Archive for the ‘death’ Tag

The Spirit of Truth and Generosity!

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Audio – Part A: 23 min

“https://trinityandhumanity.files.wordpress.com/2020/03/19.7.07-the-spirit-of-truth-and-generosity-acts-4.32-5.11-part-a-guest-marra-tah.mp3”

Audio – Part B:  28 min

“https://trinityandhumanity.files.wordpress.com/2020/03/19.7.07-the-spirit-of-truth-and-generosity-acts-4.32-5.11-part-b-guest-marra-tah.mp3”

Audio – Full Message:

“https://trinityandhumanity.files.wordpress.com/2020/03/19.7.07-the-spirit-of-truth-and-generosity-acts-4.32-5.11-guest-marra-tah.mp3”


Bible Verses: Acts 4:32Acts 5:11


“Generosity should be a defining characteristic of the church because God is generous. The Father gave His Son. The Son gave His life. The Father and the Son gave the Spirit. And the Spirit gives the followers of Christ hearts of generosity. The Spirit works through these hearts to bring unity to the body of Christ through their loving support for one another. Greed is contrary to who God is and invites His judgment. The Holy Spirit of God helps us distinguish between generous and greedy giving.”

“Generosity is a fruit of God’s grace, something that an individual
should feel compelled to do from their own hearts. While in one way this understanding liberates us from any legalism around giving, it simultaneously heightens our expectations for giving. Because generosity flows from the heart, it is a tangible way of seeing the condition of the heart. This is why Jesus said, “For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also” (Matt. 6:21).

Theological Theme:
Sin in the Church must not stand in the way of the gospel’s expansion.

Christ Connection:
In obedience to the Holy Spirit’s prompting, the early Christians shared their resources and gave generously to those in need, just as Jesus gave up heavenly riches to share His inheritance with all who trust in Him. But Ananias and Sapphira’s deceptive action was a sin against the church and against the Spirit. The Spirit distinguishes between giving that is from a heart of generosity and giving that is greedy and deceitful.

“Jesus serves as our model for radical giving and the Holy Spirit enables us to follow in His steps.”

“In following Jesus, we’re invited to do the same, not clinging to what we have but giving it away, becoming a servant, and allowing God to multiply it for His good and glory in His church and in the world around us. The Holy Spirit’s presence in our lives should inspire such radical generosity, transforming our hearts to mirror Jesus’ own so that we don’t cling to what’s “ours” by rights but give it away to those in need.

Missional Application:
God the Father, through His Holy Spirit, calls us to show our unity with other believers, always being generous and honest as a reflection of Christ’s truth and love.

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Take Up Your Cross!

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Audio – Part A: 25 min

“https://trinityandhumanity.files.wordpress.com/2020/03/2019.6.30-take-up-your-cross-part-a-acts-6-guest-andrews-tah.mp3”

Audio – Part B: 20 min

“https://trinityandhumanity.files.wordpress.com/2020/03/2019.6.30-take-up-your-cross-part-b-acts-6-guest-andrews-tah.mp3”

Audio – Full Message:

“https://trinityandhumanity.files.wordpress.com/2020/03/2019.6.30-take-up-your-cross-acts-6-guest-andrews-tah.mp3”


Bible Verses: Acts 6:8-15; 7:44-60


“In this session, we will see how God’s Holy Spirit empowers the followers of Christ to endure suffering for the sake of Christ. Whether that suffering takes the form of false accusations, death, or other variations, our faithful witness in the midst of suffering is a testimony to Jesus Christ, who came to fulfill the Law and the Prophets and to save us from our sin. When we suffer in faith, we are following in the footsteps of our Savior and bearing witness to His worth above all things, even our very lives.”- The Gospel Project

Theological Theme:

God – Father, Son, and Holy Spirit strengthens his people to testify to Jesus Christ in persecution and death.

Christ Connection:

In his death as the first martyr, Stephen followed in the footsteps of His Savior. Both Jesus and Stephen were falsely accused and charged for blasphemy. Both Jesus and Stephen prayed for their executioners. Both Jesus and Stephen entrusted their spirits to God as they died. As a follower of Jesus Christ, Stephen reflected His Master, in life and in death.

Missional Application:

God the Father, through His Holy Spirit, calls us to bear witness to the greatness of Jesus Christ, even when we are maligned or persecuted for our faith.

“The history of the church is rich with stories of Christians who, emboldened by the Spirit, faced suffering and death while testifying to Jesus. Missionaries have died while going to share the gospel with hostile people. Countless martyrs the world over and through ages past have faced torture and death for their faith in the risen Savior…..

The persecution of the church and the martyring of its people is like the pruning of a plant. It grows stronger, richer, and more deeply rooted as a result…..

As we face ridicule and persecution for our faith, we are following in the faithful steps of these martyrs, just as they were following in the trailblazing steps of the Savior. He gave Himself for us—may it be our joy to give ourselves for the glory of His name.” – The Gospel Project

Photo Compliments: https://holyghostandmore.com/

The Comfort of Cruciform Love

image of syrian boy who drownedThe heart-wrenching picture of the drowned Syrian toddler and the follow-up stories with his father, the only survivor from the family: these are typical images of suffering that we see on the news. However, we also cannot pick up our local paper without seeing deaths from illness or accidents, and when we look on Facebook, we see friends and family dealing with grief and loss. Many of these friends are believers, and we wonder to ourselves (if not aloud), “Where was God?”

Some well-meaning folks may respond with “Well, God is in control,” or “God is teaching you something in this.” These responses are rarely helpful, and they keep us from realizing that we cannot make sense of evil, pain, and death by using reason. Instead, we must recognize that while evil and suffering exist, God is good and all-powerful in his love.

What we must consider is the way we define God as all-powerful. Humanly speaking, we think of power as control, and we can see throughout scriptures that God not only permits but desires free will from human beings. God allows vulnerability by rejecting control (when defined as coercion), though God also shows great power and authority through creation and great love through the cross.

On the cross God as Christ bore evil and suffering even as we do now, and in a sense, he shows us that enduring such pain can be healing and transformative though we may not see this perspective for a very long time. Galatians 3:13 says that “Christ redeemed us from the curse of the law by becoming a curse for us, for it is written: ‘Cursed is everyone who is hung on a pole’” (NIV). Author Bradley Jersak comments about this, saying, “This means that in his death, Jesus himself absorbs the curse of sin and death for all of us, sucking the darkness of the world into himself, where his own blood is the all-powerful, spiritual anti-venom that cleanses sin and overcomes death. Assuming the likeness of fallen humanity, he is able to heal it” (A More Christlike God: A More Beautiful Gospel). Jersak points out that Jesus doesn’t passively witness our suffering and ‘do nothing,’ but instead, he “enters the suffering, experiences the anguish, lives the sorrow for all, with all, for all the time…In love, he consent[s] to co-suffer with us in solidarity.” We are never alone in our grief; we are never alone in our suffering.

Though we may wish that our loving Father would wave a magic wand and prevent the grief and suffering we experience, we know that God’s heart has given humanity free will with the hope (the calm assurance?) that human beings will choose relationship with the Divine and each other. This free moral agency does not come without a price, but it is a price that God as Christ has demonstrated a willingness to share with us. The suffering we endure is not ours alone, and this is the comfort of cruciform love.

“God Is His Amazing Grace!” (SPECIAL CONFERENCE AUDIO)

Grace John 1.14

 Understand the meaning of God’s Grace better in this two-part audio of a conference message of God’s Good New given by Timothy Brassell at the Myrtle Beach Fall Harvest Festival 2014!

In this message Pastor Tim explores Hebrews 10 as we are met by the God Revealed in Jesus, and poses the significant question:

“Will you continue to understand yourself, and life, in terms of [your] idolatry, rebellion and sin? OR will you begin, as the scriptures do, by looking at the Revelation of God in Jesus Christ [to understand yourself]?”

Life After Life

I have a very close friend. His name is Albert DeStephanis but most of us just call him Al or, a lot of the time, Big Al. At church he had his own special greeting. It usually didn’t matter what was going on when he walked through the door someone would call out, “Big Al!”.  In 2011 Al had some heart trouble and doctors gave Al a new lease on life with a new technology called an LVAD or Left Ventricular Assist Device. It’s a heart pump.

In 2011 Al went into the hospital for a bypass and, after the surgery, had two massive heart events. Al slipped away  twice that night and the doctors and nurses at St. Mary’s in Richmond fought hard all night long and brought Al back. A few days later, after Al had his new heart pump installed, he said to me, “You know I died twice during all this right?” Then, very contemplatively, Al said, “Someday, when I die for real I don’t think I’ll be that worried about it because I’ll just say been there, done that.”

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Big Al Sept. 30, 1939 -eternity!

I recall being very impressed with Al’s attitude about the episode. And so as time went on Al recovered and went back to a fairly normal life. He attended his grandchildren’s swim meets and came to church on a regular basis. Al is the rare type of person who, when you meet them, you wish you’d known them your whole life. He is as kind and gentle a man as you could ever meet. I simply adore him!

So last week Big Al transitioned from this life into the next. He passed into what C.S. Lewis called the full Weight of Glory and now knows Jesus more intimately than any of us here. In fact it was just yesterday that a large number of people attended his memorial service.

Paul the apostle says death is swallowed up in victory and defeated. Athanasius says, “Jesus it is Who has destroyed death and freely graced us all with incorruption…”

Death is not a reality. How can anything that has been defeated and destroyed by Jesus be a reality? Indeed death is not real- life is real. Jesus is life and Jesus is real. Jesus has given us new life and new birth through his life, death, resurrection, and ascension.  We are seated with Him- in Him- at the right hand of the Father in the communion of the Holy Spirit.

There is no life after death. Did I shock you? Keep reading. There is no life after death because; how can there be anything after something that is not real? We may as well ask whether there is life after magic Pegasus unicorns. Death is not real so there can’t possibly be life after death.

There is only Life after Life. The life that was given to Al was the very life that originates in, flows from, and is the life of the Father, Son, and Spirit. The life that Al was given in 1939 was the very life of the eternal Triune God. That life has no end!

We may not see Al the way we used to, we may not actually see him walk into the room, but Al is very much alive… in fact I would posit that Al is more alive than he has ever been!

A prayer: Father, we grieve the loved ones who have gone to Glory. We sense separation but know it is not real. Comfort us Holy Spirit. Teach us to honor our grieving, to know that grief is evidence of love and that deep grief is evidence of even deeper love. Show us the beauty of our tears and the joys that await us when we, someday, catch up with our loved ones who have passed into the full weight of glory. Jesus, thank you for including humanity in the life you share with your Father from eternity. Amen

~Bill Winn

Everything In and Through Jesus The Christ!

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 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!

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

Thank God He Is His Amazing Grace!

 amazing grace2

 https://trinityandhumanity.files.wordpress.com/2014/11/14-11-23-thank-god-he-is-his-amazing-grace-hebrews-10-tah.mp3

 In this 24th  Sunday after Pentecost, Pastor Timothy Brassell of  New Life Fellowship of Baltimore proclaims the GOOD NEWS that God is His Grace in this riveting Gospel Message entitled “Thank God He Is His Amazing Grace!”

Pastor Tim explores Hebrews 10 and poses the question:

Will you continue to understand yourself and life in terms of man’s idolatry, rebellion and sin or will you begin, as the scriptures do, by looking at the revelation of God in Jesus Christ? After All, it can only be idolatry to trust in anything other than God, anything other than the One Who made and sustains you!

In this gospel Message we learn that:

~Jesus is the Light of the world, and our idolatry, rebellion and sin are NOT, therefore understanding “Who Jesus is?” is the ONLY Way to begin understanding all of scripture. The Context of Jesus, Himself, must fundamentally guide all of our interpretations of the biblical text!

~Jesus is God as Man,  and therefore, in Him God the Father and Spirit have also taken up the cause of humanity forever, determined that we will not perish!

~Some of our sufferings, though not caused by God, He works in and allows so we can come to the end of ourselves and trust only in Him!

~Grace isn’t something that stands apart from or beside God. GOD IS HIMSELF HIS BENEVOLENCE AND KINDNESS! Grace isn’t something we manipulate, or a magic symbol that we make – God is himself HIS GRACE and He is the one Who ultimately acts and delivers us. He, personally, is your REST!

~We are often looking for God to give us something primarily other than himself when God says in Christ “I AM YOUR RESPONSE TO ME! The one who stands in for YOU! Work to believe and trust that! I Am your reward!”

~We need to THANK GOD HE IS HIS AMAZING GRACE and not divide Him too strictly from the great Works HE does. IT IS HIM at work when His works are being done, NOT a substance or a commodity called “grace”!

~If we don’t understand and proclaim God as his own Grace then we will subtly allow a “works based” and legal orientation into our lives. We will think that it is our prayer or religious things that are getting the job done when it is actually GOD IN AND AS HIS AMAZING GRACE getting the job done, many times in and through those things!

~God’s judgment and destruction doesn’t mean the end of us as men and women, but the end of what seeks to destroy us as men and women! Threats in scripture don’t always mean that the bad consequences are actually going to happen because, as the writer of Hebrews wrote,  “we do not belong to those who shrink back and are destroyed, but to those who have faith and are saved.”

Listen, Enjoy, be Encouraged, and find rest in the GOOD NEWS of God as His Amazing Grace!

Jesus’ Compassion On The Harassed And Helpless!

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https://trinityandhumanity.files.wordpress.com/2014/11/14-11-16-jesus-compassion-on-the-harassed-and-helpless-matt-9-35-10-8-tah.mp3

Have YOU ever felt harassed and helpless, like a sheep without a shepherd? Not without clothing, food or water but, in the midst of plenty, still feeling LOST, despite knowing there is a Shepherd????

Of course you have, and do!!!

In this 23rd Sunday after Pentecost, Pastor Timothy Brassell of  New Life Fellowship of Baltimore proclaims a Gospel Message entitled ” Jesus’ Compassion On The Harassed And Helpless!”. In this Gospel he explores Matthew 9: 35 through Matthew 10: 1-8 proclaiming The GOOD NEWS of God’s compassion revealed and active in Jesus! Observing the literal Body of Jesus Christ in Mission reveals God: Father, Son and Spirit does all kinds of interesting and redemptive things with “foolish” participation, people, preaching and pausing!

In this message we hear that:

1~ God in Jesus begins a radical form of calling people to Himself in a gathered and scattered way that transforms their lives and the lives of others as he reaches out in compassion to His world and humanity. God in Christ DOES have an agenda and He DOES care to make himself known to people even as He does good works. He is even willing to become broken to reach out in His compassion and see humanity healed!

2~ Even with money in the bank, food to eat, shelter, we can still find ourselves harassed and helpless, but WHY??? Pastor Tim gives one compelling reason this may be so in our times, considering the present mission of God revealed in Jesus and His determination not to be Himself without us!

3~ We have not understood the “foolishness” of God in Jesus Christ and why we need to be willing to RECEIVE His foolishness as He works in this world to compassionately SAVE people!

4~ Jesus Christ is not only GOD’S GOOD NEWS, He is GOD’S GOOD NEWS in LOVING MOTION: in Gospel Mission and Ministry action, in and through His special believers! In and by the Spirit, believers become THE BODY OF CHRIST – JOINING in what GOD is DOING as He calls and gathers even more disciples and sends them with HIMSELF in MISSION. From the Father, in Jesus Christ, and by the Spirit, believers are the compassion of God, helping to heal His harassed and helpless humanity.

Listen and ask yourself: DO I SEE THE COMPASSION OF GOD REVEALED EVEN IN THE BROKEN HUMANITY OF JESUS CHRIST? AND AM I, THROUGH JESUS AND BY THE HOLY SPIRIT, WILLING TO RESPOND TO GOD’S CALLING TO BE HIS BODY AND COMPASSION RIGHT NOW, AS HE WORKS OUT HOPE AND HEALING IN AND THROUGH MY BROKEN HUMANITY FOR THE SAKE OF OTHERS?!

Death and Butterflies

We delight in the beauty of the butterfly, but rarely admit the changes
it has gone through to achieve that beauty.  ~Maya Angelou

My mother-in-law, Joan Kuhlman, passed away a few weeks ago from Alzheimer’s disease.  A beautiful butterfly wreath adorned her door at the nursing home during her last day of life, most likely to make the staff aware that a resident was dying.  The motif of butterflies reappeared in the lovely floral casket spray, without our special request.  Because this symbol of rebirth kept coming up, the beauty of butterflies and their vision of hope made me reflect on death as a change of life rather than an end of life.

Death is a journey into the unknown, and although reports of those who have died and were brought back to life seem encouraging, it truly is the “final frontier.”  There is one, however, who took our mortality with him into death and then came through it, holding tightly to our hands:

                        Oh, Death, who’s afraid of you now?  It was sin that made death so frightening

and law-code guilt that gave sin its leverage, its destructive power.  But now in a

single victorious stroke of Life, all three– sin, guilt, death– are gone, the gift of

our Master Jesus Christ.  Thank God! (I Cor. 15:55, The Message)

When Christ entered death as the Son of God in the flesh, he took our humanity with him.  Through death, he purged our collective human nature of its sin and gave us all eternal life.  Many enjoy the knowledge and experience of this gift now; others will hopefully enjoy it in the future.

The life cycle of the butterfly is a useful illustration for us to consider.  Although no analogy is perfect, the idea is probably pretty accurate that our human life now is like that of a caterpillar, growing yet limited.  The idea of death as a cocoon reminds me of Christ’s three days in the tomb, and the emergence of a butterfly reveals the promise of resurrection to a life of glory.  Maya Angelou’s quote sums up what we often think about death, that we don’t want to admit or acknowledge until it lands in our laps that it is indeed a natural part of our life cycle process.  This part of our life cycle has its mysteries and its gruesomeness, much like the process of birth into life.  Without this change, this time spent in a cocoon, there would be no butterflies.

Throughout her extended illness, the only thing our family wished was for Joan to be healed of this disease and for her to be restored to her normal personality.  It was something we hoped and prayed for, yet in some respects, we were wishing for her to stay a “caterpillar.”  We are certain, beyond any doubt, that Jesus Christ was with Joan in her cocoon, and just as certain that he will be in ours, too. For her, Alzheimer’s disease was an extended cocoon through which Joan, in her full glory, would emerge, more whole, well, and beautiful than we ever knew.

~by Nan Kuhlman

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