On This Independence Day…

As we (in the United States) celebrate our Independence Day, let us commit to using our freedom for good. However, in the past few days, ISIS has conducted a series of violent attacks across several countries as Muslims everywhere celebrate their holy month of Ramadan.

To our brothers and sisters in Jordan, Lebanon, Yemen, Turkey, Bangladesh and Iraq who have been affected by these attacks, our hearts and prayers are with you. On the surface, we may not always agree, but I know we can agree the only appropriate answers to the hate, anger and violence in this world are faith, hope and love. To the Church, our response must be rooted in our common mission to pray, grow and serve together. Any response other than compassion and mourning would be unChrist-like.

Those who are consumed by hate, anger and violence cannot comprehend a society built upon the belief that all men are created equal and have been endowed with certain unalienable rights such as life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. But this foundation laid by the blood of brave men and women means nothing if we choose to live in such a way that only contributes to the problems we see on the news. In this country, we have the freedom to choose to be part of the problem or part of the solution. The problem is the sinful nature of man, and the only solution is to be washed clean by the blood of Christ.

Somewhere in our recent history, it became politically incorrect to say that Jesus is the only answer to the problems we face in everyday life. But we now have the power to change the course of history. We live in unprecedented times thanks to the advent of social media. Regular people like you and I now have a voice. In just over one year, our online ministry alone has reached people in over 80 countries and territories. We can choose to echo the bad news we see on TV, or we can choose to share the Good News with people who have never heard it before.

You and I can make a real difference on this Independence Day. Ask family and friends how you can pray for them. Share you story online. Write a post about your favorite Bible passage. Look for ways to serve your community (especially the children and youth). And remember that we are all in this together. We are more than one nation under God; we are one family in God.

This Independence Day, let us declare our freedom from fear, from terror, from greed and from political correctness. We live in a world that is desperately searching for the hope we hold in our hearts. People all over the world are living and dying in fear, but we can bring them peace sharing the message that Jesus died for all of our sin, and there is a seat for us all at the heavenly banquet table. This life is short; let’s not waste the freedom and opportunity we have been so graciously given.