Wednesday, December 24, 2014

Luke 1:30-35 The Christmas Kingdom

In the gospel of Luke, the Christmas story starts before Jesus’ birth. About nine months before Mary gives birth to Jesus, the angel Gabriel appeared to Mary. Mary is a young godly girl who has never been married or been with a man.  But she’s betrothed, or what we can call engaged, to a carpenter named Joseph. But when this angel shows up, her life changes. The angel Gabriel greets Mary, “Greetings, O favored one, the Lord is with you!” Mary of course is troubled by this supernatural visitation. What has she done to deserve God showing up to her? I know I would have felt scared if an angel showed up with a message from God for me. So here we have a young soon-to-be-married woman who has found favor with God. This is the background of the very first Christmas. 

Thursday, November 27, 2014

Reflections for Thanksgiving Dinner

Thanksgiving dinner is a time to reflect on the year and thank God for all the ways He has blessed us. Here are some thoughts on thankfulness from the Bible to help you thank God this year:

1. Being thankful reveals where we are spiritually (Rom 1:21).

2. Being thankful has nothing to do with how much we have or don’t have. 

3. Being thankful is very different from being pleased with ourselves and our own accomplishments (Luke 12:16-20). 

Monday, November 17, 2014

2 Corinthians 1:3-7 How to Comfort Others

What’s the best way to comfort someone in pain? How can we comfort those who are experiencing real hurt? Most of us aren’t born with a skill set for comforting people in pain. In fact, statistics show that we’re actually getting worse at comforting other people. From the year 2000 to 2010 the ability to empathize dropped 40% among college students. That means that a huge segment of our population has gotten worse at showing concern. With the rise of technology and entertainment, we’re forgetting how to be kind. 

Saturday, November 8, 2014

What is the Gospel?

What is the gospel? My first semester at seminary I showed up feeling called by God to become a pastor and I couldn't say what the gospel was. Sure I had an idea. Isn't the gospel that we're "saved by faith" or that "Jesus rose again"? The word gospel comes from the Greek word that means "good news." Mark 1:1 tells us the gospel is "the good news about Jesus the Messiah." So what about Jesus' life and ministry is good news for us?

Monday, October 20, 2014

Job 7:1-21 Bitter Life. Unfair God.

Do you feel hopeless? Do you feel lost? Do you feel like the darkness won’t lift? In the 1500s a priest named John wrote about the darkness. John wrote the famous poem, “Dark Night of the Soul.” John was a man so devoted to God he renamed himself “John of the Cross.” John named himself after the cross because he wanted to crucify his sinful desires. He did this through practicing community, poverty, fasting, silence, enclosure, and prayer. He was what we might call today Pius, ascetic, or intentionally holy.  He was also pretty mystical or what some might now call charismatic. So if John were alive today, he probably wouldn’t attend our church. But there’s s till a lot we can learn from the way John suffered.

Sunday, October 5, 2014

Ode to a Mentor

My mentor’s name is David. We met at a local pastor’s gathering where he took voluntary interest in me. I needed a mentor and he wanted to make disciples by caring for the next generation of pastors. For the next year and a half I knew him, David poured into me. He taught me the importance of sharing life stories together, hunting each other’s sin, and giving each other grace.

Monday, September 22, 2014

Job 1:1-22 The Problem of Evil

Sometimes bad things happen to good people with no explanation at all. Maybe some of you have heard all the bad things that happened to an orphan from Kansas. This girl had a lot of bad things happened to her. One day a tornado destroyed her home and carried her and her dog away. The storm takes her to enchanted land where she immediately commits accidental homicide. 

Friday, August 22, 2014

A Response to “10 Reasons Why the Crucifixion Story Makes No Sense”

This post is a response to an article entitled “10 Reasons Why the Crucifixion Story Makes No Sense” which has been posted on a variety of blogs across the internet. This response is a guest post by Jared, a high school student. If you have not read the original post, I suggest reading the two together so you can better understand Jared’s responses. We hope this sparks a thoughtful discussion about the truth of the scriptures and their account of the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus Christ.

Friday, August 15, 2014

1 Thessalonians 4:1-8 Holy Relationships

I recently graduated from Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary. A theological seminary is a school where people study God.  Some become pastors, others missionaries, and others teachers. My first semester there I took a very challenging class. Our professor was an interesting teacher but the days were long. One afternoon we all looked extra sleepy and extra bored. So out of nowhere my teacher stops lecturing about God. And he says a single word. This single word got all of our attention. “Sex…”

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Revelation 21:1-8 "Goodbye. See you in heaven."

Have you ever gotten lost? Have you ever gotten so lost you didn’t know where you were? It’s like you’ve stepped into an entirely different space where nothing is familiar. When I lived in Colorado one of my brothers got lost on a mountain. He has since referred to it as being “directionally confused.” Maybe you feel a little lost as you read Revelation chapters 20 and 21. But I think that’s how we’re supposed to feel when we read the great white throne judgment. In 20:11 all of creation fades into a lost space, “From his presence earth and sky fled away.” It’s as if Christ has moved the whole universe into a type of limbo for the judgment.  My professor at Gordon-Conwell called this point in Revelation “no place.” 

Wednesday, August 6, 2014

Colossians 1:15-23 Who is Jesus?

Who is Jesus? Our big question for today is “Who is Jesus?” But I can’t just invite Jesus up on stage to ask him. So how can we find out who Jesus is if he’s not here? If you wanted to know me, but I was away, what what would you do? You might go on Facebook and stalk my profile photos. Or you could call my wife Monica and ask her about me. Or you could search any documents that are available about me. You could look up newspaper articles or my writings. Maybe you’d try and find my original birth certificate. 

Monday, June 30, 2014

Why “Eternity Changes Everything” Matters Today

Stephen Witmer is a humble New England pastor and the coolest seminary professor I ever sat under. He recently published the book Eternity Changes Everything: How to live now in the light of your future. Written for those who believe, his thesis is simple—forever matters for you today. 

Monday, June 9, 2014

Revelation 14:1-5 Those Who Follow

One of my favorite children’s books is Saint George and the Dragon. I like the one retold by Margaret Hodges and illustrated by Trina Hyman. I used to go to the library as a kid and look at all the pictures in this book. In fact, I loved the pictures so much I never actually read the words. So two weeks ago I went to the library, got the book, and read it. 

Saturday, May 10, 2014

The Cure

They found the cure quite by accident. The band of island settlers had just recently arrived at the tropical paradise. They brought with them lots of different people—a farmer and his wife, a banker, several school teachers, a general store manager, an officer of the law, and a mayor. They even brought with them a doctor, but when the found the cure they sent him away. 

Friday, April 25, 2014

How To Give A Christian Wedding Toast ebook by Jonathan M. Romig

I’m pleased to share my first self-published ebook entitled How To Give A Christian Wedding Toast by Jonathan M. Romig (aff links). This resource is meant for anyone who would like to give a Biblical wedding toast, but has no idea of where to begin. If you're the best man, maid of honor, father of the bride, friend of the happy couple, or just curious about what goes into a gospel-filled wedding speech, than give this book a try. It is meant to encourage you and help your creativity as you craft and deliver your own unique message.

Through this book you will learn how to give a fun, creative, and Christ-centered wedding toast as you grow in your relationship with the Lord. In four easy steps you will learn the “Christian Toast Idea” method of wedding speeches. Your toast will stand out as you give glory to God and share the good news about Jesus Christ with the bride, groom, and wedding guests. I've also made available a list of resources and an article on this topic.

Thursday, March 27, 2014

Bible Study Software, Websites, and Apps

The following is a list of helpful resources you can use to study your Bible and prepare for Sunday school or small group. We use Bible study software, websites, and apps to help us spend time diving deep into Scripture. These resources are not an end within themselves, but simply tools we can use to get to know God better through his Word. 

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Revelation 6:1-17 Christ Is On His Way

I've never been to war, but maybe you have or know someone who has. In the last one-hundred years, the US has experienced a lot of war. We went through WWI and WWII. Then we fought in the Korean War and Vietnam. Maybe some of you remember the Cuban Missile Crisis. More recently we’ve had roles in the Persian Gulf War. In the mid and late 90s there was the Bosnian War and Kosovo. Then everything changed for the United States on September 11th 2001.

Saturday, March 1, 2014

Extra-Biblical Humility

My church raised me to love the Bible and all its stories, but didn’t talk much about tradition, or the historic creeds, confessions, and catechisms. I learned the Bible every week but I was missing out on what my spiritual grandparents had to offer me. It wasn’t till seminary that the significance of what came before me began to sink in. That’s when I discovered my need for what I like to call extra-Biblical humility.

Extra-Biblical humility is a humble respect and gratitude for all that God has provided for the health and vitality of his Church outside of the Biblical canon. This means respecting and caring about words like dogma, doctrine, and theology. It means cherishing our rich heritage as evangelical Christians by paying attention to more than just our Bibles. It means recognizing that the call for all of this is grounded in Scripture itself, as 2 Corinthians 13:5a says, “Examine yourselves, to see whether you are in the faith. Test yourselves…” (ESV).

Up till seminary I had shown a willingness and desire to read my Bible and pray, but not much else besides reading a few modern Christian books and listening to my pastor preach. In so doing I left some blind spots unguarded. If you feel like you only need to know your Bible and those who care about theology are slightly less holy than you, than you might have these same blind spots. Our weakness comes from redefining “sola Scriptura” from “no authority over the Bible” into “no authority except the Bible.”1

When my sister-in-law started college in Boston, she met a group of people who knew their Bibles from back to front. They were zealous for God, called themselves a church, but something about their beliefs didn’t seem right. They told her she had to be baptized to be saved and their’s was the only baptism that counted. After all, Ephesians 4:5 says “one Lord, one faith, one baptism” so someone must have the one true baptism. Warning sirens! The group my sister-in-law ran into was a very real cult. But how did they get to a place of such poor theology? They got there, and we can too, by placing our personal interpretation of the Bible next to the Bible in importance.

Where then should our beliefs and practices come from? We first want them to come from the Word of God but where should we check our beliefs to make sure they’re right? Where should our interpretation fall in comparison to other teachings? Michael Horton, in his systematic theology, unpacks a “proper order:”2

“(1) the Scriptures as the infallible canon, qualitatively distinct from all other sources and authorities;”

A healthy Christian belief system rich in extra-Biblical humility is like a house. The Bible is the rock upon which we build our home. It is where we build our theology, not around it, but upon it. This differs from Roman Catholicism which puts Scripture and tradition on par. We test everything we believe today to make sure it stands upon God’s word.

“(2) under this magisterial norm, the ministerial service of creeds and confessions;”

The creeds and confessions are the foundation from which the house that is evangelical belief, practice, and personal interpretation should rise. Various traditions will hold to their own specific confession, like the Westminster, Savoy, or London, but we should all hold to the early creeds. This is why we need to recite the Apostles’ and Nicene creeds often. Catechisms like the Heidelberg or more modern New City also function as checks for our beliefs. All help us stand firm within the circle of orthodox Christian belief.

“(3) contemporary proclamation of God’s Word in the church around the world;”

We now build the structure of our home with the global preaching of pastors and teachers. As a pastor in America, I have a different perspective on God’s word than pastors in Asia, but we should all preach the same good news and essential doctrines. Our explanations of the Trinity, the fall, salvation by God’s grace through faith, the inerrancy of Scripture, substitutionary atonement, and more, although contextualized, should mean the same thing.

“(4) Long-standing interpretations in the tradition;”

Our house rises higher with traditional interpretations of God’s word. Our home is almost built, but not without caring about the past and what it declared to be right belief. Have you just created a brand-new theology that solves everything? Be wary. If you think the Church has really gotten it wrong up to this point, then you could be right, but you could also be undercutting the role of the Holy Spirit as he sustains the ministry and belief of the Church.

“(5) the particular nuances of individual theologians.”

At the top we come to individual theologians. We all have pastors, elders, preachers, theologians, and popular authors we like. It’s often tempting to put their interpretations of God’s Word on par with Scripture, but we should always be careful in doing so. When our favorites preach a Biblically true sermon, they too preach authoritatively, but their interpretation should not deviate from the rest of the house, especially the creeds and essentials. 

Finally, we come to you, the chimney. Consider that a chimney isn’t just on the roof, it is laid at the ground level and is built through the house. It works with the rest of the house to heat the home and give life to the faith. Your faith won’t align with every corner of the building, but it shouldn't ignore its place or a fire could start in the wrong location. When viewed from the outside, the chimney appears small in comparison to the rest of the house. For many evangelical Christians we are simply a chimney on a hill, which is more like a fire pit than a home. This brings glory to us and our interpretation instead of glory to God and the Holy Spirit’s work in the Church. 

The Word of God is sufficient for faith and practice, but God has also given us a rich heritage to guard, protect, and grow us. Let’s make sure we and our churches understand the importance of what has come before us by reciting creeds in our worship services, teaching catechisms in our children and adult Sunday schools, and explaining orthodoxy from the pulpit. 

When I arrived at seminary, I didn’t have much extra-Biblical humility. I couldn’t have told you much about dogma, doctrine, or theology, but the more I learned about the history of the Church and all it has to offer, the more grateful I became. When I realized I didn’t have to figure out everything anew for myself, it gave me the freedom to enjoy, study, and discover the Bible in a whole new light because I knew I was safeguarded by historic orthodox belief. 

1 Gary Parrett and J.I. Packer, Grounded in the Gospel: Building Believers the Old-Fashioned Way (Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Books, 2010), 68-69.

2 Michael S. Horton, The Christian Faith: a Systematic Theology for Pilgrims On the Way (Grand Rapids, Mich.: Zondervan, 2011), 218.

Author Bio: Jonathan M. Romig (M.Div., Gordon-Conwell) is the associate pastor at Immanuel Church in Chelmsford Massachusetts (CCCC). He blogs at and is currently teaching New City Catechism to his adult Sunday school class. He recently self-published his first ebook How To Give A Christian Wedding Toast.

Monday, February 17, 2014

Revelation 3:1-6 Church of Sardis

(Temple of Artemis at Sardis)

There was a city in Asia, modern day Turkey, called Sardis. The actual city of Sardis had about 100,000 people and sat below a ridge. In times of conflict, the people of the city fled to that ridge where there was a citadel. A citadel is another name for a fortress that protects the city, but this wasn’t just any fortress. It was thought to be almost impossible to capture because it was located on steep cliffs. So when king Cyrus of Persia came to capture Sardis in 549 BC, the people thought they were safe. The Persian troops saw the citadel and did not know how to get up the cliff or capture the city. But one evening, as the story goes, one of the soldiers dropped his helmet off the side.  And instead of leaving it there, he exited the citadel and walked down a nearly invisible path. He grabbed his helmet and returned to the citadel, thus showing the Persians how to capture it.

Monday, January 20, 2014

The Upward Fall Book Review

In his first book, The Upward Fall: Our Pilgrim Journey through Groaning to Glory, brand-new author Brian Myers writes about a disciple’s ever twisting path of sanctification and the final destination—glory with Christ Jesus. This is not a formal review, but an informal opportunity to share with you a book I enjoyed, and support a new author who used to pastor my home church when I was a kid. Although new to the publishing world, Brian is the son of Ruth Myers, who authored 31 Days of Praise (aff link). One look at the richly printed hardcover of this book and it’s clear Brian has a fresh kind of reading experience in mind for his audience.

From cover to cover, beginning with Rembrandt’s Storm on the Sea of Galilee, to Caravaggio’s The Conversion of St. Paul, to some family portraits and a CD with a message and music, the book is a rich experience. More than that, Brian is a wordsmith. His writing is more like poetry than prose although the book uses a narrative and explanatory approach. When I began to read his book the style reminded me of C.S. Lewis’s The Screwtape Letters. Had Lewis ever written a similar book, but with advice from one angel to another instead of one demon to another, I think it would sound a little like The Upward Fall. But due to the nature of his writing style, Brian’s work also requires complete attention, which is why on several occasions he urges, “But first, take a break…”  I should have listened because I got lost a few times due to the poetic nature of the prose. This book’s writing style is not for everyone, but it is for those who are willing to listen and experience “soul formation” through the message Brian has to give. 

Tuesday, January 7, 2014

Luke 2:27-32 The Blessing of God

For my last year of high school I commuted to a Community College. Three times a week my brother and I woke up at 7:00am. The commute was about an hour so we left early to get to class by 9:00am. My Dad was gracious enough to get up with us and fix us breakfast. He usually made us eggs and maybe some toast or oatmeal. Before he sent us on our way he often reminded us of something. He prayed for us and reminded us to be a blessing to those around us. He encouraged us to be a blessing to those we came in contact with that day.