Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Undiluted Gospel - Our Freedom!

Dear Family in Christ,

We talk a lot about freedom in our country. At the climax of our national anthem we sing that we are “the land of the free.” We celebrate our freedom here and rightly so. It is hard earned. Worth defending. We cherish it. It is a gift of God.

But what is freedom—true freedom? Is it the right to just do whatever we personally think will make us happy, whenever we want to do it, regardless of the consequences to ourselves or others? Is true freedom behavior without boundaries?

This Sunday in our series Undiluted Gospel we’re going to hear how Jesus alone gives us true freedom. He sets us free from slavery to sin and guilt so that we might then live for God by loving others. This freedom is also hard earned. It is worth defending. We’ll even celebrate and sing how those “whom the Son sets free are free indeed!”

It is for freedom that Christ has set us free. Stand firm, then, and do not let yourselves be burdened again by a yoke of slavery (Galatians 5:1).

  • Did you enjoy having Chris Driesbach as a guest musician Sunday? I sure did. It especially made an impact on me to hear him introduce his songs in the context of his life story. Personal stories are powerful, aren’t they? Especially when it’s a story of the gospel’s power!
  • Also, thank you everyone who gave a free will offering to help cover Chris’ traveling costs. And in case you’re wondering, I’m especially enjoying his kids’ album “Feed Your Faith.” I’d go so far as to say it’s a must have for families. Next time Chris comes we’ll buy a few more to have around and give away to new families. But in the meantime you can buy “Feed Your Faith” or any of Chris’ other CD’s from Northwestern Publishing House.
  • In the last couple weeks I’ve seen the power of the gospel firsthand and had the privilege to baptize a number of adults and kids. Nothing better than that! I’ve seen people start coming to church and wanting to grow in their faith. I’ve heard people express they want to start learning more about the Bible in a Bible 101 group. I praise God for these opportunities! I also praise him for the opportunity to minister to people in moments of crisis, tragedy, and sorrow. In the last few weeks I’ve been ministering to people who’ve experienced the suicide of a loved one, a stillborn child, and the co-sleeping death of a little 4 month old.
  • So friends, please remember to pray for me as your pastor. God is giving me and our church family some tremendous opportunities to reach out to people in their grief with the comfort of the gospel. I say this also just to encourage you to remember… that on any given Sunday, no matter how you feel coming to church, there is likely someone else coming there who is hurting badly too. That someone may also be coming to church for the very first time… or in their mind, their very last… depending on whether they feel welcome, loved, and accepted. This Sunday in particular I’m hopeful that one young individual will be able to work up the courage to come to our church for the first time, perhaps the first time she’s ever been to church. Hopefully we will get to show her the love of Jesus!
  • Your prayers are also requested today for Naomi from our church who’s flying out today to Asia on a mission trip with students from Wisconsin Lutheran High School.
  • Finally, many of you have asked about my wife Sarah’s Mom. Thank you for your kindness and prayers. Mom is starting in-home hospice care today. In a few days she will be moved to a hospice facility. We are told to expect that in a couple days she will slip painlessly into a coma and then peacefully wake up in heaven. In the meantime our home here at the parsonage continues to be a hub of activity as we host people coming to say good-by to Mom. Sarah has been quite busy caring for Mom as well. We are so thankful that Mom knows the victory of her Savior which is hers by faith in Him who conquered death! As believers in Jesus we have the joy in knowing that our “Good-bys” are really just “See you laters.”

Sharing Christ’s Victory,

Pastor Ben

No comments:

Post a Comment