Archive for the ‘Religion’ Tag

The Father Of Two Lost Sons!


Part 1a: 23 min


Part 1b: 18 min


Full Message:


Main Passage: Luke 15:11-32

“Jesus told a famous parable of a loving father with two lost sons. In the characters’ attitudes and actions, we see a picture of human sinfulness, the grace-filled posture of God, and the deadliness of self-righteousness. Like the original listeners of this parable, we are called not to resent God’s grace but to celebrate God’s goodness in embracing any sinner who repents. ” – The Gospel Project

Theological Theme:

God- Father, Son, and Spirit, rejoices whenever a sinner returns to Him in repentance.

Christ Connection:

The Pharisees and scribes criticized Jesus for His practice of welcoming and dining with sinners. The stories He told in response to their criticism focused on God’s joy over sinners coming to repentance. The God who seeks and saves the lost is Jesus, the Savior whose search-and-rescue mission is accomplished at great personal cost to Himself.

Missional Application:

God, through His Holy Spirit, calls us not to resent His grace toward others but to celebrate the Father’s goodness in welcoming any repentant sinner home.

“A banquet of great joy is provided by this waiting [Father], who is none other than the waiting, running, embracing, partying, and kissing God. The parable describes God’s goodness, grace, boundless mercy and abundant love.”  –Paul John Isaak

“Whoever departs from the Word of God hungers… Whoever leaves treasure lacks. Whoever departs from wisdom is stupefied. Whoever departs from virtue is destroyed. It was fitting that he begin to be in need, because he abandoned the treasures of wisdom and the knowledge of God.” –Ambrose (circa 339-397)

Photo Compliments: Yesterday’s Prophecy, Today’s News 

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

Sharing In Jesus’ Ministry To Those Dealing With Same-sex Attraction, pt.6

Questions and Answers

HERE is the question and answer message in the series many wanted to start with first – finally! – hahaha… Here is also the Good News proclaimed where you can hear, yet again, that you are NOT the “black sheep of the family”, nor the “red-headed stepchild” or any other false identity foisted on to you by yourself or others but are, IN FACT, the son or daughter the Father, Son and Spirit always wanted!!!

Sharing In Jesus’ Ministry To Those Dealing With Same-sex Attraction, pt.5

Jesus Love One Another Darry D

Who and what is it you should remember MOST about this series and  proclamation of God’s Good News? This is what is addressed in this 5th message of this series by Pastor Timothy Brassell at!

Sharing In Jesus’ Ministry To Those Dealing With Same-sex Attraction!, pt. 4

Romans 8

So, as we live between the times of Jesus’ Ascension and His Reappearance: Are the Father, Son and Spirit pessimistic about our present participation in Their sanctification? Are They realistic about it? Is Jesus surprised about our lack of reaching perfection here and now? Is our Father surprised and disappointed at our “lack of progress”? Do our current struggles discourage The Holy Spirit? Is the Triune God of Love expecting you to make and fulfill your promises? Is the Relational God of grace impatient and is all this suffering really worth it? These are the kinds of questions addressed in this 6th message of this series at New Life Fellowship of Baltimore, Maryland.

Sharing In Jesus’ Ministry To Those Dealing With Same-sex Attraction!, pt. 3

No Condemnation

Because there is no condemnation to those who are in Christ, (and all of humanity is “in Christ” in the Person of Jesus and His humanity!), every human being now is genuinely included in God’s Love and Life, UNCONDEMNED BY GOD! But what about the fact that the scriptures clearly point to lifestyles that are acceptable and lifestyles that are not acceptable for human relationships in the light of our inclusion? How do we handle breakdowns in moral behavior in the Church? Join Pastor Tim and New Life Fellowship of Baltimore, Maryland as they discuss this in the glory of the Gospel and Pastor Tim shares a personal story of the impact of the Gospel on one of his gay friends.

Sharing In Jesus’ Ministry To Those Dealing With Same-sex Attraction!, pt. 2

1 Cor 1.18-31 Consider Your Calling

Why and how is it that believers in Jesus Christ can share so marvelously well in His Ministry of Love and Compassion with ALL, including those dealing with same-sex attraction? This is what Pastor Tim Brassell and the congregation at discuss as they are met by the Father, Son and Spirit in this second message in this series!

No ifs…

MP900438811My all-time favourite book on the topic of parenting is Alfie Kohn’s Unconditional Parenting. In it, the author observes that while a parent may indeed love his/her child unconditionally, if he/she focuses on his child’s performance, meting out rewards and punishments accordingly, the child can come to see his parents’ love as conditional – tied to his performance.  Without ever intending to, the message the parent can transmit and the child can receive is, I love you, if…

I love you if you obey/do what I say.

I love you if you perform/excel.

And as Kohn points out, to a child, it’s the message received that is heard, and that matters.

Think for a moment how it feels to a child to believe that his parents’ love for him is tied to his performance – that doing well along the way garners more love and acceptance, and that doing poorly means less love and acceptance. That she is not loved for herself so much as for her compliance and obedience. That parental love can be withdrawn at will.

Perhaps it’s not difficult to imagine, because perhaps this is how you felt, consciously or not, in relation to your own parents. And perhaps, like so many, this is how you have felt in relation to God for most of your life.

The book is a secular one, but on the topic of religion, Kohn notes:

While many religious people equate the idea of unconditionality with aspects of their faith, a case could be made, drawing on the holy books of Christianity and Judaism, that the deities in these religions offer the ultimate in conditional love. Both the Old and New Testaments repeatedly promise extravagant rewards for those who are properly reverent, and horrific punishments for those who aren’t. . . . Do what you’re told; you’ll become rich and get to watch your enemies die. Stray from the faith; you’ll suffer a range of consequences. . . . And for some believers, of course, even more significant blessings or curses await us after death. (102)

This is certainly not what we’re all about at Trinity and Humanity, but I believe that the observation is a fair one. It wasn’t until I encountered Trinitarian theology that I was able to stop seeing God as a distant but micro-managing deity sending blessings when I was “good” and cursings when I was “bad.” Only once I was freed to open my eyes to the fact that his love for me was not tied to my performance in any way – not even in a backhanded or double-edged way – did I truly, finally feel loved. I recognised that that was unconditional love – the only kind there is. Conditional love isn’t really love.

I believe that because God’s love is truly unconditional, I could be…you fill in the blank…and he’d still love me. It’s true he wouldn’t want me to keep hurting myself or others, but he wouldn’t love me more if I did, and less if I didn’t. It surely upsets him greatly to see the pain I cause myself and others. But rather than meting out rewards and punishments in an attempt to modify my behaviour, I believe he continues to work gently in me. Whether or not that work will be finished by the end of my physical life is unlikely, but I believe that it will be finished. The kind of healing we all need to become everything we could and were created to be is unlikely to occur in this life. We have only to look around us to see that this is true, and we only see a fraction of people’s private, hidden struggles. But our greatest hope and expectation is that this life is not all there is or that will be.

What a relief it is to see that there are no prerequisites to his love and acceptance. That because he exists outside of time, he has seen our completion. We may be liars, thieves, murderers and adulterers in this life – but he has seen our future healing and completion. He is the author and finisher of it. So, broken, damaged and imperfect as we are in this life, he sees beyond it to who we are becoming, thanks to him. I really believe he takes great joy in our journeys – our steps forward and even those backwards because it’s all part of the process.

I’m trying to put down my heavy burdens. I am trying to recognise the loud voices in my head that say I am only lovable and acceptable if I do certain things and not others as the divinely vanquished phantoms that they are.  Honestly, I hear them less and less every day.

I see life as an endurance race – not a sprint I need to win or a perilous trek to the summit of Mt Everest. I’m trying to be compassionate to my fellow journeymen with broken feet or legs and broken hearts. There are many and it is all of us to some degree. Jesus walks lovingly with us all at our pace. Someone’s behaviour may look “unChristian” to we who have been raised in the church, but the worst thing we can do, as Christians, is to take potshots at them along the way. Or to gang up on them, “take stands,” and tell them that they must change, if they are to be or feel included.

When we do, we make these people feel alone, unloved, unlovable and not included. But they are not alone, and they are loved and included. If God’s love is unconditional – and that’s the only kind of real love there is – then ours should, to the very best of our ability, be too. If we give someone the feeling that they are only included if, even if it’s not what we mean to do, then we’ve laid a burden at their feet that will only weigh them down in the journey. If God wishes to make them not this or not that, let’s let him do it. That is what it will take. Him, not us. His ways are so often not ours – his are never harsh words and judgement couched in love – not “tough love,” but pure love.

Within the all-encompassing love of the Father, Son and Holy Spirit, there are no ifs. So may it be with us.

~ by Jeannine Buntrock

Why Didn’t God JUST Forgive Us?!, part 4

Forgiveness 1

GOTF6 – Why Didn’t God Just Forgive Us, part 4 (Rom 7.7-25) – TAH

Handout Excerpt: On the Incarnation of the Word of God

In this last message buffet (in what became a series on “Forgiveness”), we are reminded through scripture and St. Athanasius that all of humanity is so forgiven by God the Father, Son and Spirit, that in Jesus Christ He has made death to “disappear from [all of humanity] as utterly as straw from fire”. Now that is Gospel, relational powerful and practical!

Why Didn’t God JUST Forgive Us?! part 3

forgiveness (3)

GOTF5 – Why Didn’t God Just Forgive Us, part 3 (Luke 23.32-37) – TAH

On the Incarnation of the Word of God

In this encouraging Father’s Day message, New Life Fellowship Baltimore continues to wrestle with the question of God’s Forgiveness in the Light of Jesus’ crucifixion response and as the One Who literally represents the heart of the Father, Son and Spirit in our broken flesh! We continue to glean insight from the ancient Church Father Athanasius and his essay “On the Incarnation of the Word of God” (see attached link to follow along).

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