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by Pastor Henry Kranenburg

So, as much as is in me, I am ready to preach the gospel to you who are in Rome also. For I am not ashamed of the Gospel of Christ, for it is the power of God to salvation for everyone who believes... Romans 1:15-16

In my experience as a pastor, I would not describe preaching as either easy or simply fun. But it can be incredibly meaningful when you sense that something in your message of God’s love connects with your listeners. So I can appreciate that Paul is – eager to preach the Gospel to the people he cares about in Rome.

Paul is eager not because he thinks he’s so good at what he does or because he would like to headline a few performances in the empire’s capital. The reason for his eagerness comes from the fact that the Gospel is the power of God. And it is power for a specific purpose.

The Gospel is not power to get a new bill of health, or to gain the friend or spouse you desire. It’s not power for financial success or fault-free parenting. It’s not power to get to heaven when you die. It’s power for salvation. And salvation has to do with getting where we need to be in our relationship with God.

Paul’s eagerness in all this is a reflection of God’s desire. God wants me to belong to Him as fully as I can in the life I am now living. That’s the point of the Gospel, and that is its power. The challenge for me is to have the same eagerness for God that God has for me.

Prayer

Dear God, sometimes we see your power mostly as a means to our ends. Help us not to use it for us but to seek you, and to know your desire that we find you. In Christ, Amen.

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“We need to pledge ourselves anew to the cause of Christ. We must capture the spirit of the early church. Wherever the early Christians went, they made a triumphant witness for Christ. Whether on the village streets or in the city jails, they daringly proclaimed the good news of the gospel.”

“The God whom we worship is not a weak and incompetent God. He is able to beat back gigantic waves of opposition and to bring low prodigious mountains of evil. The ringing testimony of the Christian faith is that God is able.”

“By opening our lives to God in Christ, we become new creatures. This experience, which Jesus spoke of as the new birth, is essential if we are to be transformed nonconformists . . . Only through an inner spiritual transformation do we gain the strength to fight vigorously the evils of the world in a humble and loving spirit.”

“Like the early Christians, we must move into a sometime hostile world armed with the revolutionary gospel of Jesus Christ. With this powerful gospel we shall boldly challenge the status quo.”

“Christianity affirms that at the heart of reality is a Heart, a loving Father who works through history for the salvation of His children. Man cannot save himself, for man is not the measure of all things and humanity is not God. Bound by the chains of his own sin and finiteness, man needs a Savior.”

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Lord, make me an instrument of your peace:
where there is hatred, let me sow love;
where there is injury, pardon;
where there is doubt, faith;
where there is despair, hope;
where there is darkness, light;
where there is sadness, joy.
O divine Master, grant that I may not so much seek
to be consoled as to console,
to be understood as to understand,
to be loved as to love.
For it is in giving that we receive,
it is in pardoning that we are pardoned,
it is in dying that we are born to eternal life.
Amen.

–St. Francis of Assisi

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Christmas. It is one of the most joyous Christian holidays, a time to remember the birth of Christ our savior. Christmas is a time to share our blessings with one another, and to be surrounded by the people we love. It is a time for giving, and a time for forgiving. Most importantly, it is a reminder of how much God loves us.

It is also a time of declaring God’s promise of His saving grace to others:

For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Saviour, which is Christ the Lord.” Luke 2:11

At Christmas, we celebrate the birth of Jesus Christ, the greatest gift ever given, by the greatest gift-giver of all, our wonderful God and Father:

For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God…” Ephesians 2:8

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“Lord God, You have appointed me as a Bishop and Pastor in Your Church, but
you see how unsuited I am to meet so great and difficult a task. If I had
lacked Your help, I would have ruined everything long ago. Therefore, I
call upon You: I wish to devote my mouth and my heart to you; I shall
teach the people. I myself will learn and ponder diligently upon You Word.
Use me as Your instrument — but do not forsake me, for if ever I should
be on my own, I would easily wreck it all.”

Luther’s last written words on a note: “We are beggars: this is true.”

For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God, not of works, lest anyone should boast. Ephesians 2:8 & 9

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by Billy Graham

put on the new self, created to be like God in true righteousness and holiness. Ephesians 4:24

In Texas they tell a story about a man who used to hitch his horse every morning in front of the saloon. One morning the saloonkeeper came out and found that the horse was hitched in front of the Methodist church. He saw the man walking down the street and called out, “Say, why is your horse hitched in front of the Methodist church this morning?” The man turned around and said, “Well, last night I was converted in the revival meeting, and I’ve changed hitching posts.” That’s what it means to be born again. That’s what it means to be converted. It means that you changed hitching posts.

Prayer

May I live in such a way that people will know that I am bound in the freedom of Your love.

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by Pastor Henry Kranenburg

So, as much as is in me, I am ready to preach the gospel to you who are in Rome also. For I am not ashamed of the Gospel of Christ, for it is the power of God to salvation for everyone who believes… Romans 1:15-16

In my experience as a pastor, I would not describe preaching as either easy or simply fun. But it can be incredibly meaningful when you sense that something in your message of God’s love connects with your listeners. So I can appreciate that Paul is – eager to preach the Gospel to the people he cares about in Rome.

Paul is eager not because he thinks he’s so good at what he does or because he would like to headline a few performances in the empire’s capital. The reason for his eagerness comes from the fact that the Gospel is the power of God. And it is power for a specific purpose.

The Gospel is not power to get a new bill of health, or to gain the friend or spouse you desire. It’s not power for financial success or fault-free parenting. It’s not power to get to heaven when you die. It’s power for salvation. And salvation has to do with getting where we need to be in our relationship with God.

Paul’s eagerness in all this is a reflection of God’s desire. God wants me to belong to Him as fully as I can in the life I am now living. That’s the point of the Gospel, and that is its power. The challenge for me is to have the same eagerness for God that God has for me.

Prayer

Dear God, sometimes we see your power mostly as a means to our ends. Help us not to use it for us but to seek you, and to know your desire that we find you. In Christ, Amen.

To join us in prayer or to leave a comment, just click on the no comments / comments below:

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