Archive for the ‘Peace’ Tag

Let’s Get TWO-gether With Jesus And Go!, pt.3

Two by Two Going Out With Jesus

https://trinityandhumanity.files.wordpress.com/2016/01/15-12-27-lets-get-two-gether-with-jesus-and-go-pt-3-matt-9-10-tah.mp3”

In this last and year-end message in a series about discerning God’s vision for His congregation at New Life Fellowship of Baltimore. MD., we continue asking “How is Jesus speaking to us RIGHT NOW through these scriptures and directing us in His mission locally?”

This message of God’s Good News continues to get very specific about what participation with Christ looks like for us in this world! It asks and discerns: Where and with whom do we begin? How do we address healing in our day as we proclaim Jesus? How should we steward Jesus’ money, and how will we live in Jesus’ peace – on mission with him – as sinners in THIS broken world?

The message can be summarized in this quote:

“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.” – Dietrich Bonhoeffer, 1934 [Renate Bethge’s Dietrich Bonhoeffer: A Brief Life]

Come check it out and walk with us!

Let’s Get TWO-gether With Jesus And Go!, pt.2

Two by Two Going Out With Jesus

https://trinityandhumanity.files.wordpress.com/2015/12/15-12-13-lets-get-two-gether-with-jesus-and-go-pt-2-matt-9-10-tah.mp3”

In this vision message of God’s Good News at New Life Fellowship of Baltimore. MD., we continue asking “How is Jesus speaking to us through these scriptures and directing us in His mission for our congregation, locally, today?”

This message gets way more specific about HOW we will participate with Christ in light of these insights:

1.) Sin is primarily personal and relational and, therefore, so is its repair!

2.) Isaac WAS Abraham’s special child but he did not drop down from heaven! He came through the cooperation and participation of both Abraham and Sarah. God will do the work,  BUT with New Life’s cooperation and participation!

3.) We haven’t witnessed to those we don’t know until we have witnessed to those we don’t know!

You’re invited, and encouraged, to listen in! Maybe Jesus is talking to you and your congregation in similar ways too!

 

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

Let’s Get TWO-gether With Jesus And Go!

Two by Two Going Out With Jesus

https://trinityandhumanity.files.wordpress.com/2015/12/15-12-06-lets-get-two-gether-with-jesus-and-go-luke-9-10-tah.mp3”

In this message of God’s Good News New Life Fellowship of Baltimore. MD. is being moved in the Spirit to hear from Jesus as He sends forth His disciples to live and share the Good News with as many people as possible. Specifically we are reading Matthew 10, Mark 6, and Luke 9-10, and asking “How is Jesus speaking to us through these scriptures and directing us in His mission for our congregation, today?”

You’re invited, and encouraged, to listen in! Maybe He’s talking to you and your congregation in this way too!

Jesus, Facebook, and Me

  The Monday after Easter Sunday this year, Jesus posted this on my Facebook timeline:

Nan, you know your personal hell? It has left the building. Just you and me now. Peace, dear woman.

I’m sure you’re wondering if I made this up, but it’s true.  Jesus Benyosef has a Facebook account.  For those skeptics, all I can tell you is that there is a Jesus Benyosef, a John TheBaptist Benzachar, Andrew Barjonas, Mary and Martha Bethan, John MacZebedee, and a whole host of others who appear to be “walking through the gospel” in real time, or at least, Facebook time.  They talk about biblical events as if they are happening present-day and do so in present-day language, allowing us “friends” to participate in the gospel events with them.

I was surprised by Jesus Benyosef’s message to me, and even more surprised by my immediate response to it.  I was in my office at school when I checked my Facebook account (instructors have to take breaks, too), and immediately, my eyes began to fill with tears.  Had I been at home, I probably would have had a good cry.

This  puzzled me, because I have a very good and happy life, and while I have had a few seasons of “personal hells,”  right now I’m in the clear.  So why did I start to cry at the suggestion of Jesus that my personal hell has left the building?

After some reflection, I think the reason that Jesus Benyosef’s kind words affected me was because they reminded me of words I had heard before, yet they were communicated in today’s language:

Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you.  I do not give to you as the world gives.  Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid. (John 14:27, NIV).

Despite the different wording, I know that these words are true both now and in the future, whenever I need them.  And given that I live in a frail and fallen world, I’m sure that there will come a time when I will hold on to these words again tightly, knowing that the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit are meeting me where I am, in all my brokenness, and encouraging me in language that I can relate to.  Jesus isn’t stuck in King James land, unable to talk to a 21st-century me.  He is here; he is now; he is relevant.

I like having Jesus as a friend, on Facebook and in life, because he knows how it feels to be human, yet he knows how to deliver comfort from the Father through the Holy Spirit in just the right way at just the right time. His words of comfort aren’t limited to just the Bible but can come through a song, a written note, or even a Facebook timeline post from a friend.

Jesus Benyosef’s words on my timeline are true for you, too:

(insert your name here), you know your personal hell? It has left the building. Just you and me now. Peace, dear friend.

 ~by Nan Kuhlman

Big Government

Some good friends of mine went to D.C. last weekend to protest big government – which I really respect. They have the courage to voice their convictions and speak up when they want their government to change.

Their trip got me to thinking about big government. One of the biggest of big government programs is the military and pretty much the most expensive thing we’re doing as a country right now is waging war in Iraq and Afghanistan. Ending those wars and cutting military spending in half would be a huge step forward in reducing the size of government.

It seems like there’s a very militaristic streak in American society.

Generally, Americans hate big government but when it comes to armies and wars we generally say “the bigger the better!”

Thinking about this also got me to thinking about this picture again, a picture I first linked to in a blog post on my old Neo-Reformation blog back in February.

When I look at that picture I feel like I’m seeing the very antithesis of big government warfare and I wonder when we as Christians will start to see the world more like that picture than we do now.

Just some food for thought.

~ Jonathan Stepp

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