My friend Cheryl has chosen Romans 12:2 as her favorite verse. This is one of the most well-known and quoted verse in the book of Romans for good reason. Here are verses 1-2: Therefore, I urge you, brothers and sisters, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God—this is your true and proper worship. 2 Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will.
Starting with Therefore, Paul is saying because of all I have said in the previous 11 Chapters this is how God's wants you to live. Paul has told us in Romans 1:16-17 of the power of the gospel leading to God's righteousness. "For I am not ashamed of the gospel, because it is the power of God that brings salvation to everyone who believes: first to the Jew, then to the Gentile. 17 For in the gospel the righteousness of God is revealed—a righteousness that is by faith from first to last, just as it is written: “The righteous will live by faith.” In Romans 3:22-23 that faith comes through Jesus and no one is righteous on their own "This righteousness is given through faith in Jesus Christ to all who believe. There is no difference between Jew and Gentile, 23 for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God." In Romans 5:1 Paul concludes that we are justified by faith. "Therefore, since we have been justified through faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ," I particularly love Romans 5:8 "But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us." In Romans 7 we hear of Paul's own smuggles with his sin nature but he reaches another conclusion in Romans 8:1 "Therefore, there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus, In Chapter 8 Paul tells us we are son's of the Father (14), coheirs with Christ (17), all things in our lives God can work for good (28), and nothing can separate us from the love of God (37-38). Paul tells us in Romans 10: 9-10 that confession of Jesus as Lord will bring about salvation. " If you declare with your mouth, “Jesus is Lord,” and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. 10 For it is with your heart that you believe and are justified, and it is with your mouth that you profess your faith and are saved. Given all these facts about God and what He has done for us Paul reaches the conclusion stated in Romans 12:1. Think about God's mercy towards us and commit yourself to a life of loving Him sacrificially. It will be pleasing to God.
In verse 2, Paul goes on to tell us that we need to let God transform our body and minds so that we will not be led astray and seduced by the world's motives and standards. When your mind is renewed through faith in Jesus you will be able to discern what is worldly and stay away from it. You will be able to test things against His Word of truth, pray for discernment through the power of the Holy Spirit and call upon the name of Jesus for help. Then you will be able to walk with Jesus doing what is pleasing to God and aligned with His will. Faith in Jesus is the key to this transformation.
Thanks Cheryl for pointing me to this verse. I can see how you use this verse to give you strength to reject world culture and seek alignment with God's Word. Leaning on God's mercy, clinging to Jesus and using His Word to lead us in life will lead us to pleasing God.
Getting to Know the Heart of Your Leadership Team Through Scripture
Recently I asked members of the Leadership Team to give me their favorite scripture.
Seeking Assurance? ASK! As we age it seems harder and harder to keep up with those young ones around us. Whether it is little children or teens, their endurance is only a remembrance to us! Today's favorite verse, from my friend Sharon, is Isaiah 40:30-31 which gives us encouragement no matter what our age.
Even youths grow tired and weary,
and young men stumble and fall;
31 but those who hope in the Lord
will renew their strength.
They will soar on wings like eagles;
they will run and not grow weary,
they will walk and not be faint.
In these verses, God's Word is acknowledging our humanness and reminds us that even the young do not have unlimited strength and endurance. To survive in the world, we must rely upon the Lord. He promises to renew our strength when we feel we cannot go on. We do not need to wait until we are spent to call upon the Lord for additional strength. As we learn in walking with Jesus, it is better to call upon Him before we reach the end of our strength as He promises He will lift us up, cause us to soar and be renewed.
I can see how this verse is a favorite as it stands as a reminder of God's strength in all things and our limited resources. When you combine this with Philippian 4:19 "And my God will meet all your needs according to the riches of his glory in Christ Jesus." We can be assured that God does not tire, God has unlimited resources and He wants to provide for us. We just need to ask. John 14:13-15 shows us Jesus' willingness if we ask with the right heart. "And I will do whatever you ask in my name, so that the Father may be glorified in the Son. 14 You may ask me for anything in my name, and I will do it."
Where do you need God's help today? Is your need physical, mental, emotional or spiritual? What obstacles are you facing that you are allowing pride to get in your way of asking God for help? Do you see problems ahead and need God's strength to overcome? God has the resources to help you soar and not grow faint. He can give you the wings of eagles to cause you to soar above and be renewed.
Thanks Sharon for the reminder of God's strength and constant provision. Call upon Him and be renewed!
By Linda Knight
Getting to Know the Heart of Your Leadership Team Through Scripture
by Linda Knight
Recently I asked members of the Leadership Team to give me their favorite scripture.
Just a slight deviation from favorite verses today to favorite Bible stories. When I asked my friend Kathy for a favorite verse or two she responded with her favorite stories. As I thought about this, it so suits Kathy. She is a lifelong student of the Bible and the consummate Sunday School teacher. She sees things relationally as they impact our lives. Here are her favorites:
“I love the story of Esther because it tells me that even though the name of God is never mentioned, He is there, working in our lives.” Do you see God working in each area of your life? Is He with you in the hard times- rescuing, helping, guiding and providing all that behind the scenes encouragement? Do you also turn to Him in praise when things go well? I am reminded of God’s promise in Deuteronomy 31:6 “Be strong and courageous. Do not fear or be in dread of them, for it is the Lord your God who goes with you. He will not leave you or forsake you.” Esther believed God was there with her and her people. What about you?
“I love the story of Ruth because of the love and devotion it speaks.” Ruth gives us an example to follow because of the love she showed her mother-in-law, Naomi. Do you have someone you are serving even though it is hard? Are you letting the love of God shine through you towards them? Paul put this in another context in Romans 12:9-11 “Love must be sincere. Hate what is evil; cling to what is good. 10 Be devoted to one another in love. Honor one another above yourselves. 11 Never be lacking in zeal, but keep your spiritual fervor, serving the Lord.” What does your love reflect?
“I love the story of Jonah because it tells me that I can’t outrun God.” Jonah is such a great example of thinking we know better and can get away from God. Do you try to second guess God and tell Him how things should be? Submission is not easy but it is biblical. Christ is our example in Hebrews 5:7 “ During the days of Jesus’ life on earth, he offered up prayers and petitions with fervent cries and tears to the one who could save him from death, and he was heard because of his reverent submission.” Let us learn from Jonah and strive to be like Jesus.
“I love the story of the blind man in John 9 because it tells me that even though people can see, they may still be blind.” Jesus made mud and put it on this man’s eyes and his eyes were opened. He had been blind from birth. The Pharisee’s were incensed that Jesus healed this man and did it on the Sabbath. They considered healing work and Jews were not permitted to work on the Sabbath. They questioned the man’s parents to verify he was born blind. They questioned the former blind man about who had healed him. He replied, “Whether he is a sinner or not (meaning Jesus), I don’t know. One thing I do know. I was blind but now I see!” He was blind physically but Jesus gave him sight. The Pharisee’s were blind spiritually and could not see the truth of Jesus and His power. Are you open to His work and leading so that you can see God’s truth in your life?
“I love the story of Ananias and Sapphira because it tells me that God knows me so well, I can’t lie to him (and lying never brings about a good ending).” This story occurs in Acts 5. Now a man named Ananias, together with his wife Sapphira, also sold a piece of property. 2 With his wife’s full knowledge he kept back part of the money for himself, but brought the rest and put it at the apostles’ feet. It would seem from what happened, they said they were giving all the proceeds from their land sale. Maybe they wanted to look good in the eyes of the apostles and their fellow believers so they would think well of them, think them generous and selfless when they secretly held back a portion for themselves. Their actions were deceitful and here is what happened. Ananias came before Peter:
Then Peter said, “Ananias, how is it that Satan has so filled your heart that you have lied to the Holy Spirit and have kept for yourself some of the money you received for the land? 4 Didn’t it belong to you before it was sold? And after it was sold, wasn’t the money at your disposal? What made you think of doing such a thing? You have not lied just to human beings but to God.” 5 When Ananias heard this, he fell down and died. And great fear seized all who heard what had happened. 6 Then some young men came forward, wrapped up his body, carried him out and buried him.
Next his wife came in, not knowing what had happened to her husband. “About three hours later his wife came in, not knowing what had happened. 8 Peter asked her, “Tell me, is this the price you and Ananias got for the land?” “Yes,” she said, “that is the price.” 9 Peter said to her, “How could you conspire to test the Spirit of the Lord? Listen! The feet of the men who buried your husband are at the door, and they will carry you out also.” 10 At that moment she fell down at his feet and died. The sin was not that they did not give it all to the Lord’s work but lying about it. If they had been truthful about the price and what they were giving, all would have been well but they tried to lie and get away with it. What a price to pay for pride and trying to be more than they were. I agree with Kathy this is an example of God’s Omniscience and man’s pride. God knows, and we kid ourselves, when we think we can get away with things. God always knows.
I am reminded of 1 John 3:19-21 “This is how we know that we belong to the truth and how we set our hearts at rest in his presence: 20 If our hearts condemn us, we know that God is greater than our hearts, and he knows everything. 21 Dear friends, if our hearts do not condemn us, we have confidence before God.”
Be encouraged today with these stories displaying God’s character. He is Omnipresent and Sovereign as in Esther showing His providential care and guidance. He is loving and the great Provider as seen in Ruth. He is Omniscient in the case of Jonah and Ananias and Saphira. He is Compassionate, Loving and Almighty God as seen by the blind man. Who is God to you? How do you see him in the story of your life? Is He Faithful, Unchanging, Savior, Redeemer and friend? Take time to thank Him for His presence in your life today.
I’d love to hear your favorite story too. Thanks, Kathy, for directing me to these gems of scripture that give us foundational truths to live by.
Alex Hardt’s Installation Service September 11,2022
Sunday was a wonderful celebration of the official beginning of Alex Hardt’s ministry at Crossroads. It was filled with energy and spirit as we worshipped together. The sermon and service were led by Ali _______. As his text, Pastor Ali choose 2 Timothy 3:16-17.
Here it is in the Message translation: There’s nothing like the written Word of God for showing you the way to salvation through faith in Christ Jesus. Every part of Scripture is God-breathed and useful one way or another—showing us truth, exposing our rebellion, correcting our mistakes, training us to live God’s way. Through the Word we are put together and shaped up for the tasks God has for us.
This passage by the Apostle Paul to his ‘son in faith’ Timothy desired to give direction to young pastor Timothy. Likewise, Ali, used this text to give hope and direction to Pastor Alex and to us as well. When embarking on any new adventure it is good to remember that which holds you together. The basis of faith is Jesus and He is found over and over in the pages of scripture. The entire book is about Jesus from Genesis to Revelation. God’s Word shows us Jesus and His work to redeem us. God’s Word shows us truth for living even when circumstances get really messy all around us. God’s Word helps us keep our own rebellious nature in focus and under His direction. God’s Word leads us to walk more closely with Jesus avoiding mistakes and pitfall along life’s pathway. God’s Word trains us to be all that we can be in God’s army! When we have God’s Word in our hearts and minds, it allows God to shape and mold us into the exact ones He desires to do His work here on earth.
God’s Word along with prayer are to be the cornerstones of our own lives as well as Alex’s ministry among us. How can we help?
As you go through this week, take time to look into scripture. Are you having an issue with someone, a financial or health problem? Do you need encouragement, hope, direction or guidance? All of these are addressed in God’s Word and His Word of truth and hope will cut through your problems and bring relief. You can word search on your Bible App, use your concordance or use google and seek direction from God’s Word to give you strength and courage. God’s Word is true and will bring relief to the weary soul who seeks Him.
Here are some promises in God’s Word you can cling to:
Is God there? James 4:7-8a, John 14:6
How do I live the Christian life? Joshua 1:8-9, Proverbs 3:5-6
Do you need courage? Deuteronomy 31:6, Psalm 138:7-8a
Is God faithful? Lamentations 3:21-23, Hebrews 13:5-8
Does God forgive? Proverbs 28:13, 1 Peter 2:24
Will God provide guidance? Psalm 119:105, Isaiah 41:9-10
Is there Hope? Hebrews 10:23, Philippians 1:6, Jeremiah 29:11
Does God love me? John 3:16, Romans 8:35-39
Does God show mercy? Nahum 1:7, Romans 5:8
Does God give peace? John 14:27, Isaiah 54:10
Can God provide for me even in my circumstances? Luke 6:38 and 12:29-31
Can God save me? Acts 4:12, Romans 10:9-10, 2 Corinthians 5:17
Is God really in control of everything? Daniel 2:19-22, 2 Corinthians 12:9
God’s Word is timeless and has answers you can claim and cling to for life!
Hope Unites | Unity In Leadership
Sermon series, "Hope Unites." Today Ali Hasan teaches from 2 Timothy 3:16-4:3
If you are local, please join us for our weekly service. Our Sunday service is held at 11:00am. Come visit us at 5353 Concord Blvd, on the corner of Concord Blvd and Kirker Pass.
A collection of thoughts from our community