The Meaning of Life
Who am I...what is life...how do I live it?
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The Meaning of Life is the transcription of a series of six talks given by Norman Grubb in the early 1970's to Camps Farthest Out, a non-denominational group of Christians seeking to find the deeper truths of God…of themselves…of life...and how to live it. CFO had numerous guest speakers and this was one of several times Norman shared his `knowings' with them. Norman's passion and joy was always to tell every seeker how a perfect God lives in His perfectly created humans.
In John 17, Jesus' last prayer before He goes to the Cross, Jesus prays for all of those who will believe in Him…that we might be one even as He and the Father are one. Jesus called the promise of His Cross oneness and unity…Norman spoke of the fulfillment of His promise as our union with Christ. In these talks Norman shows us, step by step, how the Father accomplishes His purposes for each of us.
The front cover of this book is a `shadow' of this very truth. It is a picture of Moses' burning bush - a common bush aflame, yet not consumed…a profound image of man aflame with the Living Christ, but remaining fully human! This IS the meaning of life…God living and moving and having His being in and as man…Christ was seen and experienced through the human Jesus two thousand years ago and since Pentecost…Christ, by His Holy Spirit, has come to live again in all who receive Him.
Lord, we have been knowing Your presence all day and that's been certain. And You're the living Person here this evening and You have Your own wonderful ways by which You speak by Your Spirit, by Your word and by human lips to our hearts. And so You will speak tonight and Jesus Christ will be magnified. Amen
I've had an inner search for many years. I felt I needed a more total understanding and a more total experience. Of God? Of myself? Of the ways of God? I was always struck by that word in Psalms where it says many of God's people know His acts…the 103rd Psalm. He made those acts known unto Israel, and His ways unto Moses. I know a person's acts outside me and I can benefit by them. I know a carpenter's acts and can benefit by his chair. To know the ways of the carpenter means I am `identified' with the carpenter. He and I are one inside and I learn from him how to operate from inside to produce chairs…… I don't know that.
So it is one thing for us to start by knowing the wonderful acts of God through the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ. It is another thing to become a "co"…co with God, fellowship with God, cooperation…union with God, so that we act as God. We know His ways and are going along with God in His ways. That is what I was after…something more total.
Paul always used the word "all"……all sufficiency, in all things, abounding in every good work, having all power, to all wisdom, and all longsuffering so I can do all things through Christ. He loved that word "all". Paul didn't say what he didn't know. He didn't talk theory. He knew “all”. There is that allness we can know! And I needed an allness-expansion of understanding, which can become an expansion of experience that can be an operating experience, which met my inner needs and meets my outer needs. That has, of course, been the subject you precious people have had every year as you've met in the conferences. I'm only echoing what you hear continually.
So that's been the kind of search with me for years - maybe 30 or 40 years. My basis always has been the written Word. That stood to me as the final revelation, as it is all of us here. So I hope all we say is based on and is expansion of the written Word. We can turn back to that at any time, but I've been to other sources. I drank a great deal from the mystics, because they knew union. I wanted union with God. They knew union…St. Theresa, John of the Cross, Catherine of Siena, John Ruysbroeck, John Tauler, Meister Eckhart…wonderful men! And to me the greatest of all, a man who had the understanding, was the great rather unknown German, Jacob Boehme, (whose books are difficult to get) and his English interpreter, William Law…made a tremendous revolution in my life when I began to feed on their wealth a few years ago. And other authors along the way, and people along the way, have been helps to consolidate in me some understanding which I hope has become experience, because we live by experience, of course…live by what you are. So that's the kind of thing that I'm seeking to share with you these days.
Norman Grubb, missionary, author and friend was a unique voice to our times…one who will be read through the centuries to come, much as we read St. Augustine or Martin Luther today. As a young missionary to Africa in 1920, concerned that he was bringing the Africans just another doctrine or code of ethics by which to live, combined with the knowing that he did not love the Africans as he should, he found himself a broken man.
God's answer to Norman was, “God
is love” and that He would not give it to Norman, but He would be love through him…and then God gave Norman the key to this new way of life in Galatians 2:20…“I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ lives in me: and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself for me.” Not Norman's life...not Norman's faith…but ALL Christ living and loving as Norman!
For many of us Norman Grubb was our first encounter with God's “unconditional love” expressed in another human being. He stretched our perceptions of God, of life and of ourselves in every way imaginable. By example and encouragement Norman taught us to become people of faith…finding God and His ways by `seeing through' each situation life presented to us through our temptations and fears…taking us past the weight of our self-condemnation and bringing us into a living reality of “the freedom for which Christ Jesus died”. Norman was the truest friend, mentor and encourager…always seeing Christ as our life and in turn causing us to see ourselves with his vision!
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