Sunday, May 17, 2009

The Shack, Ch. 11

My computer guru, Tom Simpson finally got back from Scotland and was able to fix my computer. It had the swine flu or something like that. Works perfect now.

154 What was Sophia’s point in asking Mack which of his children he loved the most?
A Identify with and understand God’s position
155 What does Sophia mean when she says knowing grows and loved expands to contain it?
A The better we know someone, the more we can love them.
What would that mean to the relationship between God and you?
156 How did God teach Mack to Love? How is he teaching you?
Why did Mack not truly believe God is good? What area in your life causes you to wonder if God is truly good to you? Be brutally honest with yourself even if you don’t answer out loud.
Who do you sit in judgment on? If it is easier to answer, who don’t you sit in judgment on?
What authority does it take to be a real judge? Do you have that authority?
157 What judgment was Mack in the cave for?
A Judging God
158 What indicates that we really are judging, even if we say we are not?
Do you exercise these prerogatives of God?
Determine the standards of conduct for others
Exodus 20:1-17
Demand absolute obedience
Gen. 22:1-12 Deut. 8:20
Judge the lives, attitudes and actions of others
Psa. 9:16; 94:1-2
Control all of life
Acts 17:24-28; Job 12:13-25
Exercise sovereign independence, doing whatever you please
Dan. 4:35; Psa 135: 5-6
Seek the praise and worship of others
John 4:23; Isa. 42:8
Ask help and guidance from no one
Romans. 11:33-34
159 What are your personal criteria for judging?
Who or when do you act superior over another person?
160 When was the last time you judged another person fairly? Unfairly?
What was the last thing you judged God about? (oh yes you did! It is easy to do, just like I just judged you)
What are the ways we usually judge God?
A Worry, anxiety, doubt, fears, insecurity, depression Or in TV’s HEEHAW terms ,”gloom, dismay, agony on me, deep dark depression, excessive misery, if it weren’t for bad luck I’d have no luck at all, gloom, dismay, and agony on me”. Phil 4:19 And my God will meet all your needs according to his glorious riches in Christ Jesus. We are judging God when we begin to act in these ways. He came to give us life, and set us free.
How effective is judging God in relation to getting our own way?
A It moves us farther away from the help we need.
How can we learn to stop judging God? Others?
A Learn to live in relationship, choosing to live life believing that God is inherently and only good in all his actions towards you. Then move on to believing he loves others too.
161 Was Mack’s anger with the man who killed his daughter justified? Why or why not?
A absolutely justified! Forgiveness is a far different matter as we shall see later.
Was the Little lady killer deserving of any compassion or forgiveness?
A Deserving no, but loved by Papa just the same. But then again who is deserving of anything from God?
Is there a difference between Justice and forgiveness?
A Yes, justice must make demands and be satisfied. Forgiveness is a free gift not requiring merit or worth, only acceptance if it is to be received.
Under what circumstances should a person not receive forgiveness?
A Refusal to receive and accept the offer of forgiveness.
Under what circumstances should a person not receive justice?
A When another has satisfied the claims and demands of the law and judge.
Would Mack be denying justice to Misty if he were to forgive her attacker? Explain.
A No because he would be putting justice into the hands of God who always judges rightly. His forgiving the murderer sets Mack free to live and love. Failure to forgive chains the murderer to Mack with bonds stronger than steel. Mack can never be whole without forgiving.
Can / should God be held accountable for not stopping the evil that is in the world? Why do you say that?
A to stop all evil God would have to deny independence and to do that he would have to NOT create anything at all.
If you decide to hold God accountable, how would you do it?
A When they quit yelling at God, most people tend to quit talking to God or listening to him. Typically they will drop out of relationships and Church, if they were going. To seal the deal they may even join in harmful personal behaviors just to show Him how angry they are. It never works and most all would run to any shack anywhere if God would just send a note inviting them. They would still have to go through the same process Mack did and end up in the same position…believe God or not. Actually God did send a rather long note of invitation explaining everything we need to know. HE LOVES US and wants to live in relation with us, in us and through us. Given gas is $4 a gallon it is much easier to just read the note we have and believe God now. It wouldn’t be that much different than being in a coma for a few days. Does it matter how or where God speaks, so long as he speaks?
162 Would it been easier for Mack if Sophia’s deal was 1 child to hell and 4 to heaven? Why?
A Loving Fathers never bargain with their children’s lives.
If God is not condemning people to hell, how do so many end up going there?
A They have to choose to reject the offer of forgiveness and relationship God offers. Fact is they are ALREADY ON THEIR WAY TO HELL NOW. God is trying to change their destination but leaves the choice to the individual.
Do people say a prayer to Jesus just to stay out of hell?
A many appear to try it.
Do you think it is really working? Is saying a prayer the same as beginning a relationship?
Instead of just scaring people out of hell by trying to literally scare the hell out of them, how could we present Jesus to them?
A This is NOT to say that we should ever minimize Sin and hell, but it is not the whole picture. Relationship now and forever must be included. I am working on a new gospel presentation that begins with: Why are you here? If they choose a evolution answer we talk a bit about if we came from nothing and going to nothing then our greatest hearts desire should be to nothingness! A sample of my outline:
IF Evolution is your answer then the RULES OF NOTHINGNESS should apply.
Nothingness rules:
i. Life is a cosmological accident without plan, purpose or point. Just ignore all the provision as a convenient coincidence.
ii. All is futile, valueless and pointless:
iii. There is really no one to ultimately hold man accountable and whoever and whatever Mother nature is, she does not care
1. All get the same results no matter what:
iv. There is NO justice, No right, no wrong.
v. When you’re dead it is just like before you were born: nothingness.
Does nothingness satisfy your heart?
If they choose a God/creation answer we move on to which God? Only the God of scriptures answers the why question. Listen to what he is offering…Forgiveness, Salvation and relationship. After Reading Wayne Jacobson I am becoming convinced that most gospel presentations are not full enough. They cover sin, but not relationship. I hope to change that.
Which do you think would work better? Give them a copy of the Shack to read or Live Free in Jesus in front of them.
What does living free in Jesus look like?
A A combination of 1 Cor. 13 and Galatians 5:22 with a smile, light heart and good attitude.
163 Why couldn’t Mack chose between his children?

How was Sophia’s suggestions on judging the children any different than the popularly presumed good deeds vrs bad deeds answers most people give for going to heaven.
A They are essentially the same thing. It is really not a good strategy.
What changed the accepted standard?
A Love
What did Mack discover about God when he pleaded to go in his children’s place?
A God acts in love in more difficult situations than Mack faces
What were they Judged worthy of?
164 Why was Mack ok with Jesus but still angry with God?
A He sees them as totally different people based on a flawed understanding of who God is. Mack’s God is a god of his imagination, not the God of revelation.
Why can’t Mack see God and Papa are the same person yet?
A he cannot relate to God’s love in Missys death yet. A male authority figure for God is to distorted by his own father.
What did Mack do to his father?
A Mack poisoned all his liquor before he ran away. His father died.
Why does God NOT stop the evil?
A He will not overrule our independent spirit. He has made a start to correct what sin destroyed in His son’s work on the cross. According to Romans 11:25 he is waiting for the last who will come to him before he stops evil once and for all.
IF God had a physical body (which He does not nor will He ever outside this story) would it have the same scars as Jesus?
Why or why not?
A In theory yes. “the Son can do nothing of Himself …” (
John 5:19) READ HE LOVES ME by Wayne Jacobson, ch 14-16 for a fuller picture of this. Wayne’s writing gives many institutional thinkers heartburn and indigestion. While I may not agree with everything Wayne says or how he applies this, for me he is the antacid that cures the sour stomach left by an institution out of relationship. I’m not an unorthodox, rebellious heretic. I’m just tired of the self promoting institutional systems that rob people of a real relationship with the father and place upon me a burden that is impossible to carry. (I actually have a great deal more to say, but it would not sound very gracious so I will stop. :)
Why does mercy triumph over Justice?
A For love. I have personally been a long way down the road Mack was on. I know what it is to be filled with a righteous rage that in another time and place would have warranted the death of the offender. Unlike Mack, I had the opportunity to snuff the life out of the offender and did not do it. For two years I grieved in my spirit for NOT killing him. It was such an injustice to the offended! My heart and life was so shattered I was becoming a danger to myself and my family. My anger to the offender, and yes God, was so great homicide or suicide looked to be the only way out…until in a few nights in a shack of my own. I knew I could not really have forgiveness unless I was willing to forgive. To forgive felt like betrayal to my “Missy”. In a very emotional and powerful moment God brought me and my Missy to the same conclusion. We must forgive if we want to live in relationship. My need for justice was totally overcome by my need for Love. In a miracle that only Papa can do, my anger was gone, never ever to return. My Missy and I found love where anger and bitterness had been. Why? Because if mercy does not triumph over justice, even for a little lady killer, it will not triumph over justice for me either. The degree of sin separation between me and the little lady killer is great but the degree of sin separation between me and God is infinite. I do not deserve mercy, but I cannot live with out it. Thank you Papa, thank You Jesus…The Shack is not just a story written in a book, it is written in blood in the lives of Papa’s children.
165 Do you really want strict justice for everyone?
A NO WAY! Let mercy Rule!
If even one person could not have mercy, could you still have it? You gotta be kidding, really?
A If you said yes go back and reread my comment on why mercy must triumph over Justice. If you still think yes, email me at, we need to talk.
Did Missy have to die? Why did she? What has happened to you or those who you love that did not have to happen?
A There is NO right answer to this. Lives are to complicated to know for certainty and the answer would not help anyway. What the question is here for is to discover if there are unresolved issues of pain and hurt in your life. God does not do WHY questions. As Papa said, we would not understand the answer anyway. The real issue at hand is DO YOU TRUST PAPA’S LOVE?
Do things happen that God does not desire? What?
A Yes, any form of sin, injustice, unloving act, independent spirit.
Why couldn’t Mack see the Better Way?
A independent living, judging Papa
What would Mack have to do to see the better way?
A Let go of his independence and decide to trust Papa’s love more than his pain. Let Papa into his world.
Will that work for anyone, even outside this story?
A It did for me and I know it can for you.
166 Do people in heaven have any awareness of what is happening on earth?
A this is why I believe people in heaven have an awareness of what is going on here. It is from my prayer journal and blog:
Earlier in the week we spoke of the to often missed joy of unanswered prayer. It reminded me of a very special moment in my spiritual walk with Father, (or Papa if you have grown to love that name as I have). I spent the majority of last summer tucked away in my office reflecting on and pleading with Father on a lifetime of issues. Every day I had been asking: Jer. 33:3 “Call upon Me and I will answer thee and show thee great and mighty things which thou knowest not,”. I left it open as to what God might want to reveal to me. Little did I expect the very special gift I was to be given. It was so wonderful I wrote in my journal that people might think I am crazy if I shared it. Since then I have found other wiser, grounded teachers of the faith who have discovered the same truths, men like Bounds and Chambers. I feel free to tell you today but I have to give you a little background to appreciate it for me so you can apply it to yourself. I’ll make it as brief as possible.
My Grandfather, Max E. Zimmermann was a wonderful godly man, strict, but totally dedicated. I wish you could have heard him pray. He knew Father well, really well. He died in 1982 and my saintly grandma in 1984. My mother died of cancer in 85 and my father, (who was also my best friend and closest confidant) went home in 1991. Deanna’s father, Troy, (the servant of all servants) followed in 2003. I could go on but can you see how my heart might be a little closer to heaven these days? One of the intellectual questions I was pondering at the time was how my life experience intersects with eternal heaven. I thought of it in a Trekkie way of a space/time continuum. (I really don’t know what that means either, I just like the sound of it). It was one year ago today, nearly to the hour that God gave me a treasured gift of understanding. You may already know this, I did not. I was reading at that moment from Paul’s letter to the Ephesians
EPH 3:14 For this reason I kneel before the Father, 15 from whom his whole family in heaven and on earth derives its name. 16 I pray that out of his glorious riches he may strengthen you with power through his Spirit in your inner being, 17 so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith. And I pray that you, being rooted and established in love, 18 may have power, together with all the saints, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, 19 and to know this love that surpasses knowledge--that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God.
Paul was praying for all the saints, of his generation and ours to know the depth of the Love of God. That got me to thinking, Grandpa prayed for me, as did my dads and a whole lot of others. Not all of their prayers were answered back then, at least not in fullness. I don’t remember the words they used, only I knew then I was being prayed for. They were concerned about family things and ministry things, knowing they would not see the final pages. Then it came to me in an all but audible voice. What I was doing right at that moment was a fulfillment of those unanswered prayers of 40 years ago. Could that possibly mean they know now? Following is an unedited copy of part of my prayer journal from one year ago today:

Father your ability to draw threads of life together into a culminating event that spans generations is well documented in scripture but takes just short of a lifetime to experience. Yesterdays scriptures and words from the past culminated in an understanding of how eternity intertwines with the present and past. Paul prayed for future generations in Eph 3, Grandpa and Dad added to that prayer with me specifically in mind. Paul, Dad and Grandpa are with you and yet we are all still working together for the same eternal cause, the one YOU prayed for before the foundations of the earth were materialized. You told the powers and principalities around the throne to just watch. They watch and give you glory AZ time for what is happening, or about to happen at Grace Family Fellowship. No way is my family going to be left out of that. It brings glory to you there now. Ephesians 2 taught me years ago that Heaven is child centered. I have preached that the things we do now will bring glory to you and reward to us then. I see how it works. Paul, grandpa and Dad, grandma and Mom all prayed for me as a minister. I hope they have not seen the struggles but joined in rejoicing in others victories. Now they can see the fulfillment of their prayers in your eternal plan working through me which they asked you to do. I don’t remember the specific words, but I do remember the prayer times and I have the books and bibles. It happened, is happening and will happen. I can verify most every step from scripture and sermons I preached over the years. When revival comes you will say to the throngs around the throne, Look here at Max, 39 years ago he gave his grandson a bible with a prayer, from 2 Tim. when I called his grandson into ministry. Now look here at MY answer to that prayer. Another pentacost! Right there in Deer Valley. And everyone and every thing will praise you and grandpa will know he is vindicated for the years of abuse he took from his family when he obeyed at his call. Glory to glory. That is how heaven works, tying the threads of eternity to the present, all to the glory of God. What is god doing, weaving the prayers of the past into the power of the present for his glory and our good and it is not over. NO OTHER GOD OF ANY MANS IMAGINATION COULD OR WOULD DO THAT. You are one of a kind, the originator, author and sustainer of it all. To not give all to cooperate with you is the epitome of stupidity of which I all too often am the poster boy. I want to be a poster boy of another kind. I want to share what I know after you have proven it in our fellowship. IT could be the book I could transcribe. You are the author. I NEVER in eternity would have seen that, I am unimaginative in that respect. In a way it will be hard NOT to share, but I know that short of visible and viable evidence no one wants to hear it.
A small part of the evidence of revival sat in my living room last night. That created a sanctified ruckus amongst the angels, my overly curious Grandfather wanted to know what the ruckus was about and I know of at least 5 who were honored by Father and praising Father in heaven last night because of the answer to their to that moment unanswered prayers. What a glorious sight!
168 Have you ever visited with a loved one in a dream? How did it make you feel?
What was the lie Mack needed to let go of?
A That he was to blame for Missy’s disappearance.
Are you living with a lie you need to let go of?
What did Sophia mean when she said “Judgment is not about destruction, it is about setting things right”.
A Ideally in our legal system a judgment does right some wrongs. Not all wrongs can be righted, not all scales can be balanced. No judgment or punishment imaginable would balance the scales for Mack…but the scales must balance or all the Mack’s of the world are doomed to a lonely bitter existence.
What implications does that have for the cross?
A On the Cross, Jesus spread his arms…and balanced the scales for all of us. His sacrifice covered not only our debt of sin with God but our debt of sin with each other. To make the scales equal man to man everything must be taken into account, God did that in Jesus. From our perspective your sin against me is always bigger than my sin against you. But our sin against God is an infinite chasm that can be bridged only from his side to ours by his love and grace. To accept the fullness of his love we must release the grudge we harbor against others. To the degree that we hold the grudge, we cannot hold the love. When we release all those who sin against us the ensuing vacuum is filled with Papa’s love.

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