I was pondering some of the feedback I got from my sermon yesterday. All in all I felt good about what I tried to convey from the text I preached from, but I wasn’t feeling like I hit the target. What I was amazed about the feedback from both services was that it wasn’t so much about my exegetical work on the Romans 5 passage. It was about how I used my story about my father Bob in trying to make Romans 5 come alive. I still don’t know if it worked but here’s an edited glimpse. One of my points was a reference to Romans 1:16 about not being ashamed of the Gospel. I remember one Sunday afternoon leaving for Indian village with my church and seeing my father help load the luggage onto the luggage trucks with all of the other parents before we headed off to camp. My father didn’t look like the other dads. His pants were dirty. He was often loud and he smelled of cigarette smoke and alcohol and most of all he often was an embarrassment. What I have grown to appreciate after all these years since his death was that he was there doing the best he could. He was the one who responded to the invite by Mr. Young to bring us boys to Sunday school in third grade. He was the one who walked us that long mile to church. He was the one who told my mom not to put me up for adoption when she was pregnant with me. If it were not for my dad and the Holy Spirit working in my dad I would not be where I am at today as a husband, father, and young pastor. I have no reason to be ashamed of my dad. It is God’s proof that God uses even guys like my dad. The worst of the worst. Even in his stinky smelly self he still felt that the church would be the place where I would get the love, care, and spiritual nurture he knew he couldn’t give. What I hope I conveyed in my story yesterday is that we have no reason to be ashamed of what God can and has done for us in Jesus Christ. This is good news that needs to be shouted from the mountain tops that in God’s loving grace we have been JUSTIFIED! The slate has been cleaned! Or in the Latin, “Tabula Rasa!”

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