Pastor's Blog

Chris Boehnke

Chris Boehnke

Hi! My name is Chris Boehnke (a good German name pronounced “Bane-key”). Tracy, my wife, and I have been married for 21 years and God has blessed us with four beautiful children: Joshua (18), Lauren (16), Nathaniel (13), and Mikayla (9). I treasure my wife and family among the greatest gifts God has given me in life.

I was born and raised in Omaha, Nebraska – the heartland of the Midwest – by two loving parents, Don and Linda. I grew up attending a conservative but vibrant Lutheran congregation, while also experiencing excursions into other evangelical and charismatic church environments. This exposed me to a breadth of Christian practice and teaching that has incited me over the years to ask a ton of questions and to seek deeper understanding regarding what “the church” is and what it’s central message, “the Gospel,” is all about.

While my interests were in art (drawing and painting) and language (excelling in German) at Millard North High School, I ended up completing a B.A. in Philosophy at the University of Nebraska in Omaha (I consider philosophy “the art of asking good questions”). I attended Concordia Seminary in St Louis to finish a Master of Divinity in May 2000. Since then I have served as a shepherd-teacher for followers of Jesus in Oklahoma, Nebraska, South Dakota, and now Michigan. I happily reside with my family in Grand Haven, Michigan, where I serve a community of Jesus followers in Spring Lake called Lakeshore Fellowship. When I’m not reading or studying one of several books at a time, I enjoy spending time with Tracy and the kids, going for walks in nature, relaxing at the beach (with a good book!), cycling, exploring new things and places, watching Star Trek, or painting.

Along the way I’ve encountered many casualties of organized Christianity – those who have been sorely hurt, turned off, offended, or just disenchanted with all its stale rules and rituals. My desire is to compassionately hear and love those who have been broken or turned off by the church and those who have rejected an ugly God they can no longer worship. I want to wrestle alongside those who have nagging questions and doubts about who God is and what our place in this ugly world is. Most especially, I want to paint a better, more beautiful picture for them and for the world – to reimagine – who God is as unfailing, relentless LOVE, gloriously revealed in Jesus the Messiah-King.

I invite you to join the conversation!

Website URL: http://www.facebook.com/Chris-Boehnke-1794284217475214/ Email: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

It’s a difficult time to be a follower of Jesus.

There are numerous places on earth, however, where it’s more than difficult. It’s dangerous and deadly to publicly follow Jesus and confess Him as Lord.

Every six minutes a Christian believer is put to death for their faith somewhere around the world. This is based on a new study by the Center for Studies on New Religions (Censur) in Italy. In 2016, 90,000 Christians died for being a follower of Jesus.

Christianity is the largest religion in the world. It’s estimated that there are about 2.4 billion Christians distributed all over the world. With a current world population of about 7.2 billion, Christians make up 33% of the people in the world.

Massimo Introvigne, the Director of Censur, reports that Christians are also the most persecuted religious group in the world (along with other religious groups being persecuted as well).

30% of those who died for their faith in Christ were victims of terrorist violence or government persecution. Close to 70% of those martyred were victims of tribal violence in Africa where Jesus followers “refused to take part in violence.” 

Last year 11 Christian missionaries, including a 12-year old son of a ministry leader, had the opportunity to leave their ministry base in a town near Aleppo, Syria. The ministry director for the region urged them to leave because of the increasing violence. But they decided to stay.

They insisted they wanted to remain, because they were convinced God had called them to share the Good News of Jesus with those caught in the crossfire.

On August 7, 2016, ISIS militants entered the village and captured these missionaries. On August 28, their captors demanded that they renounce Christ and convert to Islam. Each one refused to renounce Christ even after being brutally tortured.

They stood firm in their confession of Jesus as Lord. As a result, each one was crucified and left hanging for two days.

Jesus told us that we would be persecuted.

On the evening Jesus was betrayed by Judas, one of the twelve disciples, He warned them after their last supper together:

“If the world hates you, keep in mind that it hated me first. If you belonged to the world, it would love you as its own. As it is, you do not belong to the world, but I have chosen you out of the world. That is why the world hates you. Remember what I told you: ‘A servant is not greater than his master.’ 

If they persecuted me, they will persecute you also…They will treat you this way because of my name, for they do not know the one who sent me. ” (John 15:18 -21)

Why this violent hate?

Jesus is the embodiment of God the Father’s love, justice, and mercy for all humanity.

The Father sent Him to bring healing to the sick. Freedom for the captives. Restoration to the broken. Justice to the victims of injustice. Hope for the hopeless.

Here is the faithful love of God our Creator for His blind, rebellious, and violent creation.

Why would we refuse and reject Him? 

Why would we stomp on His gift of love, violently tear it up, and throw it away? 

Why would we torture and kill the Creator of life?

This is the blind insanity of our self-centered corruption called sin. When we look at the crucifixion of Jesus, we view the depths of our perverse rejection of God.

Yet, in Jesus’s death on the cross we also view the magnitude of God the Father’s undying, relentless, love and grace to rescue each of us no matter how broken, perverse, or evil we are. 

God loves us with a self-giving, sacrificial love even when we fiercely reject Him.

“But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us…For if, while we were God’s enemies, we were reconciled to him through the death of his Son, how much more will be saved through his life!” (Romans 5:8,10)

The Father’s reconciling love in Christ is at work to turn and change our dead, darkened hearts to trust in Him. So when we receive His love by trusting in Jesus, we then become bearers of this reconciling love – this righteousness of God.

Jesus transforms us to look like Him as we follow Him. But this means that we too will face suffering and persecution because of His name and righteousness.

Yes, it will be difficult, dangerous, and even, for some, deadly to follow Jesus. 

But how could we not follow Him? Jesus is our love, our life, and our supreme joy! 

“Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross daily and follow me. For whoever wants to save their life will lose it, but whoever loses their life for me will save it.”

(Next week we continue with “Blessed are those who are persecuted,” part 2)

Jesus calls us to follow him as King.

When we follow him, Jesus transforms our lives by the Holy Spirit into his image so we look more and more like him as part of his Kingdom community.

The Beatitudes in the Sermon on the Mount describe what this life in King Jesus and his upside-down kingdom revolution looks like.

True happiness is found in Jesus and in becoming like him.

God’s liberating reign comes to those who have nothing.

Comfort is provided for those who mourn.

Inheriting the earth is promised to those who are humble.

Restorative justice will be accomplished for those seek it.

Mercy will overflow for those who demonstrate mercy.

Seeing God will be granted to those who trust in him.

God’s children are revealed as those who live to make peace, not war.

All these kingdom virtues were lived out and fulfilled through Jesus. In the way he served. How he loved. And in how he sacrificially gave his life.  Jesus suffered and died to love and bless the very enemies who persecuted and crucified him.

Jesus gave his life in love to rescue sinners like us and to bring us into the joyfully-blessed kingdom life received in union with him.

As we live each day by embracing and expressing the life of King Jesus in the Beatitudes, we also – like Jesus – will receive ridicule, scorn, and hatred from the world.

Yet, this is all part of the blessed Kingdom life, Jesus says!

“Blessed are those who are persecuted because of righteousness, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. Blessed are you when people insult you, persecute you and falsely say all kinds of evil against you because of me. Rejoice and be glad, because great is your reward in heaven, for in the same way they persecuted the prophets who were before you.”  (Matthew 5:11-12)

Our worldly thinking struggles to make any sense of this.

How can we be blessed and happy if we’re persecuted? Who, in their right mind, would think of responding with joy after being insulted as a Christian? Who would feel happy when hearing that slanderous gossip is being spread about their faith?

What Jesus describes is a supernatural joy and happiness the Spirit gives to those who face hardship and persecution because of righteousness – when they live like Jesus.

In October 2008, I had the opportunity to travel with another pastor to Jiangmen, China, for a 21-day mission trip. Over the course of a week, my partner and I worked with two different Chinese translators for a class to teach Chinese pastors and evangelists.

One of our translators was a young 24-year-old Chinese woman, whose English name was Judy.

On Wednesday, we had spent the whole morning teaching with Judy translating for us. I was exhausted. I was also frustrated.

Judy wasn’t as good of a translator as the one we had on Monday and Tuesday. It made teaching all that much harder. After class I was struggling with my frustration until I had a chance to talk with Judy and she shared her story with me.

Her words melted my heart. And I found myself struggling to keep the tears from bursting out.

Judy had grown up in an atheistic, Chinese family – like so many Chinese young people. She didn’t believe in God.

She went to college, got a good job in accounting, and then met a great Chinese young man. She moved in together with him. Judy dearly loved him and looked forward to marrying him.

But she felt empty. She knew that there was more to life than what she was experiencing.

A friend of Judy’s had recently become a believer in Jesus and one day she shared her faith with Judy. Over the course of months she talked with her friend about her faith. She asked a million questions. She probed and wrestled with all these new ideas about a Creator God who came to earth as a man named Jesus.

Finally, it happened. The Good News of this Jesus-looking God who loves her reached her heart and transformed her. Judy experienced God’s love in a very real and tangible way. Jesus was now the center of her life. Jesus filled the void in her heart with a newfound joy.

Judy was a follower of Jesus and she was excited to know him more and live for him!

In her excitement to embrace and express the love of Jesus, Judy hit a wall of resistance and rejection.

Her Chinese boyfriend had grown up in Australia within a Christian family. Later, he moved to China, renounced his Christian faith, and became an atheist. He ridiculed and became hostile to Judy.

When Judy took the step of faith to be baptized by a small house-church community of Jesus followers, the dam of persecution broke loose. Judy’s allegiance was now to Jesus as Lord.

Judy’s family disowned her and refused any communication with her. Her boss fired her and worked to make her life hell so she couldn’t find another job. Finally, her boyfriend, in his hostility toward her faith, laid down an ultimatum: “You must choose. Either me or Jesus! You can’t have us both!!”

As Judy told her story, her face beamed with the joy of a Jesus follower, while tears began to run down her cheeks in the anguished pain of what it cost her.

Judy boldly responded to her boyfriend. “Jesus is my love and my life. I love you, but I love Jesus more. Jesus will always be faithful to me. He will never stop loving me. I choose Jesus.”

“Blessed are those who are persecuted because of righteousness, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven… Rejoice and be glad, because great is your reward in heaven.”

(Next week we will start a new series of blog posts)

Friday, December 23, 2016

CHRISTMAS – THE INCARNATION OF GOD

Merry Christmas!

Christmas is a great time of year to gather together with family and friends. To enjoy carols, cookies, concerts, and Christmas lights.

Yet, in all the hustle and bustle of the season, let us pause to reflect and be filled anew with the awe and wonder of what Christmas is about: the incarnation of God!

The infinite Creator God spoke His life-giving Word of love into the darkness and death of this world by taking on our finite, human flesh and blood. God joined Himself to our humanity when a child was conceived by the Holy Spirit in the womb of a young, virgin Jewish woman named Mary.

The Lord came to us because we can’t go to Him. The baby born to Mary was named “Jesus” (in Hebrew: Yeshua) which means: “HE IS Salvation” (From God’s perspective: “I AM Salvation”).

There is no longer any alienating gap between us and God. In Jesus, the God-man, God is in union with humanity. In Jesus, God is united with each one of us – no one is excluded.

Jesus is called “Immanuel” which means “God is with us!”

In truth, God has never been separated from us. The separation has always been within our corrupted perspective and experience. We have been lost and in bondage to the darkness of the LIE that God is not good or trustworthy. This belief in the LIE – what we call sin – has blinded us to who God is and has enveloped our lives and the world in the spiritual darkness of a black hole that sucks everything up into decay and death.

We experience this black hole of darkness as “I am not….” “I am notacceptable.” “I am not loved.” “I am not good enough.” “I am not at peace.” “I am not happy.” “I am not….” (Fill in the blank for your life.)

Try as hard as we might to fill the spiritual black hole inside of us and the world with the missing Good, our efforts never succeed. We struggle and strive under the long shadow of death in our lives.

We can no more free ourselves from the darkness than a blind man can make himself see!

However, in Jesus God entered the darkness within our humanity to rescue us and bring us back into the light of His good and glorious presence. The light of God was within the darkness of the human flesh that Jesus assumed. Yet Jesus never succumbed to the darkness. He always trusted the loving will of His heavenly Father against the temptations of our dark humanity.

The Heavenly Father has always loved all the children He created. And His love for us is also a divine wrath that opposes the darkness of the lie that corrupts and destroys us. So God sent His Son Jesus to overcome the darkness in our humanity with the light of His love.

History’s supreme act of self-giving, sacrificial love occurred when Jesus, as God-in-the-flesh, surrendered Himself to the powers of darkness and gave His life for us by being nailed to the cross.

In our human flesh, Jesus entered the black hole of death when He died. Yet, when death and the powers of darkness swallowed up His humanity, the light of God’s sacrificial love broke through, scattering and destroying the black hole of death.

Jesus conquered sin and death in our humanity when He died. When Jesus bodily rose from the dead, He raised our humanity from the dead to the light of God’s love and life.

Jesus is the shining light of truth that God is for us. God is with us. God is in us.

God became one of us that we might live in union with Him.

The Good News of God’s incarnation now shines the light of His crucified and risen love into the darkness of our lives.

Into the “I am not” of our darkness Jesus says:

“I AM your Salvation”

“I AM your Peace”

“I AM your Joy”

“I AM your Hope”

“I AM your Love and Acceptance”

“I AM your Righteousness”

“I AM your Life”

The Incarnation of God in Jesus illuminates the darkness of our humanity with the light of faith so we may trust in Him and live out of His presence within us.

By faith we see the truth that the God who is with us in the flesh of Jesus is a good and trustworthy God, no matter what darkness we face in our lives.

Joy to the world, the Lord is come!

“The people walking in darkness have seen a great light; on those living in the land of deep darkness a light has dawned.” (Isaiah 9:2)

“[Mary] will give birth to a son, and you are to give him the name Jesus, because he will save his people from their sins. All this took place to fulfill what the Lord had said through the prophet: ‘The virgin will conceive and give birth to a son, and they will call him Immanuel’ (which means ‘God with us’)” (Matthew 1:21-23)

“In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God…In him was life, and that life was the light of all mankind. The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it…

The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us. We have seen his glory, the glory of the one and only Son, who came from the Father, full of grace and truth.” (John 1:1,4-5,14)

Wednesday, February 15, 2017

SEE JESUS AND YOU SEE GOD THE FATHER

Do you clearly see who God is and what he is like?

Or do you feel like your vision of God is fuzzy and unclear?

Perhaps you feel like you’re in the dark and you can’t really see who he is at all.

I was in 3rd grade when I discovered that my vision was fuzzy and unclear. Sitting in the back of the classroom, I strained to see what the teacher was writing on the chalkboard (yes, I’m dating myself here. There were no dry-erase or smartboards yet!).

I didn’t realize I had a vision problem until that moment when I experienced my inability to clearly see.

After an eye exam, the optometrist prescribed lenses for my first eye-glasses. I had a significant near-sightedness with an astigmatism – which has gotten worse through the years. But with wearing glasses and then contacts, starting in high school, my vision is corrected.

Wow, what a difference! I could make out lines and see sharp edges unlike ever before. The whole world around me now looked crystal clear in my sight.

We need this same crystal clear sight of who God is.

On the evening that Jesus celebrated the Last Supper with his disciples, spiritual vision became the topic of conversation when Philip thought he still lacked a clear vision of God the Father.

“‘Lord,’ said Philip, ‘show us the Father, and that’s enough for us.’

Jesus said to him, ‘Have I been among you all this time and you do not know me, Philip? The one who has seen me has seen the Father. How can you say, ‘Show us the Father’? Don’t you believe that I am in the Father and the Father is in me.’”  (John 14:8-10 CSB)

For Philip, if he was going to clearly see or imagine who God the Father is, then he believed he would need to see something aside from or in addition to Jesus. But Jesus corrects Philip’s fuzzy vision here. Jesus tells Philip that when he sees Jesus he is seeing the Father!

This means that none of us can clearly see or imagine who God is unless our spiritual vision is restored and corrected by Jesus alone.  Jesus is the lens that enables us to clearly see and imagine who God is and what he is like.

Who is God?

See Jesus.

What is God like?

See Jesus.

How do we know what God’s heart and will for us is?

See Jesus.

Not “Jesus and ….”  Not “Jesus but…”

Simply Jesus. See Jesus and you see God the Father.

Look at Jesus declaring the Good News of God’s liberating kingdom. See him drive out demonic powers of evil. He heals sick and broken bodies. He brings peace and order within chaotic storms.

See him liberate the oppressed and bring justice to the victimized.

See him rebuke religious hypocrisy and pride. He chastises the self-indulgent wealthy. He condemns sectarian and exclusionary attitudes. He warns of the self-destructive end for the self-absorbed life.

See him forgive people of their sins. See how he loves and parties with outcasts, the marginalized, and the throwaways of society. He feeds the hungry and poor. He offers rest for the weary.

Look at him bring the dead back to life. Look at him promise life and redeeming justice for a world in the throes of evil, violence, and death.

See Jesus hanging on the cross. Suffering. Bleeding. Dying.

See Jesus praying from the cross in harmony with the Father: “Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they are doing.”

Look at Jesus crucified and see God the Father giving His life for you!

God allowed us to reject him and do our worst to him. Yet, he gave his best to us in love.

The suffering-servant King Jesus, crucified on a cross and risen from the dead. He is the lens the Holy Spirit uses to correct our blind, distorted, and fuzzy vision of God.

When we see Jesus with Spirit-given eyes of faith, then we have a crystal-clear vision of who God our Father is and what He’s like.

He is a Jesus-looking God.

Wow, this makes all the difference in the world!

In the coming weeks, we will explore all the ways that reimagining God as a Jesus-looking God transforms how we think and live.

Tuesday, February 21, 2017

A RELATIONAL GOD OF LOVE, PART 1

When you think of God, have you ever imagined him as a grumpy grandfather figure in the sky?

There are many people who picture God like this. In fact, there are many distorted images of God we may have.

Here are a few of the ways people imagine God:

An angry Zeus on Mount Olympus hurling his lightning bolts of judgment.

An Unmoved Mover who determines and causes all things.

A Force like in Star Wars – a universal energy field within all things that we can use for good or evil.

A cosmic Santa Claus who gives us the presents we want so long as we’ve not been naughty but nice – and he’s keeping track!

Jesus, however, is the correcting lens by which we clearly and definitively see who God really is.

Jesus said to Philip, one of his twelve disciples, The one who has seen me has seen the Father. How can you say, ‘Show us the Father’? Don’t you believe that I am in the Father and the Father is in me… Whatever you ask in my name, I will do it so that the Father may be glorified in the Son.” (John 14:9-10, 13).

Notice that not only does Jesus give us the revelatory sight of God as our heavenly Father. But Jesus also reveals that he is the Son of God, his Father. Jesus is “in the Father” and “the Father is in” him. This means that both the Father and the Son are God.

Do you suppose the disciples’ heads felt dizzy trying to figure this out? How about yours?

As the Son of God the Father, Jesus is the Word of God – the speaking Voice, the Message, the Reason, the Logic of God (Logos in Greek). Here’s how the apostle John put it at the start of his gospel:

“In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was with God in the beginning. All things were created through him, and apart from him not one thing was created that has been created. In him was life, and that life was the light of men.” (John 1:1-4)

This speaking Voice and Word of God the Father – through whom everything was made – came to us. He got up close and personal to reveal the Father to us and for us.

The Word became flesh and dwelt among us. We observed his glory, the glory as the one and only Son from the Father, full of grace and truth.” (John 1:14)

Jesus definitively reveals who God is because he is God the Son united to our human flesh and blood. As the infinite God, he joined himself to a finite human body. Jesus was conceived by the Holy Spirit in the womb of a young Jewish girl named Mary and was born as a baby over 2,000 years ago.

He came to walk in our shoes and speak to us on our level.

This is why Jesus is called “Immanuel” (Matthew 1:23). He is “God with us.” God has come in our flesh-and-blood humanity so we may reimagine who is and what he is like.

“No one has ever seen God. The one and only Son, who is himself God and is at the Father’s side – he has revealed him.” (John 14:18)

Jesus breaks through all our distorted images of God. As God the Son, he reveals who God the Father is.  This means we can’t look for who God is behind Jesus, apart from Jesus, or in addition to Jesus.

We see God’s character and nature in Jesus.

Not only does Jesus reveal the Father, Jesus is also the bearer of the Holy Spirit of God!

John the Baptizer, who prepared the way for Jesus to come on the scene said, “he who sent me to baptize with water told me, ‘The one you see the Spirit descending and resting on – he is the one who baptizes with the Holy Spirit.’ I have seen and testify that this is the Son of God.” (John 1:33-34)

Or consider these words: “For the one whom God sent speaks God’s words, since he gives the Spirit without measure. The Father loves the Son and has given all things into his hands.” (John 3:34-35)

So, let’s sum up what we’ve discovered at this point.

Jesus reveals God as our heavenly Father.

Jesus reveals that he is the Son of God his Father.

Jesus gives us the Holy Spirit, who comes from God the Father.

One God, but three “persons” – the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. This is what Christians have traditionally called “The Trinity.” God is a Three-in-One and One-in-Three God.

At this point, we may be tempted to think: “Oh yeah, this is the historic, orthodox, Christian doctrine of the Trinity. But it’s all so abstract and has nothing to do with my real life.”

But we would be terribly wrong to think this way.

Yes, there is a deep and holy mystery to this revelation of God as Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. But, seeing God in Jesus as a Triune God is all about the light and life he gives us to experience each day!

I’ll give you a clue as to where we’re heading…

God is not a solitary, impersonal, Sovereign separated from us in the heavens.

God is a vibrantly-alive, relational Three-in-One community of mutual self-giving, sacrificial love. And this God includes you and me in the “dance of love” that is revealed in Jesus!

(Stay tuned for more on this theme in next week’s post: A Relational God of Love, Part 2)

Wednesday, March 01, 2017

A RELATIONAL GOD OF LOVE, PART 2

Who is God and what is he like?

This is a deeply significant question for each of us to answer. For the person we become will reflect what we worship – the god or God we worship. Our view of God will form and shape how we think, act, and relate with others, for good or bad.

Jesus alone is the lens who clearly reveals to us who God is. “The one who has seen me has seen the Father” he said. (John 14:9).

The writer of Hebrews makes this profound statement about Jesus that should elicit awe and wonder in us: “The Son is the radiance of God’s glory and the exact expression of his nature, sustaining all things by his powerful word.” (Hebrews 1:3)

As the Word of God, the divine Son of the Father, Jesus united himself to our human flesh and blood in the incarnation by the Holy Spirit from the Father.

Jesus reveals that God is not a solitary, impersonal, Sovereign separated from us high above in the heavens.

Consider the event of Jesus’s baptism that began his public ministry. This is an epiphany experience revealing to us a Jesus-looking God.

A rugged, desert prophet named John was urging fellow Jews from Jerusalem and the surrounding area to “repent” – to change the way they think and act about God and his coming kingdom-reign on earth.

So people came out to John in the Judean wilderness to confess their sins – their wrong beliefs and their ungodly lives – so they could be immersed (“baptized”) in the Jordan River. As sinners they were immersed in water to receive the promise of forgiveness for their sins and a new life.

Then Jesus shows up. And he wants John to baptize him! Apparently, John knew enough about Jesus to know Jesus didn’t need to be baptized, because baptism is only for sinners who need to repent.

“But John tried to stop him, saying, ‘I need to be baptized by you, and yet you come to me?’

 Jesus answered him, ‘Allow it for now, because this is the way for us to fulfill all righteousness.’ Then John allowed him to be baptized.

 When Jesus was baptized, he went up immediately from the water. The heavens suddenly opened for him, and he saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove and coming down on him. And a voice from heaven said: ‘This is my beloved Son, with whom I am well-pleased.’ ” (Matthew 3:13-17)

Jesus is immersed in water like a sinner, in solidarity with sinners, sharing in our human flesh and blood.

And when Jesus came out of the water, his identity – indeed God’s identity – is revealed right here!

The heavenly voice of God the Father declares that Jesus is his Son whom he loves and is pleased with. And the Holy Spirit proceeds down from the Father to rest on Jesus his beloved Son.

In his baptism Jesus is revealed as the promised servant-King of Israel (the words of the heavenly voice reflect Psalm 2 and Isaiah 42).

But this is no ordinary human king.

Secondly, Jesus is revealed as the God-man – he is God united to our humanity, indeed all humanity!

In his baptism Jesus also reveals that God is a vibrantly-alive, relational Three-in-One community of self-giving, sacrificial love.

The Father loves and delights in the Son with the movement of the Spirit.

And the Son with the Spirit yields himself, listens to, and loves the Father in response. Anointed with the Spirit, Jesus expresses his love back to the Father throughout his ministry in the words he speaks and in how he serves.

Here at his baptism Jesus is “the radiance of God’s glory and the exact expression of his nature.”

Who is God?

Jesus reveals that God’s core essential nature that binds together all his attributes is LOVE.

John, the “apostle of love,” put it best when he said:

God is love. God’s love was revealed among us in this way: God sent his one and only Son in the world so that we might live through him. Love consists in this: not that we have loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son to be the atoning sacrifice for our sin…This is how we know that we remain in him and he in us: he has given us of his Spirit.”  (1 John 4:8-10, 13)

If God is love, then that means he is the perfect relationship of love. And every relationship of love has three elements: the lover, the beloved, and the love they share.

God is a relational God of love: the Father loves the Son, his beloved, in the bond of love that is the Spirit.

This is Good News that heals us of all our toxic and harmful images of God so we may experience our lives immersed in the Triune God’s presence through Jesus.

The Triune God of love has sacrificially loved us in Jesus by immersing himself into our humanity and our sin. By the Spirit we see and know that we are immersed in the sacrificial love of Jesus that comes from God our heavenly Father.

When we see God’s glory radiating in the incarnate, crucified, and risen Jesus with the eyes of faith, then our hearts are set free to dance in the communion of God’s self-giving, sacrificial love.

(Next week we continue with A Relational God of Love, Part 3)

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Meet Pastor Chris

  • Hi! My name is Chris Boehnke (a good German name pronounced “Bane-key”). Tracy, my wife, and I have been married for 21 years and God has blessed us with four beautiful children: Joshua (18), Lauren (16), Nathaniel (13), and Mikayla (9). I treasure my wife and family among the greatest gifts God has given me in life. I was born and raised in Omaha, Nebraska – the heartland of the Midwest – by two loving parents, Don and Linda. I grew up attending a conservative but vibrant Lutheran congregation, while also experiencing excursions into other evangelical and charismatic church environments. This exposed me to a breadth of Christian practice and teaching that has incited me over the years to ask a ton of questions and to seek deeper understanding regarding what “the church” is and what it’s central message, “the Gospel,” is all about. While my interests were in art…

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