Author Topic: So You Don't Want To Go To Church Anymore?  (Read 13421 times)

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Offline hopeful

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So You Don't Want To Go To Church Anymore?
« on: November 28, 2007, 01:38:20 PM »
Just finished reading the online book:
So You Don't Want To Go To Church Anymore?

It's also available in printed form.
The book is written in a fictional and conversational style and it's a short, easy read.  The authors promote being the church and their character, "John" says all the the same things that the Lord has shown my husband and I.  So, if you've ever wondered just what Hopeful thinks about church and fellowship you can read this book and then you'll know.   :Sparkletooth:

http://www.jakecolsen.com/contents.html

You're welcome to visit http://toknowhimmore.blogspot.com/

shibboleth

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Re: So You Don't Want To Go To Church Anymore?
« Reply #1 on: December 22, 2007, 10:15:44 PM »
Thanks for posting this, Hopeful. I read much of this book online a few years ago and then couldn't find it. Now I can finish it. :happygrin:

Offline hopeful

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Re: So You Don't Want To Go To Church Anymore?
« Reply #2 on: December 23, 2007, 12:47:28 AM »
A few years ago?  Really?  For some reason I was under the impression that it was new.  Anyway, you're welcome!   :icon_flower:
You're welcome to visit http://toknowhimmore.blogspot.com/

shibboleth

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Re: So You Don't Want To Go To Church Anymore?
« Reply #3 on: December 23, 2007, 06:48:35 AM »
I think it was on a website called The Shovel. Every few weeks or month a new chapter of the book would be printed. I read every chapter, but lost track of it over time. I didn't know the book was available online....I'm enjoying it immensly.

Offline hopeful

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Re: So You Don't Want To Go To Church Anymore?
« Reply #4 on: December 23, 2007, 12:36:36 PM »
Okay...  I didn't read it until it was all finished but now I remember it was first available as installments.  I especially enjoyed the last half of the book but I won't say anything until you're done.  Maybe we can discuss it then if you'd like?

 :bgdance:
You're welcome to visit http://toknowhimmore.blogspot.com/

shibboleth

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Re: So You Don't Want To Go To Church Anymore?
« Reply #5 on: December 23, 2007, 03:08:05 PM »
I would love to discuss it with you, Hopeful. Is your real name Holly? I saw this spirit in the churches I used to attend....protect the institution at any price. People are expendable but the institution must go on. I'm half done with the book and it's great to know I can find the answer to the cliff hanger aspect of the book. :cloud9:

Offline hopeful

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Re: So You Don't Want To Go To Church Anymore?
« Reply #6 on: December 23, 2007, 03:17:01 PM »
Yup!  That's me- Holly.   :icon_flower:
You're welcome to visit http://toknowhimmore.blogspot.com/

Offline 97531

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Re: So You Don't Want To Go To Church Anymore?
« Reply #7 on: December 24, 2007, 11:56:57 AM »
Some powerful quotes from the article:

There is nothing the Father desires for you more than that you fall squarely in the lap of his love and never move from that place for the rest of your life. God's plan from the days of creation to the day of the Second Coming was designed to bring people into the relationship of love that the Father, Son and Spirit have shared for eternity. He wants nothing less—and nothing else!


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.


Won't it be a joy again to wake up confident about being loved by God every day, without having to earn it by any act of righteousness on your part? That is the secret to first love. Don't try to earn it. Know that you are accepted and loved, not for what you can do for God, or somehow hoping that you will be worthy of his acceptance, but because his greatest desire is to have you as one of his children. Jesus came to remove any obstacle that would prevent that from happening.


Don't you realize that the most powerful thing about the gospel is that it liberates us from the concept that God dwells in any building? For a people steeped in the rites of temple worship this was either great or terrible news. His followers thought it was great. No longer did they have to think of God as cloaked in the recesses of the temple, available only to special people at select times.


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 any thing else that dulls the pain or it creeps out of us through anger or lust.


If we do what he wants he will be good to us, and if we don't then bad things will happen in our lives. On its best day, this approach will allow us to be smugly self-righteous which is a trap all its own. On its worst days it will heap guilt upon us greater than we can bear. Your 'New Testament principles' are just another way of living to the law. You're still caught up in the process of trying to get God to reward you for doing good.


Walking toward him is walking away from sin. The better you know him the freer from it you will be. But you can't walk away from sin, Jake. Not in your own strength! Everything he wants to do in you will get done as you learn to live in his love. Every act of sin results from your mistrust of his love and intentions for you. 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.


The institution provides something more important than simply loving each other in the same way we've been loved. Once you build an institution together you have to protect it and its assets to be good stewards. It confuses everything. Even love gets redefined as that which protects the institution and unloving as that which does not. It will turn some of the nicest people in the world into raging maniacs and they never stop to think that all the name-calling and accusations are the opposite of love." Then as John reeled in the empty hook he held it up, "It's love with a hook. If you do what we want, we reward you. If not we punish you. It doesn't turn out to be about love at all. We give our affection only to those who serve our interests and withhold it from those who do not."


"What are you saying? I should just walk away? I can't imagine I'd survive without this church. It has been my home for so long and I'd die without it!"

"That's what they want you to think, but it isn't so. It also explains why everyone is fighting so viciously. They don't think they can give it up either, so they have to win. This trap has captured many a child of God. When we're so afraid we can't make it without the institution, then right and wrong go out the window. The only thing that concerns us is our own survival. That kind of reasoning has led to incredible pain over years of church history."


"For one, you think suffering is a sign of God's displeasure with you. Didn't Job make that mistake? Suffering often indicates that God is setting us free from something so that we can follow and embrace him more deeply. Walking in his life will always mean you are going against the grain. Don't expect your circumstances to conform easily to this journey. They will resist it at every turn. God wants to teach you how to walk with him through these things so that you can know a joy and peace that transcends circumstance."


Just remember he's not worried about tomorrow because he has already worked that out. He's inviting you to live with him in the joy of the moment, responding to what he puts right before you. The freedom to simply follow him that way will transform so many areas of your life. He loves you, and he wants you to live in the security of that, without having to figure everything out.


It's a lot easier for you to get out of the system than it is to get the system out
of you
. You can play it from inside and out. The approval you felt then came from the same source as the shame you feel now. That's why it hurts so much when you hear the rumors or watch old friends turn away embarrassed. Truth be told, some of those people still really care about you. They just don't know how to show it now that you no longer play on their team. They're not bad people, just brothers and sisters lost in something that is not as godly as they think it is.


Learning to live by trusting Father is the most difficult part of this journey. So much of what we do is driven by our anxiety that God is not working on our behalf, that we have no idea of the actions that trust produces. Trusting doesn't make you a couch potato. As you follow him, you'll find yourself doing more than you've ever done, but it won't be the frantic activity of a desperate person, it will be the simple obedience of a loved child. That's all Father desires.


Certainly there are things that are right and things that are wrong. But we'll only truly know that in Jesus. Remember, he is the truth itself! You will never be able to follow his principles if you're not following him first.


Jesus didn't leave us with a system; he left us with his Spirit— a guide instead of a map. Principles alone will not satisfy your hunger. That's why systems always promise a future revival that never comes. They cannot produce community because they are designed to keep people apart.


We humans are notorious for taking something Scripture describes as a reality, giving a term to it and thinking we've replicated the reality because we use the term. Paul talked about the church that gathered in various homes, but he never called it 'house church'. Houses were just where they ended up in their life together. Jesus was the focus, not the location. As I said, you can have all the right principles and still miss his glory in the body.


That's where religion has done the most damage. By making people dependent on its leaders, it has made God's people passive in their own spiritual growth. We wait for others to show us how, or even just follow them in hopes that they're getting it right. Jesus wants this relationship with you and he wants you to be an active part in that process.


It's valuable for the body of Christ to find each other and share his life together. Where people are doing that they don't need commitment. They'll bend over backwards to be with each other. Where they aren't doing that, it does little good just to be committed to a meeting. I'm convinced that most Christian meetings give people enough of God's things to inoculate them against the reality of his presence.


"I never realized how much of what I thought was minister was only manipulating people's shame—whether it was to make them feel guilty for falling short or to earn other people's approval."

"That's what religion is. It's a shame-management system, often with the best of intentions and always with the worst of results."

"But it did work, at least externally."

"Yes, but it only drove the bondage even deeper. In the end people are still addicted to shame and bounce between self-pity and self-glory, never finding freedom to simply live in him. It makes people think God wants a cause and effect relationship with them. If they'll be good, he'll be good to them.


Whatever he gives you to do next. Remember, equip people to live in him first; then you'll see how he brings his body together. Don't get me wrong. I love it when a group of Christians want to intentionally walk together as an expression of community—listening to God together, sharing their lives and resources, encouraging and caring for each other and doing whatever else God might ask them to do. But you can't organize that with people who aren't ready. Remember, discipleship always comes before community. When you learn to follow Jesus yourself and help others to do the same, you'll find body life springing up all around you.


One can hardly conceive of body life today without an organization and a leader shaping others with his vision. Some love to lead; others desperately want to be led. This system has made God's people so passive most can't even imagine living without a human leader to identify with. Then we wonder why our spirituality falls so painfully short. Read through the New Testament again and you'll find there is very little focus on anything like leader ship as we've come to think of it today.


That's one of the strangest things about Christianity locking itself into an institutional box. Who would choose to be raised in an orphanage? Our hearts hunger for family. That's where children learn who they are and how they fit into the world. This is like an orphanage revolving around the convenience of the whole. You survive best in it by following its rules, but that's not how Jesus connects you with his Father. For that you need a family and brothers and sisters who can respond to you in the moment, not wait for a meeting or to schedule a seminar.


Part of the journey involves doing what he makes clear to you. If you've submitted it to him, then let him sort it out. If he were asking you to leave today, I think you'd know that, even in the face of your fears. If he hasn't made it clear to you then wait. Just keep loving him and following him every day. I'm learning the joy of resting in him, doing what I know to do and not doing what I don't know to do. It's been one of the hardest lessons to learn, but also the most freeing.


Where Jesus is given first place, the church simply emerges in wonderful ways. He will place you in the body exactly as he desires. And as those relationships grow, you may find yourself surrounded by a group of people who want to walk in more intentional community together. That's an amazing thing when it happens, but still you have to keep your focus on him. Even groups that start out centered on him are easily and quickly tempted to organize themselves to death. When Jesus ceases to be the object of our pursuit, our touch with his body will fade into emptiness.



« Last Edit: December 24, 2007, 12:20:18 PM by SeekerSA »
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Offline hopeful

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Re: So You Don't Want To Go To Church Anymore?
« Reply #8 on: December 24, 2007, 02:00:24 PM »
Thanks, SeekerSA!  Did you finish it yet?
You're welcome to visit http://toknowhimmore.blogspot.com/

Offline 97531

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Re: So You Don't Want To Go To Church Anymore?
« Reply #9 on: December 24, 2007, 03:17:42 PM »
It took me about 3 hours to read. 

The PDF version has a lot more extras that the online HTML versions has.

IMO although he does not purport UR, it sums up UR quite effectively.  In fact it sums up the current move of God.  If we teach this, hell goes out the window by itself w/o any help from us.

I have published these excerpts on my blog too.  Hopefully that will get some eyes opened. 

Living Christ is church. 

BIC
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shibboleth

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Re: So You Don't Want To Go To Church Anymore?
« Reply #10 on: December 24, 2007, 05:57:02 PM »
"You really have no idea what Jesus was like, do you?"
The words slipped off the man's lips as gently as the breeze wafted through the trees overhead and were in
stark contrast to the heated argument that swirled around him. They were so softly spoken that I read them
on his lips more than heard them. But their impact was not lost on the crowd. The noisy clamor subsided

quickly as tension-filled faces gave way to puzzled expressions. "Who said that?" was the unspoken question
that filled the eyes of their surprised faces as they scanned the others around them.
I chuckled under my breath because no one was looking at the man who had just spoken. For one thing, he
was so short that it was easy to pass over him. But I had been watching him and the crowd for the last few
moments intrigued by his demeanor.
As people were glancing around he spoke again into the stunned silence. "Do you have any idea what he
was like?"
This time all eyes turned downward toward the voice and were surprised to see the man who'd spoken.
"What do you know about it, old man?" One of them finally spoke up, his mockery dripping off of each
word until the disapproving gaze of the crowd silenced him. He laughed it off and looked away
embarrassed, grateful that their eyes had swung back to the stranger. But he was in no hurry to speak. The
resulting silence hung in the air, far beyond the point of awkwardness. A few nervous glances and shrugs
shot throughout the crowd, but no one spoke and no one left. During this time the man scanned the crowd
pausing to hold each person's gaze for a brief second. When he caught my eye, everything inside seemed to
melt. I looked away instantly. After a few moments I glanced back, hoping he was no longer looking in my
direction.
After what seemed an insufferably long time he spoke again. His first words were whispered directly at the
man who had threatened the others with hell. "You really have no idea what motivates you, do you?" His
tone was one of sorrow, and his words sounded like an invitation. There was not a trace of anger in it.
Embarrassed, the man threw his hands up and twisted his lips as if he didn't understand the question.
The stranger let him twist in the gaze of the crowd briefly, then looking around the circle he began to speak
again, his words flowing softly. "He was nothing special to look at. He could walk down this street today
and not one of you would even notice him. In fact he had the kind of face you would shy away from, certain
he wouldn't fit in with your crowd.
"But he was as gentle a man as one would ever know. He could silence detractors without ever raising his
voice. He never bullied his way; never drew attention to himself nor did he ever pretend to like what vexed
his soul. He was real, to the very core.
"And at the core of that being was love." The stranger paused and shook his head. "Wow! Did he love!" His
eyes looked far past the crowd now, seeming to peer across the depths of time and space. "We didn't even
know what love was, until we saw it in him. It was everyone, too, even those who hated him. He still cared
for them, hoping somehow they would find a way out of their self-inflicted souls to recognize who stood
among them.
"And with all that love, he was completely honest. Yet even when his actions or words exposed people's
darkest motives, they didn't feel shamed. They felt safe, really safe with him. His words conveyed not even a
hint of judgment, simply an entreaty to come to God. There was no one you would trust more quickly with
your deepest secrets. If someone were going to catch you at your worst moment you'd want it to be him.

"He wasted no time mocking others, nor their religious trappings." He glanced at those who had just done
so. "If he had something to say to them, he'd say it and move on and you would know you'd been loved
more than anyone had ever loved you before." Here the man stopped, his eyes closed and mouth clenched
as if choking back tears that would melt him in an instant if he gave in to them.
"I'm not talking about mamby-pamby sentimentalism either. He loved, really loved. It didn't matter if you
were Pharisee or prostitute, disciple or blind beggar, Jew, Samaritan or Gentile. His love held itself out for
any to embrace. Most did, too, when they saw him. Though so few ended up following him, for the few
moments his presence passed by them, they tasted a freshness and power they could never deny even years
later. Somehow he seemed to know everything about them, but loved them deeply all the same. "
He paused and scanned the crowd. In the last couple of moments perhaps as many as 30 people had
stopped to listen, their gaze firmly on the man and their mouths agape in bewilderment. I can record his
words here, but am bereft of an adequate description of their impact. No one within earshot could deny
their power or their authenticity. They rang from the very depths of his soul.
"And when he hung there from that filthy cross," the man's eyes looked up into the trees that towered over
us, "that love still poured down--on mocker and disillusioned friend alike. As he approached the dark
chamber of death, wearied of the torture and feeling separated from his Father, he continued to drink from
the cup that would finally consume our self-will and shame. There was no finer moment in all of human
history. His anguish became the conduit for his life to be shared with us. This was no madman. This was
God's Son, poured out to the last breath, to open full and free access for you to his Father."
As he spoke further, I was struck by the intimacy of his words. He talked like someone who had been with
him. In fact, I remember thinking, "This man is exactly how I would picture John the Disciple to be."
No sooner had the thought crossed my mind than he stopped in mid-sentence. Turning toward his right,
his eyes seemed to seek something in the crowd. Suddenly his eyes locked on mine. The hair on the back of
my neck stood at attention and my body quivered with a wave of chills. He held my gaze for a moment, then
a brief but certain smile spread over his lips as he winked and nodded at me.
At least that's the way I remember it now. I was shocked at the time. Was he acknowledging my thought?
That would be silly. Even if he were John, he wouldn't be a mind reader. What am I thinking? How could
he be a 2000-year-old disciple? It's just not possible.
As he turned away, I glanced behind me to see if anyone else could have been the target of his gaze. It didn't
look that way, and no one around me seemed to take notice of his wink and smile. I was stunned, like I'd
just been hit in the head with an errant football. Electricity raked over my body as questions raced through
my mind. I had to find out more about this stranger.
The crowd was swelling in size as more and more people poked their heads in trying to figure out what was
going on. Even the stranger seemed to grow increasingly uncomfortable with the spectacle the scene was
quickly becoming.
"If I were you," he said with a wink and a smile as his eyes swept over those who'd started the discussion, "I
would waste far less time ragging on religion and find out just how much Jesus wants to be your friend   

without any strings attached. He will care for you and if given a chance will become more real to you than
your best friend and you will cherish him more than anything else you desire. He will give you a purpose and
a fullness of life that will carry you through every stress and pain and will change you from the inside to show
you what true freedom and joy really are."

Offline hopeful

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Re: So You Don't Want To Go To Church Anymore?
« Reply #11 on: December 24, 2007, 06:20:55 PM »
 :boogie:
You're welcome to visit http://toknowhimmore.blogspot.com/

shibboleth

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Re: So You Don't Want To Go To Church Anymore?
« Reply #12 on: December 24, 2007, 06:56:46 PM »
Wow, what a Saviour. John surely knows God's grace and is so gentle and loving as he tries to get others to see that they have the wrong idea about who God really is.

If grace really means we don't do anything to deserve his love, then why are so many people trying to do something to deserve his love? Once I realized God loved me no matter what I did, I could rest in His overwhelming, unfathomable love and mercy. He loves all of us the same. Why wouldn't you want to serve this kind of saviour? :bigGrin:

Offline hopeful

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Re: So You Don't Want To Go To Church Anymore?
« Reply #13 on: December 24, 2007, 10:10:38 PM »
Amen!
You're welcome to visit http://toknowhimmore.blogspot.com/

Offline ChuckK3

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Re: So You Don't Want To Go To Church Anymore?
« Reply #14 on: March 08, 2008, 03:40:52 AM »
Actually, I NEVER wanted to go to church, but I was told I had to or else God would hate me (or so I was led to think anyway).  I was more or less taught that because I existed at all that I owed God something.  (Was I lied to when I was told life itself was a gift?)

Excellent post BTW, Bernie.

Chuck

jabcat

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Re: So You Don't Want To Go To Church Anymore?
« Reply #15 on: March 08, 2008, 03:45:29 AM »
It took me about 3 hours to read. 

The PDF version has a lot more extras that the online HTML versions has.

IMO although he does not purport UR, it sums up UR quite effectively.  In fact it sums up the current move of God.  If we teach this, hell goes out the window by itself w/o any help from us.

I have published these excerpts on my blog too.  Hopefully that will get some eyes opened. 

Living Christ is church. 

BIC

Bernie, I kept seeing you refer to this so I finally read it.  Very good, recommended it already to my wife...she said "I don't want to stop going to church"  :eyebrow:.  A little at a time, in God's timing...He's working it out.  Anyway, highly recommend this reading.

Offline sparrow

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Re: So You Don't Want To Go To Church Anymore?
« Reply #16 on: April 13, 2008, 01:24:57 AM »
I think it was on a website called The Shovel. Every few weeks or month a new chapter of the book would be printed. I read every chapter, but lost track of it over time. I didn't know the book was available online....I'm enjoying it immensly.

Oh, The Shovel! I forgot about that place....
I used to post on there.
"I knelt to drink,
And knew that I was on the brink
Of endless joy. And everywhere
I turned I saw a wonder there."

If I speak in the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I am a noisy gong or a clanging cymbal. And if I have prophetic powers, and understand all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have all faith, so as to remove mountains, but have not love, I am nothing. If I give away all I have, and if I deliver up my body to be burned, but have not love, I gain nothing.

Offline sparrow

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Re: So You Don't Want To Go To Church Anymore?
« Reply #17 on: April 13, 2008, 01:32:18 AM »
Just finished reading the online book:
So You Don't Want To Go To Church Anymore?

It's also available in printed form.
The book is written in a fictional and conversational style and it's a short, easy read.  The authors promote being the church and their character, "John" says all the the same things that the Lord has shown my husband and I.  So, if you've ever wondered just what Hopeful thinks about church and fellowship you can read this book and then you'll know.   :Sparkletooth:

http://www.jakecolsen.com/contents.html



This looks very interesting and you can read it for free online?
wow. that's refreshing.  :icon_flower:
thanks for posting this!
"I knelt to drink,
And knew that I was on the brink
Of endless joy. And everywhere
I turned I saw a wonder there."

If I speak in the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I am a noisy gong or a clanging cymbal. And if I have prophetic powers, and understand all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have all faith, so as to remove mountains, but have not love, I am nothing. If I give away all I have, and if I deliver up my body to be burned, but have not love, I gain nothing.

Offline hopeful

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Re: So You Don't Want To Go To Church Anymore?
« Reply #18 on: April 13, 2008, 01:46:56 AM »
Yup. You can read it for free!   :icon_flower:  Paper copies are available, too.
You're welcome to visit http://toknowhimmore.blogspot.com/

Fang_Diachi

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Re: So You Don't Want To Go To Church Anymore?
« Reply #19 on: December 30, 2008, 11:45:23 PM »
Thanks I think ill give it a read. =] I am aiming to learn more and reading the replys to this book I see that this would be an amazing help.

Tim B

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Re: So You Don't Want To Go To Church Anymore?
« Reply #20 on: July 30, 2009, 11:24:17 AM »
One of the authors of this book is Wayne Jacobsen. He's got a book called "He Loves Me" that my parents really enjoy, and we've had the pleasure of having him stay in our neighborhood before, as he travels around.

Here's his website: http://www.lifestream.org/index.php

Offline DeAndra

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Re: So You Don't Want To Go To Church Anymore?
« Reply #21 on: September 08, 2009, 05:09:45 PM »
Just brought book a month ago, only read a few pages and stopped, plan on picking it up again.  I did hear it was a good read

Gilbert

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Re: So You Don't Want To Go To Church Anymore?
« Reply #22 on: September 08, 2009, 06:03:10 PM »
One of the authors of this book is Wayne Jacobsen. He's got a book called "He Loves Me" that my parents really enjoy, and we've had the pleasure of having him stay in our neighborhood before, as he travels around.

Here's his website: http://www.lifestream.org/index.php

Thanks for the Link!
I visited an' fell in love with the wonderfully casual way he expresses things. Quite a remarkably quiet reassuring voice to hear amid all the turmoil an' noise.

natcat86

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Re: So You Don't Want To Go To Church Anymore?
« Reply #23 on: October 17, 2009, 01:14:29 PM »
The truth about God as told in this book has always been in my peripheral vision, I could almost see it properly. It really made me think about how the friendships I have with christians are so much more enriching spiritually than any sunday morning meeting I have ever been to. I have asked my husband to read it too as the decision of whether our family attends church anymore or not is his to make. In the mean time I want some of what John had!!! Imagine living that life, it makes me laugh and cry just thinking about it!! What a saviour!
 :cloud9:

Nat

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Re: So You Don't Want To Go To Church Anymore?
« Reply #24 on: October 17, 2009, 08:03:38 PM »
Thanks I think ill give it a read. =] I am aiming to learn more and reading the replys to this book I see that this would be an amazing help.

 :cloud9:  :hijacked: Glad you guys brought this thread back up.........Fang, if you ever get to read the board, just want to tell you I miss ya kid.........wish I could give you a big hug.  :girlheart: Carry on y'all.........Card
"I would rather train twenty men to pray, than a thousand to preach; A minister's highest mission ought to be to teach his people to pray." -H. MacGregor