Archive for the ‘Spirituality’ Tag

Gospel Intensive: Spirituality, Last Things, and The Kingdom of God!

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Jesus tells to seek the kingdom of God before anything else. That sounds exciting and meaningful. But what does that mean? How do we go about it? Pursuing those questions requires exploring the question: Who is Jesus Christ in relationship to the world and its history? If Jesus Christ is Lord of time and space, and all of history, then out of that center our whole understanding of spirituality and eschatology [last things] is transformed and renewed!

Audio Part 1:  “https://trinityandhumanity.files.wordpress.com/2016/06/4-30-16-spirituality-eschatology-and-the-kingdom-of-god-pt-1-dr-gary-deddo.mp3”

Audio Part 2: “https://trinityandhumanity.files.wordpress.com/2016/06/4-30-16-spirituality-eschatology-and-the-kingdom-of-god-pt-2-dr-gary-deddo.mp3”

Audio Part 3: “https://trinityandhumanity.files.wordpress.com/2016/06/4-30-16-spirituality-eschatology-and-the-kingdom-of-god-pt-3-dr-gary-deddo.mp3”

Audio Part 4: “https://trinityandhumanity.files.wordpress.com/2016/06/4-30-16-spirituality-eschatology-and-the-kingdom-of-god-pt-4-dr-gary-deddo.mp3”

Audio Part 5 Questions and Responses: “https://trinityandhumanity.files.wordpress.com/2016/06/4-30-16-spirituality-eschatology-and-the-kingdom-of-god-pt-5-qr-dr-gary-deddo.mp3”

Be Encouraged: Part of Your Problem is Simply Infancy!

Ali and MikeIf you are much of a sportsman, or have at least watched much TV in the last 40 years, you probably recognize the man holding the baby in this picture!

That’s right – it’s “The Greatest”, former world famous heavyweight boxing champion of the world, Muhammad Ali! The “little” infant baby that most of you probably do not recognize in this picture is Michael Brassell, otherwise known as my 4th youngest brother, Mike.

Can you believe it?

Before he could think about it much, barely say “da-da”, or even appreciate it (by the almost-in-tears-get-me-outta-here look on his face!), Mike was sitting in the lap of, and being embraced by, “The Greatest!” Ha-Ha! I can see the Gospel lights going on in your head as you see where I am headed!

Though I have seen this picture many times in my life, it was sent to me by one of my aunts just yesterday in order for me to format in a special way and send off to my brother Mike. Mike is being prepared to be interviewed in New York with a producer who wants to hear more about our famous dad Rufus Brassell and see some pictures. Of course, Mike, is very excited to talk about our father, a former heavyweight boxer and champion in his own right, and the wonderful experiences he got to share in because of my dad’s relationship with exciting figures such as Muhammad.

In the light of Jesus Christ as the One in whom all people are adopted and included in his relationship with his Father, in the Communion of the Spirit, I couldn’t help but see in this picture a part of the problem we have in receiving the Good News.

In a word, Infancy!

This should be a source of Gospel encouragement to most of us! In part, it explains some of the problems you have in grasping theology and its “simple”, but also sometimes complex explanations and implications.

In other words, you aren’t always misunderstanding the Good News of the Gospel because you are a “simpleton”, “idiot”, “not smart”, “theologically dumb”, or “one whose elevator doesn’t go all the way to the top floor” or any of the many other negative things we and others say that go against the Truth of our real selves in Christ! Part of the problem is that we are simply still too young to understand the full implications of profound truths.

The Gospel and scriptures say that all of humanity (including YOU), is seated in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus (Eph 2:6), and yet it is admittedly very hard to receive that Truth considering what most of us have been taught most of our lives about God. The Good News of humanity’s adoption into the life of the Trinity is as hard to receive as my brother above is finding it hard to receive that he is being embraced by, and sitting in the lap of, “The Greatest!” And for some of the same reasons in my opinion. Mike, simply, is not having or hearing it in his infancy!

Now, this doesn’t mean that Mike is not sitting there in the lap of “The Greatest!”, because we can all see that he is!

It’s not that it isn’t exciting to sit in the lap of the greatest, because NOW Mike is excited about it, loving it up and sharing his real experience with others, PROUDLY! But what has changed, causing him to smile about it now versus cry about it then? He’s gone from infancy to being grown-up!

What is going on in the picture is really simple…for grown-ups! Mike is sitting in the lap of greatness – lucky duck!; but not in Mike’s opinion at the time. He was simply too young to realize what was going on, (although we know from scientific fact that the most important thing was going on in Mike seeing that he was somewhere between 1 and 3 years old. It is between those ages that I hear tell we learn and pick up more than we ever will for the rest of our natural lives.) In a certain way, Mike was learning more about Muhammad than he could ever speak!

It is the same for you and me! What is going on in the big picture of our lives is really simple…for grown-ups like Jesus!

In Him, you and I are sitting in the lap of greatness – lucky ducks!; but not always in our opinion. We’re simply too young to realize what is really going on, (although we know from the fact of the Holy Spirit sent to all men that the most important thing is going on within us, seeing that we are the Father’s adopted children in Jesus! It is during this age that I hear tell we are learning and picking up more than we realize! John 16:12-15!)

Considering that we were all born again and included in the Life of the Trinity in Jesus just a little over 2000 years ago, I think it is fair to think of ourselves as infants! Ha! I mean, if Peter can say through simile that one thousand years with man is as one day with God the Trinity, then we are potentially only a couple days old in a certain manner of speaking! Ha-Ha! No wonder we don’t always grasp the Good News so easily!

But just as my dad Rufus in his relationship with us, and Muhammad Ali, shared the picture of this truth with Mike and all the rest of his family until we could grow up, receive and believe it, Jesus will share with YOU His Relationship with all things till you grow up, receive and believe it!

Phil 3:15

Let those of us then who are mature be of the same mind; and if you think differently about anything, this too God will reveal to you.

~ by Timothy Brassell

Life (and Christianity) is for the “Birds”!

Everywhere I turn, lately, that is the message I have been getting!

On this very blog, in the form of a Trinitarian paraphrase, John Stonecypher translated Matthew 6:25-30 in the following way:

(25) The secret is this: Just chill out.  Really.  Don’t even stress about the necessities of life, like food and clothing.  To worry is to be out-of-touch with the real world.  (26) Birds know this.  They don’t even have jobs; they just enjoy feasting every day from Papa’s own hand.  Can you imagine the possibility that he cares for you at least that much? (27) Worrying – even about the basics of life – is a complete waste of time.  (30) Flowers live for a day, and Papa clothes them wondrously for that whole day. Can you imagine the possibility that he just might take such good care of you?  Can you look outside your blindness, see with my eyes and glimpse the truth?

So THAT’S why the birds fly so freely (and the flowers grow so beautiful and quickly), they are “allowing” the Father to take care of everything and meet every need!

I am currently in a class at Grace Communion Seminary entitled “The Practice of Ministry”, and guess what one of the main reading assignments is? That’s right – a book entitled The Crucifixion of Ministry! In this book we are being taught that there is only one ministry, the ministry of Jesus Christ. We are not called to have or do our own ministry, but only to participate in Jesus’ ministry as He (Jesus) does it! Andrew Purves quotes Thomas Merton from his book entitled New Seeds of Contemplation, and writes,

“How does an apple ripen? It sits in the sun.” That was Merton’s metaphor for Christian piety. We are to abide in, rest in, and have our home deeply in Jesus. It is that easy… One of the most difficult aspects of piety is learning that in a sense, there is nothing we need to do. ~ The Crucifixion of Ministry, p. 119.

Talk about a pastoral ministry and life yoke that is more easy! UNDERSTATEMENT!

Finally, I have been re-inspired in my 2nd reading of Robert Farrar Capon’s book The Foolishness of Preaching with these helpful thoughts resulting from the scandal of the Gospel:

For in the end, nothing counts, and nothing alone counts, in the drawing of his Love and the voice of his Calling. Even your faith doesn’t matter. I mean that. Your faith may make a difference to you – to your enjoyment of the divine comedy you’re selling tickets to, and the hilarity of your pitches for it. But it doesn’t matter to God. He’s assured you that he’s brought the scenario of creation and redemption to its conclusion all by himself, without assistance from you or anybody. You may believe in him or not believe in him. You may trust him on Monday, Wednesday, and Friday, and decide he is full of baloney on Tuesday, Thursday, and Saturday. And on Sunday, you may proclaim your faith in him, or prattle on about your erudition, or indulge your talent for quoting second-rate poetry. Or you can call in sick. But none of it will hold even an unlit candle to what he has done for you. ~ The Foolishness of Preaching, pp. 28-29

It is probably by grasping this subject that GK Chesterton is quoted as saying, “Angels fly because they take themselves lightly.”

Ha-Ha! I think I am finally getting the point and want to live more and more like the birds! How about you????

~ Timothy Brassell

FOR US and For Our Salvation

Why did the Son of God become the man Jesus? Are you seeking assurance, peace, and confidence in your soul?

You do not want to miss this audio post, it’s a 13 min. discussion of the Father’s plan of adoption and how he has included us all in the Triune Life through his Son Jesus Christ. It will baptize your soul in assurance.

FOR US and For Our Salvation by Tim Brassell

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