Where True Freedom Is Found

true-freedom1I was going through marginal notes / verses that I had underlined in the book of Exodus yesterday and something really interesting popped out at me.

Exodus is about the Israelites leaving Egypt and heading to the Promised Land. It’s about a journey. From bondage… to freedom. Burning bush. Plagues. Ten Commandments. Golden Calf. Stuff like that. Not a seamless line but a trek full of rebellion, remorse, and restoration. Kind of like our lives.

But what jumped out at me was how it ends. You would think, as a writer, that you would want to bring some sort of ‘closure’ to the purpose of the book. The journey should end with the arrival at the destination. Wouldn’t that make sense?

But it doesn’t happen that way. The last chapter starts wth the assembly of the tabernacle and tent of meeting that the Israelites were to use to meet and present their sacrifices to God.

But then God shows up. “Then the cloud covered the tent of meeting, and the glory of the Lord filled the tabernacle. Moses could not enter the tent of meeting because the cloud had settled on it, and the glory of the Lord filled the tabernacle.” (Exodus 40:34-35 NIV).

Maybe, just maybe… this ‘is’ the destination for the book of Exodus. For we all set out on a journey from brokenness to healing. We all yearn to be rescued from who we ‘are’ to who we know we ‘can be’. From bondage, to freedom.

And it is here that we see where freedom may be found… in His Presence. We come expecting. He comes filling.

2Corinthians 3:17 says “where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom.” Freedom from our past. Freedom from the junk we’ve faced this past week. Freedom from what is stopping us from moving forward in His plan for our lives.

So today, as we roll out of beds all over the place and head to church, be reminded that being in His Presence is the chief end of the pursuit. That as we come together, we leave all that is holding us back and are led to experience the freedom of being found in His Presence.

At least that’s how I see it,

 

C

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Fudgee-O’s and the Confessions of A Sugaholic!

Fudgee-O

When I got up on the platform on Sunday morning I never really dreamed that I would be THAT honest about how vulnerable I was to temptation! If you didn’t get a chance to hear the message, you can watch it here.

So while we’re being honest, let’s at least admit that we ALL have problems with “Fudgee-O’s”… it’s simply that your version of temptation may be different than mine. For you it may be pornography, or alcohol, or gambling, or a host of other things.

But we all seem to show up to indulge in these temptations in the same place… the ‘dark playground’; that place that you go to ‘play’ where you know you shouldn’t be, but you still try to get as much fun out of your time there.

The sad reality, and unfortunately I speak from experience, is that the ‘dark playground’ is never really that fun of a place to be in the first place. Yes, for a moment you may get a rush from playing with your ‘toxic toys’, eating all those cookies, downing all that alcohol… but you know that lurking in the shadows are other people, just like you, hoarding their toys trying not to be noticed.

It’s not a fun playground to play in at all. For the whole time you are ‘in’ the playground, there is a part of you crying out, pleading with you to leave your toys on the ground and get out!

I shared James 4:7 on Sunday which says to “stand against the devil, and the devil will run from you.” (NCV). Reading on in verse 8 it shows us how to exactly do that… “Come near to God, and God will come near to you… you who are trying to follow God and the world at the same time, make your thinking pure.”

Really? All the times I’ve heard people repeat that verse to “come near to God and God will come near to you” is about Him helping me stay out of the ‘dark playground’?!?! Wow!!!! What a revelation! All I have to do is simply choose to start walking towards God instead of the dark playground… and HE will come near to me; perhaps even as fast as the Father looking for the prodigal son!

So… what do we now do with this awesome news?!? There is an answer to the dark playground… and that is the Light of the Father. I know, it seems so simple… and I also know that the playground will keep on calling and telling you that ‘this’ time it will be SO much better than the other times… ALL the cookies will taste as good as the first! But let’s be honest, we all know that is a lie. The pleasure is NEVER worth the pain.

So I’ll walk past those Fudgee-O’s today. Any encounter those cookies have with me never ends well. Instead I’ll choose to come closer to God knowing that He will come closer to me. Because as you and I both know, the longer you stay away from the dark playground, the more you wonder why you ever chose to go play there in the first place.

At least that’s how I see it,

 

C

Coming Home Is Always Shorter

This past Sunday I sat and listened to Kerry give her testimony… her “Love Story” as she called it. I had never heard the story of the Prodigal Son that way before. It still is affecting me almost a week later.

We often focus on how ‘far’ we have moved away from God rather than how ‘close’ we are able to come back. We forget that He is waiting for us to return back to Him and then starts running to ‘meet us’. HE is the one who shortens the journey back to Him.

At least that’s how I see it,

 

C

PS – We launched a new series for our YouTube Channel called “McK and Mike” and we continued the conversation from Sunday. If you want to hear Kerry’s message you can click on this link right here. Enjoy.

 

 

Die Like You Are Living

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“I am the resurrection and the life. The one who believes in me will live, even though they die; and whoever lives by believing in me will never die.” – (John 11:35 NIV)

Death is a part of life. It’s truly an unfortunate part of life… but it’s part of life nonetheless. Some people are waiting to die. Every morning is another admission that their journey on this side of the grass is not finished yet. They wait, and wait, and wait some more. They wait, because they don’t see a purpose to their existence on this side of eternity.

But there are others who understand that ‘this’ side of the fence is simply just the first round of an eternity ahead of them. And these people choose to make the most of ‘this’ time instead of waiting for death to ultimately, and without exception, make its invitation to eternity.

I like that Jesus told us that through Him we find life… not ‘after they die’, but ‘even though they die’. That means that He is life now… in the present… at this very moment.

I like that we can choose to experience His Life in all that we do today, and tomorrow, and the next day… and each and every day that He gives us until His timing says that it is the appropriate time for us to experience the next wave of His life… eternity.

So today I choose to live my day in the Life that He alone can give. And I’ll choose to live life as long as my heart is beating. For death is only a ‘part’ of life; not the finality of it… so I choose not to live today like I’m dying… but rather die someday in the midst of fully living.

At least that’s how I see it,

Craig

It’s not Kansas anymore!!!

Hello all. I’m starting up a new blogsite for my journey here at Evangel Church. This is going to be kind of cool because I’m starting it at the VERY beginning of my life here in Brantford. As you see this blog develop, I really think that you will be able to see God’s hand weaving His way through the dreams, discussions, decisions, and directions that we make as a church.

Part of this blog is for me. It will be my typepad to get thoughts out and hopefully foster discussion. It will make me continually try to think outside the box – or at least think inside the box knowing that there is an outside the box out there. It will help me process your thoughts as you comment and bring your own thoughts and concerns to the table.

Another part of this blog is for you. It will be my typepad to pour into your lives with thoughts, devotionals, and insights that I have with the express desire to help you grow in your walk with God. It will be an inlet to allow God’s Holy Spirit to speak into your lives and challenge you to move from where you are today and develop more and more into the man or woman that God intended you to be.

Let’s grow together as we all pursue our great God together.

 

Craig