Proclaim Freedom

So challenged by Jared Wilson’s words today.

“I don’t know what it was like for you, but I have heard from so many since I started noodling around with this gospel wakefulness stuff that I know I’m not alone in this experience: When the sunlight of Christ, the radiance of God’s glory, broke into the dungeon of my soul, I finally knew what I’d been trying to ask for all along. The all-satisfaction of Christ in his gospel. I was asking for help, for rescue, for restoration, for happiness. Suddenly, in the Spirit’s awakening of me to the gospel, I knew I had been asking for all of Jesus.”

“Perhaps you’ve been there too. Like Amistad‘s Cinque we find our mouths fumbling about with words previously unknown. But they must come out. The routine and rigmarole of daily life — of even church life — begins to grate. What are we doing on these Sunday mornings entertaining everything but our souls with Christ?..”

“So, pastors, I speak as one of you to you, as one of you who was once one of them: Will you continue to preach in such a way that you are tempting your people to finally throw up their chained hands and demand freedom? Are you going on about the business of religious busywork, as dynamic and heartwarming as it may sound, and neglecting the very power that provides the freedom to run for the prize?”

“As we prepare not just for Sunday sermons but for the entire life of our ministry, let us plan with this heart-cry, known and unknown, foremost in our minds: “Give us free!” Don’t make your people beg you to give them free. Give them free at every opportunity.”

Read the rest here. And go, give them free!

 

Freedom for freedom’s sake…

I haven’t spent much time talking about the goings on in North Africa or the Middle East mostly because I have been hunkered down with school and work. While the American media is more inclined to tell an audience what Charlie Sheen is up to, I have still been trying to stay on top of events in the region.

The unrest is interesting to me because people are finding their voice for the first time and expressing their displeasure with corrupt and uncaring leadership. It is a pursuit of freedom – one the U.S. only experienced in such a raw form over 200 years ago. In these countries though, a new freedom has much greater implication than who taxes a people. This “Jasmine Revolution” is about an openness an autonomy the region has never realized in history. And perhaps for the first time, a whole generation will have the opportunity to hear of Christ.

I don’t expect a dramatic conversion of nations over night but just the opportunity to present truth in these lands with be a significant change. While Egypt has a large Christian population, countries like Tunisia or Libya have few indigenousness believers. Maybe things will shift in this season.

In our global context, freedom is no longer only pursued for freedom’s sake. The ramifications are so much larger and vitally important. My prayer is that those seeking freedom realize true and complete freedom in the gospel…

The End of OIF

Seven years and a lot of sacrifice. The war is over (“combat operations”) in Iraq and the hope of security can be acted upon by the people once oppressed by a tyrant.

My experience in Iraq was formative. I met heroes and I still have talented friends working in country. It was not without mistake but I believed in the purpose and I pray for the people affected by our efforts. My prayer now is for the future of the Middle East and a secure government in Iraq.