Word for Today Archive

Pastoral Commentary for Romans 15
Author: Pastor Bob Nordlie

I ride my bike 25 to 30 miles several days a week. It's great exercise and a wonderful way to enjoy the outdoors. Once in a while I'll go further, and then it becomes challenging. Having ridden almost 1500 miles in 22 days, and knowing what that felt like at my own pace, I can't even imagine how hard the Tour de France would be.

Imagine riding a bike 100 miles or more each day, sometimes climbing thousands of feet of moutain passes, at speeds averaging 25 mph or more, for three weeks straight. It's crazy when you think about it. Every year nearly 200 riders start the Tour and only about two-thirds of them finish. The others either crash out or wear out along the way. The Tour de France is hard, very, very hard. Some have called it the hardest sporting event in the world.

In order to complete the Tour de France to must develop great endurance, otherwise the fatigue and pain will overwhelm you. You must have continuous encouragement from other teammates. You could never complete it on your own. And to keep you going you must have renewed hope every day of winning a category, a stage or at least the hope of helping a teammate win. In that way you will bring glory to your sponsors, whose names are on your jersey.

Because of the devastating effects of sin in our own lives and on all of creation, pain and suffering are frequent companions on life's journey. As a result, life is hard, very, very hard. No one gets through life unscathed. In a way it's like the Tour de France, only longer and more difficult. In Romans 15:4 Paul wrote: "For everything that was written in the past was written to teach us, so that through endurance and the encouragement of the Scriptures we might have hope."

God has not abandoned us as we face the difficult challenges of the race called "life." He wants us to have the endurance that we need to conqurer and win. He wants us to have the hope we need to survive the most difficult of circumstances. That's why he has given us His Word. As we read how He has helped others through life in the past; as we learn how He has been at work on their behalf; as we see how He has used them for His glory, we are encouraged that God will do the same for us.

He's also given us teammates to help us endure, our fellow believers, the Body of Christ, His Church. In Romans 15:5-6 Paul says: "May the God who gives endurance and encouragement give you a spirit of unity among yourselves as you follow Christ Jesus, so that with one heart and mouth you may glorify the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ." Together, we can overcome the challenging difficulties of life and give God glory in every circumstance.

Pastoral Commentary for Romans 15
Author: Pastor Josh

My 5 year old daughter Brooke loves movies. Liking to watch a good movie myself, we've had a few "daddy-daughter movie dates" over the last few years.

The movie, Barnyard is one movie we always seem to re-visit because of one particular quote. Someone shared these wise words with Otis, "A strong man stands up for himself. A stronger man stands up for someone else."

This simple phrase has become a mantra of sorts for Brooke and I. Whether that means helping her brother out, or taking time to pray for those who are sick or for those who serve in the military, or helping mom or dad with a chore around the house - we are continually reminding one another that the strongest we can be, is when we are helping someone else.

That quote from Barnyard reminds me of our reading for today. Paul says,
"We who are strong ought to bear with the failings of the weak and not to please ourselves. Each of us should please his neighbor for his good, to build him up." (vs. 1-2)

Who has God place in your life who is weak right now (mentally drained; physically exhausted; emotionally spent... etc)? Who do you know that could use some encouragement?

What can you do today that shoulders up to this person and lets them know that you care for them, believe in them, and are ready to help anyway that is appropriate?

Be strong today. Stand up for (or stand next to) someone who is having trouble standing on their own.

Pastoral Commentary for Romans 15
Author: Pastor Zach

During my final year of college, I had the privilege of taking what many considered to be the "holy grail" of course offerings: I took a course in civics. I know what you're thinking: "Civics? That doesn't sound very exciting!" And you're right. It wasn't. No, what made this course such a thrill for me wasn't the content of the course itself, but the way in which this course was offered. Because for fourth year college students, it was offered as an independent study course. In other words, I could study the material on my own, visit with my professor every once in a while, and then take the tests. And as long as I did well on the tests, I passed the course. I'll leave it to your imagination as to how much I actually studied for my civics course, but I will say this: It wasn't one of my most studious academic moments.

Thankfully, by the time I got to seminary, I had gained a deeper appreciation for the value of education as I once again did some independent study. And I loved the freedom that independent study afforded me. The freedom to read books that I wanted to read and study theologians that I wanted to study and pursue topics that I wanted to pursue. I also cherished the one on one meetings with my advisor as I was able to share with him all that I was learning and he was able to point me in new directions so that I could investigate new things. I perhaps learned more during my times of independent of study in seminary than I did during any of my formal classes.

One of the greatest values I see in our "Word for Today" Bible reading program is that it allows us, as we read through the New Testament in a year, to do a little bit of independent study. For as we read the Bible, day in and day out, and pause to ponder, pray, and try to better understand the message of Scripture, we do so outside of a classroom setting and a formalized curriculum. And I believe there is great value in that. For all too often, the only Scripture we take in is that which we hear when we're sitting in a pew on a Sunday morning. And although we do indeed need such times of guided teaching, we also need times of independent study.

In our reading for today from Romans 15, Paul extols the value of such independent study: "I myself am convinced, my brothers, that you yourselves are full of goodness, complete in knowledge and competent to instruct one another. I have written you quite boldly on some points, as if to remind you of them again, because of the grace God gave me" (verses 14-15). Paul, in these verses, says, "I have taught you, I have trained you, I have written you - quite boldly on some doctrines - and now it's time for some independent study. Now it's time for you to instruct one another. You have all the tools in the bag you need to continue your studies in Scripture. So get to it."

The other day as I was perusing the website blog for our "Word for Today" readings, I noticed that one of our Concordia members had posted a question he had about a passage of Scripture. Wonderfully, rather than waiting for a pastor to respond (because admittedly, we can sometimes be a little slow in our responses), another one of our members responded to his question. He began, "I'll add my two cents worth." And that's exactly to the point of this program. To read, to study, and then to add "your two cents worth." For I myself am convinced, dear brothers and sisters, that you yourselves are full of goodness, complete in knowledge, and competent to instruct one another. So keep up your independent study. And keep instructing one another. And remember that even when you study Scripture "independently," you never study Scripture alone. For the Holy Spirit is there with you to guide you into all truth. Praise be to God for that great gift.

Read Today's Scripture and Commentary on the Concordia website.

2020-06-05 08:12:05