Our Bridge Marksmen Men’s Group is studying through the book of Romans. Here’s a great introduction by Scott Gulle. Join them Tuesday’s at 8pm at PJ’s on Hwy 21 in Covington.
Once hidden behind a shroud of mystery and legend, US NAVY SEAL TEAM 6 notoriety has not only made the headlines, but of late, books, movies and even a television series. Arguably, one of the toughest units in the world. Of every one hundred men who aspire to this calling, over 80% ring out. The crucible of selection is grueling—absolute misery designed to set apart those with the heart for the job ahead. After earning the coveted Trident, only the top 2% are invited to TEAM 6. The pressure doesn’t let up, it intensifies. Stakes are high. Difficulty, hardship, pain and the possibly of disfigurement and/or death are guaranteed. Yet, this doesn’t detour their resolve, rather, it spurs them on. “The only easy day was yesterday.”
But the Lord said to him, “Go, for he is a chosen instrument of Mine, to bear My name before the Gentiles and kings and the sons of Israel; for I will show him how much he must suffer for My name’s sake.”
— Acts 9:15-16
Jesus personally recruited a new member for His A-TEAM (Apostles). Saul, a young, over-zealous religious professor/lawyer, was personally responsible for the sanctioned regional imprisonment of Christians, including torture and execution. Saul (call-sign “Paul”) knew the stakes were high; difficulties, hardship, pain, disfigurement and death were not only a possibility—they were inevitable. He was given a complete preview before shipping out, yet, this didn’t detour him—it spurred him on. By the time he wrote his second letter to the churches in Corinth, Paul penned a few highlights… “I’ve worked harder, imprisoned more times, survived countless beatings—nearly to death, received “thirty-nine-lashes” five times, beaten by rods three times, stoned once, shipwrecked three times, left floating at sea for 24 hours. I’ve been on multiple missions risking my life crossing raging rivers, getting mugged, hunted by my own countrymen, hunted by foreigners, faced death in the city, out in the wilderness and in the sea. Betrayed and framed by fake brothers. I’ve spent many sleepless nights without food, water and shelter. Aside from all of that, my primary concern is for you, the churches…”
Admittedly, Paul knew he wasn’t a great speaker. He was aware that his appearance was a growing distraction with every mission he survived. According to Galatians, his mangled appearance was “a trial” (Gal 4:13-14) to look at. Paul proudly wore the “marks of Jesus” (Gal 6:17) as a badge of honor. Can you imagine running into Paul on the streets of New Orleans? Looking like he just fell out of a meat grinder, preaching about the overwhelming grace and mercy of an ever-loving God?
Rome was the hub of the known world at this time. Government, economics, culture, society, trade and entertainment were all defined by Rome, the lifeline of the entire empire. Paul aspired to this strategic move, if only he could stand before Caesar and present the Gospel. Paul knew what awaited him in Rome—his ultimate demise. However, Paul saw this an opportunity. He looked at Rome as the grand prize, the big finish of the most prestigious race of all time…but not yet, God had other missions to complete first.
Meanwhile, Paul did what he could do, he wrote. When imprisoned, he rejoiced. In agony, he worshiped. When with others, he shared. From Corinth, Paul reached out to the established churches in Rome—people he had never met. But they were believers, they were family.