Friday, August 26, 2016

Dead to sin; alive to Christ!

Read Romans 6

Did you ever read through the Bible and wonder, “Who decided that was the end on the chapter?  Why did they break the chapter there?”  If you haven’t, you probably are not reading your Bible enough.  Until the 13th Century, the books of the Bible were not divided into chapters.  Give another century or so and verses would be added. 

When I read the 13th chapter of Paul’s first letter to the church in Corinth—that’s the love chapter, I feel compelled to read the end of chapter 12 first. 

Now eagerly desire the greater gifts.
And yet I will show you the most excellent way.

You know what follows…

If I speak in the tongues of men or of angels, but do not have love, I am only a resounding gong or a clanging cymbal.

It seems like this transitional verse should belong to the 13th chapter.  But I was not consulted.  I have read the book of Romans many times before and usually thought that the end of chapter 5 and the beginning of chapter 6 were so integrated that the chapter break between them was something of a disservice.  

Here is the discourse presented at the chapter junction in our current text.
The law was brought in so that the trespass might increase. But where sin increased, grace increased all the more, so that, just as sin reigned in death, so also grace might reign through righteousness to bring eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.

What shall we say, then? Shall we go on sinning so that grace may increase?

Wow!  Shall we go on sinning so that grace may abound even more?  It is a logical question.  It seems like an immediate follow-on to what Paul just said.  The all you can eat buffet came at one price, why not eat until you are miserable?  It’s paid for!

Why not do everything you ever wanted to do without worrying if it offends God or not?  You have been saved.  Why not?

And so, for those who take notes in your Bibles, draw a small line between the end of chapter 5 and the beginning chapter 6.  On the chapter 5 side write, “Salvation.”  On the chapter 6 side write, “Discipleship.”

It is a topic that we have covered many times before but it is presented to us now at this chapter break—and it seems to be a very good place to break the chapter. 

Grace and salvation are all from God.  He gives us the faith to receive them and we are his forever.  We do not face the consequences of our sin.  What a fantastic gift!

But what’s next?  Where do we go from here?  How do we respond to this great gift of salvation?

Paul has proceeded with all deliberate speed to bring his readers to this point.  He has walked us from creation to sin to death to all falling short and finally to grace that we receive through faith; yet we find that we are not at the end of the story.  Life in these bodies continues.  We are saved from sin and from death.  We will not know the wrath of God, but…

How will we live knowing how much of what we deserved that we escaped?

How will we live knowing how much love and favor that we did not deserve that we have received?

How will we live?

Paul brings us to discipleship.  He frames it in terms of the old self having died and that we are no longer a slave to sin.  Death has no power over us.    We are dead to sin and alive to God.  We live to Christ.  We are free from sin and therefore must be a slave to righteousness.

What shall we say then?  Shall we go on sinning so that grace may abound even more is a thought of the carnal mind and not of the creation that we have become.  We are wholly owned by God, by the blood of Christ himself.

We have not been set free from sin and death to pursue the desires of our carnal mind.  We have not been liberated to live in anarchy but in true service to our Lord.

As we read Paul’s letters, we need to understand that Jesus called tradesmen as his disciples, fishermen and a tax collector for sure but no real scholars.  This was important because we are reminded that all can answer the call to follow Jesus.

But we also note, that after his resurrection, Jesus did call a biblical scholar—a Pharisee—to take the good news to much of the known world.  And when you get a man trained in theological and scholarly thought, you get scholarly and literary correspondence.

Paul did what scholars and speakers and professionals do when they want to make a point.  He talked a lot about a little.  He used many examples and literary tools to make his point.

We were crucified with Christ.  In our baptism we were buried with Christ.  In his resurrection we are united with him.

The old self died.  The body of sin that once enslaved us died with it.  We are not that person anymore.

Because we live with Christ, sin must not reign in our mortal body.

Look at it this way.  Before you received your salvation and sin reigned you did things that you would be ashamed of now and you know that they were of no benefit.  They were leading you on a path of destruction.  We like Paul’s phraseology here.  The wages of sin is death.  It sticks with us.

It doesn’t sound grammatically correct at first glance but it sticks with us.  The wages of sin is death.

But now that you have been set free from sin you can enjoy the benefits of being God’s slave.    Hold on!  Is this Paul or Tom challenging us here with this dichotomy or paradox or oxymoron?  And the answer is, “Yes.”

The benefits of slavery, really?

God has complete ownership over you.  This does not negate the fact that he called you friend.  It reinforces the fact that he rescued us, purchased us, redeemed us from a path of destruction.  We are bought at a price.

God set us upon a path of holiness that leads to true life and eternal life.

   For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.

So we ask… 
Are we so underwhelmed by the gift of God that we desire to continue in sin?

The person who is lost and does not know Christ does not know any other gratification that satisfying himself.  Power, greed, lust, money, lying and cheating, and coveting of all sorts are just a way of life.  That’s all that they know.

There has to be something in this life for me and people without Christ are seeking that something.  They miss the mark but we have been given that something; so why would we seek after these things.

Jesus told his followers—that’s us today—to seek after his Father’s kingdom and his righteousness and all the things that the godless world craves that we need, would be given to us.  Jesus asks us to look at the creation itself and see how wonderfully God provides for it.  Trust him that now that we are his he will richly provide for us.  He owns us.

We are no longer people who crave the things of this world.  We are people who belong to God and who long to live fully in his kingdom.

We often find ourselves blessed with many things of this world that our heavenly Father favors us with as we seek him and his kingdom but we are free from the wages of sin.

Shall we go on sinning so we can enjoy God’s grace even more?  No!

We are not those people!  Those thoughts are no longer our thoughts!  We belong to God.  The old person that we once were is dead.  That old person did not rise with Christ.  We are what Paul describes through his discourse with the churches a new creation.  In our hearts and in our minds we have received by faith the grace and salvation of our Lord.  We are new!

These mortal bodies in which we are encased are sometimes slow to respond to this newness—stay tuned for chapter 7, but we are God’s.  That is unchangeable and we need to firmly hold on to that.

Shall we go on sinning?  We must be declarative in answering, “No!”

“I’ll try” means we have not accepted the fact that this life is not ours any more.  We belong to God.  We are his slave.  We have never enjoyed so much freedom as we do now but we belong to God.  We are bought and paid for.  We are his.

Shall we go on living as if life in the flesh is all we will ever know?


OK, reality check, take a breath:  It is not as easy to live this way as it is to answer this way, but this answer is the beginning of our discipleship.

We say no to sin and yes to following Jesus.
We say no to sin and yes to being God’s righteousness.
We say no to sin and yes to being fully owned by God.
Yes, you are still his child.
Yes, you are still his friend.
Yes, he owns every fiber of you.
You are his!

What shall we shall then?  Shall we go on sinning so that grace may abound even more?  We know that God’s grace has covered every sin we have committed and will commit so we are under no pressure to turn away from sin for our salvation; but our hearts should compel us to do so for righteousness.  We are his righteousness.

By the blood of Jesus, we have been made his righteousness!  We have decided to follow Jesus.  Therein lies our discipleship.  Therein lies the realization of the new creation.

What shall we say then?  Shall we go on sinning so that grace may abound even more?  We join Paul in saying “No!”  In that simple word we begin our discipleship.   Discipleship, unlike the gift which is ours for the asking and received in the instant, involves the rest of our lives. 

For now, we say no to sin and yes to discipleship.  I have decided to follow Jesus.  No turning back.  No turning back.

It is time for us to be declarative in our lives.  It is time that we say “No!” to the old self.  It is time to bury that old, sinful creature that we used to be and truly start following Jesus.

Jesus said that his yoke was easy and his burden was light.

There will be struggle and even some hardship and some may even have some persecution but we know this is our calling.  We are called to be disciples of our Master, not just gift recipients.

We are given life through the grace of God but we are called to discipleship.  If you have never given this any real consideration, please do so before you head hits the pillow tonight.

Considering our salvation and the fact that God’s grace reaches farther than our sin can ever go, what will we say then:  Shall we go on sinning so that grace may abound even more?


Be declarative in your life:  No!

If you have not done so already, begin this day to say “No” to everything that is set against God and begin your walk in discipleship.

Declare in your life today:
I am dead to sin.
I am alive in Christ!


Wednesday, August 24, 2016

So that the trespass might increase

Read Romans 5

There is an entire sermon in the first two verses.  The chapter begins with therefore which means that Paul didn’t put a chapter break here.  He is continuing with his train of thought and the next few boxcars on that train are:

·     We are justified through our faith.

·     We have peace with God through Jesus Christ.

·     Through Jesus and faith, we have gained God’s grace.

·     We rejoice in the hope of the glory of God.

So we are good with God, right?  We have received this wonderful gift of grace and everything is right with the world, right?

Not exactly.  We have peace with God.  We may find ourselves in opposition or even at war with the world.  We are in the precise relationship that we should be, but we should not expect peace with the world.

In fact, we may have some or even a lot of friction with the world.  Perhaps we don’t notice this all the time, especially when we keep the company of other believers, but we are at odds with the world and sometimes we suffer.

Now hold your holy horses!  Paul just said that we were at peace with God.  Why should there be any suffering at all?

Because you are no longer a friend of the world.  You are a friend of God.  That alone may put you at odds with the world.

To which the followers of Jesus replied, “Oh great???”

Actually, Paul says we should be a little excited about this suffering that might come our way because we are a friend of God and not the world.  Paul says that we should rejoice in our suffering.

You might think that Paul had a loose screw in this theology, but Peter and James both told us the same thing.  Paul, adds his own explanation to this rather provocative statement.

Paul says that suffering produces perseverance.  What does it mean to persevere?  It means to stay the course—often in the face of adversity—even if you can’t see the light at the end of the tunnel.  Stay the course.

But perseverance is not the end product.  Perseverance produces character.  We presume from the escalating context that this will be good character.  Perhaps in Paul’s time such distinctions were not necessary.  But even character is not the end state.

Character produces hope!

So as you go through this progression we see that our suffering can produce hope.  Some may think this backwards.  Surely we need hope to get through our suffering.

But let’s take this in the context presented to us.  We are at peace with God.  What is the evidence of this?

The world is at war with us.  The blood of Jesus has reconciled all things to himself but not all things want to be reconciled.  Much of our world remains at odds with us because we are reconciled to God and a friend of God.

We suffer, stay the course, refine our godly character, and emerge from these trials of life in the flesh with hope.  By the evidence of the world being set against us we know that we are at peace with God.

Hope does not disappoint!  Through his own Holy Spirit, God has filled our hearts with love.

Paul reframes his discussion.  Sometimes Marines and soldiers die for each other, not so much because they are good but because they are friends.  You might see a fireman risk his life to save a child in a burning building.  We do see people sacrificing their lives for others from time to time, but overall, most people are not going to risk their lives for you, especially if they don’t know you and double especially if they don’t like you or you don’t like them.

But God, however, poured out his love for us while we were still sinners—while we were still set in opposition to him. 

While we were still sinners, Christ died for us!

Now that right there is cooking with Crisco, but it is not the pinnacle of Paul’s exposition.  If God did this for us when we were his enemies, how much more will he do for us now that we are his friends?

If when we deserved wrath we received mercy and forgiveness through the blood of Jesus, how much more will we know God’s love now that we have been reconciled?

So in our worldly sufferings, stay the course, refine your character, and live in hope.  Our suffering is not because we are at war with God but because we are at peace with him and the world doesn’t like it.

But we don’t care if the world likes it or not for the God that went to the cross for us in this ultimate display of love for us has more love in store for us.

I am at peace with God.  My trials and tribulations are shaping me in the image of his Son and because of this I have hope.

I have hope not because things are easy but because I am at peace with God.  I hope because he has done this for me!

Remember, Paul is writing something of a textbook disguised as a letter to this Roman congregation, so he reframes again, this time in more reflective terms.

Paul didn’t give the Romans the story of Adam and Eve or the serpent in the garden or even Cain and Abel, but his readers had some knowledge of these creation accounts and sin entering the world.

So Paul offers:  Sin entered the world through one man and death through sin, and death came to all men because all had sinned.  Even before the law, death was in the world because sin was in the world.

A record of sins was not kept before the law but death prevailed in the world because of sin.  From Adam to Moses, people did not have 248 do this instructions and 365 don’t do that directives; yet sin was present and humankind was subject to death.

Paul continues that as sin entered the world through a single man and brought death to the many; through one man—Jesus—his righteousness brought justification for many and life to all men.

Through the disobedience of one man, the many were made sinners.  Through the obedience of one man, the many are made righteous. 

But Paul notes this is not a tit-for-tat relationship.  The gift is not like the trespass.  The trespass brought condemnation plain and simple but the gift brings the abundant provisions of God.

God always has something greater in store for us.  Paul’s readers and that includes us need to get our minds around this concept.  God has something greater in store for us.  We need to understand this to understand the last part of this chapter.

The law was added so that the trespass might increase.

Let’s get this straight.  God gave his people the law so that there could be even more sin, or at least his people would be aware of even more sin?

Really?  What was Paul smoking?

It turns out that he was very sober and cut to the heart of the matter of God always has more for us.  For where sin increased, grace increased all the more.

So just as sin reigned in death, now grace reigns in this life we have been given in Jesus Christ.

Sin’s day has come and gone.  We live in grace.

We live in grace.
We are forgiven.
We are made right with God.
We are justified.

And because the law showed us how far off target we were, we have a little taste of how much greater than sin and death that God’s love for us truly is.

God’s love and forgiveness and mercy and grace are much greater than anything that sin and death can try to enslave us with.

The trials and tribulations and suffering that we endure in this world are not because sin has the upper hand.  The world comes against us because we are a friend of God and the world hates us for that.

But we do not become discouraged.  We stay the course, refine our godly character, and live in hope.

There is no place that sin has lured us from which grace has not already rescued us.  Let us live in hope as people of hope!


Monday, August 15, 2016

The promise, the law, and a sign in the flesh

Read Romans 4

Paul is writing to the church in Rome, in the very capital of this pagan world, and yet the topic of Abraham seems essential to him.  Were he writing to believers in Jerusalem, he surely couldn’t leave out this connection with Abraham, but for believers in Rome we might ask was this really necessary?

Paul was just getting started on the topic of grace and now he jumps to Abraham?

But there was a group or actually several groups of Jews who said they followed Jesus who actually seemed to be following the followers of Jesus trying to persuade them to follow the law and take the sign in the flesh.  If Abraham had been central to you all of your life, it had to be hard to put him on the back burner and just put all of your faith in Jesus.

If you were a Jew the sign in the flesh was very important. Many believed that this was what made you right with God.  Many would argue that God commanded Abraham to be circumcised and his obedience and his actions made him right with God.  Paul said, that’s not exactly how the story goes.

There was faith then there was the sign in the flesh. Faith came first.  Paul notes that just as we have nothing to boast about in being made right with God; neither did Father Abraham.  The sign in the flesh came after he was made right with God by faith.

We understand this a little today.  We have faith then we receive the sign in the Spirit.  We call it baptism.  Paul wanted his readers to understand that faith is where we begin our journey.

Paul jumps from Abraham to King David and the first part of Psalm 32

Blessed is the one
    whose transgressions are forgiven,
    whose sins are covered.
 Blessed is the one
    whose sin the Lord does not count against them
    and in whose spirit is no deceit.

Blessed is the one who is made right with holy God.  Note that we translate this in what we might call the passive voice with the implication being that we did not do this for ourselves.  The forgiveness is totally from God.

Now back to Abraham and circumcision and the law, an interesting combination since the law was not fully promulgated by God to his people for another four and a half centuries or so after he selected Abraham to father his chosen people.

Paul had already noted that it was not by the law that Abraham and his seed would realize the promises of God.  In this chapter he adds that it was not by his circumcision that Abraham would realize the promises of God.  These promises would come to fruition through faith.  If everything rested on the works of Abraham, God would have just gone to the next resume.

But he didn’t.  God credited Abraham’s faith to him as righteousness.  Abraham was as messed up as most human beings but he had faith in God and what God had told him.  God credited this faith to Abraham as righteousness.

What had God told him?  What was the promise?  That he would be a great nation and that he would be the father of many nations and that God would greatly increase his numbers.

What was the problem?

Abraham and his wife were old and childless, but Paul notes that against all hope, Abraham in hope believed and became the father of many nations.  What does this mean?
Abraham believed that what God had promised was not possible but believed it anyway because God does what he promises to do.

Cognitive dissonance is where we have two conflicting beliefs in our minds that cannot be resolved.  Abraham knew that what God had promised could not happen; yet he believed that it would happen.  Abraham had no dissonance.

The promise was realized by faith and came by grace and not works.  Grace prevailed even before our own church age.  The favor and promises of God were poured out on Abraham not because of his works or because he took the sign in the flesh prescribed by God but they came by faith.

So those, wherever they were and whatever their agenda, who claimed Abraham as their father and whose compliance with the law that would come of his descendants would struggle with grace. 

And those who had never known the law or attached righteousness to God as a birthright as a son of Abraham were now also considered his offspring by faith.

To which all of God’s people said, “Do I really need to know all of this?  I want to study my Bible and follow Jesus and be God’s love, but do I really need to connect these dots?  Do I really need to know Abraham that well?”

It is not about knowing Abraham, but the God that chose Abraham for he is a God of forgiveness and love and is faithful to his promises.

He is a God who longs to pour out his favor upon his children.  He is a God who sees our hearts and desires our faith.

He is a God who doesn’t write report cards but signs his birthday cards to us saying, “I love you and always will.”  He signs them with the blood of Jesus.

He longs for us to be born into his kingdom and enjoy all that he has stored up for us since the beginning of the world.

It is not about getting to know Abraham.  It is about getting to know God.

God wants us to believe in him and in his promises.

God wants us to trust in him and in his promises.

God wants us to know the love that sent his Son to the cross to make that atoning sacrifice for our sins and he wants us to receive the justification he has in store for us.

God wants us to live in his promises.  Let’s go to a very familiar place.

Trust in the Lord with all of your heart and lean not on your own understanding.  In all your ways acknowledge him and he will make your paths straight.

How many of us live completely in the first half of verse 5?  How many in the second half?  How many feel like they are the ball in a ping pong match going back and forth?

If you travel through Oklahoma City or Dallas or Houston and get off of the interstate, you might just believe that there are a whole lot of people trusting in the Lord with all of their hearts because the light had been red for a full two or three seconds before they sped through the intersection.  In reality, most just think, “I can make it.”

It's a good thing that many of us old timers grew up learning to “look out for the other guy.”

Most people that we know including many, many Christians live in the “Leaning on our own understanding mode.”

God wants us embracing his promises to us.  God promised Abraham that he would be the “Father of Many Nations.”  That’s quite a title to lay upon an old man with an old wife and no kids of their own.

But God lived up to his promise.  He also lived up to his promise that the whole world would be blessed through the seed of this man.  While the Hebrew people were not very good at blessing the world; Jesus fulfilled this promise as our ultimate blessing.

What has God promised us?

Many things, but for now I want us to think upon life, life abundant and life eternal.

Do we really live? 

“I exist therefore I must live, right?”

Breath and a heartbeat—that’s living, right?  In combat triage, it might get you to the doctor instead of just some morphine while those casualties that might have chance go first.

But we know there is more to life.  Even the world knows there is more to life than just vital signs.  The world seeks after things and pleasures and vacations and job titles and the list goes on.  Tom T. Hall summed up the list in 4 things:  Faster horses, younger women, older whiskey, and more money.

For those who don’t know who Tom T. Hall is, well, you just haven’t lived.

There is more to life than vital signs but there is an even fuller version of life that comes when we accept the gift of salvation and really commit to following Jesus.  This is abundant life.  This is something that Jesus said he wants us to have.

Jesus said that he came so we could not only know life but live it to the full, to the max, to the extreme limits of this sacred thing we have been given.  I would call it a promise.

I have come so that you may have life and have it to the full.

That sounds a lot like something that God says he has for me that I want.  How many live an abundant life?  How do you measure that?  Let’s look at things that fall short of abundance.

The word of the day, of the week, of the year and decade is fonly.

Don’t look it up in the dictionary.  The definition there will say foolish or fondly but that’s not what it means.

Fonly is how we say, “if only.”  People say it so much that it blends into a single word.


How should we define this contraction of if only?
·     The death of initiative
·     A perennial excuse for inaction
·     A procrastinator’s self-pardoning phrase
·     Cowardice by any other name
·     Having a tight grip on hopelessness
·     An excuse addict’s score
·     The kingpin of inaction
·     Addicted to one’s current state
·     Fear

The list could go on.  Add two or three of your own.  It should be easy because you have seen these two words—if only—kill recovery from drug addiction, marriage reconciliation, qualification for scholarships or competitive jobs, and so much more.

Fonly has been the death of many dreams.

What are the antonyms of Fonly?
·     Action
·     First steps
·     Just Do It
·     Courage

If you want to know abundance, get rid of these two words as a good start.  Believe the promises of God and start living in them.

God wants you to have a very full life.  As we will encounter in the next chapter, that doesn’t always mean we walk the primrose path without any struggle or suffering.

But we are called to faith.  We are called to believe.  We are called to live in what God has promised to us and for the limited point of this part of the discussion, that is abundant life.

We are also called to believe in the promise of life eternal.  We are to believe in the promise of everlasting life.

So what does that mean?  Are we supposed to sing When We All Get to Heaven every week?  We could, but it means that we live this day as if tomorrow is not promised but eternity is.


We live without fear, never denying God.  We live fully, never shrinking back from life.  We live thankfully, knowing the price that was paid for our life abundant and eternal.

We live running our race with our eyes fixed on Jesus not worried about what we get so much as what we give.

We live out our salvation trusting fully in God’s forgiveness. He is faithful and just to forgive.  We are called to confess with this assurance of his pardon.

We are called to live knowing all of God’s promises to be true. 

There is another example of Abraham that Paul did not mention in this chapter, mainly because it was not tied to the sign in the flesh but is surely speaks of faith.  God called Abraham to sacrifice his son Isaac.  Other than the gut wrenching task that was before Abraham, realize that God had told Abraham that the promise he made about being the father of many nations would be fulfilled through his son Isaac.  Abraham was willing to do this but God stopped him at the last minute.

In this whole faith business, realize there is a little difference between Sarah saying, “I have a headache,” and Abraham responding, “This might be the night that God fulfills his promise,” and dragging your son to the top of a mountain ready to sacrifice him.  You had to know with certainty that God would still do the impossible even if you did the unthinkable thing that God had asked of Abraham. 

Put yourself in Abraham’s place.  It all came down to faith.

Abraham’s faith was credited to him as righteousness.  Our faith brings us into the promised right standing with God.  Isn’t time that we started living out our faith?

We don’t’ contend with birthrights and signs in the flesh today.  People don’t follow us around telling us that we had better follow the Law of Moses.  Most of the things that Paul was knee deep in don’t impact us much in this century.

But are we trusting in God’s promises?

Are we living in God’s promises?

Are we looking for tangible rules—putting God’s promises into the box we call our own understanding—when God just wants us to live fully and to his glory?

He wants us trusting in him and in his promises.

Paul has taken his readers and us from everyone should have known there is a God to everyone falls short of God’s standards and his glory to God’s grace; but now he finds it necessary to remind us that faith is essential to realizing God’s promises.

God’s grace has saved us but we need to exercise our faith to realize his promises.

Let us live as people of faith.  Let us live trusting in and living in and growing in God’s grace and in his promises.

God has done everything that had to be done to be right with him.  Now let’s live in faith and realize all of his promises.


Tuesday, August 2, 2016

The freedom of slavery

It is time that we enjoyed the freedom of being a slave to Christ.  Paul used this term but it is hardly something we would say in this 21st Century, or is it?

If we are wholly owned by Christ, no person or thing can lay claim to us.  We belong to Christ.  Everything that we are belongs to him.

How depressing.

No!  How liberating!

We are his and are finally free to live because he owns us completely.  Our lives and our service is all for him.  Everything we do belongs to our Master. 

We can finally enjoy true freedom because we are a slave to Christ.  Be a slave to Christ.  Enjoy the freedom!

Monday, August 1, 2016

Prayer to begin this school year

Holy, righteous, just, and loving God,

Thank you for this day and the lives that we have been granted in it.  Thank you for love that goes beyond our comprehension, love that led your Son to the cross.  Thank you for life abundant and life eternal.

We confess that we don’t always hit the mark, but we trust in your pardon and return to our race focusing once again on you, the Author and Finisher of our faith.

Our race has once again brought us to the school year and we ask that you protect, empower, energize, guide, and assure our teachers and administrators as they take center stage in the arena of our children’s lives.  Bless them for their dedication and perseverance.  Grant them patience far greater than most of us can realize.  Be ever with them.

Help all who cook and clean and counsel and console to work as if they were working for you and not for other people or a paycheck.  Grant them satisfaction in their service to you.


Bring our children to our schools with great expectation not the confusion of confrontation.  Bring their parents with a spirit of support and encouragement.  Help us to all play for the same team—one that longs to bring these precious children up in the way they should go.

Call volunteers.  Touch their hearts.  Remove inhibitions and laziness.  Help us all to understand community.

Gracious Father who supplies all of our needs to the point of abundance,

Grant us peace and protection within the school grounds, harmony on our busses, and protection from evil for every child and staff member.  Help us to believe in our hearts, minds, spirits, and actions that no weapon formed against us to prevail.


Hear our prayer and grant us our petitions.