While we were writing this book we got tons of letters from our readers. Here are those letters in reverse order as people reacted to the chapters we were writing and Jake's unfolding tale.

I found the book about three weeks ago on cpcoaches.com and read it in 2 days. I am changed. I have never read a book like this in my life. It is not about the church stuff but how you feel Jesus is speaking right to you. Everyone around me has noticed a great change in the way I look at life and ministry.  I am living in the Mediterranean working with YWAM. I immediately started sharing with coworkers about the book and have been getting the same response from them as I had. They are sharing the book also. I heard some pastors from the southern side of the Island are reading it now. Don't be surprised if you start hearing from people around here. How did you do it?

Scotty in the Mediteranean (January 30, 2006)

I have been anxious for this type of life in Christ for a long time now and have grown frustrated that it is not happening for me. This dialogue has helped me to patiently wait for the Savior to “organize” his Body in His time. This message is certainly freeing for those of us who have lived lives trying to meet the standards of the leadership or being reprimanded for not “giving yourself to the vision of the church”. Just knowing there are people out there who are truly living under grace w/ one another gives me hope.

Lee Anne (January 28, 2006)

Thank you for this story. God led me to it seemingly out of the blue...but I know nothing's out of the blue, really. This is exactly what I need to hear, at exactly the time I need to hear it. Through this story, God is speaking into mine—and I'm captivated by each and every brushstroke. What a powerful, personal story this is.

Matthew, 19, college student in Missouri (January 18, 2006)

I'm one of those people who doesn't want to go to church anymore. I've felt this way for a while...I've been looking for a house church here in my city (there don't seem to be many). That's how I stumbled upon your site. I feel as though we are in a desert and want to find like-minded people. It's hard to be strong when you feel alone. I've read up to chapter three of your story. I've found it refreshing. I don't know whether or not I believe you met with The John the Apostle, but I certainly believe this man was/ is a modern day prophet...But, like I said, I'm only to chapter three and just found your website today. Still, I am grateful for what I read and don't feel so alone or "condemned." I pray I can continue to press into these things. I love Jesus and have experienced his life, but seldom in the institutional "church." I know God still has a lot to teach me about himself, about courage, and also has some healing to do in me. Anyway, I thought I'd share... I'm thankful I ran into this today because I've been pretty weary. I will continue to read and pray for you...

Manuela in Missouri (January 2, 2006)

I've just come across your work in progress. What a great piece of writting, such a breath of the fresh air of the Holy Spirit!  Having sampled some of your chapters, I'm powerfully reminded of Paul's passionate words,

"Yes, all the things I once thought were so important are gone from my life. Compared to the high privilege of knowing Christ Jesus as my Master, firsthand, everything I once thought I had going for me is insignificant--dog dung. I've dumped it all in the trash so that I could embrace Christ and be embraced by him. I didn't want some petty, inferior brand of righteousness that comes from keeping a list of rules when I could get the robust kind that comes from trusting Christ--God's righteousness. I gave up all that inferior stuff so I could know Christ personally, experience his resurrection power, be a partner in his suffering, and go all the way with him to death itself."  (Phil 3:8-10 - The Message)

Great stuff my brother(s)

David (January 2, 2006)

On December 24th I have downloaded the book "So you don't want to go to church anymore". First I printed some pages, then I printed some more, then I printed still more and finally I printed the rest of about 70 to 80 pages. Yesterday I finished reading this book. Well, it doesn't happen so often that I print books from the internet and only the good books I read in so short a time. Well, Wayne, I really want to thank you and Dave for this wonderful book. Many many of the experiences of this book are so well known to me. And many of the issues hinted to are known as well. Many of the thoughts in it are shared by me for many many years. And believe me or not, but my wife and me we could add one or two very interesting chapters to it.

I left the system of organized christianity 18 years ago already. Very often during this time I felt very alone. ...(Then) I discoverd Jake Colsen. And little by little I began to realize there are many many more on this planet whom God has led through the same kind of experience. Often during reading your book I thought, oh, if only this book was in German so I could give it to so and so and they would understand much better what exactly I am thinking. I cannot express myself as well as you do in this book. Well, it took you four years, if I understood the right way. Well, I am pondering since if I will start to translate the book into German, my mothertongue. So I could distribute it to others. But, I first thought to contact you and ask what you think about it.

Patrick from Germany (January 1, 2006)

Jake's response: We'd love to see this book in other translations, so if you would like to work on the German translation, please feel free to do so. Let us know as you do, however, so we can post it on our website, or post links to it if you want it elsewhere. And if anyone else outs there wants to translate it into French, Spanish or Chinese, please let us know.

I've spent the last week reading your book. I don't not have the words to express how much I have been touched by this story. I have been on a journey this past year with "the church". It has been painful and rewarding at the same time. I'm glad to know that I'm not going crazy or being disloyal to feel as I do. I want a deeper relationship with Jesus. Reading your book has helped free me by reminding me that my loyalty is to Jesus and my Father. Thank you.
 
Beth in Tennessee

I stumbled upon Jake's website tonight and began reading the book.  I am only up to chapter 3, but already I know that finding this site was a God thing.  I have been disillusioned by "seeing" and "hearing" too much in my church and in others.  I was better off in the pew - "leadership" really gave me more information that I wanted or needed.  Anyway, I am seeking God about the path he wants me to travel, and I came upon the book. I will continue reading, learning, being encouraged - as I already have been.

Suzanne in New York (December 28, 2005)

PERFECT ending. It's so cool that this is true life stories pieced together. Again, I would love to hear what of this has been your journey, what has been the other author's journey, and what if anything was added. Sometime, perhaps. But it was just a cool picture of the go and make disciples thing. No classes. No programs. No schedules. But Jake ends up right where he started so long ago. He is now John for someone else. Through life shared, we pass along the wisdom we have gained from Father, so that those he puts around us (for seasons) can then do the same for the people he connects them with. It really is a very cool plan he has!

Greg in New York (Decemer 25, 2005)

Thank-you so much for the journey you have  taken me on, thru your wonderful book... "SO YOU DON'T WANT TO GO TO CHURCH ANYMORE?" It is a wonderful book, chuck full of information on how we should be walking on this journey with Him our precious Saviour. I left the organized "church" system going on six years ago, your book has helped me in many ways. I have learned much thru it. If only more people could see. i am anxious for your book to be printed, so that I may purchase copies for others along with myself. What a wonderful, down to earth book, filled with life experiences with Him!

Jean (December 25, 2005)

I just was reminded that some friends of ours back east are going through your book. God led them to leave the church where he was associate pastor. It was very to leave even with God's leading because the Senior Pastor and his wife were their best friends. When our friends met with the pastor to share that they were leaving and why, the pastor said he understood and gave them his blessing. After they left, however, the pastor turned on them and told the congregation that they were in sin for leaving. I told them about the book and it has been a real blessing to tham. All of the people who come to their home for a weekly gathering started reading and discussing the book. All are getting answers to questions they had been pondering. Thank you again for being obedient to the call God gave you to write this book.

Michael in Arizona (December 22, 2005)

Thank you for showing Who MY Father is! People can build all the boxes in the world and call them "churches", but the truth is that Christ is building His Church - and it reaches far beyond what people think -- or can build themselves! He places us where He wants us if we will just open ourselves to Him! Some of the most wonder-filled worship services I've attended have been in grocery stores and restaurants and they weren't even on Sunday mornings! The joy is tremendous! He cares about us individually! So we can walk with Him!

Michele (December 16, 2005)

I am so excited, and I have not even read your book yet. Let me just tell you abit about where I am coming from, I have been a christian 13 years and working in a church setting in leadership for
approximately 5 years. I have in the past year had a career change and work in a secular setting. This has been the hardest most deperate year for me spiritually. I have struggled with the feeling of "not wanting to go to church" and not understanding why. The best way I could describe it is to say "I just can not do that anymore!" Just the other day I cried out to God saying "all I want is YOU!" Today I just typed in the words I felt" Why don't I want to go to church anymore?' on a wed search and up popped your website....I could not believe what I was seeing, I have downloaded the book and with tears I am hoping that this year of much pain will not be in vain, but that I will walk through this know GOD the Father and His will for church life better. Thanks for putting this out, It is the cry of many hearts I am sure.

Anna in Canda (Decemer 5, 2005)

I can assure you, John's do exist outside this story, I am privileged to have one as a friend and thank Jesus for him each day.

Joseph (November 30, 2005)

Little did I know that this book so far would be the catalyst to finally lay it all down.  I am currently doing a Leadership Institute and the outcome has been very discouraging to me.  There was something inside of me that seemed to rebel against it.  I love my church family but I really wonder if this is the way God wants to do it.   I am so curious to see what God is going to do with me...but it is like an excited bride waiting for her husband!!!!   At first I thought this was going to be an anti church book and I found out that it is SO PRO CHURCH!!   I have to really laugh hard because I can see God in so much of my movement in HIS journey with me.  HOW COULD I NOT SEE IT BEFORE!! God bless you...and will you PLEASE hurry it up with chapter 12 and 13...

                                   Patricia in Massachusetts (November 29, 2005)

Thanks for the Jake Colsen book. What a great read! As you probably hear many times, this book really speaks to some issues that I have been struggling with over the past few years. I have worked as a denominational church planting strategist, so I know the weaknesses of the IC from a vantage point that few people have (or would want to) experience. Now, I am an American working as an independent missionary in Wales (UK) trying to get alongside people who need Jesus, but don’t know it. It’s a process and sometimes takes a long time to gain people’s trust and a platform to share the gospel with them.

Bill ( November 28, 2005)

I recommended this on-line book to a friend, as one of the best writings I have seen on practical Christian thinking.  She wrote back to me that she could not stop reading it once she began, and afterwards she felt that she had been born again--AGAIN!  Very high commendations from two serious believers of 30+ years each. Thank you--we love your heart!

Paul (November 26, 2005)

If only you knew how you've honed in on our experience this year, a loss of trust, primarily. Policy and institution are more highly valued than relationship & body life, and this ragged bit of the body is hurting as a result.

My husband and I have been married almost 40 years (we don't look that old!!!) so up until now I didn't know first hand the pain of what a divorce feels like... but right now I'm beginning the "separation" stage with my church (of 39 years) and feel this numbing sense of loss.

Jan (November 25, 2005)

Don’t we all wish we could have a John from God in our lives? Such a treat to read a book that conveys much of what the Spirit is saying to the church right now. Anyone who has an ear will hear what the Spirit is saying… Anyone who does not have an ear isn’t listening!

Sara (November 20, 2005)

I am the Treasurer of my church and have been convinced that they have gotten completely away from what church is about "restoring our relationship with the Father and the need for personalministry into one another to help achieve that" This frustration has recently spilled over into a mess just like in Jake's book with bad feeling and me worrying about whther I should just leave and all those people I think I will be deserting or letting down by doing so I take a number of ladies every Sunday to church and feel they depend on me. (Sound familiar) I am not getting much from church on Sunday morning but loving my home group and all that it does in a small very personal and loving way that helps us all progress in worship, prayer and spiritual gifting it seems you can't have one (home group) without the other (church) or so the leadership tells me. Your book comes as a breath of fresh air and after only six chapters feel I am getting back into relationship with the Father. I am at more peace than for a long while and look forward to where this journey will take me.

David in England (November 13, 2005)

Regarding chapter 11 Won to Trust: Truly a remarkable chapter – extremely moving!! It’s a true paradigm shift conveyed through simple conversation-style—narrative genius. Honestly, every time I read a new chapter of yours it moves me in such a way as to seek out (i.e. cry out) a life lived in reality with Jesus as the true source. I can honestly say that I struggle with this daily but I am reminded through your book that life in Him is a true journey. My heart is lifted up when I read through your story of freedom from shame, condemnation, and guilt leads others to embrace the Father more. I can genuinely say that I have struggled with condemnation, guilt, and shame all my life—as others have as well—now I know that I am not alone. You have helped me realize that such a life of freedom is possible. Thank You!!

Kristopher in Texas (November 9, 2005)

And thank you, a lot is finally starting to add up....after sharing some of it with you over a year ago.This chapter has just been confirming, that I am more on track, than in my 'God chasing years'...though I still  wish I understood more 'intellectualy'. I haven't really found 'like minded people' yet, but I am more true to my inner leadings, than I was when I was radical for Jesus  (or rather Obnoxious really), and I am sure the real connections will come soon. I am so thankful for Jake's journey being shared. I think I would have behaved rebelliously, because of being labelled rebellious by my former circle.  Instead, I really believe this is all leading me somewhere closer to the Father.... Thank you for saying it's O.K. not to settle and to want more.....I had hoped it was true! A fellow journey's ( wo)man, (albeit closer to the starting than the finish line!

Jennie (October 17, 2005)

I read the new chapter last weekend - you keep hitting the mark. The funny thing is that Jakes' barbeque is the sort of fellowship my wife and I started out in before we got into a church for 13 years that ended up going cultish. When we left that organisation people cut us off because we had "left the fellowship" - many people get this treatment and end up in a lot of confusion and condemnation. That's why I think it's important to get the message to people that the fellowship we are in (and have with each other) is the "fellowship of the Son". 1Cor 1:9. If someone tells us "we have left the fellowship" I think we are quite justified to ask, even if only to ourselves, what fellowship that person is in. I think that when people have a genuine Christian salvation then as a new believer we instinctively know what the gospel is, what the church is, and what open-hearted fellowship is. The trouble is that we don't yet know what those things aren't, ie we don't know what the gospel isn't etc. Therefore we get led astray by those who seem mature and wise and we end up under a yoke of bondage serving idols of success. Unfortunately it seems that mostly we only come to find deliverance through the trials of fire, suffering and betrayal. I think Paul and James had a few things to say about  that so I guess it's the Lord's way of bringing his sons to glory Heb 2:10; Heb 12:3-11; Rom 5:3-5.

David in Australia (October 13, 2005)

Just finished reading Chapter 11.  It's awesome and enlightening!!  I would like to say that this manuscript is blessing my walk with God!!  I have learned so very much; He is so awesome to behold!!  God has been moving quickly in my life!!  I want to thank you very much for writing!!! And that I am eagerly looking forward to seeing Chapter 12!!!

Mel from Illinois (October 12, 2005)

You are a gifted writer.  Thanks for sharing this story.  It's been great to read along and see things God has taught me over recent years, and read things I have not yet understood.  "The church thrives where people are focused on Jesus, not where they are focused on church." What a great line!  I think this is cool because sometimes I despise anything done through the form of an structured "church" with the show and programs... but I have forgotten that good stuff has happened in such settings, as a group of people really were focused on Jesus more than on our church.  Problem is, it seems that setting almost always ends up nutruting the church more than healthy relationships with Father.  From my experience at least.

Greg in New York (October 11, 2005)

I do so very much treasure your eye opening and Spirit led journey.  I have reached the point in my life where the organized, institutional, demoninational church system has left me doubting so much.  CHRIST'S life and way is so simple and HIS called out Church so very different from what is called church today. Religion is one of the worse things to happen to the cause of out LORD and has caused more pain than anything I can think of in the history of mankind.

A couple of quotes I recently found by C. F. and J. C. Blumhardt really points out the condition found in most man-centered churches today and say much more than I could ever say.

  • "Don't be tempted to believe some man of GOD can help you; that a pastor or priest, an institution or an organization can save your soul.  Each of us must tackle the riddle of salvation for himself; each must battle his own nature, each one must abandon himself if he is to grasp spiritual things."
  • "Therefore take courage; do not lose heart, and rejoice that you have felt the Spirit of GOD at work.  As long as we keep yearning, begging, seeking and knocking, the Spirit will go on teaching and making everthing clearer."

Rick in Alabama (October 9, 2005)

This has come at just the right time for me.  I have been in religion since i was in diapers.  I have been growing increasingly distant from my brother and sisters at the Sunday religion installment.   I was also asked by the Pastor to read a book on leadership, which by the way would be great for someone trying to excell in manipulation and agenda accomplishment through gentle coersive practices.  I just didnt feel right about it being something for what I now know as body life.  I have shared this book with my parents and others.  I hope I havent tried to do His work for him.  Anyway thanks a bunch.  

Andy in Texas (October 8, 2005)

I've been out of town so I am just now reading this installment.  As always, I am blessed in knowing there is someone willing to explore and present what real 'church' is/might be.  

Saleta (October 8, 2005)

Thank you so much for writing this book.  While my family and I do attend church on a regular basis, we have found ourselves wanting more—wanting to live a life of friendship with Jesus, versus just “serving” him on Sunday mornings in a building, wanting to know Him on a level that can only be attained through an actual relationship with Him, knowing that when we pass from this side of heaven to the next that we will be greeted warmly and with exuberance and know that we are home.  I appreciate that this book is not “church bashing”, but that it is Christ exalting.  Thank you for giving words to feelings that I have had for so long, yet have not been able to express. Your book has truly been a blessing to me & my family.  

Sarah in Arizona (October 7, 2005)

Well, the book journey is nearly over!  I can’t tell you how much God has shown Himself to me since I first encountered your book.  It’s not always easy and sometimes I get so discouraged, but God always brings the right person, sunrise, autumn leaf, spring flower, phone call, e-mail, song, phrase or whatever for the occasion and shows me that He is ALWAYS with me.  He has taken so much bitterness and pain over the past three years or so and all I can do is say, "Thank you Father".

So thank you for your part in His body, for following His leading through the hard times as well as the good.  Thank you particularly for your part in showing me that His body is not one congregation, denomination or group of people, but that those He calls His own can be anyone, anywhere.

God has taken so much bitterness and pain and taught me SO much about Himself and His people through this book.  It got me hooked right from the start but because I was only able to read it bit by bit, I found that God drew me closer to Him and brought healing using this book in conjunction with the rest of my life.  "Thank you Father!" 

Michelle in Australia (October 7, 2005)

My wife and I were excited to read the story, because the Lord has been moving us in this direction for some time now.  We have also been inspired by the writings of George MacDonald (mid to late 19th century) and see great similarities in John's responses.  Truly the Spirit is working.  Looking forward to hearing more from you.

SJ in Tennessee (October 2, 2005)

This is not your typical Christian Living book.  I have never read anything like it before, but I certainly hope to again. Every chapter of this book is a new liberation for Jake and others as John is used by God to ask key questions and repeatedly point people to Jesus for answers. It is refreshingly filled with life! (When John said),  "The church thrives where people are focused on Jesus, not where they are focused on church."I encourage you to read the book for yourself.  Let me know what you think.  I know that I am moving ever closer to the Jake in chapter 11.  What chapter do you find Jake most like where you are at?  Do you find the whole story to be so far out there it is unbeleivable?  If you do I'd love to chat about it.  I find it
That one is all to close to home for me.  I certainly had my focus in the wrong place for along time.

Cory (October 2, 2005)

I just finished reading the first two chapters of your book. I went to bed last night weary over our journey of lifelessness in our Christian walk.  I believe that this encounter and message is your ministry to lift the dreary church-goers out of our weary walk.  These writings are more than a book, they are a living two-edge sword, God revealing himself is the midst of hungry souls that have attended church, only to find ourselves very needy and empty.  Yes, we love the Lord, but something is wrong in our lives.  I believe that you are putting down in words what we are all dying of - emptiness. Congratulations for having the courage to follow the call on your life.  

Joyce (October 6, 2005)

Just a note to says thanks for you revealing your heart and the heart of many of us. As one reads Jake's journey they often get a look at their own. I know I have. My Father has been so good to me that at times I bust out in tears when thinking about it. There is no shame or guilt because I have often failed. Getting back to Jesus is so great there isn't enough words to describe it. I still deal with myself at times and find it quite strange that I am able to share His Love and Grace with others but at times have a diffcult time accepting it for myself. Much better now than what it was a year ago. He gave me a new life after I had wrecked (totaled) the first one He gave me. I often find it strange that I can thank Him for allowing me to have lived through those years. But I guess I wouldn't know what I know if I hadn't gone through what I did. It's my journey and I can cry if I want to but I find being thankful much better. I am discovering that I don't have to pay a  price for my freedom. He already has.

Jim in Illinois (October 3, 2005)

I (just finished) Chapter 11 (the best so far). How grateful I am for the confirmation your book has brought in my life. I have felt I stand alone (at least where I've been sent) in this understanding of church.  I do have one family who has an internet ministry who has been for some time now, my "church."  We have heard prophecies that this isolation is to change, and after this morning, I believe it!

Sue (September 30, 2005)

I have just spent the past few hours reading your 'on-line' book, having had it forwarded me by a friend. I am forwarding the web to some of my friends at my church & other churches in the area.

John in the UK (September 29, 2005)

I am spellbound!  I've quit going to church, over 10 years ago, with no plans to ever go back.  But, I still pray and have a relationship with God.  It's been my "pet Peeve" now for a while that most preachers and pastors have it all backward,  They expect the people of God SERVE THEM, instead of serving the people as God said it was to be.  In my words, they have set themselves up as little Demi Gods and the people find themselves struggling to please the preacher.  To me, that's wrong, wrong, wrong, because the preacher is taking God's place in people's lives.  And I'm well aware that lots of people promote and foster that situation by heaping praise and "respect" upon the minister.  And that too is wrong when taken too far.   It is so gratifying to know that someone else out there thinks like I do, and shares some of the same feelings.  I have been labeled as a heretic, a reprobate, and other ugly names.  But, I know where I stand with my God, so I do not let it bother me anymore.

Judy (September 27, 2005)

This book gave me hope that God cannot be contained in a building or by our human dominance to regulate and apply  ' laws' to our relationship with Him. He is here, in our hearts, wherever we go. ' Church' is not our God, God is. Thanks for writing this book.

Phil and Julie in Australia (September 22, 2005)

Things are going well since the last time we communicated. I keep popping back to Jake Colsen and Lifestream regularly to look at new material. In my everyday life I get some good opportunities to meet other other Christians and of course the age-old question of "where do you go" comes up (particularly when I run into someone from the old church). I've been giving a lot of thought and prayer as to how to answer these questions. My concern is to minister lovingly and faithfully - to challenge people's thinking and sow good seed in the hope God will give an increase. One verse that has come to my attention lately is 1Cor 1:9 - God has called us into the fellowship of His son, Jesus Christ. This lifts the concept of fellowship in a specific group or organisation back to the context where it rightly belongs - in Jesus. Another answer that I've been giving some thought to is "the same place the apostles did" which as we know was "house to house, with fellowship, prayers and breaking of bread..."

David in the UK (September 19, 2005)

God is good ... all the time!  We are the ones who screw up all the time!  Thankfully He is so forgiving and patient!  THANK YOU for obediently putting this story into print.  It sums up what we have been seeing but not quite understanding within the churches over the last couple of years.  Living for Christ and walking with Him is a 24/7 opportunity, not a once-a-week commitment.  We have distributed several copies to friends and family, with many coming back saying "WOW!"  We look forward to "the rest of the story".

Mark and Linda in Michigan (August 4, 2005)

I have cried, I have laughed, I have screamed, I have hummed, I have sung, and I have said that's me and cried some more. This  story has changed my life ! If this book is not anoited by GOD someone  has playing a cruel joke on me. This is wondefful and breathtaking all in one. Thank  you for the truth! This is why I love GOD  for people like you.

Lywana (August 3, 2005)

The story  you have written  is the journey I have been on. Different characters and different scenerios, but  the journey  and the discovery has lead me to the same place. Learning to trust God, and not letting the disapproving others stiffle the relationship I have with Father. Thank you for sharing your thoughts and the truth of Father through this inspirational story, I wait for the next chapter.  

Dorothy (July 31, 2005)

 

Not only have I really appreciated the story, and the places and people and situations that are similar to things I have either experienced or witnessed, I am amazed at the number of responses to the story – the number of people that I have more fellowship with than I have ever experienced before, and I have never met them!  And, of course, I am humbled – and ashamed that I trusted in Jesus and His promises so little in my ostracism from the religious communities I have been part of.  “No eye has seen…..” comes to mind, as I wait with eagerness and even trepidation for the things to come… The next chapter(s), so to speak…

Sue (July 28, 2005)

Thank you.Thank you.Thank you.Thank you.Thank you.Thank you.Thank you.Thank you.Thank you.Thank you.Thank you.Thank you.Thank you.Thank you.Thank you.Thank you.Thank you.Thank you.Thank you.Thank you.Thank you.Thank you.Thank you.Thank you.Thank you.Thank you.Thank you.Thank you.Thank you.Thank you.Thank you.Thank you.Thank you.Thank you.Thank you.Thank you.Thank you.Thank you.Thank you.Thank you.Thank you.Thank you.Thank you.Thank you.Thank you.Thank you.Thank you.Thank you.Thank you.Thank you.Thank you.Thank you.Thank you.Thank you.Thank you.Thank you.Thank you.Thank you.Thank you.Thank you.Thank you.Thank you.Thank you.Thank you.Thank you.Thank you.Thank you.Thank you.Thank you.Thank you.Thank you.Thank you.Thank you.Thank you.Thank you.Thank you.Thank you.Thank you.Thank you.Thank you.Thank you.Thank you.Thank you.Thank you.

Linda (July 15, 2005)

I recently read your online book.  To say I enjoyed it and was encouraged would be an understatement.  I am looking forward to the final chapters.  For the past 2-3 years Father God has been realigning my thinking / understanding with church.  It has been an interesting journey, and I know it is far from over.  Some of the issues I am pondering now is how to meet (how do out of the box thinkers meet as the Body of Christ).  I see your South African trip is coming up.  There is a slight possibility that I may get to meet you on this trip, but that is in Fathers hands.  I have said to you before that it is refreshing to read your articles and to know there are other people (as see through the comments on your blog etc) who are also on journeys of discovery.  

Blessings Brett from South Africa (July 13, 2005)

Aaargh! Hear my screams of pain? I got to the end and felt the drop from the pain of having to wait!

Michele  (June 20, 2005)

 

I just wanted to say thank you! A friend suggested that I read the chapters of your book. At long last I feel that somebody understands how I am feeling. I KNOW that Jesus loves me as I am, but I just cant seem to fit in at church, the Bev shaped hole that I have been given doesn't quite fit and it is much to uncomfortable. It is a long story but having just read the first four chapters of your book I feel sane again. Maybe I am not the alien or the leper that I was beginning to think that I was. Once again thank you.

Bev by email (June 9, 2005)

 

I am a real estate agent in Kansas City and received your book from a dear friend on Saturday.  I couldn't put it down! I didn't go to work until I finished it today! When I left my home I felt so relieved.   Something grand was lifted from me.  Something I have been carrying around for 50 years. And I am only 53!  Your book confirmed so many things I have discovered and seems to be giving me direction for the day I am in and a definite hope for my future.  I truly feel like a newness of life is resident and wanted to say "Good Job"!! You are a delight to the Lord and a truth bearer to his precious children!  I want everyone I know to read your book!!

Jo-Anne in Kansas City (May 16, 2005)

 

Loved the book!  My husband is a pastor and it really spoke to us both.

Kim by email (May 16, 2005)

 

Thank you so much for your honesty and your courage.   Your book is every conversation, thought, emotion, desire, and dream I have had for the past year.  I have related so  much to each chapter.   I believe God really wants to wake up His church.

Carole from the UK  (My 16, 2005)

 

What?? This is just too much… blurbs from ordinary people??? Keep up the good work.  You guys are great!   Simply revolutionary!

Dawn by email  (May 12, 2005)

 

Thank you and our LORD for your book.  I would like to obtain several copies for friends but took the time to run off all 10 completed chapters. You express so clearly my concern and hope for CHRIST'S church today. Oh, for the joy of real worship without being just a member of the audience, programs, and organized denominationalism.  Praise GOD for your courage and your book.

Richard from Alabama (May 11, 2005)

I have been feeling like I'm at a crisis point in my faith, and the last few days have been particularly angst filled for me.  I'm just weary of "churchy" stuff.   I went to Google and typed in "I don't want to go to church" and your site was the first one that popped up.  I sat and read all 10 chapters in one sitting (thank you to my wonderful husband who gave me a three hour break from our children as my Mothers' Day gift!), and wow, did it hit the spot!   I feel a sense of relief, refreshment, and just a desire to continue on in the faith, and a desire to renew my relationship with Jesus.   I have been reccommending it to everyone I can think of on-line!  Thank you so much for taking the time to write and express all the wisdom and love and grace God has filled you both with!   I feel like I personally had a visit with "John" today!  

Jill (May 8, 2005)

I just read all 10 chapters of this wonderful book. I want you to know how God has used it to make a difference. It was like the final piece of a puzzle clicking into place... a puzzle that has been frustrating me for about a decade. I knew the difference between living by grace vs. legalism, at least in theory. I've known about it for years. But I never could figure out how to get there. The Holy Spirit has been working this out in me all along, gathering momentum in the past few years. Now, in recent months, I've been experiencing the Father's love in a new way. And other sisters & brothers are playing their part... but this book was the clincher. I finally "got it" in a way I haven't before. So when God showed me He's never ashamed of me, or my children, I was able to believe, deep down. That gave me the faith to take my kids out in public (something I'd come to dread). Sure enough, a few of them melted down, and got terribly loud, but -- Glory to God!!!-- I was not embarassed! Nor angry... It's never happened that way before. I walked out of there free, joyful, and full of tender affection for my dear little ones, despite the scene we'd just had. So THIS is the power I'd always heard about... And I credit the chapter on "playing the game" in particular for helping me to get to this place. Four little kids will be having a different kind of childhood now because of what our Father is doing. Thank you for taking the time to play a part in that. I'm looking forward to your next chapters.

Robin in Texas (May 6, 2005)

I have spent  a lot of time pouring over the pages in your book, and for the first time I have found a vocabulary for things that have been stirring in my heart for a long, long time. For this I can only offer a humble word of thanks.  

Stephen (April 18, 2005)

 

This book is so full of wisdom and nuggets of truth that I'm going to have to buy it when it comes out and reread it over and over just to digest it all.  My spirit just so agrees with things you are teaching and my mind is struggling to grasp it all.  It answers so many questions and frees me in so many ways.  I don't even know how to thank you for taking the time to write this book.  I can't wait for the next chapter.

Cathey (April 17, 2005)

 

Please know I have very much enjoyed the read thus far... trust this book will be for sale soon.  Thanks again.

Wendy  (April 17 2005)

 

Nice.  With where we are "at" I have some ideas of what it looks like and even some instances I look back on and say "Ah yes", but the real difficulty is precisely what you allude (not so subtly however) to.  Our way of thinking about something.  We've been programmed (in a real sort of way) to do certain things as Christians.  Sit, listen, respond, listen, listen, sign up, ... When one starts to see there is waaay more to following Jesus than those things the natural question is the one I posed I think.  The right ideas are in place, but taking the ideas and moving to practical, living it out stuff is hard. Perhaps made harder by me.

Bob  from Oregon  (April 16, 2005)

 

Tonight, I read Chapter 10 and you brought tears to my eyes. I felt the tension as Jim came over and sat down with Jake. 15 years ago, I was fired from my first pastorate (I was an associate pastor in charge of education fresh out of cemetery, I mean seminary). The worst thing was when I saw the church newsletter that announced I had resigned for personal reasons. I guess being fired is as personal as you can get and I laugh about now. But the tension in Jake as Jim asks if he would consider taking his place is nerve racking. The last 15 years has been quite a journey. I went back to my trade as a computer operator but I have always longed to go back in "professional" full-time ministry. But you have challenged me to look at what God is doing in my life now and what ministry is around me at all times. I truly desire to be where Jesus was when he said, "Whatever I see my father doing, I do." But that seems to be beyond reach at times. Perhaps, having been in the church all my life (my father is a pastor and elder), I have too much knowledge and have a hard time with letting go and trusting Father. Well, just to let you know, you touched my heart deeply with Chapter 10.

 Jeff (April 16, 2005)

 

I and a couple of friends of mine haven't met John, but your tale is describing the same journey we've been on for the last 3 years. We haven't started a "house church" because it didn't seem any better than the alternatives. We are all learning to live in trust and live in relationship with the Father and all the religious props are being knocked out from under us one by one. Please finish the next chapter.

TAM  (April 16, 2005)

 

I very much relate to the story and have been deeply enriched by the intense focus on knowing Father, rather than simply trying to "build something better."  Thank you for your gift,

Celestino (April 15, 2005)

 

Your book is great! I’ve learned so much. I wish I could meet with both John and yourself!  May God bless you through the many journeys’ ahead!

Jonathan (April 14, 2005)

 

I read chapter ten immediately.  There is so much there, so much that spoke to me.  I'll be back, reading more slowly, and asking God to have His way.  You certainly can't get it all in one quick pass. Thanks so much for sharing your journey via 'Jake'.  His/your journey is that of so many others and 'John's' ministry is very effective in getting to the core and removing artificial (man-made) obstacles from between Father and His people.

Mark (April 13, 2005)

Thank you for all that you have written - has been blessing upon blessing!  Each of your chapters is, in the parlance of the field of books, a page turner (can hardly wait to turn to the next page!).  Thank you!  Not sure who it was that told me about you, but - see it as His gift.  Be blessed and rejoice in the joy of the flaming love of our Father.

Joanne (April 13, 2005)

 

We found your website this week....Thank You Thank You!!! (2 couples...left our church...trying to outreach..the unchurched...build our kids....receiving so much dissention and destruction....we said FAGETABOUTIT!... THAT VERY DAY WE FOUND THIS SITE.!  RELATIONSHIPS!!! THATS WHAT ITS ALL ABOUT!!!  I pray thanksgivings for finding this ...the story...the truth..the "oh Yeah!" ..THIS IS WHAT I'VE BEEN TALKIN ABOUT!"  feelings of Jesus showing the way thru this discussion. THANK YOU.  Looking forward to the rest of the story.....

Betsy from Pennsylvania (April 2, 2005

I began reading this book online on Monday of this week, March 28, 2005, and was so compelled that I had to read through to the end or at least your last chapter, which I just did……March 30th. I am absolutely speechless, also so excited at the same time.  I know I need to know Jesus in the "Body Life", and not in an "organization".  I have always had so many questions, wondering if the people who attend the same worship service that I do, if they have these questions, or am I the only "strange one" (Ha! Ha!) Now I know for sure. I just want to know and experience more of the Father's love in my life and for my husband, children and grand kids to also know and experience the reality of the Father's love for us. THANK YOU, THANK YOU.

Laura (March 30, 2005)

Great book! God led me to your website at a time in my life when I needed it the most! It is speaking to me in a very deep and personal way. Wow.

Steve (March 20, 2005)

I am enjoying your book. I realize the book is sort of a novel but has a realistic agenda about my relationship with Jesus. The book is a tool that expands my spiritual growth, in that I am thinking of my own behavior as "John" so cleverly makes me ponder various aspects of "Christianity".

Tony (March 19, 2005)

We have just come out of an abusive church.  Really horrible.  We were there for fifteen years. When I first read the first chapter of your e-book this time last year, it ministered to me like nothing else has since I first became a christian at the age of 13, 28 years ago.  It was like meeting Jesus for the first time all over again, and it made me cry, and it made me want to meet him and walk with him all over again.  It was just so amazing.  It was the complete antithesis of what my husband and I had experienced at our abusive, and I have to say it, cult church.  What we do to each other in the name of Jesus is diaboloical.  However, I have since done alot of surfing the net and found much to my excitement that there seems to be a move now across the world where many are searching for the true identity of both Jesus and themselves as christians. Keep up your good work in the encouragement and edification of the body.

Anita in Australia (March 15, 2005)

Thanks so much for the story so far....  so many things confirmed and many truths learned. I've been blessed in that I never had that experience in the three 'churches' I 'belonged' to, even though in the second, I was  a deacon, then 'elder' (I don't think any of us were really elders at that time, not even our very lovely leader) and finally I was a 'pastor'.

The Father did send me to a 'faith church' to show me the ultimate in control and able to show me the anomalies of teachings with grace and law mixed in, I was only in that 'church' for eighteen months and didn't know what I was learning until He took me out of it and I was able to look back by His grace and see what was been done to His Church in the institutional controlled environment.

In 1988 we came out of institutional churchianity, and that's another story, we love it.

Lysle from England (March 7, 2005)

I have been so greatly moved by this book, that right now, I have no words to convey what Father is weaving in my heart. Please pray for me, as I will for you and the others who travel the pages of this message from God, that we will all the more, reach to Him and let Him reach the further distance to delight Himself in how He ministers Himself to us, His Bride moment by moment, from now until forever. Love you in Him,

Pam (February 19, 2005)

I went to my friends' place today for our Friday morning prayer get-to-gether. I saw a printed web page sitting on their kitchen bench which happened to be chapter 9 of your book. The wife said I might like to read it, someone had given it to them. I read it on the train on the way to work and all I can say is "Wow", and "Praise the Lord" and "thank you Jesus and thank you my brothers" (I'm not normally a gushy emotive type). For too long I had felt like a man with 4 talents - 2 were well used but due of the restrictive nature of the religous system the other 2 were buried in the ground. I said to the Lord and to Laurie my wife that never again will I allow my self to be restricted so that I can not use to the fullest what the Lord has given me for the benefit of others.

I have felt strongly to get back to how we started, with the freedom of fellowshiping in the home where a religous structure does not stop us from ministering God's love to others. This week I asked 2 other families to join with us next sunday for a time of fellowship, praise and prayer. Fortunately both families declined because there I was with another religous meeting in the making. Praise be to  Jesus that he arranged for the chapter of your book to arrive in my hands this morning and it has just spoken so much to me - some things that I already knew, some things that were in my heart but had hadn't yet got up to my head and  some things that are new and enlightening. Now I'm not even bugged by my friends refusal to meet on Sunday. The Lord has shown me just to relax and trust and let him lead the way. So once again thank you for sharing your book and puting your selves on the line to do so. I really look forward to reading the whole book and maybe adding something to the discussion on your web site.

I realise this is a rather long letter - probably too long to publish on your site - but I just wanted to share my testimony with you to put in context the timely way the Lord has delivered your book into my hands and the tremendous blessing it has been after just one day.

David from Australia (February 13, 2005)

I have just completed reading every chapter you have written so far.  What you said has been in my heart and mouth and it touched me very deeply to read it.  I have been in church for many years and have recently left church but I have not left God and He has not left me.   The wisdom with which John spoke is as if God would speak it Himself and draws me closer to God and less to organization and religion.

In the past I have seen my relationship with God as a means to get my prayers answered and as
One who must move if I am confessing His Word correctly.  But my walk has changed so much over the last 6 years leaving a "word faith" church where appearance was everything only to go to another one (with a holiness expression and be hurt even more by accusations.  I have come to the conclusion that my walk with God depends on God not on the external things I do or don't do and I do no need to seek others' approval.  And certainly others don't need my approval, they need my love.  My walk with God is a life - long journey not a destination where I arrive.  I hope to spend my whole life getting to know my Lord more and more and allowing Him to conform me to His image. I have recommended your book to several people - I look forward to the next chapter.

Ronda (February 11, 2005)

I find this quickening exhiliarating. En theos ,enthusiasm, energy , wonderment. Thank you for sharing ,some day I hope to meet,both of you.

Rebekah Yglesias (February 7, 2005)

This has been such an amazing journey, I feel myself getting goose bumps as I grow closer to God and listen to your story.  I am firm believer in God defining my tomorrows and my forever and think you've hit the nail on the head.   Thank you for sharing your amazing story I look forward to your future chapters. 

Wendy from Oregon (February 2, 2005)

 

Thank you for your story. I have enjoyed it so far and am eagerly awaiting the next chapter.  I left the main church system almost 3 years ago because I did not find what I was looking for. I was bored with the same old routine and man's way of doing things. Everything mapped out and no room for the Lord to act. It grieved my spirit. I wanted something more, which I did not find at church.  I always believed that we should be meeting often and have more interaction with one another - not just a Sunday thing.  One gets tired of all the show and pretence of it all. It must be real. Jesus said that we must die to self and it’s not easy.  Please, please give us the next chapter.....

Chrystal (February 1, 2005)

 

Thank you so much for sharing what God has placed on your heart. 

Janet (January 29, 2005)

 

My husband and I really enjoyed your article. I believe that the name of the article could be troubling to some people. We stopped attending the tax-exempt meetings about 15 years ago and now meet with other believers for fellowship and teaching once a week.  We have many friends and family that still go to the building and we are sensitive that they may not want to read that article because they think we want them to stop going to their meetings.  But your article actually was not about that, it was more about relationships with our Father and other believers.  So I am afraid to email them the link believing that  the title will scare off those who could benefit from it in the belief that you are just a divisive believer trying to stir up trouble.  Which I think is far from the truth and your insights are quite helpful.  I was also very happy that you did not portray the "house church" as  the way to do this Christianity thing.  In this experience of so less than perfect believers attempting to fellowship with each other, it is a breath of fresh air to not set ourselves up for another "NOW we got it figured out!" scenario.

Renice from Arizona (January 11, 2005)

I just have begun reading the Jake's story yesterday. But it already catches me. I say that not because I'm more happy or something like that, but on the contrary it makes me 'wrestle' inside. I've been asking God the last two weeks how to get more profoundly in touch with him only to get more frustrated inside. Reading about Jake's frustration makes me think that I'm on a good road. But anyhow, I just wanted to say Hi and say that in a way( I don't know if it is good nor bad) I am attracted to your teachings. I hope to 'get a clue' on God reading enough of your website and looking for God in the Bible and prayer. I hope to write one of these days to say that I now Know God's love more, and love God more.

Daniella (January 7, 2005)

"Happened" to run across your website and read all your book in one short setting.  Can't begin to tell you what your website, book, etc have done for me.  Ex-associate pastor and founder/director of a youth center, burnt out on religion, etc. and deeply in love with my Savior.  Want you to know what a tremendous source of encouragement you have been to me over the last several months.  To say more adequately would take me many pages.  

Roger (December 23, 2004)

This is the best story with resounding truths that I have ever read. Thank you for sharing your experiences. It has truly provided me with a paradigm shift in how I view Jesus personally, outside of religious obligation. It is as if a huge weight has been lifted off my shoulders to know that what I feel is okay and the God is big enough to handle my broken empty circumstances/feelings. Even in the most trying times; Jesus is big enough to offer his grace and peace. I can’t ever thank you enough for sharing this story!

Kristopher from Texas (December 21, 2004)

Just recently a friend sent me your website and suggested I might like to read your book. Great read.  I started reading it Friday night and finished up to chapter 9 on Sunday. Your friend John is full of wisdom and what I liked most about him was his ability to speak truth with love. Very few people can do this.   What wisdom and insight. There has been much confusion in the body and this man John spoke with a clearity that allowed one to see.  My husband and I left the church system over 4 years ago, and ever since then have really grown. At first we did feel lost, misplaced but as time went on we started to study the word together.  This is what God spoke to our hearts: We had lined ourselves up with man and not His word. That we had been taught by the church system to seek to have our circumstance changed (outward) but God is now teaching us to have a heart change.  What strength comes from within.  Our eyes have been opened and our need to be approved by man is now in the past.

What a great journey.  The biggest lesson we are learning is to "Wait Upon the Lord".  We did not run out looking for a "home church" when we left the system ... but let God deal with our hearts and He still is.  The relationship is growing. What touched me the most about your book was John's character.   It has been the cry of my heart to love the body, and speak truth that can bring change in a person's life.  John's words does this exactly ... they point you to Jesus.

Nancy from Canada (December 14, 2004)

I have read 5 chapters and I loveeeeeeeee it and hate it too. But I mostly loveeeee it. God really prepared me for it. God does a lot of work in me when I am reading it. Praise God for your candour and honesty.

Leah from Australia (December 9, 2004)\

I am so enjoying reading this story.  It is exactly what I have needed and so encouraging to know that there are many in the Body of Christ looking for answers to feelings they don't really know how to explain.  Thanks so much.  

June (December 1, 2004)

I just referred your site to a number of people.  For what it’s worth, I had a friend who is a lot like ‘John’ in the story. He is a Sudanese Evangelist who is here in Melbourne doing studies. We first met when he came on my bus with an African lady of Islamic persuasion and he very naturally shared about Christ with her in a very non-threatening but inviting way.  I forget how he came to know I was a Christian but even though his travel habits constantly change and I drive different routes and different times, we continually cross each other’s paths at times I have come to some kind of impasse when following the Holy Spirit’s leading since we closed the church I pastored and of necessity resigned my denominational positions.  We don’t talk so much about church but about Christ, and then I find my following Jesus takes on a new spurt of life. There are a large number of us in Melbourne who believe God is up to something really good, and the best evidence of His presence is often found in the larger community.  So our aim is to support and encourage one another but be found where God is active.

Bruce from Australia (November 28, 2004)

I read Chapter 9 last night and thanked my Jesus for confirming what has been in my heart for so long! I do have a small home church in my home on Thursday nights and we can so relate to your story. Thank-you for writing your story - I enjoy your writing also! It's all about HIM!!!

Olivia (November 28, 2004)

This is an inspired story that must continue.  My heart has been filled by your words, and I long to know the rest.  Praise Him for touching your life and revealing His truth to us!  I pray for "John" to enter into my life. But maybe he already has...  

Melissa from Ohio (November 25, 2004)

I guess the best thing that I've realized while reading this is just how absolutely wonderful and gracious God has been to me since leaving the IC about 5 years ago now. For the longest time I felt guilty for not being a part of the IC but Father has relieved me of those feelings and although I'm still "looking" for others of like mind, I know now without a shadow of a doubt that He is, has always been, and will always be leading me where He wants me. Believe it or not, I've met some pretty neat people that are not considered believers but have such wonderful spirits in helping other human beings that I can't help but wonder how and where He will manifest to them that He is the source of all that is good and right. I hope and pray that I will be granted the honor of seeing that veil lifted from their eyes. God's best to you all and I hope that your journey is as exciting as mine is at times.

Art (November 24, 2004)

This last chapter is just what we have needed to hear. It feels like we have known in our hearts all along that we are not seeing the reality of what it means to be God's children; the truth is we are not been centered on Jesus but the right way to do things; not to anyway excuse us, but we are a product of decades of doing things by the pattern. It is exciting to think of what God can do if we let Him and at the same time humbling to think it has taken this long for us to let go and let Him build His church. Thank you so much for making it so plain.

Jimmie from Virginia (November 20, 2004)

I had been asked by a sister to read the story of Jake. I loved it...so liberating. I can really see now why my heart and mind have been distracted by being part of the institution. I have written down many key thoughts and will continue to mull them over.

Candy from New England (November 8, 2004)

WOW.. the latest chapter.. what is going on? Do you have eyes in our camp? Are we all so much the same we have the same struggles? I am beginning to think so. Then again God knows what we need so this is just one more way God is speaking to us. I really am being stretched out on this journey. God is always so good. For us as a small grope of people meeting together this chapter has really come at just the right time. Next Sunday we will read this chapter and talk about what God is saying to us through it. Thank you,

Charles from Canada (November 8, 2004)

I have just finished reading Chapter 9. It is just awesome the way God is leading you to write. I witness and agree to everything I have read in the 9 chapters and look forward to the rest of the book. However, I will be sorry to have it end. Unless of course you have another in mind. Thanks, Jake for all of the excellent teachings in this book. Please keep me on your list to be notified when you complete more.

Jean (November 8, 2004)

Chapter 9 is intereting... a lot to think about. And since I'm assuming that's what you're goign for, great job! ;-) Thanks for a great read!

Mark (November 8, 2004)

Your website is a brilliant idea and beautifully written.  Its heartening to me because I've run out of Sunday meeting places. I've done my best in Church of England, Pentecostal, House Church,
Salvation Army and two independent churches, giving each over seven years of my life so I'm no spring chicken either! God is wonderful but does He have a day off on Sunday? I'm on my own now, spiritually speaking.  My only hope is that the quality of my life and my straightforward witness to Christ will say
something to the people I meet day to day. Yes! I know I can't make him love me more, but I would like to bring him something.

Alan from the UK (November 2, 2004)

 

It has been a long, long time since I have read something that strikes such a chord in my life.   "So You Don't Want To Go To Church Anymore" is a healing balm and in a short time I will be able to share more with you on what needed to be healed and how. I just wanted you to know my husband and I (39 years together) read your ministering words this morning and I know the Father sent it to my husband who in turn told me about it.  We each have computers in the same room and while he was on chapter 4, I began reading chapter 1.  Neither one of us could quit reading until we read it all and the Lord orchestrated our days so neither one was disturbed until we finished reading all the chapters.    So much wonderful truth here and so simply stated.  Very powerful!  Thank you for your honesty, your love of our Father and for being instruments of his Divine Being.

Margie from Washington State (October 30, 2004)

 

Something within me finally just broke and I could no longer continue to do what I had been doing for the last year and a half.  Very active in church ministry, (over my Young Adult Department, in the choir, Praise and Worship Leader for Women's Fellowship, and participant in church program upon church program) I have found myself no longer desiring to be within the House of the Lord.  Out of church for two weeks, I can not tell you the guilt that I have been faced with from feeling as if I had let my church members down.  For the past two weeks, I have also been talking with God and asking him to lead me.  And like the man below, I also did a search engine.  Mine was "frustrated with church" and after reading only two chapters my heart rejoiced and I felt such release.  Thank you so much!  

Camisha (October 7, 204)

 

What am I learning? God is confirming what I've been thinking about "church" for a long time. When I was born again, it was all so clear, then I started going to "church" and everything got all messed up. I'm not sure where all of this is leading, but it is refreshing.

Suzanne  (September 28, 2004)

Yes, I meant to tell you how much I have enjoyed the story.  It seems so much like my journey - of slowly realizing what institutional religion is all about, then disillusionment and anger.  Then thinking that house church is "the answer."  The only answer is a real relationship with God, based on freedom and love.  Then I will be able to carry that relationship to others.  I think it just takes some time and a lot of prayer to get deprogrammed.  

Jennie (September 24, 2004)

 

What a blessing it has been to read this wonderful story of your travels with John. I truly believe that coming across your web site was just another gift the Lord wanted me to experience. It is amazing how your story connects the dots to numerous thoughts and insights the Lord has revealed to me in the past year. He has been walking with me through a similar journey and I will never see things the same again. I have shared your site with some of my friends and they too have been tremendously blessed and changed by it. Please notify me when you release another chapter. Go with God, live free...

Tammy (September 16, 2004)

 

Hello there! Well! I found it difficult to pull myself away from reading your chapters, and I have to admit I cheated to see who was behind these lovely words.  I am looking forward to getting more, until then I shall continue to read Wayne's news thing. The way you talk about the Father is exactly how the person who told me about God and His lovely son talked. It made me hunger for more, and that is hard to find in a church. The church I ended up going to is quite small (250 at most) but still I come across people trying to fit me into a mold, I guess their mold. Anyway the person who first talked this way doesn't go to church and the pastors etc. are quite dismayed by this. I've been told that he is being disobedient to God, and he must have been hurt by his last church and that he just needs to come out to get back on "track".Of course being a new believer I believed them and tried to manipulate him into going either to my church or finding one of his own. No way,,, wasn't happening! But he continued to speak of the Father in this loving manner, and how my relationship was mine and his was his. That I should be concerned with my walk not anybody elses.

Then I came across an article by Wayne Jacobsen and I knew my friend wasn't trying to steer me wrong and he wasn't the only person in the world to think like you. Thanks for setting me straight, I guess I'm too old and cynical to believe the first person and have to have a back up. Silly eh? Looking forward to reading more of Jake and Co.

Mary from Canada (September 7, 2004)

Thanks! I'm more than enjoying the story; it's reinforcing a lot conclusions I've drawn about the religious system. By the way, I love the story format as story is the language of the heart.

Jeff (August 17, 2004)

One day, in total frustration with church as I had come to know it, I did a Google search on the phrase "don't want to go to church". As a result I discovered Jake and his story. I believe it was my Lord's leading. I was later to find Wayne's site on the Internet. I ordered one of his books and
later was privileged to have the opportunity to spend some time with him. While praying the Lord began to show me that I needed only to "follow Him". My introduction to Jake & Wayne made me realize that we don't have to do it the world's way in fact we don't always have to do it the churches way but we should earnestly desire to do it the Lord's way which, though it may often ruffle the feathers of some leaders, always bears a lot more fruit. Wayne's authentic love of the Lord and His people has helped to change my heart. My whole family has been touched by his love, which is the Lord's love through an obedient SERVANT. My family and I now fellowship together, in the Spirit, in our home (the place doesn't matter). Sometimes others join us. Sometimes they don't but that is OK cause He has to build us and He has to connect us. While not all of us are at the same growth level, all are very much loved. The Lord will take care of the growth as only He can.

I spent many years trying to force my family to "submit" to something that they had no heart for. But I have found that hurt hearts are no problem for our Physician, as long as we, His body, simply permit Him to live His love in us and through us. Love is indeed the greatest medicine.

Wayne is the closest to a "John" for me. Maybe someday another chapter will take place and Father will grant me the privilege of spending some more time with him. But even if that doesn't happen he has left a deposit of true friendship in my heart that has changed my life. In the meantime I have
been introduced to other dear friends on this marvelous journey in Christ. The body is being assembled and the joints come together… and dry bones are coming to life again.

Steve from West Virginia (July 23, 2004)

 

All I can say is WOW!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!  I just spent the whole afternoon/evening reading all 8 chapters with no breaks.  Feel like we have SUCH a similar story.  I too, was involved in ministry(on staff) with my former husband.  We did music.....won't go into my story here!  all I can say, is that the Father brought me through some incredible experiences and I needed to make some of the same choices to follow Truth!  Yes, my reputation was scarred many times, through all this, rejection, leaning on God heavily for His provision.  .....but He has proven to TRULY be "The LOVER of MY SOUL!!!!" I'm looking forward to hearing the rest of your story!   Where ever do you get this writing ability and this stuff you write?  I just love it!  It truly is a wonderful way to teach too.

Laura from California (July 11, 2004)

Thank you, from an almost ready to give up 'being' a Christian because nothing seems to make much sense anymore and there is no life in my supposed 'life' in Christ.

Colleen (June 24, 2004)

 

Excellent!  Can't wait for the rest.  There are always lots of good nuggets in there and this time was a great reminder for us to not worry about the future.  We've been trying to sell our house for over a month and getting nowhere.  We had everything planned to be moved by the middle of June.  "We" were doing the planning.  We're going to try harder to listen and let God take care of it.  There is so much wisdom in this book that I want everyone to read it.  I keep sending the new info to friends but I don't know if they're taking the time to read it or not.  I want the finished book so I can highlight stuff I don't want to forget.  I'm glad to know who you guys are finally.Keep up the good work.

Cathey  (June 22, 2004)

 

it was great to read Jake's new chapter today, in between files here at work, and it was both very inspiring and very depressing reading :-)  I just read what this John guy says in response to Jake, and the wisdom and understanding of 'true' reality comes from him without any hindrance from the world view and attitudes we live in and are influenced by.  Everything is so simple to him, and he truly lives above this world.  I feel so far from that, and really need more of God's presence in my life, which usually due to laziness, I put off so much.

Jennifer from Ireland, June 23, 2004

 

It has been a great honor, to be able to read such great writings. Please let me know when you write more. It is interesting how God works. I've got so many examples throughout my life. One example is, that I've grown up within the church but always found it troubling that I couldn't understand the Bible. You can't imagine how many times I've tried to make it through Genesis. It just never made sense to me. I figured that just didn't have the required knowledge to understand such a book. Finally, after 42 years of life, I am finally at a point in life, that the Bible makes sense to me. My daughter presented a NIV of the Bible when I had mentioned that I wanted one. I won't lie, some parts are still difficult to understand. But, with the good Lord's help, I'll understand, when the time is right. I thought being baptized meant that I was saved. I also thought that the Bible was written like all books. A beginning, through the end. I've read  the new testament and, am currently reading the old testament. About 6 months ago, I was saved. God truly does work in mysterious ways. He's really blessed me. One blessing, has been to find your online book. Thank you! God bless you and Dave for all your endurances and teachings! You don't know how much it has helped. I thank God for having found you and Dave.

Jonathan  (June 22, 2004)

Excellent!  Can't wait for the rest. There are always lots of good nuggets in there and this time was a great reminder for us to not worry about the future.  We've been trying to sell our house for over a month and getting nowhere.  We had everything planned to be moved by the middle of June.  "We" were doing the planning.  We're going to try harder to listen and let God take care of it.

There is so much wisdom in this book that I want everyone to read it.  I keep sending the new info to friends but I don't know if they're taking the time to read it or not.  I want the finished book so I can highlight stuff I don't want to forget.  I'm glad to know who you guys are finally. Keep up the good work.

Cathey (June 22, 2004

Thanks for your book and this very stimulating site. Thanks for the journey that you have traveled and that you can now share your experience. I have walked a similar journey and took a fellowship with me, not knowing whether we could turn such a big ship. It did turn during the last 4 years since the Lord started the process in a supernatural way. It happened slowly and we did lose a lot of people, but those who remained are growing at pace. We formed a network with no name to form a support base and get together once a month to share our stories.  We had no idea that it was happening in other places as well and in His grace He showed us glimpses of His worldwide work at times, just as we lost hope.

This is an incredible story, especially for someone like me who no longer fits well within the institutional church. Thank you for the truth it speaks. I can't wait to know when the next piece is up on the website. God's richest blessings!

Stephan from South Africa (June 14, 2004)

This site is INCREDIBLE.  It is so mysteriously real that it scares me.  Please add me to the list, and PLEASE TELL US THE REST OF THE STORY!!!!

Shane from Chicago (March 9, 2004)

Hi, I want to just to say how much what you have written speaks to me.  Thank you for using the gift God gave you to touch people like me.  

Linda (March 7, 2004)

More please! It is a life changing experience reading this that is in some ways is running along side my journey with many similarities. God bless and lead you for Jesus sake.

Jim (March 6, 2004)

I have read what has been written on the web site and for the love of our Lord continue and put it into book format. I can guarantee you I will buy at least one copy if God continues providing funds. There is a restlessness and a breath of change that is challenging hearts around the world. What you are writing rings true of the experience many of us are walking out in our lives. Knowing the truth that others and walking a similar path makes all the difference when courage and faith grow small.

Charles from Nova Scotia  (March 4, 2004)

Hi.  I'm a 20 year old college student that has been desperately in need of an intimate relationship with the Lord.  I just want to thank you for writing this because it has made so much since to me and I really feel that the Lord has directed me to this site.  If I knew who you were, i would give you a big hug.   The eyes of my heart are being opened and i'm enjoying a more intimate relationship with God.  

Kyle  (February 15, 2004)

 

When I started reading your (His) story I had more questions about you than you'll ever know. However because of the interesting storyline I found it impossible to put down. I no longer have the questions, but I do have a statement "Thank you for sharing Christ with us". He is moving and since we are in Him and He is in us, His body, we too are on the move. You are an unhidden portion of Him that is moving visibly. This story and those who write to you (both) are great reminders that we are One body and He is everywhere without time restrictions. We are leaving the organizations and stepping into His kingdom. I am so grateful to be in a portion of believers that are dropping all denominational barriers and are living in and for Christ alone. Of course it is really just Him in us living, isn't it.

Annette in Texas (February 14, 2004)

Last year my wife and I started reading the first chapters. An this year we read the last chapters. We now live almost three years outside the institutional chruch. In the first year there always were douts "Is this the right way?" But now we enjoy living this way. We have still much to learn. We are very thankful for the story of Jake. The story touches our heart and a longing for the love of the father is growing. The whole story is one great encouragement for us and meets a great response in our hearts.

Guido from Germany (February 9, 2004)

Please notify me when the next chapter appears.  I have a love/hate relationship with the questions you are raising!

Lynne (February 29, 2004)

I Just thought I would let you know how things are going since first coming to your story. Since coming to your story in Oct. or Nov. of last year things have really opened up for me and I am seeing a lot clearer now not only about our Father's love for us but also some things about myself. The stigmatism is leaving. The great thing about seeing things about myself is that I do not feel the need to condenm myself for the faults that are revealed. I feel accepted. I used to feel that way but believe me it has been a long time since I felt that way even though I was in ministry. Probably most of my ministry was actually to myself out of my need rather than towards others and their need. One thing that is difficult is the fact (that I am) relearning what I knew years ago but I was not willing to continue in it. I had walked for a few years in freedom but not until I got involved in church structure did I find myself going against what the Father had shown me. The wisdom He had given me I threw right the door and started to walk in the so called wisdom of others. I am not afraid to admit that to anyone and that is great. I know that I am not always doing what my Father desires due to the residue that is in me. I just find myself going to Him and telling Him about it rather that fighting with it. He is much easier on me than I am myself. Got a long way to go but at least now I am starting to enjoy the trip.

Jim from Illinois (January 22, 2004)

 

Really, REALLY enjoyed your book chapters. It is incredible how much I see of myself. John has to be the Holy Spirit. Two specifics that I learned are that Jesus can take my anger and he still loves me. And he just wants to talk to me and love me.........have a conversation with me.

Thanks for the encouragement.  We are attempting a home fellowship and are out of the institutionalized religion but, I guess, in are in the process of getting the institution out of us. That takes more time than we think. Also, it is so frustrating to see friends that know something is wrong but can't or won't break free of (the p)astor's control. I am learning that it is the Holy Spirit's job to show them and not mine.  Wow, the revelations that come from a little time with the Holy Spirit!  What could happen if I gave Him  more time!  I have printed multiple copies of your chapters and given it to friends that were ready to read it. Thanks for your honesty and willingness to share.

Jenette (January 21, 2004)

 

I just finished chapter 4 and it hit home greatly.I am 34 and have been a Christian for about 11 years now. I left the institutional church setting about 4-5 years ago. It is very painful in the beginning. As your experiences are unfolding I am finding many similarities. Lately I have been experiencing such freedom in Christ I just want to shout it from the rooftops. I'm enjoying your book greatly and looking forward to seeing what more you have to share.

Angie (January 19, 2004)

I AM FLABBERGHASTED! So are my husband and best friend.  I am personally so excited to have the VERBAGE to express what God has been speaking to me for years.  We ‘left’ our ‘church’ because of the stronghold (and I mean STRONGHOLD) of religion.  Everything you say is bang on!  Putting it all behind and deciding to go with God can be a hard thing to do, especially when you are so connected.  But we kept asking ourselves, connected to what???  We were worship and youth leaders and I can honestly say that leaving the titles and accolades of man, was one of the hardest things God has ever asked us to do.  Then the realization that people you thought would bless you on your journey, and love you still, never speak to you again.  

THE GOOD NEWS, the freedom we have experienced to BE WHO WE ARE IN CHRIST is like an explosion of all good things.  After reading everything at jakecolsen.com we are realizing that WE ARE THE CHURCH and WE DO CHURCH everyday! By shoveling our neighbor’s driveway, eating with friends, worshipping together…and on and on.  Have I said the word FREEDOM yet?  I feel like the weight of the world has been lifted off of me.  The crazy thing is…I have been taught almost everything you say, except it has been taught backwards.  Does that make sense to you?  Thanks for sharing your life with us.  What an amazing gift to the body, from an astoundingly, amazing and faithful Father.

Gay (January 16, 2004)

Thank you!  I sincerely thank the Lord for you and for the opportunity to read this story.  I will try to make this short, however, a lot seems to be happening lately which finally led to the reading of this story which has completely removed the veil from my eyes and I am so truly thankful!!!!!!  Which brings me to explain what has been so heavy on my heart for the last few months.  I'm so sick of the church and so called Christians.  I'm so hungry for something "REAL".  

My youngest sister was born with brain damage.  When I was old enough to understand what that meant - that she would never walk, or run, or ride a bike - that I would never hear her voice - I began to pray.  I did not know much about God at that age but I believed with all my heart that nothing was impossible for God.  So, I began to pray that God would take my life and give it to my sister.  My sister had to have a chance at life and I thought the only way was for God to take my life and give it to my sister - and I prayed over and over pleading with God to simply take my life so that my sister could experience life.   God reminded me this to remind me what I felt as a child for my own sister was true love—the willingness to give your own life for someone else to have a chance to live.   My sister went to be with the Lord at the age of 20 but the life she lived continues to touch my life today.  Through her life I have learned the true meaning of love.  

Yesterday afternoon a friend (who has left the church and been shunned because of it) called me and directed me to read your book.  I started reading and could not stop.  When my husband came home he sat down and began to listen as I read aloud.  When I broke down in tears he took over and started reading.  You will never know how much this has touched our lives!!  I could never express in words the depth of gratitude for this TRUTH!  I have been weeping all day and just thanking my Father in Heaven and Jesus for His love and asking for His help in allowing me to just allow that experience to take place in my life.  This is the love I so desperately want others to see and know. I tell you I am completely worthless today.  All I can do is weep.  I am so thankful!

Rebecca from Texas (January 12, 2004)

 

I have been reading about Jake since the first chapter came out.  I have eaten up every one since then.  I read a lot of books. I guess looking for answers that I don't even know the questions to.  Life has been a real struggle, and although I have had some incredible experiences with the Father, I still, all too often get lost in my own world, and can't see the Father or what he is doing.  Something in chapter 7 though stood out to me. It's the whole approval game.  And I guess I haven't realized how much who I am is still wrapped up in it. I am afraid of being wrong, and that people won't like me. So I work hard to be something I'm not, and then when I am worn out from it. Iisolate myself.  I have friends who have been going to an organized "church" together, and even though my conscience reminds me of the bondage that  I had experienced there, I still want to go with them so I am not "left out".  In life I have had a long string of shallow relationships and have really desired for them to go deeper, but for some reason I hold back, not wanting to reveal the "real" me.

I didn't mean to get quite so personal here, but I guess its okay.  I just wanted to say I really am enjoying this whole book, and every chapter has deeply affected me in some way.  Thanks for sharing your experiences. And as always I am looking forward to the next chapter!

Jennifer (January 6, 2004)
 

I have been reading the Jake story and wanted to let you know how the chapter on "Fairy Godfather" affected me.  My circumstances have been that I was widowed last year when my husband died of a complication to surgery.  We were building his dream house when this happened.  The building of it was pretty much a nightmare and only increased in problems after he died.  I have had it up for sale for quite some time, but no buyers.  It is (in my opinion) very essential that it sell soon because of my circumstances and seemingly inability to cope with the situation any longer.   I had the selling of the house on my mind a lot over this time and what you wrote in that chapter really spoke to me on not trying to manipulate things to go my way and in trusting God to do in His timing.  As I was reading it tonight, it's like I saw in my mind my laying very weak on the ground of the entrance to the property that I am trying to sell and then saw in my mind God come and pick me up and begin to carry me away from there and on down the street away from it.  I started to cry as I realized that He was actually showing His care and love and understanding to me in a way I could actually see.  It was all catalyzed by my reading that chapter and just wanted to share that with you.   Thank you so much for these writings.

Joyce (January 2, 2003)

My wife and I have been on such a similar journey - same dissatisfactions, same discoveries, same frustrations, and same brokenness that is simplifying our lives when we let him remove the extra garbage we've piled on ourselves. I really just want to climb into Daddy's lap and feel his infinite arms hugging me. That is peace!

Scott (January 2, 2003)

Thanks for the beautiful story. It's great to read a story and it's great to learn to know God and relational Christianity better. Usually books are about one of these. It's great that you combine them and really powerful. Your writings really brought me closer to our awesome God and Father. Thanks for letting God work through you!

Rudolf from the Netherlands  (December 29 2003)

 

I just read the first 72 pages of your book. Thanks!    It's Christmas day today and what a present!  I've come to an end of sorts in my own life:  The struggle to know and grow in my knowledge of God in the organized church system. I started out in my Christian life accepting the gift of salvation in 1993.  I used to pray to God like he was in some far away galaxy or other universe, when in reality he has been with me at the moment I believed. His Holy Spirit, the quiet voice that I could not hear through my business. It's a pretty awesome thing to get to that point in my life as a believer. I pray that others that are finding that their walk with the Lord has been a desert experience will learn to rest on His finished work and His life in them—His unconditional love for us.

Steve from Northern California (December 26, 2003)
 

I have thoroughly enjoyed reading through the chapters so far!!  I am also excited to read further, as soon as another chapter arrives! :)  My own story is different, but God has led us along a path that has also led to us leaving the "institutional church" and we felt like lost chickens for around 2 years.  My hubby is pretty much in the same place as Jake with his anger towards a whole bunch of situations we currently face, but they are not even as bad as the ones Jake faces in his story!  So I've emailed him the link to your site, so he can maybe follow the story and receive some insight and prayerfully he will get to that place where he is willing to "lose control" and let God have His way! :)  I am getting there myself.  Thank you for taking the time to write this story.

Karen (December 26, 2003)

I've read your available chapters of Stranger and Stranger Still, and find the truths in the story very much akin to what the Lord has been showing me and doing in me for several years. I'm in my 60's, served 35 years as an engineer, did 4 years in seminary and 5 years as pastor of a Bible Church, then more years in Navigators disciple-making.  But then He started dealing with the deeper issues of knowing Him the way John did, and letting Him live His life through me.  It is a startling journey, isn't it?

So keep up what He has you doing; there is surely a hunger out there for what you and He are writing.  Every week I meet more folks who want more than the traditional methods are able to deliver. I can point them in your direction, in addition to sharing what He is showing me.  Sooner or later they will need to assemble with His body to continue to grow toward the 'fullness of Christ' so it will be interesting to see if that is in the story too.

Bob (December 26, 2003)

 

I'll bet it feels strange to have so many people admire you by another name.  I have been reading your book at work any chance that I get.  I haven't made it very far, but I couldn't go another sentence without expressing to you my appreciation for what I have read so far.  

I have been a Christian off an on through my whole life and have always had questions about what people called church. Then just a few weeks ago my wife and I were talking and we found out that both of us were feeling like the Lord had been telling us that we need to leave our church. So we prayed and fasted and every religious spirit screamed, but we did it.  We left the church, gave up our ministry, and gave back my title as Reverend. Then it was as if the veil had been lifted.  We could see the bondage we were in for so long, we could see that we ARE the Church and that the greatest moments of our walk was when we were with Him or just with a few friends talking and sharing God's Word. I still struggled with not going to church, but I could see that church wasn't the answer I needed so desperately.  I still couldn't believe that God would take a person out of church and our family was beginning to come against us.  Even the pastor that we had trusted for so long as a spiritual leader came out and just said that this was not of God and began to remind me of past mistakes where I "missed" God. Then I got on the Internet and typed in "Why go to church" and I found the Lifestream website.  I began to read things that made my religious spirit scream and flounder, but it was the most liberating thing I had ever read.  It was exactly how I had been feeling for so long, but wouldn't admit it. Then I clicked on a link to find out who Jake Colsen was…

I was thinking about John as I was driving the other day. The words he spoke as hewas interrupting the arguing group was ringing in my ears and something happened inside of me. As I thought of John and his relationship with Jesus I couldn't stop myself from asking "Father, can we really have that kind of relationship?  Can I really know you like I would a best friend?  Then the Holy Spirit flooded my car and I felt love and freedom like I had never felt before—joy unspeakable and full of Glory.  Then those scriptures like "abundant life”, “where the Spirit is there is liberty”, “the joy of the Lord is my strength…" all became real and I knew that I can't and won't go backwards because my work is done...my life isn't mine anymore.  Today I got through the second experience with John in the park and every word reached my spirit.  I especially love how you said that if we look at what we have we can see what we've been seeking.

John from Texas (December 26, 2003)

Just read chapter 7 and all I can say is OUCH !!!!!   and thank you!
 

Donna from Cyberspace (December 26, 2003)

Thanks, I'm starting to read it right now.  I can't even begin to express what this work means for me.  Everything in my heart that I couldn't put into words, you have put into words.  I'm beginning to see that everything I do can be done out of love for the Father and others and that obligation can be replaced with love.  

 Jeremy December 24, 2003

Excellent, just like the other chapters. I remember having to deal with rejection, being misunderstood, lied and gossiped about, and shunned myself several years ago as my brethren treated me like Jake's brethren  are treating him. John's advice is right on, of course. Your work blesses me with affirmation and encouragement. I'm looking forward to the next chapter!

Bob (December 23, 2003)

 

Got your Chapter 7 the other day and have read it a number of times. Recently we have been praying about the "religious spirit" that afflicts the Lord's people. It is so easy to see it in others, but have been seeing that it is so much a part of our own lives too! You have done an excellent job of identifying that very thing in this chapter! As I understand it so far, it is the mindset that seeks approval from others based on what we DO. The antidote, as I understand it, is the mindset that realizes that I HAVE approval and acceptance with God based on  who He has made me IN CHRIST. (Ephesians 1:3-8)

 Only the truth can set us free. As we embrace and rest in the truth, it displaces and delivers us from the bondage of the false mindset that we have imbibed and adopted from our commercial and religious culture. I'm so often impressed that God's "economy" is the exact opposite of Satan's and the world's. We know the Lord will use and abundantly bless what he has given you to write and know that many will be brought along on their road to deliverance by reading and applying it.

Bruce (December 23, 2003)

 

Thanks for sharing your story and for me it is a blessing to hear that someone else has realized that it is His love for us that changes us and cause us to love Him and that there is no one way to prove our love to Him. For years I could believe in forgiveness that come from Him and had receive it many times for foolish things that I had done. I never once felt guilty when He would show me some things I had done and even though I was aware of them He never once made me feel shame but only love. One problem I had was that I just could not believe that His love for me was unconditional and by not believing that I found myself depressed due to the many mistakes I had made. There is that works relationship. I just couldn't see how He would bless me so much I couldn't contain it. After a few years of living or existing in a life of depression and fear I gave up trying to become free from it and accepted it as my place in life. Even though I figured I was where I deserved in my life I still had a little flame burning, though really small, and I wanted to live and be useful. One day I confessed that and while traveling with some friends and loved ones my heart was open to something I never thought possible. My mind became free from depression and fear and a love filled my soul so deep I couldn't contain it. It was a love for someone by a realization that I was loved by a Heavenly Father whom just wanted me to walk in His Love. I had never understood real love until that time and it finally grasped me that it was not how much I loved Him but how much He loved me. That has changed my life so much. I finally understood the Good News.

Jim from Cyberspace (November 30, 2003 

I found your website today on the house2house website. On July 1, I stepped back from my job/role as Pastor of youth and discipleship at (a local congregation). My wife and I are venturing toward house church/relational Christianity and are just in the formative stages of moving that direction. Thank you in advance for your ministry – I look forward to reading your online book and maybe one day meeting you to talk more about this adventure.

Daron from California (November 19, 2003)

Wow! I Love your story. Is it all true? It's better than any adventure movie I've ever seen! I can hardly wait for the next part! What a blessing! It helps me so-ooo much!!!! I hope your health is doing ok....I hope you are well. Your website is terrific- even the design is inspired!! I am so glad you quit church, for my sake, otherwise we would never have had this terrific website and this very helpful reading!

Cynthia from Cyberspace (November 17, 2003)

I’m from Germany and I read the German translation of your articles. I was deeply moved - I went through that whole church game, and I’m glad I did it quickly. I’m a Christian for only five years and I am  also that type of guy that can memorize scriptures just like that, I also won a Bible a contest - and didn’t even need one, too.  and soon I was living to be the pastor’s darling and for the admiration of the people. And all the time really thought that God must be very content and pleased with me, because I am SO spiritual... About one year ago, my whole life crashed. I almost ruined my marriage through my religious pride and yearning for acknowledgement, I slid back into sins I hadn’t struggled with since shortly after my conversion.  Finally we had to leave church. Everything I built my life upon collapsed.  Now I go through a time of reconciliation with my wife and we are part of a small house group that is simply relation-based and where no one needs to be afraid to show his weaknesses. There we received a new start for our marriage and are simply in a fine and growing relationship with other believers. They care for each other, they invite each other, they pray and minister to each other. But what seems to be the hardest thing to learn for me is that simple truth that you emphasize in these articles - to built my relationship with God not on my work but on his, on his love, and his accomplishment on the cross. I need to get crucified - to religion, to the law, and to a lot of human traditions (not to call it "religious show").  Your articles have encouraged and helped me in this. Please, please, please write on quickly!

HP from Germany (November 11, 2003)

Recently friends of friends of mine; all girls from different denominations and walks in God decided to catch up fortnightly... we have unstructured God chats and fellowship that flows naturally, and because no-one is trying to drive a certain agenda, and we are all being real, we get the fellowship that we all crave (no masks on), and can freely talk about struggles etc without anticipation of false condemnation. It has really released me and I am flourishing, instead of feeling condemned and second rate at church for not 'serving' (very much in the culture of the church where Ive recently left) (due to external or mans opinion of what is important.) We call our group... 'dinner' and it takes out the defensiveness of being called a cell group. I used to go to cell group, and even though we hung out before and after, my heart would always sink when we had to get to the 'real' topic at last; it gave the message that our relationships were just a pretext, and I dont think I was the only one too scared to say how I was really growing. The amazing thing is our dinner group has brought some of us back to God, and its really encouraging to see how people are truthfully walking (or not) with God through having unforced genuine relationship. We are in our mid twenties, and some of our friends parents have asked if they can come too, because they are after what we have to, also many friends that we all have separately, we have really hit a nerve. There are 7 of us, Most of us are in churches, but some are looking (like me) but my main focus is to return to my first love with God himself. I cant wait to hear the rest of your story. I'm wondering if you have tapped into the true heart of the church, what God really wants it to be. It is such a relief, release and encouragement to read your book.

Grace from Australia (November 10, 2003)

I've been going through a painful experience in my life which has caused me not to trust in any institution. On three occasions, I had attended and became a member of a 'church' that end up with the pastor leaving to another state and 'dumping' us on to another pastor in another 'church'. The last incident (which occurred 5 months ago), the pastor decided he would quit being a 'pastor' and closed the building down, with no prior warning or notice, and left us out in the cold- so to speak. I have no desire to attend 'church' anymore but I do know that I love the Father and my Lord Jesus Christ and He loves me! I've been dealing with guilt issues about not going to 'church'. Reading your story has made me see some issues and misconceptions I had. I'm not saying I'm anti-'church' or that no one should go. Just that in my situation, I think God is trying to deal with me the way he's dealing with 'Jake' in the story. It's been painful, frustrating and confusing at times but I believe God wants me to know him better and really understand what it means to be loved by him. Thank you for writing this story. I look forward to what comes next - in the story and my life.

Estelle (November 4, 2003)

I hope your health gets better. Your story has encouraged me so much. As a matter of fact I was off of work for 2 1/2 weeks and my cousin printed the 6 chapters and I read them. A few weeks later a friend called and said she was going to drop a book off at my house for me to read. Earlier that same morning I was talking to God asking if I needed to be back in church and I got your book again!! He's amazing!!

Shirley (October 23, 2003)

I was sent a note to read your book because of mutual appreciatons. After finishing the six chapters and reading through some of the emails you have received, I feel as though I've just become a part of a worldwide movement. I, too, was an associate minister, and no longer am on a paid basis. The Lord's ministry in me takes place now in a Christian book store six days a week. Prayer, counseling, loving help actually takes place here... with no strings attached. I am here six days a week because the Lord has seen fit to do so. I cannot afford to hire an employee as of yet, but that is not the point of my writing. True worship takes place where I am. I love my Father. I am thankful to our Lord that you had the experiences that you have.... I've had some of my own. Continue to write. I would be more than happy to place your writings on my shelves.

Terry in North Carolina (September 23, 2003)

My husband and I just love the way your story is being told. Anyone who reads this story and has been a part of an institutional church (the system) can relate to the trials and struggles that Jake is going through. I have already shared this story with a friend and she just loved it. Another friend I emailed it to hasn't written back as yet but I'm sure she will love it as well. I have printed the chapters off of my computer and plan to pass them along. I already have made a list in my mind of who to share this beautiful story with. I also was reminded of the fact that we have all been Jake at some point in our life. Circumstances may differ, but we were there. We may not have a John the Apostle (or whoever he may be) but we have the Holy Spirit. The precious promise by Jesus is that the Holy Spirit WOULD lead us and guide us into all truth. During our journey He is with us. The institution drowns out the living God within us and we end up following man, programs, and self, being led by the sin nature instead of walking in the Spirit. I was also reminded again to share compassion to those within the IC. We were there and that was us (at some level of) sharing in the deception. As Jake is a part of the problem, so were we. But God is so faithful, Jake is being awakened by the power of God in his life. Truth revealed is so cleansing as is confession to our Father. What a beautiful story. Can't wait for the next chapter, and the next and the next. Oh, I almost forgot. I especially loved the part where Jake's daughter was healed. We cried. Isn't that what all of us yearns for. A true healing from our loving Father. Whether physical or emotional. And isn't it so awesome that it doesn't matter who prayed and who does the healing. It is all a group of prayers and God chooses when the healing takes place. The glory always goes to the Lord.

Elaine from new Mexico (Octobe4 24, 2003)

I saw your web site on this Sunday morning (shock! I should be in church!) Good to know that I'm not the only crazy person being led at cross purposes to what most have no problem with ...

Russ from Cyberspace (September 14, 2003)

Wow! Not sure else what to say here... You are writing exactly what my thoughts have been for years. This is exactly why I left the church a few years ago. How sad that enough of this is going on that there has to be a book written about it to expel the darkness with Jesus' perfect light. My goodness. Can't wait to read the rest of the chapters and will definitely be buying the book to share also. Thanks for your courage and obedience...this had to have been a huge prayer concern for you, as well as an enormous burden on you. God bless you and the words you write from here on out. May they transcend the boundaries of religion and cut through bone and marrow, soul and spirit and pierce the very heart of our church bodies to bring much needed unity and freedom.

Steph (September 11, 2001)

OK, sittin here crying and thinking, my God I been living this. I'm sure you get a lot of emails daily and I just want ya to know that this story has touched me. Not sure why I am even writing this, but to tell ya that this is touching me and I would love to be added to your mailing list.

Sabrina from North Carolina (September 9, 2003)

I have been reading your story and I am blessed. I am a missionary serving in France. I find your story exactly what I am looking for in confirming what God has started in me concerning the future direction of our church of Jewish believers,ex muslims and disillusioned Christians who still carry a lot of religious baggage. My heart is to see them run to Jesus instead of learned ritual/tradition when confronted with the difficulties of life. I want be on your mailing list and read how God is impacting you because He is showing me the same thing.

Chris from France (September 9, 2003)

Awestruck! I saw through churchianity a long time ago and I think I'd rather be hanged than attend a church ever again, so the story seems "obvious" to me in that sense, but your descriptions of this mysterious John individual help me see what walking in Christ should look like. I've never seen it in real life and neither has my husband, which is a major reason why he's not come to Christ. He envies me my relationship with the Lord, as rocky as it is, but it seems he's waiting for someone to come alongside and help and I can't do that for him. We live in a spiritual no-man's land around here, so I just keep praying!

Kim (September 7, 2003)

Words are insufficient to express how much your "conversations" have ministered to me. My journey has been amazingly similar and God has been equally as good to me; not because of who I am but because of who He is. Thanks for sharing this story with us and please add my name to the list. I can barely wait for the next installment.

Steve Corgan (September 6, 2003)

Finally someone who understands the gospel and actually rights it as GOOD NEWS! It is so refreshing, sobering and exciting to read such freeing words devoid of any manipulation or legalism. I am also glad to see similar people out there in the world longing to be set free from religious teachings. At last a person who understands that grace is not just the unmerited favour of God but also the EMPOWERING presence of the holy spirit, which enables us to experience a loving abundant life with our father. Well done Jake and may God continue to bless you and give you the grace to continue sharing this life giving message to the world.

Nick from Australia (August 28, 2003)

A dear friend and sister of mine sent your website last night and I read all of your chapters. I was so amazed, I know that many people have written you saying they had the same experience, and I have too!!! How wonderful to know there are so many others and that we are not alone. My husband and I were led to come out of the church system a few years ago. We too went through an experience similar to yours. How wonderful to know that it is only the blood of Jesus we stand on! What a Truth, what a Reality, what a Hope, living Faith personified in the person of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ. Free to follow only His Spirit, not the dictates of man, or the empty traditions of man, but free to follow Him. All I have to do is hear the true gospel and my heart begins to skip and jump as He, and He alone is lifted up!!! Thankyou for writing and experiencing who He is in us.

Cathy (August 24, 2003)

Oh Jake!!! I'm suffering withdrawal here. I need more of this story!! How long??

Pammie (August 22, 2003)

You're ringing a lot of bells in my mind and I can't wait for the next installment. Bless you!

Rachael (August 10, 2003)

Thanks for your open and honest appraisals of the journey to relationship with Jesus .I often struggle with what I read Jesus said and did and the interpretations expressed by leaders who want to protect their labels and positions. I have become secure in no longer needing a label which means others and myself don't limit God to expectations. Today I may be used by God in a prophetic gift, tomorrow as a help gift, and yesterday just enjoy doing nothing but enjoying his presence. We are too easily fooled by labels on the cans displayed on the 'church ' supermarket shelves.

David (August 12, 2003)

Enjoying it immensely. Now I don't feel the condemnation that I felt previously for the feelings I've been having. It's simply hard to sit through church services that make me feel worse when I leave than when I walked in. Plus I hate the "commercials" - announcements, events -- why bother to spend the money printing programs if you're going to read them anyway.

Elaine (August 25, 2003)

I really enjoyed what you've written so far, anticipating the rest! Four years ago sitting in my living room I turned to my husband, who has never attended church, and said," I just don't want to go to church anymore". Have not attended any church since and have no desire to. I do love getting together with family and friends to chat about what God is doing in our lives.

Gail (August 14, 2003)

I just got finished reading your six chapters yesterday. It was fascinating. What was so amazing was that it was like the experiences I've gone through in the church over the last 2 to 3 years. I felt like I was going crazy sometimes. It seemed like God wanted me to come closer to Him, but the more I stayed in the church I was going to, the harder it got. I felt so numb and angry at times, because what I was seeing. I was striving and jumping through hoops to make my pastor and his wife happy. But I was doing it because I wanted to be recognized as a very "spiritual" person. I have also been in a church over the last 4 years that seemed to be a religious cult. The pastor called himself an apostle and "demanded" allegiance from all. Everyone there strives and strives and can never do enough to make him happy. Anyway, those four chapters touched my life and are bringing me back to where I was 16 years ago, when I was born-again. Thank you for writing it.

Margo (August 14, 2003)

I just discovered you and Lifestream today and I'm blown away! I told them that it was good to find others who were "out there."

Mary in Houston (August 1, 2003)

Thank you so much for being available to the Holy Spirit to write this book. We are passing it along to many others (as are some that we have passed it to). Also, I pray that you are healed of cancer. My husband and I left the "church" in January. He was an associate "pastor" and we can very much relate to Jake. It felt like we were reading our story. It has been a hard and painful time for us, but on the other hand it has been the most freeing time that we have ever had. We are free,indeed. Many neat things are happening right now in our family and in other families that my friend gave copies to. We all look forward to and await the rest!

Emily in Geogria (July 24, 2003)

Just a note of blessing & encouragement. I recently "subscribed" & just wanted you to know that the story you are writing was an instrument that opened the door to discuss with many others what God is doing in my life & what I think I see the Holy Spirit doing around the world based upon the many & varied communications that I receive. I believe that you are being supernaturally inspired & pray that you will continue writing in His Grace; inspired by His love for intimacy with His creation.

Mike from Cyberspace (July 22, 2003)

The latest chapter spoke deeply to my heart. Been going through a long period of adversity. My desire has been to keep my eyes on Jesus and not the "storm" but have not always done so. So very thankful that we live under grace and not law. Looking forward to the next chapter. Helping spread the word to my friends and acquaintances.

Wayne from Cyberspace (July 20, 2003)

I think that you are simply expressing the mind and will of The Spirit at present. I have been a Christian 35 years, served as an assistant Pastor, Worship leader and Christain School Principal. During that time, My wife and I have seen many "movements" come and go. I do believe that the next significant move of The Spirit will be the systematic dismantling of the precept of the organised "Church". Even though some have acclaimed "revival" over the past few years, there really has not been a significant worldwide move of the Spirit in our generation. Everywhere I have been recently, Christians are hungering and longing for the reality of what you are discussing. We left the institutionalised church 5 years ago, and have grown more in our relationship with the Lord during recent years, than at any other time in our lives. May The Lord richly bless you as you seek to serve Him in this present capacity.

David from Australia (July 19, 2003)

Jake - many of us have a history of being "in church" and no longer attend "church" because we hate the religion and the teachings that transpire in those places. I am looking forward to your continued saga. Thanks and God Bless you Brother.

Carol (July 17, 2003)

My friend emailed your articles to me....I, too, am one that is no longer satisfied with the "status quo". I would see Jesus and I know there are many others that are desiring this with all their hearts. Thank you for being so open sharing your heart and life with others.

Bunnie from Texas (July 19, 2003)

I just visited your website for the first time today. I am looking forward to reading chapter 6! The chapters I read are giving me a lot to think/pray about; especially about how the secular world views Christians.

Beth (July 17, 2003)

Keep up the trmendous work you're doing. I feel strongly your work is divinely inspired. I think you've found your true mission in life and your destined to complete it.

Ron (July 17, 2003)

I wish I had the words to adequately express just how much Jesus is using the story you're writing to encourage and bless me as it confirms what I have been hearing from Him. Thank you for letting Him use you in this way. When you have time, drop by and see what the Lord has me doing at OurFathersChildren.com and Theophilus.org. God bless you with a special measure of His marvelous love and amazing grace!

Bob from North Carolina (July 15, 2003)

This is astounding. This sounds like the same journey I'm on but I grew tired of all the struggles. I want my relationship with my father back.

Matt from Montana (July 11, 2003)

These chapters have been such a blessing to me. I don't know you at all, yet the very things that are being revealed to you through your circumstances are the same exact things The Lord is teaching me. I could have written this book. Only the names would be changed, and my circumstances are far more severe. The only explanation since we've never met, has to be God is doing a new thing in a lot of peoples lives. For years I was doing everything people said I should do to be a Christian. The more I did the emptier I became. I couldn't understand why I didn't have any joy or peace the Bible talked about. The early Christians were tortured and murdered and sang while they were being burned at the stake. Well now I'm singing too. I finally understand what the Lord meant when He said the truth will set you free. I've been battling cancer for 12yrs, My oldest son was in an accident and severed his spinal cord, he is paralyzed. My husband had a heart attack and now my youngest son 23 was in an accident and is paralyzed too. If God can sustain the Israelite children in the desert then taking care of us is a piece of cake. We are totally 100% dependent on Him. We have found the safest place to be is Hid with Christ in God. One has to die to self daily to live there and God has made that a lot easier to do for us. One thing about walking in the Spirit you don't need legs to do it.

Chris (July 11, 2003)

My husband read your story & is a changed man! He's struggled with guilt (which I believe is a counterfeit to true conviction) and just not measuring up. He's never gotten the 'relationship' part of it. Even though I've tried to share with him some of those things over the years, he never really got it. He's got it now! He's been on cloud nine the last few days. It's been really exciting. I shared your site with another friend (everyone else I've shared it with has truly been blessed), and he seems to not be able to gel with lack of 'obedience, commandments' & the like. I just wanted to share with you what I shared with him:

Heather (July 8, 2003)

I want to thank you for the words of encouragement you've placed before us! I've read the wonderful message several times now, and always finish feeling I've learned more! I especially like John's description of Jesus to the arguing crowd. He paints a very clear picture of the true love of our Savior... one which warms my heart greatly! Thank you for your efforts, and for your obedience to God! I will be waiting very impatiently for more of the unfolding story.

Bruce (July 8, 2003)

I am writing this to you. I just know it is one of the most awesome truths I have ever read about the church. I saw me is so many of those conversations. I have not attended a church for over 3 years. I see all that as a mirror image.........So powerful, This is a story that should be shared all over the world.

Shyloh (July 6, 2003)

Hi Jake! Wow. This is really good stuff. I just found your site today, and sat here and have read every word on your site. My husband and I left the (buildings with walls) church several years ago, and cannot bring ourselves to go back. We left the ministry (music) & everything. It's been rough going sometimes, but I would never go back unless He told me too. I only have one concern about what I've read. It could very well be a misunderstanding on my part ~ I know that reading words on a screen sometimes lose their dimension; thoughts and understandings aren't always grasped by the reader as they are with those who were there. But what concerned me was this: John said, "Scripture doesn't use the language of need when talking about the vital connection God establishes between believers. Our dependency is in Jesus alone!" While I totally agree our dependency is on Jesus Christ alone, the Word also states: For as the body is one, and hath many members, and all the members of that one body, being many, are one body: so also is Christ... For the body is not one member, but many... But now hath God set the members every one of them in the body, as it hath pleased him... And the eye cannot say unto the hand, I have no need of thee: nor again the head to the feet, I have no need of you... Nay, much more those members of the body, which seem to be more feeble, are necessary (I Cor.12) The reason this stuck out to me is because the body is one thing I truly miss. I often day-dream of people just hanging out here at the house, playing guitars, singing, eating, enjoying each other and fellowshipping in God's presence. But as long as He is leading, I will go ~ even if it means sitting here alone. Also, wanted to let you know, one thing that has pricked my heart in reading your story is about accepting God's grace. I've seen it abused so much, that even hearing the word sometimes irritates me. In the past 3 months we have been blessed abundantly more than I could ever imagine. I've been struggling with the knowledge that I've done nothing to deserve it. When people see how blessed we've been, I always want to tell them it's something we've done right ~ learned a more correct doctrine ~ or just something. But I can't. We've done nothing to deserve it. It amazes me ~ and I struggle. Thanks for writing your story ~ I'm glad I didn't find it in the beginning. I often sit down & read a book all the way through ~ I can't stand to wait! But I will check back often to catch your next update.

Heather (July 4, 2003)

Jake responds: What a pick-me-up! Thanks for writing today and sharing how my story has been an encouragement to you. I am really encouraged to hear of your walk in the Lord! I also love it when people share their concerns as well as their joys. Perhaps the word choice I used may be a bit awkward in light of the passage you quote for what I wanted to convey, but as the story unfolds I think it will become clearer. To me there is a real difference between us having dependent relationships on other believers (what John was talking about) and recognizing that we are all a piece of a larger body and do not stand alone in the world (what Paul is talking about in I Cor 12). So why I would say that we all need the other members of the body for Jesus to demonstrate the fullness of his life to us and through us to the world, we dare not let it substitute for our dependence on Christ alone for our life and substance. I think what John was meaning is that the early church didn’t get together because they ‘had to’, but because their connection to Christ led them to delightful connections with other believers. Unfortunately organized religion doesn’t usually spawn those kind of relationships, so most have no idea what they look like. What you describe in your note, however, is exactly the kind of body life that is a joy to share together, not an obligation. It happens out of the very desire you express and I pray God will soon connect your life up with other believers near you who are on a similar journey... hope that makes better sense. If not, feel free to write me again.

I love it. I sent a link to a couple of my friends so they could enjoy it too. One friend told me he couldn't stop reading it once he got started. I really think there's a market out there for your book. Keep writing and

Hope (July 3, 2003)

I received a copy of your book in progress from a friend of a friend. I have as yet not read all, However, what I have read has blown away completely. I can't seem to get my mind around the point that ALL of the answers that John is giving, seem to be those ones which I have been having, on those rare occasions when I seem to hear what The Holy Spirit is saying. To date regrettably, they have been the ones that I have been to inclined to disregard as my imagination. Please put me on your list. I wait with interest. I have already forwarded your book to my cousin in the US. I will be seeing him in a week or so. There will be long discussions

Denis from Australia (July 8, 2003)

I want to thank you for your story. My heart wishes with all that is possible that John would be really John the Baptist. My mind is afraid to believe. Kind of like when I was a child and had to give up Santa Clause. Then the day came when I became Santa for my children. What great joy and fun that was or so I thought. Now with grand (and I do mean grand ) children my heart yearns for their lives to be less cluttered with all the do good be rewarded kind of teachings. Maybe it is my age... or perhaps it comes from the journey I have walked and am walking with God...not sure....just know I like knowing we are love by Him no matter what and your story is reinforcing that.

Elaine from Cyberspace (July 2, 2003)

Thank you for posting such a real document. If only half of this story were true, I would still be blessed by your accounting of it. Your insights to the struggles of your church (and the conversations with John) have helped unlock many emotions and thoughts that have been plaguing me for months. More important than answers are the questions that have been raised by your accounting. Without taking too much more of your time, I want to express to you why this story could not have come at a more appropriate time for me. I am a young director of a small church which has gone through many struggles. These struggles would have caused most churches of our size to dissolve into bitterness. Thanks to the determination of our members and the love that they share for one another, however, we have been able to ride this journey through. I cannot say the journey has been easy, but we have all been strengthened as we help each other heal. Finally, this healing process is nearing completion (or at least tenure). Now, we (as directors) are charged with casting a vision for our church. We must decide where our church is headed and why it is that we should continue to exist. In this vision casting process, many questions have arisen about what it is we seek. There are the obvious answers any religious zealot can profess but that has me disinterested. I want more and less. I want to get back to the first love of God—for all of us. I do not want to be so concerned with what we can do. I just want to be in God's love not try to earn or keep it. So, casting this vision has been a battle for me. To make things worse, I did not know the right questions to help me formulate the answers I need. Your story, however, has helped to dislodge some of those key questions. There is a lot more to be done, but at least I feel I have a healthier start. Thank you for that blessing! Your perspective leads me to many new insights and questions to ponder. In fact, your examples have helped me understand that I may actually be growing closer to Christ than I thought. I was scared that I might be falling from the "church" due to my growing distaste for what "religion" has become. It appears that I may be on track after all in realizing that God reaches far beyond the confines of any church. I have grown more fervent towards Christ as I have grown further from business as usual. It looks like that may just be the right course - as long as my heading is due Christ) Thanks for the challenging questions. Please pray for me that these questions lead to even greater answers...

Jeff from (July 1, 2003)

Thank you for sharing your talent. My name is Sherri and I too was raised to perform, not in a church, but in a family, and God is still working that out in my life. I was the oldest and was responsible for what happened to my brothers and sisters. If they did wrong, it was my fault and I got punished. That has been a hindrance that I have carried into other relationships. I'm not sure how much that colors my relationship with our Father at this time. I have been on this journey of becoming a loved, free, trusting child of our Father. I have come so very far and still at times, that need to promote self comes up and causes pain in relationships. I'm grateful that He takes the initiative to reveal Himself to me. Thanks again for sharing.

Sherri (June 20, 2003)

I just want to encourage you with this book you are writing. It does not surprise me that the Christian book publishers there is no market for this book. Sometimes when I look through my latest Christian book catalogue that is sent to my house, I end up with a very uneasy feeling. I get the impression that Christianity is being 'marketed', that it is treated like a business, to make profit out of. I'm not saying that this applies to all, but certainly I feel there is something askew. Anyway, I can tell you that there are many Christians that would seek a book entitled 'so you don't want to go to church any more.' I know I would, because that is how I have felt for many years, although I love the Lord with all my heart. Two Christians that I have admired as people who have a Living relationship with Christ, also within the last year have stopped attending church, before this happened I thought I was the only one feeling this way. These two Christians have never met each other, nor do they know of my thoughts on this subject, I see them as Christians who are led by the Lord, not current popular Christian culture, or by other Christians, so I that is saying something. I think many Christians have completely lost their focus, and there is almost this 'Christian club' out there that, is just like a Christian version of the world, with the same standards and rules, but in a 'Christian version'. This really saddens me, because that is not what Jesus is like at all. Anyway I only intended to send you a short email. I hope this has made some sense. I've just tried to speak from my heart. Keep writing With love in Christ.

Julie (June 12, 2003)

I just finished chapter 5. This is absolutely awesome! reminds me in some ways of What's So Amazing About Grace?, which completely changed not only my Christian life, but the way I relate to everyone I meet. God bless you for following His leading & sharing this with everyone who will read it. The big question: When will chapter 6 be available? Eagerly anticipating ...

Karol (June 4, 2003)

Thank you and bless you so much for your story. My husband and I are on the same path...long out of institutional religion and learning slowly about relational Christianity. Please subscribe me so that I won't miss the coming chapters. As I read through them, I see part of myself in John (that would be my heart, I suppose) and part of me in Jake (without any doubt...flesh and old traditions). Your story has stirred up quite a lot of emotion...not all of it good. I nearly laughed out loud when I read the first sentence of Chapter Three..."my brief time with John in the park turned out to be more frustrating than helpful." That's how I felt after reading Jake's story...but I began to sense that God was working in me and cleaning house. I suppose the only thing to do is trust in Him and let Him work in me. Thank you again.

C. Anderson (June 1, 2003)

I just wanted to let you know that, as a result of John's showing Jake that God is the centre, I've started reading my Bible again after about 17 months. But rather than searching and being frustrated, I'm starting to see God's character. I'm confused sometimes but very hungry to keep reading.

Michelle Bradshaw (May 20,2003)

I became a Christian through a Charismatic church in '73, becoming a pastor in a Pentecostal church in '83, followed by planting churches, taking on another church, and taking on various denominational roles. I recently closed a church when I had a rush of independent resignations from people who were basically killing themselves trying to keep the thing flying. I have since realised I was killing myself trying to keep the thing flying as well. That hardly sounds like the church Jesus is building. This closure did not go down well denominationally and i have lost some positions, surrendered others, and will leave what remains as time unfolds. I came out challenging that our concepts of church, largely shaped by church growth which in turn was largely shaped by corporate concepts, had little to do with spiritual life... I then realised it would be very easy to go down the cynical route (I fight it a lot) about church. What I am discovering is a simpler Christianity than what I have tried to wade through and live up to for the last whatever years. I am encouraged and challenged by your journal (my wife put me onto them). I haven't finished my own journey but I recognise a fellow traveller and similarly hunger for the Jesus of simple faith. I am finding him. I no longer pastor a church. In fact, I am not attending a church regularly now; much to my own discomfort and embarrassment of our strongly local church oriented denomination. So saying enough is enough has cost me my career, comfort, and reputation. It is worth it all though because I am finding Christ afresh.

Bruce (May 11, 2003

Jake, I'm totally hooked! Your story reflects so similarly the journey that I am currently on and I am so encouraged that God is actually leading me toward Himself and that I'm not backsliding! Thankyou also for not being cynical about the church but just presenting the facts. You encourage me to be humble and recognise that some people just aren't ready for the rigours of this journey.

Michelle from Australia (April 15, 2003)

A friend encouraged the reading of your website. Absolutely, I must say I am spell-bound and the hunger for more of God is unquenchable. The reading has confirmed some issues in my own personal life and walk with Christ in our journey here on earth. Your writings are right on target and sometimes, we as Christians, lose sight of our first love. May God hold you firmly in His perfect will,.

Bonnie from Cyberspace (April 14, 2003)

So there you have it; religion is a habit harder to kick that cocaine, alcohol, tobacco, heroine, porn, and any other thing you can name.  It comes with genuine withdrawal symptoms, pain, suffering, and even night sweats.  Like the loss of a hand, eye or foot, you may be fully persuaded in your heart you simply cannot live or get along without it!  It’s the hardest drug you will ever break free from.  Anyone that has been addicted to her alluring siren song can testify to this. Thus the Savior Himself, Who is all-knowing, KNEW THIS, and reveals to us in this passage that if you are going through Hell trying to kick the religion habit, know that this is NORMAL!  It is part of the process, of giving up something so addictive. If you are going through terrors trying to get free from religion, you are not alone.  Everyone who leaves her does!  That’s just reality, it’s just the way it is!  It is no sign or personal weakness or failure.  Millions have and are going through it. 

Doyle from Cyberspace (April 13, 2003)

Your story has blessed me immensely. You are putting words to things my beautiful God has been teaching me for years now, and you are revealing things the Holy Spirit is using to lift veils from my eyes. I have passed your website address on to many a person and God has been using your story to impact the lives of people I know in a powerful way. It's something I know I will keep and re-read on occasions to remind myself of what it's all about...and what it isn't. I believe your writing is truly anointed. God bless you as you put pen to paper (or fingers to keys!) and I pray God's protection and blessing on you and your family. Keep up the good work!

Jodie from Cyberspace (March 16, 2003)

The truths presented in these chapters are so biblical and so obvious. Why didn't we see them before? Why were we so blind to them, and why hasn't someone pointed them out to us decades ago? While I see no mention of house churches (a.k.a. biblical churches) in the story, it is so obvious to me that that is the obvious direction the story is heading. Just last summer the Lord showed me how the church was never intended to be an institution, even though that had been my only experience of church my whole life till then. The Lord used bitterness in my life to show me my dearth of understanding concerning His grace, and as He began to heal me and give me a biblical understanding of His grace (esp. that He is our refuge and we should run to Him constantly) and ween me off of works, effort, flesh, etc. and onto His wonderful life-giving grace it dawned on me that the institution I was in knew nothing of daily or practical grace. Thew message was all focused on disciplining the flesh to live the Christian life instead of abiding in Christ and allowing Him to live it through us. I became completely disenfranchised with the institutions at that time, and the Lord
pointed me toward house church. (Until then I never even knew that house churches existed!) My family and I have been a part of a house church since August, and we enjoy it tremendously. We just never knew the freedom we were missing out on not did we understand the restrictions and legalism we were under as part of an institution. I can not express how grateful I am to the Lord for this story. My prayer is that every believer will read it and apply its truths to their lives.

James from Cyberspace (March 12, 2003)

I've been enjoying your first chapters. A friend emailed your web site last night and I stayed up later than I should reading. For several months, my husband has noticed that I often come home from church in a grumpy mood. We discussed this, I admitted it and then started to pray about what the Lord was trying to show me. No conclusive answers have been "obtained", but the Lord has shown me some things about "going through the motions" and truly ministering to others in His Name. Somehow, I believe your book to be part of the Lord's answer to my seeking. I'll let you know how things turn out.

Brenda in New Mexico (February 23, 2003)

Jake jake whoever you are... Just read the first 5 chapters... my mind has blown.....how did you get soo inciteful....? I am on this path...& so desperately want those other chapters. Last night my best freind/soon to be best man...sat up till the early hours and just talked & talked basically about how our whole lifes are a complete mirror of Jakes. Your story is unbelievably inciteful,...I have realised the path for a while now but nowhere have I read it where it has been spelled out so clearly. I have never felt as free as I have done this morning. I'm begiing to love God!

Peter in the United Kingdom (February 20, 2003)

I really love the book. Yet questions arise in my mind. I read what "John" says here and think of what the Letters of the gospel, 1,2, and 3rd John and Revelation are like and I see a significant contrast. The New Testament John seems a little more of a fiery prophet than the mild John of "no more church."

BW Cyberspace (February 20, 2003)

Just discovered your book today and have read all 5 chapters so far. The Lord is in this! So many truths which the Lord has been teaching me in the last few years you are weaving into an excellent story line. Praise God! The thing that excited me the most was your correction of the "accountability doctrine"! You are right on, accountability in scripture is ALWAYS to God alone! Keep up the good work, brother! (My wife) has really enjoyed the story too and sees that it makes so much sense. She was enjoying the story so much that she was really put out when I told there was no more at the end of ch.5!!! A lot of people are going to be very eager to get the next chapter!

Bruce from Canada (February 3, 2003)

Jakes Adventures are too dangeraus for the religous system, maybe even the publishing houses in Germany. May be or not. Your wisdom (in God) helps us a lot to come out of the dead religous thinking. You are a wonderful gift for the real body of christ.

Karl & Kerstin from Germany (February 13, 2003)

It is so amazing to read how I feel and what I wonder about. I have a few people who do not have a computer that need to read this. For me, I feel like I am at the same place. I am leary of church but I do want that relationship that I am reading about. I can not wait to read more. I am going to go back and slowly write down things from the chapters that speak to me. I was in a car wreck, and I have a problem with reading and remembering what I read now. Anyway, I just wanted to let you know that you are so right on.

Linda from Cyberspace (January 8, 2003)

Look forward to the next chapter. Please don't feel pressured to stick to a schedule. God knows what He's doing and I'm sure if you go with Him and have peace about the timing of everything, it will all work out. We impatient little fans will survive.

Pauline from Australia (October 10, 2000)

I stumbled on to your web site this evening. Wow! What you have written confirmed a lot of what God has been speaking to me. Wow I'm not crazy or a heretic! Thank you

Renee in Cyberspace (October 7, 2002)

I have been printing out Jake's story and passing it out to people in our home fellowship that don't have the Internet. Your story has been so confirming to our journey. So many other have Christians have been treating us like we are on the outside looking in. The reactions of Brothers and sisters that are coming down a similar path that have been on your site and others has shown us how miraculously God is spreading His intent through his people. It's clear that we are not on the outside looking in; and it moves us to compassion for those who are missing out on the richness of relationship that we are growing in with our Lord and with each other. It's not by any man's might or power but His Spirit that God is leading His Church. How else could so many from all over the planet be confirming the words that have been coming forth from those who seek Him.

Rich from Cyberspace (Augst 23, 2002)

Just wanted to say thank you for taking time and making the effort to write and post your journey. It is a blessing, a support and an encouragement to those of us who are on a similar path. Currently we cannot see the shore, however, we are ever growing in the confidence that His love is enough and that every part of this journey is guided by an kind and loving Father.

We look forward to the next chapter... we have learned so much this past year about love with a hook and better yet, that Father's love has no hooks!!!!

We bless you on your journey and again say THANKS for allowing us the opportunity to share in it with you.

Damion & Cheryl from Alaska (July 12, 2002)

Hewlett Packard Pavilion Model 6630 - $649.00 ( After rebates)
Internet Service - $21.95 per month
Used Office Chair (for sittin') - $5.00
www.jakecolsen.com - priceless

RJ from Texas (July 22, 2002)

I come from Germany and it took me a long time to find a page and even a message like yours--especially Chapter 4: "Why Your Promisekeeper Promises Didn't Work". It touched me deeply. You see, we left the institutional church some month ago and left so much behind us, theres really not much left. A few weeks ago I even had the greatest doubts in my life with him, even in his existence. I asked God to show up and finally stumbled over "John´s" statement:

  • "Getting to the end of ourselves is not the fun part. It's just the first part. At that time, the closer we get the further we feel like we are from him. That's why I want to encourage you to just keep hanging in there with Jesus. He'll sort all of this out in ways you'd never believe if I could tell you today."

This statement was my father calling to me. I was so encouraged. Now I want to encourage you: Go on with this thing, it´s such a blessing. May God bless your work goin out to the folks like me desperately waiting to here it!! If you pray take a little bit of Germany in your Heart, this land needs to be set free of human effort. I hope l find some folks over here to join my journey. God bless you

Carsten in Germany (July 17, 2002)

I don't know if you have time to review email or answer, but I have a question for you. First, my wife and I have thoroughly enjoyed the existing chapters of your epic. I can totally relate to your experience, after growing up "in church", I was born again when I was 18 years old. Three months later I the elders of that church asked the youth director to ask me to leave. Following that, during the past 14 years, I've had some wonderful relationships, and some not so wonderful. This gets to my question.

"John" mentions that personal "accountability" is not in the Scripture. I know I have certainly been held accountable. Many times for hearsay or gossip. I simply quit responding to the accusations and the association of those who, I expect, were waiting for me to fess up finally disfellowshiped me. Any [of the few] attempts I made to communicate to someone among that association of believers, I would receive an email or maybe a call from the "leadership" of that group. I guess I didn't give a proper accounting.

It seems to make sense that personal accountability is part of the fabric of the universe. I am accountable legally to the IRS for the money I earn, to my neighbors for the citrix that falls in their yard from my tree. So, am I not also accountable to fellow christians (who are "a kingdom of priests") with whom I walk along the way? If I sin against them, or against God? The verses that comes to mind are:

  • 1 John 1:7 "If we walk in the light as He Himself is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus His Son cleanses us from all sin."
  • James 5:16 "Confess your sins to one another and pray for one another, so that you may be healed. The intense prayer of the righteous is very powerful."

Even though I have no idea who you are, I appreciate your opinion -- just based on the experiences of your story. I also appreciate your time in reading this [probably longer than necessary] email.

Mark in Arizona (July 15, 2002)

Jake: I don’t have much time to get into a long explanation of this, regretfully, but I am persuaded that if we really learned to do the one thing Jesus would ask us to do—love each other as he loves us—that would be all the connection we would need to grow in his grace together.

Accountability to our employer, to the IRS and to the police force is a necessary part of our society, but I do not think lines of authority between believers are helpful or necessary. Scripture aims all of our accountability to God and never uses that terminology when addressing the relationships between believers. I am accountable to God and God alone for everything I do and say. While I invite other brothers and sisters to help me live to him, I do not substitute another human being for his place in my life. To do so is to be conflicted with competing accountability. Do I obey God, or obey my leaders?

Part of the confusion here may be that we do not all define ‘accountability’ in the same way. I understand it as authority over someone which Jesus denied to his disciples in Mark 10:42-45. God’s kind of love, however, will give us everything we need in all of our relationships with other believers. It allows us to mutually submit to others, speak truthfully and gently into their lives when we need to and it will even allow us to distance ourselves from those who are divisive or destructive to the life of the body. We don’t need ‘accountability’ for any of that. Some have argued that without accountability we’ll become independent and selfish. That may be true without God’s love, but living in the fullness of his love will allow us neither.

In the end, institutions need accountability to human leaders to survive, as it seems you’ve already discovered. People walking in the kingdom, however, don’t have any need of it to share the fullness of Christ’s life together and walk in the freedom he has purchased for us.

Like your other readers, I am impatient to see Chapter 5!!!! (smile) But being a penman for the Lord myself, I realise it can only come when the Lord speaks it...and not by man's deadlines. Bookstores are full of writings that were done under duress to meet the publishers' deadlines!

Becky from Texas (July 8, 2002)

I can relate to Jake and his searching, and I am looking forward to reading future chapters to see how this journey takes us to the Father's heart. It can be lonely with no one who can relate to it with you.

MMEB, Cyberspace (July 2, 2002)

Are you Deep Throat?

The Z's from Cyberspace (June 23, 2002)

Jake: I’m not, but If I ever seen John again, I’ll ask him...

I have been to the Jake Colsen website, a few times. I am impatient to read the rest of the chapters! There has been so much in the chapters already on the site that I could relate too -- unfortunately.

Actually, the Jake site and your website have been mentioned lately on some forums I sometimes go to -- mostly to read, I have only posted a couple of times recently. Once was about the Jake site, as a matter of fact. If you're at all curious, here are some links to the forums. Only one post on this one about Jake is less than positive, which is pretty darned good for internet forums:

This one starts out about Jake, and goes on to introduce you and your website -- and no it wasn't me that did so. Although I could have done so, in the same glowing terms.

The XnForum

Jody from Canada (June 20, 2002)

Four years ago I felt the Holy Spirit was leading me OUT of church, and I also thought I was absolutely crazy. How could that be? Lead you out of church? I was one of that "20% that do 80% of the work" group in church, I taught an adult Sunday school class, did VBS, this committee, that committee and 37 other things.

I was also bored stiff , beginning to realize what a slave I was to the programs, and wondering more and more where the abundant life was. So what did I do? I dug in deeper, tried not to think about it, [not too intensely anyway], volunteered for even more jobs around church, told myself perseverance was the most important word in the Christian life and kept on trudging along. Probably never would have went searching for something more, but a certain group amongst our church fellowship started some rumors, the gossip and slander turned into a feeding frenzy, my family&Mac226;s name was drug through the mud, and we were more or less driven out of that church.

At the time I thought it was the most horrible thing that ever happened, but now I count it as the best thing that has ever happened in my whole life for it launched the most incredible journey, and finding this web site is one more step . Now don&Mac226;t get the wrong idea, I love church, and we all need the encouragement a fellowship of believers can provide, and the whole concept was our Lord&Mac226;s idea, so it should be the most beautiful thing on planet earth. [Note: since March of this year I and my family have been involved in a small house church and are learning and laughing again]. I remember the first time I ever heard of Tommy Tenney, I saw him on Christian TV, discussing his book The God Chasers, and he made the statement, "many Christians are sick of church, they are so hungry for God, but they are just plain sick of doing church".

I sat in front of that television and bawled like a baby, how many times had the words 'sick of church' passed my lips? I did not know till then there was a whole army of God&Mac226;s people all across the world that were fed up with the religion, the traditions of men, the modern day grace killers, the Pharisees so many of us under the guise of good solid Christianity have some how slipped into, but were so hungry to know God, and just knowing there were others, and maybe I wasn&Mac226;t crazy after all caused a floodgate to open.

Your book, Mr. Jake Colsen, is wonderful, and I look forward to the next chapter. Please be encouraged, your story needs to be told and I am thankful there are men and women of great courage in the Body of Christ today who are unwilling to play the same old religious games that have been going on for 2000 years now. You can count on me to tell every one I can about this web site.

Trac from Texas (June 16, 2002)

I had the feeling that John could have been talking to me. It was a little eerie at first and I almost stopped reading it, but I finished the 1st four chapters all today. Can't wait for the next one.

Dan from Cyberspace (June 15, 2002)

I know how another writer feels. I'm looking so forward to reading the next chapter, it's frustrating to have to wait. My husband and I have been on a VERY similar journey for the last five years - actually probably longer, but it has been "heavier" for the past five years. And, when you begin to leave the programs and the mainstream and the "status quo," things can get pretty lonely, as I'm sure you found out.

I know that my frustration level rises, as I become impatient with our Father to just GET ON WITH IT and put us where He wants us; I miss the fellowship of other excited believers (we still haven't actually found a place where we fit - we're in the waiting stage). But it is refreshing and wonderful to know that there ARE others out there who are going through such similar heart and mind-changes. Thanks for sharing!

Kristen from the Midwest (June 14, 2002)

I hope this letter is not too long but I am so excited in finding your book. I have been reading the chapters one week at a time. I just finished chapter 3.

I am from upstate NY. I fellowship with a small group of people that have broken away from the religious system. Of course we are ridiculed and even shunned by some groups. But most other believers seem to tolerate us as Christians who have lost their way -- they are praying for us. They think we've left the Church, when we've only, like Elvis, just left the building. We do not forsake fellowship, rather we crave it, whether it be a scheduled time at a home or restaurant or a chance meeting at the mall or on the street. We have discovered the joy in the truth that YOU cannot GO TO CHURCH, YOU ARE THE CHURCH. What freedom it has brought to our lives.

I am 49, married, father to 2 boys. I was saved at 13 at a typical altar call, spent the rest of my teen years working for my salvation, went to a well known Bible school where the only valuable thing I took with me was a Godly wife. The whole experience left me yearning for more and trying to figure out how to get it, but no answers just more questions. For 20 years I worked within the system trying to perfect the program that would bring me and others closer to God. Sound familiar? When the Lord starting exposing the foundation and structure of the religious system for what it really is (a lifeless skeleton working very hard and using up people faster they can be recruited to keep up a semblance of life) the scales started falling from my eyes and I realized that I was back at square one. Hallelujah, that's where the Father wanted me all along -- learning everything from the from the beginning and questioning everything I thought and had been taught to believe as truth. The most profound nugget I have learned, and I will close my letter with this. We are the dwelling place of the Most High God head, bodily, and we already posses everything He meant us to have. Life in Christ and Christ in us is not a path of toil and fruitless search; rather, it is a moment by moment and continual discovery of the awesome Presence of God in our lives. Daily I know my Father more than I ever did through a whole career in Christian service.

Richard from New York (June 13, 2002)

Your web page has said so many things so well and truly encouraged me. I've sent your address to all of the folks on my e-mail list. You've opened up communication for me with folks that I was "walking on egg shells" in the spiritual realm - wanting to share the liberty and the joy I now walk in, but not wanting to "attack" any of their "holy cows".

Where is the next chapter? I now have a lot of folks asking, too! Blessings to you and may your schedule be so arranged that you have more time to write!

Sunny in Dallas (June 9, 2002)

Jake: Awesome letter... Thank you so much for the encouragement. I am working on the next chapter, but to be honest, living this life is my joy, trying to share it via the website is my hobby. Unfortunately my ‘day job’ has me quite engaged at the present time and I am not sure when another one will be completed. I am not intending to frustrate my readers, and will get to it as soon as I can.

You are on the start of your path which will mean ridding ones self of many lies and mixture that has been inherited from Pagan Rome. A return to the Ancient Paths , a restoration of all that has been stolen and hidden. a cleansing repenting process of the True bride as she prepares for the Wedding Feast, an awakening and coming together of all Israel as one in the Father YHVH'S hand as a mighty army. Yes , this is indeed a painful journey at times especially with the misunderstandings of others. Yet it was never meant to be easy , for narrow is the way that leads to Eternal life and rulership in (God's) Kingdom. The training ground is now and it is well worth travelling for the reward is great. Shalom from a fellow travelers -

Dahvid & Shamar from Cyberspace (June 3, 2002)

We know who you are - you are us! We are with an organisation that 40 years ago began in a wonderful revival in New Zealand, which in the beginning centred on the Love of God. Today it is reduced to organised religion with very little evidence of God's love or flowing of the Holy Spirit. We were pastors with this organisation but most of our time has been spent on the mission field. We are thankful that the churches to which we relate on the mission field are very much centred on God's love for us & one another- the cry of our hearts is for the manifest presence of God in our midst.

We can relate to many parts of your story, especially when attending churches in our home town, you feel all that you are doing is going through the motions. The thing that concerns us the most is that in many churches where we have ministered there is very little evidence of the presence of God. Undoubtedly each one of us needs a fresh revelation of God's love for us, only then will we truly love one another and then the world will believe on Him who loved us and died for us.

We will be following the rest of your story with interest.

Terry and Frankie from New Zealand (June 1, 2002).

I have just read all four chapters of your book and am eagerly anticipating the rest! I am absolutely in awe of my God. My experience with your story hasn't been so much becoming aware of something new as it has been confirming what God has already been speaking to my heart.

Until a month ago I was pretty much thinking I must be nuts because I was no longer engaged in a lot of the usual "church" stuff but felt as if I was being led that way by the Spirit, rather than being convicted by Him for it. (It would take far too long to go into detail about what I mean by that but I'm sure you have an idea). Then, one month ago, I met someone else who had experienced the same separation by God's hand and knows others who are "in the same boat". Your website was the next little bonus God had lined up for me. It has not been an easy process to go through but I can honestly say I know the heart of my Saviour far better than ever before and His love permeates my life and flows into the lives of people I know in a way that is more real than ever.

Your story has helped put things into words for me that Jesus has been speaking to my heart for a long time and I am grateful for the freedom that creates. Thank you, and if I didn't know better I'd ask God to make you put a rush on the rest of the book! I pray that God blesses and anoints you and your family as you attempt to obey him even amongst possible persecution for presenting a concept that has been foreign to many christians for so long now. God bless you

Jodie from Cyberspace (May 29, 2002)

Great website! We have been on a similar journey

Steve and Terri from Texas (May 24, 2002)

I just read all 4 chapters of your book and am looking forward to may 30th for the next chapter. The Lord spoke to my heart in those few chapters. I am going through the same frustrations, feelings, loneliness, ups and downs, etc., etc.

Its like a fresh wind that has swept through my innermost being filling me with that passion to know him and to run the course regardless of the obstacles. I have questions but I'll wait until the epilogue, maybe by then the questions i have the Lord will have you write in one of those chapters. Shalom

Mike from Cyberspace (May 21, 2002)

Hello just a short note . Not all of my friends have internet access. I'm looking forward to the book so I can share it with them. Is there some way to get print copies of some excerpts?

Dale from Cyberspace (May 8, 2002)

Jake: Thanks for asking. It may be a long time until I can finish this deal. What you see is what I’ve been able to commit to print so far. Please accept my permission to print off copies of these chapters and pass them around to your friends as long as it includes our copyright notice and you do so free of charge.

What I've read of the story is giving me chills. I must be honest that your story is torturing me, because I feel like I am where you were as you questioned John and only got hints at how to live. I have been reading, praying, and studying for the last year or so and I still don't get it. I don't understand the how of resting in God's love rather than trying to please, please, please Him. I understand that even my "virtues" are not what He's looking for, but I don't know how to go about my day living dependently in His love. I know this is the answer, because in all my searching I've heard it from many sources (which tells you that I've searched pretty far and wide, because you don't hear this at church or in the Christian bookstore!!), but I can't seem to get my brain wrapped around it!! It's like a word being on the tip of your tongue, I can just almost taste the fellowship with Him, but not quite. Can you help me? Please? I'm not looking for the 4 Spiritual Laws or a 3-step formula, but I can't seem to relax into this relationship I have. I keep searching and it's tantalizing, but not satisfying. (Like smelling a really good meal that you aren't going to get to eat!) So, any help you can give would be soooooo welcome!!

Amy from California (April 6, 2002)

PS -- We drove through Kingston a week ago! If I'd only known of you then, I'd have been at your door, banging away!!

Jake: Sorry, Amy. My intent was not to torture you.... It sounds to me like you are looking for all the right stuff but not exactly in the right places. The answers you seek are not going to be found in a book (not even the one I’m working on), nor at my doorstep, unfortunately. If they could be I would certainly make them available to you.

This is something that can only be found in Jesus. He is doing a work in your heart to let you experience the fullness of that, but it is not a quick or easy process. And yes it does seem tantalizing at times... almost within our reach and then we seem to lose sight of it. I know it feels like God is torturing you, but he is not. He is leading you ever closer to him and ever freer of yourself. It may not seem that way at times, but trust that he knows the desire of your heart and is sorting it out in you as fast as he can. For me this struggle took years, but one day you will wake up and feel like you ‘get it.’ Of course that won’t be true, for he has been giving it to you all along, but it will feel like that. Suddenly walking in his love will be the simplest thing you’ve ever known. That’s what I think makes it so difficult—not because it is complicated, but because we try to make it more complicated than it really is.

The only thing you can do is ask him every day to make his love real to you—to open your eyes to understand the work of the cross as you never have before. Then relax (I know, it is easier said than done!) in the security that this Father is doing his work in you. Know that all our frustration and anxiety don’t help, but only complicate that freedom. He has his eye on you and his arms all around you or you wouldn’t be hungering for the things you are. For those of us that have been raised in the dictates of religion, I know this is not easy stuff, but he is up to the challenge and he is the one setting you free. What he has begun, he will bring to completion. Just hang in there and enjoy him and the process as best you can. You won’t regret it.

By the way, I didn’t even know there was a Kingston, California. That was meant to be a fictitious name... hmmm...


SO YOU DON'T WANT TO GO TO CHURCH ANYMORE has proven to be the most radically confirming piece of literature I have ever read. What is said here sums up what the Lord has shown me in my walk and what He has brought me to repent of and walk on with him.

Also ..I do not find it "strange" at all that an encounter with a "John" type or an "Elijah" type or a "Witness" type can happen. I have met one or two such people that when you talk to them they RADIATE the spirit of God and their words draw Him out in YOU. All I want to do is sit and drink from their words, for they are the Word of Christ in the flesh. This is all our destiny and it is upon us.

As I read this, I saw the prose being transformed into a dramatic format for a play or video. If you do not mind, I would like to toy with the dramatic format and submit it to you in time.

Thank you for hearing the spirit of God and putting it in such a rich story form for all to read AND if they have ears to hear, be DELIVERED from religion into His marvellous light.

Becky (March 16, 2002)


I visited the Jake Colsen site... and I have to admit, it was pretty good. Is that story real? I read the whole thing... and I've never been religious at all, but if I was Christian, I would have been pretty moved.

Chloe (February 20, 2002)


‘A wonderful sister in Christ sent me to your site - and I want to thank you for the time and effort - no, I want to thank you for your availability to be used by the Lord to share the heart of it all - our journey is simply to fall into love with the Lord and revel in all the events that flow from that wondrous relationship. I came out of Mormonism to the truth in my mid-thirties - that was about 15 years ago - and ever since have battled the "system" of church versus just being - just being for Him and with Him. Your first two chapters are so intriguing - I look forward to the next. Again, thank you, and I will be sharing your site address with many.

Katie (February 17, 2002)


Hello "Jake",

I am very much enjoying your story. I'm glad that I did not discover his site earlier. . It would have been all too easy to have given intellectual assent to a deep desire without having really experienced His Hand. Still, all the desiring and strivings were necessary for me to come to an end of myself and a new beginning. How merciful He is—to use our foolishness to bring us to Himself. With Job I can now begin to say, "My ears had had heard of You but now my eyes have seen You. Therefore I despise myself and repent in dust and ashes." What a glory to come to begin to really know Him; nothing else matters. Keep on with the story and don't worry about ‘the religion police’. "Those who are with us are more than those who are with them." Bless their little cotton socks. As far as I can see (and that is not very far) your story is a breath of fresh air. Thank you for daring to share it. Do you mind if I share it with others?

I have been a believer since I was 18 (I'm 46 now) and must confess that it is only in the past year or so that I have finally come to the end. So many years seeking, catching tantalizing glimpses of the hem of His garment hoping to touch even His garment only to find when I turned around that He was right there with His arms held wide. I am so glad that He took me through all the pain and darkness to bring me to this place.

David from Canada (February 15, 2002)


Well, Jake, I am finding you very frustrating!!!! I got to the end of Chapter 1 last month, itching to read Chapter 2, and you made me wait. Now, I've just read Chapter 2 in total bewilderment and a certain inner excitement, and wham... I now have to wait until March - Grrrr! Did you ever consider writing soaps for TV - because I think you'd be a gem at producing an-almost punch line at the end, and you'd drive the viewing populace crazy with anticipation for the next show. No, seriously, it is very exciting to see unfold what you have been extremely privileged to witness, be it John the Apostle or whoever it turns out to be. I just have to thank God for you. Life, Jesus, Truth - it IS much more than we seemed to have clicked into to date, ... and anyway, I'd better go, because I'm prone to writing too much... A big THANK YOU is the essence of this letter.

Jenny from Ireland (February 15, 2002)

Jake: Thanks for writing and letting me know that the story has been fun for you. I realize getting a chapter at a time can be a bit frustrating, but it is taking us that long to write it. I don’t mean to drive you nuts and no I’ve never considered writing soaps for TV...I do hope this little story will encourage some people to look at God and his life quite differently than they have been trained to in the past...