Monday, September 7, 2009

The Shack:Ch. 12

It is amazing to me that over 800 copies of this Shack discussion guide have been sent out all over the world. I have no idea how many just copied and pasted it from the web. In my Study of the depth of the Love of God for his creation, (which was encouraged after reading the Shack) I have found a buried treasure in Jacob Boheme, a 1600's German writer. He was the first, and in my opinion the unequaled, protestant writer. Jacobe would Love, Love, Love the Shack. The more I research the past, the more convinced I am that the essence of the story of the Shack is ROCK SOLID! I am still happy to send the Annotated version. Here is the next chapter. (Sorry, I got behind this Summer)

In The Belly of the Beast

170 “Men never do evil so completely and cheerfully as when they do it from a religious conviction”. Blaise Pascal Are today’s Christians exempt from this accusation? Examples?
A Hardly! With the web we are able to do evil in an instant on a world wide basis. Google “the shack” and you will find mostly negative comments and condemnation of the book from some pretty high fluting places…that should know better. As a pastor, the most energized and critical attacks have come from those inside the church, not outside.
Have you ever been so hurt, abused or injured that you felt like it would be wrong or impossible to forgive and move on?
How did Mack find permission to move on?
A I have personally been where Mack was so my answer is not theory but what actually happened. As I mentioned earlier there was a time in my life when I was in a Mack like position. People I loved were seriously injured at the evil hands of another. I had failed to protect them, failed to punish them. One of my sons, a child at the time asked “Dad, how can you let him live?” Several years of pain brought me to the place where I needed Papa more than I wanted justice and revenge. My problem was I felt forgiveness would once again betray those I loved who had been wounded so young and so deeply. In desperation I went to those I had failed to protect and confessed with many tears that to survive I had to let go of the anger and all that was in me that I do not want to put into words. To my total surprise, shock, joy, my loved one had been brought to the same place of desperately wanting Papa more than anything else. That night the years of pain evaporated with the pools of tears. I heard with my ears and held in my arms what Mack could not hear or hold…but his is just a story with a fairytale ending. I lived it and I know for a fact that if Papa will bring that kind of healing here and now in this life, he most definitely will do it in heaven. My Misty forgave and is healed. So am I. the tears I shed now are tears of gratitude to Papa for doing what he promised. It has been over a decade and it does not hurt any more. If you have read this far, let me share one other thing that happened yesterday. One of the ones I failed to protect all those years ago ran into one of the offenders just this week. There is no legal statute of limitations on the crime committed. The offender handed my little one(now a man) a business card with a new name on it. My chance for revenge, I mean justice was finally at hand. I found them! I sent of an bland email asking if the person was actually the offender, and I used the old name. The offender replied immediately yes, it was the same person. As I read the email to my loved one I asked, what do you want to do? In post Shack spontaneity the answer came back instantly: FORGIVE. I responded to the offender with a reminder of the crime and a hope that they had somehow found forgiveness. The response was amazing. Total acceptance of and responsibility for the sin, direct apology and request for forgiveness and a plain declaration that they too had come to find forgiveness nailed on the cross of Jesus. Our hearts are at peace with a little more joy because Papa did it once again. There are still a few more out there I may yet meet. I hope the results will be the same.
What would it take for you to get permission to move on and let go of the anger, bitterness etc?
A Don’t wait as long as I did. It does not do any good and it has the potential for a lot of harm. When Papa repaired my heart, he made it better than new. I have never gotten that angry with anyone or anything again. I don’t think I can. Seems like I got a new improved model that doesn’t have a hate switch in it. Forgiveness comes far easier these days and Light speed faster.
Do your loved ones in heaven today have any idea of what is going on in your life right now? Would there view of it be different? Why?
A I answered this at length in the last chapter, but I would add here that they have GOD’S perspective on it now. They will see the praise and glory. God will not shame us or them with a condemning remark for our bad behavior. He is not covering for us, he just looks at His Children as we are now in his presence: perfect. Personally, I want to bring glory to Papa now, don’t you?
If you wanted to talk to Sophia, where would you find her?
A Assuming you have put your faith in Jesus Christ as your personal savior: 1 Cor 6:19 Do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God? You are not your own; 20 you were bought at a price. Therefore honor God with your body.

What compounds the beautiful simplicity of Sophia’s wisdom? Is there a remedy?
A Sophia is God’s wisdom personified. What makes it complicated is when we try to reason and think it all through on a logical humanistic level. We need to follow Papa’s advice. This day (life) is going to go a lot easier if you just accept what is. If we just acted and reacted in child like faith and obedience Sophia’s wisdom would come easy and natural.
Are there times in our lives when the (“time dimensional coupling”) eternal dimension of Heaven and the temporal dimension of earth intersect? Hint: Luke 15:10.
A 10 In the same way, I tell you, there is rejoicing in the presence of the angels of God over one sinner who repents." If there is a ruckus of praise in heaven and your loved ones are there, is it not logical that they would know why the ruckus? When my grandchildren pray to receive Christ, there is NO WAY IN HEAVEN that my parents, grandparents and the child we lost in the womb don’t celebrate it in full knowledge. If this is the first time you have heard this, I am not alone in this thinking. Some great biblical minds of past generations knew this to be true too.

The story of the Shack is fictional, but are the characters of Papa, Sarayu and Jesus real?
A Yes, as defined, not as depicted in the flesh.
William Young, the author, explains that the conversations are the combined conversations he has had with God over his lifetime. Does the setting make it any less real?
A Many believers have reported similar conversations with Papa. The story is fiction, the Love of Papa for his children is a fact of recorded history and scripture.
How was Misty not alone in her captivity? Have you ever been alone, but not alone?
Why did Mack sink the second time he started to cross the lake? What is the lesson here?
A Like the Apostle Peter, Mack sank because he was not walking with Jesus. The miraculous can only be accomplished through him, never independent of Jesus.
Have you ever ended up treading water when you were trying to walk by faith? What happened?
Why does everything look so scary in the dark?
A Darkness hides the true size of fears, lies and regrets. Light drives out darkness. Jesus is light personified.
If you find yourself in the dark, how can you turn on the light?
A Pray: Father, I understand you are the creator and source of all life and worthy of all honor and glory. I am humbled that you would freely offer to me both forgiveness from my sins and a personal relationship with you. I want to live life free the way you designed me to live and not just continue to exist. Thank you for sending your only son, Jesus to die on the cross for my sins. Thank you that his resurrection defeated death for all mankind making it possible for me to be literally
born again and receive your living spirit in the place of the dead spirit I was born with. I know I have never done nor will I ever do anything that could make me worthy of this free gift of salvation. I gratefully accept your offer of forgiveness for my sins and the miracle of my new birth that makes me your child and gives me your righteousness and eternal life with you in heaven. Help me to understand more fully what I ask for and receive from You today. Guide me in my new life in You to go and grow in your likeness. Send to me my brothers and sisters that I may live in fellowship with them as I live in relationship with you

175 How can a person “live loved?”
A Return to God, embrace the fact that he loves you and filter everything that comes your way through the lens of His love.
Are you living loved? By who?
What did Jesus mean when he said “we’re meant to experience this life, your life, together”?
A Father invites us to experience the life he desires for us. All the preparations are made for us to join in. Eph 2: 10 For we are God's workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.

Is this imagery or reality?
A Eternal reality.
”You get to share our wisdom and learn to love with our love…” Can YOU really live this way or is it the fictional part of the story?
A This is the HEART of God’s purpose for us, the reason for our very creation and existence.
176 What was the point of the trout?
A I believe it was to demonstrate how Jesus limits himself. Obviously from the Gospels, if Jesus wants to catch a fish or 153 fish, or just one with a coin in it’s mouth, HE CAN. But he does not always do it.
Is it possible that the real Jesus wants to experience His life through us?
A Youngs literal translation of Galatians 2:20 20 I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me. The life I live in the body, I live by faith in (Youngs literal translation: OF THE) the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me. Since it is the faith OF Jesus, he is living his life through me, in me.
If Jesus actually and literally indwells a believer, is he actually and literally experiencing our life? Is he enjoying it?
A The logical conclusion is yes, there is a sense in which. he is experiencing life through our eyes, emotions. His experience would have complete fractal where ours is partial. IF WE FACE the fears, doubts, etc with an attitude and confidence of His faith and Love, Yes, he would enjoy it. Jesus was pleased and blessed with those who approached him this way when he walked on the earth.
How much of the infinite Jesus was limited for our sake in the incarnation?
A Jesus was limited enough to have all the sin and sins power placed on Him for the wrath of God to consume. Make sure understand that WRATH does not exist IN God. It is not part of His nature but is shown in his creation when his presence is absent. William Law has an excellent teaching on this in Spirit of Love. It is free on line, just google the name and title. His Cry: Why have you forsaken me shows the depth of His perception. Of course, God never forsook Jesus. See Wayne Jacobsen HE LOVES ME, pg 140-141 for a fuller explanation of what happened on the cross. The nature of the trinity is to complex for our finite minds but what is sure is that because Jesus and the Father are one real separation is impossible. The Godhead participated in their entirety. In his humanity Jesus knew a separation he had never known before. NO human can know what that must have been like for him. See Appendix B.
Why would Jesus do that?
A To really understand what happened on the Cross I highly recommend the writings of William Law and Andrew Murray. The point of the incarnation was not forgiveness of sin per se, but to once and for all destroy the power of sin making it possible for us to live in harmony with God as Adam did in the garden before the fall. Sins power over us was defeated, that was always the plan of triune love. To break the strangle hold of sin on his children was complete in the resurrection.. Now we can come freely and live in relationship, the power broken once and for all.
Why do people assume the worst of God when they are in pain?
A They likely did not begin knowing God’s Love for them. They came wanting escape from the horrors of Hell, not so much for direction and purpose in this life. Their view of God is distorted and when he fails to perform in a desired and predetermined way, anger is the result.
Jesus told Mack the prior times he tried to talk to him were not a waste.
A Like a garden, Mack was being prepared
Why? What does this say about how Jesus feels about us?
A God is never really silent, absent, or inactive. He is constantly working for our Good and His glory.
What is “the timing of grace”? How do we try to change the time table?
A Even though we take time to figure things out and get them right, God is working it out for others who will intersect our path along the way. When the time is just right, grace happens. For example, when I knew I needed to forgive the person who attacked my loved ones, it took some time for my loved ones to come to the point where they could release me to forgive their attacker. Papa worked it all out down to the minute perfectly in grace for us all.
177 What is it to be truly human?
A When we learn to live in Papa’s love, we really begin to live life as a full human being. Prior to that we were at best just 66%, living with a dead spirit. When we are literally born again by the power of the Spirit, we are finally fully human, alive in the spirit and able to cooperate and fellowship with the creator.
How does your picture of heaven differ from what Jesus describes to Mack?
A I take it more literal, but I am ok with the spiritual picture too. I like the imagery of the pearl, a valuable treasure born through suffering
How is Jesus the Pearl? What does that mean?
A He is the way in.
Why is the church not some place Jesus goes to on Sunday?
A The church is another name for the body of Christ, the collective of all who come to him through the ages from the cross to his return.
178 How does a person get to be part of the church Jesus is talking about?
A They would have to make the personal commitment to come into a loving relationship with God, accept the forgiveness of their own sin. Maybe pray a prayer something like this: Father, I understand you are the creator and source of all life and worthy of all honor and glory. I am humbled that you would freely offer to me both forgiveness from my sins and a personal relationship with you. I want to live life free the way you designed me to live and not just continue to exist. Thank you for sending your only son, Jesus to die on the cross for my sins. Thank you that his resurrection defeated death for all mankind making it possible for me to be literally
born again and receive your living spirit in the place of the dead spirit I was born with. I know I have never done nor will I ever do anything that could make me worthy of this free gift of salvation. I gratefully accept your offer of forgiveness for my sins and the miracle of my new birth that makes me your child and gives me your righteousness and eternal life with you in heaven. Help me to understand more fully what I ask for and receive from You today. Guide me in my new life in You to go and grow in your likeness. Send to me my brothers and sisters that I may live in fellowship with them as I live in relationship with you

In your experience, is the church today more relational than institutional or more institutional than relational?
Who builds Jesus’ church? How?
A Only Jesus can do that. Matt 16:18 And I tell you that you are Peter, and on this rock I will build my church, and the gates of Hades will not overcome it. Our Job is to simply Love People from the love of God in us.
Is just being with Jesus in relationship enough?
A When we are in relationship with Jesus on a daily, moment by moment basis, he puts us together with the family as the needs arise. Corporate worship is just one aspect of living in relationship.
179 How is being with Jesus different from the well intentioned religious stuff?
A The institutional religious stuff tends to support the perpetuation of itself at the expense of individuals who work very hard to get what they are offered freely namely Fathers love and affection. Religious stuff places the emphasis on DOING, Jesus places the emphasis on BEING. Living loved and in relationship with Jesus ministers to the world outside of programs and plans. This kind of love is relational, spontaneous, free of expectations, unplanned, un-programmed. That is not to say there is no place for the programmed and planned or for God given leadership. Like any family celebration, some planning, leadership and programming is essential, but the agenda does not take precedence over the people.
What kind of stuff happens in the institutional church in Jesus’ name that he has nothing to do with?
A Anything that puts the buildings, budget, ballot, history, process, program, procedure or position above relationships of love.
Why is marriage not an institution?
A it is a commitment to a flowing and growing relationship that is expected to change with time, maturity, growth and circumstances without sacrificing the relationship or the individual.
Why would Jesus say he is not fond of religion, politics or economics?
A As systems, those categories are the basis for most of the evil in the world. They all place the institutional agenda over the needs of the individual. It is far easier to reform the heart of an individual than heart of an institution. Jesus is NOT anti-institutional. He originated, designed and assigned process and order in everything from the family, church, business and government. Unfortunately man has modified, marginalized or outright denied the original plans as set forth in Scripture for the God given institutions. Scripture commands that the institutions look to the best interests of the relationships with the people. Sin has corrupted the design to make the relationships serve the institution.
In your experience are religion, politics and economics the trinity of terrors Jesus refers to them as? How?
What does this “trinity” (religion, politics and economics) promise that it cannot deliver?
A Each promise the individual security it cannot deliver. By their very nature they must sacrifice the individual for the sake and good of the institution. The appeals are always made to the individuals for more work, money or commitment while the true benefits go to a small group somewhere up the hierarchy that work to keep the institution alive at all costs. It promises a relationship with the institution that cannot possibly benefit the individual. How can ideals, building, and budgets Love you, talk to you, hold your hand, laugh or cry with you? They promise to “be there” for you, but you have to come to them, give to them, work for them to get what in return? Blisters, burdens and boredom. How can an institution give life when it is not living itself.
What does it deliver that it does not promise?
A It delivers a hopeless bondage to something that in fact does not even exist(or know you exist) in place of the true freedom of relationship we can and do have with Father. It will suffocate the soul because it is not alive to relate to, to talk to, or love. It delivers a slow lingering death believing with all it’s heart of brick and mortar that it can relate to and comfort a heart of flesh and blood. It delivers a heart of stone where a beating loving heart once was.
180 What did Jesus come to give?
A LIFE! His Life lived in us. John 10:10 The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full. Include also Peace, fruit of the Spirit, Love, Faith and hope.
John 15:15 I no longer call you servants, because a servant does not know his master's business. Instead, I have called you friends, for everything that I learned from my Father I have made known to you. 16 You did not choose me, but I chose you and appointed you to go and bear fruit--fruit that will last. Then the Father will give you whatever you ask in my name. 17 This is my command: Love each other.

How would living Jesus’ life be different than the one you are living now? How is it the same?
What happens when we live life apart from the REAL relationship with Jesus?
A We stink and sink. We are as dead as Lazarus spiritually and sink as surly as Peter. In that condition we can help no one else or even ourselves.
What makes it really hard to rescue someone?
A When they do not believe you can do it. My non-swimming grandchildren jump gleefully into their daddy’s arms because they are sure they will be caught.
How have you made it hard for God to rescue you?
How can you get past it and be rescued?
A make even the smallest leap of faith into Papa’s arms believing He really loves you to the fullest possible. Quit believing the LIES! Get to know the God of revelation, not the god of your imagination. Your god is to small.
181 What can you do to make the changes in religion, politics and the economic machines around you?
A They will always exist. If you were able to destroy one today another would just take it’s place tomorrow
How could you change one person in the machine?
A The only person you can change is YOU. If you chose to live in relationship you can walk in and through all the institutions of the world and never be a part OF the institution. Institutions are not the enemy or necessarily evil in and of themselves. The fact is all believers must walk and live in and around the institutions that God has ordained for our time on earth. How we do it is determined by how we walk with Jesus. Is he the real flesh and blood God and savior or just an ideal in our lives? In the train marriage, when we live in a loving relationship with each other the marks of institutionalism are nearly, if not completely nonexistent. Roles, responsibility and requirements are drug along in the caboose, the engine is driven by Love and relationship.
How are you free to love without agenda?
A only when I take Jesus at his word literally and take NO RESPONSIBILITY to accomplish something that is above my pay grade. He is the only liberator. I am just his to let him love through me. I have no personal agenda to get them to my side, my thinking, my church or anything else. They do not belong to me.
How can anyone be “in but not of” the world systems?
A By not looking to the world system for any comfort, security, future, love, direction, purpose or any of the other false promises the systems make but cannot but the nature of their very existence keep. Only when I honestly look to Jesus alone to provide everything of any description will I be free of the tyranny of the world. The system will have no power over me, not hold on me, no real claim to me.
How can you help a person who is “in and of” the systems find freedom?
A Never judge where another person is. You don’t hold the gavel in the end. Only God knows the heart. The moment you try to separate them from the institution that you believe engulfs them, you begin to form an agenda and cannot simply love them. You just become another system trying to direct them for their own good. They do not need you to do that and it is God’s prerogative, not yours. It is NOT your responsibility to get them out of what you think they are in. The Holy Spirit alone does that. It is only your responsibility to LOVE without agenda. The moment you try to pull someone out of an institution you stop living in relationship.
182 What did Jesus mean when he said ”who said anything about being a Christian? I’m not a Christian?
A I’m not sure about this one either except the simplicity of Jesus cannot be a devote of himself, he simply is. Christian is a label with so many meanings to so many people, I would rather be known as a friend, like Enoch. That was clear enough for everyone to understand.
If Jesus does not want them to be Christians, what does he want?
A He said he wanted them to be friends
Do all roads lead to God or does God walk all roads to find his children?
A Much criticism has been launched against the Shack because people evidently read Universalism,( that all are to be saved) in this paragraph. Perhaps the confusions originates from not understanding the comment about not being a Christian above. Personally, I did not read it that way. Wayne Jacobson answers this challenge clearly in an interview that can be found on his website. He denies Universalism teachings flat out. For me it is clear there that JESUS IS THE ONLY WAY. Jesus says “ …what it does mean is I will find any road to find you”, meaning: he will find his brothers and sisters where ever they happen to be. Isn’t that the point of sending missionaries to other faiths? Nothing here suggest even remotely that they would be left in that faith.
What road are you on? Where is it going?

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