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An Example of Faith: Romans 4:3

Romans is a deep book.  It makes you think a lot.  It teaches we are restored because we trust in Jesus Christ.  It gives real life examples, like Abraham.  Romans steps away from theory and philosophy.
If you’ve even experienced trying something new on an electronic device you know it’s easier for someone to just show you how to do it.  It’s a struggle to imagine doing several steps on a device that we haven’t done before.  Paul shows us what faith looks like and how we are restored through the life of Abraham.
Genesis has Abraham’s story.  He was a tremendous leader.  He was healed by God and restored.  I remember as a child singing the song Father Abraham in preschool.  Father Abraham had many sons, many sons had Father Abraham, I am one of them and so are you, so let’s just praise the Lord….  Even Abraham came by faith. 
We are healed through our faith in God.
For what does the Scripture say? “Abraham believed God, and it was counted to him as righteousness.” Romans 4:3 (ESV) Paul ta…
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Equal: Romans 3.21-25

God is ready to clean each of us up, restore us and make us righteous.  Romans 3 shows us how we get there, how to be restored and made right with God. 
The Bible reveals God’s vision for our lives.
21But now the righteousness of God has been manifested apart from the law, although the Law and the Prophets bear witness to it—
Paul reveals how we can be made right.  We want to know how we can be made right and restored.  The word, “manifested” means revealed.  In verse 21 the righteousness of God is revealed to us.  The foundation is the law and the prophets in the Old Testament.  This points forward to how we can be restored and understand what’s gone wrong in our life.  A section on the Old Testament, the Law is not a positive term for us.  It speaks of how we can be restored.   All of us are legalistic in some sense.  We think that by doing right things we will fix what’s wrong with us.  We have a deep sense inside that something isn’t right  We have a desire to live a better life.  W…

MADE TO FLOURISH: Graduate Sunday with John Rogers

I have good news for you today!  God created you on purpose, for a purpose and with a purpose.  This is good news isn’t it?
Psalm 139:13-16 13 For you formed my inward parts; you knitted me together in my mother's womb. 14 I praise you, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made. Wonderful are your works; my soul knows it very well. 15 My frame was not hidden from you, when I was being made in secret, intricately woven in the depths of the earth. 16 Your eyes saw my unformed substance; in your book were written, every one of them, the days that were formed for me, when as yet there was none of them.
When does this psalmist declare God knew you?  In the womb.  The creation of you was on purpose.  Isn’t that awesome?  God saw you as you were bring formed.  Jeremiah takes this a step further:
Jeremiah 1:5"Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, and before you were born I consecrated you; I appointed you a prophet to the nations."
Jeremiah 29:11-13 “For I know the plans I have for you, decla…

Personal Responsibility: Romans 2.1-11 (NLT)

We know well what’s wrong with the world.  We do a fine job of discussing this.  This is Romans 1.  Paul presents this clearly; our world is broken.  Chapter 2 asks another question: What’s wrong with us?  Asking this question can create a holy silence!  One person might answer this question and say, “sin.”  Another person might say, “we all need Jesus.”  Paul brings us face to face with the reality of what’s wrong.  There’s something wrong in each of us.  Before we can get to hope we need to understand what’s gone wrong. 
What is wrong with us?  Why haven’t we taken responsibility with what’s wrong with us?  It’s easier to see faults in others than to see the faults within ourselves.  Jesus, in the Sermon on the Mount told us that before you tell your brother about the speck in his eye, you better take a look at the log in yours.  We have a tendency to be blinded to what’s inside of us. 
It is sometimes easier to see the faults in others than our own faults.
1You may think you can con…

The Power of the Gospel: Romans 1.16-17

Romans shows us how we have a relationship with God, and how God reaches out and pulls us into relationship with Him.  Question: Are we ashamed of the Gospel?  Of Jesus?  In our culture we are confronted with whether we are ashamed.  Paul starts with this question.  He says he is not ashamed and he tells us why.
Have you ever been ashamed?  In college, I worked in maintenance.  We had a huge project to restore old church buildings.  I’d go out and tear old barns apart and use those old materials to restore churches.  One day I was driving back and the load on the truck shifted and busted out the glass behind me.  I forgot to secure the load!  What a shame!  I could not believe I did that!  I had to tell my boss what I did.  I was ashamed.
Paul is asking, “Are you ashamed?”  Why would we be asked such a question?
Rome was the most predominant city full of highly educated people.  Paul goes into this city telling a story of a carpenter from a remote village who the Romans crucified who was…

Life Lessons on Mission: Fear & Control by Jesse Barney

Recently, I have been working to teach my daughter and son how to ride a bike. My daughter, who jumps into everything with both feet, took to it like a duck to water. It took very little time and she was off on her own zooming around on her bike. My son, who is very analytic and thinks about all possible outcomes, was more difficult. He took much longer because he was afraid that he would crash into something or fall off. Many times he would try and jump off the bike when it was still going which placed him in a much more dangerous position than just sitting and riding the bike. The one statement that I said to him numerous times was, “don’t be controlled by fear!”

I can see myself in the various personality traits of my children. I, like my daughter, tend to jump on an opportunity when I see it. I have traveled to China, Thailand, India, and Europe as an ESL teacher. I never knew my mother tongue would afford opportunities to travel the world and meet people. It’s only when we take…

Jesus is Greater: Hebrews 3.1-6

The book of Hebrews in the New Testament is a book that has an Old Testament feel.We see the faith of Old Testament peoples.All centers on the person of Jesus.This book deals with a question that we wrestle with too.How do we know our faith is secure?We have our hope placed in Jesus, but how do we know?We are full of uncertainty.Will it rain?Will the rain cancel my event?Even with the advanced technology we have we cannot predict the weather perfectly.How can we be sure of salvation?Hebrews 3 takes us to the person of Jesus.
Consider who Jesus is and who He is not.This is the reason we can be certain today, because of who Jesus is.
1Therefore, holy brothers, you who share in a heavenly calling, consider Jesus, the apostle and high priest of our confession, 
Two words are combined together here to describe who this word is for, “holy brothers.”Brothers means, mankind, all people, all believers.We cringe at the second word: “holy.”We cringe at the thought of being called holy.What’s God s…