Saturday, April 28, 2007

Jesus' Prayer Life

“Jesus prayed primarily because he loved his Father. Praise, adoration, thanksgiving, intercession, and petition emanated from his profound consciousness of being bonded to the transcendent God in filial intimacy. His personal experience of Yahweh Sabaoth as a loving Father shaped not only his self-understanding but, like a knife slashing through wallpaper, brought a dramatic breaththrough into undreamed-of intimacy with God in prayer. Childlike candor, boundless trust, easy familiarity, deep reverence, joyful dependence, unflagging obedience, unmistakable tenderness, and an innate sense of belonging characterized Jesus’ prayer.”

Brennan Manning
A Glimpse of Jesus
Harper, 2003
pg 84

Wednesday, April 25, 2007

The Word We Study

"The Word we study has to be the Word we pray. My personal experience with the relentless tenderness of God came not from exegetes, theologians, and spiritual writers, but from sitting still in the presence of the living Word and beseeching Him to help me understand with my head and heart His written word. Sheer scholarship alone cannot reveal to us the gospel of grace. We must never allow the authority of books, institutions, or leaders to replace the authority of knowing Jesus Christ personally and directly. When the religious views of others interpose between us and the primary experience of Jesus as the Christ, we become unconvicted and unpersuasive travel agents handing out brochures to places we have never visited."

Brennan Manning
The Ragamuffin Gospel
Multnomah Publishers, 2005
pgs. 44-45

God's Pursuit of Us

"As crazy as it sounds, it’s as natural for God to pursue us as it is for us not to pursue him. I love the passage in the Great Shepherd’s psalm that says, “Surely goodness and love will follow me all the days of my life” (Psalm@23:6). Here, David recognizes that God’s love will be with him, whether he’s walking the easy street of green pastures or slogging through the valley of darkness. The Hebrew word translated here as “follow” is translated most every other place in the Old Testament as “pursue”. The word is a military term, as in Joshua pursuing his enemies and annihilating them. God’s pursuit of us is relentless, passionate, and purposed. Hey, listen, God is not going to give up on you. Goodness and Mercy-Love, like sheepdogs, are nipping at your heels every time you begin to move away from God’s presence and protection. He has given you free will, so you can choose whether to love him back. But regardless of the choices you have made, God is still pursuing you….It’s in God’s nature to love you, to want you near."

Eric Sandras, PhD
Plastic Jesus: Exposing the Hollowness of Comfortable Christianity
Navpress, 2006
pgs. 41-42

Creating Spiritually Mature Disciples

"Today the evangelical church has a tendency to limit grace to a single transaction – Christ’s priceless payment for our sins with His blood so that we may be saved. As a group, we spend much of our energy cooperating with this first work of grace, focusing on evangelism, missions, and getting initial conversions. Beyond that, we spend tremendous energy to educate believers in their knowledge of the Bible. Once they are “saved”, we want people to be acquainted with God’s Word, indeed an important part in spiritual growth.But when it comes to encountering God Himself, we are, frankly, a bit vague. And when it comes to such aspects of spirituality as holiness, intimacy with God, and godly character, we can leave new believers very confused….We sometimes tell new believers that they received all the “potential” to grow in spiritual character, or Christlikeness, at conversion. But do we tell them how to turn that potential loose in their lives?Underneath it all, we seem to assume that spiritual growth will automatically result from knowing more about the Scriptures. But in fact, we encounter attitudes and resistance to God within ourselves, along with difficult, discouraging, or tempting circumstances outside ourselves, which seem to say there is no real power in the Christian life….…many admit they are missing a sense of spiritual reality – in terms of heart engagement, intimacy, and warmth – in their relationship with God….”Where is the presence and working of God in my life and in my church? Where is the personal satisfaction that ought to accompany knowing the God of the universe?”….Many of us know our Bibles, and our theology is sound. But when we’re honest, joy, peace, and power seem to be missing. We hunger for a sense of God’s presence and long for a connectedness with Him that will make us come alive at the core of our being….it is entirely possible for a Christian to lose touch with God, while believing correct doctrine….For many of us, the problem stems from the fact that we have forfeited God in the busyness of life’s activities – even church work….Brothers and sisters in Christ, let us be honest among ourselves: We freely speak about God, but so often the reality of God’s transforming presence and power is absent. As conservative Christians, we have done a superior job defending doctrine and evangelizing the unsaved. Have we done as good a job of building spiritually mature disciples?"

Dr. Bruce Demarest
Satisfy Your Soul
Navpress, 1999
pgs. 22, 23, 48, 49

Finding Joy in God

"Since the day that Jesus first appeared on the scene, we have developed vast theological systems, organized world-wide churches, filled libraries with brilliant Christological scholarship, engaged in earthshaking controversies, and embarked on crusades, reforms, and renewals. Yet there are still precious few of us with sufficient folly to make the mad exchange of everything for Christ; only a remnant with the confidence to risk everything on the gospel of grace; only a minority who stagger about with the delirious joy of the man who found the buried treasure."

Brennan Manning
The Ragamuffin Gospel
Multnomah Publishers, 2005 printing
pgs. 201-202

Theological Education vs. God's Presence

"What else is the goal of theological education then to bring us closer to the Lord our God so that we may be more faithful to the great commandment to love him with all our heart, with all our soul, and with all our mind, and our neighbor as ourselves (Matthew 22:37)? Seminaries and divinity schools must lead theology students into an ever-growing communion with God, with each other, and with their fellow human beings. Theological education is meant to form our whole person toward an increasing conformity with the mind of Christ so that our way of praying and our way of believing will be one.But is this what takes place? Often it seems that we who study or teach theology find ourselves entangled in such a complex network of discussions, debates, and arguments about God and “God-issues” that a simple conversation with God or a simple presence to God has become practically impossible. Our heightened verbal ability, which enables us to make many distinctions, has sometimes become a poor substitute to a single-minded commitment to the Word who is life. If there is a crisis in theological education, it is first and foremost a crisis of the word. This is not to say that critical intellectual work and the subtle distinctions it requires have no place in theological training. But when our words are no longer a reflection of the divine Word in and through whom the world has been created and redeemed, they lose their grounding and become as seductive and misleading as the words used to sell Geritol."

Henri Nouwen
The Way of the Heart
Ballantine Books, 2003
pgs. 39-40

Thursday, April 19, 2007

Official Website

Presence Powered Living's official website is
This site is for blogging about the site, the book, and related issues.