Thankful for freedoms this 4th of July

   “As I would not be a slave, so I would not be a master. This expresses my idea of democracy. Whatever differs from this, to the extent of the difference, is no democracy.”
    Abraham Lincoln offered these words many years ago, and supported them with actions that saved our republic. The path was not easy for him, as he suffered many losses and struggled with depression. As we celebrate this 4th of July weekend, let it be with a sincere debt of gratitude for his leadership.
    I want to let you all know how much I appreciated the two months of sabbatical. It meant a great deal to step away from work and routine to spend time for resting, reading, and reflection. I’m especially thankful for all of you who led mid-week Bible Study and Sunday morning worship services. I am grateful also for our church staff as they continued the work that is so important to our congregation and community.
     I’m looking forward to seeing many of you this upcoming Sunday. I’m beginning a four part sermon series from the Psalms, and hope we’ll enjoy spending some time in this special book. It’s a holiday weekend, so we may have some of our church family away. But, if you are able, it would be good to see you again this Sunday morning.
    One of the most precious freedoms we have in this country is the freedom to worship. J. Brent Walker, retiring Director of the Baptist Joint Committee, put it this way: “The point cannot be over-emphasized: we must not exercise our freedom selfishly, but in a way that serves God, respects the well-being of others, honors the government and promotes the common good.”
   May God help us to be grateful for our freedoms, and remember those whose perseverance and sacrifice made them possible.

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