Week 4: Who Are Your Mentors?
Dr. Larry Crabb is a Christian psychologist and counselor. He is the author of twenty-six books. He is a Bible teacher and seminar speaker. He is also the founder and director of New Way Ministries. For more than 50 years Crabb has been a leading voice in the Evangelical world.
Nine years ago he wrote a review of Brennan Manning’s memoir entitled, All Is Grace. Crabb writes, “I count myself among the scores who have been touched by Brennan’s life message. He saw life in me when I felt dead, and he was moved by goodness in me when I was bad. Through Brennan, grace is now more real to me. This memoir will make it more real to you.”
Over the past three weeks I have offered you a glimpse into three men who have had a profound influence on my life and ministry. To review, they’re Benn Haden, Steve Brown, and Donald Grey Barnhouse. Each one of these men have been, to a greater or lesser extent, mentors to me. This week I present to you another man who has influenced my life and ministry in the last 25 years.
Last week, after reading Steve Brown’s “5 Points of Communication”, a man who has been preaching and teaching for more than 40 years called me to say that he wished he had known those 5 points at the beginning of his ministry, because they would have saved him from delivering a lot of bad sermons! Well, the truth is that what Steve teaches is not something that has been too foreign to this man for the last dozen years, because he has come to truly understand the heart of the gospel of grace through the influence of Brennan Manning. Like my friend, Brennan’s writings and talks have been used by the Holy Spirit to sharpen my apprehension of the incomparable Gospel of grace. Luther famously said, “We must preach the Gospel to ourselves every day, lest we grow discouraged.” He further said that, “We must beat it into our heads.” And the reason for this “beating” is because the Gospel is so counter-intuitive. It flies in the face of religious dogma, something that has been beaten into us from both the outside and the inside. Every one of us has believed a lie – that our acceptance by God and by others is based on our own performance. That’s the essence of religion and Jesus says, “No way is that true and my life and death prove it.”
Think of it. To know that God loves you as much today as He has ever loved you or will love you. To know that God loves you for who you are, not who you should be, because you’ll never be as you should be. That He loves you as much in your faithfulness as in your unfaithfulness; that no matter what’s gone down He can’t stop loving you.
Years ago, one of my mentors told someone that I understood grace. It was among the greatest compliments I’ve ever received. But you know something? The depth of my understanding is so much greater than it was then, and a large part of that growth has been because of the ministry of Brennan Manning.
He’s the author of more than 20 books. He was the most heavily sought-after Young Life speaker in history. His most famous work is The Ragamuffin Gospel. In my opinion, his most profound work is Abba’s Child. I have given that book to scores of people. We’ve used Ragamuffin in a year-long Grove at Hebron. But more than any of these exposures to Brennan, the one I’ve used most often is this video from 1999. Here Brennan Manning sets out the Gospel in all of its brilliance and life-altering power. Here’s the Link….