Archive for the ‘Thanksgiving’ Tag

The Life, Death, and Ascension of Jesus

Jesus Birth Life Death Resurrection Ascension

Nothing is more central to the Christian message than the news that Jesus has brought humanity into objective union with the Trinity. The Father, Son, and Spirit, before creation, determined that the life they share in unfettered mutual other-centeredness, would be shared with you, and with me, and with the entire human race. How raucous should be the celebration of our Inclusion!!

I recall 9 years ago coming to terms with my wrong-headed theology. I was ashamed of things I had believed and preached. Reading, like a man stranded on a desert island with only a library of Trinitarian thought to pass the time, I hungrily consumed every book I could get my hands on that focused on the Triune nature of God as the starting point for its theology.

I read new books and old books. I began to see the importance of the Life, Death, and Ascension of Jesus in a new light. I let go of Penal Substitutionary Atonement theory. I no longer saw God the Father as killing Jesus so he wouldn’t have to kill me. I began to scream at Western Evangelical Christian radio and TV. I soon just turned it off! “Jesus is not the only one who loves me!” I thought. “The Father and the Holy Spirit love me too!” You see inside the life, death, and ascension of Jesus, or what we call his finished work, the dream of the Father to have mankind in union with the God-head was accomplished.

Do you see it? Do you see the startling beauty of the purpose and plan of God for humanity? The life, death, and ascension of Jesus are towering over historical humanity from the very beginning beckoning us to wake up and see the beauty of our inclusion into the life of God. We are called to live in it, love in it, laugh and play in it. We are summoned to belief so we might taste and see that the Lord is good. So good in fact that there is nothing you can do to change God’s disposition toward you. There is nothing you can do to make the Father, Son, and Spirit love you more or less. God already loves you with 100% of His being! All that you needed to fit and be adopted into the life of God has already been accomplished in the life, death, and ascension of Jesus…

Well I hope I have not agitated anyone too much. I intentionally left out the word resurrection simply to make the point that we ought to be equally alarmed when we hear people talk about the “life, death, and resurrection of Jesus”. We must never forget how important to us is His Ascension. In fact this blog post was written as an exercise on how sometimes we emphasize the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus to such a degree that we forget about the importance of the ascension of Jesus. This Sunday is Ascension Sunday, when we celebrate with special emphasis, the Ascension of our Lord Jesus. In the Ascension you and I and all of humanity have been seated with Jesus at the right hand of the Father. In the Ascension we have all gone home! We are with the Triune God both here in our present condition and at the same time seated at the throne of God. We need not divide Jesus to such an extent that we focus on one part of him or his ministry to the detriment of others but this year during Ascension week let us be especially thankful that Jesus has brought us all home in his ongoing Incarnation!

~Bill Winn

What Jesus’ Coming Means For Us Today!

Advent Season

On this 1st Sunday Of Advent 2014, Pastor Timothy Brassell of  New Life Fellowship of Baltimore delivers a message of Good News entitled, “What Jesus’ Coming Means For Us Today!” Through Hebrews 10:1-10, he proclaims the GOOD NEWS that GOD THE SON’S COMING IN JESUS IS OUR REALITY, LIFE, and RESURRECTION  and that WE WILL BE FULFILLED BY NOTHING LESS THAN HIM!

In this message we reinforce that:

~ Christ was sacrificed once to take away the sins of ALL and will appear a second time not to bear sin but to bring salvation to those waiting for him.

~ We, IN OUR BROKENNESS, don’t GET to start everything; don’t get to control or guide the outcome of life with our questions and answers. It is our pleasure, our role, to RESPOND IN GRATITUDE to what has been done to us, and INITIATED by GOD FOR US, IN HIS GRACE. GOD, in Christ, and by the Spirit, SHARES THANKSGIVING with us as a human response to HIS GREAT INITIATIVES in our lives!

~ God’s will for the world was for the Son to be born into it as Jesus. The purpose of Jesus Christ was to BE AND DO THE WILL OF GOD AS MAN! It was NEVER put upon anyone other than Jesus to meet the will of God or to meet God’s expectations for Man. We were never meant to carry the burden and impossibility of working out our own adoption and salvation. It was always up to Jesus Christ to meet the expectations of God. We were meant to be dependent on Christ.  It was the will of God to make humanity HOLY – to rule over everything and everywhere under Christ, God himself!  Further, it was the will of the Father to bring us to Glory as his adopted sons and daughters through Jesus Christ and by the Holy Spirit.

~ The Reality of God in Jesus not only stands FOR US, but also against us  and against all other people, things,  and attempts for us to fulfill our own lives and create our own purpose!

~ The Lord wants us to run in the JOY of being sons and daughters and not with the weight of trying to prove that He exists or in our trying to transform the world. He empowers believers to be witnesses and proclaimers of who HE IS, and to be a people of Promise and Hope!

– There are better ways we can take part in Jesus’ Ministry as His Church that will make us more free and less bogged down as we join Jesus in His Mission to His World.

~ Whatever Jesus’ coming means for us TODAY doesn’t mean He isn’t coming in the future, and whatever His coming means for us in the future doesn’t mean He isn’t already here!





Photo Compliments Rio Vista Community Church

The Significance of Thanksgiving!

One of the most beautiful sounds in all the world, to me, is the sound of either or both of my daughters saying “Thank you, Dad!”

They do it quite often, and they do it in a sweet and feminine way in which I can hear, feel, see in their expression, and experience the sincerity! I also experience the joy when I hear them say “Thank You” to others, too, especially their mom. Chances are high that you also like hearing it, especially when it is directed personally to you! Ha-Ha!

Of course, after years of living, we kind of take it for granted that we should hear it, especially after doing something good for someone, and often get offended when we don’t hear it. “Do you mean to tell me that after all that I’ve just done for her, I can’t get so much as a Thank You?! Well I’ll be…..!”, (we’ll often say silently to ourselves!), as some of us even add in the expletives! Am I being real enough??? Ha-Ha!

But Thanksgiving, like love, is not “built in at the factory”, is it?

I mean love can only be love when there is another to share it with. Thanksgiving can only be Thanks-giving when it is shared, and it must be learned from and shared with others. There is a good chance that had you not been taught to say “Thank You” (even indirectly by the example of others), you probably would not have made those words up! You might have experienced good thoughts and feelings but you would not have known what Words to say.

That brings us to the significance of Thanksgiving!

How do you know a good thought when you hear it? How do you know a genuinely good feeling when you feel it? How is it that you participate in Thanksgiving and gratitude?

The reason we all like, and participate in, the words and feelings of Thanksgiving, especially when they are sincere, is because of The Word – Jesus, and His becoming human to share with us His relationship with His Father and Their Holy Spirit! Think about it! When the 2nd Person of the Trinity made human, Jesus, walked among us as God in the flesh, he said “THANK YOU!” to His Father! John 11:41! We know that this communion between the Father and the Son is the communion of the Holy Spirit! 2 Cor 13:14!

So think about this fantastic Thanksgiving Reality:

  • Seeing Jesus the God/Man give Thanks to His Father, in the Spirit, tells us that God has to be a Relationship of Distinct Persons Who do not take each other for granted but express gratitude to each other! After all, believers in Jesus believe that he was the embodiment of the fullness of God in flesh, Col 1:19, 2:9, and was doing in flesh Who God actually is, Heb 1:3!! (Way Cool!!! God does what we do! Ha-Ha!)
  • If humanity participates in Thanksgiving (and we do!), it is a sign to us that humanity belongs to that Relational God and is included in that relationship because, like love, we had to learn and receive Thanksgiving from Someone in order for it to truly be thanks giving. The word “Thanksgiving” even educates us in this fact with “Thanks” – “GIVING”! (Way Cool!!! We do what God does!)

Can you believe it??? Thanksgiving isn’t just some polite thing you do because it is written in a book of ethics!

Thanksgiving is not something that all of humanity does because it is written in a moral code! I’ve even seen, heard and experienced immoral, irreligious, atheistic pagan people give genuine thanks to others (and so have you!!!), meaning our Adoption into God the Trinity’s relationship is wholly apart from works and is not a transaction of any kind! It is solely by God’s grace that anyone and everyone is included in it!

Thanksgiving is an expression of the way Life really is, and Jesus revealed as The Word, and through His words of Thanksgiving, that the Father, Son and Spirit really do have gratitude going on in His Relationship before anything or anyone else existed!

So, even Thanksgiving helps us see that the Gospel is not “Make Jesus your Lord and Savior!”, or, “Believe in order to get saved!” Yikes! If you could do those things YOU would be a very powerful Lord & Savior (but you are NOT a powerful Lord & Savior my friend!) Ha-Ha! The Gospel IS “With certainty…God has made Him both Lord and Savior, this Jesus whom you crucified.” – Acts 2:36! You don’t have to DO anything to get adopted or saved or earn your share in God’s gratitude; You are, and have those things, freely in Jesus Christ! Now that’s something to BE thankful for!!!

~ by Timothy Brassell

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