August 18, 2019
It is not so much the case that God has a mission for his church in the world, as that God has a church for his mission in the world. Mission was not made for the church; the church was made for mission - God’s mission.
- Christopher Wright, The Mission of God
Freedom. Meaning. Relationships.
The individual receives constant messaging from the culture that to be happy and content we need to increase our input of freedom. Releasing more freedom into our already overflowing tank of freedom would not solve the problems created in our system by our low reserves of meaning and the relational. Just buying more stuff and consuming more experiences cannot fill these gaps. Our tanks of freedom are overflowing, bursting at the seams, yet our tanks of meaning and the relational are dry and empty. The output of such a lopsided system is isolation and an increasing mental health crisis of escalating levels of depression and anxiety. The expansion of choice anxiety and information overload has created an endless sense of confusion and lostness, leading many to recoil from making any forward steps, in fear of making the wrong decision. For many, especially in emerging generations, a sense of paralysis has become the norm.
- Mark Sayers, Reappearing Church
We are enslaved to freedom.
The Pharisee and the Tax Collector
 He also told this parable to some who trusted in themselves that they were righteous, and treated others with contempt:  “Two men went up into the temple to pray, one a Pharisee and the other a tax collector.  The Pharisee, standing by himself, prayed thus: ‘God, I thank you that I am not like other men, extortioners, unjust, adulterers, or even like this tax collector.  I fast twice a week; I give tithes of all that I get.’  But the tax collector, standing far off, would not even lift up his eyes to heaven, but beat his breast, saying, ‘God, be merciful to me, a sinner!’  I tell you, this man went down to his house justified, rather than the other. For everyone who exalts himself will be humbled, but the one who humbles himself will be exalted.” (ESV)
He also told this parable to some who trusted in themselves that they were righteous, and treated others with contempt:
“I wanted to run out of that tunnel to prove that I was somebody.”
Stop striving, and start ABIDING
So Jesus said to the Jews who had believed him, “If you abide in my word, you are truly my disciples, and you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.” They answered him, “We are offspring of Abraham and have never been enslaved to anyone. How is it that you say, ‘You will become free’?”
don't think hypocrite
Are you self-congratulatory?
People are sick and tired of role-players and plastic goods, slickly turned out and calculated to deceive. Therefore, if we wish to be effective, we must see that our own pharisaic pretense will eventually be discovered by the people we meet and rebuked by our own consciences. But even more important, the Holy Spirit Himself is deeply grieved, weeps holy tears over our religious fakery and instructs us in a better way—by the path of renewal through sincere repentance.
- C. John Miller, Repentance
The Tax Collector
repentance, not penance
But the tax collector, standing far off, would not even lift up his eyes to heaven, but beat his breast, saying, ‘God, be merciful to me, the sinner!’
1 Timothy 1:15-17
The saying is trustworthy and deserving of full acceptance, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners, of whom I am the foremost. But I received mercy for this reason, that in me, as the foremost, Jesus Christ might display his perfect patience as an example to those who were to believe in him for eternal life. To the King of the ages, immortal, invisible, the only God, be honor and glory forever and ever. Amen.
for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, and are justified by his grace as a gift, through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus, whom God put forward as a propitiation by his blood, to be received by faith. This was to show God's righteousness, because in his divine forbearance he had passed over former sins. It was to show his righteousness at the present time, so that he might be just and the justifier of the one who has faith in Jesus.
Will you cry out?
Spend some time acknowledging and confessing the ways you have tried to find freedom independent of God rather than in dependence on God and His will.
Spend a few moments acknowledging and confessing how you have sought to justify yourself. What have you looked to for your righteousness? Confess these things.
Spend a few moments acknowledging and confessing that your attitudes and actions have grieved the heart of God. Be specific where you can.
Spend a few moments acknowledging and confessing that your attitudes and actions have been detrimental to others. Be specific where you can.
Spend a few moments acknowledging and confessing that your attitudes and actions have hurt the witness of the church in our community. Be specific where you can.
Spend a few moments thanking God and rejoicing that though you are a sinner, you have a great Savior.
He has delivered us from the domain of darkness and transferred us to the kingdom of his beloved Son, in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins.
- Colossians 1:13-14
A Prayer for Salvation
“Heavenly Father, I admit that I am weaker and more sinful than I ever before believed, but through your Son Jesus I can be more loved and accepted than I ever dared hope. I thank you that he lived the life I should have lived and paid the debt and punishment I owed. Receive me now for his sake. I turn from my sins and receive him as Savior. Amen.”