Tuesday, December 29, 2009

The Shack Ch 14, part 2

201 What is the difference between God and Jesus in their very nature?
A None, zero, zilch, nada
Explain Sarayu’s reaction to Mack’s question “what do you expect of me now?” Why could Sarayu not remain silent?
A Sarayu explains to Mack that humans had corrupted everything by making rules to replace relationship. God has NO expectations, just an expectancy of the joys of relationship. Even the 10 commandments were meant to show that man could not keep rules good enough to live in the relationship. Righteousness does not come by following rules but by living in Relationship with Papa. Sarayu had to speak up because expectations reflect rules instead of relationship.
202 IF rule keeping was what counted with God, what is the minimum standard to be accepted?
A Matt. 5: 48 Be perfect, therefore, as your heavenly Father is perfect. Since that standard is impossible we judge rules on a curve. The Roman Catholic Church does this really well with Venial and Mortal sins. Protestant churches have a looser sliding scale that is unpublished but everyone knows what their group’s is.

Are all rules equal in weight or is there a graduated system?
A Both. In common practice today Rules are all equal in that they are equally expected to be observed perfectly. Consequences for breaking a rule are varied from group to group and person to person. They can range from little more than a whisper of rebuke to loss of salvation with eternal damnation in hell.
What is the point of rules? Were they made just to be broken?
A Rules were meant to reveal what was already fundamentally broken…our relationship with God. The presence of the rule did not cause the break, only revealed it.
What did Sarayu mean when she asked “can you clean your face with the same mirror that shows you how dirty you are”?
A If rules reveal the problem, they are inherently incapable of fixing the problem.
How much mercy and grace exists in rules?
A About the same amount as food in Mother Hubbard’s Cupboard…NONE
203 What did Jesus do with rules?
A He fulfilled, completed, kept, accomplished, finished them all so we are no longer held responsible for keeping any rules. Jesus indwells us and satisfied the demands of the law for us. Rules have no punishment for failure to keep or promise for obedience. Jesus finished it for us. We however can still try it on our own if we so choose.
What did Jesus make Lawful?
A EVERYTHING. It is not about rules.
What does that mean?
A Points and penalties are not part of the process. Jesus scored all the points in life and paid for all the penalties in death. We can freely receive the benefit of both. If we CHOOSE to score our own points and pay our own penalties, we can, but we will lose. Like the computer told the kid in the movie War Games, “It doesn’t make sense to play a game you cannot win”.
Does it approve of sin or ignore it?
A Neither! The power of sin is broken on the cross, sin is not the subject or issue. Living loved is.
Who is afraid of freedom?
A People who refuse to trust God to literally live in and through them must obey rules to feel secure. Those who live loved live free to live life, unfettered by the fears that dominate those who live in and of themselves.
Are you a signer on “declaration of independence”?
A Some days, but less and less these days.
How’s that working for you? Feel better?
A Signing the declaration of independence is always an indication I am ready for a fight. I lose.
Why do people love the Law?
A Tons of reasons. Primarily I get to be GOD, I am judge and jury of all of life, including God. I am miserable but superior to you…and God himself for that matter. It gives me a false sense of control and security. My expectations of you put you in a subservient position to me. I choose the responsibilities I like and ignore or deny the rest.
How do we try to create certainty out of uncertainty?
A by assigning responsibility and expectations to everything and everyone. If everyone does as told, we have control. Of course it never works, but if we try a little harder, make a few more rules, adjust the bar just a little, we will get it right, won’t we?
Rules can do and cannot do what? Are there exceptions?
A Rules can only accuse, show where failure is, point blame, or wrongly anoint a good rule keeper as superior. Rules CANNOT bring freedom. There is NO escaping, no end of rules, no stopping point, no end zone, no finish line. They continue on into infinity for eternity. There are NO exceptions. They are like Tribbles on the old Star Trec…they are born pregnant. There is no such thing as one rule.
204 Discuss the difference of nouns and verbs according to Sarayu?
A As I AM, Papa is not a list in a book, but a dynamic, endless, infinite active being. He supersedes, precedes and exceeds all things static and rigid like rules that suck life out.
What is she saying Papa is offering?
A Life lived loved.
How do humans kill verbs? Give and example.
A They take something fresh and alive and try to protect it from possible excess or harm and control it for their own purpose. The idea of getting dressed for church could convey originality, style, color, taste, etc. But some worry about to much originality, style color or taste and the verb becomes a controlling noun, wear a dress! Of course one of predetermined style, color originality and length, top and bottom. It becomes compliance to a code, fitting in, keeping someone else happy about what they have forced you to do.
Would nouns still exist if there were no physical realities?
A Yes, Physical reality is not full reality. God is a noun and existed outside of physical reality until he created.
How can one move from death to life? How does that relate to dead verbs?
A Introduce something alive into the mix. The Law is dead in that it is static, rigid, fixed. Grace is alive, satisfying the law completely and eternally.
What is required for there to be any verbs?
A Grace, life
205 How did the words responsibility and expectancy change in meaning when they were removed from relationship?
A We respond to people, responsibility is assigned and solo. Expectancy of being together, living life becomes a performance in expectations .
What does religion use law for? Is that true of all religion?
A To empower itself and control people in order for the religion to survive as the leaders envision it.
Share an experience where you were expected to do something you could not do.
A As a pastor I have been attacked because I could not control the raging hormones of a teenage boy by laying down the law. I was berated for my inability to make the pain stop at the loss of a loved one. I have been expected to predict and control what other people did in my absence.
What is responsibility without ability?
A A prediction of failure.
Where does ability come from?
A God alone provides it, but he must be present and free to respond in the moment.
What happens when expectancy is changed to expectation?
A Expectations are to a relationship what lead weights are to a scuba diver. They will only help you go down. They are specific in the mind of the one with the expectations but the one who is responsible to carry them out is generally ignorant of them. Expectations Kill relationships, Expectancy is like deep sea fishing, excitement and a pleasant uncertainty over what might be caught next. Expectations carry a heavy threat of failure. Expectancy knows how to live life.
Which one do you enjoy and seek out more?
What is the difference at the end of a day of fishing and catching nothing when the day was started with expectancy? With expectation?
Where do you live? Wanna move?
206 Will the world fall apart without responsibility and expectation?
A Some things that are being done apart from relationship will stop, but what were they really accomplishing anyway?. Life may be a little lighter, freer, spontaneous. The things that are just a shell can be given a proper burial, what is truly important will live on in a totally different way. You will live purposefully, freely.
What is the basis of shame and guilt?
A They are the chief actors motivating most performance. Performance gives a false sense of security and identity. It is like a Las Vegas $1 slot machine. It requires a lot of input from other people for even a small pay off. It quickly returns to demanding more than it is willing or able to give to give. Everyone remembers and lives for the rare huge payout which will most likely just be feed into the machine again looking for another.
What part does shame and guilt play living in relationship with Papa?
A Papa does not use shame or guilt, he has NO expectations, only expectancy of a life lived in Love with him.
If you are plagued by shame and guilt, what does that say about your relationship with Papa?
A you are living with expectations that cannot be met, even by God.
How is it possible to disappoint Papa? Why?
A Disappointment would imply unmet expectations. Papa has no expectations, therefore no disappointment. He knows the future and lives in an eternal present taking all things into account.
What does resorting to expectations and responsibilities demonstrate?
A It is saying we neither know or trust God. It is an attempt to gain control of an uncertain future resulting in a life lived in fear, not love.
How is living with priorities different than living in relationships?
A Priorities necessitate a hierarchy, not a relationship. If God is an absolute priority, why ever move to #2. Life cannot be prioritized that way. Number two is always going to try to supplant #1 and #3 is going to be mad all the time.
207 How big a priority is God in your life? Is it enough? Why?
A Priority lists are like rules, they will suck the life out of everything. God is not a priority, he IS life. He indwells and participated in all that we do. We live free, love free.

Have you ever felt like you were just another item on someone’s to do list? How did that make you feel?
A Yes, and I hate it. I accept it sometimes as the best they can do at the moment, but it does not build relationships.
How special do you feel waiting in line for your turn?
A I avoid lines like superman avoided kryptonite. They have a very negative effect on me.
If Jesus is not first in your life, where does he want to be?
A Smack dab in the middle, not of a list, but of a life.
What is a ritual?
A Anything repeated for the sake of doing it rather for it’s intended purpose. To be edgy but definitive: The first time I kissed the woman who is now my wife, it was anything but ritual. It was incredible, electrical, emotional and really short. I don’t kiss her now (Forty years later) every time I enter or leave a room. That would be meaningless ritual. I do kiss her in our relationship, but it is not ritual and that is all I have to say on that subject.

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Grandma Z's reciepe for Knodel

For my Aunt Ruth and her Grandchildren.

Friday, December 18, 2009

Bo's Cafe Discussion Guide

Bo’s Café Discussion Guide

Why this discussion Guide?
The Shack described a relationship with God every believer’s heart longs for but not in a place and way it is possible. Bo’s Café describes a real way and place where a “shack” kind of relationship can be realized here and now with real people. For some it will begin in the ongoing online exchange with real people sharing their hearts and hurts. For others they will discover this kind of life is possible right now within the community of believers they already have around them. For all the rest, Papa will provide these type of real relationships if they ask. We can visit The Shack in our hearts, but we can pull up a chair and talk to a real person in our own Bo’s Café.

How to use this discussion Guide
This guide was developed to be applicable to a number of situations. It can be used for individual reflection, one night book reviews and more serious discussions. Individuals can follow along as they read, and one night book club discussions can just skip to the chapters that most interest them. The key concepts are marked in bold for groups to discuss. For the most part, there is NO right answer. It is just a discussion starter with a prayer that the Holy Spirit will lead the group where He wants it to go. I would not suggest groups try to discuss all the questions, just pick through them for the one that interests you. Key questions are in bold letters. No page number indicates the question comes from the last noted page listed before it.
Who Am I to be writing this?
No one really. I wrote an unauthorized discussion guide for Windblown’s first book, The Shack, and posted it on line. That post resulted in about 900 groups requesting a copy via email and thousands of hits on the site where people could just click and paste the discussion guide. Some of those groups asked if I had any more guides they could use…so since I really believe in the message of Bo’s Café, I wrote this guide. If you want (or need) to know more about me, I’m easy to find at immanuelmission.com, papaponderings.blogspot.com and Donald Zimmermann on Facebook. I have met the authors and publishers a couple of times in group settings and although they are aware of this guide, they are in no way responsible for it or connected to it in any way. Their heart is for the message to go out. I believe they are really living the life described in Bo’s Café. Please do not use this guide in any way that would infringe on their rights or message.

This Guide is offered with the firm conviction that Father will keep His promise:
HEB 8:10 This is the covenant I will make with the house of Israel after that time, declares the Lord. I will put my laws in their minds and write them on their hearts. I will be their God, and they will be my people.
HEB 8:11 No longer will a man teach his neighbor, or a man his brother, saying, `Know the Lord,' because they will all know me, from the least of them to the greatest.
HEB 8:12 For I will forgive their wickedness and will remember their sins no more."
I honestly believe you have your own Andy in the person of the Holy Spirit who will teach you all you need to know to live in fellowship with the Father and His Son. Invite Him to join you in your discussion. He says he will join you, believe it.

So tell me, Who’s your Andy?

Fenton’s --ill
Why was Steven at Fenton’s? 1
Did Steven really want to be alone? Why do you think that?
Why did Andy persist in attempting to enter into Stephen’s life? 2
Was Andy being insensitive and rude? Why or why not?
Does Andy’s pushy way bother you? Why or why not?
What was Andy risking in pushing himself on Stephen?
What is it to “stumble around in a dark room, bumping into furniture”? 7
Is Andy’s statement true in real life? “Look, Stephen, you’ll never discover most of what you went searching for tonight as long as you’re setting the terms.” Why or why not? 12
Did Stephen go to Fenton’s for a purpose or was he brought there?
Why did Stephen really go to Fenton’s in the first place?
Coincidence is defined as: A sequence of events that although accidental seems to have been planned or arranged. Who’s plan? And for what purpose?
Do you believe in coincidence?

You really don’t get it, do you?
What did Steven not understand? Why?
Why was Lindsey so upset with Stephen? 14
Do you identify with either of them?
What is the most serious issue between Lindsey and Stephen?
How did they get into this condition?
Have you ever felt like Stephen? “How did this happen? I’ve got to fix this and I don’t know how.” 20

She’s a Lot of Detroit Magic, She is.
Considering Andy’s soiled past, does he really have any right to say anything to Stephen? Why do you say that? 22
Does Andy’s past make him a better or a worse confidant? How?
Why does Stephen reach out to Andy for help? 23
Was it really Andy’s voice Stephen was hearing in his head? IF not, whose voice?
Why did Andy wait so long to get back together with Stephen? 24
What kind of vehicle do you need to be a real Grace driver?

The Marriot, Room 643
How long should Steven wait for Lindsey to feel bad enough to call?25
Why is emotional stress so physically draining?

The Bluff Facing South

What are people trying to protect themselves from? 31
Why are they failing?
What kind of things do friends “dance around” instead of confront? Why?
What truths would / could set them free?
What constitutes “spinach in our teeth?”
What is your favorite way to “self-protect”? How’s that working for you?
How does hiding give issues power? 33
If exposure reduces the power of an issue, why is it so hard to expose it?
What does Andy mean “God is the only one who can see in the dark” and how could that help Steven?
Since Steven is hoping for some advice, why is Andy so reluctant to give any?
What is a spiritual kick in the pants and how effective is it in solving problems?
Why hasn’t Steven been able to fix his problems: In his own opinion, in Andy’s opinion and in your opinion?
How common in real life is Steven’s “pattern” of doing the best that he can?
Why doesn’t knowledge of a problem provide a way to deal with it? What is still missing?
What is “a way in” that Andy is hoping for?
Do you think Steven even knows who he really is? Why do you say that?
What percentage of the people you know “carry around guilt, or anger or bottled up hurt and don’t have any idea where to put it”?
Do the people around you know you well enough to truly speak for you at your funeral? Could you meaningfully speak at theirs?
Steven and Lindsey both have an expectation that going to church might have helped them. Would it? Why do you think that?

My Respect for Burglars Is Rising by the Moment

Was changing the locks really necessary?
Why is Stephen refusing to accept that he scarred Lindsey?
If Steven followed through on his threats of freezing funds, what does Andy mean by “the furniture will move again and you won’t be able to turn that light on again for a long time”?
Why was Andy so brief with Stephen on the phone?
Why did Stephen take Andy’s advice?

Angry People Eat, Don’t They?
After two weeks of separation Andy thought things seemed to be getting better? Were they? Why or why not?
Stephen felt Andy was manipulating him, was he? How? If it was not manipulation, what was it?
What’s with the Sunglasses?
Why does Andy respond with humor to Stephens announcement of “ real anger issues”?
Andy tells Peter “I have no desire to be your fixer. I want to be your friend.” If this whole thing is not about fixing Stephen, what is it about?
If Andy could magically fix Stephen’s anger issues, would that solve Stephen’s problem? Elaborate on your opinion.
IF Andy was not manipulating Stephen by taking him to Bo’s Café , what was Andy doing? Do you agree with Andy or not? Explain
Deep down does Stephen really know he needs to be “trapped”? To what end?
What was the allure of the fish market for Stephen?
Do you like the idea of a “regularly scheduled meeting you don’t have to show up to” appealing? For what specific reason?
How was the group that as gathering on the deck different from what Stephen was used to?
How did Cynthia and the gang overcome Stephen’s resistance so quickly? Specifically, what did they do?
Do you agree with Carlos:…most people don’t have someone safe enough when things go south”? Why not? What specifically is the problem in your opinion?
What is Andy “waiting” for?
Are you waiting for someone or is someone waiting for you?
Why was Carlos so impressed with Andy?
Will this really set someone free? “Andy was the first dude I ever met who had more confidence in the grace of God than in the power of the crap I was dragging around.” What does this mean?
Do most people wear masks like Carlos described to Stephen? Why?
What does “the dude was convinced that God in Carlos was enough mean? Why would this one idea give Carlos so much strength?
What do other people try to add to us besides God in us to make us good enough. Good enough for who?
“I didn’t know how to help anyone be anything –except some fake dude like me”…Is Carlos the exception here or the rule? What makes you suspect that?
Can you relate to “I’m trying so hard to do what you preach. And I can’t. I don’t know how to do it. Help me. Don’t keep telling me more stuff to do. I haven’t been able to do what you told me to do last week. I’m always failing. Please help me.
Is Andy’s advice right? Does scripture confirm or deny these statements. Which Scripture?
What if you told them that God was Crazy about them
…that they didn’t have to look over their shoulders.
What if you told them they didn’t have to walk around carrying this big bag of religious ‘ought-tos’?
What if you told them they weren’t just saved sinners trying to appease a God who’s way over there
What if you told them they were saints?
That they are saints with a built in ability to do great things?
What if you taught them that if they believed, it would actually start to keep them from the wrong that’s tearing them up?
Do the religious folk you know “love getting the crap beat out of them by the preacher? IF that is accurate, is it a good thing? How’s it working?
Why would people look for guilt?
What was it that Stephen thought he knew but Carlos was sure he did not know? How common is that?
What does Carlos mean by Jesus in Carlos Badillo on his worst freakin day?
Why do people WANT others to put on masks instead of letting who they really are out?
Does every one have junk? Who might be the exceptions? (besides newborns)
How are believers conditioned to become “ambulance chasers”.
Why doesn’t fixin work? What is the alternative to it?
How is maturity different from fixin?
What is “all information and arrogance”?
Where can “Your skill becomes more valuable than you” happen?
Is there a “safe enough place where you can tell the worst about yourself and not be loved or respected less, but more?
What happens to a person when they find that safe place? Do they hid there or shine there?
What’s it usually take to even want to find that safe place?
Does everyone hear the “whisper that’s been there all my life? What is it? What happens if it is ignored?

At a Table a Few Blocks From the Marriot

‘I know what we’re doing isn’t a plan”. How many people try to make it a plan do what they did in lieu of a plan? Does it ever work in the long run?
Why does Stephen think things are “different this time”? Are they different? How?
Why does Stephen just lay on his bed watching Lacrosse instead of doing what he never had time to do before?

Why Do You Enjoy Making Everything I Say Sound Stupid?
IF Andy and Cynthia are not being very intentional, what are they doing to mentor Andy?
What is Stephen looking for from Andy and Cynthia?
Andy is waiting for a way in. What does that mean?
What causes Stephen’s blindness to what God is trying to do? Is that a common problem in your world?
How is “resolving life issues stuff not like resolving problems at work”?
Why won’t information, agreement or diligence resolve the problems Stephen faces? Will they resolve your problems? Detail why or why not. 88
“You don’t know who you really are because you haven’t yet learned grace”. What is grace and how would it help Stephen know himself better?
How do you react to Andy’s satirical description of Grace: Yep, first you start talking about grace. Next thing you know you’re skipping Sunday School and sleeping in till noon. Then, a couple days later you’re down at the dog track, drinking whiskey our of a paper bag and dating a showgirl named Tiffany!” 89
How often do people (with the best intentions) use “religious concepts, and promote them to others when they haven’t even worked for (themselves)?”
Is grace “a gift only the non religious can accept”? Why do you think?
How is grace “soft”?
”Nothing defines religion quite as well as a bunch of people trying to do impossible tasks with limited power while bluffing to themselves that it’s working.” Do you agree or disagree? Elaborate.
If will power won’t get it done, what will? 90
Is there “a place safe enough to tell the worst about your and still be loved just as much , if not more, for sharing it”?
Why is that safety called…and environment of grace”?
How universal is the feeling of shame? 91
Why did Andy share his story with Stephen? 92
How did finding a safe place help Andy? 93
Why would this be true: “Only then could he begin to look at the worst of who he was without being destroyed by it?”
Even if superior religious folks were to impart truth to us, how does that help?
Is this true: Each of us walks with a profound limp? What does that mean?
Do you agree with Andy’s advice? “Don’t ever trust anyone who makes you feel intimidated by their presence because of some aura of religious superiority”. Share why you think that. 94
What does Andy mean “I want to be someone who’s vulnerable and authentic”?
Why might this work? “I’m learning the power of love to heal me. I am trusting HIM with me. No other cards….no other nothing.
Whose love is healing Andy? Cynthia, Bo, Carlos, Hank et al?
Who is Andy ultimately trusting?
Is that same love and safety available to you? Why or why not?

God, What Are You Doing to Me Here?

Why does Stephen challenge God for what is happening in his life? Is it common for people to do that? Why? 97
Why does Steven’s defensiveness say about what is going on inside him? 99
Why has “none of my training prepared me to solve this one”? 101
Since Stephen has reached his dream, why is he “dying on the inside”?
Is it possible to be a Christian ”at most, nine hours a week”? What does that say about Stephen’s concept of being a Christian? What does Stephen count in the nine hours? Do most people have similar lists? 102
Why do you think Andy keeps saying things like “do you want to continue” or ignore what Stephen just said? Is it the ONLY way Andy could accomplish his purpose?
Since Andy felt Stephen finally showed some progress, why did he cut it off and walk away? What is he waiting for? 103
Is there a deeper meaning to “I don’t pick the crowd”? Who does pick it? Is there a lesson there? 105
Is ”trust a right response to another’s love”? Why? Does it model God’s desire for His relationship with us?
Why did Andy expect Stephen to pull his cards back?
What do you think people fear most, being exposed or NOT being exposed? Which will do the most damage in the long run? Why?
Answer Andy’s three Test Questions as if YOU were Andy to Determine if YOU are a Healthy Protector: 106
1. Do I see other’s as sinners trying to be saints or as saints who still sometimes fail?
2. Is my goal that something will get conquered or fixed, or that nothing will remain hidden?
3. Do I care more about getting your issues resolved or establishing a healthy relationship so the issues can be resolved?
What is Andy’s advice to Stephen for advisors that do not possess these qualities in spades? Why?
Paraphrase in your own experience Andy’s description of the wrong kind of advisor. How prevalent is this type of advisor/counselor?
Why is it difficult to mesh work and a spiritual life? 107
Does “sharpness, greed, acquisitiveness, meanness, egotism and self interest” actually produce anything that is beneficial in the long run? Explain.
How does humility produce the best?
If a person were to ever actually “arrive”, where or what would that person be? 108
Can a person learn to love before he learns to be loved?
What is the protection offered in exchange for the permission given?

We Should Talk
Did Stephen write to Lindsey to control and manipulate or to expose some part of his inner self to her? 110
How did Lindsey respond? Why?

Out of Excuses
Why do you think Stephen felt the newness is gone? Is this common? Why? What is really going on? 114
What great gifts can failure bring? 117
What is more important, information or influence?
Why don’t little techniques, they don’t do squat? 118
Who does Carlos believe is trying to get Stephens attention? How will that help Steven?
What does “a safe place isn’t a soft place” mean? 119
What is a safe place?
How/why can a person be loved MORE for revealing the junk in his life?
“Safe is where I can tell you my garbage so you can enter in and stand with me in the solution of it.” How could that be possible? 120
What does a person have to care about “more than getting better before they can ever get better”?
Have you ever watched “someone cover pain with something that makes them hurt even more”? What happened? What could have prevented it? 121
Why did Hank tell Stephen “to be kind to Andy when you walk out”? 124
What are the pieces Carlos and Hank would be picking up?
What does this suggest Andy was willing to risk for Stephen?

This Whole Stinking Things a Joke!

What is the basis for Stephens entire pity party monologue? 125
Is Stephen’s tirade against God a good thing or a bad thing? What does it say about his view of himself and his view of God?

Good-bye to the Mint-Strawberry Water

Why do you think Lindsey asked Stephen to come home when nothing had really been resolved?
Why was Stephen avoiding Andy?

Just Alan

How long can people live “being pretty careful around one another”? What does that do to the quality of the relationship? What would be the other choices? 133
Who is right about Alan, Lindsey or Steve, both or neither? 134
Why is Alan such a help to Lindsey?
Why is Alan such a threat to Stephen?
Why did Stephen lose it again with Lindsey? 136
Why does Stephen bother to pray when his last prayer was an attack on God’s ability to really do anything?
Does everyone have to come to the same turning point that Steven came to before they can truly change? (so why’s it feel different now?) 137
So who’s your DADDY now Stephen?

I’m a Mess Andy

Andy knew who Stephen was long before Steven went to Fentons. Why did Andy wait so long to contact Stephen? What does that say about waiting on the Holy Spirit’s timing? 141
Why was Stephen so heavy on Andy’s heart before they officially were re-introduced?
Did Andy lie to Steven back on pg 8 when he implied he knew Stephen’s name because of the name tag Steven was wearing? Is it a lie to not tell everything you know. (read John 7 when Jesus tells his brothers it is not time to go yet, then shows up later).
Why didn’t Andy respond to Stephen’s pleading? 142
What does “looks like we’re not in Kansas anymore” mean?
Why is Steven now ready? 144
What could have been done to speed up the process?
What was the huge change in Stephen? Why is that so huge?
How was Stephen trusting Andy with himself?
How does Andy now protect Stephen? 145
What had Andy been doing in the weeks before to prepare for this moment? How important is that?
How universal is the shame experience? How do people hide it?
How does shame take a violation from your past and convince you that how you felt then is who you will always be? 146
How and why do people create a lie to protect themselves from the shame lie? 147
Why doesn’t all the tricks we use to cover shame really work?
Why do most people try to modify bad behavior rather than deal with the root problem? What would help? 148
How is behaviorism like Whack-a-Mole? 150 Why does it NOT work?
How effective is it to find the “root” problem?
Is Andy right? “No psychological mallet can solve the shame that triggers the lie that releases the mole.” 151
What is “the Jesus card”?
Why does Stephen feel it is “smoke and mirrors”?
If Jesus really did deal with the shame, why doesn’t
How can anyone ”believe what you’re not yet willing to believe?” 152
What does it meant to be willing to try on the new clothing? 152
Which is actually true about a person, the lie they tell themselves about who they are or the identity God gives them?
Why do people struggle with this?
How does Jesus truly feel about you? Why do you feel that way?
Which is more popular? Trusting Jesus, faking it, or a program? Which is your personal method?
Is Christ coming through me the true story about me? Is that the same thing as: Col 1:27 To them God has chosen to make known among the Gentiles the glorious riches of this mystery, which is Christ in you, the hope of glory.
What does Andy mean by “That dog’ll hunt?”
Why isn’t shame resolved when a person becomes a Christian? 153
Why is ‘Jesus is fully disgusted with them’…the greatest lie in the mix?
What is the proof that we cannot fix ourselves? 154
Is what Stephen is hearing from Andy about God the same thing you have been hearing about God? What is different?
Do you share this fear? What’s God gonna do with menow that I’ve given my life to Him? Are you worth being loved? In whose opinion?
What do you have to do to get what Steven wants? How do you do that? 155
Why would anyone be happy when the ugly truth about them was revealed?
How long does it take to get there?
Where did Andy’s concern for Steven come from? 156
Where do your concern for people come from?
How is protection an expression of love? What is being protected, the sin or the person?
How is that different from what typically goes on in a circle of believers?
How does protective love create vulnerability? 157
What are the steps involved to get there?
What do you use to attempt to control your world?
Why didn’t Stephen just “stop doing what you’ve been doing wrong before now? How’s that typically work out?
What was wrong with Stephen’s looking for a fix to his problem? 158
Why did Andy stop steering the boat? How wise was that? 159
Was Andy really ready to listen before the Boat steering incident? Is it a point in time or an ongoing process? 161
Why can’t Stephen honestly know when he is lying, bluffing, pretending or telling the truth?
Why does Andy say he is just a hack at helping? Where does he real help come from? 162
How is “telling Lindsey your game plan” going to help? What does this do that is different?
How was Stephen “drinking his own poison”? 163
What is real repentance? Explain in detail. 164
Why won’t Andy tell Stephen what to say when he talks to God, but will help him with what to say to Lindsey?
“The heart can’t be talked into trust”. What does build trust?
When is it ok to ask for forgiveness? 165
What was the best advice Andy gave Stephen?
Does God bless or endure? What does that imply? 166

Go Figure, Andy Was Right.

What was “whispering” to Stephen for the past month? 167
How was Stephen’s prayer? 169
Why did Stephen feel better?
Does it make a real difference HOW we define ourselves? 170
Is Stephen really a saint on his worst day? Says who?
How’s Steven’s prayer life coming along now? Why? 171
What was Andy right about? 172
Why did Lindsey accept Stephen’s apology? 180

Where Do We Go From Here?

Why won’t “reaffirming our love and commitment to each other …do it alone”? 181
Why did Stephen get the Electra back for Andy? 182

How Have I Missed This Kind of Life?

Do you have a lurking feeling that you are missing something in life? Do you know what is missing?
What had Andy taught Stephen? Have you learned that lesson yet? 186

So The Suit Found a Date Huh?, What the Deal Is With Dat?
What does it mean to “watch life from a distance”? 191
Why did Stephen think something was wrong with Lindsey?
Why did it all go so terribly wrong? What happened?
When and how did Stephen realize that the gang really did have “more confidence in the Grace of God than in the power of the crap he was dragging around? What difference did it make now? (66) 199
How did the group show love to Stephen after he blew up?
How predictable was it that something like this would happen? Why? Is it always necessary?
What’s the difference between bring pitied and Knowing your being pitied? Which is really worse?
What is the difference between a ploy and sincerity? 201
What did Andy tell Stephen was “all you’ve got”? Is it enough for everyone? Explain.
What is Andy’s recipe for protecting Stephen? Why would it work? 202
Why was Stephen’s view of Lindsey’s reactions so different from everyone else’s view?
Why did the lunch never have a chance from the start?
Do most people lose it for a similar reason to why Stephen lost it? 203
Do you feel trapped in a relationship where you are trying to get someone to perform by your rules or are you trying to figure out someone’s rules for you…or both?

Why Do You Get So Angry?

Is there a common underlying reason why people et angry?
Why doesn’t Jennifer look at her dad when they talk? Does the reason sound familiar to you? 207
How else might a person try to shelter herself from being hurt? How effective is it?
Why didn’t Stephen like hearing from Lindsey when he is getting out of control?
How many ways do people “power up”? Is one way more effective or destructive than another? 208
Does anyone “whistle” for you? 209
Is someone in your life waiting to tell you something you need to hear…but don’t want to? What is stopping them? 209
What happens when you tell someone something the really need to hear before they are ready to hear it?
Was there anything special or different about the apology Stephen wrote to Lindsey?

There Ain’t No Together People, Just Some With Whiter Teeth

Why didn’t Carlos pity Stephen and how did it help? 214
What is the “great secret payoff for all those who give others permission to see behind the mask”?
Is the payoff worth the risk? Why?
What is the goal of letting people see the real you?
How does a “leper group” get established? How contagious is Leprosy?
Who truly is NOT a member of the leper group?
Is this true and what does it mean: There Ain’t No Together People, Just Some With Whiter Teeth? 215
How did Cynthia make someone feel like a leper?
Why was that important for Cynthia to share?
How can “trouble knows how to find someone hanging out in the same room: be stopped?
Is it common for people to feel angry with God for not protecting them? Why? 217
What does a person have to assume when they get angry with God?
Why do we try to retie the knots when God is wanting to free someone? Won’t making them suffer a little for their errors go a long way towards preventing future errors? REALLY?
When God frees a person from sin, are they more or less likely to be a repeat offender?
How does “never letting the other fell free or restored” affect another person? What is gained/lost? 218
Are churches in general known for letting people feel free and restored? Why or why not?
What does Cynthia mean by arrogant blindness?
Shouldn’t weak people be controlled?
What did Cynthia have to do to change, regain her sight? 219
Would a Bo’s Café atmosphere and attitude be fit for a local church? Describe how it would look and feel in a church setting? 220
How could you move your church in this direction? What would stop you?
How long does it take to regain trust? What does it take to start? 221
What can we know that will break the lie/shame cycle for good? 222
What helps to shorten the process? 222

I Was Playing You Like a Gibson Hummingbird

In what way did the Christmas display remind Stephen of the changes in his life? 223
Why did Megan want Stephen’s help? 227
Is this the normal way things should go in the body of Christ?
Elaborate: “Integrity is proven when you admit what you cannot do and honor what you say you can do”. 228
Is ”Proving I was worthy of love” wired into everyone? Why? 229
What was Andy’s real life issue?

And Back Again

What made it harder for Lindsey now than before? 233
How had the relationship improved? Why?
Is there really such a thing as a “passive, controlled guy”? Is that all bad? 234
How far do the ripple rings effect others when a person chooses to start living in true Grace?

I Have Waited For This Moment For a Week

What is “the true legacy of exchange”? 337
Isn’t everyone really a prodigal….finding their way back home!
Be sure to join in the ongoing story at boscafe.com. Andy and Cynthia would love to hear from you!

Sunday, December 13, 2009

Why did Blogger block the Paste?

From looking at the blogger help line I find that I am not the only one who cannot use the right click paste option anymore either. Evidently Blogger has changed something to prevent it...although they don't actually admit it. That really puts a crimp in my style since most of my blogs are written in MS word. I may have to look for a new blog host environment that is not so restrictive. Any ideas?

Computer Problems

I dropped of the face of the cyber world due to computer problems, a TON of them. First I had a virus that crushed everything. Had to put in a new hard drive and rebuild it 5 times over the past month. Then my DSL line went out. Now it will not let me import documeninto my blog. I have a bunch of stuff I want to post, but I can't get it to import! Since I had to redo everything anyway, I upgraded to Windows 7. That was a challenge, it did not like my computer at first but Tom got them to play nice. I like some of the features, but I don't speak Windows 7 yet so don't get much use out of it. Hopefully I will get it all under control soon. If you are reading this, at least one problem is solved.

Sunday, November 15, 2009


Jeff was my best friend. He survived Viet Nam as a chopper pilot and was shot down by a hunter while on an early morning mercy flight in Germany! Between His tour in Viet Nam and Germany he stayed with Dee and I for a couple of days. We spent all night looking at his pictures of Viet Nam, taken from the air and of the mountain people he spent time with in a ministry he supported in Nam while on duty. He would use his TDY time to go to get the missionaries supplies for their work in the middle of a war zone! Before he left my house he gave me my first camera, the one he used in Viet Nam, a really nice Petri with three Lenses! He gave it to me because, as he said "here, you could never afford this"! I couldn't. That camera went every where with me when Doni was a child. Maybe that's where she first got bitten by the shutter bug. The day I got the news Jeff was gone, a piece of me left forever. I don't know how long it takes for some pain to go away. I only can say 38 years isn't enough. But there is a lot of pride for who he was and what he did too. Jeff, I love you man, always did, always will. See you soon as I finish here.

Sunday, November 1, 2009

The Shack Ch 14, part 1


194 What does God is a verb mean?
A I am
195 Are you aware of Sarayu’s presence sometimes more than other times? Why?
Is Sarayu more “intentional”. Why would that be?
Are there other voices we hear in our spirit that we could confuse with Sarayu?
A Voice of self, calling for our own interests first. The voice of satan, questioning, accusing or excusing.
What happens if you make a mistake?
A Be sure to make the distinction between sin and a judgment error. Sin should be resisted and fought. Judgment errors are a part of life. Loosen up on yourself and others. Papa is in charge. If I mistake the voice of the spirit for self or satan’s voice, Papa will still work it out. We will NOT be prefect, but He is. Sometimes we will do the wrong thing for the right reason. Uncertainty is a part of faith. Make every effort to align the voice with the Word and know Father is in charge of even the smallest details.
196 What would be the best kind of mistake to make, seeing as your going to make one anyway?
A Doing the wrong thing for the right reason. This is not necessarily a sin issue, just a path issue, a judgment issue. Not all mistakes are bad. The only way we learn to make good choices is by making a few bad ones. If it is a sin issue, see 1Jo 1:9 and move on immediately. If it is a judgment issue, learn what you can and move on.
How does God handle honest sincere mistakes?
A Mistakes are not always sin, they may be just a lack of experience, expertise, information or maturity. God is actively using everything for our good and his Glory. You can make a mistake, He cannot. Rom. 8:28. We tend to make more mistakes when we “worry” over them as opposed to living our life in Christ. Live free. It is OK to not know the best answer for now. God is totally in charge. In our spirit we know when we are acting in rebellion and when we are truly trying to discern God’s way. Remember there is a big difference between God’s Will, which is universal for all men….IE that any should perish..2Pe 3:9…and God’s plan and path for each individual. All of us should seek his will and follow the path. Will questions are easy, they are declared in scripture, Path questions are fluid and conditional on an infinite number of things. Like Papa told Mack, he can find you on any path if you make a mistake. The only true mistake in path questions is not learning from them.
How does he handle rebellious, self centered mistakes?
A The cross. Rebellion carries with it it’s own punishment.
Do you feel like you have things under control?
If you do is it reality?
If you don’t, when and why did you discover you do not have things under control?
A I barely have me under control sometimes. Sometimes I pretend to have things under control but I am just fooling me. There is virtually no aspect of life I can control. I must leave all that to Father who indwells me. When I think I have a responsibility to control things or people I am forced to make rules I cannot keep or enforce.
What value is emotions?
A They are the spice of life, but not the meal
Do honest emotions always tell the truth?
A Only by accident or coincidence. Emotions are based on feelings, perceptions, available information of questionable reliability, history, hopes, health, experience, fears and the like. Occasionally they will coincide with truth but are not capable of revealing truth in and of themselves.
Tell of a time when your emotions told you the truth?
A Emotions do not tell truth, per se, but they do coincide with truth giving the appearance of truth telling. Example: As a young teen I sat next to a incredibly beautiful woman at a Dodger Base ball game. Emotionally I remember feeling an attraction…to a woman easily twice my age…I was really falling for her beauty until she opened her mouth to disagree with a call the ump had made. Emotions and opinion drained faster than the beer she spilled. The first time I saw the girl who was to become my wife, I found her fascinating, intriguing, beautiful (I could go on but you get the point). I was not lacking female companionship at the time, but she quickly eclipsed all others. We have been married 39 years.
When do your emotions tend to lie to you?
A Mostly when I am awake.
How do people try to control emotions?
A Medicate, liquid-date, deny, ignore, reject etc. with all the effectiveness of squeezing jello-o
Which is the most effective method of control?
A Revealed substantiated truth and accepting that Emotions just are.
197 What is the power behind emotions according to Sarayu?
A “Paradigms power perceptions and perceptions power emotions”. “check the truth of what you believe”.
How often have your perceptions been accurate?
Have you experienced a paradigm shift in reading the Shack? What changed?
If we lived in absolute perfect truth, could emotions be trusted?
A Never! To many other conflicting circumstances, experiences, health, rest, etc are involved.
If we cannot trust our emotions, what can we trust?
A JN 14:6 Jesus answered, "I am the way and the truth and the life.
How might living out of relationship be more complicated than following rules?
A Following rules is simple, on the surface at least. It is also unsatisfactory as a basis to live life. NO set of rules can hope to capture the essence of a relationship. Rules cannot anticipate or respond to all the variables that life presents. If they could we would not need a supreme court to interpret the rules and a legislature to continue to make new ones. The sheer volume of changing rules is a testimony to the complexity of living in relationship. Rules are a false substitute for relationship.
How might it be simpler?
A When a person is truly in love the responses are natural and effortless, rules are unnecessary and undesirable. They inhibit rather than promote life.
How successful can you be following the rules.
A If I could make all the rules (and change them at my whim) I could follow part of them part of the time. I know some people who are really good rule keepers, but they have a limited number of static rules to keep.
Whose rules are you going to follow?
A Personally, I’m not a good rule keeper so I don’t tend to follow or make very many. My wife is really good about keeping rules. If it is a rule, she will try to keep it…..except with me. She does not try to impose any rules on me, she just loves me. Her love has changed what I do more than anything else.
Which way satisfies the soul?
A Since I am not attuned to keeping rules, (and it is not that I intentionally break them, I just don’t think much about them) relationships are the only route for me.
Why did Sarayu say ”the Bible does not teach you to follow rules” when there are plenty of commands written in it?
A The essence of The Word is the revelation of The Christ, the word become flesh and dwelling among us. Just keeping the rules does not give life, Only God, living in us does. EPH 2:1 As for you, you were dead in your transgressions and sins,
198 What is the essence of living life?
A I was DEAD, I am now alive. Gal 2:20
What does “living in Him” mean? How is it done?
A God becomes our sole source of direction, devotion, intention, everything. NOT in a monastic way but in living free, living life. When we belong to Him, but the power of the new birth, he ,makes it possible for me to come to live . See notes at the end of Chapter 10 for more on God living through us.
What is a sure fire indication it is NOT being done?
A the opposite of the fruit of the spirit with the corresponding problems.
Whose righteousness are we to live in? How do you acquire it?
A The righteousness of Christ. ISA 61:10 I delight greatly in the LORD; my soul rejoices in my God. For he has clothed me with garments of salvation and arrayed me in a robe of righteousness,. We live in this righteousness by the moment, not by the day or week. Since God is not keeping score, you do not have to keep track of points, just live free in him choosing moment by moment. Never linger in failure, it was forgiven on the cross. God will never be disappointed with you because he had NO expectations of you in the first place. See He Loves Me Ch 17
What can rules never do? Is that universally true of all kinds of relationships?
A Rules can never love.
Describe the difference between right answers and the living answer.
A The living answer is a person, Jesus Christ. Life becomes a relationship, not a list. Lists create expectations and demands, relationships can respond to life with love.
What would you predict having a relationship with the right answer would produce in your life? How would you feel? What would you do? How would it affect relationships with other?
Compare your life to the answers to the 2 previous questions. What do your answers tell you about your life?
Is there a change you need to make? What is stopping you?
Do the real answers in life come from right answers or right relationships?
A without relationships, answers have not context, meaning or value to your life.
Do you work harder on answers or relationships?
Do relationships require all the answers to be satisfying?
A Not at all. After 39 years my wife is still able to surprise me from time to time. There is more about her to learn and discover. In some ways, I know her completely and yet there is still ample mystery, intrigue, surprise.
Can the search for the right answer stifle a relationship?
A Absolutely. How do you know it is the final answer, the only answer or even the right answer. Most answers change over time with conditions.
How does Sarayu communicate?
A Most reliably from the words of scripture to the spirit of man, enlightened by the Holy Spirit to the circumstance and situation. Usually with a still small voice that draws, answers, satisfies.
If you study the Bible looking primarily for rules and principles, what will you likely end up with?
A Long lists of Rules and regulations. If you limit yourself to the Jewish expressed, explicit thou shalts and shalt nots you will top out in the mid 300’s. If you take an institutional approach, the sky is the limit. You can find a rule for anything and everything, especially when you get to be the rule maker.
How will others react to your kernels of truth as you share?
A Some will call you a saint and help you look for more rules for people to keep. These rules will generally follow the personality and preferences of the rule makers, mostly external, fairly rigid but flexible to the keepers tastes. Others will call you unpleasant names and will get as far away from you as possible as fast as possible. A few will try to embrace your rules for a time, fail miserably and either leave of their own volition in defeat or get kicked out in judgment for failure to keep some important rule.
If you study the Bible looking primarily for keys to relationships, what will you likely end up with?
A Relationships, first with the fullness of Father and then with his bride. In the first 10 verses of Philippians we see Paul sharing deep personal commitment, prayer, confidence, and love with them.
How will others react to your seeking a true relationship with them?
A Most people love to be genuinely loved. Those that do not need love the most.
200 What did the grace of God living in community look like to Mack?
A Light, care free, laughing, respecting, loving, joyous, purposeful, pleasant, friendly, intimate, pure, spontaneous, inviting.
Would there be “banter and laughter” within the Holy Trinity?
A Probably different than ours, but it is hard to conceive of an expression in man that does not have a purified beginning in the relationship inside the trinity.
When believers are walking in harmony is there banter and laughter?
A Tons. The banter is not belittling but playful and enjoyable for ALL. The laughter is with, not at.
Is there any description, definition or comparison that can fully explain the trinity and their relationship?
A YES, DEFINITELY. We will know it as soon as we see Jesus in person after Jesus comes back for us. Until then it is some revelation, some intuition, some guesswork, some contradictions and probably some error.
Do you have a perfect, complete and accurate understanding of your closest friend?
A Not even close.
Is it ok to believe in and accept the trinity when the infinite cannot be described by the finite?
A Mandatory. The reality of a Father, Son and Holy Spirit is declared but not defined in Scripture
A rule approach to the trinity would require having perfect understanding. What would a relationship approach require?
A Acceptance of what you do understand and a trust for whatever you are not sure of or never thought of.
Are you looking for something to know or someone to love and be loved by? Explain
A I sleep with my leather bound book, the Bible on my nightstand and my wife at my side. I have to turn on the light, put on my glasses and prop my self up on pillows to read the book. I have a picture of my wife on the wall, letters from my wife in my files and her sister I could talk to about her lives down the street., but I don’t look at the picture or read the letters, or call her sister, precious as they all are to me. She can lay there silently in the dark beside me and I know I am loved, cherished and accepted just as I am. Jesus is there in the dark too, not on the nightstand but inside of me, Living, loving, leading. I’m going keep my Bible and my letters, but I am going to live life loved with my wife and my Lord.
What would it take to have the relationship with others that Mack desires to have with Nan?
A It has to begin with living loved by Jesus first. From that relationship all others can come.
Please don’t get stuck on how the trinity might interact. This scene is contrived for the purpose of the story. Do not miss the real message here. It pictures how believers should be living in a joyful, playful, harmonious and respectful relationship with Papa, Jesus, Sarayu and each other. Isn’t that what you really want deep down in the depths of your soul? It is there for the asking.
Have you ever asked another person “why do you love me”?
Why didn’t you know the answer to it? Did their answer surprise you?
How would they know why you love them if you did not tell them?
When you ask yourself the question “why would God love me?” what does your heart answer?
A Typically people look to a works answer here and hope for the best. Many have come to the default conclusion that God does not love them.
When you ask yourself the question “why does God love me?’ can your heart actually answer or would you have to ask God to know the answer?
A I dated my wife for a year before I risked telling her that I loved her. I thought, hoped, prayed, wanted, expected, wished and worried over her response. She was as afraid as I was but we stumbled through it that first time. It was far from romantic. Me: This may ruin everything kid, but I love you. Her: I do you too! It was awkward but honest. The words and confidence to express and accept them came easier and easier. Today the same words are pregnant with meaning and we use them often. Interesting, telling her I love her did not ruin anything, on the contrary it made life infinitely sweeter.
How does it make you feel to know that you are loved with no expectations or standards for performance?

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Better Than Advertized

Last night I went to the Bo's Cafe release Party with about 500 other people. Paul Youngs, the author of The Shack was the key note speaker and he was definitely better than advertised. I was really impressed by the lives that authored these books. John, Paul and Brian of Bo's were not only very likable, but committed to be what they describe in their book. I have a new Discussion Guide ready for Bo's Cafe, but my Computer is on the blink so I can't post it yet. (I am using Dee's now). Even if you don't like to read, get a copy of both books. I haven't seen if Bo's is on audio yet. I suppose it will be. It would be great if they could record it they way it was done last night. It will support the Grace Cause! Grace really is greater than all the problems that can over power every one of us. the shack discussion guide

Monday, October 19, 2009

Will it Heal?

My computer caught a virus last week and is in Dr. Tom's hospital for computers. I guess I should feel like I won the lotto. The virus is so new Microsoft wanted to take a look at it. I think they may want to make a vaccine or whatever it is they do with a computer virus. I don't really want it named after me! Apparently it's pretty tricky because Tom says until some anti-virus recognizes it, it will keep reinfecting the computer. Anyway, it's quarantined until it gets a clear bill of health. That reminds me of how we treat relationships that are less than healthy. What do you do with people that are, for whatever reason, harmful and hurtful? Sometimes they have to be guaranteed for the sake of everyone around....like why I am using Dee's computer for all my email and stuff right now....How do you know when you have to walk/run away from a relationship? Look at it this way. If the injury is like a broken ankle, it can be healed good as new with the right protections and time. If it is like putting your hand on a hot stove, then the only thing that can be done is to get away...at least till the stove cools down. It is never healthy to keep putting your hand back on a hot stove and no, you won't get used to it. Sado-masochism is not a spiritual gift. Hopefully, my computer and your relationships will all find the grace of healing in the hands of a master.

Sunday, October 11, 2009

Nobel Peace Prize?

Cuz Ray posed an interesting observation and put up a pretty funny SNL clip on his Blog. To see it click on his blog to the right. Personally giving Al the prize for global warming awareness told me all I needed to know.

Wednesday, October 7, 2009


Thirteen years ago I assembled this windmill and stuck it temporarily just off my lawn. It is not level...which used to bug me...but it has been that way so long that it is just part of the landscape now. Every once in a while I will get the urge to level it, but if I ignore the urge, it quickly goes away and another year passes. I would level it but it is always: to hot, to windy, I'm to busy, I will do it after I....You get the idea. I look at this every day from the window and every time I step out the door but the urge to fix it is less than it was so I don't. Who knows? I may never level it or it might get leveled this afternoon...no I have a Dr. appointment, so maybe Saturday, no, I am going to a meeting with Daniel. I can live with it, but I wonder if it might somehow be better if it was level? I could go fix it right now...but it's almost lunch time. I wonder if it is like my back. For MANY years I could not lay on my stomach without my back hurting. It was that way so long I could not remember ever laying on my stomach. One day I tripped over something and threw my knee out. I went to a chiropractor to get some therapy for it and during his exam he asked how long my back had been out. I told him it wasn't out, it was always that way, but he worked on it anyway. After a couple of sessions it popped back into place and my back felt right for the first time in years. I no longer let it get to that place because I don't like living with the pain. That makes me wonder. Is there something out of level or out of place in my relationship with God that I have just gotten used to? What would it be like if I were to fix it? I wonder how often I actually put up with a spiritual crick in my back. the shack study guide,

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Is it the camera?

Braxton and I had our own photo shoot last week. We opted for the beautiful country girl look.

Braxton's beautiful long hair

The season is not the only thing that's changing

When I started in ministry in 1968 it was a completely different world, but even then people were struggling with the institutional side of Christianity. Some great ministries came out of those struggles. On my college campus the “anti-church” crowd met in a near by park. As attendance swelled into the hundreds and the Southern California winter rains began to fall they had to move indoors. Which meant they had to gather funds, rent a building and organize who did what so they could continue their “anti-church” sentiment….in a building! Another group used a drive in theater to hold services without getting out of your car and another catered to the barefoot beach crowd! Today those groups of change ARE the institutional church and the barefoot beach boys are a huge denomination. (Calvary Chapel if you’re wondering). Anyway the winds of change are beginning to howl again, but this time it is NOT anti institutional church. It is more fundamental than that. It is anti-Christian-life-style-as-commonly-practiced-today. The Christian life style as painted in the scriptures is not the loosey-goosey anything goes radical grace NOR is it the Lethal-Legal tow the line painted on Mask either. Jesus saw his followers as flawed people who lived in relationship, first with Him and then with each other. His single command was to Love one another as HE loved us. That’s what this new wind of change is trying to accomplish. There is a million ways to do it, inside of a church, alongside of a church and even outside of a church. The ways are so varied they cannot be (and really should not be) defined or copied but to some degree they can be described. At least we can get an idea of what it would FEEL LIKE if as we approach this new kind of Christian Life style that actually delivers what Jesus promised. That’s what I like about the new book, Bo’s Café. It is not a recipe for a new kind of church, it is a description of how the Christian live can be lived. ANYONE can do it, within or without a local church. I think it is a great step in the right direction. The Shack woke millions of people up to the fact that God really loves them. Bo’s Café creates the setting for how we can/should/must live together in that love. You can pick up a copy at Walmart or Barns and Nobel or get it on line. Just click here> www.boscafe.com and I will take you there myself. (and in the intrest of the new internet rules imposed by congress, NO I am not being paid in any way, shape or form for this referal, it is from my heart. It seems to me after 40+ years of ministery, this is the movement of the winds of the Spirit)
Bo's Cafe, The shack study guide

Sunday, October 4, 2009

The Shack Ch. 13


183 Do you have any idea what God is doing right now? Could you make an educated guess? What does your answer suggest?
How long does it take for God to put our sins in the past?
A From His perspective of eternity, they are always in the past. From our perspective according to 1jo 1:9 it happens upon confession.
Why did Papa say she did not even want Mack’s sorrow for his judgmental attitude?
A Our sins are removed as far as the east is from the west, buried in the sea, remembered no more, made white as snow. They were paid for and the power of sin was broken on the Cross.
Have you ever heard someone try to explain a tragedy like Mack did? “Did Missy have to die for you to change me”.
Why do people think that way?
Have you ever seen God work incredible good out of unspeakable tragedies?
Why doesn’t grace have to depend on suffering to exist?
A Grace is a part of the very nature of God. It exists because He exists. Evils just make it more apparent.
186 What did Papa mean: “She was not your sacrifice Mack. She is and always will be your joy”?
A 2Ti 2:5 5 For there is one God and one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus, 6 who gave himself as a ransom for all men--the testimony given in its proper time.
How does ceasing to be a judge make a person’s burden lighter?
A Judging brings with it the requisite assessment. When we judge someone as guilty we feel the burden of assessing a penalty or some form of consequences to correct and or prevent possible future breaches. Even if we have correctly judged, we have no inherent ability to assess any consequence or penalty. Typically any attempt will only serve to create a festering wound in the relationship making any meaningful progress impossible. Since we have plainly violated scripture about judging we now have our own problem to deal with. When we allow the Holy Spirit to be the judge, jury and administrator of consequences we are free to carry out the most basic of Christ’s commands, to Love one another. Personally, as a pastor I am tired of seeing my joy robbed by other’s sins that I can realistically do nothing about. By loving the sinner I am not condoning the sin any more than Jesus did when he ate with Zaccheus or accepted Mary’s perfume or shared the secrets of water with the woman at the well. I can live free and light trusting God to protect his own name and draw others to himself. Perhaps my love will do that. Judging surly will not.
Why do people see God as Mean and Jesus as nice?
A They do not understand the significance of the cross or God’s role in it. Wayne Jacobsen explains this in detail in HE LOVES ME, ch 14-16.
Why is that impossible to be true?
A In the paradox of the three in one and the one in three, it is impossible to separate Christ and the Father in nature or essence even though they have different functions. Jesus is a mirror reflection of the attitudes and actions of the father.
How literal is it when Papa said “we are all in him”?
A Totally literal. Any good theology of the trinity has contradictions and no doubt some inaccuracy. The concept is one that is incomprehensible this side of Glory. It works perfectly, exactly how is part of the Mystery of God.
Why did God chose to love Mack? You?
A God loves and is especially fond of all mankind. Unfortunately not all mankind is especially fond of God.
187 Why doesn’t God get exasperated with our continual failures?
A According to Romans 8 28ff, the ultimate fate of all God’s children who come to him is inseparable Love and being conformed to the likeness of Jesus. Each failure is viewed in the light of the eventual eternal success. In scientific testing, each failed attempt brings the scientist one step closer to the final accomplishment. God can glory in the process (v28) be it failure or success knowing the final outcome is eternally secure. There is nothing to get exasperated about.
What is Guilt good for? (hint, it’s the same as the 60’s war song, WAR, what is it good for? Absolutely nothing! HUH!)
A Don’t be shy, sing it with me!
Why will guilt prevent us from finding freedom in Christ?
A Guilt focuses on external performance. Freedom is found in internal relationships. Guilt makes us work harder to get what cannot be earned, only received.
What does it mean to “hide in lies”?
A The chief lie is “my way”. The lie that we can somehow manage life independent of the only source. The lie that we know what is best for ourselves. The lie that God is anything but what he claims to be, Our loving father. The lie that I can make it on my own. Lies are any ideology, plan, practice, method, path, direction that does not have God’s love and relationship with me at its core.
What lies do people typically hide in?
Hide from who for what?
A Mostly we lie to ourselves because we want to pretend we have a security/power that does not exist. The truth is we are sinners, failures, completely and undeniably incompetent to live this life alone. We want the security and approval of others around us to leave our inner lies unchallenged, so we all agree to the same lies that no one really believes, but most readily accept.
In what way is a lie a “little fortress”?
A It provides a safe place of retreat from the probing spirit. We justify our actions with a noble sounding purpose that is really another brick in our fortress of lies.
How was Mack lying about not telling Nan about the note?
Do you ever lie to yourself just to feel better or avoid some internal pain or conflict? How’s that working for you?
What was Papa’s cure for lies?
A Tell the truth, unvarnished, plain as simple.
How is Papa bigger than lies? What does that mean?
A Although lies hurt people, Papa is still in absolute charge and will weave any fractal into a beautiful scene.
189 Why will faith not “grow in the house of uncertainty”?
A Faith is a risk, what if God fails? It is a key ingredient in pleasing God according to Heb 11. To tell the truth, Mack must believe God will work it all out in spite of or because of anyone’s reactions.
Papa said: “my life inside of you / will appropriate risk and uncertainty / to transform you / by your own choices / into a truth teller”. Break the meaning and process of this down section by section.
A My life: The miracle of the new birth. Colossians 1: 27 To them God has chosen to make known among the Gentiles the glorious riches of this mystery, which is Christ in you, the hope of glory. COL 1:28 We proclaim him, admonishing and teaching everyone with all wisdom, so that we may present everyone perfect in Christ. 29 To this end I labor, struggling with all his energy, which so powerfully works in me.
Will appropriate: Phil 4:13 I can do everything through him who gives me strength.
Transform you: RO 12:1 Therefore, I urge you, brothers, in view of God's mercy, to offer your bodies as living sacrifices, holy and pleasing to God--this is your spiritual act of worship. 2 Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God's will is--his good, pleasing and perfect will.
By your own choices: Matt. 4: 19 "Come, follow me," Jesus said, "and I will make you fishers of men." 20 At once they left their nets and followed him.
MT 19:21 Jesus answered, "If you want to be perfect, go, sell your possessions and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven. Then come, follow me." MT 19:22 When the young man heard this, he went away sad, because he had great wealth.
Into a truth teller: RO 9:1 I speak the truth in Christ--I am not lying, my conscience confirms it in the Holy Spirit-
Mack asked for forgiveness, Papa said “did that a long time ago…..ask Jesus, he was there.
What is our imaginary independence?
A The deep seated conviction that I have or soon will have everything under control.
How is Love a lot bigger than stupidity?
A Romans 8:28
If you have been really stupid, does that mean you are really, really loved?
A Luke 7:47 Therefore, I tell you, her many sins have been forgiven--for she loved much. But he who has been forgiven little loves little." Compare question with Jesus statement about the woman who anointed him with oil.

What did Papa do with Mack’s choices? What does he do with yours? All of them?
A Romans 8:28
Does Papa use pain to force people back to himself?
A True love never, ever, not even once for a really good reason forces. It always offers, the choice is ours.
190 How many people do you know are “lost in your perceptions of reality and yet so sure of your own judgments”?
A Every last person who is not living loved in a personal relationship with Jesus.
What does true love never do? Why not?
A never forces because then it would not be love. Love offers itself up to and including the cross.
Where is the flaw in Mack’s logic for God’s permitting evil to continue: “the consequences of our selfishness are part of the process that brings us to the end of our delusions, and helps us find you?
Make a list of all the evils and tragedies God has prevented in the last 6 months.
Where does evil find its source?
What would happen if God divinely eliminated the source?
“If I take away the consequences of peoples choices, what is destroyed? Why?
A Love, forced love is no love at all
Why does man have a small view of what it means to be human. What does it mean to be human? Is that a big deal?
A Man is the pinnacle of creation and regardless of the depth of the fall, man is still loved .
What are the possibilities for man in Papa’s view of being human?
191 You demand your independence, but then you complain when I actually love you enough to give it to you.
How does Papa define his purposes?
A An expression of His love. All things must unfold.
Why must all things be permitted to unfold?
A Bring life out of death, order out of chaos, freedom from bondage
What did Jesus accomplish in dying? (Wayne Jacobsen’s He Loves Me; Learning to Live in the Father’s Affection is a MUST READ follow-up to the Shack. Ch. 14-16 takes a deeper look into exactly what happened on the cross. The official Shack Study guide will expand on this subject.)
What links our purpose and your destiny forever? Why? How?
A Jesus is the link, everything is about him. How? The cross made it possible to restore the original order of things.
What is God’s plan B?
What did Jesus dying on the cross accomplish? For WHO?
A Reconciliation to the whole world. Some have suggested that The Shack argues for universal salvation of all mankind here, but that is NOT what it says. It is a two way street, man must come to God freely of his own volition.
How big a risk did God take in the offer?
According to Papa, The nature of love is to do what? Do you agree or disagree, why?
A Open the door.

Saturday, October 3, 2009

BO'S CAFE comes to Phoenix

If I got a ride like Andy, would I be like Andy?

I always feel a little let down after I finish reading a book that I really liked because the story ends and it usually takes years for a sequel. I felt that way when I finished Bo’s Café. I got drawn in to the story and characters…yes I know they are “pretend”, but they still spoke to me. Now I find that the book is not over and what is even more fun is that I can enter into the story and conversation! I know it sounds kind of crazy, but in this virtual world, who cares? Bo’s Café set up shop at www.boscafe.com. (click it and see what I mean). The conversation from the book continues and I can join if I want. It is only the second week so it will be easy to catch up. I especially like what they had to say this week.
They answered the question I started with. So click on it already...

Monday, September 28, 2009

Grief, and not the good kind.

Scene of the crime in Apple Valley California

Can I set the background in order to attempt to justify my really bad behavior? OK, I want to blow a little smoke so I don’t look quit as stupid as I feel about this. It would help if you would picture me as the poor victim of harsh circumstances, you know read this with pity in your eyes. What the heck, just read it, I’m a lot more guilty than you would probably accuse me of anyway. So here’s my story:
Deanna and I were fresh out of seminary and beginning our first pastorate. I didn’t make much money in seminary, but Deanna did so we were fine back then. I was warned I would take a huge cut in salary to go into ministry, especially in a small town where Dee wouldn’t make the money she had in LA. And then there was Doni, so Dee didn’t work anyway. The pay cut was HUGE! Over half. We went WAY out on a limb and bought a modest home for $20,000. Remember these were 70’s dollars! Anyway, money was tight but we were squeaking by and quite happy. The house had a screened in patio that I wanted to convert to a den so we scrapped enough cash together to insulate the walls and throw up some fake wood panels and a carpet. My dad was in the one healthy phase of his life (healthy being a relative term for a heart patient) and he was helping me with the paneling. I am not a great carpenter. To be honest, I am not good, ok, I am pretty bad, but I was all I had to work with so I did it myself with dad’s guidance. Things were not going to badly until I accidently double cut across one of the panels, ruining it. I would have to buy another one and I did not have any more money. So I did what I sometimes did in those days and threw something across the room. My dad looked at me and said quite calmly, Don, I am not going to work with you if you are going to act like that. I would have preferred he hit me. Honest, the saw could never cut as deep and true as my dad’s words did. I think it hurt him to say it too. You have to understand that when I was growing up he was a virtual invalid. I was always his hands and feet for his projects but now I really needed and wanted him to be there with me. This was a rare moment when we could work together and I blew it big time. I know he loved being with me and working on my project but he needed to teach me something far more important that day. As much as it grieved him he did what needed to be done for my benefit at the risk of what he really wanted to do with me. I felt really ashamed of myself and reigned my temper in. We finished the project and it came out pretty good, if I do say so my self. (that how ever was NOT the building inspectors opinion when I went to sell the house but fortunately he was a close friend of my father’s and he help us get it up to code! Or maybe it was the crush he had on Deanna when they were teenagers) I still feel a little ashamed when I think of that day. Obviously it was not the only time in my life when I did such a dumb thing, but it was the day I began to learn not to. I’m thinking this is what I sometimes do to my heavenly father. I keep up some immature, childish action or attitude until …for my own good…He must say, Don, if you are going to act like that, I can’t work with you. It grieves him to say it because He dearly loves to be with me but sometimes He has to do what a father has to do. Thank God for fathers who will do that for a child they love.the shack study guide

Saturday, September 26, 2009


I just finished reading Bo's Cafe. I knew I would love this story when this line (pg 66) grabbed my attention: "Andy was the first dude I ever met who had more confidence in the grace of God than in the power of the crap I was dragging around". It painted the picture of what I have been trying to bring our own fellowship into better than anything I could describe. If you want to know were I believe our fellowship headed, pick up a copy for yourself. Don't forget to go to the follow up story at www.boscafe.com. I see a lot of people are looking and longing for what we are discovering.

Good Parenting Advice

For those of you who are struggling with disciplining your children or just looking for alternatives, check out Ray's blog. (just click on it to the right). He has been in youth ministry for many years and his children are truly wonderful. His advice is for younger children, but I suspect it works even better with teens. Check it out.

Friday, September 25, 2009

New Book

Windblown Media, the publishers of the Shack just released their newest book. I haven't been to Barnes and Noble yet but the reviews look great and Wayne Jacobsen highly recomends it; if fact he suggests men read it before their wives insist that they do. If your curious, just google it and you will find lots of reviews already. It was just released. I'm gonna pick one up this weekend.the shack, the shack discussion guide

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Congratulations Nephew Darren

My Sister Annette's son Darren got this fine bull elk in the early Colorado archery season this past week. He was hunting with his dad Dave Kacaleck. In November, my son Darin and my Brother in law Dave and I will try for Archery elk in Arizona. I'd settle for half as well!

Friday, September 18, 2009


Grandma did not write in two of her brothers names, Paul and Carl. Go to the DENNY UNFRIED web site to find Grandma's side of the family goinr back to the 1600's.

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Max Egan Zimmermann

Before I lose it again, (actually I didn't lose it, Deanna put it "away in a safe place" and forgot) here is the family pages from Grandpa's pulpit Bible, dated 1954. If you can't make out the writing:

Max Egan Zimmermann Born Jan 7, 1893, Zara Austria
Brothers: Oscar Stephen, Waldemar Erich and sister Helen Irene
Father Oscar Carl Zimmermann, Mother: Josephine Dietrich
Anna Helen Unfried, Born March 13, 1905, Los Angeles, Ca
Brothers: John E, Walter F, Herman W, Sisters, Emma L and Katherine W
Waldemar Walter: 3/28/1923, Los Angeles Married 8/16/44 to Thelma Zeola Lawson
Elsie G. 6/25/1925, LA Married 6/14/45 to Leslie Zuercher
Ruth V 12/1/1926 LA Married 6/9/1950 to John A Kopec
Roland Albert 10/1/36, Married 6/7/57 to Helen Mae Boschette

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Why is god always mad?


From the less than prayerful oaths that are frequently heard in men's requests to some god to condemn something to the average concept that god gets really upset when we sin, I wonder why a god like that would ever condescend to create anything, much less people. Unless of course the popular opinion of God damning and condemning is just plain wrong. Jacobe Boheme observed:

"And therefore the eternal Unity brings itself by its effluence and
separation into nature, that it may have an object, in which it may
manifest itself, and that it may love something, and be again be loved
by something, that so there may be a perceiving, or sensible working and will. "

The Key or Clavis of Jacobe Boheme (1620's)

Boheme argues that because God is LOVE had he not created anything there would be NOTHING for him to love, so he created things to love. . He could have stopped creating before he created people, but he wanted something that was not himself to LOVE him back. The whole story of Jesus dying to redeem all God's creation is not a story of anger but LOVE. I really think the popular opinion has it totally wrong. That's what Jesus' buddy John thought to. He said God sent Jesus to the world NOT to condemn the world but to restore it. That does not sound like a mad god to me....unless they are invoking the god of this world in their epitaphs and attitudes. The current god of this world is really ticked of at everything and everyone ever since he got kicked out of heaven...ya that's the answer. They don't know MY God. He would never in all eternity act like that. My God is more like Papa in The Shack. He really loves me and has made total provision for all my shortcomings. He doesn't condemn, He Blesses!