Skip to main content

Freedom

In January of 1991 an original copy of the 200 year old Bill of Rights was on exhibit in Montgomery, Alabama. Despite my sister’s displeasure, I was selected during my sophomore year of high school to join her senior class on a field trip to see this historic collection.

For years I had studied about these archives and I was excited to see them first hand. I remember standing around the dense, protective glass of the documents and reading it as if it were the first time. 

The first amendment to the U.S. Constitution begins with the following words: “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof;” 

I had no idea at that time that I would one day be a pastor or that these words would even need to be explained. As a fifteen year old, the words seemed abundantly clear. As citizens of the United States of America we have the freedom to worship.  

The concept of freedom for a purpose has biblical roots. 

“Go back to Pharaoh,” the LORD commanded Moses. “Tell him, ‘This is what the LORD, the God of the Hebrews, says: Let my people go, so they can worship me.’” Exodus 9.1 (NLT) 

The original intent of freedom for the Israelites in their release from slavery in Egypt was not political or even to ease human suffering. Freedom for the Israelites is not simply a metaphor for overcoming individual societal limitations. The purpose of freedom for the Hebrews was for worship of the one true God. 

We enjoy exceptional freedom as citizens of this great country. We are constitutionally free to pursue liberty and fulfill the desires of our hearts. We have the opportunity to be truly free.  

Freedom for our souls is not found in reckless abandon without any limitations. We were created with a deep longing for God. We are never fully free until our souls find the forgiveness of the cross of Christ and we are bound to the One who formed us.  

As we celebrate our political freedom, may we freely exercise our right to worship the living God and find liberty for our souls.

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

Casper the friendly atheist

Allow me to put on my educational hat for a review. I freely admit that it is much easier to critique a book than it is to write one.

Book review: Jim and Casper Go to Church

I recently read a new book, Jim and Casper Go to Church, and it has sparked my thinking related to church growth. Jim (a former Pentecostal preacher) hired Casper (a self-proclaimed atheist) to attend church services with him and give his impressions of the services. The premise of the book was irresistible to me as I wish to see the church from the blind side of Johari’s window. I enjoyed the case studies in this book, but I think the authors went too far with their applications.

Jim and Matt’s book was worth the read for me because it made me think, but not for the reasons the authors intended. All truth claims must be evaluated before acceptance into the core of church life. I think that this book fails to provide compelling evidence of truth for most churches.

From a research standpoint the book says more than it…

Why people don't go to church

As a pastor, one of the consuming questions with which I wrestle is “Why don’t people go to church?” In particular, the question is “Why don’t people come to my church?” If you doubt that people are opinionated, ask this question to a group of church people on a Wednesday night. I’ve studied church growth for several years, and I have a number of opinions about the matter myself. But, I wonder if we are asking the right question to the wrong people.

Several researchers in the last few years have begun asking people who don’t attend church why they don’t attend church, and the answers are interesting. George Barna asked this question and provided the answers in his book, Grow Your Church from the Outside In. The top five reasons that people gave for not attending church comprise 83% of the reasons why people don’t come to church.

1. No time; schedule conflicts; working 26%
2. Not interested; nothing to offer; no reason 16%
3. Don’t know 15%
4. My beliefs are different than the church’s 14%
5…

Do good people go to heaven?

When I was on a date in high school one night, I slid off a slippery road and got my car stuck in a muddy ditch. These were the days before cell phones (except for KITT on Knight Rider), and I wasn’t sure how I would get my car back on the road. Within minutes a guy came driving by on a tractor (thank God for growing up in the country), and asked if I needed help. He quickly pulled me out of the ditch and went on his way barely giving me time to say thanks. My car wasn’t damaged and a simple visit to the car wash concealed all evidence that I was driving too fast on a wet road. This experience and many others have taught me that there are a lot of good people in this world.

With so many good people in the world, I am faced with the question of whether or not good people go to heaven. Over the years I have encountered several well intentioned people who have insisted that they simply don’t need Jesus. Most of these people believe in God and believe that God will give them a fair shake w…