Thursday, July 05, 2012

Created for Freedom

Then you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.”  John 8:32

The Community Center Block Party was a tremendous success!  Anthony Mejia reported that he had never seen so many people at the Community Center in his life. Thank you to everyone who invited and participated in that outreach. I marvel at the magnetic draw of healthy community. 

I marvel more at freedom.  While I have unspeakable gratitude for the freedoms we experience in our country, and for the men and women who serve our country to give us that freedom, I am absolutely blown away at the freedom we have in Christ.  This morning, I made a short list. 

Because of Jesus, I am free…
from a prison of fear, worry and hopelessness.  (Psalm 146:7)
from believing and living in lies about myself, others, culture.  (John 8:32)
from the penalty, grip and power of sin; it can’t control me anymore.  (Romans 6:18)
in the power of the Holy Spirit to worship and glorify God with my life.  (2 Corinthians 3:17)
to be generous with my life, love, “stuff” and money.  (Matthew 10:8)
from our greatest enemy, death!  (1 Corinthians 15:55)
from the lies, threats and power of Satan and his demonic minions.  (Colossians 2:15)

We celebrate our national freedom once a year as a country; we should be celebrating our spiritual freedoms every day as followers of Christ!  This Sunday we will be celebrating the freedom of our salvation big time. 

What can you expect on Sunday? Awesome community, celebrating the Lord’s Supper, and digging in the Word.  We’ll be looking at how Jesus brought freedom to a demon-possessed man.  Read up in Luke 8:26-39 and come ready to celebrate.  We were created for freedom!

I love being your pastor!

Sunday, July 01, 2012

The Hope in the Storm

Since, then, you have been raised with Christ, set your hearts on things above, where Christ is seated at the right hand of God.  Set your minds on things above, not on earthly things. Colossians 3:1-2

Following Jesus does not always equate to a proverbial stroll through the park. Usually it is likened to a tour of duty through a warzone. I am not sure how the insipid mindset crept into my psyche, but somehow I have bought into the subtle lie that following Jesus rendered a life where every prayer was answered with a yes, every human dream came true, every disease was healed and every injustice was made right. It is why I am shocked every time pain enters into my life or our community. We can mistake abundant life (John 10:10) as an untroubled life.

That mistaken view, while destructive and false, is evidence of a longing placed in us all from God, evidence of our true home, evidence that we were made for more. C.S. Lewis said it best in Mere Christianity:

“If I find in myself desires which nothing in this world can satisfy, the only logical explanation is that I was made for another world.”

This week I have been struck anew by the deceptive and insidious nature of this sin-cursed world. In the last 24 hours, prayer requests have crossed my in-box ranging from a 19-year-old female college student who is missing in Sacramento to friends who have lost their home in Colorado because of a wildfire and everything in between. Disease, broken marriages, deceit, betrayal…the list goes on and on.

It reminds me why we exist, friends. Because Jesus loved this world, saw the brokenness and couldn’t stay idle, He came not to condemn the world, but to rescue it (John 3:16-17). He left His word, His church and His Holy Spirit as redemptive agents to be His hands and feet to love and heal the wrongs that cause pain and to make things right.

So I speak to us who call PCC home, to the multitudes who submitted prayer requests this week…there is hope and hope has a name – Jesus! Regardless of circumstance, take heart literally that NOTHING can separate you from His love, and that this journey, if in Christ, ends well with Jesus (Romans 8:37-39).

I am amazed at God’s sovereign timing. This week we venture with Jesus and the disciples into a storm. Read up in Luke 8:22-26 and join us in one of our three gatherings this weekend.

I also am calling all of us to gather on Wednesday, July 11 from 7-8:30pm for a night of prayer and worship as we focus on our coming ministry season that starts this fall. I will be announcing that night the definitive times of our weekend gatherings, reflecting on the process we have been through, and we will be praying together.

I love being your pastor!