May 23, 2007

It's been a while...

My brother quoted one of my favorite authors (Brennan Manning) on his blog regarding the Discipleship training that TrueVine participated in this weekend. Oddly, I was reminded all weekend of a Brennan Manning quote, as well.

"I want neither a blood'n'guts religion that would make Clint Eastwood, not Jesus, our hero, nor a speculative religion that would imprison the Gospel in the halls of academia, nor a noisy, feel-good religion that is a naked appeal to emotion. I long for passion, intelligence, and compassion in a Church without ostentation, gently beckoning to the world to come and enjoy the peace and unity we possess because of the Spirit in our midst."

I have met so many people-- Christian and non-Christian alike-- that have expressed the same sentiments portrayed in this quote. In my entire 20 years on this earth, I have never seen with such clarity the potential of the church as I saw this weekend. I have never once felt at home at any church. God drew me out of my shell more than He has in years. I have never been able to reach beyond myself and actually volunteer to speak up in the midst of 25 other people (especially 25 people who are far more interesting and mature than I am). I have never felt quite so valuable as I did this weekend.

What's more is-- I know that my feeling valued has nothing to do with myself. This was not any normal retreat, and it didn't enforce self-confidence. It was not always a HAPPY time, and it was not constantly uplifting (or as the quote says, noisy and feel-good), but it was beautiful. It was edifying in every sense of the word. It was a group of sold-out, willing, and broken Disciples who realized that without Christ, they are nothing, but with Him they are world-changers.

He convicted, He healed, He transformed, He soothed, and He provided us we REAL smiles amidst our unity in Christ. Through this, He also revealed our potential as His Church-- as His Bride. It was stunning. It was beyond comparison to any other religious experience I have ever seen.

All weekend, the idea that "What we attract them with is what we attract them to" was repeated over and over again. I have complete confidence that the weight of the Gospel and the true love of Christian brothers and sisters that we, as the Church, saw this weekend is enough to attract, romance, and transform hearts and lives.


Bob Carder said...

What a magnificent summary of our weekend and what God did for you. Hundreds and thousands of young people like yourself long to see Jesus in Holy Spirit presence and power like that we experienced over the weekend. You now see your cause - a cause worth giving your entire life to.

Even in death you nor I will turn from this Co-Mission with God. We are His alone! We will live until God is finished with us and no sooner.

I have never read any of B Manning. Where should I begin. How did I miss this guy?

Terry M. Goodwin said...

I love to read your writing. Your word choice is amazing.

You speak of seeing the potential of the church with clarity and I agree. The ages ranged from 16 to near 60 and there was no age segregation. When you spoke it was valuable and timely and very clear that it was something God gave you to say. The messages from everyone were given with clarity. That is a work of the Holy Spirit. We need more clarity in our faith and our message today.

You say it was edifying. This was not a teaching meant to produce a “camp high” it is transformational and only the Holy Spirit truly transforms. According to Strong’s the word used for edifying means - the act of one who promotes another's growth in Christian wisdom, piety, happiness, holiness. It is always used in connection with the Holy Spirit building up the body of Christ.

Then between the words attract and transform you use the word romance. What a great picture of how God draws us to Himself even when we are reluctant. I look forward to what else you may say to edify the Body as we meet again but even more so to what you may write about it after. You have a gift for writing.

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