My Friend Kathy…

I want to tell you about my friend Kathy.  Kathy came in to my life at a time when I was more scared than I ever had been.  In July of 2014, my wife told me she was pregnant with our first child.  I can’t tell you how many thoughts went through my mind in the span of about 10 seconds (what felt like 20 minutes).  So much joy, so much fear.  For about 8 months I had moments of excitement, anticipation, and tremendous fear.  When the moment comes, and I have to be the rock that my wife needs to lean on, what will I do?

A close friend told us about someone who helped her deliver her fourth child.  She told us, “you MUST CALL KATHY!  After three difficult births our fourth was the greatest experience, and it was all because of Kathy.”  So we called Kathy.

About 2 days before our son was born, we finally were able to coordinate our busy schedules and Kathy came over to our house to spend a few hours with us.  Most of her time was spent with me.  She taught me how to make sure Rachel kept a good breathing pace, relaxation techniques, good birth coaching, and so much more.  Mostly, she reminded me that God is good and only he is in control.

Two days later, Rachel and I went to what would be her final doctor’s appointment before the birth of our son (his due date was one week later).  Due to Rachel’s blood pressure and other medical issues, the doctor felt it wise to admit Rachel and begin inducing labor the next morning.  She also informed us that she would not be on-call that weekend and that another doctor would be delivering our son.  WHAT?!  I just spent the last nine months attending every doctor’s appointment with Rachel, learning to trust this woman whose hands I would be putting my wife and my son’s life… and she tells me a complete stranger is going to take over?

FEAR! FEAR! FEAR!  I didn’t let Rachel know… but I was scared to death!  Scared that I had to trust my family’s life in a strangers hands.  Scared that I knew that for the first time in eight years I was going to watch my wife go through unbearable pain and there was nothing I could do to make it go away.

Rachel and I checked in to the hospital at 10:00 that Friday night.  Saturday morning at 8:00 they began inducing.  Once the labor started, I began to remember everything that Kathy taught me.  I was brave.  I was the rock Rachel needed.  When the pain started… we danced in the hospital room… I’d rub her legs… I’d breathe with her… inhale… exhale… we’d dance some more… we’d talk about the things we would do with our son… anything to keep her mind off the pain.  I was calm.  Because Kathy told me I could be calm.  She told me I could be brave.  She told me I could be the rock Rachel needed to lean on.  When Kathy showed up, on her Saturday, no less, all she had to do was sit back and watch me do the things she taught me to do.

About 1:30 that Friday afternoon, Rachel was ready to deliver.  Kathy prayed with us and then Rachel and I took a quick 10 minute nap before they wheeled us into the delivery room.

Most of those nurses knew Kathy, and those that didn’t know her had heard of her.  I watched those nurses get behind Kathy, even though she was no longer a Labor and Delivery nurse, she stepped up, took the lead, and the nurses followed behind.  Not because they needed to… because they wanted to.  They weren’t threatened by Kathy, they weren’t intimidated by Kathy… they respected Kathy.

Kathy taught me so many things when it comes to bringing a precious life into the world. She reminded me that I could be calm, brave, courageous, and strong, because my source is Christ.  But, the most important thing she reminded me was that the only person in control in the delivery room is Christ.  She reminded me that I can trust Christ, no matter the outcome, no matter the circumstances or the results… because He is good, trustworthy, faithful, and completely in control.

Kathy went to be with Jesus on September 3, 2016.  She will always be a part of my son’s story.  When I think of Kathy, I think of someone who loved Jesus, and she demonstrated it in the way she served others.  She loved to watch life come into the world and she loved being a part of the miracle.  I look forward to seeing Kathy again.

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Kathy with our Son, Noble.

Romans 5:1-2 Discussion Questions

Romans 5:1-2  Discussion Questions

Introduction

Because of the gospel, we have obtained peace and access to God. Yet, too often, we neglect to exercise these wonderful gifts. Let us use them to boast in the hope of the glory of God.

Discussion Questions

  • Can we be at risk of knowing the gospel without experiencing it in our daily lives? How so? If so, how do we fight against this risk?
  • Discuss the following phrase: “No Christ, no peace. Know Christ, know peace.”
  • How does the story of Mephibosheth and David illustrate Paul’s point that we have peace with God? How does this story affect the understanding you have of your peace with God in Christ?
  • Paul notes that we have “obtained access by faith” to God. What does he mean by this? How do we practice this access?
  • What does it mean to rejoice in the hope of the glory of God?

What Does This Say About God?

  • God transforms his enemies into his sons and daughters.
  • God brings about peace through our justification.
  • God is accessible to us through faith in Christ.

What Does This Say About Humanity?

  • Outside Christ, we are enemies of God. In Christ, we are his sons and daughters.
  • Without Christ, the Prince of Peace, we cannot know true, everlasting peace.
  • We have obtained access to God through the atonement and mediation of Christ.

What Will You Do About It?

For more insight to this passage listen to One More Thing – where our teaching pastors discuss the passage in greater detail using these discussion questions.

Romans 4:18-25 Discussion Questions

Romans 4:18-25  Discussion Questions

Introduction
Paul looks to Abraham’s unwavering obedience in the face of difficulty to remind us that God uses life’s curve-balls and circumstances to grow us stronger in faith.

Discussion Questions
•    Discuss the following: “Faith is not the enemy of reason; faith is the foundation of reason.”
•    Discuss why you believe (or do not believe) that God’s Word is sufficient, clear, authoritative, and necessary for our faith.
•    Why doesn’t God simply give us all the faith and strength we need up front? Why go through all the trials and tribulation?
•    How do you read yourself into the stories of the Bible?

What Does This Say About God?
•    God is a covenant-making God who keeps his promises
•    God desires that his covenant children would grow strong in their faith
•    God provides a way through difficulty for our benefit and his glory

What Does This Say About Humanity?
•    Through hope against hope, we may maintain obedience to God
•    Our faith is strengthened through trials and tribulation
•    The stories of the Bible were written in part for our sake

What Will You Do About It?

For more insight to this passage listen to One More Thing – where our teaching pastors discuss the passage in greater detail using these discussion questions.

Romans 4:13-17 Discussion Questions

Romans 4:13-17 Discussion Questions

Introduction

Paul expands our horizon of God’s work of restoration by proclaiming that we are heirs of the world. The promise that God has made does not come by faithful obedience to the law; rather, it comes by faith in God’s promise.

Discussion Questions

  • Paul notes that Abraham and his offspring are heirs of the world. What do you believe this means (see Heb 1:2, Rom 8:16-17)?
  • How is the nation of Israel in the Bible a small picture of God’s cosmic renewal?
  • Why does Paul say that “where there is no law there is no transgression (Rom 4:15)?”
  • If the law brings God’s wrath, why not just jettison the law?
  • What does it mean that we are all like Eliezer?

What Does This Say About God?

  • God is a covenant-making God who keeps his promises
  • God revealed himself to us through his law
  • Our Heavenly Father adopts us into his family to make us fellow heirs with Christ

What Does This Say About Humanity?

  • When we contribute to our justification, we only bring sin to the table
  • Our good works are not done to maintain covenant relationship with God; rather, they are done as part of our relationship with him
  • The law was not intended to fix us; rather, it was intended to reveal our hearts

What Will You Do About It?

For more insight to this passage listen to One More Thing – where our teaching pastors discuss the passage in greater detail using these discussion questions.

Romans 4:6-12 Discussion Questions

Romans 4:6-12 Discussion Questions

Introduction
Like the patriarch Abraham, King David was also a man blessed by God’s grace not by works of the law but by faith alone. The chief blessing of a believer’s life is the forgiveness of their iniquities through faith and repentance.

Discussion Questions

  • Read through Psalm 32. Share your thoughts on the psalm with the group.
  • When you think of being blessed by God, what comes to mind? What do you consider the chief blessing in your life?
  • Discuss the Puritan saying, “The same sun that melts the ice hardens the clay.”
  • David “did not cover [his] iniquity” before God. He was raw and honest with God. Why is it sometimes a struggle for us to do the same?
  • If sola fide is true, then not even repentance is a work of justification. Do you agree or disagree? Why or why not?
  • Discuss the following quote from Martin Luther, “We are saved by faith alone, but the faith that saves is never alone.

What Does This Say About God?

  • God is willing and ready to forgive our iniquity through Christ.
  • God desires to bless us both temporally and eternally.
  • God sees all our sin—past, present, and future—yet still desires to forgive.

What Does This Say About Humanity?

  • We are sinners, yet we have the ability to have our hearts of ice melted by God’s gracious conviction.
  • We have a proclivity to misprioritize God’s blessings on our life.
  • Good, sanctifying works should always accompany our justification.

What Will You Do About It?

For more insight to this passage listen to One More Thing – where our teaching pastors discuss the passage in greater detail using these discussion questions.

Romans 4:1-5 Discussion Questions

Introduction

Paul reminds his readers about Abraham, their ethnic and spiritual father, who was justified by his faith rather than his works by having his debts forgiven. In doing so, we are reminded of Jesus’s command to forgive our debtors as we have been forgiven.

Discussion Questions

•    Abraham was a big deal to the Jews. They placed him on a pedestal of perfection. Is there anything wrong with looking up to heroes of the faith? Why do we have a proclivity idolize celebrities and heroes?
•    Why can we not, as John Stott says, boast before God “either creatures before their Creator or sinners before their Savior”?
•    Why is it so difficult to forgive others?
•    When it comes to forgiving others who have sinned against us, we tend to either lessen the severity of sin or leave the situation altogether without processing the sin. What is wrong with both of these scenarios?
•    What would you say to someone who struggles to forgive themselves for past sin?

What Does This Say About God?

•    He is a covenant-maker who wants to bless the nations.
•    He operates in the economy of love and faith.
•    He has forgiven us completely of our sins.

What Does This Say About Humanity?

•    We are covenant-breakers, yet God still desires to bless us.
•    We operate in an economy of “tooth for a tooth, eye for an eye.”
•    Even though we have experienced complete forgiveness, we struggle to extend the same to others and ourselves.

What Will You Do About It?

For more insight to this passage listen to One More Thing – where our teaching pastors discuss the passage in greater detail using these discussion questions.

Romans 3:27-31 Discussion Questions

Introduction

Salvation is by faith alone through Christ’s righteousness. If this is so, then what becomes of our boasting? Paul points to the obvious: if we didn’t work for it, we cannot boast about it. Instead, we boast in Christ, a boasting that is made available for all people.

Discussion Questions

•    Paul says boasting in our works is excluded from the life of a believer. Why is this? Where does boasting come from within us?
•    Read Jeremiah 9:24. How do you boast in the Lord?
•    Discuss the problem with the following sixteenth-century slogan: “God will not deny his grace to those who do what lies within their power.”
•    Why does it matter that justification is a declaration by God rather than a process we work through?
•    What is the problem with “Christianity and _______”?

What Does This Say About God?

•    God initiates, enacts, and finishes our salvation.
•    God is faithful to keep his covenant, despite knowing our proclivity to boasting in a work that is not our own
•    God desire for all people to hear his gospel.

What Does This Say About Humanity?

•    We cannot save ourselves through obedience to the Law
•    We are prone to adding something to Christianity (e.g., Christianity and politics, and social movements, and preferences, etc).
•    All of humanity is invited to come to the Lord in repentance and experience right-standing before him.

What Will You Do About It?

 

For more insight to this passage listen to One More Thing – where our teaching pastors discuss the passage in greater detail using these discussion questions.