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Archive for October, 2007

14 I am fully convinced, my dear brothers and sisters,[h] that you are full of goodness. You know these things so well you can teach each other all about them. 15 Even so, I have been bold enough to write about some of these points, knowing that all you need is this reminder. For by God’s grace, 16 I am a special messenger from Christ Jesus to you Gentiles. I bring you the Good News so that I might present you as an acceptable offering to God, made holy by the Holy Spirit. 17 So I have reason to be enthusiastic about all Christ Jesus has done through me in my service to God. 18 Yet I dare not boast about anything except what Christ has done through me, bringing the Gentiles to God by my message and by the way I worked among them. 19 They were convinced by the power of miraculous signs and wonders and by the power of God’s Spirit.[i] In this way, I have fully presented the Good News of Christ from Jerusalem all the way to Illyricum.[j]
20 My ambition has always been to preach the Good News where the name of Christ has never been heard, rather than where a church has already been started by someone else. 21 I have been following the plan spoken of in the Scriptures, where it says,
“Those who have never been told about him will see, and those who have never heard of him will understand.”[
k]
22 In fact, my visit to you has been delayed so long because I have been preaching in these places.



FINALLY! 15 chapters into the book of Romans, Paul finally tells us why he is writing!! 🙂 Something I find interesting about Paul is his tactic of saying, “I write you this letter telling things you already know and that you already teach eachother, as just a simple reminder.” I love that because I sometimes imagine that they got this letter and looked at eachother and said, “woops – we better get on this!” In a very gentle, encouraging way, Paul reminded the Romans that they had all of the resources to keep plugging along. Part of me thinks that some of the Romans read it and felt encouraged and some of the Romans felt a pricking of the Holy Spirit, guiding them back on the right path.

The other thing that I find interesting is how Paul, through his own example, teaches the Romans and us to prioritize those that have not heard the message ahead of those that have heard the message and are part of a community. But he doesn’t forget the community, he still wrote to them and provided them with the wisdom and guidance God lead him to share.

So how am I going out into the world and sharing the good news? And how am I building into the community of believers? And who is the Paul in my life?

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14 I am fully convinced, my dear brothers and sisters,[h] that you are full of goodness. You know these things so well you can teach each other all about them. 15 Even so, I have been bold enough to write about some of these points, knowing that all you need is this reminder. For by God’s grace, 16 I am a special messenger from Christ Jesus to you Gentiles. I bring you the Good News so that I might present you as an acceptable offering to God, made holy by the Holy Spirit. 17 So I have reason to be enthusiastic about all Christ Jesus has done through me in my service to God. 18 Yet I dare not boast about anything except what Christ has done through me, bringing the Gentiles to God by my message and by the way I worked among them. 19 They were convinced by the power of miraculous signs and wonders and by the power of God’s Spirit.[i] In this way, I have fully presented the Good News of Christ from Jerusalem all the way to Illyricum.[j]
20 My ambition has always been to preach the Good News where the name of Christ has never been heard, rather than where a church has already been started by someone else. 21 I have been following the plan spoken of in the Scriptures, where it says,
“Those who have never been told about him will see, and those who have never heard of him will understand.”[
k]
22 In fact, my visit to you has been delayed so long because I have been preaching in these places.



FINALLY! 15 chapters into the book of Romans, Paul finally tells us why he is writing!! 🙂 Something I find interesting about Paul is his tactic of saying, “I write you this letter telling things you already know and that you already teach eachother, as just a simple reminder.” I love that because I sometimes imagine that they got this letter and looked at eachother and said, “woops – we better get on this!” In a very gentle, encouraging way, Paul reminded the Romans that they had all of the resources to keep plugging along. Part of me thinks that some of the Romans read it and felt encouraged and some of the Romans felt a pricking of the Holy Spirit, guiding them back on the right path.

The other thing that I find interesting is how Paul, through his own example, teaches the Romans and us to prioritize those that have not heard the message ahead of those that have heard the message and are part of a community. But he doesn’t forget the community, he still wrote to them and provided them with the wisdom and guidance God lead him to share.

So how am I going out into the world and sharing the good news? And how am I building into the community of believers? And who is the Paul in my life?

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where are you Emily?

Oh boy – I do believe I fell off of the face of the Earth. FK and I went down to the U of I to see the Fighting Illini not win against Michigan (boo!). We left early on Saturday morning and arrived in Champaign around 1 ish or so. Frank bought me my first orange Illini polo and a few stickers for his flight back. Then we went to visit his college pastor, Wayne and his wife, Janel. It was nice to see them again – it had been quite a while!

We met up with Meghan and her sister Colleen at a cafe in Urbana for some dinner and then met up with my sister, Cait and her friend Michelle before the game.

Let me just say that the game was a lot of fun because it was my first Illini football game with Frank. Even though the Illini lost, it was really neat to be there. Unfortunately, I was not in love with Big Ten Football Fans. It seems there were both sore losers and winners after the game. I’m sure the alcohol didn’t help any, either. After the game, we headed off to Bloomington – the only town with hotel vacancies!! The hotel was actually packed, so we were lucky to get a room.

Sunday we visited some of Frank’s college friends that now live in Bloomington. They are working on a church plant at ISU and it was great to catch up with them and hear how things were going.

On our way home, we stopped to visit our dear sibs – Kathryn, Dave and Karen – as well as the neice and nephew, Julia and Luke. It was really nice to spend time with them all. Yay!

So now I am home. Time for me to do my Bible study!

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Romans 15 cont’d

7 Therefore, accept each other just as Christ has accepted you so that God will be given glory. 8 Remember that Christ came as a servant to the Jews[b] to show that God is true to the promises he made to their ancestors. 9 He also came so that the Gentiles might give glory to God for his mercies to them. That is what the psalmist meant when he wrote:
“For this, I will praise you among the Gentiles; I will sing praises to your name.”[
c]
10 And in another place it is written, “Rejoice with his people, you Gentiles.”[
d] 11 And yet again,
“Praise the Lord, all you Gentiles. Praise him, all you people of the earth.”[
e]
12 And in another place Isaiah said,
“The heir to David’s throne[
f] will come, and he will rule over the Gentiles. They will place their hope on him.”[g]
13 I pray that God, the source of hope, will fill you completely with joy and peace because you trust in him. Then you will overflow with confident hope through the power of the Holy Spirit
.

So the passage yesterday talked about living in harmony with one another and this passage continues the conversation. The Jews felt that since they were originally God’s people that they were better (this is what I understand from other studies). This sense of entitlement causes chaos in the church because people were believing that they were superior would create resentment, etc. What Paul points out (again) is that Jesus died for both the Jews and the Gentiles, and there isn’t one group that is more deserving than the other.

Sometimes I wonder if this rift can occur between new believers and old believers, between social groups, etc. God loves each of us, regardless of the earthly constraints we use to define others.

My high school English teacher spoke at our graduation. He had just had his first daughter, Abigail. He said when he looked at Abby, he thought about how he would be devestated if anyone ever hurt her. He told us the world would be a better place if we treated everyone else like they were someone’s Abby – and that is a good way of looking at it. Wouldn’t the world be better if we looked at each person as God’s child – that they are precious in God’s sight?

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1 We who are strong must be considerate of those who are sensitive about things like this. We must not just please ourselves. 2 We should help others do what is right and build them up in the Lord. 3 For even Christ didn’t live to please himself. As the Scriptures say, “The insults of those who insult you, O God, have fallen on me.”[a] 4 Such things were written in the Scriptures long ago to teach us. And the Scriptures give us hope and encouragement as we wait patiently for God’s promises to be fulfilled.
5 May God, who gives this patience and encouragement, help you live in complete harmony with each other, as is fitting for followers of Christ Jesus. 6 Then all of you can join together with one voice, giving praise and glory to God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ.


There is living to please others and then there is living to please others in order to please God. This is a huge thing for me because I know all too often, I put the satisfaction of others as a top priority. That is a wrong attitude! What Paul is saying is that when you are a follower of Jesus, you live in harmony with other followers in order to give praise and glory to God. This passage doesn’t say to foresake God so that non-believers can be comfortable. Quite the opposite – Paul talks about building up other believers in the Lord. We should help them find the right direction, even if it means keeping eachother accountable (a sometimes uncomfortable thing).

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20 Don’t tear apart the work of God over what you eat. Remember, all foods are acceptable, but it is wrong to eat something if it makes another person stumble. 21 It is better not to eat meat or drink wine or do anything else if it might cause another believer to stumble. 22 You may believe there’s nothing wrong with what you are doing, but keep it between yourself and God. Blessed are those who don’t feel guilty for doing something they have decided is right. 23 But if you have doubts about whether or not you should eat something, you are sinning if you go ahead and do it. For you are not following your convictions. If you do anything you believe is not right, you are sinning.

This to me speaks to those areas and things that I do that are definitely in the “gray” area. While God is very specific in the Bible regarding certain sins, there are items that may be a sin for me and not a sin for you. I think that a sin is anything that interrupts my relationship with God. For example, if I have a taco, that’s fine. But if I have a taco and I love the taco and enjoy it far too much, to the point of distraction, that is coming between God and me. Ok, I know, who really loves a taco more than God? But I guess the point is that there are things that I prioritize ahead of God. I prioritize 5 more minutes on facebook ahead of reading the Bible, for example. While 5 more minutes on facebook is fine for most people, it means that I may not dedicate the time I should to studying and being in God’s word.

Basically, if what Iam doing is pricking my conscience, I probably should not be doing it.

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Romans 14 cont’d

10 So why do you condemn another believer[a]? Why do you look down on another believer? Remember, we will all stand before the judgment seat of God. 11 For the Scriptures say,
“‘As surely as I live,’ says the Lord, ‘every knee will bend to me, and every tongue will confess and give praise to God.[
b]’”
12 Yes, each of us will give a personal account to God. 13 So let’s stop condemning each other. Decide instead to live in such a way that you will not cause another believer to stumble and fall.
14 I know and am convinced on the authority of the Lord Jesus that no food, in and of itself, is wrong to eat. But if someone believes it is wrong, then for that person it is wrong. 15 And if another believer is distressed by what you eat, you are not acting in love if you eat it. Don’t let your eating ruin someone for whom Christ died. 16 Then you will not be criticized for doing something you believe is good. 17 For the Kingdom of God is not a matter of what we eat or drink, but of living a life of goodness and peace and joy in the Holy Spirit. 18 If you serve Christ with this attitude, you will please God, and others will approve of you, too. 19 So then, let us aim for harmony in the church and try to build each other up.

These passages are the easiest to read and gloss over. It’s easy to read them and think of people who have given me a hard time and think, “Hmph, they should really read this – they could get a lot out of it!” But reading this again, I need to identify things that I do that cause someone else consternation. I need to say, “Jesus loved this person so much, He died for them” and realize that no “food” or anything else is worth causing someone else to stumble in their walk with God. If everyone treated eachother with this kind of regard, then there really would be harmony.

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