A focus on healing the wounds among the body of Christ. You can find out more from the link below or all (419) 878-4778.
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I get a lot of these kinds of email from people wanting to know God's will for their life, and despite many prayers and hours contemplating what that might be, they don't think they are gtting any closer to an answer. Maybe we are asking God for information he can't really give, or at least if he does we will misunderstand that. In my younger years, I was in that situation a lot, looking for answers God didn't seem to want to give. It was frustrating and made me doubt whether I could listen to him at all. Now as I look back on my life with the gift of age I see how impossible it would have been for God to answer a prayer like that. What would he have said back then given the arc my life has taken. I've done lots of things in lots of different seasons, and in the end I think it was far important important that I become a free person in his love than that I
I got this from Jim just this morning:
I have been reading and listening to many of your resource) at Life Stream for two years now. My relationship is getting closer with Him on a daily basis but I still am seeking some answers to unknown questions. I have held the questions in front of Him for almost two years but no certain answer has fallen into my heart. Questions like, what is my next step Lord?
What do you want me to do as a career? Also, what do you have for me today Lord? I am totally open to Him and His direction. Am I missing something?
Here's how I responded: I’m glad some of our resources have been helpful to your journey and grateful you’d take the time to let me know. As to your question, I’m not sure what you are looking for? Are you looking for God to tell you to go be an airplane pilot, or university professor, or a carpenter? Honestly, I don’t know that it works that way. If he had something to tell you about any of that, I suspect he would in a way you’d understand. Otherwise he wants to live your life with you? His will is mostly about shaping you with is love and making you a better lover in the world, wherever you are doing whatever you do.
What does your skill set, desires, or opportunities draw you toward? Can you make a living at it? When I ask God for these things, I don’t expect an answer out of the blue, but I anticipate that he will direct my paths as I go through my day, living inside my godly desires, with an eye on him if he has something to nudge me toward. It’s a process, where we mostly stumble into the things God has for us, rather than he tells us what to do and we go about trying to make it happen. If that makes sense… In other word we don’t live our lives from a divine strategy he gives us, but by our growing ability to live inside his love as we navigate the life that is before us one day at a time. That's the adventure of it. We don't have to know where he's leading, only that we're following him as best we see him. .
I don’t know what his next steps in me are, or what he wants me doing next month. I simply follow his nudges each day. Some of the best things I’m involved in today, I didn’t set out to do. One small decision, led to another door, and a decision there led to a different opportunity and his will just unfolded as I lived alongisde him. Now I look back and see more clearly what he was doing in my life through all those things, but at those times I was mostly clueless, except to follow my passion and my conscience as I best understood them. You, too, may be looking for something that he doesn’t give. He doesn’t want to control every detail of your life, but to be include alongside you as you learn to live in his love…
Imagine you laying back in your easier chair or being caught in an exasperating commute to work and me sitting right beside you reading to you from http://www.lifestream.org/content/finding-church. OK, that doesn't even sound fun to me. I wouldn't sit next to you and read, we would get to talk. But the audio version of Finding Church is now available for download, so you can listen to me read it even though I won't be right there beside you. Maybe we'll get that chance up the road sometime.
If you'd like to listen to a sample, you will find Chapter 17 below: "Unity Without Conformity". This is the high point of the book, in my view. It demonstrates not only the answer to Jesus' prayer, but also why our attempts to produce unity through conformity are destined to fail.
A few months ago I was asked to contribute a chapter to a book being written by a number of authors about their passion for Jesus' church. Unfortunately it was at a time when I was too busy to meet the deadlines. As it came to publication, though, I was approached about writing the Foreword and was happy to do so. The book just released this week. It is called Simple Church: Unity Within Diversity. I'm not crazy about the title, but titles are never easy. I hope people don't confuse it with a technique for "doing church" that some call "simple church" and see it instead as those who embrace a simpler way of seeing Jesus' church in the world, becasue that's what the book is about. This book was published by a friend of mine and brings together twenty-four different writers who are living, loving, and serving outside the institutional model. I enjoyed reading it and having some of these same passions rekindled in my own heart.
I also love what it represents—people from diverse backgrounds coming together to share their piece of God's gift in their lives. We need far more of this as Jesus brings the pieces of his church together to share life, not to create another overarching institution or movement. I wrote about this crowing connection and unity in Finding Church and I love it when people find more identity in Jesus than they do a particular theological point of view or way of "doing church." We need more of this, and not just by writers, but by every member of his body learning to love people around them knowing they are only a piece of a greater revelation God is giving to the world. We don't have to agree on all the details, when we hold Jesus in common. I'm grateful this book is broadening the conversation in the world.
I don't know what more to say about it than I already wrote in the Foreword, so I'll let you have a look at it here:
You hold in your hands a unique compilation of the insights of twenty-four different individuals chosen from across the world sharing what makes them passionate about the church of Jesus in the world. While each of these articles is unique and fascinating in its own way they harmonize in a glorious symphony of the ways Jesus wants to make his multifaceted-wisdom known in the world.
I love to read what makes someone’s heart beat faster when they contemplate the reality of the Father’s family taking shape in the world. By focusing on the positive side of church life, instead of where its broken, many common themes emerge such as the supremacy of Christ, laying down our lives for others, handling Truth lightly so others can access him even in their brokenness, and each of us learning to follow him as we support and encourage each other.
Each of these contributors was chosen because they practice something called simple church. While definitions of that term may vary as does the way each of them lives it out, at its core simple church refers to people who are no longer engaged in institutional congregations that gather weekly. Though many of them did so for multiple decades, each of them came to discover greater reality and freedom away from those structures and embrace the church as a family sharing his life together in homes, coffee shops, and anywhere else people naturally get together.
But even if you see the church differently than they do, you will find their heartbeat transcends simple church itself and strikes to the core of what it means to be God’s children in the earth. You will find many people in more institutional settings that long for these same priorities and seek a church that reflects God as an endearing presence in the universe, inviting people everywhere into the reality of his life and truth.
I hope these themes become the fodder for conversations among his church, however they happen to gather. We need more conversation about these things, not less. And we need it not just with those who are like-minded, but even those who see things differently than we do but have the same heart for God and his kingdom.
This book is like a very long and very full buffet table as the contributors wrestle with the implications of doctrine, holiness, unity, giving and sharing. You’ll want to devour it all, but you’ll soon realize that there isn’t enough time in the day or enough energy in the mind to live out all that’s here. Just keep in mind that they are not talking about the church as an institution having to do all these things, or even as one individual doing them all.
They consider the church as a communion of persons, each part responding joyfully to the Head. It is enough to embrace the part he’s given us as we encourage others around us to do the same. How he uniquely he takes shape in each of us will make the glory of the whole far greater than the sum of its parts. We may not be able to do them all, but these don’t dwell in the world of obligation. This is not how we have to live for him, but how we get to live in his unfolding glory.
So take care not to reduce the table of contents into a list of objectives we have to achieve by our own effort. We couldn’t even on our best day. What is described here is how Jesus takes shape in his church as each of us learns to live at his pleasure in this broken world. There will be strength enough, grace enough, courage enough and wisdom enough for these priorities to shape the way we live. It is in learning to live in his love that we will be free enough to revel in his priorities and demonstrate his glory in the world.
This is his church to build and he does it well, often in mostly unseen ways. But she is taking shape in the world as he draws people together that share many of the passions outlined in these pages. May this book encourage your own journey and stimulate your passion to experience his life and share it freely with others.
We had a great time that Saturday as thirty-five people from all over the So. Cal area got together to meet each other and talk about their journeys learning to live loved, love others, and disentangle themselves from the kind of religious thinking that destroys our security in Father's affection and limits our ability to love others in that freedom. We had people just starting out on this stage of the journey and those who have been on it for a bit. We met some great people, heard some incredible stories of courage and passion to find freedom in him and got a brighter vista of what God is doing in others that resonates so deeply with us.
It's much like the gatherings I enjoy being a part of when I travel, except this time we hosted the day. And yes, the garden was a hit, as was Sara's chocolate chip cookies! I wish you'd all be able to join us, but know that would be impossible for us and for many of you. But it is in such gatherings that the seeds of community are sown. They begin with relationships and where people are free to talk about their journeys honestly and openly without being judged or criticized. I love the look of wonder that often comes over people's faces as they listen to others share the passions that are on their heart and they thought they were all alone in that desire. I wish we could have had more than a day, but one of the people came back the next day to watch some football with my family and extend the conversation. That's how this church grows in the world, friends and friends of friends finding each other, exploring the new found relationship and seeing if it grows into a friendship that expresses God's life.
And it all begins simply by taking the risk to meet some others on the journey and opening a bit of your heart to them to see if they will treat it well. Such fun!
Two quick items. I did a phone interview this morning with Chicago3Media if you want to listen to it. And we have some new artwork to highlight postings others might make on Facebook from their reading of Finding Church:
“One act of love speaks more than millions of words…” You’ll find that in Michael’s report below as he shares just how much the people in North Pokot have opened to the Gospel because of the outpouring of generosity there by so many of you. Those are great words for anything that has to to with touching our world with the life of Jesus. Here are some pictures and the latest report from our friends in Kenya. Whenever I travel, people ask me what is going on there and I’m so amazed and blessed that so many of you carry these people on your heart. Since March your generosity has placed over $400,000.00 into the needs of Kenya, most of that to rescue 120,000 people dying from starvation and poor sanitation in North Pokot. You literally saved thousands of lives and their gratitude is overwhelming. We drilled four wells there, built a dispensary and a school, as well as launched a grain enterprise that will provide the necessary income for those ongoing needs beginning this spring.
It has been on our heart not only to help them with immediate needs, but also to create the economic opportunity that will allow them to have the resources to maintain them going forward. We never wanted to breed their dependency on the west, but to give them tools to watch God’s provision for them. I am pleased at how all this has worked out.
Someone handed me a check a few weeks ago for $50,000 to help get the medicine and supplies for the new hospital. Others of you give $100 either one time or some even monthly. All of that has caused my heart to be overwhelmed with gratefulness for those who have given, and for those who have spent it in Kenya with great care and with amazing fruitfulness as you can see in the report from Michael and the pictures below.
The needs, however, continue on a monthly basis for more months to come. If you can help, you can direct your gifts 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 transfer fees. You can use the donation link on our Sharing With the World page at Lifestream. 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 are some new pictures, and Michael’s report below…
Grateful people in North Pokot
People hear about a God who loves
The first drugs arrive at the dispensary
Drilling the fourth well
Meanwhile, back at the orphanage… a celebration of prayer
And now, here is Michael's most recent report:
Everything is working on well in North Pokot. Concerning the hospital is now set-up with drugs, equipment and facilities. The number of patients is increasing daily. We have now two doctors and two nurses two cooks, two guards, caretaker and two interpreters from the communities who interpret for our doctors from mother language to Swahili. They volunteer for almost two months and if there is a way of helping with their salary they would appreciate it. We don’t push you for this because they are flexible and they love their work and all of them they have the family who may need their service.
All is going well with the grain enterprise. Sometimes we go out with the truck and due to our poor muddy roads we stuck for sometimes for whole day in rural while collecting grains, we love to do it. The work of winnowing, selecting and drying maize is going on, I believe repacking will be in the storage in December.
On behalf of the entire team, friends, and the people of Lifestream we would like to send gratitude first to the most high God who has make all these to come into reality. I am not praising any human being here but to the Father of our Lord Christ who had done all this through brother Wayne. Let me state how I came across Wayne 15 years ago. I had a passion to find the truth since I was born in the middle of indigenous and traditional churches from early 80s where I got salvation. I took more than 5 years crying and finding the truth, because I had not experience any change. After this long cry, five years later I encountered my life with Jesus Christ. That is the early 90s where the Spirit of God changed my life totally, but still I didn’t realize the truth but I was continuing with institutions and hierarchy structures till 1996 where I founded IGEM ministries. I thought that I will help our brothers and sisters to reveal the truth but all of us, we were like the lost sheep who had comfort one another without the true direction
I pray to God and I went to search this word Living under the care of heavenly father, through an Internet search when I came across Lifestream. It was the end of my search. The following day I called over 60 leaders to share with them about the love of God. I downloaded Lifestream materials especially He Loves Me, this touched me and certified my heart. I shared this materials without even the permission from the Author, but after the conference everybody was touched and they wanted to know how I came across this material, because in Africa we live in the gospel of criticism and hate. The preachers teach that God holds the sword of wrath punishing those who are not observing His rules. So many Christians live with the great fear trying to practice ten commandments without the hope of heavenly Father. After I got Living Loved material through Lifestream my life was totally affected with spiritual affection towards God and since that time I have seen the great transformation and spiritual perspective and through the people I work the Spirit of God has affected the entire region.
The barriers of deception about institutional hierarchy and human structure has now been broken. We have faced obstacles, criticism and hate but this has not hold us back to declare the truth about the love of God. Some of the criticism comes from rich denominations that have used millions of shillings setting up the structures and institution which they called it churches and headquarters while failing to care for those who are needy—widows, orphans and our brothers and sister who may need our mercy ministry.
We would like to acknowledge you before the throne of our heavenly father for the mercy ministry you have done for his name towards our brothers and sisters here this will remain as a good fragrance before the throne of God. I cannot express my love beyond this but just to thank God for your work and for the ministry you have shown and ministered for our brothers and sisters here. In this soil of North Pokot where they have never ever experienced that there is a living God who exist in the hearts of people. They have lived in hate and believing in shrines and gods of mountain to ask them even to sacrifice their animals that maybe through their sacrifices they may be heard by their god and he would grant them water. But all this time their gods remained silent. In the shortest time our living God has answered and touched their lives. Thousands now according to what we hear have burned the charms of sorcery and they have broken the shrines even without a preacher. One act of love speaks more than millions of words, because our God has answered and they saw the provision of food, clothes, hospital, drilling wells and the school. If this could be the way of expressing our love to the world, I believe it will take shortest time for the gospel to be heard.
We want to express our sincerity of heart, that reaching where we are now takes the prayer of saints, commitment, it has also cost faithfulness and dedication, because it is not easy without God’s divine purpose. You have poured so much trust through sending huge funds towards Kenyan project, including buying land, setting up the home as well as drilling wells, building hospital and school, as well as sending the donation of food, medication camping which cannot take it for granted. It has taken the grace of God to build this relationship and trust. In all of this we have not looked to our personal needs or our ministry needs, but rather all the money we have received has gone directly to the proposed need. We have remained faithful to handle God’s resources. May the Lord bless you for standing with us.
What a whirlwind the last few weeks have been! Let me take a moment to update you on some of what's been going on around here. I had a great swing through south Texas over the last couple of weeks and found myself with people who were at incredible points of joy, struggle, or temptation in their lives. If you want to hear a bit more about that, I share a bit in the latest God Journey podcast. I love the people God allows me to meet and encourage on this journey of sorting out what it is to live in the Father’s love and then learn to share it freely with others. Trips in the new year may take me to Atlanta and New Zealand. Stay tuned to our Travel Page for updates.
For those who want a taste of what that’s like who live in the Southern California area, Sara and I are hosting a gathering next Saturday, November 22 at our home in Newbury Park. You’ve got to RSVP for details and directions. If you’re nearby and want to join us you’d be most welcome.
For my friends in Russia and the Ukraine friends, an audio version of He Loves Me is now available in Russian. I am so grateful for the people there who have recorded it and make it available free of charge for those who want to listen to it. But, you have to understand Russian. You can always check for other translations on our International Page.
We've also had some new developments on the movie of The Shack. You can read more here. Having read the most recent screenplay I’m getting very excited about this adaptation and praying that all the pieces will come together to retell that story to a new audience who’ve never read the book. Brad’s been working hard to accomplish that and hopefully it will be out sometime next winter.
Finally, there are a lot of developments on the Finding Church front. We are just finishing up the audio version that will hopefully be out in the first part of December. There are a lot of pieces to that puzzle and we hope to get them all done as soon as we can. Also, Finding Church has risen to as high as #4 on Amazon’s list of books about Church Structures and Institutions. Now, that’s fascinating. Thanks to all of you who have been writing reviews on Amazon and sharing youro thoughts about the book on Facebook and other social media. It certainly helps get the word out for others.
And I love the mail I’m getting from the new book. Here’s an example from Jack in South Carolina:
“I am finding difficulty reading it. The coffee stains are already bad enough that I won't be able to give my copy away and the fluorescent orange highlights would indicate stops and starts that indeed added to the aforementioned coffee stains. My difficulty is a good one, you have some one-liners that literally make me put the book down, look out the window and hold my breath. Almost as if I am letting something go that has held me back. I am so encouraged to read what I have felt in my gut and the "letting go" has nothing to do with the system but in my hope that a system, any system, would or could incubate or sustain LIFE.
So, page 68 you wrote, "I was caught between two worlds—the self-effort of performance based religion and the new creation growing inside of me. I didn't know it at the time, but the two are incompatible." How gut wrenchingly true that is! How hard it is to come to that reality if your hope has been in a Sunday system or for that matter, a teacher, preacher or anything man-made. It is still something that is sorting out in my heart. Best put by you, “learning to live alongside Jesus in the new creation.” Thank you for writing this book. I see the years of your sweat and tears that have gone into ‘finding church”. I believe, in another sense, we are finding Jesus, our life. Thank you for helping peel back the curtain of the Father's love.
I loved reading this email from someone I only met a few weeks ago while in Ohio. I could hardly contain my joy too! The email I've received over the last week has assured me that this book is touching the places in people's hearts I hoped it would. I'll be sharing more fo them here and at FindingChurch.com.
I just finished reading Fnding Church. I think you have out done yourself on this one! And you were right the last line was the best!!!! That is the very conclusion I have been pondering of late in my own journey. He was finally inviting me into a space spacious enough that interactions with more of His family would not be harmful to them or me. I love how His truths become clearer over time as we simply walk with Him in what we do understand. This is New space and I am treading softly in it but enjoying it immensely!!!!
Your book has resonated so deeply with me and the iourney I am on I can hardly believe we just met and I have only heard about you for about a year now. You have written of things I have seen in visions and dreams and heard from The Father in private and yet it is being broadcast all over the world!!! My heart can hardly contain the Joy this brings to me!!!! There is no doubt His Kingdom has expanded because of this book.
The amount of confirmation in this book goes far beyond any amount of questions I could have thought up to ask you in person!!!! The aroma of the Father I am coming to know wafts from the pages!!! It was like taking all the best from all of your books and putting it into a story that unveils His bride in a way I have never seen done with words! Thank you for the great work of Love it took to complete and publish it!
I am looking forward to a second read to glean what I overlooked this time around!
I'm appreciating all the feedback I'm getting on Finding Church. I had an interesting conversation just this morning with someone who stopped by that I will tell you about down the road. Copies continue to fly off the shelves and interest remains strong at Amazon, which is our only outlet for the print version, though the e-book is available everywhere. Hopefully by the end of November we will also have the audio book available for download as well as CD packages.
For those who come to the Lifestrearm Blog frequently I want to remind you that I am also posting blog content on Finding Church at our companion website, FindingChurch.com. I told you for awhile I'd post about them here too in case people want to keep up on all my blogging. Yes, sorry. I'm now doing it at three places: Here at Lifestream, TheGodJourney, and now FindingChurch.com. All of them have a different emphasis and at times engage a different audience. I find all of them very helpful to invite people into a dialog about the things that matter, through comments and sharing emails that I know others will have an interest in. You can subscribe to any of my blogs so that you can receive them as emails rather than checking in at the website constantly. You can also "like" their pages on Facebook to get notices in your news feed: Wayne Jacobsen (author) for Lifestream, The God Journey, or Finding Church. I hope that helps.
Today at FindingChurch.com, I help someone wrestle with the content of Chapter 14, Gatherings without Meetings. Many people who are used to meeting every week for some kind of "fellowship" with others, often feel the need to replace that in their life with a new group, be it a house church, organic church, or some other kind of fellowship meeting. One young man asked me whether I thought all scheduled get-togethers suffer. I answer his question here.
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.