I don’t know any letter that is more fundamental and foundational than Paul’s letter to the Romans. It is unquestionably the greatest of all of Paul’s letters and the widest in its scope. It is most intent and penetrating in its insight into the understanding of truth; therefore, it is one of the books of the New Testament that every Christian ought to be thoroughly familiar with. If you haven’t mastered the book of Romans and aren’t able to think through this book without a Bible before you, then I urge you to set that as your goal.
Master the book of Romans — be so acquainted with it that you can outline it and think of its great themes without a Bible open before you. That requires reading it and studying it and thinking it through in careful detail. I think it is safe to say that Romans probably is the most powerful human document that has ever been penned.
—- St. Augustine, whose shadow has loomed large over the church since the fourth century, was converted by reading just a few verses of the 13th chapter of the book of Romans.
—- Martin Luther, studying the writings of Augustine, came to an understanding of faith. The 16th verse of the very first chapter of the letter spoke volumes to Luther’s heart as he thought and meditated on the great phrase, “The righteous shall live by faith.” This book’s effect on Luther ushered in the great Protestant Reformation, the greatest awakening that our world has seen since the days of the apostles.
—- John Bunyan, studying Romans in the Bedford jail, was so caught up by the themes of this great letter that out of it he penned Pilgrim’s Progress, which has taught many people how a Christian relates to the world in which he lives.
—- John Wesley, listening one day to Luther’s preface to the commentary on Romans, found his own heart strangely warmed and out of that came the great evangelical awakening of the eighteenth century. — Ray Stedman, Introduction to his study of the book of Romans, 1975.
“For my own part I wish the Bald Eagle had not been chosen the Representative of our Country. He is a Bird of bad moral Character. He does not get his Living honestly. You may have seen him perched on some dead Tree near the River, where, too lazy to fish for himself, he watches the Labour of the Fishing Hawk; and when that diligent Bird has at length taken a Fish, and is bearing it to his Nest for the Support of his Mate and young Ones, the Bald Eagle pursues him and takes it from him.
“With all this Injustice, he is never in good Case but like those among Men who live by Sharping & Robbing he is generally poor and often very lousy. Besides he is a rank Coward …”
Franklin told his daughter that he thought the wild turkey would make a much better symbol of the American character: “For the Truth the Turkey is in Comparison a much more respectable Bird, and withal a true original Native of America … He is besides, though a little vain & silly, a Bird of Courage, and would not hesitate to attack a Grenadier of the British Guards who should presume to invade his Farm Yard with a red Coat on.” —
Benjamin Franklin writing to his daughter Sally from France in January 1784.
It sounds like asking someone if they support the idea of breathable air. Kentucky fans are being surveyed about their interest in helping finance a renovation of Rupp Arena.
Apparently, they’re interested.
"The preliminary responses are overwhelming and the results analyzed are very encouraging," Brent Rice, the chairman of the Lexington Center Corporation, said Tuesday. LCC is exploring the possibility of renovating Rupp Arena as part of a new entertainment/convention district in downtown Lexington.
In the last month or so, fans and corporations have been asked about interest in buying perks in a new-look Rupp Arena: private suites, special loge boxes, memberships to a lounge at the top of the lower-arena bowl and/or court-level club seats and/or a “courtside suite” located under the stands.
Proceeds would help finance another renovation of Rupp Arena, which has served as the home for University of Kentucky men’s basketball since 1976. LCC’s Strategic Financial Advisors — which consists of three companies: Conventions, Sports & Leisure International/Legends Sales & Marketing/HKS World Events — are conducting the survey and are expected to make formal recommendations on paying for the project within the next 30 days, Rice said.
While private suites, loge boxes and a lounge might be beyond the financial reach of many fans, the survey also includes a pitch to the proletariat. It asks about a financing idea Rice first floated more than a year ago: UK fans buy a membership stake in the renovation much as Green Bay Packers fans did in a recent upgrade of Lambeau Field. The survey asks how strongly fans feel about paying an initial fee of $300 for a “True Blue Membership.” There would be an additional annual fee of $100. What a fan would get with the membership is not yet determined, but the survey speaks of such benefits as entry into a lottery to win a seat in the lounge for a game, recognition on a “Founders Wall,” special access to buy tickets to all Rupp Arena events (concerts, Sweet Sixteen high school basketball, NCAA Tournament games, etc.) and a discount to a memorabilia store inside the new Rupp Arena.
"The initial results are extremely favorable to that particular concept," said Rice, who envisions a televised lottery for True Blue members each week.
The Packers reportedly sold 1,600 shares in the team within the first 11 minutes of making the offer known. The team sold enough $250 shares to raise $67 million, which was about half the cost of a Lambeau Field renovation expected to be completed in time for the 2013 season.
Bill Rhoda, the president of CSL International, said about half the fans participating in the survey so far liked the idea of a True Blue Membership. Of those people, about 90 percent accepted the proposed fees, he said.
The survey also asks fans about their level of enthusiasm for a surcharge on ticket prices, an effort to secure a naming rights fee for the arena, a hotel/motel tax, a car rental tax, an increase in the sales tax and a Tax Increment Financing (TIF) plan.
The survey has been made available to the Lexington Chamber of Commerce, the Kentucky Chamber of Commerce and a Rupp Arena data base that Rice said contained “hundreds of thousands” of names.
Between 250 and 300 corporations accepted an invitation to participate in the survey, Rhoda said. Also about 3,000 people who have bought tickets to events in Rupp Arena responded so far. This was enough to feel confident about projecting the demand, he said. His company will need two or three weeks to interpret results from the survey, he said.
After asking warm-up questions like have you attended an event in Rupp within the last five years, are you a UK season-ticket holder and have you bought season tickets, club seats or suites to other sports events in Lexington and Louisville, the survey hits the high-end perks:
■ How likely is it that you would pay $2,500 each year for access to a suite level club, which includes “premium food and beverage options?
■ How likely is it that you would pay $10,000 each year for a special seat (wider cushion, more leg room) in the suite level club? These seats include tickets to all Rupp Arena events.
■ How likely is it that you would pay $30,000 each year for a loge box, which typically seats four. Each box may come with a “drink rail” and flat-screen television. Amenities also include tickets to all Rupp Arena events, preferred parking, VIP entry and private restroom. As a follow-up question, the survey asks about a $20,000 annual fee.
■ How likely is it that you would pay $100,000 each year for a private suite? In follow-up questions, the survey asks about a $75,000 annual fee and your willingness to share the suite (and the cost) with another party.
So far, the survey reflected “significant demand” for the suites, loge boxes and other perks, Rhoda said. “There’s nothing that’s had a lack of demand.”
From Jerry Tipton and the Herald Leader; full story HERE.
Guard the Trust is Celebrating Two Years On Tumblr—
And Looking Forward To Many More!
by Cotton Mather
PARENTS, Oh! how much ought you to be continually devising for the good of your children! Often device how to make them “wise children”; how to give them a desirable education, an education that may render them desirable; how to render them lovely and polite, and serviceable in their generation. Often devise how to enrich their minds with valuable knowledge; how to instill generous, gracious, and heavenly principles into their minds; how to restrain and rescue them from the paths of the destroyer, and fortify them against their peculiar temptations. There is a world of good that you have to do for them. You are without the natural feelings of humanity if you are not in a continual agony to do for them all the good that ever you can. It was no mistake of an ancient writer to say, “Nature teaches us to love our children as ourselves.”
—At the birth of my children, I will resolve to do all I can that they may be the Lord’s. I will now actually give them up by faith to God; entreating that each child may be a child of God the Father, a subject of God the Son, a temple of God the Spirit—and be rescued from the condition of a child of wrath, and be possessed and employed by the Lord as an everlasting instrument of His glory.
—As soon as my children are capable of minding my admonitions, I will often, often admonish them, saying, “Child, God has sent His son to die, to save sinners from death and hell. You must not sin against Him. You must every day cry to God that He would be your Father, and your Saviour, and your Leader. You must renounce the service of Satan, you must not follow the vanities of this world, you must lead a life of serious religion.
—Let me daily pray for my children with constancy, with fervency, with agony. Yea, by name let me mention each one of them every day before the Lord.I will importunately beg for all suitable blessings to be bestowed upon them: that God would give them grace, and give them glory, and withhold no good thing from them; that God would smile on their education, and give His good angels the charge over them, and keep them from evil, that it may not grieve them; that when their father and mother shall forsake them, the Lord may take them up.
—With importunity I will plead that promise on their behalf: “The Heavenly Father will give the Holy Spirit unto them that ask Him.” Oh! happy children, if by asking I may obtain the Holy Spirit for them!
—I will early entertain the children with delightful stories out of the Bible. In the talk of the table, I will go through the Bible, when the olive-plants about my table are capable of being so watered. But I will always conclude the stories with some lessons of piety to be inferred from them.
—I will single out some Scriptural sentences of the greatest importance; and some also that have special antidotes in them against the common errors and vices of children. They shall quickly get those golden sayings by heart, and be rewarded with silver or gold, or some good thing, when they do it. Such as:
Psalm 11:10—”The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom.”
Matthew 16:26—”What is a man profited, if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul?”
1 Timothy 1:15—”Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners; of whom I am chief.”
Matthew 6:6—”When thou prayest, enter into thy closet, and when thou hast shut thy door, pray to thy Father which is in secret.”
Ephesians 4:25—”Putting away lying, speak every man truth with his neighbour.”
Romans 12:17, 19—”Recompense to no man evil for evil …. Dearly beloved, avenge not yourselves.”
Read the entire Resolution: http://www.spurgeon.org/~phil/mather/resolvd.htm
THE BUSINESS OF PREACHING
"When Jesus came he told his disciples that he "would utter things kept secret since the foundation of the world," (Matthew 13:35). He said, "many prophets and righteous men have longed to hear what you hear, but did not hear it." In 1 Corinthians 2, Paul declares these truths have now been revealed to us through the Spirit, and he sums it all up in the arresting phrase, "the secret and hidden wisdom of God."
Since I preach in a university community, this has always meant to me that when I open the Book on a Sunday morning, I am offering to the physicists, the scientist, the high-tech engineers, the doctors, lawyers, bankers, and captains of industry present, as well as artisans, secretaries, plumbers, and many others, essential knowledge about themselves and about life, which they have never learned, nor could learn, in any secular college or graduate school! I am privileged to give them an understanding of reality unattainable from any other source.
It is the business of preaching to change the total world view of every member of the congregation; to dispel the secular illusions which are widely believed around, and to identify and underscore the concepts and practices that are right, and do this for each member. Perhaps the most amazing verse is that this hidden truth is “for our glorification!” The Westminster Confession properly states that the chief end of man is to glorify God, and to enjoy him forever. But this verse declares that God plans and works “for our (that is our human) glorification.”…..
There is much more I could say, but perhaps this is enough to help us see the enormous consequences of true preaching, and the terrible blight that falls upon a congregation or community which is deprived of these “unsearchable riches of Christ.” My plea is, let preachers stop feeding people with moral platitudes and psychological pablum. Let us say once more, with Jeremiah,”Your words were found, and I ate them, and Your Word was to me the joy and rejoicing of my heart.” — Ray Stedman