Archive for the ‘identity in Christ’ Tag

So Why Not Say You’re Gay, or…?

 

col-3-hidden-in-christ

…Black, White, Asian or Hispanic??? Or Republican, or Democrat? Or why not say you’re a Millennial, Boomer, or a Gen X’er??? (After all everyone else calls themselves by their age, too?) Why not call yourself ESFJ, or INTJ – for those familiar with the Myers Briggs personality inventory?

Because, simply put but complexly true, according to Jesus Christ and the God Revealed in Him, you are not any of those things! You certainly may exhibit some of those traits but…

 Your old life is dead. Your new life, which is your real life—even though invisible to spectators—is with Christ in God. He is your life. When Christ (your real life, remember) shows up again on this earth, you’ll show up, too—the real you, the glorious you. Meanwhile, be content with obscurity, like Christ.

– Colossians 3:3-4 (The Msg)

According to Jesus, from the Father and through the Holy Spirit in the Apostle Paul, that’s why you shouldn’t identify as just any old “thing”, or even as your own thing! So if you’re struggling with your identity, it is probably because you’ve forgotten, or never knew the Truth God points out  through this scripture:

1.) Your identity is not in some thing (your sexual attraction, your skin color, your political party or age), it is in Someone outside yourself, namely, in Jesus Christ, in God. You’re going to have to look outside yourself in the first instance to discover your identity! You should receive and look to Jesus because your real life is hidden in him. Your true humanity is hidden in him. He is your life! (By the way, what largely remains hidden to you now is the glorified humanity Jesus has for you; the humanity that will never die and is incorruptible. What isn’t hidden is all of the other stuff revealed and witnessed to about Jesus in the bible!)

2.) If you’re going to receive who you really are, you’re going to have to follow Jesus and let him show and tell you. Because he is a Person and you are a person, that means discovering your identity is not static but dynamic, or relational and active. Identity is not a thing that can be discovered in isolation from others (as in “I’m a hermit”). Your identity is a discovery that comes in relationship with Jesus and the God Revealed in Him.

3.) One of the greatest and common places Jesus is pleased to meet you is in the scriptures! Perhaps you, personally, are having more clarity about your identity through the scripture just quoted. It wouldn’t surprise me! This Relational God – Father, Son and Spirit is the one who inspired and left us these books we call the bible through which he would encounter us and witness to himself! If you like reading books, he left you quite a few to catch up on! Lol! If you are getting clarity about your identity through the scripture notice that we went to a passage through which God has been pleased to witness to himself (though He’s NOT the bible!) Through that passage he was pleased to speak to you not only about who he is but also about who you really are!

4.) Notice also that this isn’t a scripture only about you, it’s about every one of us! Because of who we are speaking of, Jesus, the God/Man and One who created and sustains every single person, your fellow human beings also have their identity in Him! Jesus is literally the One Human for all! Pointedly, this means you should seek to see your neighbor also for who they are in Jesus who represents all humans in his humanity, namely, your brother or sister, or neighbor in Christ!

Imagine for one moment how transformed our world would be if we referred to all others as “brother” or “sister” or “neighbor” “in Christ” rather than the things I noted in my first few sentences? Can you see the difference that would make in our treatment of each other? Can you sense the other-centered love in humility that could thrive, and the self-centered pride that could die? Wow!!!

By the way, none of this means that you become Jesus or that he becomes you! No! He will still be Jesus and you will still be distinctly you. It does mean that Jesus intends to share with you his awesome and glorified human nature so you can relate with God and each other in a way that partakes of the divine nature, as one made in the image of his image in Jesus (2 Cor 4:4)! His life reveals what it really means to be human and those who trust him get to participate in that!

Here’s the link to a GREAT read through which I was encountered by God – Father, Son and Spirit and got stirred to write this article:  http://www.livingout.org/why-not-say-you-re-gay-

As author Jonathan Berry writes in his last paragraph:

“We’re often warned of the dangers of identity theft in an increasingly digital age. As a Christian I feel passionately that I don’t want to allow myself to be robbed of the enjoyment of these great blessings, by falsely embracing any other identity. In his letter to Christians in Rome, Paul urges his readers not to “conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind” (Romans 12:2). For me, a really important aspect of that mind-renewal process involves ditching any unbiblical labels and securing my true identity as being in Christ.” (underline emphasis mine!)

Amen!

– tjbrassell

*photo courtesy of rhemafromgod.blogspot.com

 

The Triune God Whose Plan Involves Suffering

Genesis 37-39 The Suffering God

https://trinityandhumanity.files.wordpress.com/2016/05/04-17-16-the-triune-god-whose-plan-involves-suffering-genesis-37-39-tah.mp3”

Theological Theme: God is sovereign over our lives, and He uses suffering and injustice to accomplish His plans in and through us.

Christ Connection: Joseph suffered unjustly and was later exalted to a place of prominence. In a similar manner, Jesus suffered unjustly and was later raised from the dead and exalted as Lord of the world.

Missional Application: God calls us to trust Him to fulfill His promises because when obstacles appear to thwart His mission, God is faithful to use even the obstacles as part of His plan to bring glory to His Son.

The Triune God Who Gives New Names!

Genesis 32 The Triune God Who Gives New Names

https://trinityandhumanity.files.wordpress.com/2016/05/16-04-10-the-triune-god-who-gives-new-names-gen-32-35-tah-guest-vinson.mp3”

Theological Theme: Encountering God leads to a fundamental change of identity and purpose.

Christ Connection: God’s renaming of individuals in the Old Testament reflects both privilege and responsibility. As Christians, we bear the name of Christ. We receive both the privilege of salvation and the responsibility of mission.

Missional Application: God calls us to live in a manner worthy of the name we have received so that others may praise God for His transforming power.

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!

 

 

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

fellowship2

On this 4th Sunday after Pentecost, Pastor Timothy Brassell of  New Life Fellowship of Baltimore, Proclaims the GOOD NEWS of The God Revealed in Jesus Christ in the continuation of pt. 5 of this Gospel Series, entitled, “Why Jesus’ Church Fellowships More And More!” and continues to show through Hebrews 10: 1-25  and 1 Thessalonians 2 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:

  • Through a quote by Deitrich Bonhoeffer that “the Christian needs another Christian who speaks God’s Word to him. He needs him again and again when he becomes uncertain and discouraged, for by himself he cannot help himself without belying the truth. He needs his brother man as a bearer and proclaimer of the divine word of salvation. He needs his brother solely because of Jesus Christ. The Christ in his own heart is weaker than the Christ in the word of his brother; his own heart is uncertain, his brother’s is sure.”  Life Together, p.22-23. This is why we meet. We were meant to hear the Gospel proclaimed to us!
  • There are many pressures placed on us, especially on fathers, because of society’s myth which is that the primary goal of life is the American work ethic and how it will give you power and save you, especially since our jobs are where we get our paychecks, or livelihoods.
  • A more detailed answer to the question: “How do we sort out our calling to the Body of Christ and our calling to our Civic Responsibilities including our jobs?”  Specifically we understand the responses to that question to be that:    
    • (1) In this world we have dual responsibilities and they relate around one true center – JESUS CHRIST, so we should NOT rank our responsibilities but prioritize CHRIST IN ALL OUR RESPONSIBILITIES!  
    • (2) We should NOT conceive of our job or the Body of Christ as independent of one another because in Christ, the Kingdom of God has broken into THIS AGE so that Jesus has the SAME END RESULT for BOTH YOUR SPIRITUAL LIFE AND YOUR WORK LIFE!
  • Jesus IS our Work and our Ethic even if that appears confusing or troubling to us! Our Identity IS in Him! The right thing to do is whatever God is doing through us, in participation with Jesus and in the Holy Spirit.  We not only live FOR Jesus, but we also live FROM Jesus!

Listen and understand more clearly that we can and need to think of our participation in life as DUAL CITIZENS who relate in our dual roles around the One Center of reality: Jesus!

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

fellowship2

https://trinityandhumanity.files.wordpress.com/2015/06/15-06-14-why-jesus-church-fellowships-more-and-more-pt-5a-hebrews-10-tah.mp3

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!

 

The Good News Of Restorative Justice!

restorative justice

 In this Gospel message entitled “THE GOOD NEWS OF RESTORATIVE JUSTICE!” guest speaker, Mako Nagasawa, Proclaims the GOOD NEWS of The God Revealed in Jesus Christ at New Life Fellowship of Baltimore! Mako proclaims God’s vision for GENEROUS giving and the importance of Jesus giving us A NEW HUMANITY, EMPOWERING US to bring more of His JUSTICE and LOVE into this world!

In this message we understand that:

  • God has a GREAT vision for EVERY kind of relationship including Economic and Political relationships, and involving Historic Injustice. He has been very specific with us, biblically, about what that should look like on the lending and borrowing of money by fostering good banking practices, and opposing bad banking practices!
  • Jesus took OUR HUMANITY to himself and, by His Spirit, shares with us a new humanity that filters out the toxins in us such as fear, jealousy,and grief, enabling us to reach out to the poor in mercy, forgiving others their debts even as we have been forgiven our debts from God our Father.
  • We are called to manifest the LOVE and RELATIONSHIP that exists within the TRIUNE GOD, and extend THAT kind of love to others; that love looks like the Father stirring up in us a deep concern and right way about how to care for each other in our communities and through the difficult times many people have fallen into!

Check out this practically challenging message!

 

photo compliments http://www.davisvanguard.org

 

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