Posts Tagged ‘independence’

Before we go any further, I want to tell you what this post is not. It’s not a patriotic or political post. Politics have been done to death and my life is so much happier since I’ve started pushing them further and further off the front burner of my life. It’s also not in any way bagging on America. I consider having been born and raised in the U.S. to be one of the great blessings God has given me. Independence Day is the day we celebrate the U.S. breaking free from England and becoming a sovereign nation and while this nation is far from flawless, it’s still a good place to live and grow and raise a family and not matter your views on immigration, there are a lot of people taking great risks to be here. I appreciate this land… but that’s not what I am talking about.

See there’s a downside to independence. No not the freedoms we enjoy in this nation, but in this idea that so many people carry that they’re independent and they don’t need anyone else. That can be a huge problem and it is not the way God designed us to be. No friends we were not created for independence. We were created for relationships. Thing about the body of Christ image from 1 Corinthians 12. Paul writes about how all these parts (people) come together to form one cohesive whole, a church that represents Christ to the world. We’re diverse and different, but when we bring those differences together and we each bring our best to the table and work together, we can do things that we could never accomplish independently. In the case we were not created for independence, but rather interdependence, depending on each other to do more together than we could ever do apart. As creatives, this plays out every time we collaborate or work with others in any way. One of the great freedoms we can find in the creative life is when we realize we don’t do everything well and allow ourselves to “out-source” our weaknesses to those for whom our weaknesses are strengths.

And then there’s the other element to be considered. We were also created to be totally and completely dependent on God. What did Jesus say? “Apart from me you can do nothing…” This is the truth of our existence as human beings. Whether we know it or not, whether we choose to believe it or not, we depend on God for everything from the air we breathe, to the world we walk on. When we acknowledge our dependence it frees us from having to solve and control everything and that may be the greatest freedom there is.

Celebrate your independence, but don’t forget to revel in your interdependence and the relationships it can create and, of course, never forget your total dependence on God, because in all of this we find true freedom.


Well today, if everything goes according to plan, I’m spending most of the day in my van. My prayer is that I”m speeding (at a responsible, legal level) across the states of Indiana, Ohio and Pennsylvania. That’s the plan, Lord willing. I was a little hesitant to try to make the whole trip today, because holidays can be less than fun travel days, but I want to get home, I miss my family and a family at church needs me, so here I go.

It’s the fourth of July, or as we call it here in America, Independence Day. It’s the day we declared our independence from what was at time an oppressive regime. While I value our national independence, I’m not a big fan of some forms of independence. Maybe I’m not saying that right. Let me see if I can say it better. We Americans value our independence, and when it comes to a lot of things, that is okay, but when it comes to our lives as individuals, independence is something of an illusion, especially for Christians. You see when it comes to God, we are anything but independent. We are totally dependent on God and we ignore that at our peril. We depend on Him for everything from the air we breathe to the ground upon which we stand. There is not a moment of our lives when we are not dependent on our sovereign Lord.

But wait, there’s more. When it comes to community and especially church we are also anything but independent. Think about it, for everything you can do, there are a thousand things you can’t. For example, I was talking to a retired E.R. nurse the other day, who was relating a story about one of her first experiences in her career. Suffice it to say, I would have been passed out on the floor. God made her able to do what I cannot, and as a result I am glad there are people like her around. People who can do what I cannot. I’m sure, were our conversation longer, we would have found somethingI can do that she cannot and that’s sort of the point. God did not make any of us completely independent. Rather he made us interdependent, so that, in addition to depending on Him, we would also have to depend on each other. That way we will respect and maybe even love each other. It seems that’s pretty important to Him. “They will know you are my disciples by the way you love one another…” remember! “We are many parts but one body…” We need to remember that one too.

So today as we celebrate our independence as a nation, let us also celebrate the God we can depend on completely and all the wonderful people God has put into our lives who do what we cannot and who in the process make life very, very rich.

FREEFROM33ADToday in the U.S. is Independence Day. It’s a day when we celebrate freedom. In the midst of your celebration, please remember a few things. First of all freedom isn’t free. Many people paid a high price so we could experience the blessings we have today. Likewise, the freedom we have is not guaranteed. It’s a blessing to be appreciated and protected. The choices we make as individuals and as a nation have consequences. If we desire a better nation, it requires better choices. We Christians often lament the things happening here, but the truth is, this is a nation that selects it’s leaders. A populace that follows Jesus will elect leaders that follow Jesus. If the nation is not following Jesus, the Church has work to do.

For Christians, freedom is less about who we elect to lead us and more about who we elect to follow. If we will elect to follow Jesus, if we will live to help others follow Jesus, we will see the change that we desire. Jesus gave us the pattern and the command.”“All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.” If this were our focus, we would begin to see change. We know this to be true.

Remember, real freedom came in 33 a.d. when Jesus laid down His life for our sins and rose again. “Very truly I tell you, everyone who sins is a slave to sin. Now a slave has no permanent place in the family, but a son belongs to it forever. So if the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed.” Be free indeed.

Follow Jesus.

Happy Independence Day to all my American friends.

On this day that we celebrate freedom, there is one verse that comes to mind.

It is for freedom that Christ has set us free. Galatians 5:1

There are many times that our society laments that our freedoms are being taken away and some day it may actually happen, but the freedom that the Bible speaks of is a freedom that can never be taken.

Creatives, we need to create in that freedom. We need to follow the Lord to create the amazing works that the Lord lays on our hearts. There will always be those inner, and sometimes outer voices, that try to keep your gift wrapped up neatly in the box. Ignore those voices and create. The only inner critic we need to pay attention to is the Spirit of the living God. If we will work in the wonderful space between independence from the world and total dependence on God, we can create in complete freedom. Ask yourself, “Can what I am about to create bring honor and glory to God?” and if the answer is yes, create boldly and in total freedom.

The Bible also says “He who the Son sets free is free indeed.”

You are free in Christ. Create freely to the glory for your creator.

On this, my nation’s birthday I’ve had some thoughts related to my daily devotions. You see I’m on a one year Bible reading plan through the Chronological Bible. As providence would have it that means I am working through the books of 2 Kings and 2 Chronicles along with some of the prophets. This is the period of time in biblical history when the divided nation Israel is falling to the Assyrians and the Babylonians. God’s chosen people were feeling the consequences of their sins and found themselves in exile, far from the promised land.

Their crime was idolatry. Their history was cyclical. They cried out to God and He rescued them and blessed them. Then they would trust more in their blessings than their God and would fall away, following instead the idols of the surrounding culture, which would inevitably lead to their downfall, at which point they would cry out to the Lord and cycle begins again.

How much different is this than what we are seeing around us? We are one of the most blessed, most prosperous nations the world has ever seen, but somewhere along the way, we have forgotten where our blessings came from to the point where we trust in our own prosperity and God is pushed out to the periphery. It’s gotten to the point where the very mention of His name in certain circles is grounds for a law suit and freedom of religion has been corrupted into freedom from religion. We have become our own gods and our idolatry is reaping consequences that defy the imagination.

Don’t believe me? Judge for yourself. Our money says “in God we trust” but with God out of the picture, we trust in our money and what is money? Pictures of dead presidents printed on paper that has value for one reason and one reason only, because we said so. It’s an idol we need to continually prop up with what? More dollars, to the tune of trillions of dollars. Gold is no better, it’s a shiny rock made valuable for much the same reason.

Then in an election year like this one we show we trust in politicians. I think of the near messianic adulation Barack Obama received in 2008. Hear this and hear it well, I have nothing against President Obama and I pray for him. This is not a political message. But when a society tries to keep a candidate from acknowledging the Messiah, they expect him to BE the Messiah and no man is that good. Let me ask a question, if politics and politicians could solve our problems, don’t you think they would have done it by now? The strength of our government is also its greatest weakness, they “derive [their] just powers from the consent of the governed.” The problem is us, the governed. We get to elect our leaders and we elect them based on how well they serve our idols. Our problem is idolatry. We need to return our worship to the only One who deserves it.

Solomon said there is nothing new under the sun and he’s right. This has all happened before so let’s learn the lesson. Let’s fall to our knees before we are driven to our knees and reach our hands to the Lord, the merciful God who has blessed us so richly. Church of Jesus Christ, this all starts with us. We need to proclaim the Gospel. We need to be about the ministry of reconciliation that has been entrusted to us. It is clear, we are a nation that needs to be reconciled to it’s God. After all as Romans 10 says, ““Everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.”

14 How, then, can they call on the one they have not believed in? And how can they believe in the one of whom they have not heard? And how can they hear without someone preaching to them? 15 And how can they preach unless they are sent? As it is written, “How beautiful are the feet of those who bring good news!” Church, preaching is our job and we need to do it.

Let’s learn our lesson from ancient Israel we may be a free country, but we are not all that independent as a matter of fact we are totally dependent on God. We need to remember that everything we have is a gift from Him. We need to return our trust to where it belongs and may God bless America.

Blessed is the nation whose God is the LORD…Psalm 33:12
Blessed is the nation whose God is the Lord, Psalm 33