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America was founded on a desire for freedom. Our national holiday to commemorate this event is called Independence Day.

This particular Fourth of July feels very different. Most places will not celebrate with fireworks and the United States of America may be as divided as ever.

As many of us think of freedom and independence over this holiday, I’d like to remind us of the truest form of freedom.

It is very popular to express our freedoms and our rights. The right to free speech, the right to bear arms, and the right to vote.

Combine these Constitutional rights with our human propensity to be self centered and think of ourselves first. Very quickly, something as beautiful as freedom can show its dark side.

A quick glance at the headlines reveals of the fruits which stem from an over emphasis on freedom and independence.

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What is at Stake?

December 2, 2018

When we returned to America as a family 18 months ago, it came as a surprise. Coming into my role as a missions and local outreach pastor, I did not have a set strategy or preset plan.

I had to come with the eyes of a missionary to my “home”. I was a stranger in my own land.

Here are few things I observed about America as I returned, coupled with some thoughts on how we can interact with this reality.

1. The World is Flat.

No, this is not a conspiracy theory, rather an observation of all the traditional missions needs. Issues like poverty, human trafficking, and pain are not “over there, international” issues, but are present right outside our door. Missions no longer requires a passport, it can be done in our own communities.

I think I have heard people encouraged to follow their heart more in the last few months than ever.

The message seems to come in many forms, some wrapped in Christian packaging.

At times the pursuit of our desires leads to something as harmless as a career change or a new hobby.

Other applications of it have ruined marriages and led to a slew of broken commitments and promises.

There are many Facebook quotes weaving this new-found “theology” with Christian lingo.

“Stop worrying about being good, be free.”
and
“Trust yourself to set your own moral compass.” they say.

These quotes are shared and liked hundreds and thousands of times…by Christians!

This should scare us.

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Following your heart sounds nice but has several false foundations it is built on

Will God Love Me More IF…

January 6, 2014

I am guest posting at  Ron Estrada‘s “The Calm Before the Storm” today. I am a part of Ron’s challenge to read 52 books in 52 weeks this year.

The question is, Why? Why would we want to read more?

Is it to improve knowledge? Maybe.
To force yourself through the power of peer pressure to be accountable and read more? Perhaps.

Or, if you are wanting to focus on some Christian books, is it so we will grow in our Christian walk?

If this is the reason, are you hoping to do your part so God will bless you?
Are you hoping if you read more, God will love you more, resulting in your being used by Him more?
Will this make you a more spiritual person?

This might seem like a bit of a stretch.

Do people really believe God loves them more if they read more books?

I volunteer as a tribute..”

The Hunger Games a is part love story, part survival of the fittest adventure, very reminiscent of Survivor.

Each year, in this futurist version of the USA, two competitors from each of the 12 districts are forced to fight the death as a part of the Hunger Games. Some districts are wealthy and train up youth to prepare them to bring their districts glory.

The main character, Katniss, comes from the far off District 12, with no training or hope of winning. She steps into the spotlight when her younger sister, Prim, is chosen to fight. She boldly takes her place as a tribute . She is paired with Peeta, the baker’s son.

The Hunger Games

Without giving away too much of the plot, the story follows these two as they face off against all the other competitors. In riveting fashion, you travel with Katniss in her fight to survive.