|Publisher:||The Crown Publishing Group|
|Product dimensions:||5.29(w) x 7.38(h) x 0.86(d)|
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GOD.NETThe Journey Beyond Belief
By James Alexander Langteaux
Multnomah PublishersCopyright © 2001 James Langteaux
All right reserved.
Chapter OneBACK IN THE DAYS WHEN GOD WOULD SPEAK ...
IN THE BEGINNING WAS THE WORD, AND THE WORD WAS WITH GOD
(Maybe that's why I couldn't hear it.)
We are dying to hear God's voice, and we are dying because we don't. Not hearing is especially frustrating if you read a book that claims you'll hear Him if you're willing to believe and take the time to listen. Books like that can convince you to give peace a chance, so you turn off everything and listen for His voice for a few minutes, hours, or even days. But even though you thought you believed, you end up hearing nothing at all, and the silence leads to angst, as you wonder why God didn't take the time to call.
I EVEN HAVE CALL WAITING ...
It's bad enough when that happens, but imagine writing a book that makes that sort of claim, only to find that shortly after it hits the shelves and begins to sell, the voice that had been so clear has somehow disappeared. And the guy who claims to have cornered the market on hearing God's voice is suddenly faced with a choice: to let go of the crazy notion that God will speak, or choose instead to continue to believe-and to speak, even when God doesn't.
I have to admit: I found it so much easier to believe back inthe days when God would speak ...
It wasn't so long ago. One morning my phone rang while I was shaving in my loft on a rooftop in downtown Los Angeles. It was Multnomah Publishers calling-a wrong number of sorts. Before the woman could finish apologizing, I asked if she would transfer me to the voice mail of someone in marketing. I had a great idea I wanted to pass along. (I think I have great ideas about three hundred times a day.)
My random message led to a meeting with the VP of marketing. Jeff was gracious and direct. I had a video concept, but he wasn't all that impressed and suggested that I kill that particular dream. "I'm excited about how you hear from God, though," he said, "and I wonder if you could get a book proposal on my desk as soon as possible."
Despite the fact that I had been dreaming of being an author since I was seven or eight years old, I had a video idea, and a book was out of the question. My boss at the video production house where I worked said that if I landed a book deal (he paid for me to visit Jeff in Nashville), he would have to kill me. "This will only be another distraction for you, poster boy for A.D.D."
A strange mix of emotions overwhelmed me as I flew home from that meeting. I decided to give it all over to God and let Him lead if this was meant to be. While flying forward at nearly six hundred miles per hour, I fell backward in my seat and landed in that otherworldly place where reality floats between the waking world and dreams. And suddenly it was as if God Himself spoke, giving the title and concept to me.
"God.com: Become interactive with the God of the universe. Log on to His page and your softwhere will dramatically change wherever you go."
I sat bolt upright, and my pen could barely keep up with the God-flow. Every chapter title poured out in a flood, along with short paragraphs that captured the essence of each one. I was convinced that this was a God-thing because only moments before I hadn't had the vaguest idea of what this book should accomplish or what the title should be. This was a miracle, if you ask me.
Those were the days when God was speaking in torrents. I remember the excitement that filled the air after the book proposal reached Don, the president of Multnomah. The waiting was excruciating. Finally, God told me the exact day and hour that Don would call to discuss the project.
"Hey, God told me the president is going to call at 2 P.M. today," I told everyone in the office. "Please don't disturb us!"
Everyone chuckled at my bold and childlike belief, but I sat expectantly by the phone. It rang at 2:07, and when I answered and heard Don's voice, I burst into laughter-a very strange introduction to a man I hadn't met yet.
"I'm laughing because God told me you'd be calling at two," I explained. "You're late."
I loved Don's reply: "If you really believed, you would have answered the phone, 'Hello, Don.'"
As we firmed up a deal on the publishing agreement, God did it again. He said that Don would be calling at ten on Tuesday. I waited. No call. Then I realized that God hadn't said which Tuesday. The following week, when my phone rang at 10:03 on Tuesday, I answered boldly, "Hello, Don."
"Uh ... I'm not Don. This is Michael in Philly."
I blushed, apologized, and asked Michael to hold while I grabbed the other line.
"Hello, this is James."
"Don Jacobson here." I thought I would cry.
AN A.D.D. AXIOM [Hearing from God is not an exact science.]
I explained what had happened, and we both had a good laugh.
Finally, the time came for me to fly to meet the publisher face-to-face. As we flew over Oregon, I heard over and over again in my head, I'm giving you the land. I'm giving you the land. As beautiful as the land appeared, I couldn't figure out what I was going to do with Oregon.
I even called my friend Jolene back at the office to tell her what had happened. "God told me that He is giving me the land."
"What land? Oregon?" She sounded kind of busy.
"I guess. God kept saying it over and over. I just don't know.... But you sound pretty busy, so I probably should let you go."
I waited nervously in front of the tiny airport for Don to arrive. I don't know if I imagined this, but when he drove up in his Suburban, he seemed a bit surprised. I later learned that no potential author had ever shown up wearing a T-shirt, earrings, and jeans-not to mention a leather motorcycle jacket with the German word for crazy written on the sleeves.
I could tell that we were both unsettled about having lunch together. I could barely read the menu, much less decide what to eat. Finally, Don broke the ice by telling me his own story of believe, and I began to feel a bit more normal, like I could finally breathe. But just when Don reached the most dramatic part of his story-where he lay bleeding and dying in the woods-God's words again interrupted my thoughts: "I'm giving him the land. I'm giving him the land." I had no idea what that meant. What if he didn't want "the land"? But I knew that God was more interested in my obeying than in my understanding what it was all about. So I interrupted Don to tell him what God was shouting in my head.
SOME A.D.D. ADVICE
[Admitting to hearing voices in your head usually won't help you secure a major book deal.]
Don looked extremely surprised, and I felt like a complete idiot. But it turned out that the only need Multnomah had at that time was for fifty or so acres of land for a new campus. But, Don explained, getting it was almost impossible because nearly all the land in Sisters is federally protected. It looked as if he would have to move the company and all the employees too. A major hassle.
But after that strange interruption, Don decided to believe. I don't know what has come of that. Since then, there were times when land became available, but then the situation changed again. All I know is that they haven't moved, because I keep mailing things to the same address. The point is that, circumstances aside, God just wants us to believe.
I know for a fact that God will speak because He says throughout His Word that He does and He will. But I miss those days when God was speaking in miraculous sorts of ways. Life seemed so much easier back then, when God seemed to be breathing exceptionally hard.
What I had to learn is that there may be long periods of time when He doesn't speak. Then it doesn't take long for the other team to convince us that we imagined it all. Elijah once experienced an amazing pyrotechnic display when God sent fire from heaven to consume the unbelief of a wavering nation. Still, it wasn't long until that prophet's faith went on vacation. Right after that miraculous firestorm from heaven, which proved the very power and might of the one true God, Elijah found himself right smack in the middle of the desert of the real. There in the shadow of his doubt and a silly little tree, Elijah had one request:
"GOD, PLEASE JUST ANNIHILATE ME!
Coming as it did on the heels of one of the most spectacular events of all time, Elijah's experience proves that it doesn't matter who you are-you can be a prophet of the ages or just a regular guy like me-if you move out into the dark land of believe, it will only be a matter of time until you find that you're deceived by looming clouds that gather after miracles reveal. This, my friends, is a battle for the truth; it's not about how we feel. It takes even more belief to hold on when the things that started out so great now look extremely bleak.
I'm saying all of this because I've just come out of a very intense time of silence. I could not hear God speak, and the words I thought He was speaking were more often coming from me. I couldn't figure out what was going on. The more days that passed, the more panic-stricken I became. I was wondering what had happened to the God who I've claimed will speak-the God who doesn't change. Was He mocking me?
THEN I WOKE UP.
The mockery had come from me. In the midst of speaking on radio and TV about the virtues of going on-line with an interactive God, I found that I'd grown complacent about some of the things He was asking of me. My God had told me that He wanted to spend time with me. Somehow I thought that my writing and speaking and sharing would do. But the few moments I gave to Him alone weren't enough, and He began to make Himself very clear.
BY HIS SILENCE.
And the silence wasn't the worst of it. I could fix that by surrounding myself with more people, activities, and events. I could fill the dead air with my favorite music or even by speaking profoundly and authoritatively about God with radio hosts and my good friends. But somehow I missed the point that my very best friend was now on hold while I spent time with my homies and left Him out in the cold.
That was not a good thing. The chaos and distraction I welcomed into my life brought confusion and double-mindedness to all of my ways. I hate to admit this. I thought that somehow I had arrived at a powerfully unique place: I had God on my leash and could ask Him to sit and show others how He would speak on command. But the power I tried to leash belongs to the Spirit that runs free-to the Most High God, who rules eternally.
Finally I came to my senses. I stood still amid the madness I'd embraced to drown out the silence of the God who had turned His face. I stopped and asked myself what was the last thing I remembered Him asking me to do-the last thing I had chosen not to do-and if that could be what was keeping Him from speaking to me, hanging with me, directing me. I had a very real choice. I could hold on to life as I had grown accustomed to it, or I could go back to a command that had turned out to be very uncomfortable: "Go up to the mountain and be alone with Me."
Now being alone seemed even more frightening. Now I was so much farther from those times of intimacy because I had moved so far from Him and was clinging that much harder to my close friends. How could I let go now and trust that I would not be left alone in the cleft of the rock in a pile of dust? Whom was I to trust?
NO VOICE. NO CHOICE.
In the end, it was an easy decision. My life had grown so confusing that I could feel nothing but my hardened heart, see nothing but my false gods, and hear nothing but my own jumbled thoughts. I was making stupid decisions, and I was paying a ridiculously high cost.
Part of that cost involved leaving my home church. I had felt that somehow in God's silence I had been left in the lurch. I figured there must be something wrong in that community of believers, a place where God should clearly speak. But for the life of me, I couldn't hear Him, so I decided that it was time to leave. What a terrible mistake.
So I went back and undid all the decisions I could possibly reverse from the time I stepped out of God's presence and into the curse. I asked my church family to forgive me for blaming them for my hearing problem and told my friends that I had to step away from all of them for a season. I thought it might be for just a few days, but it ended up being for several weeks as clarity replaced the haze.
In walking away from that terrible place where God was silent, I've asked some important questions-like, "What went wrong?" And I'm learning some invaluable things, one of which is that God is a jealous lover. He will still be full of grace and love, but there will be a price to pay if we allow our love to grow cold.
"I know your deeds, that you are neither cold nor hot. I wish you were either one or the other! So, because you are lukewarm-neither hot nor cold-I am about to spit you out of my mouth."
Rather than end up as God's spit, I decided that I had to go back to the last word I remembered Him saying-the last word before I stopped hearing anything. And I had to search His authoritative Word to determine what had brought on the deafening silence that led to alienation and confusion.
Excerpted from GOD.NET by James Alexander Langteaux Copyright © 2001 by James Langteaux
Excerpted by permission. All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Table of Contents
|Part I||Welcome to the Desert of the Real|
|1.||When God Would Speak||22|
|2.||The Last Word||33|
|3.||Jesus and Junk Food||43|
|4.||One Transparent Son||55|
|5.||You Have Not Because You Acts Not||66|
|6.||Power in the Network||76|
|7.||Love Can Be the Pitstop||86|
|Part II||Postcards from the Edge of Hope|
|1.||Falling off the Planet||97|
|2.||The Promise(d) Land(ing)||108|
|3.||Fool's Gold, God's Fool||117|
|4.||Farewell May Be Welfare in Reverse||125|
|5.||Let Go & Serve||137|
|6.||The Prayer of J.Baez||145|
|7.||Die and Let Live||157|
|8.||A Rose Again||165|
|Part III||A Fish Story|
|3.||Time to Fish||195|
|5.||Dancing with the Dreamers in My Tribe||212|
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
James brings us in on the 'rest' of his life and how he gets thru some of the deserts he's been thru. These two books together are unique amoungst all the Christian books I've read in 29 yrs! It doesn't get any more honest and real than this.
In a sea of theology, self-help, and pop-Christian books God.com stands out as one of the most creative books I've read. James reveals his journey like a Jedi-knight in training. I would recommend this book to people who would never consider picking up a 'Christian book.'