Kickoff Weekend in Romans‚Ä¶and a HUGE surprise.
The epistles (letters) of the New Testament are arranged by size, largest to the smallest. This puts Paul’s letter to the Romans at the front of the line. But if they were listed in order of importance, Romans would still be in the lead-off position because it is, without a doubt, the most important letter Paul ever wrote; his magnum opus.
It is also, frankly, a daunting book to read…and an even more daunting book to preach. It deals with some of the great theological themes: salvation, grace, righteousness, law, sin and judgment. It is, frankly, a very deep dive and it will require some effort on our parts if we are going to make sense of it. But if we are willing to give it a go, it can be a transformational experience. Some of the most important Christian thinkers in history pointed to their encounter with the Holy Spirit through the Book of Romans as a turning point in their life and ministry: Augustine, Martin Luther, John Calvin, John Wesley and Karl Barth, to name a few.
It could not be more relevant to our present situation. If you were to overlay the culture and challenges of first-century Rome on top of 21st-century America, you’d swear it was, as Yogi Berra once put it, “déjà vu all over again.”
So, my pastoral team and I are going to take our best swipe at unwrapping the wonders of this great book. We have provided a study guide for use in your LifeGroups and we urge you to set aside what you might be doing and join with your church in this year-long study. Pastor Larry will even be teaching a class on Romans between services that will go deeper on some of the key themes and be of particular use to our LifeGroup leaders as they shepherd their flocks.
This is Kickoff weekend. Don’t miss it. And a particular word to our 10:45 am worshippers, if I might. If you were going to a football game, you wouldn’t want to miss the opening kickoff! You’d leave home early enough to make sure you were in your seat for that opening moment of the game. Well, our opening moment starts at 10:45 with music and the Call to Worship. And, honestly, a lot of you miss the entire first quarter of worship! Please, please…would you resolve this year to be there, in your seats, ready for the kickoff at 10:45…maybe even a little early! There’s too much good stuff that you are missing out on… and we need you and your welcoming and hospitable energy in the room for all the new people you’ve been inviting to come!
This is a monumental weekend in my own ministry life, speaking personally. I will share some of that with you. And… I have a HUGE surprise to share; you won’t want to miss it and, when you hear it, you will be SO excited and very encouraged. So, whether it is Saturday night or Sunday morning, don’t miss the kickoff to a great new year.