What’s Not In Heaven

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In Revelation 21-22 the apostle John is trying to describe the day that heaven and earth combine…when God once again becomes a permanent resident with humanity; A renewal of the Edenic reality, but even better. How do you describe that which you have never seen or known? When language exhausts her best expressions and you still haven’t even begun to reveal your experience, a new tactic is needed. This is what John does as he tries to describe the new heavenly reality. Instead of telling us what is there, he focuses more on what is not there. “No more tears, no more death, no more pain, etc.”  Here is my A-Z list of what won’t be in heaven to help us grasp the beauty of what will be there. Obviously my list is finite, incomplete, borrowed and missing items. That is where you come in. What else won’t be there that I have missed.  Continue this story in the comments…

What Won’t Be In Heaven

In Heaven there will be no more:

Acne, aches, addiction, anxiety, anxiety meds, amber alerts, amputations

Bad breath, body odor, broken hearts, broken homes, break ups, bills, bill collectors, bi-polar, bullying, battles

Cancer, coughs, catastrophes, conflict, crash diets, CPS, concussions, court rooms, corruption, crutches, casts, child abuse, chemo therapy, crosses along the side of the road, cutting,

Deception, depression, divorce, drama, doctors, disease, double chins, disco

Evil, erosion, embarrassing moments, enemies, elections, evictions, earth quakes

Fighting, fruitcake, foreclosures, flu-shots, fear, funeral homes, funerals,

Gossip, guilt, greed, graves,

Hospitals, hurricanes, hate, homelessness, hormones, human trafficking

Injustice, infertility, infidelity, insecurity, infomercials, inoperable tumors,

Junk mail, jealousy,

Kooks, k(c)anker sores, kombucha (that stuff is nasty), killjoys,

Legalism, life-support, lawyers, loneliness, labor camps, lines for the lady’s room, love handles,

Motionless ultra sounds, metal detectors, MRI’s, Multiple Sclerosis, Middle of the night phone calls, miscarriages, misunderstandings,

Neurosis, night sweats, nursing homes, negativity, needles,

Operations, orphanages, oppression , Obama Care

Pretending, plastic surgery, politicians, pacemakers, persecution, pain, prejudice, poverty, pink slips, potlucks

Quitting, queasiness, qualifying,

Racism, rejection, road rage, rape, revenge, radiation

Special weigh-loss plans, spanks, saddle bags, sox without a match , security systems, sleepless nights, slums, suicides, suicide bombers, school shootings, sadness, spandex, slander,

Treatment centers, tear stained divorce papers, tissue boxes, tornado, tsunamis, typhoons, trafficking, tiny caskets, taxes

Unibombers, unwanted, unloved,

Victims, violence, vindictiveness, vaccinations, vice

Waiting rooms, wheel chairs, waxing, wounds,

X-rays, Yelling, Zoos, Zero (because everything will have value)

Jesus says, “Look!, I am making everything new!”

Healing Through Music: The View Down Here

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The most powerful songs find pain as their muse. My son Liam just posted a song he had been working on dealing with the loss of some people close to us. How do you express the pain you enter into when suicide has stolen a life?  How do you work through the loss of a life that has shaped you? Music has a way of helping us weave our way through the emotional journey. When Liam posted his song I took a listen and loved it. But what hit me more was the place in his soul where the song came from. Here is what he said about the song:

Written to commemorate those we have lost unexpectedly, and have impacted my life in radical ways. Rest in peace to Bill Bedell, Tyler Bushmiller, and Paul Lee. I miss you all so much.

Also to everyone else that I have lost under similar circumstances, but did not directly influence the creation of this song. Far from forgotten. Cody Botten, Berkely Repp, Josh Fisher, Don and Jean Shultz, Kirk Lewis, and oh so many more. Thank you all, for everything.

Take a listen…

Verse 1:
Somber melodies have brought me here,
And ones of hope have been unable
To lift me from this low
I think I’m alone,
The streets became wide,
And I’m stuck under this water, under this tide

Chorus:
Loneliness tastes like metal in my mouth,
And I constantly try to wash it out,
Ever since your one way ticket to the fields I don’t know
I’ve grown a bit older, but it’s colder below


Verse 2: 
Little did I know
That your presence everyday
Quietly meant everything
The day you were lost,
I learned the evils of Earth,
Fairness was a thing of our dreams
Chorus:
Loneliness tastes like metal in my mouth,
And I constantly try to wash it out,
Ever since your one way ticket to the fields I don’t know
I’ve grown a bit older, But it’s colder below
To say I miss you, To say that I missed a lot
To Say I miss you, To say that I missed a lot
(My opportunity slipped through my hands, like grains of sand)
2013 © Liam Wright Music
All Rights Reserved

credits

released 04 August 2014

Thanks Brennan

imgBrennan Manning2“God loves you as you are, not as you should be, because you’ll never be as you should be.”

Thank you Brennan for showing us the Abba of Jesus as only you could…RIP…

I have had a few great opportunities to be with Brennan and experience his love for God through his teaching. He was always impacting, always honest, and always revealed a picture of Jesus and the love of Abba that was real, radical, scandalous and immersed with ruthless grace.

I remember asking Brennan about dealing with a particular “hot button” issue in the church, and how to approach dealing with the people involved…his answer was quick, and honest. He said, “You know Monty, God has just called me to love whatever person or group of people who are in front of me, no matter what or who they are.” I thought, “that’s too easy.” But I knew he was absolutely right. Grace has a way of simplifying issues. Grace is the great equalizer of -all- sins. Grace is the reality of Jesus that Brennan breathed in and out daily.

Here are some of my favorite Brennan quotes:

“Define yourself radically as one beloved by God. This is the true self. Every other identity is illusion.”
― Brennan Manning, Abba’s Child:

“The greatest single cause of atheism in the world today is Christians: who acknowledge Jesus with their lips, walk out the door, and deny Him by their lifestyle. That is what an unbelieving world simply finds unbelievable.”

“Real freedom is freedom from the opinions of others. Above all, freedom from your opinions about yourself. ”
― Brennan Manning, The Wisdom of Tenderness

“The gospel is absurd and the life of Jesus is meaningless unless we believe that He lived, died, and rose again with but one purpose in mind: to make brand-new creation. Not to make people with better morals but to create a community of prophets and professional lovers, men and women who would surrender to the mystery of the fire of the Spirit that burns within, who would live in ever greater fidelity to the omnipresent Word of God, who would enter into the center of it all, the very heart and mystery of Christ, into the center of the flame that consumes, purifies, and sets everything aglow with peace, joy, boldness, and extravagant, furious love. This, my friend, is what it really means to be a Christian.”
― Brennan Manning, The Furious Longing of God

“Imagine that Jesus is calling you today. He extends a second invitation to accept His Father’s love. And maybe you answer, “Oh, I know that. It’s old hat.”

And God answers, ‘No, that’s what you don’t know. You don’t know how much I love you. The moment you think you understand is the moment you do not understand. I am God, not man. You tell others about Me – your words are glib. My words are written in the blood of My only Son. The next time you preach about My love with such obnoxious familiarity, I may come and blow your whole prayer meeting apart.

Did you know that every time you tell Me you love Me, I say thank you?”
― Brennan Manning, The Ragamuffin Gospel

“While the impostor draws his identity from past achievements and the adulation of others, the true self claims identity in its belovedness. We encounter God in the ordinariness of life: not in the search for spiritual highs and extraordinary, mystical experiences but in our simple presence in life.”
― Brennan Manning, Abba’s Child

“When I get honest, I admit I am a bundle of paradoxes. I believe and I doubt, I hope and get discouraged, I love and I hate, I feel bad about feeling good, I feel guilty about not feeling guilty. I am trusting and suspicious. I am honest and I still play games. Aristotle said I am a rational animal; I say I am an angel with an incredible capacity for beer.
To live by grace means to acknowledge my whole life story, the light side and the dark. In admitting my shadow side I learn who I am and what God’s grace means. As Thomas Merton put it, “A saint is not someone who is good but who experiences the goodness of God.”
The gospel of grace nullifies our adulation of televangelists, charismatic superstars, and local church heroes. It obliterates the two-class citizenship theory operative in many American churches. For grace proclaims the awesome truth that all is gift. All that is good is ours not by right but by the sheer bounty of a gracious God. While there is much we may have earned–our degree and our salary, our home and garden, a Miller Lite and a good night’s sleep–all this is possible only because we have been given so much: life itself, eyes to see and hands to touch, a mind to shape ideas, and a heart to beat with love. We have been given God in our souls and Christ in our flesh. We have the power to believe where others deny, to hope where others despair, to love where others hurt. This and so much more is sheer gift; it is not reward for our faithfulness, our generous disposition, or our heroic life of prayer. Even our fidelity is a gift, “If we but turn to God,” said St. Augustine, “that itself is a gift of God.”
My deepest awareness of myself is that I am deeply loved by Jesus Christ and I have done nothing to earn it or deserve it.”
― Brennan Manning, The Ragamuffin Gospel

In his book “The Furious Longing of God” Brennan told the story of Yolanda. She was in a care center for Hansen’s disease (leprosy). Brennan was serving as a chaplain, and on one particular day he was told that Yolanda was dying and he should go and see her quickly.

“… I went up to Yolanda’s room on the second floor and sat on the edge of the bed. Yolanda is a woman thirty-seven years old. Five years ago, before the leprosy began to ravage, she must have been one of the most stunningly beautiful creatures God ever made.  . . . But that was then.
Now her nose is pressed into her face. Her mouth is severely contorted. Both ears are distended. She has no fingers on either hand, just two little stumps.
Two years earlier, her husband divorced her because of the social stigma attached to leprosy, and he had forbidden their two sons, boys fourteen and sixteen, from ever visiting their mother.  . . . As a result, Yolanda was dying an abandoned, forsaken woman.
I… prayed with her. . . .  [T]he room was filled with a brilliant light. It had been raining when I came in; I didn’t even look up, but said, “Thanks, Abba, for the sunshine. I bet that’ll cheer her up.”
As I turned to look back at Yolanda – and if I live to be three hundred years old I’ll never be able to find the words to describe what I saw – her face was like a sunburst over the mountains, like one thousand sunbeams streaming out of her face literally so brilliant I had to shield my eyes.
I said, ‘Yolanda, you appear to be very happy.’
With her slight Mexican-American accent she said, ‘Oh, Father, I am so happy.’
I then asked her, ‘Will you tell me why you’re so happy?’
She said, ‘Yes, the Abba of Jesus just told me that He would take me home today.’
I vividly remember the hot tears that began rolling down my cheeks. After a lengthy pause, I asked just what the Abba of Jesus said.
Yolanda said:
‘Come now, My love. My lovely one, come.For you, the winter has passed, the snows are over and gone, the flowers appear in the land, the season of joyful songs has come.The cooing of the turtledove is heard in our land.Come now, My love. My Yolanda, come.Let Me see your face. And let Me hear your voice, for your voice is sweet and your face is beautiful.Come now, My love, My lovely one, come.’
Six hours later her little leprous body was swept up into the furious love of her Abba. Later that same day, I learned from the staff that Yolanda was illiterate. She had never read the Bible, or any book for that matter, in her entire life. I surely had never repeated those words to her in any of my visits. I was, as they say, a man undone”

As Brennan closed his eyes forever on this side of the grave, and then opened them and saw Jesus face to face, I believe the first thing he heard from the mouth of God was:

‘Come now, My love. My lovely one, come. For you, the winter has passed, the snows are over and gone, the flowers appear in the land, the season of joyful songs has come.The cooing of the turtledove is heard in our land.Come now, My love. My Brennan, come.Let Me see your face. And let Me hear your voice, for your voice is sweet and your face is beautiful.Come now, My love, My lovely one, come.’

Sunday Night Quotes 3/25/2012

As I settle in to select quotes for tonight, my choice has been influenced by the events of the day. This afternoon I officiated a funeral service for a man who knew me most of my life. He lived 94 incredibly full years, and today his family and friends said goodbye and entered the journey of grieving which actually reminds us of life and love. So, my quotes tonight will focus on life. May they bring you some sense of God’s goodness and presence in all things. ~Monty

Every man dies. Not every man really lives.  ~William Wallace

“Don’t cry because it’s over, smile because it happened.”  ~Dr. Seuss

“You’ve gotta dance like there’s nobody watching,
Love like you’ll never be hurt,
Sing like there’s nobody listening,
And live like it’s heaven on earth.” ~William W. Purkey

“To live is the rarest thing in the world. Most people exist, that is all.”  ~Oscar Wilde

“Life is an opportunity, benefit from it.
Life is beauty, admire it.
Life is a dream, realize it.
Life is a challenge, meet it.
Life is a duty, complete it.
Life is a game, play it.
Life is a promise, fulfill it.
Life is sorrow, overcome it.
Life is a song, sing it.
Life is a struggle, accept it.
Life is a tragedy, confront it.
Life is an adventure, dare it.
Life is luck, make it.
Life is too precious, do not destroy it.
Life is life, fight for it.”
~Mother Teresa

“The fear of death follows from the fear of life. A man who lives fully is prepared to die at any time.” ~Mark Twain

“Life isn’t about finding yourself. Life is about creating yourself.” ~George Bernard Shaw

“Death ends a life, not a relationship.” ~Mitch Albom, Tuesdays with Morrie

“Where there is love there is life.”  ~Mahatma Gandhi

“Life can only be understood backwards; but it must be lived forwards.”  ~Søren Kierkegaard

“I can choose either to be a victim of the world or an adventurer in search of treasure. It’s all a question of how I view my life.”
~Paulo Coelho

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