Pleasant Experience = Preaching in Flip-flops

Happy Mother’s Day! I was able to speak with my mother and my wife today thanks to the thoughtfulness of one of our church members who supplied me with a cell phone that works in Haiti.

The men finished the first exams last night. Most of them did very well, although I need to do a little tutoring to help one fellow who seems paralyzed by written exams.

Today I started teaching through Romans—make that flying through Romans. I was charged with preaching in our worship service to start the day. Guess what text I used? Far be it from me to miss getting an extra session in Romans. The material is far too important. So I skipped through chapter one expositionally and offered an application outline at the end (It took eight weeks to get through chapter one at RLBC).

The big message of chapter one is that les Gentils sont coupables (The Gentiles are guilty). This whole letter has as its theme that God’s righteousness is unattainable by unrighteous men except through faith. His wrath is revealed against all unrighteousness.

To illustrate the unrighteousness of men and the righteousness of God I used a story told by the missionary who wrote Stranger on the Road to Emmaus. When his family lived in a tropical climate in a house on stilts a large rat crawled under the house and died—right under the master bedroom. It was a tight space and not easy to reach. The stench got so bad that he and his wife started sleeping in another part of the house. Finally the man’s son crawled under the house with a plastic bag over his hand and pulled the rotting carcass out by the tail. He ran toward the forest and flung the corpse into the trees as far as he could.

Hard as it is to take, all through Scripture that is the way God looks at sin and those who sin. That’s Adam and that’s me and my wages. Read the Old Testament and see how death was treated in the ceremonies of Israel. No wonder Jesus said that one day sinners will hear, “Depart from Me!” (Matthew 25:41).

Somehow we dead rats need righteousness and nothing we have to offer is something God wants. Our only hope is the performance of another, one Who personally experienced the terror of God’s abandonment (See 2 Corinthians 5:21 for a short synopsis). Rats needs mercy, not performance. Imagine a rat telling God, “I’ll let you into my heart.”

Adventure report: I got a new roommate yesterday. Then I killed him. The corner of my vision caught movement and I saw a healthy-sized roach. Flip-flops are versatile. They can be used to hold your place in your Bible when you are preaching outdoors and as weapons when you decide you do not wish to share your room with large beetles.

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