Everyone has a tension living within them. An old American Indian tale described the tension as a good wolf and a bad wolf living inside of us. The young Indian desperately wanted to know.., 'Which wolf wins?' The answer is similar to the struggle in every Christian or wannabe Christian. Paul admits in chapter 7 living according to God's will is hard. There's a war between the flesh and the spirit. But deep down inside, every Christian, or wannabe Christian, wants to know, 'Can I be sure? How do I know if I'm really saved?' The answers to these questions can be found in Chapter 8 of Romans. Romans has been called the greatest book ever written, and chapter 8 the best chapter. Some of you already know the answer. For those who know, reading it again will serve to reinforce what you've already believed. For those who are unsure, will you take the time to read it for yourselves? May God's Spirit fill each and every one of you that you will be made sure of your own salvation. Please read chapters 7-8 and be ready for a great weekend of worship!
God bless you all. I'm praying for you and look forward to worshipping with you this weekend.
Thanks to everyone who gave positive feedback regarding the rope illustration from last weekend. It was a visible reminder that we're only on this earth for a short while compared to eternity. Some of us get bogged down looking into the past. We are called, as Paul did, to forget the past and live for the future. The choices we make today will affect where we spend eternity. Because of that, we are called to live holy lives. In our passage this week, Paul, is responding to an assumed question, 'Since we are saved by grace should we sin even more so that more of God's grace would be poured out on us?' The answer is found in Romans 6:1-11.
Please read ahead and be ready for a great day of worship. Please remember to reach out and invite someone who's not already connected to a church family. It just might change their life forever!
God bless you all and looking forward to worshipping with you this weekend.
If you could have one thing in your life what would it be? Many would quickly say 'rich'. There are a lot of good answers, but with all of the stress in life wouldn't 'peace' be near the top of the list. We'd like to have peace at work, home, church, and most certainly, with God. This week we'll be looking at Romans 5:1-11 where Paul tells us how we can have peace with God. If you want to have peace with one person, wouldn't it be God??? Please read ahead and be ready for a great day of worship this weekend.
God bless you all,
People in America have gone crazy for sports over the last century. Many of you have rooted vehemently for, or against, the Yankess, Red Sox, Rays, Cowboys, Bucs, etc. (Any Saints fans out there where there's weeping and gnashing of teeth???) Anyway, you get the point. Some of you know the pain of losing an all star player to the cross town rival (anyone remember the curse of the Bambino? Any LeBron fans, or former fans?). One team rejoices, while the other spews curses at the 'traitor'. To many Jews, Paul was a traitor! He'd gone for being an 'all-star' Jew to champion of the Gentiles. From persecuting the Church to leading the Church.. The Church rejoiced (once they were convinced of his true conversion). While the early church was predominantly Jewish, they wrestled with knowing how to deal with this new religion. For thousands of years they were told salvation comes through obedience. Now, not only are they dealing with a new Church, Paul's adding Gentiles (non-Jews) to the mix. Questions arose whether or not new Christians would have to be circumcised, or follow the Old Testament dietary and moral laws. In short, the answer was no... They all got together at the 'Jerusalem Council' to decide whether or not new, Gentile, converts would have to follow the old laws, and decided, rightly so, that they did not. James, the brother of Jesus and leader of the Jerusalem church basically said, 'Why would we saddle them with the old laws which we ourselves couldn't keep'? The Old Covenant plan for salvation was the Law. But Jesus fulfilled the Old Covenant. The New Covenant is by faith. We'll continue our discussion from last week on righteousness and salvation under the New Covenant. Please finish reading chapters two and three for context. We'll focus on Romans, chapter 3:21-26.
God bless you all and looking forward to worshipping with you this weekend.
Some years ago there was a show called Truth or Consequences. There were many hosts but most remember Bob Barker. The contestants had only a few seconds to answer truthfully or face the consequences. We continue in our series from the book of Romans, "From a Pastor's Heart". We started last week with the love of God. That is first base for Christians to understand the love of God. As Christians, we are freed from the penalty of sin, but that doesn't mean we can continue to live in sin. When we know something's wrong we are called to repent, stop doing whatever it is and live like Jesus. There are some, however, who fail to take the holiness of God seriously and erroneously believe they can do whatever they want. Paul wanted the church to know that if they continued in Godless behavior there would be consequences. Our passage will be Romans 1:18-25.
A special note from the pastor: I want to encourage everyone to read the passage immediately following verse 25. It contains one of the concerns standing at the forefront of our own United Methodist denomination. The question has to do with homosexuality and how we should respond as a church. Some claim our greater responsibility is to simply love, not passing judgement on anyone. Others, we would respond as Jesus did with some of the questions from Pharisees, "What do you read"? Homosexuality in this passage is clearly called a sin... But SO ARE THINGS LIKE GOSSIP AND ARROGANCE. I refuse to single out homosexuality or make this the main thrust of the message. Many have used this to excuse judgemental and bad behavior by some Christians toward the LGBTQ+ community. For that, I am truly sorry. I believe Paul added some of these other sins so that no one would feel superior. We ALL stand in the need of grace. Paul quickly adds in chapter 2, "You, therefore have no excuse, you who pass judgment on someone else." God is the only one qualified to judge.
I was recently asked if God-fearing homosexuals would be in Heaven. I responded, "I don't know. Do you think there will be any God-fearing gossipers in Heaven"? My real answer for both is yes. What sends people to Hell is the arrogance that they believe they are better than anyone else and they don't need as much grace as the next person. The point is... we all stand in the need of grace. I as your pastor hold firmly to the Scripture, and from a "pastor's heart" want to help all understand and repent of any sinful behavior. God is so much bigger than sexuality, arrogance, gossip, or slanderers. We are all called to lay our lives down, our wants, our wills and our desires, down at the feet of Jesus, and live holy lives for Him. Accountability for all, yes, but may our thoughts and actions always be founded in love. Jesus in John 15:13-17 lays down the mandate for all who would be disciples, "Love one another". May each one of us carry the mandate to love in all that we think, say, and do.
God bless you all. Thanks for being a part of our church family and I am excited to see how God moves in 2019,