There isn’t much that’s sweeter than answered prayers. In the face of my own leadership struggles, busyness in our church community, and waning participation in our small groups, I was frustrated last spring. Frustrations are isolating. I felt more alone than I actually was.
On the advice of a mentor, I began to pray for The Lord to direct the next step for our church. Understanding we all run at 3500 rpms, in bodies that are made to rest around 1000 rpms, I didn’t want my request for our church to meet in groups to ever be “one more thing” people had to do.
After pulling back on my own schedule, and praying, I was led to this idea: small groups, for 10 weeks, from Labor Day to Thanksgiving.
Entry and exit dates; so no one feels they’re joining something for life. Planning and prioritizing for 10 weeks is a smaller and easier commitment. I’ve seen The Lord answer my prayer, and been encouraged to see new leaders and groups come together, excited about meeting.
If we’re committing to 10 weeks this fall, my next prayer was about what would be worthy of our concentrated effort. Paul wrote Romans as a letter to the church in Rome, to set straight the design and nature of the Gospel, to help this church against those who were trying to make this new faith in Christ into a bunch of rules. In my mind, this letter is one of the most clear and comprehensive books on what it means for us when we choose to follow Christ.
“For I am not ashamed of this Good News about Christ. It is the power of God at work, saving everyone who believes—the Jew first and also the Gentile. This Good News tells us how God makes us right in his sight. This is accomplished from start to finish by faith. As the Scriptures say, “It is through faith that a righteous person has life.”” — Romans 1:16-17 NLT
I have written this study with the idea that anyone can pick it up and the hope that everyone who reads Romans is touched by our Heavenly Father. So, here we are, beginning 11 weeks of study, and 10 weeks of meeting together.
My prayer is we will find ourselves thrilled, amazed and in awe of all God has done for us. And as we open His Word, that we would encounter His Presence over and over again this fall. Whether we are alone at our breakfast table before the sun comes up or in a living room with our small group.
In Romans 8, we are told we are not given a spirit of fearful slaves, but a spirit of adoption, as we have been adopted into God’s family. May we walk in this confident hope, as we build on our knowledge of all He has granted to us.
If you’re a part of ACF Northwest, you can pick up a copy each week. If you miss a Sunday service, or if you’re not in Austin, but would like to participate, you can get a copy on our website:
We will post a new week of study, each Friday. May The Lord bless you as you read His Word, and meet in groups to discuss it with others. And let me say to all who might read this, He is faithful! He has heard and is answering my prayers.