Theological Theme: Our Lord Father disciplines and redeems the faithless for the glory of His name.
Christ Connection: When Israel was tempted in the wilderness, the people failed to trust the Lord and faced 40 years of wandering. When Jesus was tempted in the wilderness for 40 days, He remained faithful. Through His obedience, He became the representative who pleads for all humanity before the Lord.
Missional Application: God the Holy Spirit calls us not to conquer the nations but to take the gospel to them no matter the obstacles, knowing that His power and wisdom is greater than our own.
*photo courtesy of tbjfansuk.wordpress.com
Theological Theme: The law is God the Father’s good gift [holy, just and good], but it cannot save us from the penalty of disobedience.
Christ Connection: Obedience to God-Father, Son and Spirit’s law brings a blessing. Breaking God’s law brings a curse. Jesus is the One who took the curse of our law-breaking humanity in order that we might experience the blessing of His law-keeping humanity, all of Grace!
Missional Application: In response to the awesome works He has accomplished for us Jesus sends us His Holy Spirit, conforming us to Himself as we participate in and reﬂect His character toward others.
*picture courtesy of knowing-jesus.com
Theological Theme: The sin offering represented the purification of the people before Our Father. The restitution offering addressed the damage of depriving others of their rightful due, and it served to cleanse the offender’s conscience.
Christ Connection: These offerings point forward to Christ, whose work purifies our hearts, cleanses our consciences, and frees us to do good deeds for His glory.
Missional Application: God the Holy Spirit calls us to offer others the hope of purification and cleansing that comes only through trusting in Jesus Christ.
*picture courtesy of velocity.net
I recently watched a short video about a new product that allows people, who suffer with the most common form of colorblindness to see a fuller color spectrum. There are a good many “sciencey” words that describe what’s gone wrong in a person’s eyes to cause colorblindness and I don’t understand them but the problem is very real for almost 8% of humanity.
What if there were a new set of lenses through which a colorblind person could see in full color HD like the other 92%? Would you want the colorblind to know? Wouldn’t we tell anyone in our lives who suffers from colorblindness about this amazing way to see? Of course we would.
So how do we see God? How do we see ourselves? How do we see each other? I would venture to say that way more than 8% of us see God, each other, and ourselves in unhealthy ways.
Can we be honest and confess that we see… oh… how shall I put it… “dimly”? I certainly can tell you I am no different than the Apostle Paul. I, too, see through the glass dimly. None of us are immune to this condition. I am a GCI Pastor preaching Trinitarian theology as clearly as I can, I am mentored by some of the finest theologians alive today, and I even write for a blog called Trinity and Humanity but I still see through the glass dimly. I still struggle with the latent mythologies about God that hold over from my youth.
In spite of what I know about the Father, Son, and Spirit I sometimes catch myself fearing the wrath of an angry judge instead of resting in the embrace of a loving Father.
So what do we do about it? We simply change the lens through which we see God. Easier said than done, I know, but this is where prayer enters in. So what’s the cure? What lens are we looking for? We need only ask John who (not what) that lens is… John the beloved disciple recorded for us these words of Jesus, “If you have seen me you have seen my Father.” ( Jn 14:9) Saaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaay what? Yes, Jesus- the totally chill, inviting, accepting, forgiving, providing, and healing God/Man is exactly like his Papa.
Jesus is the only lens through which we accurately see God. He is the only lens through which we best see others and the only lens through which we see our true selves. Seeing is believing, so they say, and when we join the saints and the great cloud of witnesses and begin to look at everything through Jesus we will see our fellow man as ones worthy of love, we will see ourselves worthy of love, and we will will see the Father, Son, and Spirit as the source of worth and love.
The new EnChroma (TM) lenses allow the colorblind to see a more colorful world but the lens of Jesus Christ helps us see Love as we could only dare to dream!
Let’s pray, “Father, we want to see you through the eyes of Jesus, we want to see others the way he does, and we want to see ourselves with the same love and acceptance that is made known to us only in our Savior! In Jesus’ name… Amen.”
video used under Fair Use for educational purposes.
Recently my daughter, Abby, and I have been golfing together. She’s eleven and very new to the game so I am careful not to give her much instruction or set her expectations too high. Right now she just starts each hole at 50 yards and works her way in. She is making par on some holes already and seems to enjoy going with me.
For Abby and I, the chance to be together outdoors is what makes our golf outings most enjoyable. But… there is another thing that excites her. Once we get out to a flat area of the course I move over and let her drive the cart. Now I know what Harvey Penick said, “In my opinion, no young player can develop his or her game to its highest potential if he or she rides around the course in a golf cart.” But… renting a cart and letting her drive it is another way to keep my younger daughter interested in the game and, if all goes well, maybe she’ll fall in love with golf and go to college on an athletic scholarship.
So the first time Abby ever drove the cart she made me seasick!! She was literally swerving from one edge of the cart path to the other. Thankfully she wasn’t going very fast but in any case we were driving twice as far as we were going, if you catch my drift. (see what I did there)
Finally, I asked her a question, “Abby, are you looking at the cart path right in front of the cart or are you looking out ahead a few yards?” She responded by telling me that, indeed, she was focused on what was immediately in front of her.
I made the recommendation that she keep her focus a short distance ahead of the cart and after that she did well. She drove the whole back 9 and only bumped the curb once. I was highly impressed with her hand-eye coordination, timing, and skill… and that was just in handling the cart, not to mention the half dozen times she made bogey or par.
Arriving home, I told my wife that there was surely a spiritual lesson in the cart driving experience Abby had that day. Well, I think there is and I think this is it:
Too often in our walk with the Father, Son, and Spirit we are tempted to focus too much on what is right in front of us. We get focused on our doubts, our financial situation, our politics, or the latest “ism” or “schism” the Christian Church is talking about. What we may find helpful is to keep our eye on the Big Picture… his name is Jesus. Sure we must keep watch for what is right in front of us but our main focus should always be on Jesus, as he relates to our Father, in the fellowship of the Holy Spirit, and our inclusion in that life of love.
Yes, rather than bump and weave our way through life from one side of things to another, perhaps we’d be a lot better off paying heed to these words found in Hebrews 12:
Therefore, since we have so great a cloud of witnesses surrounding us, let us also lay aside every encumbrance and the sin which so easily entangles us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, (emphasis mine) the author and perfecter of faith, who for the joy set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.
Theological Theme: The burnt oﬀering was for the removal of the people’s guilt before God; the grain oﬀering restored Israel to serve God and neighbor, and the fellowship oﬀering was for the reconciliation between God the Father and His people.
Christ Connection: Because of Jesus’ ultimate sacrifice, we celebrate the removal of our guilt before God, the freedom to serve God on His mission, and the restoration of our relationship with God – Father, Son and Spirit.
Missional Application: Because we who share in Christ’s life have been freed from our guilt, God the Holy Spirit calls us to serve Him by serving others.
*photo courtesy of pinterest.com
One expects certain things from a Baxter Kruger book, such as really good theology, stories about fish, the phrase “truth of all truths,” and references to Cajun cooking. In this, PATMOS delivers as expected. Add to that some SHACK-like trini-magical realism, and the result is an edifying and enjoyable book full of Baxter’s familiar blend of God-talk and fart jokes.
What I didn’t expect was the Holy Spirit.
In PATMOS I found a Baxter Kruger book packed with pneumatology. For years I’ve heard him mention that he’s been doing some thinking on the Holy Spirit, but I never heard him say much more than that. Well now we can definitely say his thinking here has arrived at where it’s been going all these years.
This is welcome news for me, because I’ve had like a couple dozen pneumatologies through the years, and I’m tired of being so flaky about it.
Baxter has a knack for casting his line to people like me who live in theologically flaky clouds, and reeling us in to land us on something solid, something like Rock. He’s done this to me a couple times now, and this could be Number Three.
As I now flop about, gasping, on this new ground, what I see is a sort of Krugerian thumbs-up to my Inner Pentecostal. That part of me who thinks I may have 1). Heard God talk to me a few times, 2). Healed a friend’s damaged kneecap, and 3). Spoke in tongues once. I’m hearing from Baxter that maybe that part of me is theologically legitimate, that this part of me fits in the real world of the Triune God.
That said, I’m not certain I agree with Baxter here. I’ve grown a lot less Pentecostal in recent years, and that has its benefits. For example, I spend a lot less time worrying about being crazy. But Kruger has steered me in good directions before, so I plan to give him a big fat benefit of the doubt.
There is such a thing as infantile greedy swindling Pentecostalism with big hair and small brains. I’m not going back to that.
But what I see in PATMOS is not that. I see the Apostle John live in easy rhythm with the Holy Spirit as his constant, real, practical connection to the Incarnate Son in face-to-face union with the Father. And it wasn’t smarmy or weird. It was kind of cool.
So yeah, I’m not done thinking about this. Give PATMOS a read, and tell me what you think.
Disclosure: I received a free copy of this book from SpeakEasy in exchange for an honest review.
Theological Theme: The tabernacle was built so it would be possible for our holy, unique and one-of-a-kind relational God to dwell among a sinful people.
Christ Connection: God instructed the Israelites to build a tabernacle so that He could dwell with them. God wants to be with His people. For this reason, God the Father later sent His Son, Jesus, to “tabernacle,” or dwell, with us.
Missional Application: As the people in whom God, Father, Son and Spirit dwells, we are called to manifest His glorious presence in the world in which we live.
*photo courtesy of slideshare.net
…Black, White, Asian or Hispanic??? Or Republican, or Democrat? Or why not say you’re a Millennial, Boomer, or a Gen X’er??? (After all everyone else calls themselves by their age, too?) Why not call yourself ESFJ, or INTJ – for those familiar with the Myers Briggs personality inventory?
Because, simply put but complexly true, according to Jesus Christ and the God Revealed in Him, you are not any of those things! You certainly may exhibit some of those traits but…
“Your old life is dead. Your new life, which is your real life—even though invisible to spectators—is with Christ in God. He is your life. When Christ (your real life, remember) shows up again on this earth, you’ll show up, too—the real you, the glorious you. Meanwhile, be content with obscurity, like Christ.
– Colossians 3:3-4 (The Msg)
According to Jesus, from the Father and through the Holy Spirit in the Apostle Paul, that’s why you shouldn’t identify as just any old “thing”, or even as your own thing! So if you’re struggling with your identity, it is probably because you’ve forgotten, or never knew the Truth God points out through this scripture:
1.) Your identity is not in some thing (your sexual attraction, your skin color, your political party or age), it is in Someone outside yourself, namely, in Jesus Christ, in God. You’re going to have to look outside yourself in the first instance to discover your identity! You should receive and look to Jesus because your real life is hidden in him. Your true humanity is hidden in him. He is your life! (By the way, what largely remains hidden to you now is the glorified humanity Jesus has for you; the humanity that will never die and is incorruptible. What isn’t hidden is all of the other stuff revealed and witnessed to about Jesus in the bible!)
2.) If you’re going to receive who you really are, you’re going to have to follow Jesus and let him show and tell you. Because he is a Person and you are a person, that means discovering your identity is not static but dynamic, or relational and active. Identity is not a thing that can be discovered in isolation from others (as in “I’m a hermit”). Your identity is a discovery that comes in relationship with Jesus and the God Revealed in Him.
3.) One of the greatest and common places Jesus is pleased to meet you is in the scriptures! Perhaps you, personally, are having more clarity about your identity through the scripture just quoted. It wouldn’t surprise me! This Relational God – Father, Son and Spirit is the one who inspired and left us these books we call the bible through which he would encounter us and witness to himself! If you like reading books, he left you quite a few to catch up on! Lol! If you are getting clarity about your identity through the scripture notice that we went to a passage through which God has been pleased to witness to himself (though He’s NOT the bible!) Through that passage he was pleased to speak to you not only about who he is but also about who you really are!
4.) Notice also that this isn’t a scripture only about you, it’s about every one of us! Because of who we are speaking of, Jesus, the God/Man and One who created and sustains every single person, your fellow human beings also have their identity in Him! Jesus is literally the One Human for all! Pointedly, this means you should seek to see your neighbor also for who they are in Jesus who represents all humans in his humanity, namely, your brother or sister, or neighbor in Christ!
Imagine for one moment how transformed our world would be if we referred to all others as “brother” or “sister” or “neighbor” “in Christ” rather than the things I noted in my first few sentences? Can you see the difference that would make in our treatment of each other? Can you sense the other-centered love in humility that could thrive, and the self-centered pride that could die? Wow!!!
By the way, none of this means that you become Jesus or that he becomes you! No! He will still be Jesus and you will still be distinctly you. It does mean that Jesus intends to share with you his awesome and glorified human nature so you can relate with God and each other in a way that partakes of the divine nature, as one made in the image of his image in Jesus (2 Cor 4:4)! His life reveals what it really means to be human and those who trust him get to participate in that!
Here’s the link to a GREAT read through which I was encountered by God – Father, Son and Spirit and got stirred to write this article: http://www.livingout.org/why-not-say-you-re-gay-
As author Jonathan Berry writes in his last paragraph:
“We’re often warned of the dangers of identity theft in an increasingly digital age. As a Christian I feel passionately that I don’t want to allow myself to be robbed of the enjoyment of these great blessings, by falsely embracing any other identity. In his letter to Christians in Rome, Paul urges his readers not to “conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind” (Romans 12:2). For me, a really important aspect of that mind-renewal process involves ditching any unbiblical labels and securing my true identity as being in Christ.” (underline emphasis mine!)
*photo courtesy of rhemafromgod.blogspot.com
When my older daughter Faith was about 4 years old we all sat down to watch a movie together as a family. It was probably a Disney, Barbie, or a My Little Pony cartoon but I can’t recall. What I do remember is an event that bowled me over theologically. You see, at the time I was only one year into my “Trinitarian transformation” and the Father, Son, and Spirit seemed to have me on such a fast track that nearly everything around me appeared to shout some aspect of the Gospel of our Inclusion in Jesus.
As we prepared the movie, Faith asked if I would make some popcorn with “extra, extra, extra butter”. I agreed and off I went to make real old fashioned stove top popcorn like my grandma Mary Ethel Winn used to make for us on her magic stove.
As the movie began Faith and I sat close so that we could share our bowl of popcorn. Just moments into the movie I found myself staring, jaw dropped, and wide-eyed at my 4-year old daughter. She wasn’t levitating or quoting Shakespeare, she was eating popcorn. Yep, I can guess that right now you might be thinking, “That Bill Winn sure is a weirdo.” Well, you might be right. You wouldn’t be the first person to ever tell me they wonder how my brain works and frankly I don’t know either except to say that more and more, in the past 10 years I have tried to make my brain more available to the Holy Spirit.
What I had a front seat to that night on the couch with Faith was her personhood, she’d always had it but in her development as a child it was becoming more obvious. You see I was eating the popcorn too, and the butter and salt content was perfect (if I do say so myself). I was enjoying the popcorn but Faith was too, why? She was enjoying the popcorn because it tasted good and, as a distinct person in the Cosmos, she liked it.
We are distinct persons given a place in the Triune God’s Universe. The great news of the Gospel is that we have been included in the life of Jesus with his Father in the fellowship of the Holy Spirit and we will never lose our personhood. We will never not be us. Our inclusion and union must never be thought of like a droplet that gets included in a bucket of water. If we put a droplet of water in a bucket of the same substance it become indistinguishable from the rest of the water.
Our inclusion, our union, did not cause humans to disappear into God. No, our inclusion and union highlight us as persons so that we are more brightly shining as the Image of God than ever!
Humanity has been included in the Shared Life of the Father, Son, and Spirit. Trinity and Humanity- in unity, but forever distinct persons.
Thank you Jesus that you love me and have included me and that you value me so much that you have ensured that I will always be me and someday… a more awesomely Christ-like me than I can imagine!