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NIV is used unless otherwise noted.



The Good News . . . Presents Everyone Perfect

We proclaim him, admonishing and teaching everyone with all wisdom, so that we may present everyone perfect in Christ.
Colossians 1:28


Come to think of it ladies, to present everyone perfect in Christ is the most succinct statement of purpose for the apostle Paul that we see. It begins with his relentless proclamation of Christ. Take Colossians 1:15-20 for example, a hymn to the supremacy of Jesus: He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn over all creation (1:15), who reconciled all things to the Father through his blood shed on the cross (1:20). Read it in its entirety with the eyes of your heart; get a sense of its lyrical poetry.

Paul’s intensity then plays out in all his letters to all the churches. He did not want anyone to miss out on the abundance of life in Christ, and so he became totally focused on serving the gospel (1:23). It was a tall order. It required wise teaching and maybe even some speaking the truth in love with all the heresies flying around then. It requires the same today, in the midst of all our worldly ways.

While I started my story with Jesus as a kid, it was my beloved pastor Paul Powell who began the process of rounding off the rough edges, always encouraging perfection in Christ. When he passed away this winter our family added up all the times we celebrated Jesus with him: 6 baptisms, 2 funerals (parents), 2 trips (to Canada for a memorial, to Israel), 2 friends (Paul and his wife Cathy), 2 pizza parties (kids at Baylor), 2 weddings, and countless truths. Multiply that by all the other families he touched. Paul W. Powell would tell you he was not a perfect man, but his life is written perfect in the stories told by those whose lives he touched.

Just because you are not an apostle or a pastor does not let you off the hook. As men and women have written on your heart, you are called to write on the hearts of others: Be ready to speak up and tell anyone who asks why you’re living the way you are, and always with utmost courtesy (1 Peter 3:15, MSG). One day then, your story will be written perfect in Christ!

Nancy P

The Good News . . . Begets Hope

We have heard of your faith in Christ Jesus and of the love you have for all the saintsthe faith and love that spring from the hope that is stored up for you in heaven and that you have already heard about in the word of truth, the gospel that has come to you.
Colossians 1:4-5


Remember when you learned to swim ladies? I do. How exhilarating, to be able to even dog paddle my way through the waves. Wow! And then to learn to flat out float for longer bits of time, trusting myself to the water. I was in seventh heaven. In the years to come, I would glide serenely on cool, clear lakes, as well as dive deep into murky northern waters.

Faith is just that—being spiritually afloat!

But first, gospel truth begets hope, the hope of a glorified future in heaven because of God’s grace and the cross. When grace is grasped, hope becomes what it is intended to bewave after wave of positive expectation based on the good news of the gospel, be the circumstances crystal clear or murky.
Hope then begets faith as it dawns on you that the glorious riches of the mystery that was kept hidden for ages and generations is none other than Christ in you, the hope of glory (1:26-27). I began to float spiritually when I abandoned my life to Jesus.

Hope also begets agape love. Once you’ve placed your faith in Jesus, love for others should spring forth from the depths of your being. How can it not, with Christ in you! (Yes I know, some days loving is not the first thing on your mind. But agape love does not depend on you. It is a fruit of the Spirit and will ripen with time if you draw close.)

And so you have that delightful trilogy of hope, faith, and love flowing from God’s grace.

This year my youngest grandson Ty, at age nine, learned to spiritually float. His whole life he’s heard the story of Jesus, but it was up to him to abandon himself to the good news. Sure, there’ll be dips and dives. Just imagine, however, the whole ocean of promises ahead of him. Thank you Jesus!

Nancy P

The Good News … Portrays God’s Grace

All over the world this gospel is bearing fruit and growing, just as it has been doing among you since the day you heard it and understood God’s grace in all its truth.
Colossians 1:6


Grace, ah yes, it is the crux of gospel truth: For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this not from yourselves, it is the gift of God—not by works, so that no one can boast (Ephesians 2:8-9).

The Greek word for grace, charis, speaks of unmerited favor (mercy) shown to us by God. It is a gift, totally undeserved yet gladly given. As Charles Swindoll (The Grace Awakening Guide, Page 3) says, “It is on this great theological word that our eternal destiny hangs, for the undeserved favor of God is our only hope of being accepted by Him.”

Look at what the Father has done for you (Colossians 1:12-14):
He has qualified you to share in the inheritance of the saints in the kingdom of light
He has rescued you from the dominion of darkness
He has brought you into the kingdom of the Son he loves.
in whom you have redemption, the forgiveness of sins.

Because of his great love for us (Ephesians 2:4), God extended His grace to mankind down through the ages, through the wanderings and rebellions and exiles and returns, to the birth of His Son, to the hanging on a cross, through all my sins be they unintentional or willful. That is original grace, God’s grace, rich in mercy and compassion and tenderness and love, big enough to pull me out of the world’s muck into heaven, should I grab hold of it.

Once I heard it and understood God’s grace, I could not resist. Grace is most beautiful to behold when it intersects with that aha! moment of truth. Yet I doubt that I shall ever understand it in all its truth, in this life. I am surprised by grace around many a corner.

Once I had the gospel truth in my life, it became mine to pass on as it is yours to pass on. Your story with the good news is that which portrays God’s grace tangibly, ripening the fruit of soul-reaching truth.

Nancy P

The Good News … Bears Fruit and Grows

All over the world this gospel is bearing fruit and growing, just as it has been doing since the day you heard it.

Colossians 1:6


You will have to agree, the apostle Paul was the whiz kid at spreading the gospel truthall over the world. As soon as Jesus got Paul’s attention on the road to Damascus (around A.D.35), Paul began to preach in the synagogues that Jesus is the Son of God…the Christ (Acts 9:3-22). He couldn’t wait to tell his fellow Jews the good news, although his call was to the Gentiles (Galatians 1:16).

Paul’s first lengthy journey was to Cyprus, Perga, and Pisidian Antioch (southern Turkey today). By the time of his house arrest in Rome (A.D.60), he had crisscrossed through Syria, through Asia Minor (Turkey), to Macedonia (Greece) twice, perhaps some 10,000 miles total. To say that he had an impact on the spread of the gospel is an understatement.

What’s more, confinement was no deterrent to bearing fruit. Paul had the attention of the “whole palace guard” (Philippians 1:13)—imagine the earful they got. Many of them responded to his message as evidenced at the end of Philippians: All the saints send you greetings, especially those who belong to Caesar’s household (4:22).

And while there is uncertainty as to Paul ever having been to Colosse, Epaphras heard the story of Jesus, perhaps even from Paul when he was in nearby Ephesus, and capably headed up the Colossian church. Paul also commends the Colossians for their part in the spread, since the day they heard the gospel truth (1:6). That Onesimus, the runaway slave from Colosse, found his way to Paul’s house in Rome and there became (Paul’s) son while (Paul) was in chains (Philemon 1:10), was no accident. Someone back in Colosse no doubt mentioned Paul as a man to run to.

There is no question as to the dynamic nature of the good news. The only questions are: Is the gospel bearing fruit in your life? Are you telling your story with Jesus?

Nancy P

The Good News … It’s the Gospel Truth!

You have already heard about (the hope that is stored up for you in heaven) in the word of truth, the gospel that has come to you.
Colossians 1:5-6


The year was A.D.62, the city Rome, the apostle Paul confined to his own rented house, chained to the royal guard. But that didn’t stop him one bit: Boldly and without hindrance he preached the kingdom of God and taught about the Lord Jesus Christ (Acts 28:30) to all who came to see him. Timothy was with him (Colossians 1:1), Mark (4:10) and Luke as well (4:14). Epaphras, founder of the church in Colosse, had brought him news of that church (1:7), the very news which prompted Paul to write this letter.

The reputation of the Colossians for their faith in Jesus and their love of the saints (Colossians 1:4) was commendable. Still, they needed to be wary of the “hollow and deceptive philosophies” that were threatening to take them captive (2:8). These dear folks were being told such things as: Christ was not fully divine nor fully sufficient for their salvation; circumcision was necessary; special enlightenment set you apart; religious festivals and angel worship were the key; ascetism (self-flagellation) was the essence of humility (Colossians 2:8-23). A mere twenty-five years from Jesus’ resurrection, heresy had crept in.

And heresy is raising its ugly head today: there are many paths to heaven; God is dead; it’s only tissue, not a baby. Truth is no longer absolute but relative to the moment, never mind the time of the judges when “everyone did as he saw fit” (Judges 21:25).

But we know differently. You cannot add to nor subtract from truth. I love this quote:
Truth, like gold, is to be obtained not by its growth,
but by washing away from it all that is not gold.
—Leo Tolstoy (1828-1910)

Its the gospel truth that we base our faith on. The Colossians had heard the message of hope in the word of truth, the gospel. Paul wanted them to know, without a doubt, that they could hang their hats on this basic truth: you have been given fullness in Christ… having been buried with him in baptism and raised with him through your faith in the power of God, who raised him from the dead (Colossians 2:10,12).

Truth is truth. As God alone is good (Luke 18:19), news is really only that good when it’s the gospel truth!

Nancy P