Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Learning about life from a jigsaw puzzle...

Don't force a fit.
If something is meant to be, it will come together naturally.

When things aren't going so well, take a break.
Everything will look different when you return.

Be sure to look at the big picture.
Getting hung up on the little pieces only leads to frustration.

Perseverance pays off.
Every important puzzle went together bit by bit, piece by piece.

When one spot stops working, move to another.
But be sure to come back later.

Establish the border first.
Boundaries give a sense of security and order.

Don't be afraid to try different combinations.
Some matches are surprising.

Anything worth doing takes time and effort.
A great puzzle can't be rushed.

Monday, September 7, 2009

So, You Don’t Want to Go to Church Anymore by Jake Colsen

This is probably the book that has impacted me the most so far this year. The book is "So, You Don’t Want to Go to Church Anymore" by Jake Colsen (Wayne Jacobsen/Dave Coleman). Here are some important points directly from the book:

I’m not talking about what you’re doing. Are you filled with the love of Jesus like you were the first day you believed in him?

It’s about life-God’s real life filling your own. He moves in so that you will no longer entertain any doubts about his reality. It is freedom. It is joy and peace no matter what happens. This is the kind of life that he came to share with everyone who will give up trying to control their own lives and embrace his agenda.

Just be real with Father and resist the urges to crawl back into your shell and silently endure lifelessness. Ask him to forgive you for substituting anything for the power of his love and invite him to show you how your diligent efforts at good works for him may be obscuring his love for you. Let God do the rest. He will draw you to himself.

We’re not changed by the promises we make to God, but by the promises he makes to us. When we make commitments that we can live up to only for a brief period, our guilt multiplies when we fail. Upset that God doesn’t do more to help us, we usually end up medicating our guilt with something like drugs, alcohol, food, shopping or anything else that dulls the pain or it creeps out of us through anger or lust.

We sin to fill up broken places, to try to fight for what we think is best for us, or by reacting to our guilt and shame. Once you discover how much he loves you, all that changes. As you grow in trusting him, you will find yourself increasingly free from sin.

Don’t use our conversations to try to change others. Until they are looking for the same things you are, people will not understand.

Real body life isn’t built on accountability. It’s built on love. We’re to encourage each other in the journey without trying to conform people to the standard we think they need.

When you can trust his love in each moment, you’ll really know how to live free. Just keep coming to him and watch what he will do. He’s the Father who knows you better than you know yourself and even loves you more than you love yourself. Ask him to help you see how much he loves you. That will make all the difference.

Simply let God connect you with those brothers and sisters he wants you to walk with for now. Think less about ‘starting’ something than just learning to share your life in God with others on a similar journey.

When we’re looking to the future, we’re not listening to Father. Anything we do to try and guarantee stability on our own terms will actually rob us of the freedom to simply follow him today. We’ll resort to our own wisdom instead of following his. The greatest freedom God can give you is to trust his ability to take care of you each day.

Instead of trying to build a house church, learn to love each other and share each other’s journey. Who is he asking you to walk alongside right now and how can you encourage them?

No church model will produce God’s life in you. It works the other way around. Our life in God, shared together, expresses itself as the church.

The freedom to be honest and the freedom to struggle are key to a real friendship.
Honestly, there’s not one thing you can do to make him love you any more today; and there’s not one thing you can do to make him love you any less either. He just loves you.