Directions 3.26.2015

Freedom …

 

There are two kinds of freedom.

There is freedom “from.”  Freedom “from” is what enslaved people dream of.  It is the goal of the person who struggles with addiction.  Freedom “from” is the cry of a heart in a soul destroying marriage.

This is the freedom that causes people to rise to revolution.  Slaves take desperate chances to escape bondage.  The longing of the soul to be free is the fertilizer of courage.  Human energy leans against walls of oppression until freedom bursts forth.

The irony, of course, is that once people find freedom “from,” the desperate energy dissipates.  People take their freedom for granted.  In only a generation, the pitched battles that bought freedom are forgotten.  Freedom is co-opted for narrow causes.  Soon freedom devolves into a kind of kindergarten tug of war: “You have to let me do this because it’s a free country.”

There is another kind of freedom, freedom “to.”  Freedom “to” is the opening of opportunity.  The gate opens and there is space to explore.  New ideas have room to grow.  Talents are discovered.  This is the freedom that fuels human progress.  Art is created.  Relationships are built.

Human beings, not being very good at discipline, can quickly convert freedom “to” into a license to do whatever we want.  We get busy chasing our own dreams.  In the process, others are run over, disrespected, neglected.  Freedom “to” ends up meeting freedom “from” unless there is a wise guide who shows us how to live in freedom.

Jesus said he came to set us free.  And he said if he set us free, we would be free indeed.  Was it freedom “from” or freedom “to?”

Yes.

Jesus sets us free from sin and all its attendant chaos.  He sets us free from the destruction of our souls, from shame, and from stumbling through life, not sure of how to respond to life challenges before us.

Jesus sets us free to find our true purpose.  He sets us free to join him in creating the Kingdom of God – “thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven.”  He sets us free to enjoy life without being result driven.

Find the freedom Jesus has for you.  He wants to set you free “from” and set you free “to.”  And he will give you the wisdom to know how live in both.

Grace

Clay

 

Tuesday Celebrations 3.24.15

Good Morning Good People of Alice Drive!

Big thought from Sunday/Monday: Not only does everyone surrender, you obey who or what you surrender to.  Who or what you obey determines who you become.

Invite a friend to share Easter with you here at ADBC – April 5/6!  It’s a Celebration to share!

Plan on attending the Maundy Thursday service next week at 7.  This is will a serious reflection of our need for Jesus.

This week: March to a Different Drummer.  Who are you in step with?

Smile:

A Sunday school teacher was discussing the Ten Commandments with her five and six year olds. After explaining the commandment to ‘honor thy father and thy mother’ she asked, “Is there a commandment that teaches us how to treat our brothers and sisters?” Without missing a beat one little boy answered, “Thou shalt not kill.”

Directions 3.19.2015

Obey…

The count is three balls and two strikes.  The manager calls “time” and walks out to the mound.  He tells the pitcher, “Your fastball is your best pitch.  Make this next one a fastball.”  The pitcher replies, “Are you sure?  He’s seen the fastball.  Don’t you think he will know it is coming?”  The manager says, “Trust me.  I’ve seen a lot more baseball than you have.”

The manager walks off and the pitcher starts thinking:  “I should throw my changeup.  He’s seen my fastball.  What does that manager know?  He’s not seeing what I see.  He’s getting old, anyway.  I know more than he does.”

He throws the changeup.  It trots over the plate and hangs there, begging to be hit.  The batter swings and launches the ball over the infield, over the outfield, over the fence, and over the county line.  Before the batter can round the bases, the manager is on his way out to the mound, while he motions to the bullpen.

The pitcher’s head is hanging down.  The manager says, “Son, didn’t I tell you to throw a fastball?  Did you think the old man was crazy and didn’t see what you saw?  Did you think you knew better than me what to pitch?  Well, son, you’re done.”

Someone has an obedience problem.

We squirm at the idea of being told what to do.  Some of this has to do with human experience.  We’ve all been told to obey mindless rules, ridiculous policies, and unjust laws.  And that’s just in kindergarten.  When you get your first job, it takes about two weeks before you are convinced you know more than the boss.  If they would only let you be in charge, you could get the place straightened out in no time.  Disobedience always has a root of arrogance.

Our problem with obedience has a lot to do with our pride, the sin that no one confesses.  Real obedience begins with humility.  We understand we don’t know everything.  We acknowledge that we are missing perspectives we need.  We submit to the authority of someone wiser than ourselves.

Imagine Jesus walking out to you on the mound.  “Listen,” he says, “you are going to be tempted to pitch a lie right now.  But the truth is going to be better.  You know you will disappoint people when you tell them the truth, but the truth is going to build your soul.  It will bring you closer to me.  It will grow trust in this relationship.   Pitch the truth.”  Then Jesus walks back to the dugout.

Now your moment has come.  The voice in your head starts:  “Maybe a little lie wouldn’t be too bad.  Maybe Jesus, just this once, is wrong.  I think I can get away with this.  Yeah, I know what to do.”

You wind up.  You release the lie.  It explodes.  Damage is everywhere.  You feel part of your soul pulled apart.  The relationship goes into ICU.  You don’t want to meet Jesus’ eyes.  Shame washes over you.

Someone has an obedience problem.

Maybe you need the humility to listen to the wise Shepherd, Jesus.

Grace,

Clay

Directions 3/12/5

Surrender…

 

Everyone surrenders to something.

You surrender to a craving for a chocolate shake, so you pull into Chik-Fil-A and order one.  You surrender your financial freedom to a debt you create on your credit card.  You surrender your relational future when you say, “…till death shall part us.”

You surrender your heart when you daughter says, “Daddy, I love you.”  You surrender yourself to the passion of a song on the radio when you turn up the volume and sing at the top of your lungs (“I’m pickin’ up good vibrations…”).  You surrender to the excitement of the crowd at the ballgame and stand when the homerun is hit.

I’m so practiced at some surrenders, I don’t even think about them anymore.  I surrender to the daily discipline of bathing so I can have friends.  I surrender to the driver on my right at the four way stop so my truck doesn’t get hit.  I surrender to thirst and drink water without even thinking about the fact that water is good for me.

Some surrenders I chose.  I surrender my good parking space in front of the grocery store to an older lady who needs it more than I do.  I surrender whenever I see a blue light flashing behind me; I pull over, roll down my window, and have my license and registration ready.  I never think about trying to outrun the trooper.  I surrender in certain disagreements with my wife because I have learned there are more important things than winning an argument.

No one teaches you to surrender except your older brothers who teach you to say “uncle.”  When we talk about surrendering to God, most of us think we cry “uncle” and thus lose ourselves.  But there is more to surrender than this.

Surrender is a key skill if you are going to be a Jesus follower.  He said, “If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself, take up his cross, and follow me.”  Sounds like surrender to me.

Surrender starts with a “no.”  We must say no to our pride, our way, our self-absorption, our appetite, our convenience, our inhibitions.  We deny something inside of ourselves.

Surrender means taking up something more, something greater.  It may be a new identity.  It may be a new awareness.  It may be a new perspective.  It may be a new sacrifice.  For Jesus followers, it means taking up a death to self-absorbed living.

Surrender finishes with a new leader.  You decide to follow your leader, wherever he goes.  When Jesus is that leader, you follow him all the way to heaven.

Before your pride swells up and you fight the whole notion of surrender, remember everyone surrenders.  Pause and ask who or what you surrender to.  Then ask, “where are they taking me?”

Grace

Clay

Tuesday Celebrations 3.10.15

Good Morning Good People of Alice Drive!

Thrilled that 120+ students participated in Big Weekend!  Thanking God that 8 people were baptized on Sunday.

“Then to top things off we baptized four more Monday night!   God moved”.

AND thankful for the 100+ volunteers who showed up to rip up carpet.  Worship Center and Lobby transformation are moving forward!

This week, Change series resumes.  Talking about “Surrender.”

Smile:

Growing up in my house you could eat off the floor—that’s where my food would end up.   I’d sneak food off my plate and give it to the dog.  So would my two brothers. I wouldn’t say mom was a bad cook, but one year we went through seven dogs.

Directions 3.5.15

What Does $155,000 Mean?

 

This week, I want you to hear from Jock Hendricks, our Outreach Pastor, about the Open Door Offering:

 

What does $155,000 mean?

  • It means teams can be sent to Haiti three times in the next 12 months, offering medical and spiritual care to more than 750 Haitians.
  • It means that 12 medical and ministerial personnel from Alice Drive can travel to Honduras, joining with two other North American churches, and offer medical, dental, veterinary, and spiritual care to more than 1500 people there.
  • It means that teams can be sent not only to New York City to offer VBS to 60-100 children but a new partnership can be formed with church planters in Long Island a town that is only 3% evangelized.
  • It means we can continue to offer sound ministerial leader training to new and young ministers in Botswana Africa.
  • It means our HELPS ministry can build 14 ramps for those who can no longer get in and out of their homes.  It means HELPS  can expand to offer even greater services to those who are part of our church family and part of our community
  • It means we can partner with United Ministries in meeting the deep needs of the poor in our community.
  • It means that Operation Inasmuch will not simply be a day in the spring but will become part of the DNA of our ministry.
  • It means that we can celebrate life with young mothers through the pregnancy centers of Sumter.
  • It means that we can explore even greater mission adventures perhaps in Canada, perhaps on the west coast, perhaps in North Carolina, or Tennessee, or on most any street in Sumter County.

God has blessed us, with his own grace.  Bless him by investing yourself in the mission He has charged to us.  Alice Drive exists to help as many people as possible take their next step toward Jesus Christ.  We want to open the door for them to take their next step.

This is something we don’t even have to pray about.  Jesus already told us to GO.  Jesus already told us to GIVE.  So ask God to show you WHERE to GO and HOW MUCH to GIVE.

Jock

Well said Jock!

Grace

Clay

 

Tuesday Celebrations 3.3.2015

Good Morning Good People of Alice Drive!

Thanks to Jock for a great message and laying out clearly the challenge of the Open Door God has set before us.

This weekend over 120 students will gather to worship and be challenged to live the with God life. Pray any who are lost will be saved.  Pray those who need a renewal of faith will be renewed!  Plus we will offer an opportunity for anyone who wants to be baptized, to be baptized in all four services.

AND don’t forget to SPRING FORWARD.

Smile:

In honor of spring training beginning:

A rookie pitcher was struggling at the mound, so the catcher walked out to have a talk with him. “I’ve figured out your problem,” he told the pitcher. “You always lose control at the same point in every game.” “When is that?” “Right after the national anthem.”