Living Beyond Our Transformation

When we lose our need to try to get God to give us what we think we need, then we're free to live by what God gives. Brad is back and he joins Wayne for a conversation about God's transforming process and our learning to be comfortable in it, rather than resorting to our own human attempts to make ourselves better for God. Those who live by rules can never relax in the process, while those who put their trust in what God is doing rather than what they can do will bear the fruit of his transformation in the world.

Podcast Links:
Update on the Orphanage in Kenya

22 Comments

  1. I thought it was interesting when you talked about the guy who was quoting scripture to you about a demanding God. People learn to quote scripture without learning how to read the scripture. I completely agree with you that when you look at the context and intent of the writing you can see an entirely ignored message. The Word of God is wonderfully layered with messages that are overlooked until we reach a place, spiritually, where we can hear what God is saying to us. I think most believers are willing to eat pulpit food rather than manna because they’ve been taught not to trust anything that hasn’t received the USDA stamp from the religious establishment. Religion is very afraid of believers eating food that isn’t on the published menu.

  2. For me, letting God transform me has been an active process – God engaging me, me engaging God, individually and in community, knowledge of God as an interactive relationship.

    The first major transition was marinating in and internalizing the reality that Gods orientation is for me, not against me. He really does love me (engages his will toward my good) and desires for me to grow and increase in love for him and others, to really reflect who he is in the world.

    Included in that transition is recognizing that when I blow it – when I’m unloving, selfish, and even intentionally rebellious – God isn’t delighted in the outcome and looking forward to whip me in to shape. His heart is broken and he longs for me to experience the joy of freedom that can be found only in him. He really is the loving Father that moment after moment looks down the road to see when the son who left is ready to come home. That parable isn’t only about taking long hiatuses from being with God, but it’s his attitude and heart even when we have momentary lapses of forgetting who we are.

    The second transition for me and it’s one that is still taking root is this idea of living beyond our transformation. Rome wasn’t built in a day. Life in God cannot be hurried along. Some things really require time and experience to settle in to our spirit, become part of our thinking, and work there way into our habits. To me that’s when it gets to the dna level (so to speak) – routine, supernatural spirit-led living.

    I’m learning to recognize that although my actions and decisions and how I spend my time can influence the process, I cannot short-circuit the process. A life of thought and action has already baked in habits of thought and action that I live from. Thirty years of thinking and acting one way isn’t going to be immediately changed in one week.

    There are all sorts of core narratives buried deep, deep inside all of us. We live from them – in a sense we are bound by them. Many of them are harmful. God delights in working his way in there and shining his light on them. He celebrates with us regarding the helpful ones and heals the harmful ones. The healing can be painful, but it’s a good pain.

  3. Thank you Wayne and Brad for this conversation. One of the things that stood out for me is that although this process is painful…it’s made worse when I believe that the pain is a sign that God is angry. So not only am I dealing with my “hunger” for intimacy with Him, to know Him better and be connected…but then the pain in this process is itself a punishment. Your sharing about pain in your own processes was so helpful to let me “exhale” and know that the way i had framed this was misguided. It’s been 2 plus years for me and maybe I can look back in five years and see how He has won my agenda out of my hands…walking IN the transformation rather than beyond it when I’m not ready. Blessings.

  4. Wayne’s mention of the guy quoting all the passages of scripture and how it made the one lady feel reminded me of a moment with a friend of mine who was coming into a new place of freedom and peace with God. Her husbands warning to her in light of these changes she was experiencing was that she needed to put down the feel good books (she had been reading He Loves Me, The Jake Book, The Shack, The Misunderstood God, True Faced and Bo’s Cafe) and get back to reading the bible 🙂

    I thought…well there ya go 🙂

  5. Brad you gave me a monumental Aha! moment when you spoke about peoples perception of a God with a stick and how it affects there ability to trust God. Though I’ve been on this grace journey for quite some time it was as if I suddenly realized how that very perception of God had prevented me in the past of trusting God to take me on His journey. The result was I kept on ending up taking God on my journey because I just didn’t trust Him. For ages I just couldn’t figure out why I can’t trust God and suddenly you verbalized what I struggled with for so many years. Despite me not knowing it God still raked me closer hugged me and loved me and now I see what my issue was. Yikes, that’s fun! So now I suddenly see this very issue in so many people I rub shoulders with. It’s not because they don’t want to trust God, but they actually visualize God as punitive and that perception is their stumbling block. Bless you, this is awesome. On one last issue you guys mentioned I’d like to add; The grace and love of God leaves us absolutely no opportunity to claim any contribution of righteousness from our side at all. Love you in Christ

  6. Jim and Kent, that’s why learning to read the Bible as an unfolding story of God’s revelation is so important. We can proof-text our way to any conclusion we want. The reason I did The Jesus Lens (http://www.lifestream.org/the-jesus-lens.php) was to help people interpret Scripture in its context and not just gather some Scriptures together that seem to prove their point. It’s amazing how much we can distort the Scriptures even while quoting them!

  7. Doesn’t religion’s forced fear mechanism drive it’s players to perform past their abitilites? I think so…

    The sincere in heart’s ears are turned towards the whispers within. Where God does dwell… The longing of relationship beckons us from within to a place outside of the religous constructs and restraints, whatever these be. The truth slowly realized – you actually possess all which is needed already. That’s how much He loves you – wow!

    Like many of you, I too chased the relational inside the limitations of the religious establishment. In the end, I was no more hurt by it than those of the world – the flesh is the flesh after all. We were all players…

    The works I had performed never gave me the LIFE I desired, and so these fell to the wayside as He lovingly revealed the faults of each written within His book. (So much twisted tales told for years to so many never actually occurred as we were told.) I was never shocked by these revelations of the heart. So much of the time I simpy said, “OH! I don’t have to do that any more, done.” Though I could never quite understand why the circus didn’t discuss the elephant.

    Eventually, one finds themselves outside the establishment for various reasons. This doesn’t mean all within it are doomed. As many still need and cling to the social aspect, okay. I have discovered I am never actually alone and cannot out run His amazing love. Not everyone wants to enter into His rest. Not that He won’t let them, they refuse to enter in. He loves them no less… Pushing others out of the door ito get them where you are never works either.

    I would guess the fellow quoting the verses constantly was so afraid that he might be worng he could not bare it. If you have placed all of your rocks on one barge, and it is brought to you attention it will no longer launch, you get pretty scared! Nothing Father’s love can’t cure…

  8. Brad and Wayne , hello from Romania! I just want to say to you from my heart a deep THANK YOU. I find my way painfully slow to His love, but is happening. You two were the only Christian voices that sing another song than I knew, making my heart leap with hope at the thought ” could it be truth? Could He be that wonderful ? Do I dare to believe He is?” You have being a huge help for me to start on His journey. It took me one and a half year to begin to get a glimp of his love to dare, but now I start to relax.
    Thank you Brad for coming back from time to time at the podcast, I’ve mist you and I wait with hope and anticipation every Friday to see if you join Wayne this time. The conversations you two have are always so rich and deep & fun, that combination is so unic! I leasten to you with crying and laughing, I rejoice in my spirit and thanks God for you.
    Wayne, thank you for He loves me, it was the starting point of my journey in January 2011. Thank you for The Shack, So You don’t want to go to church anymore , In season, Transition and The Jesus lens. All have being building bloks for the foundation of trust in Him.
    I love you both in Christ. I can’t find words to thank you enough. God bless you.

  9. Dear Brad and Wayne – can I just say Amen?! I was just talking with a close family member who struggles with pornography. He kept repeating to me “I just have to remember to hate the sin and to keep reminding myself of how destructive it is! And be thankful for how gracious God is to love me” I finally asked him “Are you afraid, ___?” And after a minute of thinking, he said “yes!” He felt that if he didn’t keep the hugeness of his sin always in his head that he would fall into it headlong. He broke my heart as I listened to him – he was so determined to beat himself into submission. He holds onto the responsibility of changing himself with both hands clenched tight because of fear that Jesus won’t be there to catch him. And when I asked him if it was making him feel shame – he felt it was necessary for him to feel this way. He kept saying “I know I have to trust God” but at the same time he couldn’t let go. I hold tight to this one bright idea a wise person once told me – that if Jesus is the vine – and we are the branches – bearing fruit means basically being fruit hangers – Jesus is what makes the fruit grow in us, we just get to hang on to him and have fun watching him work. I am so refreshed hearing your podcasts – they always remind me that I can enjoy Jesus the way I think I can, even when those around me can’t.

  10. Hi Wayne and Brad,
    Great podcast! The part that stood out to me most is the part where you referred to people being ‘intellectually saved’… I have grown up in institutional church and employed in it as well, and now picking up on this journey of relationship. I know in my head that I can and I believe I do have a relationship with Jesus where He lives in me and speaks to me and we have conversations. You mentioned knowing and sensing God present with me because He lives in me. Is this something that you feel everyday and are aware of all the time? Can you expand on this concept in the freedom walk…? It’s one of the things I’m struggling with… is the question “Can I feel God’s presence, but am I just thinking about it too much and doubting if I actually can or not?”
    Thanks for your conversations – I’m a new listener and am really enjoying it!

  11. This morning while listening to this podcast my thinking continued that I should be doing something, I actualy spend the week before last asking the Father what I should do to feel part of His church. After a while of continueing this conversation with Father He took me two years back to when I was a leader in the “church” as I then knew it and I came to realise just how mush He has changed my thinking. I now realise that I have come to the point of no return to the old performance way and to be patient and trust what He is doing in my life.

  12. While listening to this podcast, the Lord gave me a glimpse of what faith in Him is. He loves the process so much. We often perceive ourselves and others to be such a mess at times, which often then causes us to doubt His love for us. I see now how much He loves working in our hearts and lives. He sees the end result of us being fully in love with Him, not the mess we perceive ourselves to be now, and He can’t wait each day to get back into the workshop of our heart so He can keep working in us. I now know and believe to let Him do that work in me and others, and enjoy participating in that if He calls me to it. I see Him at work, and Him loving and enjoying that work!

  13. Ironic, this idea that “fear keeps us on track”. When it comes down to it, every major failure in my life has been caused by fear. Every issue God is working on in my life right now, goes back to fear. Fear is a lack of trust. How is it that not trusting in God keeps me from sinning…?

    No, fear didn’t keep me on the track. It ran me off the track, causing major train wrecks that I’m still cleaning up to this day…

  14. This is such a brilliant podcast, in fact the last 3 or 4 podcasts have really been speaking to the experience I am currently having. I have been having weekly meetings with a Jehovah’s Witness and I can see the “religion of obligation” written all over him! I normally wouldn’t entertain these kinds of doctrinal discussions as they (JWs) are only interested in convincing people of becoming JWs, but this time is somehow different, I feel the Lord nudging me to tarry with this guy.

    Coming from my back ground of being in the institution for many years, doing all the things I was doing for God with all the wrong motives; all this guy is trying to sell me about God is rolling off me like water does a duck’s back! I am so tempted to play the podcasts to him but I believe the Lords telling me not yet, but things like doing things for God because we “ought to” and working hard to be loved is so much this poor gentleman’s reality about our loving God although he wouldn’t overtly admit it.

    What brad said about Paul asking folks in Acts about trying to do this walk without the Holy Spirit perfectly recreated the question I was led to ask this gentleman last week, as the Holy Spirit is more of a concept to him than a real person. This said I believe the questions I am asking him are planting seeds of living loved into his religious reality. I know he hopes I’d consider becoming a JW but thanks to this new reality of living loved I don’t feel at all threatened by our discussions neither do I feel any pressure or attraction to what he is sharing. It’s almost like I’ve been injected with a permanent antidote to religion!!! Oh what such joy and freedom I’m experiencing with my walk with the Lord right now!

    The God Journey has been such a tool that the Lord has used to really settle me into this new reality that I feel like if I’m dreaming nobody should wake me up! God bless you guys and it’s nice to hear Brad’s voice back on the Podcast.

  15. Excellent Podcast! As I reflect on my journey, I’m trying to weigh how much of the things you talked about were either never presented to me in the circles I hung around in, or if I was just unable to hear them when they were presented. Likewise, I wonder how for one reason or another, the idea of transformation might not even register with some of your listeners. (It would make me feel better knowing others are as slow as I am.)

    But in the last couple of years, I’d begun to see the subject of the transforming work of the Holy Spirit throughout the scriptures (as well as in me). This includes one of my favorite passages, the wedding at Cana which is all about transformation. In it, stone containers relegated for ceremonial and religious use, were repurposed to demonstrate God’s intention for living his life in us. Servants filled them with water, and servants drew the water out. These were just regular folks who took the chance to listen to and act upon what Jesus told them to do. In this act, the water was transformed into something it could never have become on its own, wine! John calls this miracle a sign, and the purpose of a sign is to point to something. I think it points to the transformation intended for us which we are unable to perform in our own strength. The pots didn’t transform the water into wine, Jesus did through listening to his words.

  16. BRAD AND WAYNE, I THANK FATHER EVERYDAY FOR YOU BOTH! YOU HAVE HELPED MORE PEOPLE THAN YOU CAN POSSIBLY KNOW! REALLY! THANKYOU FROM THE BOTTM OF MY HEART!

  17. I have basically transcribed this for my men’s group. You guys got on a roll—as you often do—and it was as beautiful as music to my ears.

    I was reintroduced to you, Wayne, through a friend last summer who played a video of yours, and my intimacy with Jesus immediately began all over again. Deep joy has returned to my life because I’ve become more aware of and can isolate the messages in my head—most of which are discouraging—and replace them with Jesus’ passionate love for me. I try to discuss all matters with Him—no matter how embarrassing or shameful. So, your weekly podcasts have become the “music” I listen to, regularly. The great news for anyone raised in the stridence of legalism (as I was) is the more you delve into and bravely invite Jesus to rewire your toxic thinking (that performance actually produces purity and acceptance), the more it chokes out the dark voices of condemnation. A genuine love for Jesus, others and the bearing of excellent fruit is merely consequential.

  18. Wow. I’m not sure where to begin. You put into words to things that happened to me

    I love the term “get out of hell free card” and how you explain how we were taught to go forward, say the sinner’s prayer, get baptized, and then everything was supposed to be ok now that we were saved. It seems as if this is perhaps in part a result of our manufacturing society mentality. We get people to go through the machine and output a product we can count (how many people were saved? how many were baptized? if you do it well, then people will give you more money to produce souls. It all seems so twisted now.

    I’m thankful that I don’t have to be in charge of my transformation. Thank you for making that clear to me.

  19. What God requires, God provides.

    Alpha and the Omega
    First and the Last
    Beginning and the End
    Author and Finisher

    What often perplexes us, I think, is knowing my responsibilities that do exist between the expectation that did not originate with me and the fulfillment which I cannot complete. I would love to hear you guys discuss this.

  20. I hope it’s not to late to join the conversation here. I really loved the last ten minutes or so of this podcast. The part about our agenda and wanting to “get get get” from God. I am currently a missionary, actually leaving the field to go back to shlubness in California and have only recently realized that my entire Christian life has been about getting something from God. I have always had these equations in my mind that put together my christian life. The most recent was actually said by my boss. He said that in this season of high stress (bringing in teams from north america to help us) “we really need to eat well, go to bed at a decent hour, not procrastinate, and get to Jesus more so that we can be ready and able to do what God would want us to do”… It automatically struck me as being wrong but it has taken me a while to figure out why… In this equation the whole goal is to “DO” something….if the “so that” is not centered on Father it’s wrong! I hear it from some of my really charismatic friends as well. “We need to get rid of sin, push into Jesus, fast and pray so that we can receive the healing that God has for us.” Now I know that there’s way more wrong with this than just what I’m saying, but I’ll leave that for someone else. What I’ve realized is just what you’re saying! In these equations Jesus is just a means to an end! I feel as though I’ve been the errand boy… Just getting close enough to find out what He’s doing and then I leave him to accomplish the task. I have drawn close and really sensed the heart of the Lord (or so I thought) just to find the next task… All the while leaving Him behind as I go about “His will.” I have realized that Jesus/Father is my end!! Not the means to an end!! I think this is the relaxing part that I have been trained to ignore. If we love God we have to work for Him! NO!!! He is the end in itself! I think Brad said in another podcast that if we are going for the fruit it’s like going in the exit door! The entrance is to get to Him… all other things will naturally follow. But they will still be with him! I will walk with him and we can accomplish his will as he gently speaks to me… In a restful way!
    I was thinking today about my wedding 11 years ago. it was a whirlwind leading up to it! We were working so hard we hardly saw each other. But then came the honey moon! That first morning I remember waking up at 9 or 10 and not even moving… Just enjoying the site of my new bride! Not pressured to get breakfast or go anywhere, just loving her was enough! Sure if she wanted something I would have jumped at the opportunity to show her my love… but for those days all I wanted was her! I am just starting this journey! I have been a youth pastor (at the church Wayne left 😉 a missionary and a shlub… but I have just recently been won out of the life of religious performance and the experience is just amazing!! It has been hard, but I find myself longing for more for the first time in a very very long time! I want to know more about how to know Father in a deeper way… How do I encounter more of Him? How do I relax more into this dance? I get that from these podcasts! Just from hearing you share your lives! Not principles but just markers along the way. Thanks Wayne and Brad for just being you! God has definitely used you on my journey to know Him! And I have found it so refreshing to know that THAT and THAT ALONE is the goal! Knowing Him! all the rest will just happen naturally.

  21. I am 19yrs old, but I feel more like 14yrs old emotionally.
    I know that Papa(God) isn’t in a hurry, it’s the people that I’m feeling the pressure from.
    I am still living at home and that probably isn’t helping things. I am feeling so burned out and it feels like, I recover just in time to crash again. Before this, I just numbed my emotions. Now that I’m having to deal with feeling again, I am having a hard time copping.

    Is it selfish of me to want to be loved, without having a load of expectations dumped on me.
    To be given the freedom to grow up emotionally, without having someone try to change me.
    But I guess, asking for this is probably a hopeful dream, not a reality.

    Hannah

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