All Posts Tagged: Brennan Manning

Fragrance of Worship 5/272018

 

 

 

By this time a lot of men and women of doubtful reputation
were hanging around Jesus, listening intently.
The Pharisees and religion scholars were not pleased,
not at all pleased.
They growled, “He takes in sinners and eats meals with them,
treating them like old friends.”
Their grumbling triggered this story.
Suppose one of you had a hundred sheep and lost one.
Wouldn’t you leave the ninety-nine in the wilderness
and go after the lost one until you found it?
When found, you can be sure you would put it across your shoulders, rejoicing,
and when you got home call in your friends and neighbors, saying,
‘Celebrate with me! I’ve found my lost sheep!’
Count on it—there’s more joy in heaven over
one sinner’s rescued life than over ninety-nine good people in no need of rescue.
Luke 15:1-7

“When the night is bad and my nerves are shattered
and the waves break over the sides, Infinity speaks.
God Almighty shares through His Son
the depth of His feelings for me,
His love flashes into my soul,
and I am overtaken by mystery.
These are moments of the decisive in-break of God’s fury into my personal life’s story.
“It is then I face a momentous decision. Shivering in the rags of my seventy-four years,
I have two choices. I can escape below into skepticism
and intellectualism, hanging on for dear life.
Or, with radical amazement, I can stay on deck and
boldly stand in surrendered faith
to the truth of my belovedness,
caught up in the reckless raging fury
that they call the love of God.
And learn to pray”
Brennan Manning,
The Furious Love of God (pp. 130-131).

 

 

A Second Touch – Transparency

 

Jesus spit on the eyes of the blind man and put His hands on him.
He asked, “Do you see anything?”
The blind man looked up and said, “I see men but they look like trees walking.
Jesus put His hands on the man’s eyes again and told him to look up.
Then he was healed and saw everything well.”

Mark 8:22-26

This miracle is unique in that it happened in stages: 1) “I see men but they look like trees walking and 2) “Then he was healed and saw everything clearly.” What’s the point? I believe Paul saw it: “We don’t yet see things clearly. We’re squinting in a fog, peering through a mist.” 1 Corinthians 13:12) Our vision of God, self and others is distorted by spiritual cataracts! This is our dis-eased condition (Medicine of Life)! Ask one hundred people about God. Less than 10% will speak of God as Father and yet, Jesus taught his disciples to begin conversation with God thus: Our Father ….”  (Luke 11:1-3)

One of the Reformers of the 16th century, John Calvin, (doesn’t he look friendly?) began his masterpiece, Institutes of the Christian Religion, with this statement:  “Nearly all the wisdom which we possess consists of two parts: the knowledge of God and of ourselves.” (Instiitutes 1.1.1) In other words one can’t know oneself without knowing God and without knowing God one can’t know oneself ! Granted, this is deep theology; nonetheless, it’s common sense! For example, our knowledge of a coin: one can’t know one side (God) without knowing the other side (self).

Calvin proceeded: “While joined by many bonds, which one precedes and brings forth the other is not easy to discern.”  I want to proceed along the lines of self-knowledge, one side of the coin. From the Genesis story (Genesis 3:7-10) it’s easy to discern: there’s no healing in hiding! In our dis-eased condition what’s required is: nakedness, honesty, risk, transparency, vulnerability, and exposure, all of which produce profound fear! (Genesis 3:8-10). Fear is that which prevents us from knowing God, self and others! I’m not a betting person; however, you can take this fact to the bank: we are basically afraid of God, others and, yes, of ourselves. 

Please allow me to provide several citations.“To love at all is to be vulnerable. Love anything and your heart will be wrung and possibly broken. If you want to make sure of keeping it intact you must give it to no one, not even an animal. Wrap it carefully round with hobbies and little luxuries; avoid all entanglements. Lock it up safe in the casket or coffin of your selfishness. But in that casket, safe, dark, motionless, airless, it will not change. It will not be broken; it will become unbreakable, impenetrable, irredeemable. To love is to be vulnerable.” ( C S Lewis). Vulnerability is basically uncertainty, risk, and emotional exposure. (Brene Brown) “Following Christ is a wild adventure full or risk, frustration, excitement, and setbacks. It is not an evening stroll in a planned community along a well-manicured path. (Larry Crabb)  “Quit keeping score altogether and surrender yourself with all your sinfulness to God who sees neither the score nor the scorekeeper but only his child redeemed by Christ”  (Brennan Manning, Abba’s Child: The Cry of the Heart for Intimate Belonging )

The blind man was ruthlessly honest and transparent about his condition: “I see men but they look like trees walking.” Imagine! For the first time in his life he saw light and objects. Nonetheless, he admitted that “he didn’t see things clearly, squinting in a fog, peering through mist.” 
His candid admission about his condition produced a “second touch”! I wonder , what would have happened had if he only settled for the first touch ? “Nothing is more opaque than absolute ltransparency. (Margare Attwood)

 

The Measure of Life – Conformity to Jesus

 

 

God chose us to bear the family likeness of His Son. 
Romans 8:29

Attached to Jesus, you are a unique masterpiece.” (Ephesians 2:10) As such.“God chose us to bear the family likeness of His Son…” (Romans 8:29) So, the genuine YOU is Jesus-like!

 I have bad news! Because we crave acceptance, we permit parents, peers, pressures and the public to define us. Consequently, Father’s original design is hidden beneath layers (like an onion) of false fabrication. In the process of conforming we lose our true identity.


Don’t panic! The Creator possesses the original blueprint of YOU: “Define yourself radically as one beloved by God. This is the true self. Every other identity is illusion” (Brennan Manning). This is the first step of self-discovery. 

Second, become acquainted with THE Measure. “Grow in … understanding your Master and Savior, Jesus Christ.” (2 Peter 3:1) The authentic YOU is Jesus-like! He’s the measure of your growth in becoming Jesus-like!

It is when I turn to Christ, when I give myself up to His Personality, that I first begin to have a real personality of my own”. (Mere Christianity, p 58.) As you employ meditation and prayer The Mentor is on 24/7 duty to guide you in discovering the Jesus-like YOU!)

Finally, slowly begin to examine yourself. “God is patient. He wants you to have an opportunity to change the way you think and act.” (2 Peter 3:9)  What thoughts, actions and words are Jesus-like? Label these: “the real me”! Anything that doesn’t measure up to Jesus is a distorted fabrication. If you need help, ask Father: “Investigate my life. See for yourself whether I’ve done anything unlike Jesus. Then guide me on the road to the fulfilled life.” (Psalm 139:23-24)

 

George Washington, the first president of the United States, was serious about “measuring up”! He prayed: “Daily frame me more and more into the likeness of Thy Son Jesus Christ.” (George Washington, the Christian pp. 24-35)