The Other Side of Freedom

The Other Side of Freedom

Freedom is in our DNA. God put it there. We all want it and God wants it for us. God spoke to Moses and said to tell Pharaoh that His people were like a Son to Him and to let His Son go free. God secured freedom for all His people and provided for their every need. There was one thing He required from them and also from us, and that’s obedience. The people wanted to be free but they didn’t want to obey. As far as I can tell, this is a universal requirement for liberty. In this country, as in all free societies, freedom is maintained if we obey. If we don’t, we lose our freedom.

Some people think they can have it both ways, but you soon learn that disobedience is a losing proposition. It can cause you to lose your scholarship, your job, house, car, friends, spouse, etc. Just about anything you have can be lost. And with each loss, goes some of that freedom that we desperately desire. But God offers us something incredible! It’s called grace.

Grace forgives our past sins and gives us both the will and the ability which comes in the form of the Holy Spirit, to live a life of freedom and obedience. And if we stumble into disobedience, grace can put us back on track again. That’s what happened with Moses, Aaron, the people of Israel and it can happen to you and me. Christ died to give us this way to true freedom. No matter where you are or what thing you may have done to lose some freedom you once had, the Holy Spirit is waiting to put you back on track. Don’t pass up this rich opportunity.

As we celebrate the outward liberty we have in this country, don’t forget what Christ did to make us truly free on the inside. “Therefore if the Son makes you free, you shall be free indeed” (John 8:36).

Saving Private Ryan

Saving Private Ryan

What would you do? Bug out to safety or confront the enemy and risk it all? That’s the choice that Captain Miller faces in the epic movie, “Saving Private Ryan.” In life, there are the knowns and the unknowns. Nine times out of ten I want to choose the knowns. What about you? It’s in our nature to avoid the unknowns. But, God very often insists that we abandon the things we know and launch into the unknown which is almost always outside of our familiar territory. 
 
Adventure, suspense, mystery and intrigue await all those who are prepared to trust the voice of God saying, “Follow Me.” We, like Susan, a character in “The Lion, The Witch and the Wardrobe” want to know if Aslan (Jesus) is safe. To which Mr. Beaver replies, “Course he isn’t safe. But he’s good.” Are you willing to risk safety for goodness? In this week’s movie illustration, “Saving Private Ryan”, we see this scenario play out in the movie. But what will you do?
 
Will you leave your safe way of thinking and pursue your heart’s desire? You might wonder, “what is my heart’s desire?” There’s one way to find out. Follow Him. He will lead you into the unknown and there, you will most certainly discover what you desire in your heart of hearts!

Where is God Leading You?

Where is God Leading You?

Our journey through life has many twists and turns. Not only is it true but it’s necessary. We want to know everything because humans like to be in control. We want to know how and where to begin, the outcome of each endeavor and every move in between. Jesus just says, “follow me”.

It doesn’t mean that we shouldn’t plan, prepare or have a vision or direction but it means that we must leave room for God to lead. You may have a goal in mind but God has a multifaceted purpose in almost every move we make. We are looking at our journey as it pertains to us but God is looking at it as it pertains to us and all those around us. He plans to meet a multitude of needs and add value in many places we would never think of. The Father alone knows which step will connect you to your destiny while blessing many others simultaneously. “The steps of a good man are ordered by the Lord.” (Psalm 37:23)

So, pray that God will give you a vision of the person He wants you to become. Ask for the wisdom and discernment to plot the next leg of your journey, but leave room for God. When something beyond your control happens and your plans change, instead of getting angry, ask what better thing God has in mind and approach your situation with a grateful attitude. Keep your trust and your confidence in the fact that God knows best.

Obedience is the quickest way to our destiny.

Surrender On D-Day

Surrender On D-Day

Seventy-Five years ago, the bravest and greatest generation stormed the beaches of Normandy! The first wave faced a hell that you and I cannot imagine. They kept moving forward as machine gun fire rained down on them from the pillboxes and cliffs above. But, they kept coming, wave after wave, until the Nazi positions were completely overwhelmed and defeated. Defeated by men who volunteered to be there. How do people come to a resolve to win at any cost, even at the sacrifice of their own lives? What is at the beginning before victory is even in sight?

Surprisingly, I think it’s surrender. It takes surrender to sign your life away and that’s exactly what many brave young soldiers did by joining up for the greatest invasion in history. Victory always requires personal surrender. Real victory only comes when we fully give ourselves to the fight that lies before us. In the words of Winston Churchill, “We shall defend our island, whatever the cost may be, we shall fight on the beaches, we shall fight on the landing grounds, we shall fight in the fields and in the streets, we shall fight in the hills; we shall never surrender.”

In the words of the Apostle Paul, “Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall trouble or hardship or persecution or famine or nakedness or danger or sword? No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us.” Paul says that he is convinced that nothing could ever separate us from the love of Christ who is our victory. We are conquerors through the One from whom we cannot be separated from. When we surrender to the Jesus who has overcome death, hell, and the grave, we are assured of that same victory. When we face a battle, no matter what it is, like brave soldiers who have resolved to follow orders, it’s our surrender to our Lord that guarantees our triumph. Jesus said, “In this world, you will have trouble, but take heart, I have overcome the world”. Be encouraged, victory is yours!

Phase II

Phase II

Bring your phone, your notebook and your Bible! This week we are beginning Phase II. Phase II is our commitment to help you grow deeper in your faith and realize the dreams that God dreams for you! Each church has an organizational aspect. Organization is vital in order for us to accomplish just about anything in this world. God loves to organize things. All creation is organized. But creation is not about organization and neither is the Church. Christianity is about God’s relationship with His people. That’s the main thing. If the people are growing and moving in step with God, the organization will move with them. This Sunday, we will begin a new chapter in the life of our body of believers.

Our Grow Team has been working on what we are calling our Life Course. This clear spiritual path will focus on helping each of us to develop our relationship with God and our friendships with one another. In order to plot the correct course, we must know God, know ourselves and each other. To fully accomplish this vision of worshiping God and helping people, we must follow Jesus, keeping our eyes constantly fixed on Him. He doesn’t just want to grow our organization, He wants to fulfill the purposes that He has imagined for each one of us. His goal for us isn’t simply to plug us into the church organization but to take us far beyond the walls of the church building. He wants you to fulfill the potential that He placed in your heart when He formed you in your mother’s womb. You are full of promise! You are brimming with purpose and possibility. As we continue to say yes to God, we will move ahead in our faith, form deep and lasting friendships and an unshakable relationship with our Creator.

 

Never Give Up

Never Give Up

Never give up on the things that God has put in your heart to do. Everything that He has planned for us is extremely important because the purpose is always to multiply the love of Christ in this world among people. Jesus says that if we do good to others, it’s the same as doing good to Him. It is a form of worship when we speak a kind word, meet a person’s need, forgive someone, or do an unexpected good deed for a perfect stranger. It’s a beautiful thing to follow Jesus and live the way He lived.

However, life and people can be discouraging at times. It can feel like a burden more than a blessing when you are weary. It’s when circumstances and people don’t respond favorably to our obedience, that we feel like giving up. But wait! Don’t give in! Don’t give up! There is proof that God is with you. There is solid evidence that the dream God has given you will materialize.

The scripture says,” Faith is the substance of things hoped for and the evidence of things not seen” (Hebrews 11:1). The word “substance means realization. It is the building material that makes God’s dream in you come to life! The word “evidence” means confidence. You can have confidence that your hope is not in vain because of the very fact that you have that hope in the first place. Your God-placed dream, fueled by the Spirit of the Creator who knows all things will propel you forward into the destiny that He has encouraged you for.

Don’t give up! This present difficulty is no match for the faith God has given you. You can and will be rewarded for your perseverance. Maybe you need help. God will provide a friend. Maybe you need financial assistance. God will make a way. Who can know the impact that your one life will make if you just keep saying yes to God? He says, “love”. You say, “yes”! He says, “forgive.” You say, “yes”! Pray? Yes! Work? Yes! Keep walking? Keep praising? Keep moving ahead one step at a time? Yes, yes, yes, and God’s spirit of perseverance will win! He has a plan and a map for your victory over sin in this life and the death that comes at the end of this life. It’s yours and nobody can take it away from you. So, don’t give it away by giving up.