Wednesday, August 24, 2016

...we accept the love we think we deserve.

I currently have a pretty awful commute bridging my home and my work. I've learned to get pretty creative with that time in hopes of preventing physical aggression or worse... losing my mind. 

I recently discovered the world of podcasts and it's been SUCH a game-changer. I mean, it's not like I never see anything interesting on my commute...

...but it really does help to take my mind off the time I'm losing to listen to something that sets my mind on things that help me grow and heal and that inspire and encourage me.

Today I listened to a podcast honoring one of my favorite people, one whom I've never met, but greatly anticipate meeting one day: the great, Brennan Manning. I believe it was a youth group teaching and the title was, 'What has Brennan Manning taught us about life together?'

The beginning of the podcast was a little hard to follow, but they shared a clip from the movie, 'The Perks of Being a Wallflower'. (Sounds like a great film and novel!) The line that stood out to me before they even got to the good stuff, the Brennan Manning sharing part, was this:

Student: Why do nice people choose the wrong people to date?
Teacher: Are we talking about anyone in specific...? 
Teacher: ...we accept the love we think we deserve. 
Student: Can we make them see they deserve more?
Teacher: All we can do is try.

Hours later, I have to wonder how true that is of my life. How true is it for those that allow me to be a part of their lives?


The following is a video of the few minutes shared in this podcast. At the beginning of the podcast today, the speaker said if you've heard Brennan Manning speak once, you've heard all his teachings because he shares the same truth every time. While that's true, I can never get enough of his words. I re-listen everything of his and even often have to write them out to chew and digest them as best as I can. 

I hope you're challenged and encouraged by these few minutes and beautiful words spoken by Brennan Manning depicting the beauty of brokenness and trust in our Sweet Jesus...

In the 48 years since I was first ambushed by Jesus, in a little chapel in the Allegheny Mountains of western Pennsylvania, and in literally the thousands of hours of prayer and meditation, silence and solitude over those years, I am now utterly convinced that on Judgement Day, the Lord Jesus is gonna ask each of us one question and just one question: 

'Did you believe that I loved you? That I desired you? That I waited for you day after day? That I longed to hear the sound of your voice?'

The real believers there will answer, 'Yes, Jesus. I believed in your love and I tried to shape my life as a response to it.' 

But many of us who are so faithful in our ministry and our practice and our churchgoing, are going to have to reply, 'Well frankly, no, sir. I mean, I never really believed it. I mean, I heard a lot of wonderful sermons and teachings about it, in fact, I gave quite a few myself, but I always thought that was just a way of speaking, a kindly lie some Christian's pious pat on the back to cheer me on.' 

And there's the difference between the real believers and the nominal Christians that are bound in our Churches across the land. 

No one can measure like a believer the depth and the intensity of God's love, but at the same time, no one can measure like a believer the effectiveness of our gloom, pessimism, low self-esteem, self-hatred, and despair that block God's way to us. 

Do you see why it is so important to lay hold of this basic truth of our faith? Because you're only going to be as big as your own concept of God. 

Remember the famous line of the French philosopher, Blaise Pascal? 'God made man in his own image and man returned the compliment.' We often make God in our own image and He winds up to be as fussy, rude, narrow-minded, legalistic, judgmental, unforgiving, and unloving as we are. 

In the past couple of three years, I have preached the Gospel to the financial community in Wall Street of NYC, the airmen and women of the Air-force Academy of Colorado Springs, a thousand physicians in Nairobi, I've been in churches in Lagrangian, Miami, Chicago, St. Louis, Seattle, San Diego, and honest, the God of so many Christians I meet is a God who's too small for me! Because he is not the God of the Word. He is not the God revealed by and in Jesus Christ who this moment comes right to your seat and says,

'I have a word for you.

I know your whole life story. I know every skeleton in your closet. I know every moment of sin, shame, dishonest, and degraded love that has darkened your past. Right now, I know your shallow faith, your feeble prayer life, your inconsistent discipleship.

And my word is this:

I dare you to trust that I love you just as you are and not as you should be, because you're never gonna be as you should be.