“And you shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free.” John 8:32 NKJV


As Americans, we value freedom. It is one of the core principles of our foundational documents. The Declaration of Independence states:


We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty, and the pursuit of Happiness.

Our Founders realized that the right to liberty, a synonym of freedom, is God given. That right does not come from man, or man’s government, but from God. In fact, one of the greatest gifts God gave us is a free will.


Because Americans are free, we have such rights as free speech, freedom of the press, religious freedom, freedom of assembly, and others. The very nature of these freedoms at times produces competing truth claims. Sometimes, when emphasizing these claims, the person may state; “the truth shall make you free.”


Politicians, activists, scientists and even some atheists will use this statement to reinforce their point. Sometimes, even well-intended Christians will us this statement as well. The problem is that this statement is taken out of context.


In fact, I believe it is one of the most misinterpreted and misapplied verses in the Bible. What did Jesus mean when He made this statement? The context of this verse in found in the verse just before it. John 8:31-32 says: Then Jesus said to those Jews who believed Him, “If you abide in My word, you are My disciples indeed. And you shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free.”


Cleary then Jesus is not talking about all truth claims. He is specifically talking to believers. The truth He is pointing to is His teachings. The context of the statement is discipleship. When we follow Him, we can know the truth. It is that truth that sets us free. Jesus teaches us that He is the Truth. That truth is embodied in Jesus.


When Jesus sets us free, we are free indeed. Even though we live in a free country, there are millions of Americans who have not experienced true freedom. Let us be known as a church that points others to the One who truly sets us free.


I love you and it is a privilege to be your pastor.


Jeff

Updated: Jun 2


“My son, hear the instruction of your father, and do not forsake the law of your mother.” Prov. 1:8 NKJV

IAs Father’s Day approaches, I have been thinking about my dad and some of the advice he gave me growing up. Since my dad was a long-distance truck driver and not around every day, my mom was the main disciplinarian. You could sum up his advice to me as a kid as follows: “Jeffie, just do what your momma tells you to do.”

As I got older, my dad would give me advice from time to time. He was not a Christian until I graduated high school, so his advice had to do with mostly nonspiritual matters. Sometimes I followed his advice and sometimes I did not. Most of his advice was to help me avoid some of the mistakes he made.

In the Bible, the book of Proverbs is a collection of instruction and practical advice for daily living. The book is attributed to Solomon, who is called the wisest man. Many scholars believe Solomon may have authored this book later in life so he could give instructions to his children. Like my dad, some of the advice seems to be given so that they do not make the same mistakes he made.

In Proverbs 1:8 Solomon writes: “My son, hear the instruction of your father, and do not forsake the law of your mother.” The word translated “hear” has the same meaning as listen and obey. It is one thing to hear the instruction, but it is effective only if you obey.

Solomon, in all his wisdom, did not always follow his own advice. It does not mean the advice was not good advice. It just means the advice was not acted upon.

Part of the problem with our culture today is the lack of fathers in the lives of children. Without a father, they are left to follow advice from others, many of whom do not have their best interest at heart. If you are a dad, the best thing you can do is to be honest with your kids when you share your advice.

Our heavenly Father gives us perfect advice. His instruction for us is always good and right. His advice does not come from the mistakes He made, but because He knows we are human and will make mistakes.

My dad made mistakes. I have made mistakes. Solomon made mistakes. His sons and grandsons after him made mistakes. All those mistakes were placed on the cross. The best advice any of us can give is the advice to follow Christ as your Savior and Lord.


I love you and it is a privilege to be your pastor.


Jeff


"For though we live in the world, we do not wage war as the world does" 2 Corinthians 10:3 NIV


On Thursday, February 24, 2022, Russia invaded Ukraine. As the news began to break, images of warfare began to appear on our TV screens, computers, and phones. Our hearts went out to the Ukrainian people as bombs were dropped on major cities. The target for those weapons included civilian locations like apartment buildings and shopping centers. Each day brought more devastating images of urban warfare.


On Sunday, March 6, ten days after the war began, a surprising image appeared in my news feed. It was not a typical image you would associate with war. It was the image of an outdoor wedding on the battlefield.


The wedding was a typical wedding ceremony in many ways. It had a military chaplain performing the ceremony, a musician, a wedding cake, a bouquet, wedding rings, a groom, and a bride with a veil. The only difference, everyone wore camouflage. The bride and groom had become civilian volunteers in the Ukrainian Army to stay and defend their city of Kyiv.


As I watched the video and saw the images of the bride in camo, I began to think about our relationship with Christ. The Bible teaches us the church is considered the bride and Christ is the groom. The Bible also teaches us that we are engaged in a spiritual battle. When we become a Christian, we become a soldier.


The battle we wage is not against flesh and blood. Paul uses battlefield language to teach us the difference. The above verse is translated in the NLT: “We are human, but we don’t wage war as humans do.” The following verse states: “We use God’s mighty weapons, not worldly weapons, to knock down the strongholds of human reasoning and to destroy false arguments.” NLT


The battlefield we fight on is a spiritual battlefield. We fight for the hearts, minds, and souls of people, as well as our own. Yes, we are a bride, but we are also a soldier. Let us be known as a church that knows how to engage in spiritual warfare as the battle rages all around us for our families and churches.


I love you and it is a privilege to be your pastor.


Jeff

Pastor's Blog

Featured Posts
Recent Posts
Archive
No tags yet.