One Man Can Change The World (Romans 5)


In today’s chapter, Paul continues connecting the Old Testament with the New. Yesterday, he told us that we are all made righteous by faith, the same way Abraham was in Genesis 12. Today Paul goes further back in history. In the beginning, God made Adam, the first man, father of us all. God gave Adam the simple instruction not to eat from the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil. Eve was deceived, and then lead Adam to disobey God. This was the first sin, and by committing the first sin, sin entered the world and has plagued humanity ever since.

Paul then shows us Christ. Through Jesus, salvation and life was able to enter this world that was full of sin and death. Paul says, “Because on person disobeyed God, many became sinners. But because on other person obeyed God, many will be made righteous” (5:19 NLT). Paul is really making clear to us that we simply have to have faith in Jesus, and that he is the only way, for our salvation from sin and death.

So where does that lead you and me? We know how we are supposed to live. But just like Eve who was deceived by a snake, we have our own snakes to fight. They are powerful. Even a quick 15 second advertisement, or a billboard along the road, can trip us up. But Jesus gives us the power to overcome sin, especially those things that are really attractive to us.  I’m reminded of the lyrics from Kari Jobe’s song Savior’s Here:

“You have saved us
You have won
Sin is broken
Death is gone
Freedom’s found us
Breakthrough’s near
In your presence
No more Fear
Our savior’s here
Our savior’s here”

It’s true what she says, sin has been broken and death is gone. Christ did that for you and for me. People like to say that one person cannot change the world, but I think of Christ. He is one man that not only changed the world, he saved all of Creation! So celebrate today. You have been saved from the death you deserve, by your faith in, and the death of, Jesus Christ!

Here is that Kari Jobe song for you to take a listen too.


Previous Chapters

Righteousness of Abraham (Romans 4)

Abraham in The Bible miniseries
Abraham in The Bible miniseries

Something I think most of us have trouble with is bridging a connection between the Old and New Testaments. We find it pretty easy, as Christians, to connect with Jesus, Peter, Paul, and the rest of the New Testament, but the Old just seems a little irrelevant. I, however, disagree with that thought. The Old Testament is what gives us the frame of reference for why Jesus is important.

I think that in this chapter, Paul does a very good job “bridging the gap”. In the previous chapters, he began to roll out his argument that all you have to do for salvation is have faith. This concept was obviously a little hard for the ancient Hebrews, and Gentiles, to understand. So Paul made a case for the main figure in the Jewish faith.

Paul spoke of Abraham, the father of the entire Israelite nation. Abraham was the man that God came to in Genesis 12, and made him a promise based on his faith and righteousness. Paul states, “Well, we have been saying that Abraham was counted as righteous by God because of his faith. But how did this happen? Was he counted as righteous only after he was circumcised, or was it before he was circumcised? Clearly, God accepted Abraham before he was circumcised!” (4:9b-10 NLT).

The circumcision issue being raised here, I’m sure comes from some of the debate going on with the Roman church. Many times Paul has had to combat the issues of being bound by the Law while also accepting Christ. One of the points being made was that Gentile Christians had to become circumcised because that was part of the Law. But Paul disagrees. His statement is, once again, that faith is what is necessary for salvation, not Law. He speaks of Abraham because he is one of the highest people in the Jewish faith. He wasn’t circumcised, but God counted his faith to him as righteousness. Not because he was following the Law (which hadn’t been written yet) but because He believed in God and in His promises.

So where’s the connection? It is through our faith in Jesus. “So the promise [given to Abraham] is received by faith. It is given as a free gift. And we are all certain to receive it, whether or not we live according to the law of Moses, if we have faith like Abraham’s. For Abraham is the father of all who believe.” (4:16 NLT).

For us today, this means that we still get to be recipients of God’s promises because of our belief in Jesus Christ. His sacrifice opened the door to us Gentiles, and allowed us to have salvation as well. People still come up to us and say that we are doing the wrong thing, or we need to be doing something else. But honestly, so long as we have our faith in Jesus we get to be counted among Abraham’s children as the People of God!

Previous Chapters

Faith Against Law (Romans 3)


One of the main topics Paul discusses throughout his letter to the Romans is about the Law. This Law is not only made up of the Ten Commandments, but in total contains 613 different laws that every Jew was to obey. This law was upheld by the Pharisees, and was a constant theological battleground for Jesus. After the founding of the Church, Gentile Christians were constantly told by Jewish Christians that they must adhere to the Law of Moses (aka the Pharisees’ laws). This is so wide spread that Paul talks about it in many of his letters to other churches. But in Romans it is most certainly a main topic.

In the previous chapter Paul spoke about the law, and how God is the only judge. In this chapter Paul raises his argument against those that say Christians must follow the old Law. Paul’s response is that we must have faith, it is faith that saves us. He will go on to talk about it in later chapters, so we will stick with Romans 3 today. This chapter contains one of the most important verse in the Bible, and is a center point of our faith, “For everyone has sinned; we all fall short of God’s glorious standard. Yet God, with undeserved kindness, declares that we are righteous. He did this through Christ Jesus when he freed us from the penalty for our sins.” (3:23-24 NLT).

The point that Jesus was trying to make during his ministry is that God is loving, and the Law is what condemns us. When we put our faith in the Law, and do our best to keep it, we will die. But Christ paid the penalty of our sins for us, so that we may have life. So Paul’s point becomes that the Law kills us, but putting our faith in Jesus, we live. Paul finishes this chapter with the statement, “only when we have faith do we truly fulfill the law” (3:31 NLT).

So I ask the question, is it better to have faith in Jesus, or be worried about living a good and perfect life? To be honest friends, I’d take faith any day of the week! Jesus is the only person to have lived a sinless life, and he is the only one capable of such a feat. So why try? However, we should still strive to do what God has asked of us. It is impossible for us to be perfect, we are imperfect, broken creatures that have an enormously sinful nature. Our sinful nature is something we cannot overcome. Fight it as much as we can, we will still sin.

But thank God for grace! Grace is what allows you and I to be saved and forgiven, despite our sins. However, this doesn’t give us the freedom to sin as we please. By our faith in Christ, we are changed to be compelled not to sin. The problem arises when people forget that it is in our very nature to sin, we can’t help it, and God knows it.

So where are we at today, friends? You and I have all sinned. We continue to sin, despite our urge to not sin because of our fallen nature. But as we grow in our faith, and get closer in our relationship with God, we start to sin less and less. It will never stop, but we do get better at not sinning. So don’t lose hope. Just because you fall doesn’t make you a bad Christian. It simply makes you human, and God loves you anyway.

Be God’s Light to the World (Romans 2)


Today’s chapter of Romans 2, continues on with what we were saying yesterday. Here Paul again quotes an Old Testament prophet, “The Gentiles blaspheme the name of God because of you” (Isaiah 52:5, Romans 2:24 NLT). Yesterday we discussed holding the world to a different standard than it holds itself to, but today Paul is showing that we can be the cause from people to turn against God.

God is the judge of sin, not man (2:2). However, Paul writes “Since you judge others for doing these things, why do you think you can avoid God’s judgment when you do the same things” (2:3 NLT). This doesn’t mean you can only judge someone if you don’t commit the same sin they do. Rather, God only sees sin as sin. Unlike us, God does not view it as lying, stealing, murdering, cheating, etc (1 Corinthians 6:9-10). Instead, for Him, it is sin and is all equally just as bad. So if you sin, you cannot judge others of sin.

But as Christians, we are to be the light of the world. I believe that we should live our lives according to the Will of God. Which means, to me, that we may give our opinions of sin when asked. We can’t stand on our soapbox and tell the world everything they have done wrong, because honestly, I’ve done it too (and so have you!). However, we can pray for them, even if our opinion isn’t asked of us. You never know, God could give you a whole knew way to interact with these people that is beneficial for the both of you. When Christians get on a soapbox, people turn away and get a bad opinion of God. Which leads us right back to 2:24.

So keep yourselves focused on what is right. Live according to the Bible and the Will of God. Keep your opinions of other people actions between you and God. When you are asked, give the opinion God would. The point is not to tell people what they do is wrong. The point is to spread the Gospel of Jesus Christ, and the message of a God who love you and me!

Live by Faith (Romans 1)


Well friends, it’s been a few days since I’ve done this but I’ve decided to do another book study! I’ve decided this time to cover the Book of Romans. Just like we did with Mark, I will do a chapter a day provided nothing comes up in the mean time. So let’s jump into this letter to find out about what God has to say for us.

Let me start by saying, Romans is probably my favorite book of the Bible. It was the last letter that Paul wrote, and is one of his prison letters (meaning he wrote it while in prison). He wrote it to a church that He hadn’t founded, but had the urge to visit (1:13). The Roman church didn’t just sit in the middle of a sin infested city, it was the middle of the whole world; everyone and everything either was apart of  or knew of the Roman Empire. Paul was excited for this church because they had the ability to spread the gospel throughout the world, because they were placed in Rome. However, we quickly see what the problem of the church is. He sets it up through he thesis for his letter, which is a quote from Habakkuk 2, “It is through faith that a righteous person has life” (Romans 1:17, Habakkuk 2:4 NLT).

It’s the truth isn’t it? Jesus says, “I am the way, the truth, and the life; no one come to the Father but through me” (John 14:6 NASB) and “the gateway to life is very narrow” (Matthew 7:14 NLT). So what Jesus is saying is the same that Paul and the prophet Habakkuk both say, belief in Jesus is the way to life. The problem that the Roman church had, and what many of us have today, is that we think there are multiple things we still have to do other than have faith. As we will see, Paul shows that the old Jewish Law is dead because of Christ saving death. That’s it friends. Have faith.

So if it’s that simple, how come we get caught up in telling people they have to do this, this, and this, but we don’t mention Jesus one bit. I think our focus, as a Church, has shifted. We have accepted Jesus, we know the world knows about him, so naturally we feel that the world needs to be reminded how to live a Christian life. That’s all well and good, but we don’t live in a Christian world. Largely, Christ is fought, and mostly it’s because Christians have been finger pointing so long that we are viewed as judgmental. We get confused on what it means to hate the sin. It’s true, as Christians we are to hate what God hates, and love what God loves. But God only hates one thing, sin. That means we have to hate sin. Sin is not a person, it is a person’s actions. Sin is something you do, not what you are. And since we love what God loves, we get to love the sinner, despite what they do.

The other side is true as well. The world teaches us that the only way to love others, is to support everything they do. And if you don’t, then you must hate them. Rick Warren said it best, “Our culture has accepted two huge lies. The first is that if you disagree with someone’s lifestyle, you must fear or hate them. The second is that to love someone means you agree with everything they believe or do. Both are nonsense. You don’t have to compromise convictions to be compassionate.”

So where does that leave Christians? We’re stuck. We have to stand against sin. We have to love people. We have to share Jesus. We have to live by faith. We want the people we know and love to get to experience the life given to us by our faith. But largely, they are against the idea of Christ. My suggestion, we live like we are supposed to. We follow God, and seek after His heart. When our friends and family ask what the secret is, then we tell them about God and Jesus. This is the only way we can share our faith and help other get life, by example. Because as much as this world believes it’s alive, it has no idea that it is just a valley of dry bones. God can bring this world back to life (Ezekiel 37), but in order for Him to provide, we must have faith that He will.

You Alone Can Rescue


Hi friends!

This week’s song is called You Alone Can Rescue by Matt Redman. It is written from Galatians 1:4, “who gave Himself for our sins so that He might rescue us from this present evil age, according to the will of our God and Father,” (NASB). This song is a simple statement that God has, and is the only one, who can save us from our sinful lives. The song starts with the lyrics “Who, O Lord, could save themselves” which show us from the beginning that we cannot even save ourselves. Then speaking to Jesus we find the line “You, O Lord, have made a way”. This is a reference to what Jesus says “I am the way, and the truth, and the life; no one comes to the Father but through Me” (John 14:6 NASB). Essentially this a great song that allows us to sing our faith and give God thanks and praise for saving us from our shameful ways.

Here is the song, take a listen and enjoy.

Today’s songs:
All Creatures of Our God and King – Hymn rearranged by David Crowder* Band
Doxology – Hymn
Always – by Kristian Stanfill
You Alone Can Rescue – by Matt Redman
How Great Is Our God – by Chris Tomlin

Mature Audiences Only


Sorry about the misleading title, but decided I needed to come up with something catchy.

In the book of Ephesians we find this statement from Paul, “He handed out gifts above and below, filled heaven with his gifts, filled earth with his gifts. He handed out gifts of apostle, prophet, evangelist, and pastor-teacher to train Christians in skilled servant work, working within Christ’s efficient and graceful in response to God’s Son, full mature adults, full developed within and without, fully alive like Christ. No prolonged infancies among us, please. We’ll not tolerate babes in the woods, small children who are an easy mark for impostors. God wants us to grow up, to know the whole truth and tell it in love — like Christ in everything.” (Ephesians 4:10-15 MSG).

Paul is telling us a few things in the letter, but right here he is calling us to grow in our faith. It is enough for our salvation to accept Jesus Christ as our savior, but it isn’t enough for our lives and ministries. Yes, I said it, as Christians we all live a life of ministry. God passes unique gifts on to everyone to use, but if our mandate is life is to go and make new disciples (Matthew 28:19), isn’t that the main focus of ministry? So welcome to ministry my friends, it’s a blast! So how do we grow as Christians then? I believe it come in three different ways.

First, and most importantly, is worship. Worship is not just Sunday morning church. It is a lifestyle my friends. Worshiping God with your life means to give everything to Him, and do it all for His glory. You have to seek out a connection with the Father, not just simply believe in Him. This is what lead to the uprising of the new contemporary worship style. It’s main focus is to get worshipers to connect with God on a deep emotional level. Yes we all fall in love with the worship leader, the band, the lights, and all the flashy things, but truly we should be seeking to form a deep connection with God that gives Him glory.

Second, we grow through communion with other believers. Once again, not just church! Don’t get me wrong, church is a great place for all these things to happen, but if you are only seeking the Lord on Sunday mornings, are you really a believer? Other believers can be family, friends, fellow church-goers, coworkers, that hobo down the street, etc. We could be farther on our faith journey than they are, or vise versa. But if you have an honest conversation with any believer you will grow in your faith. I will also say this, being with other believers does not have to be face-to-face interactions. It could be reading someone’s book. I have grown a ton from some of the books I’ve read. It can be social media (just like this blog!) or some other type of medium where you can hear from other people.

The third way we grow is through study. I didn’t used to care very much about Bible study. But when I started to become a worship leader, I realized I didn’t know much of anything. So I went and got a degree in Biblical Studies, and now I say to you friends “Study the Scriptures!!!!!!” The Bible is the Word of God, it is the teachings of Christ, it is the best way for us to learn about God. The Bible is the way God chose to reveal Himself to the world. So why wouldn’t you study it?

So don’t just accept Christ and say your done. We all have growth to do. Paul is saying that we should never stop learning about God. We most definitely need to seek maturity and wisdom. These things come from God. The more we know Him, and spend time with Him, the more wise and mature we can become. So let’s get out there and keep learning, if for no other reason then to get to the the reason we have life!

I’m So Thirsty


“As the deer pants for streams of water,
So my soul pants for you, O God.
My soul thirsts for God, for the living God.
When can I go and meet with God?”
-Psalm 42:1-2, NIV

This scripture has been on my mind the last couple of days. The whole psalm expresses a desire to be closer to God. The psalmist clearly has fallen away from God and desires to be closer. He finishes the psalm by writing “Why are you downcast O my soul? Why so disturbed within me? Put your hope in God, for I will yet praise him, my Savior and my God” (Psalm 42:11 NIV). He realizes that in order to feel better, or closer, all he has to do is put his faith in God! Knowing this psalm, I don’t think it was by accident Jesus reached out to the Samaritan woman at a well or offered living water.

We all have times that are rough. We all have environments that aren’t approving of our Christian lifestyle. The trouble comes when these things take us to the wrong place. When tragedy strikes, do you run away from or towards God? Unfortunately, I’m afraid most people run away. They like to use the phrase “How can a good god allow this to happen?”

Environment is a tricky one too. I personally work in a place that isn’t good for Christian growth. Everyone around me seems to be against me, or think what I do is stupid. The place I live has essentially stopped going to church. Largely people seem to think sporting events and sleeping in are more important. And of course, the world seems to be turning away from God. It’s like living in a desert. That’s why I love what the psalmist said, “my soul thirsts for You”.

So we must constantly quench our thirst of God. Without Him, our soul yearns for Him, cries out for Him, or dehydrates from Him. We need Him in our lives, in an ever growing amount. The more of Him we have, the more we need. So spend time in prayer, reading Scripture, singing His praises, talking about Him, whatever your lead to do. We need God back in our lives and in this world. Let’s bring Him here!

For God or For Man

A servant's towel and bowl
A servant’s towel and bowl

Who do we serve? Seems like a simple question. God is the right answer, but do we really do that sometimes? There are times we come across where we really have to check our motives. As a worship leader, it is really easy to lose sight of God, and just become a celebrity. In today’s culture, it’s very easy. We have worship leaders out there, like Chris Tomlin and the group Hillsong, that have a celebrity status. There is a pull to become more famous, more popular, and more influential.

In his letter to the Galatians Paul writes, “For am I now seeking the favor of men, or of God? Or am I striving to please men? If I were still trying to please men, I would not be a bond-servant of Christ.” (1:10 NASB). This serves as a reminder that, quite often, what pleases God and what pleases man is different. So our focus and heart must be to seek what the Lord is calling for us to do.

This goes beyond the temptation for worship leaders. It extends to everyone. Paul also writes “whatever you do, do all to the glory of God” (1 Corinthians 10:31 NASB). With these two verses in mind, going to work, caring for our children, eating at a restaurant, or running a few miles changes the way we should be viewing life. It is easy for us to say “it is my life” but really it is His life. He gave it to us as a gift. So just like the sweater your grandmother gave you that you don’t like that you wear around her because it makes her happy, we must live our lives for God!

I know its tough. The last few days have been pretty rough for me because I have not kept this focus. Instead I was being me-centered, when really I should be God-centered. Living a life for Him is the highest form of worship, because it shows our thankfulness that we are able to be alive. This is why I love the phrase “Worship isn’t what you do on Sunday mornings, worship is a lifestyle!” So as a Heart Man, that is to be our focus for the day; how is it that we can worship Him in everything we do? When we do this, that is when our lives become God-centered, and we are able to live out our purpose for life! It isn’t about what other people think anymore, it’s all about how He feels and what He wants from us.

So I ask again, who do we serve?

Answering the Call


Receiving a call on your life is a very powerful moment and feeling. I remember mine to become a worship leader. Answering God’s call is a very important thing for us to do as we seek to become closer to His heart.

To me, one of the most powerful moments in the Bible is Paul’s conversion (Acts 9). Before, Saul of Tarsus spent his life chasing down the Church and arresting and killing Christians. Until one day, on his way to Damascus, Saul was struck by lightning and God said to him “Saul, Saul, why are you persecuting Me?” (Acts 9:4 NASB). Saul was confused, he thought he was doing God’s will. So he asked who was speaking to him, and the answer came “I am Jesus”. After this encounter Saul was blind. He was lead into Damascus until a man named Ananias came to him, healed his sight, baptized him, and delivered God’s call on his life.

I was reading a book this morning called Then Sing My Soul by Robert Morgan. It is a book that talks about several hymns. Today I was reading about Be Thou My Vision. Here Morgan discusses St. Patrick. After having lived a life where he was sold into slavery in Ireland, he escaped and returned home to England. Patrick then had a dream of an Irishman begging for him to come back to Ireland, but this time as a missionary. His family pleaded with him not to go, but he did return to Ireland with only his Bible. He planted about 200 churches and saw 100,000 converts to Christianity. Patrick is seen as one of the most important evangelicals of all time.

So where does that leave us? Paul and Patrick both became great persons of faith, and simply answered God’s call upon their lives. Can you imagine a world where they hadn’t? God has placed on your life a purpose and a calling. It may not be to go and turn a whole country to Christianity, it may not be to lead arenas is singing His praises. It may not be anything that you would view as grand and important. But I can honestly tell you, if God wants you to do something, it is important. If you don’t know what that purpose is, then spend some time in prayer. Ask Him what job He has for you. God doesn’t create anything without a purpose, and that includes you and I. So seek out your calling, and ask God to lead you to it.