Sermon Topic: Freedom
“The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, for he has anointed me to bring Good News to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim that captives will be released, that the blind will see, that the oppressed will be set free, and that the time of the Lord’s favor has come.”
~ Luke 4:18-19
What Luke (and Isaiah) said? That's exactly what Jesus did. That was his mission statement. Jesus healed blind people, and raised dead people, and set free those who were oppressed by demons. He met people right where they were and called down healing over them ... over and over again (at least 40 times in the gospels). In scene after scene, we see Jesus touching people and loving them and proclaiming healing over them. Friends, healing is the stuff Jesus did! And as followers of Jesus, we also are called to be healers and to do "the Jesus stuff." Let's talk about that. Let's get inspired by the healing stories among us to step into the healing life of a Jesus-loving, hand-laying, prayer-proclaiming, trust-and-obeying believer! See you Sunday!
I have a confession to make. For at least half of my life, I really didn’t understand why we “went to church.” I had no vision for anything other than simply trying to please God. Consequently, church for me was … boring. Church struck me as a place where my family was obligated to act happier and holier than we actually were. Can you relate?
What I wish I had understood earlier in my life is that the Christian call to be part of a church community is actually an invitation into a powerfully meaningful life. We all know community is essential. But do we know why? The simple truth is that the Church is God’s plan "A" for bringing healing and restoration to our lives and to our world. So join us Sunday as we dive into what it means to be "Free to be the Church!"
On Sunday, we learned from Paul and the Galatians about all the things we are free from as followers of Jesus. “Freedom from” a crucial step in our spiritual journey, but eventually we have to move on to focusing on “freedom to,” which is all about creating. This is where we get to focus on God’s preferred future. Freedom TO is about going through the right doors at the right time for the right reasons. This Sunday, we focus on the "freedom to" life, and learn from Jesus himself just how life-giving spiritual freedom can be.
We know the invitation to follow Jesus is an invitation into freedom, but too often we put the emphasis on things we are free FROM. We are free FROM guilt, sin, shame ... all the bad things. Of course, it's good to let go of things that have not worked for us, but we do the greatest disservice to Christianity when we make it only a list of things we have to stop doing in order to go with God when the Christian walk offers so much more than just "freedom from." Our faith is very much a freedom TO enterprise. We do the greatest disservice to Christianity when we make it a list of things we have to stop doing in order to go with God. Paul tells us that it is for freedom that Christ has set us free. That's an invitation to explore possibilities.
So let's do that this month! Let's take a few weeks to talk about the things we are free from and how that frees us up to creatively explore all we have been set free TO. Let's look together at what freedom looks like for us especially in this season, and just imagine what God can do! Can't wait to get started!