Refresh: Begin with prayer. Ask for the Holy Spirit to open your heart to new understanding and for God’s character to be revealed.
Read: Romans 1:1-7 in the New Living Translation (NLT). Note 1–3 insights or questions.
Reflect: I decided several years ago not to delete any of my emails, which means I have over 500,000 emails in my various folders. I can trace conversations and threads of thoughts and ideas back over a decade. Every now and again, it really is handy to find something I needed that someone had mentioned to me five or ten years ago. But all those emails, and all my texts, and the terabytes of data stored, along with sermons, and Bible studies —even combined together—do not come close to creating the impact that Paul's letter to the Romans has had. I don’t think that Paul’s original intent in writing the letter to the Romans—nor even his secret agenda—was to create something that one day would be considered as part of the Holy Scriptures. Yet Romans has endured. It has the power to renew your mind, body, and soul. Ellen White wrote:
In his epistle to the Romans, Paul set forth the great principles of the gospel. He stated his position on the questions which were agitating the Jewish and the Gentile churches, and showed that the hopes and promises which had once belonged especially to the Jews were now offered to the Gentiles also.
With great clearness and power the apostle presented the doctrine of justification by faith in Christ. He hoped that other churches also might be helped by the instruction sent to the Christians at Rome; but how dimly could he foresee the far-reaching influence of his words! Through all the ages the great truth of justification by faith has stood as a mighty beacon to guide repentant sinners into the way of life. It was this light that scattered the darkness which enveloped Luther's mind and revealed to him the power of the blood of Christ to cleanse from sin. The same light has guided thousands of sin-burdened souls to the true Source of pardon and peace. For the epistle to the church at Rome, every Christian has reason to thank God. (Acts of the Apostles, p. 373)
Did you sense this in the opening verses? Paul has so much to be thankful for. Among other things, he has a richer, deeper application of the Gospel—that we can also gain from reading the words of one who had seen the power of transformation in his own life.
Recalibrate: What was the last thing said or written to you that left a lingering positive effect?
Respond: Pray for the ability to make a lingering positive effect on someone else today.
Research: Read Chapter 35 in Acts to the Apostles by Ellen White.
Remember: “This letter is to all of you in Rome whom God loves and has called to be his holy people.” —Romans 1:7 (ICB)
Japhet is senior pastor at Boulder Adventist Church in Boulder, CO, and was co-founder of the One project. Originally from southeast London, Japhet served as a pastor and as youth director in the South England Conference for nine years before moving to the United States in 2006. He was director for the Center for Youth Evangelism (CYE), chaplain for missions, and university chaplain at Andrews University in Berrien Springs, MI. Japhet has bachelor’s and master’s degrees from Andrews University (Newbold College campus). He has taught youth ministry, coordinated a master’s in youth ministry program, and spearheaded numerous conferences and initiatives. He is married to Becky and they have two sons, Joshua (18) and Jonah (14).
There is nothing more precious than baby gazing. Tickling little toes or having your baby grab your finger for the very first time is wonderful! Pray that these hands and feet will carry the good news of Jesus' love wherever they go.
Yesterday you made a list of words that express what serving Christ would be like. Today, be the kid who starts ticking of the list of good things. Every superhero has a sidekick and Jesus has chosen you as His. Get your “good on,” kids, and make a change for good in Jesus' name.
Paul wasn't always the nicest guy, but he met Jesus and became one of the biggest voices for the early Christian church. Is there anyone you know (maybe a classmate, neighbor, teammate, or friend) who needs a second chance? Paul wasn't perfect and he made a lot of mistakes, but he was able to do a lot of good when he met Jesus.