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?