Counted Righteous

cruz-2381213_640Second Sunday in Lent (February 25, 2018)

Genesis 17:1-7, 15-16  • Psalm 22:23-31  •  Romans 4:13-25  •  Mark 8:31-38

13 Clearly, God’s promise to give the whole earth to Abraham and his descendants was based not on his obedience to God’s law, but on a right relationship with God that comes by faith. 14 If God’s promise is only for those who obey the law, then faith is not necessary and the promise is pointless. 15 For the law always brings punishment on those who try to obey it. (The only way to avoid breaking the law is to have no law to break!)

16 So the promise is received by faith. It is given as a free gift. And we are all certain to receive it, whether or not we live according to the law of Moses, if we have faith like Abraham’s. For Abraham is the father of all who believe. 17 That is what the Scriptures mean when God told him, “I have made you the father of many nations.” This happened because Abraham believed in the God who brings the dead back to life and who creates new things out of nothing.

18 Even when there was no reason for hope, Abraham kept hoping—believing that he would become the father of many nations. For God had said to him, “That’s how many descendants you will have!” 19 And Abraham’s faith did not weaken, even though, at about 100 years of age, he figured his body was as good as dead—and so was Sarah’s womb.

20 Abraham never wavered in believing God’s promise. In fact, his faith grew stronger, and in this he brought glory to God. 21 He was fully convinced that God is able to do whatever he promises. 22 And because of Abraham’s faith, God counted him as righteous. 23 And when God counted him as righteous, it wasn’t just for Abraham’s benefit. It was recorded 24 for our benefit, too, assuring us that God will also count us as righteous if we believe in him, the one who raised Jesus our Lord from the dead. 25 He was handed over to die because of our sins, and he was raised to life to make us right with God.

Romans 4:13-25 New Living Translation (NLT)


 We continue our journey to the cross. It is the second week of Lent and we remember the sacrifice that Jesus paid for our sin.

We are reminded that we are not counted righteous because of our obedience to the law of God. We are only reconciled to God because of our faith.  Abraham was counted righteous because of his faith.  Paul writes, “If God’s promise is only for those who obey the law, then faith is not necessary and the promise is pointless.” The promise is only received by faith.

Paul also writes, “Abraham believe in the God who brings the dead back to life and who creates new things out of nothing.”

Paul makes the argument that Jesus died for our sins and that we are raised to life to make us right with God.  Let us be reminded that Jesus counts us righteous, not because of the good things that we have done, but because of our faith in Jesus who died for our sins and was raised to life.

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Billy Graham Has Died

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One of the most influential gospel preachers of our century has gone on to His reward in glory.  Pam and I had just finished up our early van run and I was checking Facebook while waiting for the bank to open when we learned of his death.

Back in the early 90’s, Billy Graham came Philadelphia.  If I recall correctly, our church made two separate trips to Philadelphia. It was amazing to see Veterans Stadium filled.  Sandy Patti was the guest musical artist on a very warm Sunday afternoon.  It was amazing to here this man of God in person.  I do remember him making a comment on the heat radiating off the field and something about the Phillies.

Billy Graham preached the Gospel and many, many, many people came to know Jesus as a result.  It is reported that Billy Graham preached to more than 200 million people in the 185 countries.  Well done, you good and faithful servant.  

“It is the Holy Spirit’s job to convict, God’s job to judge and my job to love.”

Billy Graham

Sunday Night Thoughts

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As I write it is 6:09 and as I look out the front window the last light of the day is fading.  We’ve gained almost an hour of daylight in the evening.  It is nice to see daylight at 6 PM.  I’ve noticed a difference in the mornings as well.  I suppose you could call this week the big warm up.  Most of our snow is gone, although we got snow over night.  A good portion of that melted on this 42 degree day. We might even see 60’s this week and say goodbye to any remaining snow. It is however, a bit early to think that winter is over.

It has been warm enough this week, that I took to the roads instead of running at the gym and got in over 20 miles this week.  I am very pleased with my progress so far this year.  I am already at the 90 mile mark. As a comparison, last year I wasn’t even at 90 miles at the end of March.  If the current trend continues, I may best five months of 2017 combined (January, February, March, November, and December) by the end of March.  I am really excited about that.

Currently listening to: Family Lent (via Spotify)

Currently watching: Daytona 500.

I have headphones in listen to music while I type, but the race is on TV.

It’s been a good week.  This past week we were in Hamburg, NY for our monthly pastor’s meeting.  We had discussion and lunch. I am thankful for Pastor Joey’s leadership in our district and appreciate his vision of multiplication and partnerships.  We were also able to meet the pastor of a Native American church on our district. I am very thankful that we are part of a district that meets very regularly. It helps that we are close geographically.

On Wednesday, we met with the local pastors and put together the final plans for our Lenten Luncheons which begin this Tuesday.  Each church will be providing food and a devotional.  Pam will be bringing the devotional this week.  God is doing a great work through our ministerial.

Wednesday we also had an Ash Wednesday service where we remembered that we are dust and to dust we will return.  We remember our humanity – our mortality.  We had several members of the community join us.

On Friday evening, we “went over the mountain” to participate in Emmaus Road.  Pam preached – she actually used the devotional that she will be sharing on Tuesday.  Anna and I led worship. It was cool, because one of the songs  we ended up using for special music this morning.

As you can see, things are really busy around here. It was good to get home this evening. We had community choir rehearsal this afternoon.  I am leading a group of wonderful musicians from the community. Our program this year is called “The Road to Calvary.” They are a bunch of hard workers and after two rehearsals we have made some great progress.  I am looking forward to presenting this on Palm Sunday evening.

Which brings us finally to today. We had a wonderful worship service this morning. Our regular worship leader asked me to lead worship. Pam took some of the other pastoral duties like the Call to Worship and Pastoral Prayer.  There was a wonderful spirit of worship this morning. I started a Lenten series called “Who Is Jesus?” The question we asked this morning was “Who do you say that I am?”  It is an important question to ask.

That’s about all I have for this week. I hope you have a wonderful week.

Prayer for the Week

Lenten-Background.002First Sunday in Lent

Almighty God, whose blessed Son was led by the Spirit to be tempted by Satan; Come quickly to help us who are assaulted by many temptations; and, as you know the weaknesses of each of us, let each one find you mighty to save; through Jesus Christ your Son our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever. Amen.