Reflections on Brennan Manning: A Teacher of God’s Love and Grace

Today 4/13/2013 news that Brennan Manning left this life on 4/12/2013. He was a man of God, a disciple who now has moved on. Yet, he was a teacher of much controversy. The top of the controversy was that he taught “contemplative prayer” with use of things like emptying thoughts and repeating words. This controversy exists and is out there, yet, I have no question that in He was a true follower of Jesus the Messiah. His teaching and from what I understand even his life was fractured and flawed. He knew fully what it was to experience God’s grace. Yet, he is really know different than any other disciple of Jesus. He tought things wrong, he did things wrong, he was flawed. Yet, he knew what it was to be loved by God. He was a teacher and preacher of God’s love. His messages focused on deepening the understanding of God and His love. This is true for me.
I heard Brennan Manning speak at Church of the Open Door in Minnesota two or maybe three times. When he spoke his words and presence displayed and shown the love of God. His words touched to the very core. I do not remember his words or his teaching at that time. I do know what he taught and spoke of on those days changed me. He gave words that brought closer awareness to the love of God. He taught in such a way that got beyond the fractured images I had of God the Father and God used to touch hurt and pain and let God’s love in. God used this man. And for that I am grateful. He served and was used by God and he touch my life and many others. There are a great many quotes out there that demonstrate the truth he taught. It is important to note in God’s economy the words of Love and truth have far greater impact than the things we speak that are flawed, dangerous, or destructive. Truth and love always have greater effect. In closing this article I am posting some Brennan Manning quotes that demonstrate the Truth and Love that he taught that impacted so many.

“Define yourself radically as one beloved by God. This is the true self. Every other identity is illusion.”

“In every encounter we either give life or we drain it; there is no neutral exchange.”

“God is love. In human beings, love is a quality, a high-prized virtue; in God, love is His identity.“

“God loves you unconditionally, as you are and not as you should be, because nobody is as they should be.”

“My deepest awareness of myself is that I am deeply loved by Jesus Christ, & I have done nothing to earn it or deserve it.”

“Christianity was not some moral code; it was a love affair, & I experienced it first hand.”

“If we conceal our wounds out of fear & shame, our inner darkness can neither be illuminated nor become a light for others.”

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Amos Story Video by Aaron Ivey Band: An adoptive father’s longing for His children

Just learned of this Video from Troy Livesay as he shared it on his Facebook status.   I learned a little bit of the background of this song at the blog Gentrified. Apparently the song of this video was inspired by Aaron’s longing and wait for his two adoptive children from Haiti, Amos and Story.  The author of the aforementioned blog said the following:

The song expresses the desires of a father who would give anything to be with his children, it is the perfect expression of parents who go through the adoption process, which transfers a child from their current identity, and gives them a new identity inside of a new family. It’s permanent so the child is not simply an outside addition, but seen as the completion of the incomplete family without them.

Please watch the video and let it touch your heart. Please remember that for all the orphans who have been given a home, the earthquake has created countless more. 

My reaction to the video is the same as that of the author of the blog Gentrified.   The longing of connection is clear.  It is a clear picture even of God’s desire to take us from being lost in darkness into His Kingdom.  Not only that, God desires to commune with us and when we are lost and even turned away, He seeks us out and does not give up.  God longs for relationship with us. God wants reconciliation.  God provided a way out of darkness and Chaos into light, love, and wholeness.

Question of week 9-23-2009: Where do you find your identity?

In this day and age we are all about who am I and what do I want. We have books about finding purpose, finding self.  There is a lot of money made on developing self, identifying self, and observing self.  The world we live is really obsessed with self.  So my question is, where really do you find your identity? What is it that makes up your self?  For me my identity is found in Jesus. Sure there are other things I can focus on including the my given name as well as the name peacebringer.  Yet, everything that makes up my self, is insignificant compared that what Jesus gives me.  He gives me far more than anything I could want or need,  though at times I do not recognize it.  Each of us is only truly at peace with self when we surrender the whole of self.  When we surrender whatever aspect of identity to Jesus, only then are we truely able to be what God intended.  Each of us when living solely for self, walk in distortion of God’s intended identity for us.  When we twist what God has created we suffer and lack peace, because what God created is twisted.  The only way our true identities become untwisted is through surrender to Jesus.  We get involved in fully trying to straighten out self it still ends up a twisted mess.  So think for a moment and ask yourself the question: where do you find your identity.  Any answer that comes up different from in Jesus and you are simply walking a distorted version of who God created you to be.

Question of Week: Sept 2-How are you defining your relationship with Jesus?

Sitting and trying to think of a good question and this is eventually what comes do mind.  It really comes down to thinking about how we view ourselves and our identify in Jesus as Christians.  For those that do not know Jesus as Messiah, the question is also relevant.  Who is Jesus to them?  It is our own self-perceptions that often play a role in how we react in that relationship.  The barriers we have to intimacy with Jesus come from our own thoughts and subsequent actions.   So how do you define your relationship with Jesus for in the answer to that question do you find where your heart is at.  Are you an enemy, are you a friend, are you a servant?  At times one can probably have multiple answers.   Once you get done examining yourself, than ask how does God define your relationship with Jesus?

Christian Poetry: Who am I? by Kris Blake

My mother recently wrote a poem that I consider to be in the form of a Psalm.  It really stresses our identify in Jesus and God being mindful of us. It reflects on who we are to God.  Please read and pass this on!  

 

Who Am I?

Postby Kris Blake 

Who am I that you placed a cup before me?
Who am I that when I was hungry that you fed me?
Who am I that under your wings you hide me?
Who am I that when I was naked you covered me?
Who am I that when I sleep you guard me?

Who am I that you carry my burdens for me?
Who am I that you place a banner over me?
Who am I that you built a tent to shelter me?
Who am I that you put your cloak upon me?
Who am I that you put a shield around me?

Who am I that you bind my wounds for me?
Who am I that you mend my broken heart and uplift me?
Who am I that when I fall you pick me up and hold me?
Who am I that when I cry my tears are gathered for me?
Who am I that you sit down beside me, and you whisper that you love me?

Who am I that you clear the path and go before me?
Who am I that you wrote down your story for me?
Who am I that you open the doors for me?
WHo am I that your right hand is held before me?
Who am I that when I run the race you are cheering for me?

Who am I that you build a fire to warm me?
Who am I that your wind blows all around me?
WHo am I that your oil runs down upon me?
Who am I that your water washes over me?
Who am I that your table is prepared before me?

Who am I that you keep thinking of me?
Who am I that you looked down and saw me, and then you chose me?
Who am I that you listen to me?
Who am I that you delight in the fragrance of me?
Who am I that when I knelt down you put a crown upon me?