WAKING UP

“Waking up?” you ask. “Who’s asleep?”

“I am,” I say. “You are. We all are to some extent. And our greatest

challenge is that we don’t know it.”

At this you blink but remain silent for a moment, because something

deep inside of you knows that this is true. But another part of you

immediately speaks up and shuts down that deep inner knowing.

“Well maybe,” you say, “but only in a metaphorical way.

Symbolically.”

“You mean kinda,” I say.

You nod. “Yeah. Kinda-sorta asleep.”

“No, I mean really,” I say, then casually motion to your head and

your chest. “You’re awake to that version of you, sure. The one that

tells you what you see and how things are in this world. But you’re

actually asleep to another reality that is more true than everything you’re

experiencing in this life. A reality that you could experience right now if

you were to wake up to it.”

At this point I have your ear, not because you’re simply curious, but

because that inner part of you that knows what I just said is utterly true,

suddenly wants to wake up and experience the reality I’m talking about.

“That reality is a dimension that flows with more peace and power

than you can possibly dream about,” I say. “Do want to wake up with

me?”

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WAKING UP

For a very long time, I didn’t know that I was asleep. The same

might be said for you, right now. Thing of it is… not knowing we’re

asleep keeps us asleep, living in a dream of life that fails us and rules us as

we strive to do better. We feel the itch and pain of our wounds and we

try to cope with them by applying various anesthetics that temporarily

make us feel better. Anesthetics like pleasure. Self condemnation.

Judgment. Self righteousness. Grievance. Religion. The right doctrines.

Relationships. Status. Fame. Accomplishment. Labels that make us feel

superior on some level.

But deep down inside, we know that something’s not going

according to plan. Why? Because what we say we believe and what we

actually experience in our lives are out of balance and simply don’t line

up.

If you doubt this, stay with me for a page or two and let me wash

away those doubts.

What we say we believe actually feels like a dream to us—one that

isn’t true to our lives. For example, we say we believe in Jesus and in

his teaching. One of Jesus’ most well known teachings, repeated many

times, claims that whatever we ask in his name will be done, right?1

But we don’t experience that. So then, we subconsciously believe

that the experience of his promise must be like a dream, you see? It’s not

really real, at least not most of the time. It’s just dogma. And so we either

stop believing our dogma or we rewrite it in fancy, theological terms

to fit a lower experience of life that feels more true to us. Or maybe

we believe his promise during a worship service on a Sunday, but not

during the rest of the week, not really.

But what if we have it backwards? What if Jesus was right? What if

we just have to wake up to that higher reality to experience it?

Consider another core teaching of Jesus. It was he who said that

all those who followed him would be known by their radical ability to

show kindness to those who were cruel to them2 and to love without

holding record of wrong. In fact he said that this kind of love would be

the primary evidence of those who know and follow him.3

What a staggering power!

You say that you follow Jesus, right? Is his teaching true of you? Is

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it true of anyone you know who claims to know Jesus? Very few, yes? So

then, that kind of life must be like a dream that we hope to experience

in the next life.

It was Jesus who taught that rivers of living water—love, joy, and

peace—would flow from those who enter his way of being. Not just

now and then, but always.4

Is this true of you? So then, his teaching must ultimately by like a

pie in the sky. Like a dream that fails us here, in this very real world of

struggle and hardship.

But, again, what if his teaching is true of you and you’re just asleep

to that reality in which his teaching manifests naturally? And what if

you could awaken or align yourself to that reality in this life?

Wouldn’t that be a staggering journey?

It is. And once you become aware of that journey, you simply have

to take it because any other way of being in the world will feel like a bad

nightmare to you. Be warned.

Welcome to the day of awakening.

We will call it The Forgotten Way.

Forgotten, because we are all prone to forget the truth that sets us

free all too often, each day, each hour, each moment. Way, because those

who first believed and experienced his teaching called themselves people

of the Way before being called Christians by others many years later.

Simply put, it is the way of Jesus; the only way to find peace, power

and love in this life, not only the life which is yet to come.

Maybe you, like me, though ‘saved’ in the next life, have struggled

to find lasting peace and joy in this life. Perhaps you, like me, have

wondered why the promises of your first calling seem to have failed both

you and those you know in way that you can’t quite understand.

If so, then The Forgotten Way to which this short writing calls you will

surely change the experience you have in this life. Take that journey and

you awaken to a new way of being in this world.

It’s the same journey that millions of Christians in every walk of life

are suddenly and profoundly finding themselves on. The journey that

now beckons you to follow.

It’s your turn to awaken.

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My Journey of Awakening

I grew up as the son of missionaries who left everything in the West

to take the good news to a tribe of cannibals in Indonesia. They were

heroes in all respects and taught me many wonderful things, not least

among them, all the virtues and values of the Christian life. What a

beautiful example they showed me.

There, in the jungles of Indonesia, I grew up in a kind of garden

of Eden, oblivious to danger and fear. Are we not all born into a kind

of childlike wonder and innocence? But soon enough we are cast out

of that garden, and there we discover an ominous world full of danger,

many of us at a very young age.

When I was six years old, my parents did what all missionaries did

in that day and for which I offer them no blame: they sent me away

to a boarding school. There I found myself completely untethered and

alone. I wept that first night, terrified. I don’t remember the rest of the

nights because I have somehow blocked those painful memories, but my

friends tell me that I cried myself to sleep every night for many months.

I felt utterly abandoned. And I was only six. I was lost, like that

small bird in the children’s book who wanders from creature to creature,

asking each if they are his mother.

Are you my mother? Are you my father?

But I found no father or mother in that boarding school. There was

no parent figure whose favor I could earn. I was only a name among

many, and most of my meaningful interactions with adults revolved

around their disapproval of me when I did something wrong, like not

taking my medicine or not being in the right place at the right time.

Shortly after my arrival, I made the mistake of knocking over a pee

pot they placed in our rooms each evening because it was too dangerous

to use the outhouse at night. My new house father stormed in, quickly

identified me as the guilty one, dragged me to the laundry room, and

beat me with a firm rubber hose.

I screamed, terrified and bruised, and I knew then to never knock

over the pee pot. Or do anything else that would earn me punishment.

The sum of my life was measuring up to either avoid terrible punishment

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or to win favor and so be accepted and loved.

It was simple: If you say, and or do, and or believe the right things,

you’re golden. If you don’t, you’re screwed. It all depends on you. Just

like with God, or so I was led to believe.

I was adrift, alone, without any tether to my true identity. I was

lost, starving for intimacy, desperate to be valued, swallowed by a sea

of lonely hearts, thinking that perhaps I was the only one who was lost.

In that strange isolation, without the modern conveniences of things

like television or computers (were they even invented yet) I went on the

hunt for acceptance and identity in a vast journey of the imagination,

that wonderful gift we all have—perhaps the greatest power given to

humans.

All of life is a story, you see? This much we all now know. We, each

one of us, are the ones who interpret our life situation as a story and

we assign meaning to it, based on our own perceptions of the story we

weave of our own lives.

In my imagination, I began to escape from the reality around me by

creating a reality far more to my liking. How?

Through books. Novels. Comics. These were my windows into

worlds of hope in which things were far more expansive and less

earthbound than the stark world I saw with the two eyes in my head.

You may not have escaped into books, but you have and still do

escape into your interpretation (story) of this life, whether you think it’s

fanciful or not.

We are all looking for a better way of being in the world, yes? More

love. Better health. More Christ-like. More job satisfaction. You name

it… We all escape into a story of how things could or should be and

we’re unwittingly doing it all the time.

In the worlds of my novels and comic books, I was always the

winner. But in the stark reality of boarding school I was often the loser.

I see now that my entire life has been one long search for identity,

intimacy, and acceptance.

I was terrified of rejection, though I didn’t recognize it at the time.

But of course I feared rejection—my earthly father had unwittingly

abandoned me as a child.

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Even more, I believed that my heavenly Father had and would reject

me unless I presented myself to Him in a certain way or at the least

believed the right things about him. If I didn’t, he would send me to

a place of terrible suffering forever. It would be like an eternal beating

with a rubber hose, only this one would have razor blades sticking out

of it.

Unable to fully embrace any father figure, I searched for my identity

and acceptance by finding others who would love me, and when I

thought they did, I determined my significance by their perspective of

me. I did so in sports, thinking if I could only excel, I would be honored.

I did so in school, thinking if I could measure up to the expectations of

my teachers, I would have meaning. I did so in romantic relationships,

thinking if this one person loved me, I would be secure.

I sought for identity and acceptance by trying to measure up to

my society’s blueprint of what did or did not look cool by wearing the

right clothes and trying to have the right body. Or by standing out

in a group, which made me somewhat important. Or by sometimes

rebelling against the status quo, because this gave me significance in

another group.

But mostly by trying to fit in and avoid rejection. I remember

coming to the Unites States for a year when I was in the fifth grade. For

reasons not clear to me at the time, I was soundly rejected by my grade

school class in Montana—only because I was a peculiarity. Even more, I

was bullied by those who thought I was weird. They laughed at the way

I looked and dressed, made fun of the way I talked, and beat me up on

occasion. My stories of eating spiders in the jungle didn’t help my cause.

I was far too exotic and different for their tastes.

I tried to change my behavior to avoid rejection, but to no avail.

When I returned to the United States in the tenth grade, this time

to Chicago, I went to great lengths to find acceptance. I had to prove

myself in sports and in social settings or I would surely be rejected. Case

in point: the year was 1979 and disco was in full swing, so I latched

onto the notion that if I could impress a particular girl with my moves,

I would at least find love and acceptance from her.

Despite all of my efforts and practice, however pitiful in retrospect,

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I failed to impress and did so quite spectacularly. In the end, I felt

uniquely unacceptable. Approval depended on my being or doing the

right thing, you see, and I could not measure up.

I had to try harder. I had to find the right group. I had to find a

home, a girl, the right friends who would accept me as I was. And so I

did try harder, but all to no avail.

I see now that in my search for love and acceptance, I slowly began

to enslave myself to various identities, which I mistook for my real self

in many arenas—sports, church, relationships, career, wealth. These

identities became like gods of a lesser kind, all of which I hoped would

save me from insignificance in this life.

Somehow, as I grew older, I had abandoned the idealistic triumph

I’d found in my books when I was younger. What a shame. It was almost

as though I, like Adam and Eve, had fallen out of that Garden of Eden

where everything turned out perfect.

I had to find a way in the real world, I thought. So I unwittingly

enslaved myself to the gods who promised to accept me in this world.

Can you relate?

The problem was, none of these lesser gods per se, came through for

more than a little while before failing me. Like blooming flowers, they

soon withered and died. The falling in love soon leads to heartbreak; the

first-place finish eventually gives way to a loss; the perfect body is soon

compromised.

Worse, in addition to my inability to measure up to the standards

of this world, I never seemed able to measure up to what I thought were

God’s expectations of me, mostly regarding the matter of love.

Jesus’ teaching was clear: any sinner can show love to those who

love them, but true love shows kindness to those who are cruel and

dishonoring to you. Paul was plain: true love holds no record of wrong.

Indeed, without this kind of love, all other manifestations of

faith and power—even giving your body to be burned at the stake

for the gospel—were useless, as Paul wrote in his famous letter to the

Corinthians. Love, then, was clearly the greatest power of any, I saw.

So I pressed in harder, determined to be the one who would succeed

in earning God’s favor by loving as He asked me to love. If I couldn’t

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measure up to the world’s expectations, I would give myself to measuring

up to God’s expectations of me.

But no matter how hard I tried to submit myself to God, I wasn’t

able to love in this way, you see? Not really. I tried, but in my heart,

where it really matters, I was offended by those who were mean and

lashed out against me and I judged them in return, thus failing to show

true love without which all else was worthless.

I never doubted my standing in the next life, but I often felt shame in

this life, constantly disappointing God in my failure to love as He asked

me to love. As such, I was caught in a kind of stupor of unworthiness.

Can you relate?

And as I grew older I became increasingly aware of my failure to

demonstrate other powers promised in the Scriptures. Didn’t Jesus say

plainly: If you believe in me, ask anything in my name and it will be done?

But I did believe in Him, I thought. I certainly believed all the right

things about Him and had all my doctrine laid out just right in the most

orthodox sense. Furthermore, I was asking in His name, I thought.

Yet it did not follow that whatever I asked for came to be. Not even

close. In fact, not at all, it often seemed. While I heard the victorious

rhetoric of others, I didn’t seem to have these powers, so I condemned

myself.

I was sure that my powerlessness was uniquely my fault. I didn’t

have enough faith. I needed to try harder and do better. Others seemed

to have it all together, but I was a failure.

So I pressed in with greater passion. I got filled with the Spirit; I

got a degree in biblical studies; I spent days praying in the mountains;

I fasted; I wore the pages of my Bible ragged; I went on retreats; I

recommitted my life at the altar over and over; I took communion with

utter sincerity; I worshiped in silence; I worshiped with my hands raised;

I worshiped to organs; I worshiped to drums; I served as best I could; I

shared my faith; I started a home group; I preached on a corner; I went

on a mission—I did it all.

I was that kind of person, desperately seeking the approval and favor

of my Father in Heaven by measuring up to His expectations of what

constituted a good son—one who is known for a love that holds no

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record of wrong and who does the works of Jesus wherever he goes.

And yet while my passion swelled, I still could not quite measure

up for more than a day or two, a week, maybe a couple months before

feeling once more like a wretch in my heart of hearts.

Can you relate?

When conflict in my relationships challenged all of my notions of

love, when disease came close to home, when friends turned on me,

when I struggled to pay my bills, when life sucked me dry, I began to

wonder where all the power to live life more abundantly had gone. Then

I began to question whether that power had ever really been there.

Thinking that perhaps I was following nothing but folklore, I

courted agnosticism for a spell. Then, terrified I was making a terrible

mistake, I reversed my course and threw myself at finding the truth with

even more determination, desperate to discover God’s love and power in

this life. I often went to the mountains alone for days at a time, walking

the fields with tears in my eyes, falling on my face before Him.

Each time I experienced breakthroughs that illuminated my path for

a short time. But invariably I settled back into that familiar cohabitation

with unworthiness because I still couldn’t find lasting peace. I still

couldn’t measure up.

Somewhere in all the beautiful mess of all my obsessive searching, I

began to notice something quite stunning: Everyone else seemed to be

in the same boat as me, beginning with those I knew the best and those

who seemed to know everything.

Most who claimed to live holy lives were just like me—a fact that

was apparent to everyone but them. Like me, they, if dishonored,

secretly held grievances for an hour, a day, a week, for months and years

even. Clearly, they did not know how to truly love. Their love was no

different from the love demonstrated by the rest of the world, beginning

with the Muslims that I grew up with who were, in general, as loving in

my eyes as any Christian.

Did Jesus not say we would be known as his followers by our love?

Did He not teach that jealousy and gossip and anxiousness and fear are

just other kinds of depravity? Did He not say that even to be angry with

someone or call anyone a fool is the same as being guilty of murder?

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Not just kind-of-sort-of, but really. The churches I attended were full of

murderers, I thought.

Are we not all equally guilty, every day, even those who claim to be

most holy while looking down at the less righteous?

How, then, does one find and know love, peace and power in this

life when surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses who only

pretend to be clean, like Pharisees who whitewash their reputations

while pointing fingers of judgment?

Crushed by what felt like a great betrayal to me, I tried every device

known to man to find acceptance and love in all the corners of human

experience.

But, like the prodigal, this led me into even deeper pain and

suffering. I always thought I was doing my best, and I was in my own

way. Even in all my flailing I was passionately seeking acceptance, love,

significance, and identity in a world where traditional Christianity

seemed to have failed me.

It seems to me that this is true for most Christians.

Haven’t you tried your best given your own struggles, your own

upbringing, your own mind and justifications at any given time?

Whether your failing is anger with another or anxiousness in your

circumstances, have you not sought to find peace?

A Return to Story

I was in my mid thirties when I first began to consider writing a novel

after seeing a friend of mine take a stab at it. If he could do it, I could,

right?

Hadn’t I found incredible wonder through story? Hadn’t those

worlds offered me a kind of truth that the “real” world failed to offer

me?

But I didn’t know quite how to go about writing a novel. A few

years later, I read a few books on writing, went to a writers conference,

and armed with a whole bunch of how to, I took the plunge and began

writing a novel. I’d come home from work each night and lose myself in

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a story I called To Kill With Reason. Six months later, I finished. My first

book bound and in my hand.

Problem was, no one wanted to read it… other than my close friends

and family, naturally. Either way, I was determined, so went about the

process of trying to find an agent and I finally convinced one to at least

take a look at my novel.

We went out to lunch, and as we sat at the table, I listened with

bated breath, hoping to hear that I would be the next Stephen King or

John Grisham. But that’s not what I heard. Instead, she told me that not

only was my novel un-publishable but that, in general, it sucked.

Walking out of that restaurant, I felt numb, crushed. So I did what

all reasonable people do given the situation. I gave up. For six months

my novel just sat in the bottom drawer, a constant reminder of my

worthlessness as a writer.

But I just couldn’t get rid of that mad tug at my heart… seducing

me forward. Try again, Ted. Just try… Never mind what they say… You

can do it.

And, after reading an article about a guy named Frank Peretti who

had sold millions of books, I wrote another novel. This one was science

fiction and I called it, The Song of Eden.

But no one outside my close friends and family really liked this one

either.

Didn’t matter, I was hooked now. The writing itself had become my

drug and I was addicted.

So I wrote another novel. And another. I learned the hard way—

going deep and plumbing the depths of my own soul. I became a sponge

for new ways to tell story and for getting those stories into the world.

In the process, a unique way to approach storytelling emerged and my

novels took on a new quality.

By this point I had an agent, and he’d received nothing but hundreds

of rejections over the course of submitting 4 of my novels.

Everything changed in the writing of Heaven’s Wager, my 5th novel. I

received offers from four different publishers on that 5th book. Ecstatic,

I signed a three book deal, and dove into my next novel, armed with a

whole new way to approach storytelling.

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Heaven’s Wager was published in 2001 with virtually no marketing

behind it. I remember going to the bookstore and not being able to

find it and once again I was crushed. So… I had a book out but no

one could find it. Regardless, I was committed now, so I suppressed my

fears, hurried back home and continued working on my next novel.

A year later I received an email from my publisher: Heaven’s Wager

had hit the bestseller’s list. What? How? Word of mouth. It had become

a big deal in Canada, evidently.

But of course, I thought… Because I had written it in that new way.

I pressed on, and over the course of the next twenty novels I continued

to refine the proven way of storytelling that I’d discovered. It was like

that treasure in the field that Jesus talked about. Remember? I sold

everything for that treasure and it rewarded beyond my wildest dreams.

My friends, many of whom were way ahead of me when I first

began to write, were dumb-founded. How had I managed to succeed so

quickly while they were still struggling? Why were millions of readers

buying my novels and not theirs? Even my writing coach, who was

already published at the time, was perplexed.

I would shrug. “I have an unfair advantage,” I’d say to them. And it

was true. I had discovered a path that few ever do. I called the advantage

unfair’ because most writers don’t really get it.

It was simply this: I was writing to find myself. To find transformation.

The purpose of my effort wasn’t to teach or entertain others, but to find

truth myself.

The stories were about me, you see, and since we are all the same,

readers were finding themselves in my novels.

I wrote for transformation, and I found it in and through all of

my stories. But you must know two things. First, I, like most, was still

utterly lost to the reality of my true identity in this world, so the journey

out of that valley of darkness was a long one. Truly, my writing was the

better part of the journey.

Second, the way out of darkness was actually in. I had to plumb my

own fears and drag them slowly into the light. I had to walk through my

trance of unworthiness to find my worth.

Most of we Christians are blind to the truth of who we really are,

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and so are afraid to enter the valley of the shadow of death to find the

light beyond it. Our hope is that we’ll find it in the next life and so

remain powerless in this life, yes?

But I pressed on. And in.

For fifteen years I pressed in, writing more than thirty books in a

solitude I called my prison, driven by an almost maniacal obsession that

few I knew could understand, determined to experience God as He was

presented by Jesus.

Many of my novels weren’t terribly spiritual on their surface—some

were even banned by a church bookstores because they were too dark

or too this or too that. I didn’t care. I had to be authentic to my own

journey.

I’m often asked which of novels is my favorite. They are all pieces

of me, I say. All my children. And each is a story of finding love in

heartbreak, light in darkness, beauty in ashes, stunning power in the pit

of crushing defeat.

In that way, they are all such beautiful children to me. Every word,

no matter how messy or calculated.

Readers connected to my authenticity and my books began to sell by

the millions. I rejoiced. I was finding my freedom. I was finally ‘making

it.’ I had found meaning and significance and acceptance.

But those stories had also shifted me, you see? And I quickly found

that what I had longed for my whole life wasn’t the answer.

The more I succeeded in the eyes of others, the more I realized that

that success itself was only another prison, fashioned by the values of this

world including the Church. More wealth only demanded I maintain

that wealth. More status only begged me to rise higher. And fame . . .

What a cruel and jealous mistress fame is.

I remember the first year that I sold a million books. I was making

more money than I could spend. I was supposed to be super happy,

yes? And I was to a point. But I was also disturbed. Ironically, I’ve never

met a truly ‘successful’ person who didn’t find their success disturbing

on some level. And for me—one who’d obsessed with finding my true

identity in this world but not of it, fantastic success quickly became a

god that haunted my dreams and laughed at my antics.

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I see now that I was being loving led to a great breaking because

it would allow me to awaken to a new discovery of very thing I had

obsessed after my whole life. True, love and freedom.

A new birth.

A Deeper Awakening

It was only then that something deep within me finally did break. It was

as if there were two parts of me, and they could no longer live with each

other. One part of me was grateful for my success. Another part felt as

though I was failing my purpose in life. That I was somehow betraying

my Father. I now know that I wasn’t failing Him, not in the least.

I fact, it was Him—God—who was awakening me and doing so

with perfect confidence in me. That awakening began with a complete

shifting of who I thought He was.

I remember the day so clearly. There in my office, drowning in a sea

of self-condemnation and unworthiness, a gentle question whispered

through my mind.

Does your Father not love you with the same love that He asks you to

love others?

The room went utterly still. I blinked, unable to comprehend.

What is love? the voice asked.

But I knew, of course. Love was a staggering concept that held no

record of wrong and was kind in the face of cruelty. When the evil man

attacked, love turned the cheek without offering blame or grievance.

This is the love no one knows—the same love Jesus talked about often.

Does your Father not love you in the same way He asks you to love

others?

I sat in my chair, stunned, unable to accept the implication that

anyone could possibly love me in such a way. I had never thought to ask

if God loved me in the same way He asks me to love others.

Then I heard another thought, like a voice but not a voice at the

same time.

Let go of all that you think you know about Me, so that you can

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KNOW Me.

Translation: let go of your intellectual knowing so that you can

experience my love (to know in a biblical sense.)

As a deeply philosophical thinker trained in theology, deeply

dependent on logic and intellect, this invitation should have frightened

me. Instead, I began to weep with gratitude at such an intimate offer.

You mean I don’t have to figure it all out?

Has doing so ever led you to this kind of love?

No.

Taste me and see that I am good. I am love. I am Father.

I didn’t hesitate. Nothing else mattered to me in that moment,

because if it was true that God was this kind of loving Father, I would

throw myself off a cliff to fall at His feet in gratitude for such an

extravagant love.

And so I did. There, in the night, I closed my eyes, let go of who I

thought I was and who the Father was, stepped off a kind of cliff, and

I free-fell into that space beyond mere intellect where faith and love are

found.

This was my surrender, you see? I let go of my own fear of not

having it all figured out; my fear of not having all the right doctrines

and beliefs; my fear of not being accepted unless I measured up to the

demands of a holy God. I let go of all of that and fell into the arms of

trust and love.

It felt like falling into a great unseen mystery, but I was actually

falling into the light. I was falling out of a prison—a darkness that had

been deepened by my own attempts to make my own light through

reason and striving.

As the light filled my awareness, I began to awaken to a whole new

reality.

It was then that I began to know my Father intimately in the way

Jesus talked about knowing the Father—a word used for a deep intimate

experience between a man and woman. It was that kind of knowing, not

an intellectual knowledge that swallowed me.

There, I trembled at His goodness, because He is infinitely good and

complete and could never, never, never be compromised by anything

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anyone did or thought. Ever. I had been searching for this revelation and

union with Him all of my life, since that day at age six when I’d found

myself abandoned and then beaten by my house father for knocking

over the pee pot.

As I knew my Father in a new way, I began to discover who I was as

His son. That I was already all I could hope to be because I was one with

and in Christ. My eyes were opened to who I was as my Father’s son. I

came into alignment with what was already true of me. Falling out of

that prison was surely falling out of a false perception of how I was—of

who the church had taught me I was, of who the world says I am—and

falling into an experience of who I truly was.

It was a shift in perception, not a shift of truth.

All of my striving to become had actually hidden the truth from me,

because in striving to become, I was only denying who I already was.

Falling off of the cliff into faith, I began to discover that I already

had wings. And that I could unfurl those wings. And that to the extent

I experienced my Father’s love, I could love with that same love. Love

Him that way. Love myself that way. Love others that way.

The light of Christ that was already in me and was me began to

illuminate my understanding. In that light, my perspective of my Father,

myself, and Christ shifted dramatically, offering me a whole new kind

of peace and love, a totally new way of being in this world. And in that

love, the heart of Jesus’s teachings suddenly became so clear to me that I

wondered how I could have missed them all those years.

My entire identity shifted. For all of my searching, I had not known

the full goodness of my Father, nor myself. I wasn’t who I thought I was,

not at all! It was like waking from a dream to see another reality far truer

than the dream I had awakened from. I was experiencing a dimension

called the kingdom of heaven, which is already here, beyond what our

earthly eyes show us, just like Jesus taught so often. That realm Paul

called the unseen. Eternity now.

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Who Am I?

Over the course of the next few months, Jesus’s and the apostles’

teachings came alive to me in ways I had never imagined. Suddenly all

those texts I had known for so long all came into focus. And none more

illuminated than the many teachings on who I really was as the son of

my Father.

It is as Jesus taught, that I am in Him and He is in me, in the

same way that (just as) He is in the Father and the Father is in Him. A

radical union that He said could only be known with the help of the

Spirit of truth, whose primary purpose is to help us walk in that union,

something He called abiding in the vine. And abiding in the vine is

evidenced primarily by our love as we know His love for us.5

Yes, I know, it all sounds so… theological. So philosophical and

distant, but it’s mind-blowing goodness and utterly transformational.

It is brilliant and worth dying for. It is, as Jesus taught, all that really

matters in this life!

Paul’s teaching on our radical union with Christ suddenly made

perfect sense to me. It was Paul who wrote that not only had Jesus died

for my sin, but that I had died with Him. That I had been raised with

Him. That I was already seated in heavenly places, right now.6 I was a

new creature in Him.7

It is no longer me who lives, he wrote, but Christ who lives in me.8

This was written by Paul, a man who characterized himself as the

foremost of sinners. Paul, the man who said he had not attained the

perfection of knowing and experiencing his union with Christ, still

insisted that we were one with Him and in Him. Paul, a man who

struggled with thorns in his flesh, made it clear that he was already

glorified with and in Christ.

I suddenly realized that this was true of me as well. It was no longer

I who lived, but Christ who lived in me!

But Paul went even further in his most bold claim in Colossians

3:11 where he writes emphatically of Christ’s identity in these terms:

Christ is all. And Christ is in all.

But how was this possible? Was I not separate from Christ on some

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level? Paul was saying no. It defied reason and raw intellect, and can only

be revealed by and in spirit. But hadn’t Peter said the same thing when

he said we are participants in the divine nature?

This is why Paul insisted that I was already complete (perfect) in

Him.9 You cannot be more complete than complete. What is complete

has no further need for correction or it would not be complete. But

I, the Father’s son, was complete because I was hidden in God with

Christ.10 Therefore, for me to live was Christ, just like Paul.11 There was

therefore no condemnation for me, because I was in Him and He was in

me, as one, in the same way (just as) He was in the Father.12

So I found myself asking over and over: If it’s no longer me who

lives, but Christ who lives, then who is this person called Ted, whom I

judge and condemn for his constant failure? Who is the man I see in

the mirror? He doesn’t look like a new creature and doesn’t appear to

be seated in heavenly places. Who is this guy who stands on two feet,

seeking acceptance and significance in various ways?

Who is this man trying to write transformational stories and earning

a living writing those novels?

The answer became plain. My seen, temporary earthen vessel, to use

Paul’s description, was like a character in one of my novels. Like a role

that I played for a short time. It wasn’t an illusion or evil as claimed by

the Gnostics—God forbid. But, clearly, it was passing away—decaying

already—and therefore not eternally True. It was like a role in a TV

movie.

I had mistakenly put my identity in that role, rather than in my true

self so clearly characterized by Jesus and Paul as one joined with and in

Christ.

There was far more to me than what my eyes showed me, just as Paul

wrote. In fact, what I saw with my physical eyes was only something

that shifted in form and would soon return to dust. That was only my

small self. My earthen vessel, like a car I drove around in during this incar-

nation, if you will.

The true me was far more. And I could align my small self with the

me who was now one in Christ. Clearly, I hadn’t seen myself the way my

Father saw me in the unseen realm. The world seemed to have conspired

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with the father of lies to keep the eyes of my heart blind to my true

identity, so I had spent my life threatened by the world around me. To

the extent I believed those lies, I stumbled in darkness.

But what if I could see myself the way my Father saw me? How

would I be then?

The Journey

My view of what it meant to be alive on this planet and the path I was

on for this life shifted in the most profound and expanding ways over

the years that followed.

All of my writing up to this point had actually led me to this point,

you see? It was an incredibly valuable part of my journey. Readers were

connecting to my novels because they found themselves in them, just

like I did. My journey didn’t change with that deeper awakening—it

was just time for me. Without what had come before, I wouldn’t have

been ready.

You, too, are on a journey. You’ve been led to read this book and

dive into The Forgotten Way. There’s no mistake in this. You’re likely

ready to see more than you’ve seen up to this point, so you must rejoice,

yes?

True, you will find your own way, but that way includes these

words or you would not be reading them. You are already awakening to

your true identity—the one who is now complete in Christ and full of

creative power; in this world but not of it.

Anyone who has undergone any kind of awakening knows one

thing without doubt: Very few Christians seem to know who they are.

If you take all the things that Jesus said would evidence those

who were in His way and call it RED, it seems there are only a few

RED people in the church per say. Clearly, whatever way we have been

following, it isn’t the way of Jesus. Some of the way perhaps, but not the

way that is evidenced by radical love and power in this life.

Christians say ‘we are RED’ but we mostly show ourselves to be

GREY like everyone else.

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We know some facts and can recite those facts, but we have no

intimate experience of our true identity and so remain GREY. We are

the light of the world, but we’re still blind to our identity and so stumble

in darkness. Some have called Christians the last great mission-field—

the religious who think they see but do not, to use Jesus’ characterization.

But we do not condemn a single one any more than our Father

condemns us. We are all learning to walk, like little children. I know I

certainly get to align with the truth of who I am, each day. It’s the only

way we can love the way He says those who follow Him will and do love.

When that outer shell that had blinded me for so long broke, I

understood that my journey had always been and always would

primarily be to see with new eyes who I truly was, as the son of a Father

who did not condemn me and who loved me far more than I could have

comprehended. I was His son, remade in His likeness, flowing with

more beauty and creative power than I had thought possible.

My journey wasn’t becoming more than I was, because I was already

complete. Rather, it was to ‘awaken to’ or ‘see’ who I already was. To

align myself with the truth. And as I did that, I found myself rushing to

my Father’s table where His fruits were peace, love and creative power

in limitless abundance.

It is as Jesus taught: our eye (perception) is the lamp of our body

(earthly experience.) If we see clearly, our earthly experience is full of

light, but if our perception isn’t clear, the light within us is dark, and

how deep is that darkness.13 We are the light of the world, but we cover

up that truth and so cannot see it.14 This was why Jesus came to bring

sight to the blind. He came to bring sight to me!

I also discovered that the only way I could see (and be) who I truly

am in this life is to let go of my attachment to all other identities,

including my identity as a novelist. However alluring they are, they only

block my sight to who I already am in the light.

I can now see that my Father had been gently leading me to that

place of surrender for over forty years. In fact, it was my own separation

from my earthly father at age six that first set me on that journey. It is

said that suffering gets our attention. So then, what a blessing, however

much suffering I experienced on the path of awakening.

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Following such a shift at my core, I dove into new kinds of writing

projects. In thinking through all of the books I had written, I could

see that in my desperate searching all those years, I had actually been

writing about my true identity all along. It was as if something deep

in me had always known who I was and who the Father was, and that

Truth found its way onto the pages as I wrote authentically, through my

struggles.

New stories flowed: Eyes Wide Open, Water Walker, Hacker, Outlaw,

A.D. 30 and others. I began to call Jesus by the name he used 2000 years

ago, Yeshua.

Again, all the novels I had already written were a beautiful, powerful

part of my journey. I had always used that advantage of writing

authentically to deal with my own challenges and find transformation

in this life. They were all a part of my transformation, which is still

ongoing.

But now I understood the heart of my search in a new way.

It’s all about identity, you see? Who are you? Really, you live to

discover that. And when you do, you will see that you are far more than

you have imagined.

Finding Superman

In today’s vernacular, Yeshua’s Way is indeed the way of superheroes. In

this sense, was He not the first superhero, and we now His apprentices,

born into His identity and learning to fly? Would we not rush to see and

experience this truth about Yeshua, our Father, and ourselves through

the power of the Holy Spirit?

Think of yourself as Superman or Superwoman. If Superman were

to forget that he’s Superman, he would only be Clark Kent and Clark

Kent can’t fly. Only Superman can fly. And having forgotten that he’s

actually Superman, Clark no longer knows he can fly.

How then does Clark Kent go about flying again?

Someone would need to tap Clark Kent on the shoulder and say,

“Umm . . . excuse me, but you’re Superman. If you take off that shirt

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and tie (surrender them) you’ll find you’re clothed in another suit in

which you can fly.”

Then Clark Kent would need to believe this is true. Only then could

he go about the business of rushing to the phone booth, letting go of his

old Clark Kent costume, and fly once more as Superman.

In the same way, we who are clothed in Christ have great power

and none greater than to love—without which, to quote Paul, the rest

is nothing. But only in surrendering the old business suit do we see who

we really are.

Who are you being right now, at this moment? Do you want to

“fly” again? Or maybe you want to fly for the first time, because our

life ‘flying’ is loving God with all your heart, loving yourself as you are

loved, and loving all others as yourself. As much, it is operating in the

dimension unbound by space and time, called the miraculous.

Along with Paul, our chief aim now is to know Christ and

the power of His resurrection. And this is also to know ourselves in

Christ, resurrected in Him. It is to know Christ and the power of our

resurrection.

And in that resurrection we can ‘fly.’

But discovering who you really are will necessarily lead you out

of the old mind which is convinced you aren’t who you are. This is

ultimately your only conflict. And it’s a conflict that can be disturbing

to your old mind.

Why?

Because surrendering an old paradigm is always unnerving to the

mind at first. Neurons in your brain have wired together over many

years and when you try to change their habitual patterns, they throw up

warning flags.

Power in the Storm

Think of your life as a boat on the stormy seas. The boat represents all

that you think will keep you safe from death by drowning. Dark skies

block out the sun, winds tear at your face, angry waves rise to sweep you

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off your treasured boat and send you into a deep, watery grave. And so

you cringe in fear as you cling to the boat that you believe will save you

from suffering.

But Yeshua is at peace. How can He be at rest in the midst of such a

terrible threat? When you cry out in fear, He rises and looks out at that

storm, totally unconcerned.

Why are you afraid? He asks.

Has He gone mad? Does He not see the reason to fear? Does He not

see the cruel husband, the cancer, the terrified children, the abuse, the

injustice, the empty bank account, the rejection at the hands of friends,

the assault of enemies, the killing of innocents? How could He ask such

a question?

Unless what He sees and what you see are not the same.

And what does He see instead of the storm? He sees another

dimension to which this one is ultimately subject, though the two are

also wholly integrated. He sees the Father, who offers no judgment

nor condemnation.15 He sees life and love and joy and peace in an

eternal union with His Father, manifesting now, on earth, in the most

spectacular fashion.

He sees peace in the storm. And so can we, if we only change our

beliefs about what we are seeing; if we only, through faith, see as He

sees. His question is still the same today. Why are you afraid, oh you of

little faith?16

Yeshua shows us the Way to be saved from all that we think threatens

us on the dark seas of our lives. Only when we, too, see what he sees can

we leave the treasured boat that we think will save us and walk on the

troubled waters that we thought would surely drown us.

Our Revelation

Among a rising tide of millions of Christians, how we label ourselves

isn’t nearly as important as how we actually experience and demonstrate

Yeshua’s incredible power in and as us, beginning with the power to love

our enemies. To us, this is what it means to know God and the One He

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sent. Words only reflect an intellectual dogma, but the expression of our

lives shows our true dogma, which matters far more.

The single question that matters most to us is this: to what extent

are we knowing God intimately? To what extent are we aligned with

the dimension called the kingdom of heaven which is within us and

among us already? That dimension flows with far more power than we

can comprehend.

Are we truly believing in the identity of Christ and Christ in us each

day? You can’t believe in Christ without also believing in who you are,

one with and in Him. Thus to believe in Him is also to believe in your

true, glorified self.

This is what it means to believe in the name (identity) of Jesus.

Are we experiencing His love and peace and showing that love to

the world, rather than only knowing about God while believing in the

world and continuing to be mastered by it? Do we experience His Son

intimately and so manifest his limitless love for the adulterers and the

poor and the bigots and the deceived and ourselves?

We, like Paul, long to know Christ and the staggering power of His

resurrection, not a creed that satisfies the intellect but leaves us powerless

to love ourselves and others as Christ loves us all.

Do you want to find the peace of Yeshua in the storms of your life?

Do you want to walk on the troubled seas of this life? Do you want see

his power manifested on earth as it is in heaven?

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THE TRUTH

1) God is infinitely good, far more loving and gentle and kind

to His children than any earthly mother or father imaginable.

God is infinitely complete; nothing can threaten or disturb

Him. Nothing can be taken away from Him, making Him less

than complete, nor added to Him who is already complete.

2) You are remade in the likeness and glory of your Father,

finite yet already complete in union with Yeshua—you in Him

and He in you, risen with Him and seated in heavenly places.

Nothing can separate you from His love.

THE WAY

3) Your journey now is to see who you truly are, for you are

the light of the world, the son or the daughter of your Father,

a new creature flowing with more beauty and power than you

dared imagine possible.

4) You will only see who you are and thus be who you are as

you surrender your attachment to all other identities, which

are like gods of a lesser power that block your vision of your true

identity and keep you in darkness.

THE LIFE

5) Love, joy, and peace are the manifestation of your true

identity and the Father’s realm, on earth as in heaven through

the power of the Holy Spirit.

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To follow Yeshua’s Way is to let go of this world’s systems to see and

experience a far greater one—one that is closer than our own breath.

And this requires a daily realignment that allows us to master this life.

It is to surrender what we think we know about the Father, so that

we can truly know Him. It is to let go of who we think we are to discover

who we really are.

It is to let go of our continued striving to invite Yeshua into our

hearts and instead place our identity in the fact that He has already

taken us into His heart.

It is the great reversal of all that we think will give us significance

and meaning in this life, so that we can live with more peace and love

than we have yet imagined. As such, The Forgotten Way isn’t a set of

facts or labels or dogma, but a living, breathing journey on which all

Christians find themselves. A journey of experiencing great triumph in

this life, not only in whatever life awaits us, by awakening to our true

identity.

The journey from hate to love.

The journey from fear to faith.

The journey from insecurity to rest and peace.

The journey from crawling to flying.

Being in the eternal realm of the Father’s sovereign presence here on

earth, we will find peace in the storms; we will walk on the troubled seas

of our lives; we will not be poisoned by the lies of snakes; we will move

mountains which appear insurmountable; we will heal all manner of

sickness that has twisted minds and bodies.

Love will flow from us as living waters, because the manifestation

of the kingdom of heaven on earth is love. And when we love, all will

know, there goes one who can fly.

In the end, the journey is letting go of who we think we are, to see

and align ourselves with who we truly are right now, in this moment.

This we call transformation. Awakening. Being born again to be like a

child living in simple faith.

This is our renewal in Yeshua: to be free from the lies that hold us

captive to the old way of being in this world. This is our healing: to

see who we truly are. This is our resurrection: having been raised with

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Christ, to now be His body on earth as we follow The Forgotten Way of

Yeshua. This is our manifestation: to love as He loved.

The time for our transformation has come.

Invitation

Yeshua told a story about ten maidens on their way to a great wedding

feast. All had lamps with oil for the journey. Five fell asleep and let their

oil run out; five tended to their lamps. When the call came, the five who

had run out of oil asked the other five to lend them some oil, but they

were refused and so unable to attend the celebration.17

Why could the five with oil not share some with those in need? The

meaning is plain: You cannot borrow your neighbor’s transformation.

Each of us is responsible for our own journey each day.

So then, tend to the oil in your lamp. Hasten on the journey each

day.

In our western minds, bound by the age of reason, we seem enslaved

to the notion that facts and figures and dogmas and doctrines are what

save us, but this is to radically misunderstand Yeshua’s teachings. Our

journey is to align with an whole new operating system, that process

called transformation. That journey is daily and hourly. My wife and I

call it our Ninja training. It’s the emptying of our old, weak, condemning

self to align with and awaken to our true, risen, powerful eternal Selves

that Yeshua said would reveal itself in and as us as we remain in the vine

of that power and love, which is our union with Christ.

The journey is for you to take, each day. It’s a radically powerful and

transformative process that will change your life in the best of ways.

If this writing resonates with you on any level, I encourage you to

take the journey through The Forgotten Way Meditations, either alone,

with a group, or as a church. It’s a simple 21 day (6 weeks with a group)

journey that will set you on a new path of transformation—the path of

Yeshua for Power and Peace in this life.

Think of it like a cleanse. A 21 day challenge. The staggering path of

Yeshua in language that simplifies truth and offers alignment that will

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change you forever. The meditations begin with our view of God, then

move to our view of ourselves and the way He said we must follow to

discover who we are as the sons and daughters of the Father. (Sample

meditation on Page 31 below).

Are you up for it?

Across the land, millions of Christians—tens of millions—are

awakening from a stupor of unworthiness and shame and into their true

identity as the sons and daughters of God. Join us.

This is only the beginning.

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