Kevin and Megan are looking for a place to live. DCE Intern Kevin Mathison and Megan Perna are getting married in July and are looking for a place to live (which they’d like to secure by June 1.) They are looking for a place with an affordable rent that would welcome a cat. A guest house or cottage would be fine as well. Please pray for God to provide an answer! If you can help or have a lead on housing, please contact Kevin at firstname.lastname@example.org.
There will be one service this Sunday, April 28, at 9:30 am, as we celebrate Confirmation Sunday. This Sunday eight young people will publicly acknowledge Jesus as they are confirmed in their Christian faith.
This will be a blended communion service with choir and worship band.
8 Greet Ampliatus, my dear friend in the Lord.
9 Greet Urbanus, our co-worker in Christ, and my dear friend Stachys.
10 Greet Apelles, whose fidelity to Christ has stood the test.
Greet those who belong to the household of Aristobulus.
11 Greet Herodion, my fellow Jew.
Greet those in the household of Narcissus who are in the Lord.
12 Greet Tryphena and Tryphosa, those women who work hard in the Lord.
Greet my dear friend Persis, another woman who has worked very hard in the Lord.
13 Greet Rufus, chosen in the Lord, and his mother, who has been a mother to me, too.
14 Greet Asyncritus, Phlegon, Hermes, Patrobas, Hermas and the other brothers and sisters with them.
15 Greet Philologus, Julia, Nereus and his sister, and Olympas and all the Lord’s people who are with them.
16 Greet one another with a holy kiss.
All the churches of Christ send greetings.
17 I urge you, brothers and sisters, to watch out for those who cause divisions and put obstacles in your way that are contrary to the teaching you have learned. Keep away from them. 18 For such people are not serving our Lord Christ, but their own appetites. By smooth talk and flattery they deceive the minds of naive people. 19 Everyone has heard about your obedience, so I rejoice because of you; but I want you to be wise about what is good, and innocent about what is evil.
20 The God of peace will soon crush Satan under your feet.
The grace of our Lord Jesus be with you. 
What struck me in today’s passage was Paul’s concern for unity. He follows his list of greetings with a warning to watch out for those who would disrupt the unity that they have in Christ. No doubt he is speaking about those who turn the Gospel into legalism by insisting that certain Old Testament practices, such as circumcision, are still necessary. By doing so they make a division between the Jewish Christians and the Gentile Christians.
But Paul’s concern for unity is just as applicable today. In this he is following Jesus, whose prayer at the Last Supper, just before heading to the Garden of Gethsemane, was largely a prayer for unity among his followers. When we live and act as one, when we forgive and reconcile each other, when we demonstrate genuine love for each other we become a living picture of what the Gospel does. On the contrary, when we are divided, we undermine the work of the Gospel and actually end up working against the mission of God.
Granted there are things concerning which we must insist on a division. In this passage Paul is calling on the Roman congregation to break unity with those who break unity. This is not a contradiction, but rather an indication of how essential unity is. When the Gospel is at stake, through a denial of Christ or His work, then it is necessary to divide, lest the preaching of the gospel be confused or compromised.
But the sad fact is that most of the divisions that plague Christians, especially in homes and congregations, have nothing to do with the Gospel, but instead are manifestations of our fallen sinfulness. Paul calls us to watch out for this, to watch out for those who propagate such disunity, lest the Gospel be hindered.
So my prayer today is for unity. I pray for unity in Christ in our homes. I pray for unity in Christ in our St. John’s community, and I pray for unity in Christ throughout Christendom.
What is the Word leading you to pray about today?
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30 I urge you, brothers and sisters, by our Lord Jesus Christ and by the love of the Spirit, to join me in my struggle by praying to God for me. 31 Pray that I may be kept safe from the unbelievers in Judea and that the contribution I take to Jerusalem may be favorably received by the Lord’s people there, 32 so that I may come to you with joy, by God’s will, and in your company be refreshed. 33 The God of peace be with you all. Amen.
16:1I commend to you our sister Phoebe, a deacon, of the church in Cenchreae. 2 I ask you to receive her in the Lord in a way worthy of his people and to give her any help she may need from you, for she has been the benefactor of many people, including me.
3 Greet Priscilla and Aquila, my co-workers in Christ Jesus. 4 They risked their lives for me. Not only I but all the churches of the Gentiles are grateful to them.
5 Greet also the church that meets at their house.
Greet my dear friend Epenetus, who was the first convert to Christ in the province of Asia.
6 Greet Mary, who worked very hard for you.
7 Greet Andronicus and Junia, my fellow Jews who have been in prison with me. They are outstanding among the apostles, and they were in Christ before I was. 
What struck me in today’s passage is Paul’s appreciation for his partners in ministry. Chapter 16 includes a list of personal greeting for individuals, couples and families of the church in Rome. He mentions Priscilla and Aquila, who worked with him on the founding of the church in Ephesus. He mentions several others, commending their work, and their service which is commended “among the apostles.”
The list begins with his comments about Phoebe, a deacon from the church in Cenchreae. Paul must have thought very highly of her since he entrusted this letter to her. His commendation indicates that she was the one who brought the letter to the Romans. This most likely meant that she also was the one who would read it to the various house churches in Rome, and then field questions from the church regarding its content. Considering that Romans is Paul’s most complete explanation of the Christian faith, his magnum opus, his decision to enlist Phoebe for this task speaks well of his confidence in her.
But even before his mention of Phoebe and the others, Paul invites the Romans to pray for him with these words: “I urge you, brothers and sisters, by our Lord Jesus Christ and by the love of the Spirit, to join me in my struggle by praying to God for me (15:30.)” Paul invites them to join with him in his struggles. In other words, those who pray for him and his ministry are also his partners in ministry.
So my prayer today is for those who are my partners in ministry. I am praying in thanksgiving for the staff I am privileged to work with, the lay leaders who are work so hard for the Lord’s mission, and the many others who uphold the work of the church with their prayers. I am praying for God’s grace upon us all as we labor together for the gospel.
What is the Word leading you to pray about today?