The Pastor's Ponderings is a weekly note from one of the pastors that is sent to the congregation. If you would like to be included in the list of subscribers to the Ponderings, you can subscribe here. Current subscribers wishing to unsubscribe can do that here as well. The latest Pondering is below.

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What are you doing on July 2?

The second day of July, 1776, will be the most memorable epoch in the history of America. I am apt to believe that it will be celebrated by succeeding generations as the great anniversary festival. It ought to be commemorated as the day of deliverance, by solemn acts of devotion to God Almighty. It ought to be solemnized with pomp and parade, with shows, games, sports, guns, bells, bonfires, and illuminations, from one end of this continent to the other, from this time forward forever more. - John Adams

This year July 2 falls on a Sunday. I am also aware of the statistic that the July 4th weekend is one of the lowest-attended worship weekends of the church year. I think our founding father, John Adams, would be disappointed to know this. Notice that he not only hoped that the celebration of independence would be marked with fireworks, but also "solemn acts of devotion to God Almighty".

The vote to declare independence from Great Britain happened on July 2, 1776 and not July 4. This is why Adams refers to July 2 as the remembered time of celebration. However, leaders started signing the declaration on July 4 and some historians think it was not signed by all the leaders until August 2, 1776. Yet, I digress, and what matters is that we celebrate our independence.

Signing the declaration was the easy part. Freeing the country from British rule took a revolutionary War to bring independence into reality. Many lives were lost for our independence and hostilities did not cease until seven years later in 1783. The struggle for independence was much more difficult than just stating the country's independence. This reminds me of what Paul wrote in his letter to the Philippians.

Work hard to show the results of your salvation, obeying God with deep reverence and fear. For God is working in you, giving you the desire and the power to do what pleases him. - Philippians 2:12-13 (NLT)

It is easy to declare ourselves as Christians. It is quite another thing to actually work on being a Christian. To work hard on our salvation is to wage a revolutionary war of independence from sin and evil in our lives. One of the ways we wage war is to worship and declare God our sovereign ruler rather than our own selfish desires. Whenever we worship, we declare our independence from selfishness, anger, greed, lust, and jealousy. We work on putting God first and foremost in our lives which is a better way of experiencing life.

I think it would be truly revolutionary to have July 2 be one of the highest-attended worship weekends on the calendar. But that is simply a pastor's hope, and I assume many of you will be on vacation. It would be revolutionary to actually honor the day with acts of devotion to God. It would be revolutionary to be free from a sin that has been ruling our lives day by day. It would be revolutionary to take a stand for our faith in the face of a culture that offers us everything else other than faith.

What will be your solemn act of devotion to God be on July 2, 2017? Will you be revolutionary?

Grace & Peace,
Matt

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