Saturday, August 16, 2008

God's annoying love...

Mike Yaconelli was a giant of the faith for many. His book, 'Messy Spirituality' and his life story were used by God to encourage me many, many times. The following is an excerpt from an interview he did with Dick Staub a year before his death.

He subtitled his book, "God's Annoying Love For Imperfect People". I love that because so often we're so busy trying to prove ourselves to God & others that when He constantly reminds us of that truth we actually get irritated! We'll say things like, "Just let me get on with my life"; or "We've got to do something, not just sit around and experience God's love."

Listen to how Yac describes it,

"When I was 50 I read a book by Henry Nouwen called In the Name of Jesus. And I’m one of these guys that when I read a book by somebody that really impresses me I call them up and ask them if I can come see them. Most of them tell me no. Nouwen said sure, come on. He pastored a group of 140 mentally challenged people.

So I went and spent a week with him. At the end of the week I discovered a word I had never know in all of my years as being a Christian, and that was the word “intimacy.” I had no clue that you could be intimate with God. And the person that taught me the real meaning of intimacy was not Henry Nouwen, this great teacher at Harvard and Yale and Notre Dame and all that. It was a little guy by the name of John Bloss, who was 40 years old, who had a hundred word vocabulary.

And after a small group meeting where I had said I was too busy—because, you know, busy-ness is the biggest sin in America. It’s not pornography, it’s not abortion. It’s busy-ness. And I was wiped out and burned out and I told everybody that. And after it was over John comes up to me--and when you’re mentally challenged you have no sense of space. He’s right in my face and he goes, busy.

And I go, well, yeah, John. Yeah, I am. I’m being very patronizing. I don’t expect anything from John, you know. He’s got a hundred word vocabulary. What can he teach me? And-and he goes, too busy. And I said well, John, you’re absolutely right. I am too busy. Again, I’m being very patronizing. And he got right up next to my face and he went, why?

And I started crying.

Because for the first time in my life I realized why. John was the only guy who could ask me that question. He wasn’t afraid to ask me the one question I couldn’t ask. And the reason I was busy is because I believed if I kept busy then God would love me. And it was at that point that the grace of God became so real to me and I began to realize that this isn’t about me following Jesus.

You know, I mention in my book that I always have this dream that I’m going to be with a bunch of people following Jesus and he’s going to turn around and he’s-he’s going to look straight at me and he’s going to wave his hand to come up to him. And I’m going to start walking toward him and he goes, no, no, no, not you. The guy behind you. I’ve always had this sense that, you know, I just don’t make it. I don’t measure up.

And John Bloss taught me that the grace of God is what this is all about. And it’s extravagant. It’s wild, it’s dangerous, it’s unpredictable, it’s—you can’t put it in a category and that began this kind of wild ride with God."


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