Archive for the ‘Liturgy’ Category

Father’s Discipline Is First Painful – Then Fruitful!


Audio – Full Message: 38min


Bible Verses: John 14   Hebrews 12  2 Cor 5

Living Into This Challenging Christian Life With Jesus!


The Christian Life is living out and manifesting the reality of our union and communion with Jesus Christ. Our purpose in life is to be close to The Father! Even in our weakness, the Lord will strengthen us in this relationship as we trust Him! When our Lord Jesus Christ reappears gloriously, we too will be glorified and blameless in Him! Until Jesus’ reappearing, the Christian life is a challenging life – lived out only in union and communion with the Father, through the Son and in the Holy Spirit!

“Progress in Christ is possible, even major progress.” – Bishop Todd Hunter


Theological Theme:

At times God [Father, Son, and Holy Spirit] has to ask: “Have you forgotten who I am? Be encouraged! I AM Your Father, the God and Father of the Lord Jesus Christ!” You are my children! I sent my one and only Son to put my life in you! Your children may escape rebuke and correction but my children don’t! Who loves children more, the one who lets them walk right into harm’s way with no consequence, or the One who openly rebukes them, trains them, disciplines them, and makes them free in Christ? Open rebuke is better than secret love!”

Christ Connection:

Jesus is God’s purpose for all creation, therefore, what Jesus did, mankind can now do by His Grace in The Holy Spirit. Our worldview should be the Person of Jesus Christ as mediated to us by the Holy Spirit and met in Holy Scripture. The scripture proclaims that Jesus is the one man for all men and women. Jesus is the One Human Substituting for and Representing all humans. What Jesus did, mankind can do in the Spirit after Jesus! Jesus didn’t do what he did in response to the Father so that you wouldn’t have to do it – Jesus did what he did so you and I could do it too, in participation with Him. Jesus calls out to us:  “Fix your eyes on me and do what I did and still do in you!”

“All of grace means all of man, for the fullness of grace creatively includes the fullness and completeness of our human response in the equation.”  – T.F Torrance

Missional Application:

The Holy Spirit does proclaim to us personally and individually – “You’re included”, but that is not the only word of the gospel. The Holy Spirit also proclaims and moves in us to “Go and Make Disciples!” Salvation, forgiveness, redemption, etc. are not just words to proclaim or thoughts to think individually but actions in relationship to be lived out!

“We’re being discipled and bearing fruit, and therefore we’re being disciplined that we might bear more fruit!” – pastor Timothy Brassell


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JESUS Is THE Way, THE Truth, And THE Life! Part 3

JESUS Is THE Way, THE Truth, And THE Life! Part 2

JESUS Is THE Way, THE Truth, And THE Life! Part 1

Contending For The Faith Delivered To The Saints! – Part 6

contending 5

Part 6a: 30 min


Part 6b: 26min


Full Message:


Main Passages: Jude 1  John 4   Gen 1-2

This message of God’s Good News urges believers to contend FOR the faith once delivered to the Church, in participation with Jesus Christ!, and AGAINST the ungodly and cultural pressures and influences of our current times!

This is a Gospel message to a specific congregation of our times facing issues similar to congregations in other times as seen in the scriptures, particularly the Books of Jude and John. In this series, we make Christ-centered comparisons with the congregation in Jude and the Samaritan woman of Jesus’ time in John 4 to our particular congregation. You may see that the Church in general (especially if in the United States!), faces these same issues and also be helped by WHO and HOW He is proclaimed!

In the light of Jesus and the God revealed in Him (and over the course of 12 messages), we address today’s big questions regarding relationships, race, marriage, love, gender/sexual identity, politics, and worship and witness as it relates to the Christian God – Father, Son and Holy Spirit.


The God/King Who Makes And Keeps His Promises

god's promises

Part 1a: 24min


Part 1b: 25min


Full Message: 49min


Main Passage: 2 Samuel 7:8-26

“God reaffirmed and expanded the covenant promises He made to Abraham—this time to King David. God promised to give David rest from his enemies and to build an eternal house through one of David’s descendants. In response to God’s unfailing promises, David expressed gratitude and humility, and this is the appropriate response for all believers in light of God’s faithfulness’ – The Gospel Project

Theological Theme:
The gracious promises of God – Father, Son, and Holy Spirit are meant to humble us and stir up gratitude in our hearts.

“God does not give us everything we want, but he does fulfill His promises, leading us along the best and straightest paths to Himself.” – Dietrich Bonhoeffer

Christ Connection
God promised David that future kings of Israel would come from his family and that his kingdom would last forever. God kept this promise by sending Jesus as one of David’s descendants. All of history is driving toward the day when Jesus, the Son of David, will be recognized as the King whose kingdom is everlasting.

Missional Application:
God calls us to offer ourselves fully to Him so that the mercy and grace we’ve experienced through His Holy Spirit will go out to others.

“God’s promises are the peculiar treasure of believers: the substance of faith’s heritage lies in them.  All the promises of our covenant God are ours to have and to hold as our personal possession.  By faith, we receive and embrace them, and they constitute our true riches.” – Charles Spurgeon

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Breaking News: Jesus Is Renewing T/His Church! pt.6


Part 6a: “”

Part 6b: “”

Full Message: “”

This message asks along with author Tim Chester, “When will we introduce [the world] to the network of believing relationships of which are privileged to be a part? When will they see us participating in the trinitarian life. When will they see that we not only submit to God’s will, but actually know God as a Father through the Son and by the Spirit? When will they see our relationships with one another: not perfect relationships, but relationships that reflect our experience of triune grace? When will they see a supernatural community that reflects the sending by the Father of the Son in the power of the Spirit, and the glorification by the Spirit through the Son of the Father.

Only as they experience the reality of the work of the Trinity in the lives of believers, and our vibrant relationship with the triune God, will the doctrine of the Trinity cease to be an academic game and become their living Hope.”

*photo courtesy of

A Thought on Spiritual Disciplines

chimney-top-mtnDo you ever feel that your spiritual exercises are producing little in the way of results? However we might measure or define the word “result” we’ve all experienced times when prayer, participation in worship, meditation, or other spiritual disciplines seemed hollow and rote. I recently came across this quote regarding contemplation, but I think it applies to all the spiritual exercises:

[Any spiritual exercise] . . .is a skill, a discipline that facilitates a process that is out of one’s direct control, but it does not have the capacity to determine an outcome. The gardener practices finely honed skills . . . But there is nothing the gardener can do to make the plants grow. However, if the gardener does not do what a gardener is supposed to do, the plants are not as likely to flourish. . . In the same way a sailor exercises considerable skill in sailing a boat. But nothing the sailor does can produce the wind that moves the boat. . . Gardening and sailing involve skills of receptivity. The skills are necessary but by themselves insufficient. ~ Martin Laird, Into the Silent Land, pp. 53-54

God is not a tame creature that can be called upon to perform. God is like the wind or like a garden – we pray, we come to worship, we meditate – and when the wind blows or the seed sprouts these spiritual skills make us ready and receptive to receive what God is doing. We can’t tell the Father, Son, and Spirit when to show up, but we can follow the pattern of Jesus’ life of spiritual exercise to be ready when they do.

~ Jonathan Stepp

Most Naturally an Atheist

I don’t believe in God and

I don’t know anything about God.


But I keep having this experience –

in liturgy, in family, in bread, and wine, and life –

where an unseen Spirit (like fire or wind)

speaks to my heart of a man named Jesus,

who died and yet is alive.


This Jesus believes in God

and knows God

and through the Spirit

Jesus keeps sharing with me

his faith and knowledge of God.


He shares with me his knowledge

that God is a good and faithful Father,

and he shares with me his faith in the Father;

And that is all I have: the faith of Jesus in the Father

shared with me through the Spirit.


And that is enough.

~ Jonathan Stepp

Why Jesus’ Church Fellowships More And More! pt.5(c)


On this 6th Sunday after Pentecost, Pastor Timothy Brassell of  New Life Fellowship of Baltimore, Proclaims the GOOD NEWS of The God Revealed in Jesus Christ through Hebrews 10: 1-26, in the continuation of pt. 5 of this Gospel Series, entitled, “Why Jesus’ Church Fellowships More And More!” This is a series designed to help us re-think WHO and WHAT we are in light of Jesus Christ, and who and what we are called to be and do AS THE BODY OF CHRIST!

We understand more clearly in this message:

  • The FIRST thing we Christians MUST do when we are faced with any “WHY?” question!
  • How challenging and exciting it can be to work through our civic  and Church responsibilities in this time between the present evil age and the age to come!
  • What a Christians PRIMARY Job is as a citizen of both heaven and earth!
  • 9 “down-to-earth, on-the-ground-and in-the-flesh” 21st Century practical Job and Civic reminders that will help you as you think through participating more creatively and properly with Christ in your various roles in this world!

Check it out!



Why Jesus’ Church Fellowships More And More! pt.5a


On this 3rd Sunday after Pentecost, Pastor Timothy Brassell of  New Life Fellowship of Baltimore, Proclaims the GOOD NEWS of The God Revealed in Jesus Christ in pt. 5 (a) of this Gospel Series, entitled, “Why Jesus’ Church Fellowships More And More!” and shows through Hebrews 10: 1-25 that the historical context of Hebrews demonstrates that living in God’s image (in relationship together!) is SO CRUCIAL to our well being that we ARE CALLED to FELLOWSHIP WITH EACH OTHER, all the more, even in the middle of persecution!

We hear in this message:

  • Simply, and positively, that, the reason we meet together more and more is simply because we have Trinitarian “DNA”! God through Jesus Christ, by the Spirit, shares HIS RELATIONAL LIFE with us and Relating together in the Spirit is what HIS LIFE looks like! Christianity IS Union with Christ!
  • We can only be who we are in Jesus, the New Humanity, as we relate WITH Jesus AND other people – The Great Commandment: Loving God, and Loving our neighbors as yourself! This is especially true of the Body of Christ of which Dietrich Bonhoeffer has said:  “The Christian needs another Christian who speaks God’s word to him. He needs him again and again when he becomes discouraged, for by himself he cannot help himself …. He needs his brother man [or sister girl!] as a bearer and proclaimer of the divine word of salvation.”
  • A 4TH MYTH EXPOSED! THAT MYTH? The Primary Goal of Christianity is the American Work Ethic! Get a bit of the context  about why the American Work life puts such a negative pressure on you the way it does and a little handle on what you are up against and why!
  • A good first response to the question:  How do you sort out your calling to the Body of Christ and your calling to your civic responsibilities, including your job, in a world that runs at the pace of 24/7?!
  • A more REALISTIC picture as to the conflict and cost involved in being a Christian in this world, living between “The present evil age” and “The Age to Come.”
  • An invitation to respond to Jesus calling you to His Body and you having the greatest kind of hope because, in the Spirit, the Father and Jesus bring the future into the present through those in union with Jesus!


Taste And See That The Lord Is Good!

taste and see

In this Gospel Message, Pastor Richard Andrews of  New Life Fellowship of Baltimore, Proclaims the GOOD NEWS of The God Revealed in Jesus Christ with a  message entitled “Taste And See That The Lord Is Good!” and asks the question “Are we ready to take that exhortation we find in Psalms 34 and make it something we LIVE BY, LIVE THROUGH and LIVE WITH?”

In this message we learn what trials REALLY represent and hear that:

  1. Our foolishness does NOT determine God’s actions towards us! There is no circumstance we can go through that is too big or complicated that can change who God is!
  2. No matter the circumstance, God invites us to open up our mouths and have an experience with him. God invites us to experience HIS presence.
  3. Our trials help us to taste and see God’s goodness. They make God REAL. The more we TASTE, the more we SEE, the more we TRUST!

Listen and be comforted knowing that God loves us too much not to let us experience HIM, and because of that there WILL be points of pain and trials.

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A Meditation for Trinity Sunday

Rublev's Icon of the Trinity

Rublev’s Icon of the Trinity

Consider the following statements:

  • There is no God but Allah
  • God Bless You
  • May the Force be with You
  • Blessed be God: Father, Son, and Holy Spirit

Depending on one’s definition of “Allah” or “the Force” or “God,” each of these statements might be referring to the same divine being and simply using different words to do so. On the other hand, they could each be making radically different statements.

Gregory of Nazianzus is famous for saying “when I say God, I mean Father, Son, and Holy Spirit” (Oration 38.8). Perhaps Gregory has a point, perhaps we need to be careful to be clear about what we mean when we say “God.”

If we are speaking of the God who is incarnate in the person of Jesus then we are speaking of the God who is Triune. To speak of the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ is to speak of the God who is loving relationship, the God who doesn’t just “do relationship” but is relationship. The God who doesn’t just love but is love. When we speak of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, we are speaking of the God who is personal, connected, and relational, and we are therefore not speaking of God as merely an impersonal force at work in the world.

We see this in the story told by our liturgical year. It tells the story of the Father sending the Son to descend into our existence, take hold of us, and then ascend, taking us with him into the relational life of love he shares with the Father. As the Father’s children through the Son we now share in the life of the Spirit who proceeds from the Father, through the Son, and baptizes us with the Son into his relationship with the Father.

This is the significance of Trinity Sunday. It is fitting – having celebrated this story of our adoption over the course of the last six months – that we should now have a day dedicated to God’s life as Trinity. That Triune Life is not something we could have known if we had not known this story of the Son’s descending and ascending to take us into God’s life. But now that we have heard and believed the story, we have an idea of what it means to say “God.” When we say “God” we mean “the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.”

~ Jonathan Stepp

This post originally appeared at the Scholar-Priest Initiative.

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