Since it is Father's desire to bring all things together under one Head, Jesus, I wanted this book to invite all of God's people into a more wholesome conversation about what the church is and how generous hearts can engage it most easily. So this is not only for people looking for more authentic expression of Jesus' church outside the box of organized religion, but also for those inside of it with the same hungers. Here's how I expressed it in the book:
Since you’ve picked up this book, I suspect you might have concerns about the church as we know it today, or care deeply for someone who does. Maybe you’re an active part of a congregation hoping against hope that something can be done to make it more reflective of Jesus’ kingdom. Maybe you’ve already left your congregation and have given up hope that anything can fulfill your longing for his church. Or, maybe your parents stopped attending the fellowship they raised you in and you’re wondering if they’ve lost their minds.
Then I heard from a friend last week who was in a Sunday service recently at a Mennonite church. The speaker that morning was a Professor of Old Testament Emeritus at the local Mennonite Biblical Seminary. He had read an advanced copy of the book and told them they all needed to buy it when it became available. He said from the pulpit: "This Jacobsen is quite the writer! He writes in a way that grips you! I’m 84 years old and have only known the institutional church, but I know he’s right!” Wow! Hearing that it had touched him so deeply took my breath away.
He later wrote me that he'd had a subsequent discussion with this man: "We did have another discussion today about your book. He keeps thinking about it. He finds it very provocative. I think it was a good time for him to read it because the Mennonite church is undergoing some changes and the book charged his batteries on the subject." I'm excited to see who this book might touch.
So they are here now and we are shipping them out as fast as we can catch up with the pre-orders. We are doing a soft release now to friends of Lifestream and The God Journey. Amazon is taking pre-orders now will be releasing them on October 15. E-books should be available by then at all the regular outlets.
We are also making them available in discounted bulk pricing for those who'd like to share them with others. We will be selling a box of 12 for $86.00 and a full case of 46 for $260.00, which includes shipping to any US destination and is less than wholesale. You can find our quantity pricing here. If you have a retail business or website and want to re-sell these books to your customers, you'd have our permission and blessing.
And if you want to keep up with the larger conversation we hope this book spawns, you might want to bookmark FindingChurch.com as I'll be doing a bit of blogging over there as well as keeping people updated on tweets, podcasts, reviews, and blogs about the book.
The team has just arrived back in Kitale from a visit to West Pokot and finalizing arrangements to open the dispensary. As you know we've been heavily involved in this area since ouf friends there discovered 120,000 people starving from drought and dying from disease in a region of the country that is beyond government assistance and NGO help. We sent $62,000 initially to help with immediate food, water, and medical needs. We then added another $65,000 to build school rooms and a dispensary in the region and put in four wells at a cost of over $30,000 per well. In the last month we sent an additional $140,000 to create an enterprise that will help feed the area and whose profits will be able to pick up the shortfall at the orphanage, due to lower than expected petrol sales, and also cover expenses at the schools in West Pokot.
Our friends in Kitale have worked incredibly hard to bless their brothers and sisters to the north and none of this money has benefited them at all. Even though their needs are great, they have shared it all with those in worse shape in North Pokot. In fact they have been the volunteers that have gone up into the region to do the hard work to bring these projects to fruition.
In theThis outpouring of generosity has also opened this entire region to the Gospel. Since prayers for the ancestors failed them they are hungrily learning about Jesus and the life he offers.
The team yesterday received approval from the Ministry of Health to open the dispensary and begin delivering medical care to people who have absolutely none available. We had hoped the government would pick up the costs of medicines in that region or another NGO, but so far no one has stepped up. They need $32,500 to equip the dispensary and that's using volunteer doctors and nurses to care for the patients. They have been able to do some care as the pictures below will show, but they don't have the medicines they need. I did not promise them when they wanted to build a dispensary or now that we would take responsibility to provide medicine for that region. We have sent almost $400,000 into that region in the last six months just from the friends I have through Lifestream and The God Journey. I'm sure everyone is getting a bit fatigued with the ongoing needs in Kenya. I'll admit that I am so I am only going to make it available in case people have it on their heart to provide this medicine. As always, Lifestream takes nothing out of the contributions given for any expenses, and in fact we have covered out of our own provision the shortfalls in each of these campaigns.
So, what do you think? If God has put it on your heart to help with these needs, you can direct it through Lifestream. Contributions are tax-deductible in the US. As always, every dollar you send goes to the need in Kenya. We do not (nor do they) take out any administrative or money transfer fees. If you would like to be part of this to support these brothers and sisters and see the gospel grow in this part of Africa, please see our Sharing With the World page. You can either donate with a credit card there, or you can mail a check to Lifestream Ministries • 1560 Newbury Rd Ste 1 • Newbury Park, CA 91320. Or if you prefer, we can take your donation over the phone at (805) 498-7774.
Here is some of what's going on at the dispensary now:
The Minister of Health is greeted by the locals as arrives to inspect the dispensary.
People waiting for services at the dispensary, or for those getting care.
A doctor helping a young patient
Thanks for your thoughts, prayers, and gifts on their behalf. They are overwhelmed with gratitude every time I hear from them, and so am I.
For those of you concerned about the process for getting my new book out, Finding Church is at the printers now and we working on getting e-books made and available. We are ramping up for our October 15 release date at it looks like everything is coming together to make that a reliable date. Having lived inside this book for the past twenty years, and writing it over the past twelve months, I'm very excited to get this out and am hopeful it will inspire a conversation among a vast spectrum of people who want to see the church of Jesus' new creation as a relational reality, rather than an institution we are meant to build and maintain on his behalf.
I am enjoying the feedback I'm getting on this book from those who have had a chance for an advance reading. It assures me that the points I hoped to make are being made, and that people are finding a different way to view and participate in the church Jesus is building. Believe it or not, the first review for Finding Church came out yesterday. Yes, it is a bit early, but for those interested the book is now available for pre-order at Lifestream and at Amazon. I'll post links to e-books when they become available. All that will release on October 15.
We are also developing a new website at FindingChurch.com, that we hope to open next week with an advance peak at the first five chapters in a PDF download. I'll announce that here when we do. All this is taking a lot of time, which is why I'm not posting too many blogs yet. But don't worry, I have a backlog of things I want to share with you in my blog.
Here are some other things people are saying about Finding Church:
There is no slow bleed; the mass exodus from local congregations is a stubborn fact. So why is Wayne Jacobsen so hopeful? Because dispersion and isolation need not be the endgame. Jacobsen is finding church—the fully functioning family of Christ that transcends institutions—networking everywhere. I would especially invite Jesus-loving ex-churchgoers to borrow his eyes so they might share his hope.
BRAD JERSAK, Ph.D., author of Can You Hear Me?
Finding Church is a riveting and challenging read that prompts its readers to seriously reconsider the definition of church. With courage and compassion, Jacobsen states what millions of Christians intuitively know but can’t admit, while sharing his passion for a church that every believer craves.
DEREK WILDER, author of Freedom
Life Transforming Group, Andersonville, IN
For that endless stream of people I meet who love God but either cannot bring themselves to re-enter the institutional church world or who are feeling great pain from abuses they cannot understand at the hands of leaders who subverted what we call church, Wayne Jacobsen’s book will be a great encouragement. Without overlaying a new structure, he reminds us that living for and with God is far simpler than we ever imagined and that God still knows our address. Rare is the invitation to relax in God’s love and love others, and it is enough.
GAYLE ERWIN, author of The Jesus Style
Cathedral City, CA
In Finding Church, my friend Wayne Jacobsen offers Christ’s way to a home for those who have searched for it congregation to congregation all their lives. The answers he offers come long after he has learned to live it and they are as free and freeing as the Gospel itself!
JOHN LYNCH, co-author of Bo’s Café and The Cure
I'm in Lake Tahoe at the moment at a missions school for young people interested in discipleship and mission. We've had a good time talking about the difference between what is real in Christ and what is an illusion of religion. We seemed to jump into the deep end of the pool on the first day about leadership, why so many have been hurt by it in the past, and what it really means to facilitate expressions of community rather than manage institutions that serve our own vision and help destroy people in the process. That wasn't my choice, it was theirs! It seems so much of what we are religiously encouraged to do, even to seek supernatural manifestations can so easily be a distraction to simply learning how to live in the love of the Father and let him lead them into his fullness his way. We seem to think we can control our life in him by our passion, commitment, or hard work. I remember it well in my own life. It's perhaps the worst thing religion does to us, giving us the illusion that we can "get" from God, instead of learning to respond to what God is giving to us. I have so enjoyed God bringing me into the peace of the latter, and honestly I see far more genuine miracles flowing from that than a lot of the self-generated hocus pocus of my fervent trying-to-earn it younger days! Far more!
I know it's been awhile since I've posted here encouraging thoughts for the journey. Honestly I think I'll get back to that after the book stuff settles down. We are busy proofing all the final bits of the cover and inside pages and getting it to the printer on time. We are also developing a website at findingchurch.com (No, there is nothing there yet) to help further the conversation and help people find connections. Sara has also been overrun with pre-orders for the book, which have been huge. It has already been picked up by a publisher in Germany and they have begun translation, as have others for a French version. I'm a bit surprised by that, but am so grateful people want to take a look at how Jesus is building his church and how it differs from the way humanity tries to build one for him, and ends up getting sidetracked into conformity-based dynamics that undermine their attempts to build real community. It's the classic case of subverting your goal by the very tactics you employ.
Almost always when I finish a book, I'm so worn out by the process I don't even want to think about writing another one. I thought that would be true this time, but it isn't. Almost as soon as I finished this book, a novel, whose story I've been contemplating for years has surfaced front and center in my mind. I'm so excited to start on it, which I find incredibly strange. I won't torture you with the scope, theme, or title of it yet, but it looks like the writing will continue for a while.
And finally, it looks like I'll be returning to the road again this fall. It has seemed to please the Spirit to schedule a number of trips over the next few months. If you live near any of these and want to join in, you can get details on my Travel Page. Here's the schedule as it is clarifying now:
- Bakersfield, CA - September 20
- Lexington, KY - October 3-7
- Millersburg, OH - October 8-12
- Houston, TX - October 31- November 3
- San Antonio, TX - November 3-6
- Corpus Christi, TX - November 7-9
- Newbury Park, CA - November 22: Sara and I will be hosting a gathering in our home for people in the Greater Southern California area who want to connect with us and others.
- I'm also scheduled to be in Barcelona, Spain, June 27-28 and the south of France from June 29 - July 8, though details are not certain yet.
For those who would like to be notified when I’m coming to your area you can sign up for Travel Notifications on my website.