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Wednesday, June 27, 2007

A common component of modern political jargon is the amorphous term ‘liberty.’ President Bush has claimed that the war on terror is a war to preserve our liberties and our way of life. It is also possible for a person to call themselves a ‘libertarian’ in regard to their political leanings. But what does the term liberty mean Biblically? Surely there is something about liberty that the Christian can take to heart in this season of patriotism and songs about the land of the free!
I love what Paul says about liberty and freedom in Galatians. He proclaims the freedom that is found in Christ Jesus, but then he goes on to apply that freedom to the life of the believer. He claims that we were called to freedom by the call of salvation in Christ and that it is for the very act of emancipation from the tyranny of sin that we have been saved. This is not the end, though. At no point are we sanctioned to revel in our liberty, or to even dwell in it. Since freedom has come from sin and death through the blood of Christ, we are then free to become enslaved to one another through love. Paul goes on to say “only do not use your freedom as an opportunity for self-indulgence, but through love become slaves to one another.” Slavery and the loss of liberty is not at issue within the faith community. What is at issue is the instrument of that slavery in our lives. Rather than being slaves to sin and ending up in death, we are to be slaves of love to one another! Liberty is not the point!
Let us be a people who are slaves to love. Yes, we are free, yes we have liberty, but the sign of the mature believer is slavery to one another. We must grow into this image of the believer.

Wednesday, June 20, 2007

Fathers’ Day has come and gone, and what a wonderful Sunday of worship we had! Along with the giving of gifts (you didn’t give another tie, did you?) and making the phone calls (you did call him, didn’t you?) we are surrounded by the memories of our fathers and their impact on our lives. This week I am reminded of my own father’s discipline when I read Galatians 3. My relationship with him has changed in much the same way as Paul explains the advent of grace over the Law.
When I was younger I saw my father as a disciplinarian, as having established rules and guidelines that should be obeyed on pain of punishment. However, as I matured our relationship matured as well. Now, rather than being an insurmountable disciplinarian, he is a voice of guidance, of warning, of grace. I have been set free to be the adult that I must become.
Such it is with the coming of grace into a person’s life. Yes, there is a time when all believers are subject to the Law of God and must be instructed, corrected, and disciplined according to what is right in the sight of God. However, we are called to mature into adult believers who are clothed with the grace of Christ. We absolutely must be mature enough to see beyond the petty squabbles of breaking the rules of the Law and encourage living a life of Grace. Here is the beauty if we do: no longer will there be racism (remember the arguments about immigration?), no longer will there be sexism (remember the arguments about women in ministry?), and no longer will there be a hatred over slavery, for all of us will live like mature believers in the Lord. We will all be clothed with Christ.
So here, in the afterglow of Fathers’ Day, let us take with us the lesson of growing out of the juvenile disciplinarianism of the Law and live in the adult lifestyle of the believer clothed in Christ.

Tuesday, June 5, 2007

Summertime...and the livin's easy...

Ah, summertime! The days are longer and the sweet tea is sweeter in these glorious months. This is usually the time when families get much-needed time together to do things as a family, a time when memories are made and lessons taught that cannot be found in a schoolroom. According to the Church calendar, this is also the season of learning about ‘the saved.’ It is in this time that the church emphasizes time together as a church family, trips to camp and Bible School, all of which serve the same purpose as your own family vacation – we need to get to know one another like family to truly be the family of God.
Our church is trying to do just that this summer. Amongst all of the other activities and camp trips that we’ll be taking, FBC Riesel will be creating a new Church Directory. So many new families have come into our community and church that we need some way to put faces with names. This is the perfect chance to accomplish just that. If you are a member of our church and haven’t been in a while, please be sure to sign up to have your picture taken – if nothing else it will give you an opportunity to see all the great things that the Lord is doing in this community!
Summer Line Up for the FBC Riesel Children’s Ministry
Wednesday nights (Starting June 13): The Big Game and Kid’s Kook – Kids will be able to play games and learn Biblical truths and then have a fun time learning to cook some great dishes and learn to apply God’s wisdom in a new area – the kitchen!
Sunday Nights: Children’s Choir – The children are working on a musical to be performed at the end of June. Come and join us each week at 6:00 for a fun time of praise!