Daily Riches: The Only Thing That Matters (Brennan Manning)

“The apostle Paul may have understood the mind of Jesus better than anyone who ever lived. He sums up his whole understanding of the message of Jesus in Galatians 5:6 when he writes, “the only thing that matters is the faith that expresses itself in love.” According to Paul’s criterion … the person who is the most Christlike, closest to the heart of Abba, is not the one who spends the most time in prayer. It’s not the one who has the most PhDs. It’s not the one who has the most responsibility entrusted to his care. It’s not the pastor of the biggest megachurch. No, it’s the one who loves the most. That’s not my opinion. Those are the words in Galatians 5 that will judge us. According to that mysterious substitution of Christ for the Christian, what we do to one another, we do to Jesus.  …Jesus expected the most of every man and woman, and behind their grumpier poses, their most puzzling defense mechanisms, their coarseness, their arrogance, their dignified airs, their silence, and their sneers and curses, Jesus sees a little child who wasn’t loved enough–a least of these who had ceased growing because someone had ceased believing in them. How have we gotten it so screwed up?” I was speaking to the Navigators not long ago and they asked, ‘Do you have a word for us?’ I said, ‘Yes, I do. Instead of being  identified as a community that memorizes Scripture why not be a community of professional lovers that causes people to say, ‘How they love one another!’ Why do we judge Jesus’ criterion for authentic discipleship irrelevant? Jesus said the world is going to recognize you as His by only one sign: the way you are with one another on the street every day. You are going to leave people feeling a little better or a little worse. You’re going to affirm or deprive them, but there’ll be no neutral exchange. …We’re denying to the world the one witness Jesus asked for:

“Love one another as I’ve loved you.” Jesus, in John 15:12

Moving From Head to Heart

  • Are lots of people in your church working really hard to become “professional lovers?” Is your pastor regularly calling for that?
  • Your church is probably great (as are the Navigators), but have you settled for something other than loving the least?
  • What would this look like in a church? How would you have to change?

Abba, let me be known for love.

For More: The Furious Longing of God by Brennan Manning

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These “Daily Riches” are for your encouragement as you seek God and he seeks you. I hope you’ll follow and share my blog. – Bill (Psalm 90:14)

“I practice daily what I believe; everything else is religious talk.”

 

Daily Riches: The Encounter with Jesus (Madeleine L’Engle, Pope Francis, Henri Nouwen, Heidi Baker, and Teresa of Avila)

“We draw people to Christ not by loudly discrediting what they believe, by telling them how wrong they are and how right we are, but by showing them a light that is so lovely that they want with all their hearts to know the source of it.” Madeleine L’Engle

“Giving them the beauty of the Gospel, the amazement of the encounter with Jesus … and leaving it to the Holy Spirit to do the rest. It is the Lord, says the Gospel, who makes the seed spring and bear fruit.” Pope Francis (on evangelism) “The witness of a Christian life is the first and irreplaceable form of mission.” Pope John Paul II

“If we want to be witnesses like Jesus, our only concern should be to be as alive with the love of God as Jesus was.” Henri Nouwen

“Ministry is simply about loving the person in front of you. It’s about stopping for the one and being the very fragrance of Jesus to a lost and dying world.” Heidi Baker

       “Christ has no body but yours,
No hands, no feet on earth but yours,
Yours are the eyes with which he looks
Compassion on this world,
Yours are the feet with which he walks to do good,
Yours are the hands, with which he blesses all the world.”
Teresa of Avila

“God has raised this Jesus to life, and we are all witnesses of it.” Acts 2:32

Moving From the Head to the Heart

  • Proofs and arguments are no substitute for an “encounter with Jesus”, and such an encounter, will often be through you. What are the implications of this as you think about sharing your faith?
  • There are many ways to unintentionally skew the divine intention for another person to encounter Jesus. How do you get in the way? What can you do instead to facilitate such an encounter?
  • Our need to be “the very fragrance of Jesus” to the one before us, means that the most critical part of evangelism occurs before any meeting or conversation takes place – in our preparation to give “the witness of a Christian life” and be “alive with the love of God.” What can you do to be more “alive with the love of God?”

Abba, by your grace, when others encounter me, may they also encounter Jesus and his love – and be changed.

For More: Walking on Water by Madeleine L’Engle

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These “Daily Riches” are for your encouragement as you seek after God and he seeks after you. I hope you’ll follow my blog, and share it. My goal is to share something of unique value with you daily in 400 words or less. I appreciate your interest!  –  Bill (Psalm 90:14)

“I practice daily what I believe; everything else is religious talk.”