The Road Through Romans: I Belong

100_5431We are moving through the book of Romans a verse at a time and today we come to verse 6 of chapter 1. If you have missed any of our previous discussion they can be found on THE ROAD THROUGH ROMANS PAGE.

Romans 1:6 reads,

And you also are among those Gentiles who are called to belong to Jesus Christ.

I don’t know what growing up for you was like. My experience was echoed in the movie Diary Of a Wimpy Kid. Only for me there never really was that moment where I exploded onto the hero’s stage. I was just a wimpy kid. I was the overweight guy, who got good grades, played flute in the band and got picked last in every gym class line up (not even kidding there).

One time in volley ball I got placed on the team and was told “if the ball comes to you just step out of the way. We don’t want you to foul up our game.”

I left the game and sat on the sidelines and that seemed to make everyone happy. I immersed myself in a book and went to that place all misfits go to when they are hurt, the imagination.

I share that to relay to you one of the reasons I am a Christian today. Like many others I know I found it hard to fit in to a world that valued certain attributes I didn’t have and downplayed other attributes I did have. When I came to Christ I found a place to belong. I found Someone who accepted me for who I was and what I could do and who actually valued it. More than that He told me that He was the One who made me this way and that I was CALLED TO BELONG TO HIM AND USE MY GIFTS FOR HIM.

Maybe I don’t fit in with the world. Maybe I don’t even fit in with most of the church. That is OK because I fit in with Jesus and He likes me just fine.  I have discovered that, I can serve the world in the church on the basis of His acceptance. I don’t need any body else’s.

How has belonging to Christ healed your self-perception?

The Road Through Romans: What Comes Through Faith

100_5431Our discussion through Romans is going strong. Kim just joined in and has caught up. You can too by going to THE ROAD THROUGH ROMANS PAGE.

Today we are finishing up with verse 5 in chapter 1. It reads:

Through him we received grace and apostleship to call all the Gentiles to the obedience that comes from faith for his name’s sake. Ro. 1:5

Belief in our society had become a passive thing.  We believe in lots of things, that is we give mental assent to lots of things. We believe in freedom of speech. We believe in the right to bear arms. We believe in the red, white and blue. We believe in apple pie, mom and we believe in Jesus!

But biblical faith or belief isn’t just mental assent to the reality of something. James says it this way, “Show me your faith without deeds, and I will show you my faith by my deeds. 19You believe that there is one God. Good! Even the demons believe that—and shudder.” James 2:18,19

Paul tells us that faith (real faith) creates an obedience, a willingness to support and fight for the things we have faith in. How much you actually believe in Jesus is displayed by how well you live for Him. Strong faith creates right living. Weak faith creates careless living.

What mindsets, in our culture, does the teaching about “obedience that comes from faith” confront?

Pastor Wrinkles Sunday Quips & Quotes 11-29-15

Hey there folks! Here is a new challenge for all my Sunday readers. Every Sunday I will post one quip or quote that struck me during the week. You can join along in the quipping and quoting. Here is what to do.

Publish a post of your own, using one quip or quote that grabbed you during the week. You can add a picture to it if you like or even photograph the quote from it’s source.

Link back to my post

You can include the Pastor Wrinkle’s Q& Q photo in your post if you think my mug worthy of your blog.


Here is my quote for the week.

“When Jesus walks into the room…there is always a response.” Barry Risto


The Road Through Romans: What We Have Received Pt. 2

100_5431Yesterday we began talking about what it is that Christians receive from their Christianity. We receive grace but there is something else too.

Through him we received grace and apostleship to call all the Gentiles to the obedience that comes from faith for his name’s sake. Ro. 1:5

We receive “apostleship”…a commission…a send off…a release or permission to go and do the things Jesus did.

Did you get that?!?

We don’t need permission to do the things Jesus did. We don’t have to beg Him to do miracles in and through us. We don’t have to pray unceasingly for supernatural power or ability to be better witnesses.

We can fully expect miracles to take place in and around us. We can expect that people around us will start coming to Christ and becoming fully devoted followers of Jesus… because we have been sent off to be miraculous people so the gospel will be proven when we speak.

The only reason this doesn’t happen is because we don’t expect it to. We don’t take hold of it intentionally (which as we said in an earlier post is what receiving really is. If you missed that post find it HERE) . Apostleship is the natural position of every Christian (not being an apostle but being apostle-like).

So have you taken hold of your apostleship? What does that look like?

Friday Fictioneers: The Waves Won’t Wait

Welcome to Friday Fictioneers, the place where 100 authors gather to share 100 words apiece to describe a photo offered by our hostess Rochelle. My story is below the photo prompt but you can find 99+ other stories by going to Rochelle’s blog HERE

PHOTO PROMPT © Sandra Crook

Photo by: Sandra Crook

The Waves Won’t Wait

by JE Lillie

Every day I scrabble up to the top of the cliff. I sit on the ledge and let my feet dangle over the waves crashing below. They are like the people in my life: Angry, noisy, promising a nasty end if I let them touch me.

I sit alone at the top of the world beyond their reach, sealed away by the emotional distance I have placed between us.

I wait until sunset then clamber down the slope. As I hit the beach I can hear my parents screaming at each other. I go home anyway. The waves won’t wait.

The Road Through Romans: What We Have Received


Through him we received grace and apostleship to call all the Gentiles to the obedience that comes from faith for his name’s sake. Ro. 1:5

Yesterday we talked about “receiving” as “intentionally taking hold of something”. If you missed the convo you can find it on THE ROAD THROUGH ROMANS PAGE.

Today I want to begin a dialogue about what it is we have actually “taken hold of.”

We have received or taken hold of grace. In other words we have intentionally taken hold of or come into possession of the charis of God, the unmerited good will, loving-kindness,  and favor of God.

What does grace accomplish in our lives?

  1. Grace exerts God’s holy influence upon our souls. It causes God to become the primary decision maker in our lives. Without the application of God’s grace we continue to be our own boss and make the same bad decisions which got us in trouble in the first place.
  2.  Grace keeps us from going back to the world and it keeps us close to Jesus. Without it we are like wild dogs off leash running back to the wilds.
  3. Grace strengthens us and causes us to become truly powerful people. Without it we remain weak and helpless in a world at war.
  4. Grace increases faith in God, knowledge of God and affection towards God. As it operates in our lives we trust Him more, understand Him better and love Him more fervently. Grace keeps our relationship with God from growing stale.
  5. Grace empowers us to practice Christian virtue.
In short we cannot do anything truly “Christian” without God’s grace operating daily in our lives. Further with grace in daily operation in our lives we cannot help but becoming more and more “Christian” in our living.
It does beg the question, how many of us do you think have shut down the application of grace in our daily lives? Have you ever done it?

Cee’s B & W: Things That Fly

This week Cee has challenged us to show her anything that flies in Black & White.

You can see how others took up this challenge by clicking the underlined link.

I am not overly good at capturing things in motion so I had to be a little creative with this one. These are all things that could fly if they were real.


This is the Zaandam version of the Liva birds… I think.


This is a phoenix in St. Bavo’s, Haarlem


O.K. So I really do believe in angels but honestly I think they are much bigger and most times a little scarier than this.

Thankfulness: Rocognizing the Work Of God In Our Lives

Philippians 4:4-8 reads,  Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice! Let your gentleness be evident to all. The Lord is near. Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.

Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things.

I shouldn’t shocking anyone out there when I declare no one’s life is perfect. The world is broken and even the best lives experience trouble. In the end life isn’t about what happens to us. It’s about how we choose to view what happens to us.

We can approach life with chronic anxiety, anger or negativity and that is what life will be filled with, or we can choose to approach life with hope, faith and thankfulness and that is what life will be filled with.

In this world two forces are always at work. Good and evil. God and the Devil. Light and Dark. Some day that will change and the Good God who is Light will defeat once and for all the darkness, but winning over the darkness is His job not yours. Your job is to be thankful 

Thankfulness is a conscious decision to recognize the work of God in our lives.

Today is a day we in America set aside to be thankful. Take some time to rest and thank God for His work in your life. It may not change your circumstances, but it will change how you look at them and in the end that is what you are called by God to do.

Happy Thanks giving! JE



The Road Through Romans: The Takers

100_5431Romans 1:5 reads,”Through him we received grace and apostleship to call all the Gentiles to the obedience that comes from faith for his name’s sake.”

You know so many people view Christianity as an inherited religion. They believe they are Christians because their mother or their father was a Christian, or because their “Gramma was Catholic”.


Christianity is not an inherited trait! It is a conscious decision. You don’t catch Christianity by being in close proximity to other Christians, like you catch a cold. You don’t get Christianity from your parents like you got your blue eyes or curly hair. Christianity is a personal decision to  receive the promises of God through Jesus Christ’s work on the cross and in the resurrection.

Paul says “Through him we received”.  Now that translation may be a little deceiving, because in our culture we consider receiving something as a passive activity. We receive the mail and we receive gifts. We don’t do anything to earn the mail. It just shows up in our mailbox. We don’t do anything to receive a Christmas present. We wake up Christmas morning and it is under the tree.

Well in one sense that is what Paul meant when he said “we received”, but the word in the Greek has a deeper meaning. Receiving as Paul meant it was an active verb not a passive word. The word is “lambanō” and it means, “to take with the hand, lay hold of, any person or thing in order to use it”.

Jerry Harris, one of the elders in our church likes to teach it this way, “You can receive a gift but before it really becomes yours you have to open it up.”

I would go a step further and say if a gift is really to become yours you have to use it for its intended purpose. It’s like this. Let’s say you get a new shirt at Christmas. Even if you unwrap it, and  then take it out of the box, if you then hang it in your closet never to be worn is that shirt really yours?

This is what many people are doing with their Christianity. They were there when it was offered. They accepted the gift. But then they took it and hid it away never to be seen except on special occasions. They are like the servant who received one talent in the parable Jesus told.

“Then the servant with the one bag of silver came and said, ‘Master, I knew you were a harsh man, harvesting crops you didn’t plant and gathering crops you didn’t cultivate. 25 I was afraid I would lose your money, so I hid it in the earth. Look, here is your money back.’

26 “But the master replied, ‘You wicked and lazy servant! If you knew I harvested crops I didn’t plant and gathered crops I didn’t cultivate, 27 why didn’t you deposit my money in the bank? At least I could have gotten some interest on it.’

28 “Then he ordered, ‘Take the money from this servant, and give it to the one with the ten bags of silver. 29 To those who use well what they are given, even more will be given, and they will have an abundance. But from those who do nothing, even what little they have will be taken away. 30 Now throw this useless servant into outer darkness, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.’ Ma. 25:24-30

Can I encourage you, if your Christianity is in the closet today take it out, dust it off and start living it in real time. Anything else is a big waste of faith.

If you have missed any of our discussions on the Book of Romans they can be found on THE ROAD THROUGH ROMANS PAGE.


The Road Through Romans: The Son Of God In Power Pt. 2

100_5431We have been studying the Book of Romans bit by little bit over the last several weeks. Currently we are in verse four of chapter 1. If you have missed any of our discussions you can catch up on THE ROAD THROUGH ROMANS PAGE.

Last time we were discussing the work of the Spirit in revealing Jesus to be the Son of God. Romans 1:4 says,

and who through the Spirit of holiness was appointed the Son of God in power by his resurrection from the dead: Jesus Christ our Lord.

The NIV says Jesus was appointed the Son Of God by the Holy Spirit, the KJV says Jesus was declared the Son Of God by the Holy Spirit. The actual verb used is “ὁρίζω horizō”, which can also be translated as “defined”. Jesus was defined as the Son of God by the Holy Spirit. I love that!

How did the Holy Spirit define Jesus as the Son of God? It wasn’t through Jesus’ baptism; It wasn’t through His teaching; It wasn’t through His miracles; It wasn’t even through His death on the cross; The Holy Spirit proved Jesus was the Son Of God by Jesus’ resurrection.

The Spirit of God raised Jesus from the dead and in that moment all the other defining prophecies for Messiah became secondary. Jesus is the Son of God, the Messiah, not just because he is the Son of David, not just because He fulfilled the prophecies of Abraham, Balaam, Moses and Isaiah, but because He alone has risen from the dead and now can offer that same hope to any who believe on His name.

The symbol of Christianity is not primarily an empty cross but an empty tomb!