Category: Christian Living

Blog articles/posts that are intended to help people live the Christian life.

Easter’s Over, Now What?

Easter’s Over, Now What?

Easter is fresh behind us where our thoughts were turned to the crucifixion, death, and resurrection of Jesus but the question that looms is, “How well do we really understand the sin that made Easter necessary?”

Not simply the individual moral failures of people. The ways in which we do what we shouldn’t or don’t do what we should. These individual failures each hold the essence of the ultimate failure. Focusing on and calling out the specific instances may be necessary and appropriate but if our attention is only here will we fail to really see the underlying issue. We will miss the forest for the trees.

In every instance of sin, it’s not merely that we did something wrong, that our behavior was bad, it’s that we’ve disobeyed God. For believers that seems obvious but often we think least and shallowest about that which is evident yet most profound. It is on this I want us to think.

On April 20th, four hours into our trip to Indiana, we got a call from one of the friends who was watching our dogs. She found one of our greyhounds dead. He was a gentle and sweet boy who had lived a long life for his breed. He was also the third greyhound we have lost. Two of those were to cancer. At times when I think about it I get angry. Not at death nor, as we are want to do at times, with God but with sin because I realize that God didn’t throw the first punch. Death is here precisely because we disobeyed God. The state of our world, its brokenness, violence, pain, and death, rests at our feet.

When we see the heartaches of our world let’s get angry at their cause – Sin – and set about doing the only thing that can change it – With Love, Grace, and Extended Hand, Proclaim the Risen Savoir!

Mr Scrooge Brings Hope

Mr Scrooge Brings Hope

We know Charles Dickens as the man who brought us beloved and memorable characters.

Bob Cratchit, Tiny Tim, Ebenezer Scrooge, Mr. Fezziwig, the Artful Dodger, Fagin and Oliver Twist to name a few. They are brought to life in stories that bring us at times face to face with poverty, injustice and human cruelty, indeed Dickens was thought of by some as a voice for the poor. Dr. Suess gave us the Grinch whose heart was too small, especially to accommodate others, which led to himself being too large.

More than any other time of year, Christmas has served as opportunity to bring a moral lesson. One of being good and kind and just. But if what we do is simply moralize we have missed the point.

Part of what touches us about Ebenezer Scrooge (and even the Grinch) is that we recognize ourselves in them. We recognize something that is not fixed by simply “being good”. Our actions belie what we know to be the truth despite our best efforts, we care more for ourselves than anyone else.

But if Ebenezer and the Grinch left us seeing only our own selfishness and inhumanity we would have quickly abandoned them. If Scrooge and the Grinch were left the way they were what kind of story would that be? What they ultimately give is hope.

These are stories of transformation. Stories of hearts that had no compassion towards others, let alone benevolence, that are touched by something outside of and greater than themselves. Hearts that are, if you will, set free from a bondage, turned from cold stone to warm flesh, made alive again!

We long for this touch. We feel the desperate need of it in our lives. We read or watch these stories and hope wells up: “could it be possible that this could happen to me? Can I feel that joy, that spirit in my life? I want that renewal!”

This is the story of Christmas. Life and hope enters the world through a baby. Not just any baby, but God’s own son. God knows, as we do, that the Scrooge or Grinch in our hearts won’t be changed by our effort. We need his Spirit to reach into our lives.

God is not content to leave us where we are, that’s why he calls us to come clean and admit who we really are and how in need of his touch. The ghosts of Christmas showed Scrooge who he was, the singing of the Whos on Christmas showed the Grinch who he was and both saw how in need of transformation they were.

That is what waits for us if we believe that Jesus has come to set our heats free and make us live again.

Cultural Cabinet – Music | Hillsong United ZION Live Session

Cultural Cabinet – Music | Hillsong United ZION Live Session

In this summer series I’ll provide a book, music, or similar point of consideration. Leave a comment or share with me any items you’d like to see featured here. Thanks and enjoy.

Colossians 3:16 says, “Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly, teaching and admonishing one another in all wisdom, singing psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, with thankfulness in your hearts to God.” With that in mind, here’s a recent youtube find that may set you humming.

hillsong united
Click the image to be taken to the hour long set.

 

Here’s more on Hillsong United

Reading Scripture as a Church

Reading Scripture as a Church

If you would like to keep up with the Scripture readings that are used on Sunday mornings and use them for your own personal or family meditation time then go to the following link (updated weekly). The link will take you to the Revised Common Lectionary

http://lectionary.library.vanderbilt.edu/

The Revised Common Lectionary is a three-year cycle of weekly readings used to varying degrees by the vast majority of mainline Protestant churches in Canada and the United States. The RCL is built around the seasons of the Church Year, and includes four readings for each Sunday, as well as additional readings for major feast days. During most of the year, the readings are: a reading from the Hebrew Bible, a Psalm, a reading from the Epistles, and a Gospel reading. (adapted from the FAQ section of the Vanderbilt site)

Sermon from Rev. Terry Traylor’s memorial service

Sermon from Rev. Terry Traylor’s memorial service

I wanted to post my sermon in honor of the life and ministry of my Father-in-law Rev. Terry Traylor. The following sermon was delivered at Terry’s memorial service at the Keswick Theater in Glenside, PA on December 16th 2013.

__________________________________________________________________________________________

My name is Aaron Anderson. I am the pastor at City Church in York, PA. More importantly, I am what Terry called “the Gorilla to whom I gave my Stradivarius,” his sweet oldest daughter Gail.

For half of my life, almost 19 years, Terry was a second Father to me and Susan, this amazing woman, a second mother to me. Joel, Greg, Jill, Nate, Alysa have all been brothers and sisters to me.

I am also father to six of Terry’s grandchildren, who endearingly call him “PeePops.”

I want to read a few verses from Hebrews 11-12 as we turn our gaze to Terry’s Redeemer Jesus Christ. Please stand with me, as was Terry’s own tradition and now mine, for the reading of God’s Word.

By faith Moses’ parents hid him for three months after he was born, because they saw he was no ordinary child, and they were not afraid of the king’s edict.

By faith Moses, when he had grown up, refused to be known as the son of Pharaoh’s daughter.He chose to be mistreated along with the people of God rather than to enjoy the fleeting pleasures of sin. He regarded disgrace for the sake of Christ as of greater value than the treasures of Egypt, because he was looking ahead to his reward. By faith he left Egypt, not fearing the king’s anger; he persevered because he saw him who is invisible. By faith he kept the Passover and the application of blood, so that the destroyer of the firstborn would not touch the firstborn of Israel.

By faith the people passed through the Red Sea as on dry land; but when the Egyptians tried to do so, they were drowned…

And what more shall I say? I do not have time to tell about Gideon, Barak, Samson and Jephthah, about David and Samuel and the prophets…

These were all commended for their faith, yet none of them received what had been promised, since God had planned something better for us so that only together with us would they be made perfect.

Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith. For the joy set before him he endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. Consider him who endured such opposition from sinners, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart.

“The grass withers, the flowers fade but the Word of God stands forever.”-but as Terry used to say “You don’t have to.”

When Joel called me on Thursday night and said “he died” seeds were planted in my deepest parts- ones whose blossoms are described as what our text calls “growing weary” and “losing heart.”

“Growing weary” because while this world’s highs are really high, the lows are really low. Aren’t you tired of hearing bad news? This has been a really hard year. Sometimes I get so weary I just want to quit.

I sent a note to the ‘Philadelphia Inquirer’ yesterday to ask that they cover Terry’s funeral because I’m weary of stories about disgraced ministers who abuse children or who through scandal give offense to the Gospel.

I said “Terry was one of the good ones.” I weary because in this great Race of Faith we lose men like Terry in seemingly untimely ways. (Click here to read the Philadelphia Inquirer’s kind story.)

It’s easy to “lose heart” because sometimes you wonder if God was napping at the wheel or if this Gospel ministry is just a big venture in what our critics call “delusional wish-fulfillment.”

When I received the news I was in the midst of writing a sermon about John the Baptist sending word to Jesus asking “Are you the One or should we expect another?”. I think John was disappointed and struggling with Jesus. I have to admit I’ve been there with John this week.

But Terry wouldn’t want that, and more importantly, the LORD would not have us grow weary or lose heart.

Terry’s hero in the faith was Moses. He was counseling someone who once spoke critically of Moses. He came unglued “Don’t you dare diss Moses or you won’t go to the Promised Land!” Well, maybe Terry didn’t say that last part:)

I sat quietly in Terry’s home this week and read the Moses narrative he so loved even as my own weary gaze was fixed on pictures of Terry everywhere, tempted to lose heart.

How do keep from growing weary and losing heart in the midst of this tragic loss?

Verse 27 of our text says “By faith he left Egypt, not fearing the king’s anger; he persevered because he saw him who is invisible.”

To keep from growing weary and losing heart we must be full of faith.

Moses was a man of great faith. Did you hear the repetition? “By faith” Moses chose a different identity than the Pharaoh’s grandson.” “By faith” Moses rejected sin’s pleasure for mistreatment w/the Lord’s people.” “By faith” Moses’ currency wasn’t Egypt’s treasures but rather disgrace for Christ.”

Why did Moses persevere? He saw the invisible One and it changed him!

The elders in Israel must have thought Moses was ‘pathologically optimistic.’ I can hear Moses in Terry’s voice say “But dude! I stood on holy ground and saw a burning bush!”

Hebrews 11:6 reminds us that “Without faith it is impossible to please God.” Like Moses, Terry was a man of great faith! Just like his hero Moses Terry was  still living by pathologically-optimistic-faith when he died! He could have trusted in his amazing reputation but he chose a different identity based on faith.

“By faith” Terry believed God existed; “By faith” Terry shepherded his family; “By faith” Terry planted multiple churches, changed skeptical presbyteries, was raising money to plant more!

If we are to keep from growing weary and losing heart we must be full of that same faith. We must fix our gaze not on Terry but on the invisible One Moses and Terry saw.

Hebrews 11:28 says “By faith he kept the Passover and the application of blood, so that the destroyer of the firstborn would not touch the firstborn of Israel.”

To keep from growing weary and losing heart we must be full of Christ.

Moses was a man whose hope was in blood. “By faith” he trusted Lamb’s blood sloppily, slathered on the doorpost for his deliverance. “By faith” Moses led Israel to annually remember that bloody deliverance in the Passover meal. “By faith” Moses was looking ahead to Christ the Lamb of God.

Terry was a man full of Christ. Terry’s faith was no bare ‘faith’ or optimism. It was full of content.

Terry was deeply flawed, sinful, broken, and could go to dark places. You could love him one second and be infuriated the next. Susan knows this best:) But Terry owned his sinfulness, readily admitted his weakness and errors.

I think I understand why Moses was his hero. Moses was a man who didn’t think he could speak very well. Terry was often criticized for his sermons, his style or lack thereof, his artsy approach to preaching. Rarely did I see Terry’s pride wounded or him throw a fit. On those rare occasions of frustration I could hear his Mom tell him as a young boy “Terry, sit on that stool and cool your heels.”

Like Moses, “the most humble man in all the earth”, Terry was incredibly humble. How could he do it while facing criticism? “By faith” Terry trusted in the Lamb’s blood sloppily slathered over his life! He used to say “I don’t take myself very seriously but I do the Gospel!”

He was full of Christ and forever changed by the blood of Jesus. He knew that at the Cross of Jesus the worst that could be said about Terry Traylor was blared for the entire world to hear. But Terry was deeply changed by the opposite truth: that the now Visible God in Jesus was blaring another message: “I love you my son with an everlasting love.” I hope there is someone here who has never heard that message before and embraces Terry’s hope.

If we are to not grow weary or lose heart, we must be full of Christ!

There is a great story in the Washington Post from 2007 about one of the world’s greatest classical violinists, Joshua Bell. One day he threw on jeans and a Washington Nationals ball cap, setup in a DC Metro station in rush hour, pulled out his one-of-a-kind $3.5M Stradivarius, opened the case for collections and began to play masterpieces. Almost no one stopped to listen even though that very weekend people had paid $100 per ticket to see him play. He ended up collecting $37.

In Terry, we saw a man not full of himself but full of Christ. He was dressed as a non-descript, ordinary guy in a Metro station playing a masterpiece. The masterpiece Terry played so skillfully was the Christ that filled his life. If you could see Terry’s ‘spirit-man’ you would see a man dripping with life-giving blood of Jesus.

There is a subtle rebuke here for the kind of preaching we think we need. Do we want great orators or men full of Christ?

There is a great temptation in the midst of my own grief to be full of myself, my pity, my loss. I can hear Terry asking those he mentored “What is the present value of Jesus’ blood in your life?” 

Hebrews 12:1-3 says “Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith. For the joy set before him he endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. Consider him who endured such opposition from sinners, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart.”

Terry has joined his heroes in that great cloud of witnesses. He is now cheering us on saying “Run the race. Fix your eyes on Jesus!!!”

Hebrews 11:29 says By faith the people passed through the Red Sea as on dry land; but when the Egyptians tried to do so, they were drowned.”

To keep from growing weary and losing heart we must be fully invested in the Kingdom of God.

Moses was a man of vision. “By faith” Moses looked at the Red Sea and saw not only dry ground but a path to the Promised Land! “By faith” Moses carried God’s people through the wilderness and stood in the gap when they griped and moaned.

Moses was a man invested in seeing the Kingdom of God expand among the Lord’s people.

Terry, like his hero Moses, was a man of incredible vision.He could look at things that were not and seemingly bring them into existence by faith. RUF ministries, church plants and even a son-in-law I would have given up on. He believed the Gospel for all of us-older brothers and younger brothers too. He could see through the doubts, griping, and still be FOR people.

If you are here tonight and in ministry, or further along in ministry because of Terry’s influence please stand. Terry was fully invested not in his own kingdom (church budgets, attendance) but in building God’s kingdom!!!

On Saturday night Terry & Susan had the New Life elders at their home and Terry gave an update of his new MNA role of expanding the kingdom as a national church planting coordinator. Terry said “God saved the best for last.” Little did he know what those words would mean.

On the Thursday night when Terry passed, like his hero Moses, Terry climbed his own Mt. Nebo. The LORD said to Moses: “Take a look. The land I promised to Abraham, Isaac, Jacob is before you but you can only look not enter it.” I’m confident that when Terry got to the top of his own mountain he wasn’t met by Moses but by Jesus who said “Come on with me. I’ve crossed over and conquered. Rest a little while. Your buddy Moses wants to hang out.

Full of faith. Full of Christ. Fully invested in the kingdom of God. That’s the legacy Terry leaves us.

May the Lord help us fix our gaze on Jesus and make us people full of faith, full of Christ, fully invested in the kingdom of God. Amen.

 

 

 

 

 

Who is God?

Who is God?

The following article is adapted from a four-part sermon series from selected texts in the Gospel of John. The sermons are available to hear in the sermon audio section of this site.

Who is God? It seems like a simple question on the surface but anyone who has attempted to answer the question knows they are attempting to speak of a mystery.

Modern attempts to answer the question are complicated by several factors:

  1. In modern years the globe has become smaller in the sense that peoples who were once unknown to us are accessible to us through travel. We no longer rely on the reports of anthropologists because we are able to visit these places first hand.
  2. The globe is also larger in the sense that these foreign cultures and religions are now available to us via modern technology. We are experiencing information overload.
  3. In America, and many other Western countries, formerly ‘foreign’ people are now our neighbors. Communities have churches, mosques, synagogues, temples, healing centers and so on. We rub shoulders with these people daily. Even right here in York, PA a Pakistani Muslim woman and her daughters babysit our kids. These Muslims, Mormons, Sikhs, Baha’is, Jewish, Buddhist, New Age people are our neighbors, friends, and co-workers and are not as different as we once thought.

The search for answer to the ‘Who is God?’ question is a complex one for modern people. It would be quite normal for someone to ask, “Which God is worthy of my belief? The Christian one? Muslim? Jewish? Or no god at all?”

There is one overriding reason that complicates the question even further: most Americans have already settled on an idea of ‘God’ and don’t even question their basic assumptions.

This ‘God’ is hands-off with regard to most matters of the world. He generally wants us to be good and kind and is definitely not judgmental. In fact, this God exists to make us feel good, be happy and to insure we have a good life. It might be fair to call this ‘god’ a Genie.

So regardless of which religion and associated ‘god’ one chooses, that god is usually synchretized with the ‘Genie’ god who ultimately doesn’t care what you believe as long as you believe.

Some may object and say, “That’s not fair.” Consider though that even Christians will claim to believe in the Christian Trinitarian God. This God, Christians even claim, wants us to be good, truthful, moral, even forgiving. But when push comes to shove and the Christian is placed in a situation where there is a battle over a Christian value system and the Genie’s value system, the Genie’s value system usually wins.

A woman may say, “I know God wants me to be faithful to my husband and to work out this marriage but I want to be happy AND I know that my happiness is the most important thing to God, therefore I will leave my husband to be with this other man.”

A man may say, “I know God wants me to be truthful but if I tell the truth on my taxes our finances are going to be really tight AND I know that my happiness is the most important thing to God, therefore I will fudge the numbers a bit.”

So the 21st century pursuit of the question ‘Who is God?’ is complicated by American presuppositions about God that assume He is like a Genie as well as by a smaller and simultaneously larger globe where travel, technology and immigration have exposed us to new people groups and religions.

Can we know who the true God is? Yes. Many modern people will say “No” and will argue that any attempt to articulate a doctrine leads to division and bloodshed. Sadly there is some truth to that.

Yet, God does not want us to be in the dark about who He is. He has revealed Himself to us in various ways. Recall Acts 17 how Paul preached to the Greeks telling them that their statue to the unknown God would be declared in His proclamation of Jesus Christ. God is not unknown!

John Frame’s Doctrine of God articulates five points about the Scripture’s teaching on God.

1.   God is One Being.

Deuteronomy 6:4 says “Hear O Israel: The LORD our God, the LORD is one.”

Isaiah 44 says “I am the first and the last; apart from me there is no God.”

Christians are monotheists (belief in one God), not polytheists (belief in many gods).

 2.   God is Three Persons.

The One God has revealed Himself in three persons: Father, Son and Holy Spirit.

At Jesus’ baptism the three persons are present: “As soon as Jesus was baptized, he went up out of the water. At that moment heaven was opened, and he saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove and lighting on him. And a voice from heaven said, “This is my Son, whom I love; with him I am well pleased.” (Matthew 3:16-17)

Matthew 28:19 instructs Christians to “Go…in the NAME of the Father, and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit.”

The benedictions of the New Testament letters are Trinitarian in nature. “May the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, and the love of God, and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit be with you all.” 2 Corinthians 13:14

3.   The Three Persons are each fully God.

One of the early heresies the Church combated was Arianism. Arius taught that Jesus was not the same substance as God the Father but of a similar substance thereby creating a hierarchy of being. Arianism was rejected at the Council of Nicea in 325 AD and the orthodox teaching enshrined in the Nicene Creed.

The Scriptures teach that all three persons are fully divine. The Old Testament has strong hints of complexity in the Godhead. Consider the bold statement from the prophet Jeremiah about the coming Messiah:

“Behold the days are coming, declares the LORD, when I will raise up for David a righteous Branch…and this is the name by which he will be called: ‘The LORD our righteousness.” Jeremiah 23:5-6. (See also Isaiah 9:6, Micah 5:2, Isaiah 7:14, Daniel 7:13-14)

Jesus’ own statements were remarkably egocentric. Consider the numerous ‘I AM’ statements in John’s Gospel. The ‘I AM’ statements are clear allusions to the name of God used in Exodus 3:14.

“I AM the bread of life…the light of the world…the good Shepherd..the resurrection and the life…the way, the truth, the life…the true vine…before Abraham was I AM.” John 6:35; 8:12; 10:11; 11:25; 14:6; 15:1; 8:56-58.

In addition, Jesus miraculous actions (virgin birth, turning water to wine, healing the sick, diseased, demon possessed, calming storms, raising and rising from the dead) only make sense in light of the reality of his divine nature.

The Gospel of John in chapters 14-17 is some of the most explicit Trinitarian teaching in the Scriptures. There are numerous instances where the Holy Spirit is mentioned as central to the Godhead and the divine work. John 14:16 says “And I will ask the Father, and He will give you another Helper, to be with you forever, even the Spirit of truth.”

 4.   Each of the Persons is distinct from the others.

The Father is not the Son or Spirit, nor is the Son the Father or Spirit, nor is the Spirit the Father or Son. The three persons are distinct from each other.

The early Church struggled in the formulation of the doctrine of the Trinity. The eastern Church, following the Cappodocian fathers, tended to emphasize the threeness of God. The western Church, following Augustine, tended to emphasize the unity or oneness of God.

In the process of formulating the doctrine based on Scriptural teaching they identified errors. Sabellius, a western theologian, over-emphasized the unity of God out of fear of tri-theism. He taught that God is one being who takes on three forms or modes. Under the Old Testament God took the mode of Creator and Lawgiver. In the New Testament God appeared as Son and Savior and following the ascension God appeared in the mode of the Spirit.

This teaching is called modalism, monarchianism, Sabellianism, and patripassianism and is held today by Jesus Only churches or Oneness Pentecostals.

The early Church rejected both Arianism (an overemphasis on the threeness of God) AND Sabellian Modalism (an overemphasis on the unity of God).

The Scriptures teach that the persons are distinct from each other. John 1:1 says that Jesus the Word was both with God and was God. In the Matthew 3:16-17 passage cited above the three persons are present and distinctly separate in their work.

The persons are co-eternal, co-equal, con-substantial (same substance) AND yet each does work that is unique to their role within the Godhead. The Father plans and initates, the Son incarnates (comes in the flesh) and executes the plan (living, dying, rising, reigning, etc.) and the Spirit is sent by the Father and Son to apply Christ’s work to God’s people. He is the paraclete (called alongside) to be with and indwell God’s people.

This does not mean that each person is not involved in the other’s work. In some way the persons mutually indwell the others (circumincessio). The Father is in the Son and Spirit, the Son in the Father and Spirit, and the Spirit in the Father and Son. Yet it is inappropriate to say for instance that the Father died on the cross. That work is unique to the Son.

5.   The Three Persons are related to one another internally as Father, Son, Spirit.

God is eternally the Father, the Son is eternally the Son and the Spirit is eternally the Spirit. The Three are an eternal community of being.

The Three function in different eternal roles. This does not imply that there is subordination in terms of their nature as though the Father is the greatest, the Son a hair less and the Spirit a little farther down the ladder. The Three are each fully God.

However, there is a subordination of roles among the persons. Therefore, the persons subordinate themselves to one another as is appropriate to their work.

Jesus willingly submits to the Father, came to do His will and does nothing of himself (John 5:19).

Jesus is the “only begotten” Son of God the Father. His generation does not imply a ‘birth’ at some point since that would make Jesus a created being and therefore not fully divine. If Jesus is a created being, as the Arians, Mormons and Jehovah’s Witnesses teach, then Christians are guilty of idolatry.

In addition. If we cannot speak of the Son existing eternally then we could also not speak of the Father eternally being a ‘Father’ since fatherhood implies the possession of offspring. God the Father is eternally Father though because the Son has also existed eternally.

The Father honors the Son (Matthew 3:16-17) and together with the Son, sends the Spirit (John 16:12-15).

The Holy Spirit proceeds or processes eternally from the Father and the Son. The Spirit is regularly sent by the Father and the Son on mission into the world. (See John 14-17) The Nicene Creed states that the Holy Spirit is “the Lord and Giver of life, who proceeds from the Father and the Son, who with the Father and the Son together is worshipped and glorified.”

Hierarchy in role does not erase equality. The Three mutually honor, serve and glorify the others because the eternal community of being is a community of love.

Does it matter what we believe about God?

Absolutely! God is a deep well, a community of being. We were built by God to be full of God.

Jesus said, “I have much more to say to you, more than you can now bear. 13 But when he, the Spirit of truth, comes, he will guide you into all the truth. He will not speak on his own; he will speak only what he hears, and he will tell you what is yet to come. 14 He will glorify me because it is from me that he will receive what he will make known to you. 15 All that belongs to the Father is mine. That is why I said the Spirit will receive from me what he will make known to you.” (John 16:12-15)

God intends to guide us into ALL truth through the unique work of the Holy Spirit.

The Son has gained access into the Father’s inheritance because of his faithful work. “After he had provided purification for sins, he sat down at the right hand of the Majesty in heaven. So he became as much superior to the angels as the name he has inherited is superior to theirs. For to which of the angels did God ever say, “You are my Son; today I have become your Father”? (Hebrews 1:3-5)

Jesus now boldly says, “All that belongs to the Father is mine!” There is much more than we can bear that the Spirit is revealing to us. God does not intend to leave us in the dark about who He is!!!

Sadly, we think the way to be happy is to treat God as though he is a Genie. “Then he can make me happy, healthy, pretty, rich, secure, popular and safe.” But that is not who God is or how God works.

What are we saying when we believe like this? That the key to happiness is a relationship, a job, good looks, a retirement. What we are saying is that happiness exists outside of God; that happiness comes in gifts and people. What do you think happens when the gifts/people don’t come? A crisis of faith, albeit an unwarranted one!

Jesus said “Seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well.” (Matthew 6:33) Now don’t be fooled into thinking that if you pursue God then you will get all the stuff. That is treating God like a Genie.

But if you pursue the True God by faith, revealed as Father, Son, Spirit, He comes and makes his home with you. (John 14:23) He unites Himself to us and fills us with His very life.

In the eternal life of this community of being there is no sadness, no striving, no discontent, only peace, righteousness and love. Jesus said, “I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.” (John 16:33)

The Father sent His Son Jesus Christ to light up the world, to give life to the dying, to give peace to the perplexed, hope to the hopeless. God the Son became a man, willingly relinquished his rights and any chance at ‘human’ happiness and chose a life that led him to a cross.

You see, on the cross, God the Son willingly gave up his life so that you could find your way back to God. He forgave the sins that had made you a runaway from your Father’s house. An ordinary man couldn’t pay that steep a price. It required divine blood and Jesus, the Faithful Son, willingly gave it. His Father willingly gave His Son for you.

And now because Christ has died, risen, ascended and is reigning together with the Father, they send the Spirit into our hearts to cause us to cry out to God as Father. The Spirit comes to bring us into community with the eternal community of being and source of all life and good.

The only proper response is faith. If our faith is grounded in the Triune saving God then we can boldly say, “If God is for us, who can be against…be at peace my soul. Jesus has overcome the world!”

No sickness, relationship, empty bank account or other source of human sadness can have the last word.

A mystery has manifested. The unknown God has been made known. Do you believe?