Book Study: The Shack 08

Chapter 10: Wade in the Water

 

P140    What Jesus had been suggesting, Mack finally allowed into his consciousness. He was talking about walking across on the water. Jesus, anticipating his hesitation, asserted, “C’mon, Mack. If Peter can do it…”

Q:        What is Jesus trying to do with Mack when he asks him to walk on the water? Why does this request make Mack hesitate?

 

Matthew 14:25-31      During the fourth watch of the night Jesus went out to them, walking on the lake. 26 When the disciples saw him walking on the lake, they were terrified. “It’s a ghost,” they said, and cried out in fear.

But Jesus immediately said to them: “Take courage! It is I. Don’t be afraid.”

“Lord, if it’s you,” Peter replied, “tell me to come to you on the water.”

“Come,” he said.

 

Then Peter got down out of the boat, walked on the water and came toward Jesus. But when he saw the wind, he was afraid and, beginning to sink, cried out, “Lord, save me!” Immediately Jesus reached out his hand and caught him. “You of little faith,” he said, “why did you doubt?”

 

P141    Jesus: Such a powerful ability, the imagination. That power alone makes you so like us. But without wisdom, imagination is a cruel task master. …do you think humans were designed to live in the present or the past or the future?

 

…now tell me, where do you spend most of your time in your mind, in your imagination; in the present, in the past, or in the future?

 

Q:        How much do we live our lives in our imagination? Why do you think God planted that ability within us? When does our imagination help or hinder our faith?

 

Deuteronomy 28:64-67 Then the LORD will scatter you among all nations, from one end of the earth to the other. There you will worship other gods–gods of wood and stone, which neither you nor your fathers have known. Among those nations you will find no repose, no resting place for the sole of your foot. There the LORD will give you an anxious mind , eyes weary with longing, and a despairing heart. You will live in constant suspense, filled with dread both night and day, never sure of your life. In the morning you will say, “If only it were evening!” and in the evening, “If only it were morning!”–because of the terror that will fill your hearts and the sights that your eyes will see.

 

P142: Jesus – Mack, do you realize that your imagination of the future, which is almost always dictated by fear of some kind, rarely, if ever, pictures me there with you?

 

It is impossible for you to take power over the future because it isn’t even real, nor will it ever be real. You try and play God, imagining the evil that you fear becoming reality, and then you try and make plans and contingencies to avoid what you fear.

 

The person who lives by their fears will not find their freedom in my love.

 

Q:        What things make us insecure and unfaithful to God? Why do we rarely picture Christ as being at the heart of our future? What does this tell us about our faith?

John 14:1-3     “Do not let your hearts be troubled. Trust in God; trust also in me. In my Father’s house are many rooms; if it were not so, I would have told you. I am going there to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come back and take you to be with me that you also may be where I am.

 

P144    Jesus               Our earth is like a child who has grown up without parents, having no one to guide and direct her. Some have attempted to help her but most have simply tried to use her. Humans, who have been given the task to lovingly steer the world, instead plunder her with no consideration, other than their immediate needs.

 

Q:        Why do we dominate the earth and abuse it? How do our modern lifestyles affect our planet’s ecosystem? What should we be doing as Christians to change this?

 

Psalm 24:1-2   The earth is the LORD’s, and everything in it, the world, and all who live in it; for he founded it upon the seas and established it upon the waters.

 

P145    Jesus –  have you noticed that even though you call me Lord and King, I have never really acted in that capacity with you/ I’ve never taken control of your choices or forced you to do anything, even when what you were about to do was destructive or hurtful to yourself and others.

 

To force my will on you, …is exactly what love does not do. Genuine relationships are marked by submission even when your choices are not helpful or healthy.

 

Q:        Why doesn’t Jesus take charge over our lives? Would we expect Him to change things to suit ourselves if He did? How can we allow Him to influence our choices? Why are we sometimes resistant to this?

 

1 Peter 4:1-2   Therefore, since Christ suffered in his body, arm yourselves also with the same attitude, because he who has suffered in his body is done with sin. As a result, he does not live the rest of his earthly life for evil human desires, but rather for the will of God.

 

P146:   Jesus – I don’t want slaves to my will; I want brothers and sisters who will share life with me.

 

That’s because like most men you find what you think of as fulfillment in your achievements, and Nan, like most women, find it in relationships.

 

Q:        How can we fulfill our lives in Christ? How would that affect our accomplishments and relationships?

 

John 17:21-23 Father, just as you are in me and I am in you. May they also be in us so that the world may believe that you have sent me. I have given them the glory that you gave me, that they may be one as we are one: I in them and you in me . May they be brought to complete unity to let the world know that you sent me and have loved them even as you have loved me.

 

P147:   Jesus – Women, in general, will find it difficult to turn from a man and stop demanding that he meets their needs, provides security, and protects their identity, and return to me. Men, in general, find it very hard to turn from the works of their hands, their own quests for power and security and significance, and return to me.

 

Q:        Why do we find it so difficult to return to Jesus? What obstacles get in our way?

 

Matthew 11:28-30      “Come to me , all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.”

 

P148:   Jesus –  Power in the hands of independent humans, be they men or women, does corrupt….remember, I am not about performance and fitting into man-made structures; I am about being. As you grown in relationship with me, what you do will simply reflect who you really are.

 

I came as a man to complete a wonderful picture in how we made you. From the first day, we hid the woman within the man, so that at the right time we could remove her from within him. We didn’t create man to be alone; she was purposed from the beginning.

 

Q:        What makes us identify ourselves through what we do, instead of focusing on who we are in God’s eyes? When we end up glorifying our achievements, do we cheat God?

 

Isaiah 46:5-7 “To whom will you compare me or count me equal? To whom will you liken me that we may be compared?

Some pour out gold from their bags and weigh out silver on the scales; they hire a goldsmith to make it into a god, and they bow down and worship it.

They lift it to their shoulders and carry it; they set it up in its place, and there it stands. From that spot it cannot move. Though one cries out to it, it does not answer; it cannot save him from his troubles.

 

P149:   Jesus               Seriously, my life was not meant to be an example to copy. Being my follower is not trying ‘to be like Jesus’ it means for your independence to be killed. I came to give you life, real life, my life. We will come and live our life inside of you, so that you begin to see with our eyes, and hear with our ears, and touch with our hands, and think like we do. But, we will never force that union on you. If you want to do your thing, have at it. Time is on our side.

 

Q:        Are our lives meant to copy Christ? Is he not an example to us? What is the author trying to convey by making Christ speak these words? What do you think he means by ‘time is on our side’?

 

John 13:15-17 I have set you an example that you should do as I have done for you. I tell you the truth, no servant is greater than his master, nor is a messenger greater than the one who sent him. Now that you know these things, you will be blessed if you do them.

 

1 Peter 2:21    To this you were called, because Christ suffered for you, leaving you an example , that you should follow in his steps.

 

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About stushie

I'm originally from Scotland and have been a Presbyterian pastor for over twenty years. I live in Knoxville, TN. I enjoy art as a means of therapy, but also as a creative way to strengthen my spiritual connection to God.
This entry was posted in apologetics, Bible, Bible messages, books, Christ, Christ's Kingdom, Christian apologetics, Christian blogs, Christianity, church growth, church growth ideas, Creator, defending the faith, encouragement, faith, faith in the Church, free will, freedom, God, Gospel, Gospel values, healing, Holy Spirit, Jesus Christ, Kingdom of God, pain, Religion, religious beliefs, religious issues, the problem of evil, the problem of pain, The Shack, Theology and tagged , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

13 Responses to Book Study: The Shack 08

  1. Andrew says:

    I just stumbled onto your blog and for the life of me I can’t understand how you can claim to be a follower of Christ. You are so judgmental when it comes to other people’s views and writings. It’s quite astonishing, and I wonder if Christ is this judgemental? If you are a representative of him, I’m not sure I want to have anything to do with him. You seem to have such a big need to prove yourself right and everyone else wrong. I wonder if Christ judges Oprah, Eckhart Tolle, Depok Chopra and all of the others that you are so fond of labeling as “new agers” in the same harsh way that you do. If he does, then I want nothing to do with him. I’m really glad I am not a member of your congregation. I think I would be physically nauseous if I had to listen to you in person.

  2. stushie says:

    Thanks for your comment, Andrew. Obviously, you cannot handle the Gospel truth. You want Jesus to be meek and mild, instead of the supreme sovereign of the Universe.

    Why don’t you read a Gospel over Thanksgiving and Christmas, and see how many times Jesus is actually judgmental? Most of His parables leave no wriggle room for capitalizing pundits like Tolle and Chopra.

    Eternal life is not a given just because you have a kindergarten knowledge of Christ. Read what the Gospels say, and not what you, Tolle, Chopra, or Oprah would like them to say. The Gospel is not trite and superficial like a talk-show or New Age shaman shallowness. It is God’s last serious attempt to get people to understand how important salvation is. You’ve only one opportunity to get it right, Andrew.

    If you reject Christ because He is judgmental, then you lose your salvation. It’s a tough choice, but then again, Christianity is never meant to be that easy. If it was, Christ would never have been crucified.

    May God bless you and all your loved ones through this wonderful season of Thanksgiving and Joy.

  3. Russ says:

    I, too, simply stumbled upon this blog and wanted to weigh in, briefly. First, this seems to be an excellent study of the Shack. Way to go. I have a few comments regarding the comments below. I actually have no idea what the two of you are referencing, or what brought this exchange on, but I want to ask a question. First, the comment “Eternal life is not a given just because you have a kindergarten knowledge of Christ” is a Biblical statement. In fact, I think its almost the opposite. Christ even uses the parables that you reference to explain that the simplicity with which a child trusts his father, so we should trust Christ. Also, when you say “Christianity is never meant to be that easy. If it was, Christ would never have been crucified” do you really mean that? Does Christ not call us to simply repent and believe? How much more simple and easy can you get? He wants us to live trusting in Him to do His work and not how “hard” we have to work to attain salvation. I really appreciate your attempt to help somebody understand Jesus, but I am not sure you are using the right examples. For example, though Jesus judges people throughout the Gospel, he does not call us to take on that role for Him, as you seem to suggest. We are not made to be the King, are we? Or the Creator? Anyway, thanks for your Bible study on the Shack. I might use it.

    • stushie says:

      Simple and easy doesn’t cut it, Russ.

      “Take up your cross and follow me.” “Whenever you are persecuted for my sake…” Blessed are those who are persecuted for my sake..etc. etc. The martyrdom of Stephen; the beheading of James, the persecution of the first Christians…easy & simple? Respectfully, what New Testament have you been reading, friend?

  4. Russ says:

    Sorry, I meant to type that the first quotation is NOT a Biblical statement. My apologies.

  5. Russ says:

    I see you citing some examples of martyrs and how there are negative sanctions from the world due to genuine faith, but I fail to see how that applies to the simplicity of salvation in Christ? Repent of your sins, and believe that Jesus is the Lord and you will be saved, He promised us this. I think you are confusing “justification (eternal salvation)” and “sanctification (Christ transforming us daily)” in this matter. Christ has washed us clean (Christians) but we still need to have our feet washed because of our failings. Though we face many trials, that does not complicate Christ’s message that He has saved us by grace through faith. Respectfully, I think you are missing the good part of the message. It’s great news because we could never live well enough or overcome enough trials to earn His gift. He has made provision for that. Paul rejoiced the whole time, he never complained of how hard he had it. How could he? He had Jesus… That’s the example of simple and easy faith in Christ, child-like faith, that He wants from us. It’s not complicated.

  6. Andrew says:

    Hey Russ, don’t try to argue with Stushie. He is always “right.” HE’s so caught up in the dogma of his own religiosity that he has completely lost the thread of Christ’s teachings.

    For what it’s worth, if I may compare and contrast, I see Stushie and his lemming-esque followers representing Christianity much as the CEO of McDonald’s would/could embody Vegetarianism…in other words, a giant oxymoron. The two cannot coexist in the same galaxy.

    Stushie, I am curious, in light of one of the Ten Commandments, “Thou Shalt Not Murder,” do you eat meat? If so, how do you justify the unspeakable suffering of factory-farmed animals who make their way to your dinner plate through no choice of their own; rather, their only crime that of being born? Also, if you do eat meat, how do you justify your carnal appetite while at the same time claiming to follow the Ten Commandments, not the least of which is Thou Shalt Not Murder?

    Will your CHristmas “celebration” this year be centered around a dead pig or turkey that was sacrificied “in the name of God”?? If so, please explain to me in detail your rationale for why it is morally acceptable to murder an innocent, sentient being who was given life BY GOD .. “All God’s Creatures, Great and SMall.”

    Finally, for what it’s worth, I thought I would share why this Christmas season finds me in such a profound state of gratitude: this year, not only am I celebrating the birth of Christ, but also my own freedom from the tyranny of the hypocritical, institutionalized religion known as “Christianity” that shrouds and claims to represent the values of this beautiful man. I am proud to call myself a follower of Christ; NOT a “Christian.”

    And it goes without saying that I am also proud to call myself a “vegan”; someone who does not partake in the murder of God’s most innnocent and trusting, the animals.

    • stushie says:

      It must be wonderful to be perfect like you, Andrew. No need to humble yourself, and you’ve become an entirely self-made man. Wow!

      I’ll work on getting the timber out of my own eye…then I might be able to help you with your splintering.

    • stushie says:

      BTW, Andy, talk to Jesus about eating meat – he ate it all the time, including some fish that he shared with 5000 people.

  7. Pam says:

    I have a group of friends – we are reading the shack and we have used your blog as a reference. Any chance that you might have the remaining chapters available soon? We are close to getting to the 11th chapter. I didn’t read any of the other comments except one. We, in our group, are all Christians. We are reading this book so that we may be able to have an intellectual conversation with others that may have read this and are not Christians. We want to be able to discuss it from many different angles.

  8. Maryann K. Nunnally says:

    How can I get this entire study? I would like to use it for a Christian study of The Shack.

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