Thursday, August 31, 2017

revolution of love

    I just recently finished up my new favorite NT Wright book, which is The Day the Revolution Began: Reconsidering the Meaning of Jesus' Crucifixion. Not only does the book explore the meaning of the death and resurrection of Jesus, but it also puts the rubber to the road of the practicality of what Jesus did for us.  There are several things that NT Wright talks about in the book that caught my attention that is worth exploring.

  The first observation that occurred to me is that NT Wright doesn't give as much time on the  different atonement theories as I would have thought.  The different atonement theories are the Ransom Theory, where Christ death and resurrection was used as a ransom to buy us back from some Satan. The Penal Substitution Theory is where God took our place on the cross.  The Recapitulation Theory is that Christ death and resurrection turns our disobedience to obedience.  The example theory is that Christ provides an example for us so that we have an example to follow.  These theories all have some positives along with glaring weaknesses. The author puts them into their place and the author puts them in their perspective place for something better. 

   The second observation that I made is that NT Wright focused more on covenant theology instead of the atonement theories.  We can see throughout the Bible that God has created covenants with His people.  Covenant is different than a promise because both parties agree to it and there are dire consequences if one or both parties do not meet up to expectation.  Two of the more famous covenants that we see made in the Bible are made with Noah and Abraham.  Noah's covenant was that God will not flood the  earth again and we were given Gods word through the rainbow.  The other famous covenant made was with Abraham and that his descendants will be as numerous as the stars. Gods ultimate covenant is that He will be our God and that we will be His people.  Christ death and resurrection provides the way for it to happen.

  The third observation that I made is this idea that leaving this earth and getting to go to heaven may not be the most Biblical idea out there.  This idea leads to an escapist theology that relies on us getting saved and then wanting to get out of here.  We find in the Creation story in Genesis that when God created the heavens and the earth, He called it good.  There is also the statement in Revelation that Jesus comes to make all things new.  The third question is that why would Jesus suffer a brutal death and be resurrected in bodily form if heaven was our final destination.  Throughout the four Gospels, there is a lot of time devoted to the Kingdom of God. When the discussion of God's kingdom came about, there are two things to notice.  The first one is that Gods Kingdom is in the here and now and also not yet, which means we are living in Gods Kingdom, but it still needs to be completed.  The second observation is that with all of the talk about the Kingdom of God, there is no mention of escaping to that mansion on the hill.  Here is a quick reminder, our salvation can not be bought or even earned.  It comes from Gods grace and Him desiring to be in relationship with His creation.  If salvation and the Kingdom of God is in the here and now, should it change how we live and see ourselves and other people?

   My final observation is an actual quote from the book and here it is.
       What if having our sins forgiven is to small of a thing, but the death and resurrection is about the
        kingdom being restored and a royal priesthood being realized.
   The observation is this, sometimes I think we think to little of Gods grace or we try to limit it to certain things or we just want to place it in a cute little box.  Gods grace is so much more than we realize.  Gods grace and power tore the Vail in the temple to the Holy of Holies so that anyone can have access to God.  When we accept Gods grace, we become a member of the royal priesthood.  What this entails is another blog post.  A quick reference would be to read the book of Hebrews.  Being a member of the royal priesthood means that we are pointing people towards Jesus and putting skin on what grace, mercy and forgiveness looks like. This is reflecting the image of God and realizing that His love is revolutionary and when we embrace the power of love instead of the love of power cool things happen and the world is changed

Wednesday, July 26, 2017

Lamenting

  One observation I have made is this, and it is that the prophets of the Old Testament are not for the faint of heart nor do you get the warm fuzzes from reading them.  There more in tuned with being Gods messenger to the nation of Israel in times of destruction and often provide a warning to people of what will happen if things won't change.  They are more concerned with the message and life change, and not being liked or followed by scores of people.  I think this what our culture has dubbed "real talk."  Real talk cares not so much about feelings, but about the message.  As Christians, we should be concerned with real talk, and more importantly, are we doing it out of love, with grace and humility, and aiming that it leads to life change.  In essence, real talk, the messenger gets out of the way, and provides the message that God has given to them.  One prophet that provides a lot of real talk is the prophet Jeremiah in the book of Lamentations.  What inspired this post is the book Prophetic Lamentations by Soong-Chan Rah.  The book came out of a several week preaching series on the book of Lamentations at a church he was a pastor at. 

   Here is a brief synopsis on the book of Lamentations.  The city of Jerusalem is in ruins cause Babylon came and torched the city, and hauled off all of the promising talent, while leaving everyone else in the midst of chaos and despair.  People were left for dead and the Temple, which was a place of worship and even national identity for the nation of Israel was no more because it was torched.  The state of  Jerusalem at that time is every country song/end of the world/zombie move x10.in the midst of the chaos, destruction, and hopelessness, the book of Lamentations teaches us what it means to really lament and that there can be hope in the mist of our despair.  You know things are bad when Jeremiah walks around Jerusalem in his naked proclaiming Gods message.  Maybe he felt that he wasn't being heard or desperate times calls for desperate measures.

  The first observation about true lamenting is that lamenting is being brutally honest with ourselves, others and God.  How often do we sugar coat things to make them better than what they really are.  The flip side of that is how often do we make mountains out of mole hills.  True lamenting is taking a look at the situation and admitting that the marriage is over, that the relationship is beyond repair, we are never going to have our dream job.  True lamenting is grieving those things, but also moving on.  It is living within those consequences and moving forward.  It is not letting a certain person or situation handicap us.  True lamenting also takes stock in how our actions contributed to where we are at.  Not only does lamenting take a look at our actions, but it also takes a look at are attitudes, intentions, talents, or the lack there of and seeing how they all played apart to where we are at.  Tue lamenting is taking a look at all things and coming up with a plan to fix things when possible, and to grow and mature from this.
    This also means we are completely honest with God.  When I think of true lamenting, sometimes I think it is giving God the preverbal finger and being totally angry/frustrated/lost with God.  Its admitting to not knowing what is going on and that we are extremely angry.  Where true lamenting comes in, is when we learn to be quiet and listen to God.  Just like Job we demand our day in court with God, but we also have to embrace Gods response to us because where were we when He created the heavens and the earth.  I find that a lot of my frustration with God comes from my own stupidity and sinful actions, thoughts and intentions.

  The second observation about lamenting is the idea that we put false hope away.  One of the more popular sayings among Christians is that it may be Friday, but Sunday is coming.  It is referencing Easter and the resurrection.  Having this thinking often minimizes the pain, struggle and sin that has taken place.  There are times where we need to be comfortable with living in the Easter Saturday.  I did an internship with the spiritual care team at a Catholic hospital and I went to the Good Friday service held in the chapel.  The box where the wafers are kept for commune is closed up when not in use, until Good Friday, where the wafers are removed and the box is left open.  This spoke volumes to me  because it signified that God was dead and any hope that we have when the way of Elvis and left the building.  How often in our lamenting do we thing that God either abandoned us, doesn't care, or just all out died.  This is a hard place to be in and we have all been there.  True lamenting allows us to be honest with our emotions and to fully take stock in what is going on.  We have a choice to either keep on keeping on, or just walk away from it all.  When we keep on keeping on, God will reach down and reveal Himself to us and we just have to look for it.  

  Here is a little rabbit trail on the idea of false hopes.  We often think that God will come down and make everything better when we cry out to Him.  This leads to one of the Bibles most quoted verses, which is Jeremiah 29:11, which the prophet tells us that God has a plan and that is a good plan, and that He has our best interest in mind.  What people tend to forget is the context to that verse.  Israel is still stuck in captivity and that God told to build houses, plant gardens and marry their children, because they were going to be there for awhile.  God isn't always going to be our white knight and come riding in to save us out of our every mess that we are in.  There are times where we have to live with those consequences that we brought upon ourselves.  

  The third observation about lamenting that I pick up on is this idea of Gods mercy.  I find it really interesting that in the middle of the book, Jeremiah proclaims Gods goodness and that His mercy is new every day.  Jeremiah also reminds us that God will never leave us, and that He is our rock.  True lamenting is realizing that God is still God and that He still loves and cares for us.  Tue lamenting is a realization that God punishes those whom He loves and calls His own.  The other aspect of it is that we live in a fallen world and that others peoples actions will have consequences on our personal lives and there are time those consequences are not good.  God will come in and rectify those wrongs and give everyone what they deserve.  As it is said, vengeance belongs to God and not us

The fourth observation of lamenting is that there is a community side to it.  We can all point out the sins of others and the downfall of different groups and generations, but it is really hard to figure out our own issues whether personally or as a group.  True lamenting means that we can come together as a church (local, national or universal), or as a nation and do some introspecting.  It is realizing where have fallen short, seeking the forgiveness of God and others.  One of the underlying principles to lament is humility.  It is taking the honest look at ourselves and not only realizing where we need to improve or ask for help, but it is also doing it.  When we truly lament we don't see people as second class citizens, but as people who are worth more than millions because they are created in the very image of the God of the universe

  The fifth observation is a short one, but a good one and that is lament can and should be used as a form of worship.  If you were to read through the Psalms, lamenting is a very big part of the songs and hymns of this book.  Putting our sorrow or life circumstances to song often helps us deal with them and to realize that no matter what we go through, our worship is reorienting ourselves and putting God back on His throne.  It is also reminding ourselves and to the world that God loves and cares for us more than we can imagine. 

Wednesday, July 12, 2017

Being right vs being truthful

I’ve been reading a biography on 18th century politician Henry Clay and he is credited with the quote of "I would rather be right than president." So let me ask a burning question. What is that one thing that you want, desire, or maybe even need, and you are willing to do anything to get it? Are you willing to work hard and honestly for it, or are you willing to cut corners, stretching or concealing the truth, (because all out lying is just plain wrong) or selling out anybody and everybody you can to get what you want or so you can be right? So here are some observations about being right and being truthful.

Being right and being truthful do have some similarities, but I think there are some differences. The first observation about being right is that it follows a strict guideline. The thing about being right, is that it can focus on something that is an objective standard, like how the sun rises in the east. But being right also can be very subjective, and it comes down to personal preference like who is the better football team, the Vikings or Packers. When we focus on the more subjective issues, we tend to argue to we are blue in our face with someone and we will get nowhere fast.

A second observation is that being right is based on our standards that we create. It is really hard to be wrong in our own eyes, especially when we define what is right and wrong. When we get to define what is right and wrong, we tend make what we like into the things that are right, and things that we struggle with or dislike we tend to make wrong. It tends to be very subjective and self glorifying, but in this self glorification, we tend to become weighed down and legalistic. It is doing something because we have to and not because we want to.

A third observation about being right is that we tend to go on personal crusades. We are seeking people to join us and to tear down anybody who opposes us. This thought process tends to over glorify people and making them out better than what they are because they agree with us. We also tend to vilify people who don’t agree with us or are not on our team. A prime example of this is this years presidential election.

Here are some observations about being truthful versus being right.  When we are more concerned about being truthful, we are more concerned with making sure things are being done honestly and done the right way the first time.  This  idea, people are held accountable for their actions and we all check our egos at the door.  It is learning and practicing a little bit of humility in our interactions with ourselves, others and God.  It is seeing a situation for what it is and working with our biases so that that we do not blow anything out of proportion?

The second observation about being truthful that it is based on objective statements or standards. Truth can stand on its own, and there is no wiggle room around it. Truth is based on something that is concrete and never changing to meet our needs and the times. All truth is found in and through God and He is the standard. When we are truthful, we are aiming to live a Godly life and to have His ways be our ways. It is a realization that all is good and holy comes from God.

The third observation about being truthful is that according to the Gospel of John, when we know the truth, it shall set us free. To put it plainly, when we tell the truth, we don’t have to remember what we say, because our story will always be the same. The other freeing part about truth is that it looks at things fort they way they are and what they could be. Truth takes a look at things honestly and shares it without sugar coating it and there is always a sense of tack. In all reality, it doesnt make a mole hill into a mountain and it doesn’t turn a mountain into a mole hill. The most freeing part of being truthful is that it is done out of love and care not only for other people, but ourselves. When we are truthful, it brings about honesty and in all reality, what is more freeing than honesty and Jesus?

The last observation for now about truth is the idea that it does not seek to gain or manipulate. When we tell people things that we think they want to hear, or expect that from others, we are really lying and manipulating others and ourselves to either get what we want or to make ourselves look better. Truth is about being honest, no matter what the consequences are.

Thursday, July 6, 2017

The Marathon of Life

    Where I live, the big event of the year is Grandmas Marathon and the Gary Bjorklund Half Marathon.  They both run along the North Shore of Lake Superior and finish line is in Duluth Mn.  This years Gary Bjorklund Half Marathon had a cool story that could of had a very sad ending for one family.  A runner by the name of Tim Cernohous collapsed thirty yards from the finish line.  Luckily there was a paramedic running not to far behind him and administered medical attention.  Tim was revived and finished the race with help of the marathon medical team and then proceeded to a local hospital.  I sent the original article to a very good friend and it spurred on a conversation and some of the take ways are listed below.  Full disclosure,  my friend has coached track/xc and I may have called runners crazy for enjoying to run long pointless miles :) Also, here is the follow up article on the original article here (http://www.duluthnewstribune.com/news/health/4291704-right-place-right-time-runner-who-aided-collapsed-half-marathoner-Duluth).  

   The first thought that comes to mind is the difference between individual sports/team sports and which one is better.  This has been a debate for ages and it wouldn't surprise me if we continue to have this debate.  I was involved in team sports throughout high school and there is nothing better than the fellowship among your teammates and learning to not only do your best but also relying on others to perform up to their talents as well.  Being able to set team goals and work towards them is fun and brings great joy and a lot of frustration at times.  Team sports can teach that scoring thirty points a game is cool, but if you are always loosing, what's the point.  Learning how to win and loose as a team, family, or at your job is an important skill to have but learning what is the best for myself  may not be the best for my team, family, coworkers is something that we all need to learn and its not easy.  It could be fun to be the Michael Westbrook or James Harden and average near a triple double, but the question is how did their teams fare against the team orientated Golden State Warriors.

   The individual sports such as tennis and golf and have team elements to them, but these sports are primarily based on the individual and what they can accomplish.  Individual sports can teach many great things such as being a self starter, self reliance and being able to claim all the glory in the win and accountability in the loss.  Individual sports can cause people to get better and grow if they want to get better at their respective sports.  There are people who enjoy living on an island and being self reliant in everything they do.  There is no where to hide or people to throw underneath the bus when you play an individual sport.  Some people enjoy looking in the mirror looking where they need to grow, setting goals and reaching them on their own terms. 

  The Apostle Paul has some interesting things to say about competition and how it translate to our spiritual life.  In 1 Corinthians 9 Paul tells us that everyone runs this race called life, and if we are to run this race well, there are some things that we need to put into practice.  The first one is that we are to have discipline.  It means that not only should we set goals, but the types of goals we set and our follow through are important.  How can we get somewhere or achieve something if we do not set some obtainable goals to move us towards that goal.  We are all moving towards something, whether we have goals or not.  The question is, is it worth moving towards or do we just end up there?

  The second idea that comes to mind is this idea of endurance.  We can have the best goals in the world, but if we do not have endurance, we are going to quit.  How many of us have given up on that gym membership by March 1 because we either didn't have the endurance, or we let other things get in the way.  Endurance often requires us having some sort of accountability, we can seek the encouragement of others, make the changes to the things that are not working and celebrate the things that are.  Endurance often means that we have to do things that we don't want to do, or are extremely difficult.  Whether is passing on seconds, eating an apple instead of ice cream, or having a difficult, but needed conversation.  Endurance has that element of submission to it.  We all bow down to something, whether it is ourselves, other people, or God.  Here is the thing about endurance/submission and even life in general.  All of us are only given 24 hours in a day and 7 days a week, what we do with it, shows what is important to us and what we bow down to.

  The third idea is that endurance often leads to discernment.  As we go through life, we find out what works and what doesn't work and be bold enough to make changes.  None of us would run a race of any length in a three piece suits, because it would be to cumbersome.  Now three piece suits are cool and are appropriate for certain situations, but not running.  What are those things in your life that are cumbersome that are bring you down and taking you of target.  In the words of the Ray Charles song, those things just need to hit the road Jack, and don't come back no more.
 
   The fourth idea is that the destination matters.  Its awesome that we are not sitting on the sidelines and actively participating in life, but if we don't know where we are going, we might not get there.  Or the more devastating thought, we know where we are going, but its not worth going to.  To put in the Christian perspective, heaven is our goal, and how we run is important.  Are we looking for the fire insurance, so we don't spend eternity in Hell.  As we are on our race to our destination, our character is always being formed, and I hope and pray that it is something worth imitating.  I also pray that how you run and the character you are developing is something that other people can imitate.  Are we developing such things as peace, patience, self control, godliness love, joy and long suffering.  These are the essential characteristics of the Christian life.  How well formed  characteristics these characteristics are in our life is pretty good measure how we live our life and we respond to what it throws at us. 

  The fifth idea is that there is a finish line.  At the end of his life, the Apostle Paul tells Timothy, that he has fought the good fight, and he has finished the race and he is ready to take up his reward.  Earthly rewards and accolades are cool, but nothing compares to the eternal reward that we are pursuing.  Earthly rewards fades away and champions are eventually forgotten about, but our relationship with not only each other, but with God will last forever.  How we develop these relationships shows not only how we are running our race, but what our destination is.

Tuesday, May 23, 2017

Peace

   I wrote this little ditty on peace for a dear friend.  I wanted to do it to show how much I appreciated our friendship and to give him some encouragement.  I figured I would share it and hopefully someone else can find it useful.

Peace- Freedom from disturbance; quiet and tranquil

A lot of things can learn a lot about peace through popular slogans and catch phrases. Two of my favorites are something to the effect of "Peace in the Middle East" and "No Jesus No Peace, Know Jesus, Know Peace." Popular slogans and catch phrases are cool, but often they miss the point or makes things to be cleaner and neater than what they really are.

The first idea of Peace is this: Peace is not the absence of chaos, strife, or oh crap moments, its how we deal with them. We can stick two people in the same stressful situation and one can make it worse, while the other makes it better. True peace is more than a response, because if it was, we could fake it all the time, True peace is apart of our character and it comes from within. In other words, it can not be manufactured or faked

The second idea of Peace is this: the worlds definition and Gods definition are totally different. The worlds definition tends to be all is right in the world along with conflicts being resolved. It is the end of every action movie, because everything has been made right. Now Gods definition has this in mind and all will be made right when either God calls us home or Christ returns. Gods peace is navigating those tough situations with grace, peace and humility. True peace is taking on the issues as they come and not minimizing or overblowing the situation. Its also realizing that there is a God and we are not Him, so may be we should stop acting like it.

The third idea of Peace is this: The Apostle Paul thinks that peace is a big deal. He has scattered the issue peace all throughout of his letters. I think Paul truly understood that people will look anywhere or do anything to find peace or at least the appearance of it. People are trying to find peace in the next big thing or to get rid of something or activity. Often we have no idea where to find peace, especially in the midst of being tossed all around and being hung upside down. The peace that Paul is talking about does not come from within or some magical drug, but it only comes from God and He is the only one that can give it out. One of Jesus final reminders to us before His ascension was that not only does He give out peace, but He leaves it with us. Gods peace brings comfort, understanding, and courage, no matter what life throws at us.

The fourth idea of Peace is this: sometimes it is being ok with the ambiguous. There are some things or situations that just can not be tied up with a red ribbon while everyone is walking away happy to theme music. I think we should strive for this, but sometimes the hardest part is accepting things we can not change. Whether it is a relationship with a parent, child, significant others, or the ex, sometimes the hardest thing to do is accept the situation as is. This does not mean we keep adding fuel to the fire, but its knowing how to deal with the wierdness cause we all know that life can get weird fast.

The fifth idea of Peace is this: It is actually calming down and realizing that we not God. The Psalmist writes that we are to be still and to know that God is God. In the midst of this Psalm, life is in utter chaos and we have two choices. We can do things the hard way and contribute to the madness and this tends to add fuel to the fire. Or we can defuse the situation be remaining calm and not only realizing that God is still God, but it is putting Him on is throne. As the Prophet Elijah learned, God can be found in a lot of places, but He is most commonly found in the still and quiet voice.

So here are some basic questions in relations to Peace: What are some the ways you add chaos to your life or to the lives of the people that are close to you? What are some of the distractions that limit you from not only seeking God, but hearing from Him? What do you need to do to change that?

Wednesday, March 29, 2017

Humilty

  My sister got married this past weekend and as a gift I wrote a short piece on humility.  My mom added a little pinterest flash to it and then she framed it up.  This is what I wrote to them as the begin their marriage and it is good reminder for all of us.  I based my rambling thoughts on Phillipians 2, where Christ humbled himself to the point of a gruesome death on a cross and His resurrection allows Him because of this, He is sitting at the right hand of the Father.



 

The definition of humility is: the quality  or condition of being humble, modest opinion, or estimate of ones own importance or rank
 
As the two of you begin your new life together, the word humility keeps coming to my mind. Here are several things of what humility is and use this as a reminder. Also the ultimate definition of humility is found in Philippians 2

The first key to humility is: knowing who you are and who you belong to
Knowing who you are often saves us an identity crises and from others singing the Who’s famous song Who are You. This prevents us from getting into the trap of a job, title, or letting a relationship define you. Knowing who you are allows you to have peace with your past and know where you are going. It is being comfortable in your own skin and in who you are while still pushing yourself to grow. We all belong to someone, whether it is ourselves, some cause or relationship. Being humble is realizing that first and foremost you are a child of God. When we live in that relationship first everything else is put into its proper place. To put it bluntly, it is getting off of our high horse and choosing to serve instead of being served. When we serve, its not about doing things to get some something. True service calls us out of our comfort zone and to people and situations that challenge us. True service is what God calls us to do and empower us for His glory.

The second key to humility is: learning to forgive and to be forgiven
Yes this means we have to learn to put on the big kid pants and not only seek forgiveness, but grant it also. In every relationship things that are said, done, and forgotten about that will cause disappointment, anger and even resentment. Seeking forgiveness is not only saying "my bad", but also growing in maturity to take steps to correct the situation. Granting forgiveness maybe the hardest part because it not forgetting about the situation, but dealing with it in its proper context and not letting it eat you alive. Humility is granting forgiveness because we have been forgiven much ourselves. Its also not letting that one thing live rent free in our head.
 
The third key to humility is: being strong and courageous
Life is scary and we can either hide from it or we can face it head on with God. In Joshua 1, the phrase strong and courageous comes up at least four times depending on the version you read. Life tends to through a lot scary stuff at us and there is a lot of uncertainty, but there is hope. God is not only buy our side, He also leads us, walks besides us, and even pushes us at times. True humility is realizing that we can not do it our selves and relying on God and being in relationship is the only way to Go.
 
The fourth key to Humility is: having a proper view of life
There are times when we need to take lessons from Aaron Rogers and take time to R-E-L-A-X, and there are times when we need to be diligent in what life brings our way. It is being flexible with life and yet having solid boundaries with relationships, commitments, career and life in general.

Thursday, May 19, 2016

The Roman Road



  Here is a continuation of the Discipleship curriculum that I am helping a friend write on the basics of evangelism and the Romans Road
 
The Lesson


Introduction – One of the commandments that we have the most trouble with is the one about sharing our faith. We have already seen how in Matthew 28 we are to go out into the entire world to share the Gospel. This doesn’t mean we need to become a pastor or a missionary to do it. All you have to do is to start with the people you come in contact with on a daily basis. There are many ways that we can share our faith, but the key in all of this is having a personal relationship with that person. Relationships allow us to build trust so they will listen and will help you to share the Gospel out of love for them, not because you see them as a project. The last time you took advice from someone is probably because you had a relationship with them and that you also trusted them and that you knew that they had your best interest in mind.  So when you team up your relationship with people, the truth of the Gospel, and the work of the Holy Spirit anything is possible. In the next few chapters of our evangelism/discipleship discussion we will go over a few simple ways to help you present the Gospel.
The Roman’s Road – One of the ways we can share the Gospel is through what is called the Romans Road. It is a way we can share the Gospel through using the Book of Romans. None of the methods we present are meant to be the only way or even the best way to share the Gospel. These are simply tools that will allow you to walk through a Gospel presentation with someone when the time calls for it.
We are all sinners – The first concept is that everyone has sinned and we are in need of Salvation.  (Romans 3:10-23) Sin is our action and attitudes that separates us from God and His holiness.  The reason that sin separates us from God and His holiness is because God’s character prevents Him from being around it. Many people struggle with the concept that they are so bad they deserve condemnation but this only shows they do not know what sin is. Sin is a violation of God’s will, who created us all. Furthermore, not only do we sin our actions but are very hearts are sinful. God, in his righteousness, would be perfectly just and wiping us all out. Yet because He is a God of love He does not.
Our sin has consequences – The second concept of the Romans Road is that the consequences (or wages) of our sin is death (Romans 6:23). The final consequence of sin is our physical death and eternal separation from God but sin also leads to a spiritual death now. Spiritual death is our separation from God, our bondage to sin, and inability to save ourselves. Our sin doesn’t only have consequences for the future but leads to the brokenness we see in our world every day.
Jesus died to save us from our sin – The third concept is that Jesus died for our sins (Romans 5:8).  There is no way we can atone for our sins and to bring ourselves back into  a right relationship with God. But God loved us so much that He made the ultimate move and gave His own Son (who had never sinned) to be the ultimate sacrifice and took away our sin so that there is a way we can have a relationship with Him again.
We must accept this gift from God – The fourth concept is that they only way we receive God’s free gift is through accepting it (Romans 10:9-10:13).  Even though Jesus’ death and resurrection was for anyone and everyone, we still need to accept it.  We need to confess that Jesus is Lord and that our actions and attitude is what separated us from Him. Along with confessing, we also need to believe. Believing is putting into action what we say or confess. It doesn’t do much good to confess something if we don’t believe in it. Believing in what Christ has done for us means that we turn from our old ways of sin and self-glorification and we live to glorify God and to make Him known.
Salvation is found in Christ alone – The fifth concept is that salvation is through Christ alone (Romans 8:1;38-39; 5:1). Our salvation is based on Christ’s death and resurrection on the cross. There is no other way we can get to heaven, receive eternal life, or have peace with God. We cannot try and work our way to heaven, or find some other option because there is none. The only way to have peace with God and to be in right relationship with Him is through accepting the free gift of Jesus. The question is: will you receive God’s free gift of grace through faith in Christ Jesus?
Conclusion – The Roman’s Road is a quick, simple way to walk through what the Gospel is all about. One of its strengths is that it allows you to ground every step with some key verses (obviously all found in Romans). You could easily jot down the five concepts with the key verses somewhere in your Bible, or even keep it in your wallet. If you felt like you needed help explaining the Gospel to someone you could use this as a resource to help you give you confidence.
Application
1.  Take a few minutes to practice using the Roman’s Road with your discipler. Go over it a few times until you feel you can confidently walk someone through all of the concepts.
2.  Share with your discipler how you like to share the Gospel with others. What tools do you use if any?

3.  By this time (now at least sixteen weeks) you should have been able to identify a few people you want to share the Gospel with. This of course should be done by the prompting of the Spirit and should be in the context of relationships. However, the reason most of us never share is because of fear. Talk with your discipler about sharing the Gospel message with someone this week.


4. Continue to focus on building intentional relationships with people in your community. Always be looking for opportunities to share about your faith in Jesus.


Discussion Questions
1.  Discuss any hesitations you have about sharing the Gospel with someone. What are the steps you need to take to be confident?
2.  Why is that so many Christians know they should share the Gospel but do not do so? Have you felt this struggle in your own life?
3. If you have not already done so, make a plan with your discipler for you to share the Gospel with someone this week.