Glorify Him! (Romans 11)

1cor10.31

There is a simple thought that is woven throughout Paul’s letter to the Romans. That idea is that no amount of works is going to save you, only faith in God can do that. This remains true even in this chapter.

Paul seems to recall Jesus’ teaching about being the vine (John 15:1-7). “But some of these branches from Abraham’s tree — some of the people of Israel — have been broken off. And you Gentiles, who were branches from a wild olive tree, have been grafted in.” (11:17 NLT). Paul goes on to remind the people that they are only allowed in because people had left. These people that had left, were the Jews that did not accept Jesus for who he was. Paul states “Many of the people of Israel are now enemies of the Good News” (11:28 NLT), but goes on to say that God still loves them, despite what they’ve done.

I love the way Paul ends this chapter, “For everything comes from him and exists by his power and is intended for his glory. All glory to him forever! Amen.” (11:36 NLT). This is where the works come in. There is nothing that we can give to God, that He doesn’t already have. No amount of sacrifices, or bargains, or deals are to God’s advantage. He owns the whole of Creation and everything in it. The car you drive, the house you live in, and all the money in your bank account are on loan from the Almighty God.  So our call is to use these things for His glory, not ours.

When I joined my church I pledged to faithfully participate in its ministries by my prayers, presence, gifts, service, and witness. I know that this is a pledge to a church, but honestly isn’t this what we pledge to God when we become His? I don’t know about you, but all I do is pray, be present, offer my gifts, serve, and bear witness. I don’t have time for anything else, do you know why? Because all we do is to be done to the glory of God. If God cannot be glorified, than there is probably something we shouldn’t be doing.

So there it is my friends. Let’s give God all the glory today. He woke us up, He’s the reason we’re here, He’s given us all we have, so why would we glorify anything else? We should be glorifying God at all times, if for no other reason than the face He saved you and me. We were dead, our sin made us that way. But God came to earth, and He gave us new life through His death. Now because of God I live! So all glory to Him, Amen!

Previous Chapters

Come Thou Fount of Every Blessing

download

So apparently I never actually posted this yesterday, so you guys luck out. 2 posts today!!!!!!!!!!

The story for the man who wrote this hymn, Robert Robinson, was actually quite inspiring. After the death of his father, his mother sent him to London to become a barber. Instead he learned to drink and became a gangster. After an unsettling encounter with a fortune teller, he and his buddies attended a meeting being held by George Whitefield, a very prominent evangelist. Three years later, after being haunted by the preachers words, Robinson gave his life to Christ. He then entered into the ministry. He wrote this hymn in order to accompany a sermon he was giving, and it has been a Church favorite ever since.

The last couple strains of this song really hit me this week, “Prone to wander, Lord, I feel it, Prone to leave the God I love. Here’s my heart, Lord, take and seal its, seal it for Thy courts above.” It speaks to our sinful nature and how we constantly feel a need to run from God. But then we can turn around and give our lives to God. Not only is this an autobiography of Robert Robinson, but it is also a simple statement on the human relationship with God.

This Week’s Set

  • Children of Light – Kristian Stanfill
  • Whom Shall I Fear – Chris Tomlin
  • You Alone Can Rescue – Matt Redman
  • Here’s My Heart – performed by David Crowder
  • Come Thou Fount – Robert Robinson, arr. Preston Howell
  • Amazing Grace (My Chains Are Gone) – Chris Tomlin

It’s a Heart Thing (Romans 10)

heart1-300x300

In this chapter of Romans Paul makes a statement that changes the view of everything, “If you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raise him from the dead, you will be saved.” (10:9 NLT). Did you catch what he said there? “Believe in your heart.”

In the time of Paul writings, the Jews were very much a ritual society. They knew they had to perform such and such tasks in order to “appease” God. It became such a ritual that the message of God left their hearts. That’s why Jesus’ ministry was so radical to them. They were used to the way of being a Jew, but had forgotten what it meant to be a Jew. So God came to this world, set us free from sin, and opened Himself up for the whole world to enjoy.

Today our Christian culture starts to feel the same way. They lose what it means to be the Church and instead they do church. This is one of my biggest issues as a worship leader. My task is to help you connect with God on a personal level, not simply come together and sing some songs. We have two services at my church and you can tell a big difference between the two. The first service (the one that’s been around for ever) the people just stare at you and sing the words to songs they know. They get really picky about doing certain things the way they’ve always been done. But the other service is always moving and engaging.

That’s what God wants from us friends. He wants us to move. He wants us to feel it, to truly believe within our hearts what He has done for us. He doesn’t just want us to say who He is, He wants us to live that way. Let it fill our hearts so that we can’t do anything else but stand in awe of Him!

It’s not a ritual thing, this faith we have, it’s a heart thing.

Previous Chapters

God Made a Way (Romans 9)

crosses  sunrise

In today’s chapter Paul talks about Israel having been chosen as God’s people and why now in Christ, God is available to everyone. He does quote a lot of Scripture in this chapter. He moves to start speaking about the Gentiles and opens with a quote from Hosea:

“Those who were not my people,
I will now call my people.
An I will love those
whom I did not love before”
-Hosea 2:23, NLT (Paul’s Paraphase)

In the Jewish world, before Jesus, everyone who was not a Jew was considered to be outside of God’s love. However, since Jesus, we know that this is not true. But this biggest thing for me comes at the end of the chapter with Paul’s quote of Isaiah:

“I am placing a stone in Jerusalem
that makes people stumble,
a rock that makes them fall.
But anyone who trust in him
will never be disgraced.”
-Isaiah 28:16, NLT (Paul’s paraphrase)

What does this mean? Put simply, God gave the Law (the stone) to the Jews. It was to be a guide for them, in order to find right living. But instead of keeping faith in God, they made the Law into an idol and put their faith on it. Rather the Law is meant to help us realize our sin. Paul writes in his letter to the Galatians, “If the law could give us new life, we could be made right with God by obeying it. But the Scriptures declare that we are all prisoners of sin, so we receive God’s promise of freedom only by believing in Jesus Christ.” (Galatians 3:21-22 NLT). So again Paul gives us the idea that Christ is life, but Law is death.

So, we as Gentiles have an advantage over our Jewish brothers and sisters, not a disadvantage. It was believed by the Jewish in the early days after Christ, that the Gentiles needed to become more Jewish in order to receive God’s blessing of His Son. However, as Gentiles we were never slave to the Law, instead we have only ever had faith; and that is Paul’s claim. It is only by faith that we are saved. Believing in Christ is the only way we can be saved. No Law, or any amount of things we do could help us enter into heaven. That’s the point. God has done it all. He has made a way. He has opened the door for each one of us. All we have to do is walk through and go down the path.

Previous Chapters

He Loves Us! (Romans 8)

Romans 8

So I’ve spent awhile talking about sin, and how bad it is. As Beautiful Christian World said yesterday, understanding sin is the only way that we can understand God’s grace. Without knowing sin, we cannot know that we need salvation or see why God made a way for us. But today we get to shift gears a little!

Paul starts this letter with the argument that the Law is only able to condemn. “The law of Moses was unable to save us because of the weakness of our sinful nature. So God did what the law could not do. He sent his own Son in a body like the bodies we sinners have. And in that body God declared an end to sin’s control over us by giving his Son as a sacrifice for our sins.” (8:3 NLT). So while the Law is meant to give us a standard for living, we as fallen, broken creatures cannot live up to the expectation. Enter Jesus Christ.

But the more important message from this chapter starts on verse 31 and finishes out the chapter. “And I am convinced that nothing can ever separate us from God’s love. Neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither our fears for today nor our worries about tomorrow — not even the powers of hell can separate us from God’s love. No power in the sky above or in the earth below — indeed, nothing in all creation will ever be able to separate us from the love of God that is revealed in Christ Jesus our Lord.” (8:38-39 NLT).

There it is my friends, once we are God’s nothing can take us away from Him. You are His! Always and forever! Ain’t nothin’ gonna change it. So rejoice, God loves you a whole bunch and He’s never letting go! You are loved by God. “If God is for us, who can ever be against us?” (8:31 NLT). So stand tall, and be glad that you have a God who loves you!

I saw this video this morning and thought it would be worth a good share.

Previous Chapters

The Sinful Nature (Romans 7)

sinful-nature_1

We have been talking a lot about sin lately. I hope you don’t let this letter make you feel terrible about yourself.  That isn’t the point here. Paul is seeking to help us understand what sin is, and how terrible it is. Once we have that understanding, we can fully understand what God did for us through Jesus Christ. They honestly did an amazing thing, but without the context, we really have no understanding why getting rid of sin is necessary.

Paul brings up an interesting point. “I want to do what is right, but I can’t. I want to do what is good, but I don’t I don’t want to do what is wrong, but I do it anyway” (7:18-19 NLT). Paul is speaking to the inner battle that exists for all people, not just Christians. However, as Christians, it is more obvious to us. Our minds and hearts are set on God, and what He wants from us. We all know these things, follow the Ten Commandments, live like Jesus, etc., but it is hard for us. Why? Because our bodies have a sinful nature, and are only interested it what it wants, not what God wants.

WARNING!!!!!!!!!!!!! I feel that I have to warn you that this post is about to get really personal, so if you know me in person and don’t want to know something deeply personal and embarrassing, please skip down.

The best example I can think of with this came from my own life, and sadly the same way many men’s lives are. In my teen years, I discovered the power of pornography. It became a large problem for me, but I had no idea how big a problem it was until I found Christ. It was such a problem, I still struggle with it today. It is only with God’s help that I am able to overcome that temptation, but it is still a struggle everyday. I could blame it on the world, with it’s sex crazed advertisement style, or television/movies when there is excessive nudity, but in all honesty the problem is me and my body. My mind knows that my sexual needs are to be fulfilled from my wife and no one else, but my body eats away at my fortitude to get me to fall away from God’s direction in my life.

OKAY!!!!!!!! It’s safe to read again!

I suppose the point I’m trying to make is that sin is powerful. Our bodies long for it simply because it knows what it wants. It is impatient to wait for God, or simply doesn’t want to follow His way. So I encourage you to pray about what troubles your mind and body. Paul states, “there is a power within me that is at war with my mind. This power make me a slave to the sin that is still within me” (7:23 NLT). God can give you the strength to overcome the thoughts and actions that plague us, and can help us to become more pure and holy. There is a war happening within us, and we cannot win without God. It has taken me a lot of hard work and prayer to get where I am. I still struggle today, and I may never fully overcome myself, but I know God is there to help me. And He is willing to help you too. All you have to do is pray and ask for His help.

Previous Chapters

Sin is Death, Christ is Life (Romans 6)

drybones

Well friends, in my Bible, the heading for this chapter is “Sin’s Power is Broken”. This is the point of the gospel. Before we had Jesus, we were slaves to sin. We couldn’t help ourselves, it was all we knew. Even the Jews were slave to this human nature. If you read through the Book of Leviticus, there is a whole list of things that you have to do to overcome sin. Mostly it involved some intricate system of sacrifices. But because of Christ’s death we are no longer bound by the system of sacrifices.

The unfortunate thing about sin is that sin leads to death. “For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life through Christ Jesus our Lord” (6:23 NLT). This simply means that as long as we continue to sin, we are dead. But God is able to give us new life, it reminds me of Ezekiel 37. In this passage, the prophet Ezekiel is brought to a valley of dry bones. God tells him to speak to the bones in order to bring them to life, and as he does the bones come together and form flesh upon them. Then God tells the prophet to speak to the wind to breathe new life into these remade bodies.

While we are in sin, we are just like the remade bodies. We are alive, but really we are no different than being dead. We cannot live for God, we cannot do what He asks of us, because we are dead. But God offers us life. Once we have life, than we are unstoppable because we are alive and everyone else (not in Christ) is still dead.

So wake up friends! Christ is breathing new life into us so we can live. We can now go out into the world in live for Him. So be the light to this world that God has called you to be. Live a life, because now you are alive and not dead!

Previous Chapters

A Mighty Fortress

144605235_640

This week’s song is called “A Mighty Fortress”. It was written by Christy and Nathan Nockels. They say it was written from Psalm 18:2, but truthfully the Book of Psalms has the same message all throughout. It states:

“The Lord is my rock, my fortress and my deliverer;
my God is my rock, in whom I take refuge.
He is my shield and the horn of my salvation, my stronghold.”
-Psalm 18:2, NIV

The basic message is that God is the safest place for us. We are able to find peace, strength and love in His presence. God is the place we are to run to when we face troubles, hardships, and when the world gets us down. He is there for us, loves us, and wants to help us. So when troubles arise, run to God and find refuge in His arms!

This Weeks’ Setlist

  • O Praise Him
  • Always
  • How He Loves
  • A Mighty Fortress
  • You Never Let Go