The Main thing is to keep the Main Thing the Main Thing Part 8: Freedom to Worship God
My most favorite things to share with you are the fresh things God is doing in my life – one of those is the subject of freedom.
A frequent comment of visitors to our church is they have an incredible awareness of freedom to worship in Grace Tabernacle. For our church freedom is the main theme or reason we were birthed 16 years ago.
This freedom journey began with Pam and I and those with us when were back in the Baptist church. I remember many times back int the Baptist church crying out during the preaching time with frustration, “There’s got to be more than this!” People would shout amen at my zeal but none of us knew how to get there!
Then we experienced a revival that brought us to the place of boldness to dare to cross formerly forbidden territory and go on with HS and no longer be held back by the fear of man. Thus the title of our book.
Several times God would challenge me while I was preaching. I would come to a place in the message where God would say to my spirit “This is where you cross over – will you? Or will you stay here in this place and be ruled by the fear of what people are going to say ? Stay here or go for it? You know the answer, but He still challenges me beyond my understanding to step out of the boat and trust Him! It’s a spontaneous moment where you hope and pray you have really heard God and are not just being emotional!
You have those moments too. God challenges you to witness to a stranger. Are you going to obey the nudge of the HS are stay where you are? Fear swarms your mind like bees. It is this moment you find out if you are free or not.
It is truly liberating when you fear missing God’s will for your life more than your fear of what people are going to think or say about you.
Jesus said, “If the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed.” Jn 8:36
“free” Grk word E-lu-the-ra-O
“FREE”= TO DELIVER YOU FROM THE DOMINION OF ANOTHER SO YOU CAN BE WHAT YOU WERE INTENDED TO BE.
“indeed” – truly or completely or fully.
The day I asked Jesus into my heart – I was set free but I did not know how to walk that out. My spirit was free but not my soul, so I was not “free indeed”.
- Started going to various churches and learned they are not all alike. You can pick up a lot of bondage in churches, traditions of men that are not all bad - but it’s just not true freedom to the plan God has for your life.
Freedom will require a fight with your fear of man.
You will have to overcome you fear of what people will say about you.
We all have some get free from.
David is called a man after God’s own heart. He was so before his time. One thing he knew about God was, God loved freedom in worship and spontaneity.
- 2 Samuel 6:20,22 ill. On the day David brought the ark of God back to Jerusalem he had music and loud rejoicing going on. He even took off his kingly robes and celebrated with dance before the ark leading the way. This prompted the people to do the same! Never in history has a king acted like this!
- After this his wife scolded him saying, “Look at how undignified the king of Israel has made himself today. You are the king and you acted like a commoner.”
He said, “I was worshipping before the Lord. If think that was bad you ain’t seen anything yet. I will become more radical than this!”
When Jesus started preaching the gospel – it sounded so radical and different than anything they had ever heard. It was freedom.
- Jesus healed on the sabbath – “I thought we were not to do anything on the sabbath?” Religion had distorted the truth and brought bondage to man’s laws!
Ill. When Paul was dramatically saved – he had been steeped in religion. Yet he went alone into the Arabian desert (some say Mount Sinai – place of the Law) and meditated with Jesus for 3 years. “Lord, I need to start over with You teaching me and helping me unlearn all the things I believed but were wrong. He fasted church or being around any other religious person and started over with HS as teacher. This was necessary for him because he would later write 2/3rd NT!
- Apostle Paul too had more trouble with religious people than anyone. The book of Galatians is about freedom. Paul warned new believers -
“Stand fast in the liberty for which Christ has made us free.” Gal. 5:1
It’s true when you get to that place of freedom, you may no longer be welcome in a traditional church. You will be labeled as odd, weird. But people who know there is so much more – will envy you and watch and some will follow you.
Ill. At Bible College a student named Bruce was so free in chapel. I thought he was odd at first but then I began to admire his freedom and wanted what he had. I forgot about most of my classmates but I still have images of him worshipping boldly in chapel services like no one else.
GT was started 16 years ago for the purpose of freedom of worship of God. It is still part of our Main thing and purpose. We are not to trying and be like any other church or even do some of the things they do – not that they are wrong – but we are to be unique in especially how we operate and how we function as a church.
WE began and still are with the understanding from the Lord that GT is to be a pastor-led church, not a congregation led or elder-led, or board-led church. Not that those are wrong. Some places they work well. But our church began and still is unique in so many ways.
The reason we are pastor-led church is so the Lord can have the freedom to lead through the pastor – not for the pastor to be a dictator. If the pastor’s heart is right then God can flow through Him. If the pastor has his own personal agenda – this will not work.
- Your prayer for your pastor should be for freedom. Free from any fear – fear of man, what people think, freedom from tradition, etc. Freedom is an on-going part of our journey to get our heart to agree with God’s heart.
Don’t think I mean freedom as a license to do whatever you want.
Freedom is not the ability to do whatever you want. Freedom is the ability to do what you know that you should do!
For this to happen in a pastor led church – the Lord must have the pastor’s heart. God deals with my heart a lot. In the end I always have more questions than answers in my head. There is so much I do not understand.
God deals with the heart before He deals with the head.
When Jesus was asked what is the greatest commandment, listen to His answer and see what He listed first!
“To love the Lord with all your HEART, and with all your soul, and with all your mind.” Matthew 22:37
This is how you first encountered God – with your heart.
“for the heart man believes” Romans 10:10
– something your mind could not understand!
Your mind often gets in the way of your heart believing!
“Trust in the Lord with all your heart, AND LEAN NOT ON YOUR OWN UNDERSTANDING. . .” Proverbs 3:5-6
In order to walk with God, you have to be out of your mind! Romans 12:1-2
The renewed mind is not a goal to reach. It is a daily process of a transformed life. It is impossible to walk with God and stay the same. Often there is a battle between the mind and the heart.
Ill. The other day I was planning on meeting someone and giving them 20 dollars. That day at the ATM instead of just getting out what I was expecting to give – I got out 40 dollars instead. When I met with the person I was to give 20 dollars – I was listening to them and how they were struggling and my heart was in a battle with my mind. “Right now I don’t have extra to give away. I need this 20 – it’s all I can spare, etc.” In the end my heart won and I gave it all. Praise God my mind did not win over my heart!
- I rather err on the side of my heart!
We cannot even think God’s thoughts unless He allows us!
God says, “My thoughts are not your thoughts …” Isa.55:8
Wednesday night I taught about overcoming anxiety God’s way. When we do it His way, He promises us peace we cannot even understand!
“The peace that passes all understanding.” Phil. 4:7
Our minds, our reasoning, our trying to understand can get in God’s way! He is not against us using our minds – it’s just His ways are so far above, that our minds will never be able to understand.
So when the Lord called us out of the traditional church and into this new thing – GT, I could not rely on my understanding, experience or background. I still had so much hurt and fear of man and suspicion of people.
I was free from the rule of man type church.
Suddenly I am placed by God to start a new church.
I had so many questions ???
- This was uncharted territory for me. I now had decisions to make about the church that I never had to make before, because now this is a pastor led church not a congregational run church where the people rule or decide and you carry out whatever they vote.
With freedom comes greater responsibility!
The Lord has given me a big responsibility, but I cannot do it by myself. I need like-minded people.
16 years ago we were called out of the traditional church. But there is so much more than being called out of something.
God calls you out of something in order to bring you into something.
Ill. When God brought Israel out of the bondage of Egypt it was in order to bring them in to a new land and a new way of living, thinking primarily – freedom. This new freedom was not to do whatever you want – but the ability to do what you know you should do.
- Some of you should be dancing in aisle when worship is happening. Some should be waving the banners.
- Some of you may have skills that you should be on the worship team or start a ministry here that we do not have yet.
- I don’t know what freedom will look like on you – but in your heart you can see what you would be doing today if you were “free indeed.”
Freedom always involves the “God factor” and the “leader factor”.
The God factor is “we can’t do anything w/o God.
The “leader factor” is ‘ God doesn’t do anything without a leader!’
This means you must be willing to start doing your part and then God will always do His part. This is freedom! It’s the Main reason God brought you to this church.
Ill. This means we are going to have to let go of our insecurity, our pride, our excuses, our jealously of others, and be willing to try and do new things! If you are then this church will one day attract worshippers of God from all around the world. They will want what you have – freedom.