What are you looking for freedom from?

I have been meditating on freedom lately, as I prepare to meet – my wife and I with another dear Christian couple to study the Bible together. We gather regularly, like so many of you do, in hopes of gleaning some practical wisdom for our lives. I may not know much about you; or know you at all, but one thing I think probably describes us all. We are looking for true freedom. Maybe its freedom from addiction. Maybe its freedom from past hurt. Maybe its freedom from unhealthy thoughts that plague your mind. I know each of those circumstances must bring much pain to those who bear those burdens. I certainly don’t want to make light of those situations. In fact, I mean to answer them. I mean to help you truly address them which this next statement.

The Bible describes all of humanity as being in bondage to sin and death.

Fundamentally, we suffer from all other forms of bondage (no matter the arena it appears in) because of this one basic fact that tragically unites all of humanity. The New Testament states is bluntly, “Therefore, just as sin entered the world through one man, and death through sin, in this way death spread to all people, because all sinned” (Romans 5:12). One thing I have truly come to appreciate about the Bible is its varied and often picturesque way of communicating our origin, our problem, and the remedy. For instance, in one of those picturesque moments, the Bible describes us as, “…you were dead in your trespasses and sins in which you previously lived according to the ways of this world, according to the ruler of the power of the air, the spirit now working in the disobedient” (Ephesians 2:1-2). 

We truly feel and experience empathy for those of us who are going through difficult times or feel that they are in bondage to something. We are truly hope for liberation – for freedom. And I wish that for each of you!

So recently I was reading the New Testament book of Romans – chapter 1 verse 17. Though the language might not strike you as endearing, it speaks to true freedom. That big word justified can be simply be read as just as if I’d never sinned. You see, fundamentally, all our bondage traces back to human sin. However, God wants mankind to experience freedom through Jesus Christ. And the good news is that God takes care of everything that needs to be done for us! He sends Jesus to die for our sins. Jesus lives a perfect life and by some miracle God chooses to take his perfection….and give it to us!! So, it is just as if we had never sinned. What awesome news. I hope you come to experience true freedom through Jesus Christ, particularly as the holiday season is coming fast open us.

If you’d like to hear more about this freedom; if you’d like to know how you can conquer addiction and bondage in your own life, let me invite you out to our Home Bible Study at Fellowship that meets Sunday afternoons at my home. You can send us a message through out website at www.renewchurch.me

 

True Longings in Life

Could you imagine living your life without true longings in your soul?

That would be hard to imagine, wouldn’t it? I mean, come on, isn’t longing and desire what gives life its zest? Can you imagine navigating our short existence on this terrestrial ball without desires, aspirations, hopes, dreams? That would be a pretty poor way to experience life!

Good news is we were never intended to go through life with such robotic mechanicalism – without ever experiencing the longings that induce our emotions to laughter, to tears – from joy to sadness, from gratitude to generosity – and so on. And to make sure we fully understand that true longing in life is at the heart of the very existence of every human being, God gave us the book of Psalms! This one, in particular, has always meant much to me and I have been feasting from it again lately:

 Psalm 46

God is our refuge and strength,
a helper who is always found
in times of trouble.
Therefore we will not be afraid,
though the earth trembles
and the mountains topple
into the depths of the seas,
though its water roars and foams
and the mountains quake with its turmoil. Selah

There is a river—
its streams delight the city of God,
the holy dwelling place of the Most High.
God is within her; she will not be toppled.
God will help her when the morning dawns.
Nations rage, kingdoms topple;
the earth melts when he lifts his voice.
The Lord of Armies is with us;
the God of Jacob is our stronghold. Selah

On first read of this Psalm, you might be prone to think it’s more about God than it is our own creative intent to long. However, look again. Isn’t igniting deep, soul-intoxicating longing for God the point of King David who wrote it? Actually, David’s soul is already aflame with such impassioned longings for God that he can’t keep it to himself!

Niagra Falls

It overflows into this piece of beautifully inspired poetry – right into our own lives, like the waters of Niagara Falls that cascades into Lake Ontario below it.  And speaking of a river – did you notice one is mentioned in this Psalm? The character of God is of such mind-blowing boundaries and significance that David needs to employ picturesque language throughout the Psalm in order to scratch the surface of the depths of wonder of our heavenly father. 

Won’t you go to him today to have the match of the wonder of God struck aflame? Long, and long deeply for more of him – in the middle of this complicated terrestrial ball we call home? Don’t settle for such paltry, passing longings this broken world will offer – hold out for more of God!

Plocinski Summer BBQs

Join the Plocinski family
for some summer cookouts!

Saturday, July 8th and
Saturday, August 19th

Don’t bother choosing a date, we’d love to see you at both!

The fun starts at 3pm!

burger-dog

The Plocinski’s
2 Ledgewood Drive
York, ME 03909
(Just off of Rt. 103)

 

RSVP |
Please call Ron and Melissa at
207-606-0421 and leave a message

If you’d like to bring a dish to share, please
contact Melissa. Meats and beverages provided!

CHILDREN WELCOME TO
ENJOY THE BOUNCE HOUSE!

Longing to Labor in Prayer

Well, it shouldn’t come as a surprise to any of us but, we are a nation that prays!

Prayer

Research organizations who specialize in polling statistics have for many years chronicled the fact that Americans are a people who pray. The Pew Research organization recently published that “55% of Americans say they pray every day.” Since we as a nation are direct descendants of our English Puritan ancestors who first landed at Plymouth over 300 years ago, it shouldn’t surprise us that prayer is still deeply ingrained in our national identity. Of course, this supposed commitment to prayer should not be taken as any clear evidence of our understand or commitment to a thoroughly biblical understanding of the Christian faith or a biblical understanding of prayer. Notwithstanding, the fact that so many of our friends an neighbors, Christian or not, have a tendency towards prayer is a great pre-evangelism tool. That is, it can be used as a discussion starter that can then lead to a Gospel presentation.

But enough of that for now. Moving on to what is a thoroughly biblical understanding and commitment to heart-felt prayer – I long to pray more! In fact, I long to become one who labors in prayer as the constant mode of my life.

How are you doing at it? What are you doing to elicit it in your life? For many yearsI have wanted to grow deeper in my understanding of a biblical theology of prayer while at the same time growing more practiced in a continual habit of effectual, biblical prayer. As part of this, we recently spent a few Sundays studying prayer in our Sunday evening small group in our home, as part of Renew Community Church – the Church plant that I lead. One of the last verses we studied on prayer was this one by the Apostle Paul – Pray Continually.” Short and to the point – right? Well, I want to excel in what Paul means by this. I want that spiritual life indelibly marked out by an unceasing prayerful attitude.

I long to be so intimate with my heavenly father that I pray unceasingly – that I pray just like my savior did in his short life on this earth!

And as our church plant gets started – Renew Community Church, my desire has been that we become a church that fulfills this command on prayer, not only individually but corporately as well. I long for Renew Community Church to become a church that makes hell shake by its commitment to prayer! I long for Renew Community Church to become intimately engaged in the act of a continual lifestyle of praying. One that would be seen as uncommon. One that is marked out by bold, mountain-moving, kingdom-expanding, life-saving, prayers that leave a legacy as a result of their power!

I hope God’s Holy Spirit burns that same commitment indelibly in your own identity. Need some help, like me, to become more prayerful? I hope some of these resources are useful for you. Let me know what you think. What you have found helpful.

http://meredisciple.com/tag/jon-tyson/

https://www.gty.org/library/questions/QA157/what-does-it-mean-to-pray-without-ceasing

http://www.desiringgod.org/interviews/how-do-i-pray-without-ceasing

Longings in the Midst of a Beautiful Snowfall

What get’s you reminiscing? Is it an old movie? Perhaps an old black and white movie hardly remembered by a younger generation. Maybe its an old childhood memory. Or maybe for you, its when you pass by that old neighborhood you’ve long since moved out of. But maybe you say, “Well, I am not really the sentimental type.”

Well, I really am the sentimental type…and I admit it! I am sentimental about most anything I’ve experienced in younger life. Childhood memories. Easier times. I must admit that sometimes when I still make the trip back home where I grew up, I sometimes find myself compelled to drive through the two old neighborhoods where most of my childhood and early adulthood were evenly split. I can’t help but drive through those old memories of my life, just reminiscing.

Maine Snowfall 2017
2017 Southern Maine Snowfall

Let’s fast forward to today – February 13, 2017. Its the biggest snow storm of the year here in Maine – southern Maine to be exact. They were calling it a blizzard. Wow, is it beautiful! I love the snow. In fact the reason why the Northeast is my favorite region of the United States is because I love the four distinct seasons of the year. So we have roughly 2-3 feet of snow on the ground with a little more to come as the week progresses. What does the beautiful blanket of snow have me reminiscing about? This verse

As the rain and the snow
    come down from heaven,
and do not return to it
    without watering the earth
and making it bud and flourish,
    so that it yields
seed for the sower and bread for the eater,

so is my word that goes out from my mouth:
    It will not return to me empty,
but will accomplish what I desire
    and achieve the purpose for which I sent it. (Isaiah 55:10-11 The Holy Bible)

I long for that! Oh how I long for it! I long for the Words of God to water the earth and watch it come to life. My body feels it! My mind wont let me forget it! I long for it insatiably! I long to see God’s words accomplish what they are supposed to because though I don’t know much, I know if God has spoken, then they must be kind, loving words, Words intended to give life. To make things bud with great beauty. To be sure, many of those kind, loving words are woven within a greater context of judgement. But would we really scorn the judging eye of one who really loves us and wants out best – I hardly think so. Let me invite all of you…each of you to hope for that same longing. There is nothing you need in this life more than the Word of God. God has created you by the mere spoken words of his mouth (Gen. 1:27-31). God does not make any mistakes. Why don’t you turn to Him and His words….in the Bible.
I hope this post speaks to you in a meaningful way! I hope you are encouraged from it. If you are, post some comments for me. If this post helped direct you to greater meaning…to God, then please forward this post or recommend this post to your friends! And let’s connect and talk more.
We all have a hunger that this world cannot satisfy!

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