Archive for the ‘Followers of Jesus’ Tag

Breaking News: Jesus Is Renewing T/His Church! pt.3

Spiritual Gift 2

https://trinityandhumanity.files.wordpress.com/2016/08/06-12-16-breaking-news-jesus-is-renewing-t-his-church-part-3-matthew-3-11-eph-4-tah.mp3”

This message of Good News leads to an attempt of a congregation to participate with Jesus as he inspired the Apostle Paul to write in Ephesians 4 :7-13 (The Message):

“Is it not true that the One who climbed up also climbed down, down to the valley of earth? And the One who climbed down is the One who climbed back up, up to highest heaven. He handed out gifts above and below, filled heaven with his gifts, filled earth with his gifts. He handed out gifts of apostle, prophet, evangelist, and pastor-teacher to train Christ’s followers in skilled servant work, working within Christ’s body, the church, until we’re all moving rhythmically and easily with each other, efficient and graceful in response to God’s Son, fully mature adults, fully developed within and without, fully alive like Christ.”

 

*picture courtesy of made2bcreative.com

The Creator Destroys And Redeems!

Genesis 6, 9 Noah finds Gracehttps://trinityandhumanity.files.wordpress.com/2016/03/16-02-21the-creator-destroys-and-redeems-gen-6-9-tah-guest-andrews.mp3”

In this message of Good News we see how, like Noah, we are saved from God’s
judgment and called to obey God as His redeemed people.

Merry Chaotic and Disturbance-filled Christmas?!

Killing babies

Matthew 2:1-3 New International Version (NIV)

After Jesus was born in Bethlehem in Judea, during the time of King Herod…[Herod] was disturbed, and all Jerusalem with him.

I don’t know about you, but I want to run from Christmas chaos! I hate the thought of everything from the slowed up, jammed up traffic, to the packed out gas stations, highways, and stores of frenzied people pushing and shoving, literally, to get “deals” (or NOT because of getting punched by other people who snatch the “deals” right out of their greedy – oops – grubby little hands! HaHa!) Yikes!

But, as much as I hate all of that, I have to admit this atmosphere seems more true to the context in which Jesus was actually born 2000 years ago; only chaotic danger and disturbance when God enters the room in flesh, as one of us! I’m even thinking that maybe its sort of indictment against Christ’s Body, the Church, that there is not more chaos and crisis at Christmastime in our world at the proclamation of this Jesus Christ Who has entered it?

As I read Mathew’s story of Jesus’ birth, I am especially struck at how disturbing it is for the Son of God to come into the ordinariness and horrors of our broken world as man; how chaotic it really is (how disturbing it should be till everyone knows and trusts Him?! ) Everyone and everything disturbed at the entrance of the Son of God coming in flesh – “God With Us!” A marital engagement is disturbed by embarrassment and shame, and then met with the prospect of divorce before the wedding can happen! A king is disturbed enough about Jesus’ birth to lie, hunt for and cross regional lines to kill babies and toddlers hoping he killed Jesus! A family is on the run from an evil father and his ruthless ruling son!….hmmm…

Maybe Christmas isn’t really about encouraging a cute religious experience after all. Not about a nice teaching that will make people nicer and more peaceful. Maybe it’s not even about making people confident in going to heaven after “death by trampling” at the mall.

Maybe Christmas is about the Kingdom of the Father, Son and Spirit rumbling in like a jumbo jet and, through His Body the Church, fostering airwaves and noises of disturbance, prompting crises, as the Church excitedly and urgently encourages and warns its brothers and sisters of the need to get ready for the return of the Christ in “Christ”-mas???

As much as I’d like to know NOW the peace that is promised in Christ’s coming, I have to admit that because the God the Father sends His Son, in the Spirit, into the chaos of this world to be with it and see it saved, that’s the way he is still moving on earth in his Church Body till he returns bodily again! How could there not be chaos and crisis with God breaking into our world?; against evil and our broken human nature, to redeem what He has already redeemed in the glorified humanity of Jesus???

As N.T. Wright has written, for Jesus there is “No point in arriving in comfort, when the world is in misery; no point having an easy life, when the world suffers violence and injustice! If he is to be Emmanuel, God-with-us, he must be with us where the pain is.” Where the Head, Jesus, is, so must his Body, we, be, right?

Perhaps the real peace I long for, and you long for, at Christmas is where Dietrich Bonhoeffer said it was when he wrote, “There is no way to peace along the way of safety. For peace must be dared, it is itself the great venture, and can never be safe. Peace is the opposite of security… To look for guarantees is to want to protect oneself. Peace means giving oneself completely to God’s commandment, wanting no security, but in faith and obedience laying down the destiny of the nations in the hand of Almighty God, not trying to direct it for selfish purposes. Battles are won, not with weapons, but with God. They are won when the way leads to the cross.”

Merry Cross-mas to You as We Enter the Chaos and Participate with Christ in His Loving Disturbance,

– tjbrassell

 

Photo courtesy of: http://www.muchoburrito.com

Always Be Prepared To Give An Answer!

 

Be Ready Always

https://trinityandhumanity.files.wordpress.com/2015/12/15-11-29-always-be-prepared-to-give-an-answer-1-peter-3-2-peter-3-tah.mp3”

In this message of Good News we are reminded of the Good News that because your story is included, graciously, in the Story of God, Father, Son and Spirit, you get to participate with Him by sharing your story (even some of the good, bad, and ugly!) with your family, friends and neighbors to God’s glory!

God is not just the One Being and Relationship of God, Father, Son and Spirit in Deed. God also Communicates in Word or Story! In fact, God commands us to be ready to share our story with others! Plus, after participating in all those good deeds toward others in Christ’s name, you don’t want to be “totally quiet” and let others mistake you for Jesus do you??? hahaha

Feel free to prepare and practice your story, even as we did in this worship gathering, by downloading your practice sheet here: YourFaithStory , and happy Story-telling God’s Good News!

 

picture courtesy of: centralbaptistanthony.org

Is God Here?

How we think about God is important. Whether we think of Him as good, bad, or indifferent surely has an impact on how we relate to Him and to each other. What we believe about the character and nature of God will always affect the way of our being. And it is my opinion that what we believe about the character and nature of God as Father, Son, and Spirit is most important. Triune God is Love… and love does what love is… God is love so God does love. A good exercise is to take I Cor. 13:4-8 and replace the word “love” with “God.” God is patient, God is kind… get the idea? Beautiful isn’t it.

Well I believe that the second most important thing for us to ponder is the location of the Father, Son, and Spirit. Where are they in relation to us? Are they distant? Are they away somewhere in the Cosmos? Or… could it be that the angel of the Lord in Matthew 1 was right- that his name is Emmanuel- which means God is with us? You know it!

Recently my family visited a church service to attend a friend’s ordination. It was a happy and joyful time. There was a great deal of prayer and blessing for this person who was being ordained to the ministry of the Gospel of Jesus.OB100013

You know the old saying don’t you, “Eat the meat, and spit out the bones.” Well in any church service, you may have to spit out a bone or two because all church services are led by humans who are not yet fully human. So, during the service one of the pastors involved in the ordination referred to our collective prayers as “being on a conference call with Jesus.”

My jaw hit the floor. How could we be on a conference call with Emmanuel? What need of a conference call does the Indwelling Christ have? You see… statements like this assume an absent Jesus. When we pray to invite the Holy Spirit, Jesus, or the Father we are operating as though God is not with us.

Friends, it is crucial that we live and move through our daily lives in the truth that Jesus is indeed Emmanuel- God with us. I for one find great comfort in knowing he is always with me because he is good, he is kind, he is gentle, and he is LOVE!

~Bill Winn

Why Jesus’ Church Fellowships More And More! pt.7

No_Fear_In_Love_

On this 10th Sunday after Pentecost, Pastor Timothy Brassell of New Life Fellowship of Baltimore, Proclaims the GOOD NEWS of The God Revealed in Jesus Christ out of Hebrews 10, CONCLUDING this Gospel Series with a message entitled, “Why Jesus’ Church Fellowships More And More!”, pt.7

In this last message of the series, we understand more clearly the judgment of God, Father, Son and Spirit in the relational way that reflects our being made in His image, as acted out in drama by Pastor T and NLF member Jeff Steffen!

Check it out!

Why Jesus’ Church Fellowships More And More! pt.6

Body of Christ 1

On this 9th 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, continuing with pt. 6 of this Gospel Series, entitled, “Why Jesus’ Church Fellowships More And More!”

In this second to last message in the series, we understand more clearly:

  • That God, Father, Son and Spirit is the Church’s Object of Faith and that the preaching and teaching of the church should not make itself the object of faith, nor should be preoccupied with itself.
  • The Church is not the Kingdom but is to be the concrete and visible manifestation of the coming kingdom.
  • That by the Word and Spirit and in union with Christ, the people of God can give concrete evidence in time and space, and in flesh and blood, to the watching world, the character of the coming kingdom.
  • The church, in unconditional and covenant love, can bear witness to the lordship of Christ in its worship and in its common life as well as in its service to bring about the common good of those not a part of the Christian community.

Check it out!

Bring Me a Coin

Since the dawn of time there have been those who have wanted to assert their authority and power over others and if they had no authority or power to assert many have worked diligently to acquire some.

One of the fasted ways to get on the bad side of the powerful is to threaten their authority or legitimacy. This is why some presidents, prime ministers, dictators, and religious leaders hide what they are doing from public scrutiny, lock out the press, and make their deals and bargains in secret. It is often a hallmark of wrong-doing. Power structures do not like to be challenged.Perichoresis Coin

The Pharisees and religious leaders of the early first century were no different and they resented Jesus for many reasons. For one… he did not announce himself to them first when he became a human being and for another he persistently worked to rip down the hierarchical power structures they had created for their own benefit.

Well as you might know, the Pharisees often attempted to trip Jesus up with questions and scenarios that seemed to have no safe way of answering. One of those occasions is found in Matthew 22, Mark 12, and Luke 20. The scene sets up like this… a tax was owed for going to the Temple and Jesus was asked by the Pharisees whether it should be paid. They knew the tax was unpopular with the Jews so he could not come out in favor of the tax without enlisting the ire of the people and on the other hand he could not oppose the tax publically without being in jeopardy from the Roman rulers. They had him… or so they thought.

When asked about the tax Jesus asked them to bring him the coin used for the tax and inquired, “Whose image is this on the coin?” Their answer was, “Cesar’s.” Jesus replied, “Then give to Cesar that which is his and give to God what is God’s.” WOW… do you see it? How amazing is Jesus’ answer?!? Can you say, “Checkmate?”

I do not believe that Jesus was, in this encounter, validating the system of Roman taxes where money was extracted under the threat of violence or imprisonment. I do not believe Jesus would ever endorse a system where the powerful confiscate wealth by the sword.

Nope, what Jesus was doing here was speaking to the logic of these people’s being. Those listening were Hebrews and would have been very familiar with the creation narrative in which Triune God proclaims, “Let us make mankind in our image… so male and female he made them.”

When Jesus implies that the way we know who the coin belongs to is to look at whose image is on the coin he is deflecting the intent of their question and using it as an opportunity to let them know that, because they each bear the image of God as human beings, they belong to God and should give themselves wholly to him.

Do you see that? You are created in the image of the Triune God… you bear the image of the Father, Son, and Spirit… Jesus wants you to know that no matter what… you belong to him!

You belong to the Father, Son, and Spirit. You always have. You always will. The Father loves you and likes you. You are his beloved child. Amen!

~Bill Winn

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

fellowship5

https://trinityandhumanity.files.wordpress.com/2015/07/15-07-05-why-jesus-church-fellowships-more-and-more-pt-5c-hebrews-10-luke-2-mark-6-tah.mp3

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!

 

 

With Honor

IMG_9130It’s 6:00 a.m. and many of us have been up since 3:00. The airport hangar in Toledo echoes with chatter, the occasional announcement coming over the loudspeaker. We’re standing in a long line, and from my vantage point, I see white caps on gray heads and bright gold t-shirts with a quote from John F. Kennedy on the back lining up to go through airport security. The quote says, “A nation reveals itself not only by the men it produces but also by the men it honors, the men it remembers.”

Veterans of WWII, Korea, and Vietnam, along with their guardians (some family, some newfound acquaintances) await the opportunity to board the Flag City Honor Flight to spend one day in Washington, D.C., visiting the war memorials. I am guardian for the day for my dad, a Korean War vet, and throughout our trip, I am struck again and again at the respect that is shown the veterans.

Leaving the plane, we are greeted by a long row of active service people, shaking hands and welcoming our group to Baltimore. After loading the bus, there are some issues with the wheelchair lift so we are delayed by about 30 minutes, just sitting on the bus waiting to go. Outside the bus, a row of active service people stand in their dress uniforms at parade rest for that half hour, solemnly staring straight ahead while it lightly rains on them. As the bus pulls away to take us to the memorials, they salute, holding the posture until the buses are past.

At the WWII memorial, there are a number of school groups taking field trips. “Thank you for your service,” a few of them tell my dad, shaking his hand. Later, at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier at Arlington National Cemetery, signs posted say “Silence, please, as a gesture of respect.” Small stones are lined up in a row on the top of some tombstones, along with coins, a tangible indication of honor and respect paid by visitors.

We observe the changing of the guard, the meticulously choreographed routine that honors the Unknown Soldier as representative of all who never made it home. Normally, the sentry picks up his feet in a precise manner, and he does not acknowledge the crowd in any way. However, to honor veterans who visit the memorial, the sentry will scuff his shoes as he passes by. Those in our group, some in wheelchairs and some standing, hear a number of scuffs as we watch the practice of honoring in action. I am honored, feeling very special, and I am not even a veteran. When we witness others being honored and shown respect, it is contagious and uplifting.

This trip makes me think about honor, respect, and love, and how they are very much a part of the relationship among the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. If we consider the story of Jesus’s baptism, Jesus is honored by both the Father, who announces, “This is my Son, whom I love; with him I am well pleased,” and the Holy Spirit who appears as a dove (Matt 3:16-17 NIV). Honor and respect is an integral part of love, and anytime we show honor and respect to others, we are participating in a practice that started before the foundation of the world.

Your practice of honoring others might not take place on an Honor Flight, but it might happen in a long line at the bank with a teller who is trying to do her best. I might show honor and respect as I grade my students’ papers, attempting to find something they’re doing well along with pointing out areas they could do better. In our families we honor each other by showing little considerations, small gestures of kindness and concern. It is through these practices which may seem insignificant that the love of the Triune God flows.

The Honor Flight may have been intended to honor veterans, but I felt honored, too. I learned about the positive effect of honor on all those who witness it, and I recognized the goodness of God as it was revealed that day.Though JFK’s quote is inspiring, I’ve decided to tweak it a little: “A person reveals the love of God by the way he or she honors others, and when a person is honored, everyone including God celebrates.”

~by Nan Kuhlman

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