Not Ashamed

Greetings In the Name of the Lord:

Romans 1:16 (NLT)
For I am not ashamed of this Good News about Christ. It is the power of God at work, saving everyone who believes—the Jew first and also the Gentile.

In this verse Paul proclaims unequivocally that he is in no way ashamed of the Good News about Christ that he preaches. Paul was aware that to many people he was preaching and writing to the thought of convicted criminal, which many people still thought Jesus to be, making people right with God was laughable. He also knew that many people, as they are today, would find the exclusivity of the Gospel to be offensive. The common thought among unbelievers today is “how can you say that Jesus is the only way?” However, like Paul we must proclaim the Good News boldly and without reservation the same way that Paul did. Even face to face with death, Paul unashamedly proclaimed the message of salvation only through Christ. In fact, as he was in prison, he wrote his young protégé Timothy and said, “So never be ashamed to tell others about our Lord. And don’t be ashamed of me, either, even though I’m in prison for him. With the strength God gives you, be ready to suffer with me for the sake of the Good News” (2 Timothy 1:8, NLT). Now you might ask, “how am I supposed to do this? I am not a Bible scholar or a teacher. How am I ever going to be able to tell people about Jesus?” Paul answers this question for us: by relying on the power of God. He says, “It is the power of God at work, saving everyone who believes…” Paul never relied on his own power or ability to preach the Good News, and in fact, many people in his day accused him of not being a very good speaker. Yet this never deterred him and he remained faithful to his calling. He relied on the power of the Good News and the Holy Spirit to do the work through him. So don’t be ashamed or timid, preach the Good News!

In Christ,

Pastor Mark

Prayer Focus

Greetings In the Name of the Lord:

Romans 1:9 (NLT)
God knows how often I pray for you. Day and night I bring you and your needs in prayer to God, whom I serve with all my heart by spreading the Good News about his Son.

In Paul we see both a true Pastor’s heart and the heart of a prayer warrior. He tells the Roman Christians that he prays for them “day and night,” which is literally “without ceasing.” This shows his total dependence upon God and a whole-hearted belief that prayer changes things, but also a sense that prayer is a way of life. As Martin Luther said, “As it is the job of the cobbler to mend shoes, so it is the job of the Christian to pray.” When we pray, like Paul, we acknowledge that we are totally dependent upon God for everything. When he prayed for them he did not pray for God to meet their physical needs, for he assumed God would meet those, but rather he focused on them having a deeper relationship with the Lord and with one another. When we pray, all too often we present God with a grocery list that we want him to fill. We want his to do this, give me that, or heal them. Not that these are bad or things that we shouldn’t pray for and about. However, we tend to lose our focus on what really matters – spiritual things! What is the focus of your prayers today?

In Christ,

Pastor Mark