We will advance on two fronts this Sunday, covering the lectionary selections from Romans 8:26-39 and Matthew 13:31-33, 44-52. In Romans, Paul writes about how God’s Spirit helps people with their prayers. This suggests that the Holy Spirit acts as an intermediary between ourselves and God. It is all quite a mystery, but it seems that the very essence of God helps get the core of our prayers delivered properly. Then Paul writes one of the most popular verses in the Bible, Romans 8:28: “. . . all things work together for good for those who love God, who are called according to his purpose.”Read More →

Today’s message will highlight the lectionary selection from Romans 8:12-25, where Paul the author encourages life by the Spirit. The holistic way in which God created people means that humans are a combination of spirit, emotions, intellect and physical bodies. Thankfully, God calls each person to accomplish is a life of wellbeing that maximizes potential for each of the four vital areas. Paul repeatedly emphasizes the contrast between the spiritual side and the more troublesome parts, which are the self-destructive attitudes and behaviors. “[F]or if you live according to the flesh, you will die; but if by the Spirit you put to death the deedsRead More →

This Sunday we’ll spend quality time with Jesus as he discusses seed scattering, reminding us of spring planting and the summer growing season (Matthew 13:1-9, 18-23). Farmers rely on good soil along with water, sunshine and nutrients as crucial to a healthy crop. Similarly, Jesus’ words in Matthew remind us that our spirits require nurturing. Speaking of which, is God your Master Gardener? If not, then perhaps Jesus’ parable about seeds will convince you. Planting seeds involves sowing, and Jesus’ story has four examples. The first is seed that had fallen on top of the earth before being planted (the birds quickly ate these dueRead More →

We continue our journey in the New Testament book of Romans as we focus on chapter 7, verses15-25a. The issue is that of internal struggles, particularly the carnal will of the flesh versus humanity’s spiritual aspect. There is a timeless quality about the struggle between what we want to do and what we actually do. In this way, Paul is referring to a universal human condition of internal struggles. Paul admits candidly that his appetites and desires are difficult to manage. We’re not sure of the specific issues Paul was referring to, but the point is that Paul’s self-confession reveals that even someone with hisRead More →

Today’s topic from the lectionary is freedom of faith, what the author Paul describes as an enjoyable state since we are no longer slaves to sin (Romans 6:12-23). “Therefore, do not let sin exercise dominion in your mortal bodies, to make you obey their passions” (Romans 6:12). Here Paul encourages us to no longer be captive to our sinful nature. This is great advice because once we become followers of God we have declared ourselves to be free from sin’s eternal grasp. The difficult part involves thinking, feeling and acting in a manner that demonstrates a liberated spirit. We mustn’t ignore some of the implicationsRead More →

If you’re reading this, you are alive. I’m glad of that! Today’s message from Romans 6:1b-11 reminds us that we were once dead in sin. Thankfully, by accepting redemption from God we are revitalized and transformed, hence wonderfully empowered creatures with a new lease on life. We are reminded to claim God’s promises and embrace every moment living in a changed manner, a way of life that sets us apart from mere existence. Paul spoke about this wonderful truth. “. . .[J]ust as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, so we to might walk in the newness of life”Read More →