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06.24.02 - Choosing Life - Sexton
06.17.02 - God's Timing - Pelkey-Landes
06.10.02 - WARNING! Deviant Content - Sawatzky
05.27.02 - Missional Pressure - Pelkey-Landes
05.20.02 - RE: If You Love Jesus - Schirmer
05.13.02 - Sounds of Silence - Rushlo
05.06.02 - Trickle Down - Pelkey-Landes
04.29.02 - Campolo Blasts War on Terror
04.22.02 - A Year in the Life - Pelkey-Landes
04.15.02 - Watching Our Words and Our Witness - Kriss
04.08.02 - Notes on Violence and Rage - Petersen
04.01.02 - Who Speaks for God? - Fernandez
03.25.02 - The Good, the Ugly and the Missional in Holy Week - Pelkey-Landes
03.21.02 - Parable of the Microbrew (part II) - Graham
03.18.02 - Parable of the Microbrew (part I) - Graham
03.11.02 - A Conversation on Racism in the Postmodern World - various
03.04.02 - Dreams like Sarah - Lisa Marie
02.25.02 - Just Breathe - Pelkey-Landes
02.18.02 - Lenten Reflection: Communion - Schildt
02.11.02 - Winebibbing with the Cult of the New - Pelkey-Landes
02.04.02 - just -- not a poem - sexton
01.21.02 - Beyond Whining - Pelkey-Landes
01.14.02 - Wake Up Call: Back to Normal after September 11 - Moore
01.07.02 - Follow the Leader - Hartung
12.31.01 - Christ and Camel Spit - Woodley
12.17.01 - Dancing Santa - Pelkey-Landes
12.10.01 - Ted Studebaker: A Love Story - Williams
12.03.01 - Let Go Of Some of This Stuff - Schirmer
11.26.01 - Book Review: Finding Common Ground - Bowers
11.19.01 - The Call - Pelkey-Landes
11.12.01 - September 11 and White Privilege - WiderStand
11.05.01 - A Metaphor that Transforms - Santiago
10.29.01 - Your Time, My Time, Me Time, and God's Time - Schirmer
10.22.01 - Join the Conversation! - Pelkey-Landes
10.15.01 - Sonburned at Soularize - Pelkey-Landes
10.08.01 - Nation can resist evil without using the tactics of violence and retribution - Kotva & Ulery
10.01.01 - Simplicity — To Will One Thing - White
09.24.01 - That Was Then, This Is Now, and You Are Here… - Schirmer
09.17.01 - Come On! - Pelkey-Landes
09.03.01 - Anti-Racist Postmodernism? - Pelkey-Landes
08.27.01 - Really, Really Big Worship Ruts - Morgenthaler
08.20.01 - Your Own Personal Jesus - Riddle
08.13.01 - New Agriculture, New World View - Bowman
08.06.01 - Macro Questions - Pelkey-Landes
07.30.01 - Grace or Holiness … Must We Choose? - Swartley
07.23.01 - The People Formerly Known as Lost - Henderson
07.16.01 - Are We Motivated by Love? - McManus
07.09.01 - Take the Postmodern Reformation Quiz - Pelkey-Landes
07.02.01 - Artist Myths and Beyond - Hartzler
06.25.01 - Transformation For All Of Us - Kriss
06.18.01 - Schleitheim, Shepherds, and 21st Century Leadership - Lapp
06.11.01 - Tenth Anniversary - Pelkey-Landes
05.28.01 - Salvation and Mission - Rolland Unruh
05.14.01 - Looking Beyond Ourselves - Day
04.30.01 - The Ministry of Mapmaking - Green
04.16.01 - On Sinking or Swimming in Postmodern Culture - Pelkey-Landes
The Compass Let Freedom From Freedom Ring
by Will Schirmer

In this country, we are very concerned about our freedom — our nation was founded on the principles of freedom, we go to war for it, we sacrifice for it.

Yet most of Americans don't realize what true freedom is. Oh sure, our nation's Declaration of Independence includes "Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Happiness." Since our nation's constitutional amendments are referred to as the Bill of Rights, we tend to equate the terms freedom and rights. Many Americans believe that freedom is our God-given right. But what does God say about freedom? Is it the same as the freedom we enjoy in America?

In this country, we have what I call Freedom To — Freedom to go where we want, do what we want, choose the jobs we want, choose whether or not to work at all, what we want to buy, if we want to go to a public park, if we want to worship in a church, and if we want to voice our opinion against the government. These are all things we have the freedom to do in our society.

Sometimes, with all this freedom, we can get ourselves in trouble. We can go to places that are not really the best for us. We can get involved in occupations that are not the best for us or society, we can be absorbed in our work to the point our relationships and health suffer, or we can not work and look for the easy way around in life. We can purchase things like liquor and cigarettes and foods that harm our bodies — we can indulge our desires for sensation through entertainment, vacation, pleasure, drugs, or other unmentionables. We can choose to walk by a church and not go inside. We can choose to express words of hate and destruction against others that we see as different. Yes, we have the freedom to do all this, and when someone questions our actions we reply with "it's a free country — I'll do whatever I want!"

The Bible talks about a different freedom — the Freedom From. This freedom, often referred to as "Freedom in Christ," is more of a satisfaction with God that leads to contentment, which results in a freedom from wanting or desiring so many of the things people in our society crave for.

Galatians 5 is a good example of this type of Freedom From. To be free in Christ means to look after each other's needs, and not be caught up in our own selfish desires (verse 13 -21). This freedom brings out the fruit of the Holy Spirit (v22-23). Verse 24 sums it up with "those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the sinful nature with its passions and desires." Other scripture, such as James 1 and 2, 1 Peter 2, and 2 Peter 2, further discuss this freedom and add to it's scriptural definition.

Think of scriptural freedom as being released from a prison sentence, or dragging a ball and chain on your foot for many years and then having it taken off. You now have more time and freedom of movement to focus on God and enjoy what he has for you. What are some of the shackles we face today? Here a just a few:

  • The pursuit of wealth — a big house, an expensive car, an accumulation of material possessions - things that makes us work more, spend time away from people, wear us down physically, and when we accumulate them, they take our time and attention, and most of the time, don't provide the satisfaction we wanted anyway.
  • The obsession with pleasure — We want to party, feel good, go on endless vacations, entertain ourselves with movies, concerts, sports games, many things that are not bad in and of itself, but when we "live for the weekend," they define our existence as merely doing things that make us feel good. Excessive eating, drinking, illicit sexual behavior, drug abuse, are the more destructive ways in which we seek immediate gratification, and end up suffering long-term consequences.
  • Hatred and bitterness towards others — we can hold on the negative feelings about someone or something that has offended or hurt us, even God. We can carry grudges and hurts with us, which rob us of the joy we can experience in life. Jesus offers the alternative of forgiveness to take away this burden.
  • Obsession with one's self — A subtle product of the "me" generation and New Age movement, we can become engulfed in our own thinking, our own opinions, our own way of doing things, to the point where we become self centered and there is no room for other people's opinion in our lives, and no room for God's truth.
These are just some of what most of us can recognize as prisons or fetters in our society. With the exception of some drugs, everything mentioned above is legal, practiced, and accepted in this country. We have the freedom TO do these things, but the greatest freedom is to be free FROM them.

I am not criticizing America or any other nation for the freedoms we have. I am not blaming our freedom for the societal ills we face — these are created by sinful human nature. God chose for me to live in this country. God also chosen for other Christians to live in other nations that do no have the same freedoms we do in the United States. But we all share the common freedom in Christ, which results in peace and true joy, which transcends any freedom given by a government or society.

Galatians 5:22-23 states plainly when it speaks of the fruits of the Spirit: "But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law."

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