Archive for the ‘participating with God’ Tag

The Most Important Priority For Everyone Everywhere! Part 1 (Our Christian/Biblical Worldview)

Part 1A:

Part 1B:

Full Message:

Bible Verses: Colossians ( Various Scriptures)


Over the past few Gospel messages we’ve been sharing in the mind of Jesus Christ by reading through the book of Colossians and seeking to grasp all that the Father inspired to be written for the Christians living there under His leading! We have been beholding the complexity of the Father, Son and Spirit’s oversight and purpose for everything, everywhere! Understanding His loving care and concern for our faith, hope and love in Him!  Trusting Him for His loving care and concern for His Church, His Kingdom, and the World at large. Receiving His loving care and concern for all created things as Reconciler and Redeemer of each and all of us who have been negatively impacted by evil and are in a state of recovery from the Fall in Christ our Lord!

We’ve been seeking to understand and have God’s view of what it means to live in and amongst all this complexity, even as the Colossian church members were, too! We are hearing the call of the Lord to continue to let the Truth of our Being (Jesus Christ!) be the Way of our Being, participating with him in his earthly historical life!

Theological Theme:

In Astounding and Inclusive Love the Father has sent and given humanity His Son and Word (Jesus), and gives us His Holy Spirit, that all of humanity might share in His Fellowship as Father, Son and Spirit! How do we receive, trust and live out this relationship in the complex situation going on around us? How do we honor and love God and neighbor while we are still in a becoming state of being more like Jesus? In Colossae, and like us, they were believers who are seeking to relate with Jesus and seeking to understand the Jewish/Christian connections of faith in Jesus Christ! At the same time they are also working, living, and breathing in a particular secular culture that had businesses, educational institutions, gossip, industry, various religions, and therefore various idols and powerful influences that threatened to attack and undermine their faith and trust in Christ!

“Human beings are fallen and therefore subject to temptation and being deceived by evil influences. Fallen, we are also inveterate self-justifiers seeking to maintain our own autonomous righteousness (ethics) apart from the gift of God received by repentance and faith upon hearing the proclamation of the Gospel of Jesus Christ by the ministry of the Holy Spirit.” – Dr. Gary Deddo.

Abba, Father, help and save us through this tension through our Lord Jesus Christ, by Your Spirit!

Christ Connection:

The Good News of the Gospel is that Christ has already overcome this tension, and our fallenness, through his obedience to His Father by the Spirit, from inside our broken human nature. He has turned our human nature around and back to the Father! From his place of Ascension as a glorified human being he now sends, and we receive freely, the Holy Spirit he sends from the Father, giving us a share in his overcoming power through his very own faith and trust poured out in us!

“For the Lord touched all parts of creation, and freed and undeceived them all from every deceit.”
― St. Athanasius, On the Incarnation

Missional Application:

Jesus is the only hope for all, not just Christians! As Jesus encounters and empowers us believers in our relationship with him, we call upon pre-believers to place their faith and trust in Jesus by the Spirit – calling on them to repent, be baptized, deny themselves and pick up their cross, following Jesus!

“The problem of pursing a life of moral faithfulness is not simply a matter of discerning what God’s will is—as if simply knowing it, figuring it out, takes care of it. The barriers are much greater. No earnest pursuit of moral faithfulness to Jesus Christ will come to fruition unless the Holy Spirit in conjunction with the Word of God, breaks down our resistance to the Word and the Spirit and kills our self-justifying pride that resists repentance and faith in Jesus Christ and his Word.” – Dr. Gary Deddo

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Becoming An Ethically Responsible Christian Disciple! Part 4 (Our Christian/ Biblical Worldview)

Part 4A:

Part 4B:

Full Message:

Bible Verses: Colossians (various scriptures)


In Jesus, God’s Elect One, you and every other person you know have been elected/chosen to be at the highest place of honor and privilege possible for a human being, participating with Jesus in his union and relationship with His Father, in the Holy Spirit. In fact, all of what it means to be truly and fully human is seated, truly and mysteriously, with the Father, and in Jesus who share in our humanity. Jesus represents and substitutes for each and all of us human beings before the Father not so we don’t have to participate but so that we can, with him!

Theological Theme:

Because of the Reality of Jesus in our humanity, now glorified, we are invited and urged to share more deeply in in the humanity of Christ by the Spirit Christ than in the divided humanity of those who reject God! In the worshipful and relational way of Jesus, we who trust and believe in him, prioritize and live out the Great Command to love God with our all, first, and then, at His direction and lead in the Spirit, to love our neighbors as ourselves.

As the late George MacDonald has written: “God can no more than an earthly parent be content to have only children: he must have sons and daughters—children of his soul, of his spirit, of his love—not merely in the sense that he loves them, or even that they love him, but in the sense that they love like him, love as he loves. For this he does not adopt them; he dies to give them himself, thereby to raise his own to his heart; he gives them a birth from above; they are born again out of himself and into himself.” ― George MacDonald

Christ Connection:

There is a call from the Father for us to be different and to be transformed in Christ in the Holy Spirit; to begin and keep becoming and growing up in Him, right here and right now! To keep sharing in the mind of Christ about our world, that we are forever going to be relating with and oversee with Jesus in a larger more fulfilling way! We’re not in a pretend mode right now just because everything here on earth will one day be transformed! In believers, and by the Holy Spirit, Jesus has an earthly body that still resides in our present history, interacting with his Father and our neighbors in love. Obeying Jesus right now is as vital as it was vital when he actually walked the earth in his distinct human body because he is the Risen Lord and still has an ongoing and present ministry!

Missional Application:

Jesus, being our Great Ethic, has pointed out what it means to participate with him in relation to God and our neighbor:

A lawyer asked [Jesus] a question to test him. “Teacher, which commandment in the law is the greatest?” He said to him, “‘You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind.’ This is the greatest and first commandment. And a second is like it: ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets.” (Matt. 22:35-40, NRSV)

As Dr. Gary Deddo points out in his article “Theological Ethics”:

“When we love God with all we are and have, there shines forth a reflection of it towards those who are not God. We love God because God first loved us (1 John 4:19). Our love for God is a response, the right and appropriate response, to God’s love for us. We first receive God’s love and we first love God. When we love the neighbor in the way God would have us, then like Jesus, we are passing on to others what we have received from God. Think of the offering of the Lord’s Supper and Paul’s words: “For I received from the Lord what I also handed on to you” (1 Cor. 11:23). In God’s economy, we can pass on only what we have first received. First things must remain first, otherwise, as C.S. Lewis reminds us, we will lose both the first and the second things.”

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Gift of Giving

I was part of an amazing supernatural experience a few weeks ago that took place in my office.

I have a client who lost her husband a few years ago.  They had been in my office several times over several years and I felt like I lost a dear friend when he passed away.  As he declined in health we discussed God, heaven, and other topics, and grew close together in the process.  We even found some time to discuss financial matters when needed.  Since his passing I’ve had the opportunity to continue building our relationship with his widow as I administer their Trust account.

Back in 1996 her husband fell over from a heart attack on the golf course.  There happened to be a young deputy sheriff nearby who ran over and through mouth-to-mouth resuscitation was able to bring him back to life.  They were forever grateful.  The young deputy was forever humble.  For years they tried to give him a gift to express their thanks for the extra years they were able to spend together and he refused.  Said he was just doing his job.  Said their thanks was plenty enough.

My client being the determined lady that she is just couldn’t let it go and asked for my assistance to locate him.  She was amazed and thankful when I came up with his address (where would we be without Google?).  She sought my guidance about pressing him on what he may need, and how we might structure the gift.  I offered my counsel and she went to his home and arranged lunch with him and his family.  She once again expressed her thanks and asked what she could do, now in honor of her deceased husband to thank him.  This time he said he’d think about it.

She arranged an appointment with him in my office to discuss what she might do for him.  We got together and he expressed how hard it was, once again, to accept anything for this event that happened in his early twenties.  I was impressed with his humble attitude.  He went on to say that he had sought counsel from his pastor and discussed it with his wife and came up with only three present needs.  He was no longer working on the force and had taken a teaching job while he pursued a degree from seminary.  He originally thought his tuition was covered by another source, but when he discovered it wasn’t, at his pastor’s urging he agreed to meet.

His needs were simple.  Cover his future tuition at seminary and what he had already paid; a replacement vehicle (used, not new) since his was in need of repair; and their mortgage on a modest home.  He once again indicated anything she gave him would be helpful.

My client told him she wasn’t going to do everything, but put a significant number on the table that she would give.  Our recipient friend didn’t know what to say.  My eyes started to tear up.  She looked at me and asked how we go about doing this.  I suggested that since there was enough we should cover the tuition and used vehicle purchase, and apply the remainder to the mortgage.  Once again, he didn’t know what to say, but the gratitude in his eyes said it all.  I couldn’t help but say this is a direct gift from God and he has provided my client with the opportunity to participate in that gift.  They readily agreed.  My eyes teared even more.  I couldn’t hold them back.  I had been in the midst of greatness.

When the Holy Spirit moves us to participate in what Jesus is doing, it’s an amazing thing.  When we simply observe as a bystander what Jesus is doing we sense somehow that it is supernatural.  God loves his children, and at times chooses to provide for their needs in an amazing way.  We can’t always answer why him versus her, but we can always trust in his love, and when moved to participate, provide and experience the gift of giving.

~ by Craig Kuhlman

The Art of Worship

Misc. 2013 011 One of my favorite places to visit is the Chicago Art Institute.  We usually make an annual trek to downtown Chicago as part of our anniversary celebration, and I always look forward to seeing my “friends” at the Art Institute.

These “friends” aren’t living, breathing people, but instead are a pieces of artwork found there, specifically the work of the artists known as “The Impressionists.”  Each time I visit, I receive encouragement from viewing these renowned works of art.  I’ve often jokingly referred to the Art Institute as my “church,” as I often feel a sense of peace and worship there, as well as a profound sense of the Triune God.

Perhaps this sense of the presence of God comes from the quiet atmosphere (which in turn, quiets my own heart), but after reflecting on my experience there, I think it has more to do with the works of art being a tangible expression of worship and participation in God’s creative nature.  As I take in the beauty of the artists’ use of color and see the brush strokes and texture of the paint, I witness the give and take that occurs in worship.

Far too often, we believe that worship must take the form of words – spoken or written or sung.  Sometimes it does. Unfortunately, those who lack musical or oratorical eloquence feel left out, as if they must rely on others to properly worship. But the most effective and expressive worship, I think, comes as an outpouring of God through us, utilizing our individual personalities and eccentricities.

The Father, Son, and Holy Spirit are the source of creativity and have created us with that spark, the desire to create beauty and order and good around us.  Worship is an expression of this creative nature, and it  is not confined to church but reaches into every corner of our lives.  Whenever we create, we are participating with God and providing evidence of his goodness and love.

It’s easy to see that in great works of art or in music sung at church, but we must realize that the Triune God seeks expression in all areas of our lives, even the most mundane or seemingly secular.  Several years ago, I heard an interview of the Christian music artist Michael Card.  He recounted one summer day when he was driving somewhere, all windows down, enjoying a Doobie Brothers song on the radio.  He said he felt God’s presence with him, and his first inclination was to turn off the Doobie Brothers song out of reverence.  But the Holy Spirit convicted him that the joy he was experiencing as he took in the beautiful day with that music was a participation in the very joy of the Father, Son, and Spirit.

In Phillipians 4:8, we are to encouraged to think about:Misc. 2013 014

… whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable–if anything is excellent or praiseworthy–think about such things (NIV).

I always looked at this verse as a preventive measure – after all, if I was busy thinking about these things, I wouldn’t be so  inclined to sin.  But now I see this verse as an encouragement to notice and think about anything that is true, beautiful, and good, because that’s evidence of God’s presence and participation.  Our activity which manifests these traits is our response (worship) to God’s work in our lives.

Categorizing our lives limits our worship to only that which occurs at a church.  But much of a person’s life takes place outside church walls, and most of it seemingly has no religious significance .  I would suggest that for those who love to cook, a family meal can be an act of worship. Clean laundry and an organized home can be an expression of worship.   As we  serve others through our occupation, this can be an offering of worship and a participating with God.

We can begin to appreciate the worship and participation that occur each and every day in our own lives, and then we also can begin to recognize, just like I did at the Art Institute, how God is participating in the unique expressions of worship offered by others.

~by Nan Kuhlman 

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