Archive for the ‘Advent’ Tag

Christmas: God’s Plan and Response For Man!

God With Us

https://trinityandhumanity.files.wordpress.com/2015/12/15-12-20-christmas-gods-plan-and-response-for-man-matt-1-2-9-10-tah.mp3”

In this Message on the 4th week of Advent, and heading toward Christmas, the Gospel of Jesus Christ is proclaimed to those gathered in worship at New Life Fellowship of Baltimore. The special emphasis of this message is that just as the Head, Jesus, was born into this world 2000 years ago as God’s Plan and Response for humanity, His Body, the Church, follows Him today, participating with Him in his ongoing work of redemption in this present world!

Check it out and be assured and unafraid as you GO with Jesus into our world, proclaiming Him in word and deed!

 

picture courtesy of ad-ne.org

God’s Coming Humanly Means God’s Going Humanly!

victory in jesus

 https://trinityandhumanity.files.wordpress.com/2014/12/14-12-28-gods-coming-humanly-means-gods-going-humanly-hebrews-10-19-25-tah.mp3

Do you wonder how you can live through suffering in a way where you are still filled with FAITH, HOPE and LOVE? Where you can know VICTORY and experience New Life and a Higher Dimension of LIFE and DIGNITY? 

On this 1st Sunday after Christmas, Pastor Timothy Brassell of  New Life Fellowship of Baltimore points us to the answer to this dilemma in this GOSPEL FILLED GOOD NEWS message entitled, “God’s Coming Humanly Means God’s Going Humanly”and shows through Hebrews 10: 19-25  that, God Father, Son and Spirit KNOW and SHARE IN our real suffering through JESUS CHRIST! In Christ, God reveals that He is not one who stands apart from suffering, but One who stands WITH US, stands ESPECIALLY IN HUMAN SUFFERING!

Listen and understand better that:

~God’s coming as a human being, him becoming human through Christ, means He comes not just in our celebrations but in the depths of our human sufferings!

~Since the Ascension of Christ, humanity has a hope built on an accomplished fact that humanity could not have before the Ascension. That God has taken up our cause in CHRIST and not only cried our cries but in the resurrection and ascension He has ANSWERED our cries and has VICTORY over them now, IN HIS PRESENT HUMAN BEING! In Christ, God has been a Gift for Himself and for us!!

~The most clear understanding of who God is, IS JESUS CHRIST! Understand our participation with Christ now in the “Rhythms of Grace” and not “Regulations of Law”, as ways of relating with Our Father and Jesus in the Spirit !

~The most clear understanding of who man is, IS JESUS CHRIST! To see Jesus from His birth to His Ascension before the Father is how we understand what it really means to be human, since Jesus is and always has been God’s Plan for Man in man’s adoption!

~God’s Coming Humanly Always means God’s Going Humanly! His coming always means His going = God’s Being a Living, Active and Dynamic Lord, filled with Life and Movement! NOT A STATIC GOD!

WILL YOU COME AND GO WITH HIM, as His chosen disciple?

Christmas: What It Means! Why It Matters!

christmas

 https://trinityandhumanity.files.wordpress.com/2014/12/14-12-22-christmas-what-it-means-why-it-matters-john-1-1-14-tah.mp3

 On this 4th Sunday Of Advent 2014, Pastor Timothy Brassell of  New Life Fellowship of Baltimore delivers this Christmas message filled with ASTOUNDING GOSPEL GOOD NEWS entitled, “Christmas: What it Means! Why it Matters! and shows through John 1: 1-14 that because JESUS IS THE WORD made flesh, CHRISTMAS MEANS: That God in Jesus LISTENS to us and FEELS us – That God is CHRIST LIKE, he has revealed himself in Christ – That man was made in the LIKENESS of GOD.

In this message we grasp how Christmas helps us:

~ Rehearse why it is important to hold to the fact that Christ shared in our actual and sinful, human flesh, inherited from Mary, His mother, AND “dwelt among US” and not in some other make-believe fantasy world that doesn’t exist!

~ Recognize and Live more fully in Reality in our daily lives, and in line with Who God is as Revealed in Jesus Christ, and who we are in Jesus; Recognize what Christ’s Ministry and Mission can and should look like among believers.

~ Respond to the burning questions: “Does God REALLY Care?” “Who and What is God REALLY Like? and “Will God REALLY turn out to be like Jesus?”

~ Realize why every human being has worth and is full of dignity even in this present, evil age (while also understanding reasons why the horrors of Nazi Germany happened and how its rotten strategies and effects are still being played out in our ordinary lives all over the world!)

….and MORE…

 

Photo compliments http://www.neloo.com

 

Everything In and Through Jesus The Christ!

jesuschrist

 https://trinityandhumanity.files.wordpress.com/2014/12/14-12-07-everything-in-and-through-jesus-the-christ-hebrews-10-tah.mp3

On this 2nd Sunday Of Advent 2014, Pastor Timothy Brassell of  New Life Fellowship of Baltimore delivers this GOSPEL FILLED GOOD NEWS entitled, “EVERYTHING IN AND THROUGH JESUS THE CHRIST” as we come to understand just what “Everything In and Through Jesus Christ” means. Learn more what it means that God is not only here but comes to us IN JESUS CHRIST; what it meant that the Son came as a man, and assumed our REAL HUMAN NATURE!

Pastor Tim explores the Gospel through Hebrews 10 :10 – 23 and reading from James Torrance’s article “Christ In Our Place” showing that:

~Jesus has a personal relationship with God on OUR behalf and we have a relationship with God THROUGH JESUS CHRIST! Because of God’s goodness, he makes our responses for us, so that when we respond we are only responding to Jesus’ response to his Father. In Him, and through Jesus, we are renewed by the Spirit in the image of God and in the worship of God and His life of SHARED COMMUNION!

~We burden ourselves with questions like: Do I have to ask for forgiveness before God will give it to me? Do right words, regulations, rules, and repentance take my sins away? But the scriptures tell us that JESUS is MEDIATOR between God and Man and that God draws near to humanity IN AND THROUGH CHRIST to fulfill His purposes of our human worship and communion with God! This means that FORGIVENESS IS LOCATED IN THE PERSON OF CHRIST and that IN AND THROUGH CHRIST, God HAS ALREADY FORGIVEN US! So, WHEN YOU ASK FOR FORGIVENESS YOU CAN BE SURE OF GETTING IT! Why? Because it has already been given to you in Jesus! For God: Father, Son and Spirit, there is no going back on forgiveness of your sins because the Son of God will live as Jesus the God/Man forever!! In Jesus Christ, sin has been COMPLETELY ELIMINATED!

~There is NO such thing as a transaction Gospel, or “If you do this THEN God will save and adopt you!” We can unburden ourselves with that mentality by hearing the Fathers’ response to us: I have forgiven you, therefore ENJOY AND receive it! I LOVE YOU therefore FOLLOW ME IN TRUST AND LOVE because YOU ARE ALWAYS GOING TO BE CARED FOR! THE GOSPEL IS REALLY GOOD NEWS!

~Specifically, because everything is IN AND THROUGH CHRIST, we can give a real word of REST and JOY to people, so that in the JOY of Jesus they can RUN as WE DO, as The ADOPTED SONS AND DAUGHTERS THAT GOD ALWAYS WANTED!!!

~There is not so much work we have to do in getting the words right, or in getting the concepts down. We receive that Jesus got down here for and with us in our place and that there is NOTHING we can ever do to make God more Gracious and we are NEVER going to be able to condition God to like us. What we need to understand is WHO JESUS IS and WHAT HE has done for us, participating in His Response of gratitude and thankfulness to His Father, and in His Trust and Obedience!

Living In and Through Your Impossibilities!

Impossible with man

Everywhere I turn lately, and I mean everywhere, I am seeing and experiencing impossibilities! On a national level, I see the impossibility of our trying to permanently solve domestic abuse issues. I see the impossibility of our laws and courts to legislate racial harmony.

Locally and personally, I experience the impossibility of seeing the issues and biting problems of communities, families, and bad relationships issues solved by people participating in the Good News of God: Father, Son and Spirit. I have learned the impossibility of trying to use apologetics and healing to prove and convince people of God. I know the impossibility of  trying to solve some of my thorniest and bone-weary problems, including getting a house sold and rented properly for more than 18 years after moving from it for the sake of Jesus calling me into His practical pastoral ministry in another state! hmpf! And being middle-aged, I am learning the impossibility of so much more than that “small stuff” I just mentioned…hahaha… (anyone 40 and above feeling me?!)

AND, in God’s good grace, I am learning that this is REALLY all Good News! Ha!

Why?!

Well, as Andrew Root writes about in his book entitled “Taking Theology to Youth Ministry”:

“The Church has often confessed that creation itself is ex nihilo, “out of nothingness”….The God of the burning bush [God: Father, Son and Spirit] reveals Godself out of human impossibility. Sarah is ninety, Abraham is impotent, Moses is a stutterer, and David is too young and small to be considered. God reveals Godself next to nothingness and impossibility; the breaking in of God often happens next to human weakness and yearning, in the backward and hidden (1 Corinthians 1:18). It is here that God moves; it is here that God is revealed; it is here that Gospel and mission are linked. God’s mission is to enter our impossibilities with the goodness that from the act of God a new reality in the love of God is breaking forth.

So, when we ask…’What is God up to in your life, where is God moving?'” we are compelled to look for God’s action in the kinds of places God is revealed. We look for God in places of brokenness, yearning, and suffering, places where God takes these deaths upon Godself for the sake of life. God is active at the places of our raw humanity. It is here, in our raw humanity, that we enter gospel and mission, that gospel and mission are held together. For the God of creation, the God [Father, Son and Spirit], the God who hears the groaning of God’s people, acts where there is the scent of nothingness. The God of exodus acts in those places where we are held captive, revealing Godself so death might be overcome with life.” pp.87-88

Footnoting the late Ray Anderson on this topic, Andrew quotes Ray who writes, “Why did the Lord wait until Moses was eighty years old, a failure and fugitive, with no possibilities? Because the element of human possibility must be removed. The people were powerless and helpless. They cried out to the Lord. Moses was chosen to be the redeemer because he was also without power on the human level. Moses understood that this “powerlessness” is itself a necessary ingredient in the chemistry of divine grace.” The Soul of Ministry, 45.

\May this Advent season for the Church, or season of focusing on the Coming of God: Father, Son and Spirit, in Jesus Christ, be a reminder and encouragement to you that God comes to us in our nothingness; our sin, death and hells. Our impossibilities. And He comes not at our initiative (our initiative is long dead and broken in sin!), but in his own initiative to bring forth his own future by His own Coming.

So as you and I believers enter into and participate in the suffering and death of this world with Father, through Jesus, and by the Spirit, no matter our age or circumstance,

“…we embody the promise that God is acting to bring forth God’s kingdom. Our hope is not that our efforts can make the world a better place. Our hope is in the action of God to open our eyes to see the small-but-sure ways God’s new reality is breaking forth.” – Andrew Root, Taking Theology To Youth Ministry, p.69

“[The end times and last things]…has finally not to do with the best that we can hope for in this world, but with a new world which will be brought into being only when God wills and acts to do so.” Richard Bauckham and Trevor Hart, Hope Against Hope: Christian Eschatology at the Turn of the Millennium, p.174

(In a related thought, though many people have been have been MISUNDERSTANDING and making fun of Janay Rice’s comment that she and NFL husband Ray Rice’s recent domestic violence incident was “God’s Plan!”, I suspect God: Father, Son and Spirit has shown up, and out, and IN the Rice’s impossibility. He loves creating possibilities out of our nothingness!)

– tjbrassell

 

 

What Jesus’ Coming Means For Us Today!

Advent Season

 https://trinityandhumanity.files.wordpress.com/2014/12/14-11-30-what-jesus-coming-means-for-us-today-hebrews-10-tah.mp3

On this 1st Sunday Of Advent 2014, Pastor Timothy Brassell of  New Life Fellowship of Baltimore delivers a message of Good News entitled, “What Jesus’ Coming Means For Us Today!” Through Hebrews 10:1-10, he proclaims the GOOD NEWS that GOD THE SON’S COMING IN JESUS IS OUR REALITY, LIFE, and RESURRECTION  and that WE WILL BE FULFILLED BY NOTHING LESS THAN HIM!

In this message we reinforce that:

~ Christ was sacrificed once to take away the sins of ALL and will appear a second time not to bear sin but to bring salvation to those waiting for him.

~ We, IN OUR BROKENNESS, don’t GET to start everything; don’t get to control or guide the outcome of life with our questions and answers. It is our pleasure, our role, to RESPOND IN GRATITUDE to what has been done to us, and INITIATED by GOD FOR US, IN HIS GRACE. GOD, in Christ, and by the Spirit, SHARES THANKSGIVING with us as a human response to HIS GREAT INITIATIVES in our lives!

~ God’s will for the world was for the Son to be born into it as Jesus. The purpose of Jesus Christ was to BE AND DO THE WILL OF GOD AS MAN! It was NEVER put upon anyone other than Jesus to meet the will of God or to meet God’s expectations for Man. We were never meant to carry the burden and impossibility of working out our own adoption and salvation. It was always up to Jesus Christ to meet the expectations of God. We were meant to be dependent on Christ.  It was the will of God to make humanity HOLY – to rule over everything and everywhere under Christ, God himself!  Further, it was the will of the Father to bring us to Glory as his adopted sons and daughters through Jesus Christ and by the Holy Spirit.

~ The Reality of God in Jesus not only stands FOR US, but also against us  and against all other people, things,  and attempts for us to fulfill our own lives and create our own purpose!

~ The Lord wants us to run in the JOY of being sons and daughters and not with the weight of trying to prove that He exists or in our trying to transform the world. He empowers believers to be witnesses and proclaimers of who HE IS, and to be a people of Promise and Hope!

– There are better ways we can take part in Jesus’ Ministry as His Church that will make us more free and less bogged down as we join Jesus in His Mission to His World.

~ Whatever Jesus’ coming means for us TODAY doesn’t mean He isn’t coming in the future, and whatever His coming means for us in the future doesn’t mean He isn’t already here!

 

 

 

 

Photo Compliments Rio Vista Community Church

Mary and Eve

While doing research for my upcoming sermon on Mary I came across an interesting passage from the writing of St. Irenaeus.

In this section he draws a parallel between Mary and Eve. In part he says:

. . . Mary the Virgin is found obedient, saying, “Behold the handmaid of the Lord; be it unto me according to thy word.” But Eve was disobedient; for she did not obey when as yet she was a virgin. And even as she, having indeed a husband, Adam, but being nevertheless as yet a virgin (for in Paradise “they were both naked, and were not ashamed,” inasmuch as they, having been created a short time previously, had no understanding of the procreation of children: for it was necessary that they should first come to adult age, and then multiply from that time onward), having become disobedient, was made the cause of death, both to herself and to the entire human race; so also did Mary, having a man betrothed [to her], and being nevertheless a virgin, by yielding obedience, become the cause of salvation, both to herself and the whole human race. . . . And thus also it was that the knot of Eve’s disobedience was loosed by the obedience of Mary. For what the virgin Eve had bound fast through unbelief, this did the virgin Mary set free through faith. ~ Against Heresies, 3.22.4 (Emphasis Mine)

One of the basic tenents of Protestantism is to “demote” the Blessed Virgin (Luke quotes her as saying that all generations would her “blessed” and so they have – Luke 1:48.) In reaction to what we perceive as the over-exaltation of Mary by our Roman Catholic brethren we Protestants have a long history of ignoring Mary.

Here’s what I’ve been wondering about as I put this sermon together:

If Mariology hadn’t become such an issue in Christianity in the last 500 years wouldn’t we all be encouraging our kids to look up to Mary as a hero of the faith? We Protestants love to talk about Ruth, Esther, and the Proverbs 31 woman but when it comes to the “Second Eve” who was the one through whom the salvation of humanity entered humanity we fall strangely silent.

I think it should be obvious that I don’t advocate bizarre titles like “Co-Redepmtrix” for Mary but I do think it’s high time we Protestants gave the girl her props. The faith that the Holy Spirit gave her to trust the Father and receive the Son (as no one ever had or ever will again receive him) is a faith worth celebrating this Advent Season.

~ Jonathan Stepp

P.S. If you want to hear more about Mary check out the sermon I’ll be preaching this Sunday. I’ll have the audio of it posted at The Adopted Life on Monday.

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