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Ghost Behind The Wheel

• Greg Boyd

In this first sermon of our Undivided series, Greg explores why we seem to be drawn to the busy life that our culture offers. At the same time, it’s easy for us to forget or ignore the beauty that God wants to develop in our inner world.

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God promises rest, peace and an end to striving. It’s the rest and peace of knowing your loved with an everlasting, unconditional, perfect love, living with an undivided soul and an integrated heart. Few live this way, but we all long for it. We know that our inner world is not meant to feel so fragmented and empty.

If we are going to understand the nature of our inner world, we must briefly review source of this mess, which is found in the story of the Garden of Eden. There we find the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. The tree represents the right to be able to define and judge what is good and what is evil, which only God can do. God warns us that if we break covenant with him (who is the source of life) we’ll die. The lie of the enemy tells us that if we want fullness of life, we must get it from the tree and that we won’t die.

When we don’t trust God for life we try to fill ourselves with whatever looks “pleasing to the eye.” This explains why we spend our life chasing fame, money, possessions, right religious views, sex, drugs, etc. All of which are idols.

On some level we feel the pervasive emptiness, anxiety, sadness, meaninglessness, boredom, and also shame, that results from believing this lie. As long as we’re believing the lie, we run from pain thinking the problem is that we need more and we distract ourselves from the emptiness and shame by continuing the chase.

This pursuit of more in our culture is a characterized by a relentless pursuit of external things. It’s easy to think that the important stuff is what is visible. We can become defined by our external world and end up ignoring our inner world.

To change this, we’ve got to go inside, face the emptiness, confront the shame and get real with what is real. We have to buck our culture and make our inner world a higher priority than our outer world.

(The poem at the beginning of the sermon was written and read by Terri Churchill. The music playing during the poem was “Wedding Guest” by Allen Sylvestery)

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Topics: Healing, Simplicity, Transformation

Sermon Series: Undivided

Downloads & Resources

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Focus Scripture:

  • Matthew 11:28

    Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.

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11 thoughts on “Ghost Behind The Wheel

  1. Michelle says:

    Excellent analogy.

  2. Rick Nelson says:

    I’ll introduce myself (this is my first post) as a born again christian, fully emersed baptised and desiring to live a self-less, loving and compassionate life. I admit I’ve a long way to go regarding Bible studies, stemming from many years of neglect. ——-

    Greg noted, there are those who neglect efforts toward inward reflection. He goes on to note some lose there focus of trust in the love of God while developing external desires.

    One point Greg made that interested me more than most from this sermon was his use of the word “disquietude”. Listening to his context I saw his stress upon self motivated strivings, evolving into stress.

    Here I would appreciate a small amount of reflection: I’m concerned about presenting my words as clear interpretations of what I mean, and desire to maintain truth, and compassion.

    I’ve tried to reflect upon how Greg intended the sermon to be interpreted? In truth and compassion are represented, as is striving to maintain words within the realm of teaching and worshiping our Lord.

    Right here is where I’m either lost, unwilling to accept Greg’s motivations entirely, or have not found what is within myself which brings these next words out in this post:

    I do not think (note I believe the word “think” is open and willing to change), The Poem “My Ghost” reflects my attitude, as I listened to both the poem and to Greg. What I’m trying to mean is that my attitude is not represented because I do think of others, I do wonder about what’s happening by my actions, I do hope I might be mindfull of internal examinations. This is where I’m desiring some other directions about “My Ghost” and Gregs sermon.

    I had one or two occasions to stop and ask myself why I responded with a negative, why I thought it absurd. Please read on—

    I thought it absurd that a person with a job, with a home, with food and clothes, bills being paid (having a car and gas to put in it), living life where giving offerings isn’t taking away gas money to get to church, etc… The person in the poem reflects upon how distractions of being too busy take something profound away from them. That somehow the person (who has their needs met) is in some way suffering from it? I realize the streach of the imagination this may evoke from any reading my post. Please let yourself understand that a person who has been unemployed for over two years, has not had needs met, has a child who asks but does not receive, so on and so forth……; that this person does not look upon self pitty invoked because of missed internal reviews; as truth, rather it seems fatuous.

    These last words are why I know there is something more needed. There has to be something I’m missing. I am the person who is unemployed for that length and has a litany of challenges (some desperate) most expected and usual. I realize my internal review of the poem and sermon are skewed by this experience and many others, but I also find it hard to think Greg and the poem’s author would not have noticed how the sermon or words would be met by someone who is not living with needs met.

    One thing that I’m overly sensitive to is noticing whether others are considering what its like to be in someone elses shoes? That’s a contradiction of sorts, as one who is sensitive in that way, need consider how it is to be the person who is less than meeting expectations to put themselves in someone elses shoes.

    Life is full of these contradictions and they are not my intended focus. Most of this post is an attempt to reflect upon why I use my efforts to examine this poem in the light I am choosing? Then it is to examine where I could further go with my efforts? I am also asking for others to reflect upon my take, my word choices, and the hope that I come across with honesty. Then I ask others to respond, kindliness is preferred.

  3. Scott Boren says:

    Rick, thanks for you insight and perspective. It is always interesting to see how our different life experiences shape what God is doing in our lives. It is true that not everyone will relate to this message. Many do think of others and tend to their inner lives. All the while, most in our culture live lives of frenetic craziness, too many commitments, too much television, too many possessions, etc. I’m glad that you don’t struggle with these things, but as you go through the series, I guarantee that there are people who will come to your mind who do. Maybe consider asking God how you can be a source of God’s Undivided life to them.

  4. Michelle says:

    God knows.

  5. Paul says:

    I loved the sermon. I wish I could get them live, would love to spend my sundays listening to Greg.

    I love how he talks about asking for help letting go of the razor, but keeps his hand tight. I often feel like this but my analogy is a little less graphic. When I hold on to things that are killing me I think of the old Bugs Bunny Daffy Duck cartoon, where the find a treasure and the Genie tells them to not touch it, but Daffy just has to, at the end Bugs opens a clam shell to find Daffy clinging to a pearl screaming MINE MINE MINE!! and I feel like that.

    When I am in the middle of my issues I can’t really see it, I just stay in the rut or dig it deeper, but if I pray and usually try to talk to someone about my issues (when I’m lucky enough to find someone to talk to ) I get it into the light of day and the issue usually looks stupid or not as bad as I think it is and I get that cartoon of Daffy running thru my head.

    I love the bridge and thank God for finding Greg on CNN’s Gods Warriors, he has changed my life so much, his books and introducing me to other pastors like Bruxy cavey. I just wish I had someone local (Virginia) to share it with, other christians I try to talk to are not interested or get hung up on the Open Theist doctrine and don’t want to talk unless I follow their way.

    Thanks for this wonderful site and all of you who keep it going

    If nobody has told you this today, God loves you & so do I


  6. Lindy Combs says:

    Greg spoke a vivid description of my life. Terri’s poem was a laser-beam bio of my robotic living. I have been in a total burn-out for about a year. What a load of confrontation and challenge! This has launched me into a pulling up of old “sludge” that has poisoned my life for 60 years: idolatries, LIES wired into my heart and soul from decades in a cult religion and a history of abuse that enables me to relate with Greg’s stories of his own childhood.

    I have never been able to do what Greg does before his feet hit the floor. I had to have help…I had to confess to God, “I don’t want to do this.” He gave me the grace to experience it! I think I have been running from this for many years. It is almost as if Greg has looked me (us?) in the eye and said, “Please allow me to help you know the inner person in the mirror.” I believe we are not going to “get it” until we actually do it. I believe this sermon has power for the Holy Spirit, by the grace and truth Jesus brought, to expose every stronghold IF we will IMMERSE ourselves in this process. It appears to me to be an opportunity for gaining revelation regarding everything we are going through: the sowing and reaping, the causes for the present effects. I CAN’T WAIT FOR THE NEXT ONE IN THE “UNDIVIDED” SERIES. I am frustrated that I have to wait till Monday afternoon for downloading it!! I want to BE THERE. I must have the workbook! This workbook is a necessity for me, stuck in NW Washington, Whidbey Island in Puget Sound. THANK YOU GREG FOR BEING FEARLESS!


  7. Rick Nelson says:

    After the first small groups meeting for “Undivided” I did find a sort of connection to a more nuanced view of the poem.

    My life has been one of a desire to help others, I often did this at my expense. I sought this as an ideal to connect to people. It’s also what many have come to describe as giving up self to obtain companionship in return.

    WIth that it occurs to me that there are many things I’ve not been able to do for over two decades while I’ve worked and raised one of our two children. I need to state that our kids are 20 years apart in age. I lost much of the time I spent helping others when I got married, went to college, started work after graduation and did all those things the poem states make us “ghosts”. This is to make it clear that I do understand the poem, but I found myself putting it aside after two years of unemployment.

    These years of unemployment have segued from the “ghost” struggle and met the desperate struggle of fear. Fear brings up the concept of Greg’s sermon toward “disquietude”, in that it pulls us from our Lord. That is so true.

    During the small group this past week, I noted I could pull closer to the poem. I still struggled with over stress, powerlessness to meet needs, overwhelming desire for improvement and so forth. This is akin to being employed and not worrying about giving an offering, because gas money is no problem. It would be nice to give an offering every week, but getting to church is a need to me.

    Scott’s guarantee was met. There is more to find as the series progresses.

  8. Jessie Interiano says:

    Does anyone know if there’s a download for the Undivided Sermon Series booklet? If not, how could I get a copy?

  9. Jim LePage says:

    Lindy & Jesse – You can download the booklet and other resources for free on our Undivided area of the site:


  10. Jessie Interiano says:

    Thanks Jim!

  11. Lindy Combs says:

    Hey Jim, Thanks! I did download it…but still very much want the real deal for the writing in it and carrying it with me. Still hoping we can get it.

    Again, thanks.

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