I’m excited to share the news that I have joined World Radio (sister platform of World Magazine) as a commentator and my first one aired today! Commentators focus on a variety of different topics and issues. My plan is to focus on Christian discipleship, family and children, race and ethnicity, and issues and topics important to women. My goal in both my writing and speaking is to identify where the gospel applies to the area and what the implications of the gospel are to that topic. That will not change and is celebrated at World, which is one of the reasons I’m so honored to be a part.
If you’re anything like me, you’re likely curious about the role and specifically what is World Radio’s approach to commentary. Thankfully, managing editor, J.C. Derrick recorded a short segment during their “Ask the Editor” commentary series on World’s distinctives, including their approach to commentaries: https://worldandeverything.org/2018/11/ask-the-editor-our-methods/
How to listen today and every day:
Today’s full program is posted here: https://soundcloud.com/world-news-group/the-world-and-everything-in-it-february-14-2019
And the newscast is here: https://worldandeverything.org/2019/02/thursday-morning-news-february-14-2019/
You can find my first commentary about loving our neighbors here: https://worldandeverything.org/2019/02/trillia-newbell-lets-love-our-neighbor/
Our love for our neighbor is one of the evidences of God’s transforming work in our hearts. Our love matters because it points to someone greater than you or me. Our love points to Jesus.
I will keep you updated on my commentaries, but please go ahead and subscribe to The World and Everything in It on Apple Podcasts, Stitcher, or whatever podcast app you use. And you can learn more about the other contributors here: https://worldandeverything.org/
Grateful! And Happy Valentine’s Day!
p.s. My segments will likely post every other Monday!
Recently, I was asked a peculiar but sincere question during an open-mic Q&A. The young white man asked: Can I celebrate my whiteness or my white culture? I quickly discerned both inquiry and pain. Later I would learn that the man is a single-dad, raising two young boys who he wants to equip and disciple well. He has also been trying to gain understanding about racial reconciliation and in many ways has found himself perplexed and maybe even weighed down by the realities of our history. I didn’t know all of that when I answered but I also sense this same wrestling with other people as they begin their own journey into ethic diversity, biblical theology, and historical sins.
My heart was filled with a desire to love and serve him while also speaking the truth in love. With that same desire, I want to write my two-part answer here.
You already do
Whether intentionally or not, if you are a white American you are continually celebrating your whiteness in this country. Whether it is through the textbooks we read, the music overhead in our coffee shops, the movies we watch, or the seminaries we attend. You will find that these touch points are dominated by white culture, history, music, theologians, and the like. And you are likely, even if unintentionally, celebrating your heritage as well. It is not difficult to celebrate who you are in the American context.
But, yes, of course
You are an ethnicity and when we talk about racial diversity and all of the nations, you who are white are included! I can see how it might not seem so. Most of my emphasis when talking about studying those who are not like us is definitely about those people and cultures that have been neglected in the American context. But as a mother to two biracial children, I want them to not only know their Black heritage, I am just as eager for them to know and understand their British heritage. We don’t have to sacrifice one for the other. We can instead learn to celebrate both.
Our problem is not so much that we don’t know how to celebrate ourselves it’s that we lack the intentionality to learn and celebrate others. We struggle to love our neighbor as ourselves through gaining knowledge and understanding. We hold our culture or our ethnicity up as superior even if we don’t realize we are doing it, and often intentionally. We are the center of our universe.
I don’t believe that was the case of the man who asked this question and I imagine there are many who are sincerely wrestling with these same questions. If God has revealed a bias or partiality or racial pride in your life, praise him for that grace. It’s his kindness that leads us to repentance. If God is awakening you to the realities of our history and it has become a painful journey—press in to that, don’t push it away. Ask good questions, study history. Lamenting is a good practice (thank you, Psalms!).
Most of all, remember the gospel and all that Jesus has done for us through his blood. There’s much to lament but oh man is there so much to rejoice about. Brothers and sisters in Christ, we are one even if we aren’t living in this reality. My prayer is that we would begin to live in the reality of what Jesus has accomplished for us.
Let me end by saying that I’m writing this in an airport as part of my first drafts series, which means that there’s so much more that likely could be said.
I just learned that my kids’ book, God’s Very Good Idea, is only $5.00 at Lifeway.com right now. That’s more than half-off!
Tonight, I will have the joy of reading God’s Very Good Idea to a group of about 500 kids and parents. I’m overjoyed by the opportunity to serve in this way. I had no idea that this book would go to so many places I’ll never be and encourage the hearts of parents and children alike. Only God can do that! Only He can use something that seems so small and insignificant for the good of His people and His glory.
Thanks to all of you who have already purchased it. If you think it would be a good gift or if you haven’t grabbed it yet, I hope you will enjoy this discount! You can purchase it online here: https://www.lifeway.com/en/product/god-s-very-good-idea-P006171967
If someone had come up to me on the morning of my wedding day and asked me if I knew my husband-to-be well, I would have said yes without hesitation. Now, fifteen years later, I realize that while I did know him before I married him, I know so much more about him now. Our relationship has deepened, and my knowledge of him has exponentially increased since our wedding.
Why? Because we’ve spent hours upon hours together. We know each other’s history. We know our backgrounds. When one of us reacts to something, the other knows the context from which the reaction comes. We know each other because we have studied, learned, enjoyed, and listened to each other over the course
of these many years. And I’m looking forward to learning even more in the years to come!
It takes time to really know a person—and the same thing is true about getting to know the Bible. After nearly twenty years of “living with” the Bible and many, many hours of study, I’m only beginning to scratch the surface of its rich depths. And even with all my studying, I realize I will never exhaust the potential depths of learning about the Lord.
My hope is that you and I would get to know our Lord in greater ways through If God Is For Us, a study of Romans 8, a cherished book and favorite chapter. If you ask believers for their favorite book of the Bible, many would place Romans at the top of the list. And if you were to take a survey and ask what specific chapter in the Bible has had the most impact on their lives, a number would name the eighth chapter of Romans—and for good reason.
Tim Keller has written that “the book of Romans is the most sustained explanation of the heart of the gospel, and the most thrilling exploration of how that gospel goes to work in our hearts.”1 I agree wholeheartedly. And to me, Romans 8 is the heart of that great letter. It provides the assurance of this great salvation, summed up in its first compelling sentence, which proclaims to its reader that there is no condemnation in Christ Jesus (8:1).
That amazing declaration would be enough, but there’s more, so much more. We learn throughout Romans 8 that:
- The Spirit is actively at work in us (8:4–11);
- We are heirs with Christ, the adopted children of God (8:12–17);
- Our suffering is for a great purpose and doesn’t compare to the glory we will
- Even in our weakness, the Spirit is at work (8:26–27);
- God is working all things for our good (8:28);
- And absolutely nothing can ever separate us from the love of Christ (8:31–39).
Need I go on? Oh, I can, and I want to! I haven’t even gotten to the five life-changing questions that solidify our conviction that God is absolutely, undeniably for us (8:31–38).
So in case you’ve been concerned whether a single chapter in a single book can sustain an entire six-week study, don’t worry. We could probably spend another six weeks—or a lifetime—and still find more.
If God Is For Us will take us on a journey into Romans 8, reminding us of our great salvation, our inheritance, and ultimately the love of our good Father. Romans 8 can be easily quoted—and often is—but through If God Is For Us I hope that we might meditate deeply on it, soaking in the goodness of this truth and rejoicing in the mind-boggling reality that God intends nothing but good for us. My prayer is that, together, we’ll gain a greater understanding of the significance of this passage of Scripture and why these verses mean so much to so many.
We will accomplish this through reading the text, through studying God’s Word, through daily reflection on the passages, and ultimately through prayer. But God must do the work in our hearts for us to understand. Let’s ask God to help us as we seek to know the God of our salvation in ever-deepening ways.
Grab the Book and Make It Work For You!
If God Is For Us is formatted to provide flexibility and I encourage you to make it work for you! It’s designed to be done in a group setting or individually. Here are just a few of the possibilities.
- Do the study entirely on your own at home.
- Meet daily with a few friends in-person (maybe for coffee) or online to share
your response to the devotionals and the questions.
- Try a combination—do some of it (like the devotionals) at home and some of it (like selected study or reflection questions) in a weekly group gathering. Or study at home and then come together to discuss your insights and discoveries.
You can follow the suggested pattern of five days of study, two days off, or you can stretch out the material to cover six or even seven days. Personally I like the idea of reading and study on one day, devotionals and reflections on five more days, and then taking a “sabbath” day of rest.
My hope and prayer is that you would enjoy God through this study!
Grab the book at Amazon! You can also purchase it at other retailers and see what others have said about the book on my book page: If God is For Us.
In 2007, I started an online fitness business. I produced a Christian CD for group fitness instructors and personal trainers to use with their clients. That venture was the start of my entrepreneurship—unless you count the time, at 12 years old, when I sold baked goods to my neighbors and surrounding businesses. I have always been a bit adventurous and seem to constantly have big ideas (still do!). In 2008, I managed the group fitness instructors and program for a local fitness chain. I did the basic work of a manager but saw more potential and began to implement programs, fundraisers, and marketing strategies. A few years passed and I realized that I had been putting a lot of time and energy into another company and it dawned on me, I can do this on my own.
So I did.
I started seeking advice from a business consulting firm and a fitness business consultant and set out on a new adventure. My online fitness production company had evolved into a fitness consulting business where I provided online personal training to anyone around the world. I took my online concept to a bricks and mortar model too. My business was very unique for my area and unique in the fitness industry at the time (I opened a fitness studio!). It was a huge success at the beginning. I had a marketing plan that was working well and a support system that was incredible. What I didn’t account for was the impending failing economy and my family’s need for me to contribute to our budget quicker than a small business would allow.
The Tides Changed
During that time, when I’d tell people my husband’s profession there would be a general gasp and then a follow up question: “How are you all doing?” I’m sure you could guess—he worked in real estate. We all know that the real estate market tanked during the recession and that the effects were far reaching. As I got further into my fitness studio it was apparent that I would not be able to make it, not because we couldn’t financially or the model wasn’t right, it was because I couldn’t wait to make money. If you know one thing about a small business it’s that it can take a while (maybe even years) before you begin to see the fruits of your labor. I knew I needed to shut it down and so I began to slowly dissolve the fitness studio. In the business world, a business lasting a short time would be considered a failure.
As much as shutting down my business venture was humbling, it was also a relief. Running a business was a lot of hard work! Anything you do well takes work and I don’t typically do things halfway so I was giving much of my time to it. The closure was a good change of pace for our family. But my husband and I would not trade that experience for anything. I learned a lot, I grew a lot and frankly it opened many doors. My marriage grew during that time of leaning on the Lord for wisdom and guidance. There’s much I am thankful for. I thank God for my fitness studio closing—God doesn’t waste anything, even our perceived failures.
Failing to the Glory of God
Yes, God doesn’t waste anything. He doesn’t waste our experiences, he doesn’t waste our pain or trials; even our joys are for a purpose. During that period, I had the opportunity to learn how to budget, do payroll (as an owner not as a manager), market, hire (as an owner not as a manager), partner with companies, fundraise and give (as an owner), campaign, and manage. It is significantly different, more at stake you could say, when you are doing these tasks as an owner and not a manager. That list only scratches the surface but those experiences allowed me to grow personally and today the skills I learned continues to help me serve the Lord and others, even in my home as I care for my husband and children.
But those various skills aren’t the greatest lessons and benefits. Perhaps one of the greatest lessons I have learned from failing, as the world sees it, is to try and entrust the results to the Lord. I learned to take steps of faith and trust God. And that is where I believe God got the glory—he was teaching me that in my weakness and insecurity about the future, he was still God. I learned to rest in him. I learned to lean on him. I learned that failure was an option rather than something that needed to be avoided at all costs because it brought me to my God.
It’s the end of the year and I imagine some of you entering in with a bit of fear. You have ideas, goals, and plans but you are afraid to try. I get it. In the past I have been hesitant to set goals or resolutions because of the fear of failure. Why bother? you tell yourself, I’m not going to complete my goals or keep my resolutions anyway. And perhaps that’s true. But I’d like to also encourage you that trying isn’t failing and that failing doesn’t mean trying isn’t worthwhile.
Let’s remember that every good and perfect gift comes from the Father. Every task we complete is because of him. Anything we do that requires strength is only accomplished because our Lord has strengthened us for the task; that’s true whether we acknowledge it or not. And every failure is covered by grace and has a good purpose. Should you start a task in January and realize come March that it’s been abandoned, you can pick up and start again or reevaluate and adjust your goals.
I’m starting the year knowing that I might not accomplish all that I hope for in 2019—and that’s okay. I’m confident that I will do everything God desires and designs for me to do this year. That I can know for certain. And the process of setting goals and making a plan might be what he uses to help me see that. However you approach the new year, don’t allow the fear of failure to hold you back. Entrust all your plans to our sovereign and good God.
Moody Publishers is having a massive #CyberMonday Sale and my new study on Romans 8 is included. If God is For Us releases on January 1 but if you’d like to grab it early (click here to purchase), here’s what others have said about the study:
If the Bible were a mountain range, it is said, Romans 8 would be its highest peak. I can say after reading this study that Trillia Newbell is a sure-footed mountain guide that will help you climb this great passage and get some of its best breathtaking views of God and our salvation in Christ. I highly recommend this volume! –Tim Keller, cofounder, Redeemer City to City
So often we encounter the message of Romans 8 in fragments, its best-known verses lifted from their context and lightly quoted to suit the need of the moment. With a careful hand, Trillia Newbell mends our fragmented reading by guiding us into the text, orienting this crucial chapter within the book of Romans as a whole, and tracing its cohesive message from start to finish. If God Is For Us is six weeks well spent for any earnest student of the Bible. –Jen Wilkin, author and Bible teacher
Trillia Newbell is a gift to the church. I can think of few people whose lives more authentically display the work of God and the fruit of His Spirit. is study on the eighth chapter of Romans will bless, encourage, and challenge you to grow further into Christ. Within these pages, Trillia serves as a faithful guide to help you better understand and apply God’s Word to your life. –Russell Moore, President, e Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission of the Southern Baptist Convention
Like a delicious meal, Romans 8 is packed with truths to be savored as they are slowly enjoyed. If God Is For Us helps us to slow down and ponder the riches in this beloved chapter line by line, one verse at a time. Trillia Newbell’s warmth and wisdom will guide and encourage you with truths that will refresh and revive your soul. –Melissa Kruger, director of women’s content for e Gospel Coalition and author of In All Things
Some in the church eschew discipleship and study because they “don’t have time” or “don’t know how.” Written like a letter from a good friend, If God Is For Us offers a deep and digestible look into Paul’s intimate writings in Romans 8. Trillia explores in detail the radical, existential transformation made possible through Christ. If you’ve hesitated on Romans because it seems overwhelming, If God Is For Us is an excellent doorway to understanding, living, and sharing the “exchanged life.” – K.A. Ellis, Cannada Fellow for World Christianity at Reformed Theological Seminary
I’m so thankful for Trillia and this thorough study on Romans 8. Trillia does a beautiful job encouraging us to be in God’s Word without leaving us to do it alone. Her insights and personal illustrations make studying this foundational chapter of Scripture accessible and inviting. I encourage you to get a group of friends together and pick up a copy of If God Is For Us. –Kelly Minter, Bible teacher and author of No Other Gods
Others who have commended the book:
Jeannie Cunnion, Liz Curtis Higgs, Missie Branch, Emily Jensen and Laura Wifler, cofounders of Risen Motherhood, Christina H. Edmondson, Sarah Mae
Look for much more about this study in the coming days! Until then, don’t miss out on grabbing it today!