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What Would You Do?

4 Dec

There are two ways to hide from God’s love – rebellion and religion. Rebellion, illustrated in the prodigal son, defies God’s love and seeks to cover up guilt and shame through the indulgence of sensual desires. Religion, on the other hand, is far more subtle. It seeks its cover-up through good works and obligation. However, like the prodigal’s older brother, it still denies the Father’s place in our lives and leads us no closer to knowing him for who he really is.

Simply, religion is keeping score – striving for acceptance through our own performance whether it be in our good works or in ritualistic activities. Those things put the focus squarely on us and what we can do to be accepted by God, thereby dooming us to failure.

Most of Paul’s letters were written because even the earliest believers found themselves trading relationship for religion. Instead of learning to live in the security of his love, they would go back to traditions, creeds, disciplines, and laws as an attempt to earn it themselves. He reminded them again and again that God’s love would take them further than their own efforts and achievements ever would…

What would you do today if you knew God absolutely loved you?

Wayne Jacobsen

He Loves Me: Learning to Live in the Father’s Affection, Windblown, 2007, 137-8

O Happy Day!

24 Jul

Too many people see the cross only as an act of divine justice. To satisfy his need for justice, God imposed the ultimate punishment on his Son, thus satisfying his wrath and allowing us to go unpunished. That may be good news for us, but what does it say about God?… His wrath wasn’t an expression of the punishment sin deserves; it was the antidote for sin and shame… His plan was not just to provide a way to forgive sin, but to destroy it so that we might live free… Don’t think God was only a distant spectator that day. He was in Christ reconciling the world to Himself. This is something they did together. This was not some sacrifice God required in order to be able to love us, but a sacrifice God himself provided for what we needed. He leaped in front of a stampeding horse and pushed us to safety. He was crushed by the weight of our sin so that we could be rescued from it. It’s an incredible story.

Wayne Jacobsen & Dave Coleman

So You Don’t Want to Go to Church Anymore, Windblown Media, 2006, 90-91

Back to the Present

27 Jul

When we’re looking to the future, we’re not listening to the 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… You appear to be on the verge of financial ruin, but you’re not. Never let mere appearances become your reality.

Wayne Jacobsen & Dave Coleman

So You Don’t Want to Go to Church Anymore, Windblown Media, 2006, 106-7

Learning to Live in Love

26 Jun

Jake, if you listen to nothing else I say, listen to this: Don’t use our conversations to try and change others. I’m only trying to help you learn to live in God’s freedom. Until they are looking for the same things you are, people will not understand and you’ll be accused of far worse. You’re trying to live what I said without letting God make it real in you. It won’t work that way. You’ll just end up hurting a lot of people and hurting yourself in the process… It’s natural for us to deal with our own emptiness by trying to get others around us to change. That’s why so much body life is built around accountability and human effort: If we could just get everyone else to do what’s right, everything would be better for us.

I’m not talking about different things being true for different people, but about people discovering that truth in different time frames. If we hold people accountable, they will never learn to live in love. We’ll reward those who are better at putting on a front and miss those who are in the real struggle of learning to live in Jesus.

Wayne Jacobsen & Dave Coleman

So You Don’t Want to Go to Church Anymore, Windblown Media, 2006, 62-63

Not the Real Thing

10 May

This is no distant God who sent his Son with a list of rules to follow or rituals to practice. His mission was to invite us into his love – into a relationship with his Father that he described as friendship. But what do we do? We are so quickly captured by a work-driven religious culture that thrives on guilt, conformity and manipulation that it devours the very love it seeks to sustain. In Ephesus it was ferreting out false teachers. In Galatia it was getting everyone to observe the Old Testament rituals. Today it’s convincing people to cooperate with the church program. It doesn’t matter what leads people away from God’s life. Anything will do, as long as it preoccupies them enough to serve as an adequate substitute for the real thing.

Wayne Jacobsen & Dave Coleman

So You Don’t Want to Go to Church Anymore, Windblown Media, 2006, 34

The Prison of Obligation

12 Apr

One of the most significant lessons Jesus taught his disciples was to stop looking for God’s life in the regimen of rituals and rules. He came not to refurbish their religion, but to offer them a relationship. Were all those healings on the Sabbath, and the recording of them, just a coincidence that he found more sick people then? Of course not! He wanted his disciples to know that the rules and traditions of men get in the way of the power and life of his Father… No prison is as strong as religious obligation. It takes us captive even while we’re patting ourselves on the back.

Wayne Jacobsen & Dave Coleman

So You Don’t Want to Go to Church Anymore, Windblown Media, 2006, 49

Big Enough to be Heard

4 Jan

Roary: “Do you believe we’re good enough to hear God’s voice every day?”

John: “What a question!… Of course not Roary. None of us are that good. But I think you’re asking the wrong question. Let’s phrase it like this: Is Jesus big enough to get through to you every day? Do you think he is big enough to get past your blind spots, overcome your doubts, and show you his way? Doesn’t that get a resounding ‘yes’?”

Wayne Jacobsen & Dave Coleman

So You Don’t Want to Go to Church Anymore, Windblown Media, 2006, 125-6