Freedom. As Americans, we are baptized into it. Whether in our daily practices or in our weekly worship, we experience incredible, unparalleled liberty. For that blessing, we should be unmistakably grateful. I know I am personally thankful to those God has used to secure my very freedom to share His gospel. I recognize that the only reason I can stand to preach Sunday after Sunday without threat of governmental persecution is because the Lord used men and women to secure my rights and privileges. For that,
I offer my gratitude to God!
Of course, we should not only praise Him for our liberty, but we ought also to live responsibly before Him. Unfortunately, many of our fellow countrymen have abandoned their accountability and embraced freedom as a license to sin. We boast in our liberty while rejecting the authority of our Heavenly King. The result? Our nation continues to convulse in violence and hatred. From the political arena to the familial context, chaos and brokenness reign. And through it all, our hearts and spirits seem to melt in disappointment.
I’m convinced that the only hope for our nation is Christ Himself. We must heed the Old Testament revival formula and turn back to Him: “If My people who are called by My name will humble themselves, and pray and seek My face, and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin and heal their land” (2 Chronicles 7:14 NKJV). Genuine repentance is the avenue for restoration, and such change begins with us. As someone rightly wrote, “The church cannot call America to repent until the church repents.” We as God’s people must lead the way back to God in prayer and action. Only then can our land be healed.
This coming Saturday, July 4, provides us opportunity to pause and focus ourselves on where we are and where we should be. Like many other events, our annual Patriotic Program has taken a new form. Our LoveLincoln Freedom Fest will be comprised of an abbreviated presentation of music and word. There will be no on-campus music program this year, but an audio presentation will be available on KRLQ 94.1 beginning at 8:30 p.m. and an audio/video program will be available on live.temple.life at 8:30 p.m. as well. Fireworks will follow at approximately 9 p.m. and will commence from the field west of the church.
In some way, I pray that you will be a part of this weekend of celebration and consecration. Join us in giving honor to whom honor is due . . . especially our veterans, families of veterans, etc. Also, stop and thank the Lord for our law enforcement personnel, first responders, medical professionals, and others who are at the front lines of this pandemic. Furthermore, let’s recommit to living responsibly in love and truth. Let’s redouble our efforts in prayer for our leaders and for our fellow citizens. Let’s be the people He has called us to be! In truth, let’s light up our nation just as the fireworks will light up the dark sky on Saturday night!
I love you, Temple Baptist Church! And I’m grateful we can celebrate and recommit ourselves together to be the salt and the light!