Brennan Manning, author of the Ragamuffin Gospel and Abba's Child, began speaking mostly to evangelical Protestant audiences after his status as a divorced priest made him unwelcome in many Catholic churches. A small, nondescript man with a head of snow-white hair, he would usually start his talks slowly, until the Holy Spirit took over and he would immediately launch into a passionate speech about the grace of God. Below is one of those speeches:
"Why is Brennan Manning lovable in the eyes of God? Because on February 8th of 1956, in a shattering, life-changing experience, I committed my life to Jesus. Does God love me because ever since I was ordained a priest in 1963, I roamed the country and lately all over the world proclaiming the Good News of the gospel of grace? Does God love me because I tithe to the poor? Does he love me because back in New Orleans I work on skid row with alcoholics, addicts, and those who suffer with AIDS? Does God love me because I spend two hours every day in prayer? If I believe that stuff I'm a Pharisee! Then I feel I'm entitled to be comfortably close to Christ because of my good works. The gospel of grace says, "Brennan, you're lovable for one reason only--because God loves you. Period."
Using the power of his own story toward semi-transformation, this aging, outcast-priest from New Jersey embodies the saving power of the gospel of grace and invites anyone who will listen to join him on the venture. This should be attitude of the local church. That God intends the best for us, that sin and failure are inevitable but forgiveness is guaranteed, that a supportive community bears burdens and comforts the needy. I wonder how different the church would look to a watching world, if Christians everywhere simply loved one another, just as God has loved us.
This is the main point of I John 4:7-21. Join us this Sunday at 9:30am, as the apostle John invites us to examine our lives in order to see if we pass the "love God, love others" test.
Note: Good Neighbor Project is scheduled for Sunday, August 21st. This will be our 5th year taking a Sunday morning to blanket our city with the love of Jesus. We will accomplish this by rolling up our sleeves and helping get Beaverton High School ready for the upcoming school year, filling backpacks with school supplies and individually providing our neighbors with a gift bag. The day will conclude at noon with an all-church bbq. Make plans now to join us for this special Sunday of loving our neighbors.
See you Sunday.
Doug Boyd - Sr. Pastor