The Shack

shack

It was and is a powerful book…
It was and is a controversial book…

The Shack created more spiritual dialog among people of every stripe than any book had for a long time.
Personally, I love books that cause me to think, but for some people, books that make them think, or offer a different perspective are to be feared, banned or burned…this is sad and unfortunate.

Paul Young, the author of the Shack, spoke four times over an August 2009 weekend at the church I pastor. In all honesty, it was perhaps one of the most powerful weekends I have experienced, and trust me, I have experienced many.

The ministry that poured out, the grace and healing so many people experienced are hard to describe, yet unforgettable in my soul. Paul was amazing, authentic, a lover of Jesus, and simply a man sharing his journey, through fiction, of how God met him in his “Great Sadness.”

@wmpaulyoung was a blessing to the many believers, seekers, and wonderers who spilled through our doors

So, while the theologians posture, getting ready to battle at the throne of truth and error, and ultimately miss the point yet again, I’d encourage you to see the movie and take some time to listen to the four speaking sessions that Paul presented at SVA…I will provide the links below.

Paul built each session to compliment the next, so pull up a chair, relax and enjoy the teaching, questions, and honesty that was poured out at SVA.

God is larger than we can ever imagine…and He can work with our questions, wounds and struggles…

Session 1: Saturday 8/8/09 9am- Paul discusses the origins of the book with great Q&A session.

Session 2: Saturday 8/8/09 7pm: Paul discusses the metaphors and Trinity in The Shack

Session 3: Sunday 8/9/09 9am: How God works in the Great Sadness

Session 4: Sunday 8/9/09 11am: Seeing things with fresh eyes

I Could Have Got More: Schindlers List

In our conversation at SVA this weekend on the return of Christ, one area we discussed was how followers of Christ are to live and engage the world while waiting for His return. Three key thoughts we discussed were that we needed to:

  • Stay Awake…His return is imminent, He could come back at any moment so we need to be ready. Every person is responsible for their faith and relationship with God. You can’t live on someone else’s faith…You can’t but or work your way into the kingdom…and when Christ returns, there are no more chances. In light of this we need to make sure that our lives are connected to God through Christ. His grace is waiting for everyone…there is nothing you need to do, figure out, or clean up before you come to God…simply come. 

  • Stay Engaged…God has given everyone a purpose and mission to live out. The followers of Jesus are not to “bunker-in” and disengage from life, but rather, we are to invest all that God has given us to make a positive impact for His kingdom with every breath that we have. If you are still breathing, you still have a purpose and mission to fulfill. 

  • Stay Missional…As you read the parables of Christ it quickly becomes apparent that those who follow Jesus live in such a way that mercy, grace, justice and compassion are not just deeds that they do, but rather a lifestyle that they live. When we are tethered to Jesus and when we long for His presence in our lives, there is a transformation that takes place deep within us. This transformation is birthed from God’s love releasing mercy and grace like a burgeoning river breaking through a dike.

For me, the Second Coming of Christ comes down to a question of love… If I truly love Jesus with all that is within me, I will long to be with Him, and in the meantime that love will propel me to live in such a way that other’s long for His return as well. The contagion of love creates a Christ-reality and at the same time waits for a Christ-reality.

Love is a verb…

Love requires expression…

Love is why Jesus is coming back…

Love is the means and the method to reach seekers…

Love is the definitive mark for those who follow Jesus… 

When we allow God to perform a heart transplant within us,  our motivation to share Christ with others moves from religiosity to compassion expressed through love.

This reminds me of the closing scene from Schindler’s List where Oskar Schindler had purchased the lives of 1100+ Jews from concentration camps to work in his factory during WW II. Initially he saw the use of Jewish prisoners as a way to make great profits, but something happend…he changed…his heart changed…those Jewish prisoners became people who mattered and Oskar’s profiteering turned to redemption.

Even though Oskar did so much, spending his income to purchase/redeem those 1100 Jews from a certain death…he knew it wasn’t enough and he could have done more.

When it’s all said and done, and we stand before God I hope we can all know we made a difference.

We are here to help people find their way back to God.

Here’s that final scene from Schindler’s List…