Pastor Mark Harris’ Page

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“For you were called to freedom, brothers. 
Only do not use your freedom as an opportunity for the flesh, 
but through love serve one another.” (Galatians 5:13)

Called to Freedom

Freedom to Celebrate and Enjoy

What are your favorite summer celebrations? There are so many festive occasions during these hot, Texas months: Memorial Day on May 24, Flag Day on June 14, and Independence Day on July 4. In our family we also get to celebrate my daughter’s birthday in June and my own birthday in July. Opportunities abound to enjoy a backyard BBQ, a day on (or in) the water, and even a fireworks show! During these celebrations we get to rejoice in many of God’s gifts, especially the gift of freedom.

That gift is one that so many of us in our nation prize greatly—and for good reason! It’s sadly true that many places around the world are free in far fewer ways than we are in our society. Even so, there has been quite a bit of unrest across our land over the past number of weeks. With onset and persistence of COVID-19’s ubiquity, many have called to question just how free we are. Regulations have varied greatly from state-to-state and even from town-to-town. In the view of many, liberty is stifled by the enactment of laws… yet still many others consider the lack of government intervention to be a hindrance of people’s wellbeing. The church certainly is not immune to these challenges. 

Along the full length of that spectrum of thinking resides in people a desire for freedom to be upheld—even though few agree on how that should happen best. It bears the question for those of us who are followers of Jesus: How should we regard freedom? The answer, of course, isn’t a simple one… still, we can be sure to find guidance from our God in His Word!

Freedom to Appreciate and Serve

The Bible verse (printed above) is one of the most poignant, inspired statements describing how our God desires you and me to consider the freedom we have. It is one of over 40 times in the New Testament that the word meaning freedom or liberty appears on the pages of Scripture. The freedom our God would most yearn for us to appreciate is the freedom from sin He has graciously given to us through the all-availing sacrifice of His Son! When we pause to learn from that whole section of Paul’s letter to the Galatians, we come to understand that this greatest freedom of all is not only for our own enjoyment. 

The freedom we’ve been given as a pure and wonderful gift also presents us with a beautiful opportunity to serve others out of sincere appreciation for the God who gives us this freedom. Admittedly, this is so much easier to say (or write) than to do in real life. In order for us to actually set aside something we may have the freedom to do—instead choosing to exercise restraint and show love to another—we will need to fully lean on the Holy Spirit’s working in us and through us. He wants us to live this way, and He will help us!

To that end, I would encourage you to notice the moments and opportunities He provides for you over these upcoming summer weeks. Ask the Lord in prayer each morning: How can I use Your gift of freedom to serve someone today? Then be sure to keep your eyes and your spirit open to the answer He shows you through His Word! Jesus already knows exactly how He is preparing you to be a blessing to someone. You may find that opportunity within the ministries of our Cross family, or that occasion to serve may become available in our wider community. Wherever the Lord leads, He will be with You… reminding you that you are truly and wonderfully called to freedom!

—Pastor Mark Harris


ood      © 2017 Cross Lutheran Church, New Braunfels, TX.