Archive for the ‘Ascension’ Tag

The Life, Death, and Ascension of Jesus

Jesus Birth Life Death Resurrection Ascension

Nothing is more central to the Christian message than the news that Jesus has brought humanity into objective union with the Trinity. The Father, Son, and Spirit, before creation, determined that the life they share in unfettered mutual other-centeredness, would be shared with you, and with me, and with the entire human race. How raucous should be the celebration of our Inclusion!!

I recall 9 years ago coming to terms with my wrong-headed theology. I was ashamed of things I had believed and preached. Reading, like a man stranded on a desert island with only a library of Trinitarian thought to pass the time, I hungrily consumed every book I could get my hands on that focused on the Triune nature of God as the starting point for its theology.

I read new books and old books. I began to see the importance of the Life, Death, and Ascension of Jesus in a new light. I let go of Penal Substitutionary Atonement theory. I no longer saw God the Father as killing Jesus so he wouldn’t have to kill me. I began to scream at Western Evangelical Christian radio and TV. I soon just turned it off! “Jesus is not the only one who loves me!” I thought. “The Father and the Holy Spirit love me too!” You see inside the life, death, and ascension of Jesus, or what we call his finished work, the dream of the Father to have mankind in union with the God-head was accomplished.

Do you see it? Do you see the startling beauty of the purpose and plan of God for humanity? The life, death, and ascension of Jesus are towering over historical humanity from the very beginning beckoning us to wake up and see the beauty of our inclusion into the life of God. We are called to live in it, love in it, laugh and play in it. We are summoned to belief so we might taste and see that the Lord is good. So good in fact that there is nothing you can do to change God’s disposition toward you. There is nothing you can do to make the Father, Son, and Spirit love you more or less. God already loves you with 100% of His being! All that you needed to fit and be adopted into the life of God has already been accomplished in the life, death, and ascension of Jesus…

Well I hope I have not agitated anyone too much. I intentionally left out the word resurrection simply to make the point that we ought to be equally alarmed when we hear people talk about the “life, death, and resurrection of Jesus”. We must never forget how important to us is His Ascension. In fact this blog post was written as an exercise on how sometimes we emphasize the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus to such a degree that we forget about the importance of the ascension of Jesus. This Sunday is Ascension Sunday, when we celebrate with special emphasis, the Ascension of our Lord Jesus. In the Ascension you and I and all of humanity have been seated with Jesus at the right hand of the Father. In the Ascension we have all gone home! We are with the Triune God both here in our present condition and at the same time seated at the throne of God. We need not divide Jesus to such an extent that we focus on one part of him or his ministry to the detriment of others but this year during Ascension week let us be especially thankful that Jesus has brought us all home in his ongoing Incarnation!

~Bill Winn

Questions And Responses Regarding Baptism And Other Things!

baptism

 https://trinityandhumanity.files.wordpress.com/2015/02/15-1-25-questions-and-responses-regarding-baptism-and-other-things-matthew-3-13-17-tah.mp3

On this 3rd Sunday after the Epiphany in the Christian Calendar (The Season Of the God Revealed in Jesus Christ), Pastor Timothy Brassell of  New Life Fellowship of Baltimore proclaims the last message of this series on Jesus and His baptism.  Rehearse how God’s baptism in Jesus is the GOOD NEWS that we can identify ourselves with Jesus boldly in our baptism, knowing God is SO GOOD that in Free Grace He has come to meet us in our rebellion, in our rejection and in our ignorance, CLEANSING AND LOVING US and bringing us into His relationship.

Hear in this interactive message the answers to these specific questions and more!:

  • Why was God was Baptized?
  • Why should we be baptized if Jesus was baptized for us?
  • In what ways is baptism performed? Why is sprinkling done in some circles? Why is immersion done in others?
  • Who is to be baptized?
  • How many times should we be baptized?
  • Does one have to be ordained to baptize others?
  • Is being “Christened” and “Being baptized” the same thing?
  • What if I was baptized in the name of someone other than Jesus or the Father, Son and Spirit? Should I be baptized again?

Listen in on this interesting conversation, and maybe hear YOUR question about baptism answered out of Who Jesus is as the Gospel!

Why In The World Was God Baptized?! Part 2

baptism

https://trinityandhumanity.files.wordpress.com/2015/01/15-1-18-why-in-the-world-was-god-baptized-pt-2-matthew-3-13-17-tah.mp3

In this Season of Epiphany in the Christian Calendar, Pastor Timothy Brassell of  New Life Fellowship of Baltimore  continues with this Part 2 message in his GOOD NEWS Series entitled, “Why In The World Was God Baptized?!”  and answers with greater clarity the questions:

  • Why was God Baptized?
  • If Jesus was Baptized as my substitute, then why am I baptized too?
  • Do I receive the Holy Spirit only after being baptized?
  • Am I saved by baptism?
  • Can I be still be saved and receive the Spirit if I choose not to be Baptized?

Listen in and learn – SO THAT YOU CAN RECEIVE and SHARE GOD’S GOOD NEWS WITH OTHERS!

Why In The World Was God Baptized?!

baptism

https://trinityandhumanity.files.wordpress.com/2015/01/15-1-11-why-in-the-world-was-god-baptized-matthew-3-13-17-tah.mp3

Why was Jesus, the PERFECT SON OF GOD IN FLESH, baptized with John’s Baptism of Repentance? How could God in Jesus repent of his own sins when the scriptures clearly say Jesus lived as the God/Man without sin?

 In this season of Epiphany in the Christian Calendar, Pastor Timothy Brassell of  New Life Fellowship of Baltimore  points us to the answers to those questions, and more, in this GOOD NEWS message entitled, “Why In The World Was God Baptized?!”  Reading Matthew 3: 13-17, learn that the ONLY WAY to understand baptism is to begin with JESUS CHRIST!

Often-asked questions are asked, and answered, in the Light of God being Baptized in Jesus, like:

  • Is baptism primarily about your commitment to God, orrrr…is it possible that it is more about God’s commitment to you?
  • Is baptism primarily about you receiving Jesus into your life, orrrr… isn’t possible that it is more about Jesus receiving us into his love, life and relationship with his Father, the Holy Spirit, Humanity and all of creation?
  • Is baptism primarily about your own faltering faith and repentance, however good, orrrr…is it primarily about Jesus’ perfect faith and repentance on your behalf and in your place!

And, in the Light of these questions, if Jesus got baptized, Why do WE get Baptized?!

Understand your participation in Christ a little more clearly, especially since scriptures say that it was Jesus’ job (and NOT YOURS!) to FULFILL all righteousness!

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?

You’d Better Get Used to Being Human!

If you’re like me, and infested with a fallen human nature, that probably sounds negative and uninspiring at first, doesn’t it?

There is simply something about being human that we have been taught to disrespect, dishonor and not appreciate, regardless of Jesus and the scriptures (Psalm 8, Heb 1). Kermit the frog came close when he sung “It’s not easy being green!” Its not always easy being human! Plus, the rotten experiences we have had and are having in this flesh don’t seem to match up with the logic of wanting to remain human forever. After all, isn’t Christianity really about getting out of these human bodies and into a spiritual non-human body?

Where did you and I inherit poison like that? Christianity is absolutely NOT about not being human?! Just the opposite!

It’s about being truly human forever! It’s amazing to me how much I have missed this truth and, as a result, missed much more of the Kingdom here on earth NOW that the Father makes available in His Son Jesus and delights for me to share in with you!

I just had the wonderful opportunity of proclaiming this Good News at a local congregation of Grace Communion International in Baltimore, MD.! It is called New Life Fellowship, and I think you would love visiting there if you ever got the chance! They are alive and well in Jesus AND learning to celebrate their humanity NOW! “Wowsa” and “Good gravy!” Go Baltimore! They invited me up for International Day where we celebrated the fact that all of us will be human forever, and that all of the distinct expressions, colors, races, and general ethnic cultures and foods we love to eat will still exist in the resurrection!

Check out this set of verses in the Scriptures in The Message version of the Bible: Luke 2:27-52, Luke 24:36-48, listen to the message here (soon!), and claim this wonderful truth in Jesus:

Jesus was born as, lived in, died as, and was resurrected and ascended to His Father as the Jewish God/Man that originally came on the scene!

Notice in Luke 24 how he keeps exclaiming that it is Him, Jesus, Who has Resurrected and is the Resurrection? “Look at MY hands and my feet!”, he exclaims! “Ghosts do not have muscle and bone as I have!” He remarks! “Do you have some of my favorite food, fish? Give me some! I want to gobble it up and eat it to show you how human I still am in my FOREVER resurrection…AND HOW HUMAN YOU WILL BE IN YOUR FOREVER RESURRECTION WITH ME WHEN HEAVEN COMES TO EARTH!” (Rev 21:1-4)

Do you see what Jesus is doing in His own permanently human body? (Acts 1:1-11)

He is validating YOUR culture! Your Distinct Expression! Your Music! Your Favorite Dance! Your Favorite Food! Your Nationality! Your color of Eyes! Your DIFFERENTLY shaped ears, nose, mouth and body shape!! (Ha-Ha! I can hear many of you groaning as you debate the fact that maybe your current weight and looks are REALLY acceptable to God and may not change as much as you currently desire IN YOUR SINFUL PERCEPTIONS OF YOURSELF!!!Ha-Ha! I’m with you in that struggle!)

Don’t get me wrong, I am not trying to literally and exactly describe how you will look in the resurrection!

I’m lost about the old vs. the young thing, too! Neither am I trying to give more answers than raise questions. I’m not! I am trying to be faithful to the Gospel – Jesus – and the Jewish and human HIM he took seriously AND resurrected! So much so that in His human self he keeps saying, “It is me!” and they (his disciples) recognized HIM as himself!

Sure your body will be raised incorruptible, and YES, everything that is not truly human in you and is broken in your body will be fixed and made right! BUT, what is “right?” I don’t think a large nose, ears, or belly are necessarily wrong or broken in every case, do you?! Don’t we even say as fallen humans that “Beauty is in the Eye of the Beholder”? And don’t we REALLY know that and mean it when we say it? Ha-Ha! Where does that come from if not from the Triune God in Whom we are all created and sustained in our distinction and union, and Who loves us UNCONDITIONALLY?

Imagine eating something that tastes as delicious as YOUR favorite dessert, candy, chocolate snacks or wine forever; with a vitalized tongue that tastes even more of the sweet goodness?! And think of the weight you won’t gain or have to lose, regardless!! Ha-Ha! Heaven!! This is the way we are supposed to be reading the scriptures in the Light of Jesus Christ (Luke 24:41-43).

So enjoy the foretaste, literally!

The Baltimore congregation and I did as we feasted on those many international dishes! Boy do I look forward to “eating to bursting” WITHOUT BURSTING in my forever resurrected and incorruptible human being! Good Gravy – for REAL! Thank you Jesus – I, for one, LOVE IT!!

~ by Timothy Brassell

Flash Forward

What if you could catch a glimpse of your future? That’s the premise of a new TV show called Flash Forward.

I’ve watched the first three episodes and it’s not too bad, if you like sci-fi stories. The premise is that everyone in the world blacks out at the same moment and stays out for a couple of minutes. While they’re out each person sees himself or herself a few months in the future and sees whatever they will be doing at that precise future moment.

Some people see themselves at work, some at home, some in the bathroom, etc. Each person now has to decide whether he believes that the flash forward is accurate and, if so, what he will do with this information.

I think I see a parallel with the gospel.

In the resurrection and ascension of Jesus every person that lives has been given a flash forward of his or her destiny. To see the last Adam, Jesus Christ, resurrected in his glorified humanity and ascended to the Father’s right hand is to see what our Father in heaven has planned for everyone of us. As St. Paul says:

As in Adam all die, so in Christ all will be made alive. ~ 1 Cor. 15:22

The Father “raised us up with Christ and seated us with him in the heavenly realms in Christ Jesus” (Eph. 2:6) so that we now have a vision of ourselves “hidden with Christ in God” so that when Christ appears we also “will appear with him in glory” (Col. 3:4.)

Like the people in the TV show we have a decision to make.

Is this vision of our future that we have been given in Jesus – this flash forward to what we will be one day – true or not true? And if it is true, is it a good thing or a bad one? And if it is good or bad, what difference does it make in the decisions and choices we make today?

If this flash forward of humanity’s future in Christ is true and good, then it is the best news we could ever receive. It is the news that our future is secure and our destiny as the Father’s children in Jesus is ultimately a bright and beautiful destiny.

I for one believe it.

~ Jonathan Stepp

Celebrating Jesus’ Ascension

Jesus’ ascension is just as important as his birth, his cross, or his resurrection.

That’s why we ought to celebrate Ascension Sunday just as we would Christmas, Good Friday, or Easter. It might be hard to get our family and friends to exchange presents, or our offices to throw a party, but at least we can talk about it and celebrate it at church! I hope your church celebrated yesterday and if not, maybe you’ll think about celebrating next year. Why?

Because Jesus’ ascension is the ultimate fulfillment of the Father’s plan for humanity.

From the foundation of the world the Father planned to adopt humanity into his life as his children (Eph. 1:5.) In order for this to happen  the Son became one of us as the man Jesus. That’s Christmas. Then he crucified our sinful humanity in his crucifixion so that our sin would no longer blind us to the Father’s love. That’s Good Friday. Then Jesus resurrected our humanity in his resurrection so that we could live forever in the life of the Trinity. That’s Easter.

If Easter Sunday is where we stop telling the story then we know that humanity has been transformed in Jesus but we don’t know our ultimate destiny. Our ultimate destiny is to live forever in the Trinity as adopted children of the Father in Jesus. When Jesus ascended into heaven he took humanity with him and finished the Father’s plan to bring us to himself and seat us at his right hand as his beloved children. As the Scripture says:

God raised us up with Christ and seated us with him in the heavenly realms in Christ Jesus ~ Ephesians 2:6

That’s something to celebrate! Our Daddy created us to live with him, in his Son, through their Spirit, forever. Now, in the ascension of Jesus Christ, the Father’s purpose in creating us has been accomplished. Jesus has scooped humanity up into his life with the Father and seated us in himself at our Father’s right hand.

~ Jonathan Stepp

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