PASTOR GLEN'S BLOG
July 4, 2019
Today, July 4, 2019, we celebrate the 243rd birthday of freedom for our country. Independence Day commemorates the independence we have as a nation. On July 4, 1776, we claimed our independence from England and the United States of America was born. Every day thousands leave their homeland to come to the “land of the free and the home of the brave,” so they can begin their American Dream. We thank God today for the many brave men and women who have given their lives, so that we may live in a land of freedom.
The United States is truly a diverse nation made up of dynamic people. Each year on July 4th, Americans celebrate that freedom with barbecues, picnics, and family and community gatherings . . . and fireworks.
On Independence Day, we remember the adoption by a representative Congress on July 4, 1776, of the Declaration of Independence, proclaiming the severance of the allegiance of the American colonies to Great Britain. It was written by Thomas Jefferson and signed ultimately by 56 members of the Continental Congress. As great as the Declaration of Independence is for us as a nation, it has its limits. For one, it only applies to one nation, and it only applies as long as that nation exists.
Over two thousand years ago another declaration of independence was enacted. It applies to ALL people, and rather than being signed by a pen, it was signed by an itinerant preacher with his own precious blood. This declaration of independence was written by Jesus Christ. In John 8:31-38 we have a portion of this declaration spelled out.
Jesus declared in John 8:34, “Truly, truly, I say to you, everyone who practices sin is a slave to sin.” Jesus Christ came to set us free from the penalty of sin – past, present, and future.
Ernest Shackleton left England in August 1914 on the ship Endurance, planning to cross Antarctica on foot with twenty-seven other men. By January of 1915, when they were within a hundred miles of land, the ship was trapped in ice. They were carried by the shifting ice pack farther from land. Shackleton and the crew lived on the ship until November 1915, when the ice finally destroyed the ship and it sank. They then lived on the ice pack with supplies salvaged from the ship until April 1916, when they sailed to Elephant Island in three lifeboats they had saved. Shackleton left twenty-two men there and he and five others sailed for South Georgia Island, eight hundred miles through the planet’s stormiest ocean, in a 22½-foot boat. In August of 1916, Shackleton returned and rescued all the men. Shackleton never did accomplish his goal of crossing Antarctica on foot. He later died at forty-six of a heart attack on South Georgia Island.
Steve Farrar, in his book Finishing Strong, notes three things about sin: “Sin will take you farther than you wanted to go, sin will keep you longer than you wanted to stay, and sin will cost you more than you wanted to pay.” The ice Shackleton encountered is like sin: it took them away from their goal, it kept them there longer than they wanted, and it cost them the success of their expedition and the loss of the ship. Shackleton once commented on the ice’s effect on the ship, saying, “she’s pretty near her end. The ship can’t live in this . . . what the ice gets, the ice keeps.”
Does sin have a grip on you, like the ice had a grip on Shackleton’s ship? Today as we celebrate the freedom we enjoy as Americans, it is my prayer that we would celebrate a far greater freedom – a freedom offered to us by Jesus Christ. As Jesus declared in John 8:36, “So if the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed.” Do you want to experience real freedom today? Then let Jesus set you free from sin’s dominion. Today can be a real Independence Day for you – and for me!
THIS SUNDAY - Join us for worship at 9:30am! Pastor Glen’s message will be, “God Intervenes,” based upon Exodus 7:1-25. Please read the text prior to the service. We will also have the sacrament of the Lord's Supper this Sunday. You are encouraged to read 1 Corinthians 11:17-34 in preparation. Nursery care and elementary classes are provided on the Chapel floor during the 9:30am worship service.
Adult Sunday School class - You are invited to come join our adult Bible study class immediately following worship in the chapel on the second floor. We are studying the book of Nehemiah using the book “Nehemiah,” by Dr. Stephen Davey, to help us explore this beautiful story of God providing leadership for His people, especially in rebuilding the wall around Jerusalem, and calling them back into relationship with Him. Come join us, we have extra books available.
“Exploring Hope” Class - The class will be held on two successive Sundays, July 14th and July 21st. In this class, we explore topics such as: why we exist as a church, spiritual growth, a personal relationship with Jesus Christ, how to become a member, and the privileges and responsibilities of church membership.
Salt Shakers - It is time again to sign up to participate in Salt Shakers! Salt Shakers is on opportunity for you to get to know others at Hope Community Church in an informal setting. About 3-4 times over a 6-month period, groups of about 6-10 will gather usually in homes for a meal just to fellowship with each other. Currently, there are about 50 people involved. Come join the fun! Current group organizers, please contact your group members to confirm they still want to participate. If you are not currently in a group, sign up by July 15thto be included in the next group. Next groups will be August 2019 – January 2020.
Baby Shower - Boy, oh boy!! Come as we celebrate with Julie Woosley who is due later this summer. She is registered at Target, and Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/baby-reg/rob-woosley-august-2019-waynesboro/2YV7ZJKDG77NM
Hosted by: Jennifer Lucas, Cheryl Reynolds, Kim Holman, & Kristen Holman
Date: Thursday, July 18th, 7:00 PM
Location: 152 Boyington Blvd
Security Team - We will have a new security team as we move to Kate Collins Middle School in August. Training will begin soon. If you are interested in being a part of the team, please contact Larry Roberts, as soon as possible: (540) 649-0648.
Saturate Augusta - There will be a Saturate Augusta Rally this Tuesday (July 9th) beginning at 6:30 p.m. at Memorial Baptist Church (224 Taylor Street in Staunton). Saturate is a nonprofit organization committed to seeing a Gospel Saturation movement happen in North America and beyond. On September 7, we will participate in this mission to our community. You can find info at: saturatetheworld.com.
We’re Hiring - Hope Community Church is seeking to fill a part-time, paid position:Youth Ministries Intern. Those interested should contact the church at firstname.lastname@example.org for more information or to submit a resume.