I was an adult when I finally came to grips with how often I wasn’t living in the freedom God had for me. I don’t think I understood how prone I was to wander from one prison into another. Although I’ve never been physically imprisoned a single day in my life, that doesn’t mean I wasn’t mentally and spiritually imprisoned. I have come to believe that not living free is an ever-present battle as a result of the fall of humanity in the Garden of Eden.
Ever since we decided that we would like to run our lives instead of entrusting that to God we lost our peace. We claimed to be able to handle what God alone can do. Humanity decided to claim that we can do this “life thing” better without God. In fact, we have claimed in a million different ways that we are free and independent. In our humanistic passion for freedom from the God of Truth, we abandoned the only source of freedom that can truly deliver the goods, so to speak.
God declares to me very clearly in His Word what I need to live free.
Then there is life without God. So, we need to create our own freedom.
This Sunday we will be looking at Galatians 3:23-29 and finding that our peace and hope are found in God’s grace. We will see that even in our tendency for rebelling against God’s rule – He is relentless in His pursuit to bring is freedom. God’s love for us is tenacious and He wants us set free from all the prisons we keep locking ourselves up in. Jesus came to “set the captives free” – and that glorious declaration is for us. See ya Sunday!
What would you want to be said to a crowd of people that gathered to hear your thoughts? What would you say to someone that called you and asked for you to help them with finding purpose in their life? How would you respond to the friend that wants to take you out for coffee and talk about the reason you seem different than her other friends?
I ask you these questions because they are being processed by people all the time whether they verbalize them or not. We are all “leading” and “influencing” people. Does that freak you out or excite you? For most of us, it is probably a little of both. As Children of God, we are living as God’s servants and ambassadors in the world today. The Bible says things such as “God is making His appeal through us” or “we are made in the image of God.” Therefore, our lives are to reflect and bring to light who our God is and what He is like.
This Sunday we are going to look at the primary message Peter delivered to the crowd on Pentecost. God had created interest in the hearts of the people that He had brought together and now Peter was going to tell them what their hearts have always been craving. In Acts 2:14a, 22-41 it is very clear that the message Peter is proclaiming can be summarized in one word – Jesus!
Peter shows the people gathered that Jesus is the long awaited One, He is the Savior and the Messiah. He was the One that the prophets spoke of, He is the One that the Great King David exalted – He is the Christ! Peter tells the crowd that Jesus is the Son of God who was sent by our Heavenly Father to set us free and you killed Him. That is a heavy-duty Law burden that was meant not only for the original hearers, but for us as well. Jesus was killed because of us even if we were not physically present. My sins put Jesus on the cross.
But the story doesn’t end with death; the story ends with the end of death. Jesus rose from the dead conquering sin and death. The message for us is that not only is Jesus all-powerful, but that He is also filled with love and grace. And here is the best of the news – His power, forgiveness, mercy and love has come to you! The message that Peter needed to proclaim in that moment is the message of redemption and acceptance found in Jesus; the One we have been seeking whether we know it or not.
So, back to the original questions. What is your message that defines you? What is the “one thing” that is always worth sharing? What does the image of God in us look like when it is showing through? The answer is always the same – JESUS!
See you Sunday,
Today is the 75th anniversary of World War II D-Day; the first day of the Allied Forces invasion of Normandy. If that doesn’t mean much to you – take a moment to read Wikipedia or some other historical summary. It is always good to learn!
As many of you know, I enjoy history in general and WWII history in particular. If you have interests like mine then June 6, 1944 is a very important date. This is a day in history that has impact upon today both regarding freedom and the cost of that freedom. I grew up with stories of the Normandy landing from a neighbor and a great uncle of mine. Both men would never fail to choke up as they told me of the friends that they lost attempting to establish a beachhead.
A common theme of the men I have encountered that fought in WWII and other wars is that they want to live their lives honoring those that lost their lives in combat. They cannot bring them back, but they can at least say thank you as they remember and live the days they have been given. They can also tell the story that shaped who they became and why it matters.
In many ways, this is similar to our perspective following Pentecost. Acts 2 tells about the outpouring of the Holy Spirit for all just as Jesus promised through the laying down of His life. He brought us freedom, hope, joy and an incredible story to tell. Jesus invaded the enemy’s territory and conquered everything that could destroy us.
It was 50 days after Easter and the followers of Jesus were gathered in Jerusalem. They were waiting and wondering what God was going to do and how He was going to do it. Then it happened! The Comforter, the Counselor or the Holy Spirit, whichever name you use doesn’t matter, was poured out on the followers of Jesus. The message of Jesus was proclaimed in a way that could be understood by all and people believed! The story of the Savior was going out to everyone; whether they were from near or far. The invitation to a life of freedom and fullness was being given to all – in their own language.
Today we are the ones that have been given the task of “storming the beach” for people imprisoned by fear, pride, loneliness, emptiness and lives that are ultimately going nowhere fast. We are called by our God to lay down our lives for others. This is done by giving our time, our resources and even giving up our preferences so that others can meet the God that loves them.
If this seems too big or too complex of a task for you to accomplish, then you are in the right frame of mind. It is out of this very true perspective, that we clearly appreciate and place our hope in the ministry of the Holy Spirit. Pentecost is the outpouring of God’s Spirit into His people. The guidance and power we need lives within us. We humbly step out in faith and reach into the lives of our families or friends because we are following Jesus.
This Pentecost event matters to us today and that is what we are considering on Sunday. See you then!
Today is our spiritual D-day!
Pastor Nick Mundis