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August 1, 2021 | Javan Shashaty
Watch our most recent mid-week message here.
Thanks for joining us online this Independence Day weekend! In this message, Pastor Doug shared about the dream of America and the fight for true freedom. We heard some amazing testimonies and discovered why liberty is a dream worth fighting for.
Dive deeper into this teaching on your own, with your family, or in your online group! Watch the video below to see a recap of this weekend’s teaching. You can also scroll down to check out expanded notes and summaries from the teaching, small group questions, and get informed on some of the great resources available to you.
To watch the message in its entirety, click here.
FOR THE NOTE TAKERS
Let’s recap some of the key talking points from Pastor Doug’s message:
Independence Day is about a dream, as expressed in the Declaration of Independence (July 4, 1776): "We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.”
Where does this dream come from? The Bible! God stamped the desire to be free on every human heart. In fact, God’s first three words to man were, “You are free . . .” (Genesis 2:16 NIV).
There’s Always a Gap Between the Dream and Reality: Dr. Martin Luther King’s “I Have a Dream” speech is rooted in the American dream—a dream that has not been followed through with and has not become reality for many. In fact, when you listen to this famous speech from almost 60 years ago, the words sound as though they were written for today, as Dr. King’s dream still hasn’t become reality. And so, as Americans, it’s clear that we need to continue to strive to take hold of this dream (Philippians 3:12).
America Is Beautiful Because of Her Colors: Founding Father Charles Thomson said, “The White signifies purity and innocence. Red, hardiness and valor and Blue . . . signifies vigilance, perseverance and justice.”
The Dream Is Free, but the Journey Isn’t: America is called the land of opportunity. And while those opportunities can be harder to find for some than others, the belief is that if you work hard, you can reach the top and achieve your dreams. In the first testimony we heard this weekend, Javier, an immigrant man, found out that you can work your way to top, get everything you want, and still be empty. Javier discovered that success is not your savior. And that’s when God broke through and the gospel took root.
Javier wasn’t born here, but he was born again here! And he realized that his freedom—and ours—is an opportunity to serve others.
You Have to Fight to Stay Free: Freedom is worth fighting for. Freedom is a fragile gift, one that is easily squandered. In our country, thousands of men and women sign up to defend the dream. Truthfully, many of us take the freedoms we have for granted. We use and abuse them without considering the price that has been paid by millions for us to have them. What are we doing with our freedoms? Are you willing to die for what you believe in?
The Dream of America Is Our Inheritance: The freedom we have has been passed along to us. We need to value it and make use of this opportunity by passing it down to the next generation. We must help them to understand these blessings aren’t for us, but for us to be a blessing and serve others.
Luke 12:48 (NKJV) tells us, “For everyone to whom much is given, from him much will be required; and to whom much has been committed, of him they will ask the more.”
If you’re a believer, then Jesus has changed your world. He’s given you life, purpose, peace, and hope. And for us, the questions we must ask today are “Who is God calling me to bring that same hope, purpose, peace, and grace to? Whose world has He called me to impact?” Who does the Lord want to change and reach and save through you? This is the charge of every Christian, the great purpose for which we are here—to preach freedom to all who are oppressed by sin and death and to preach salvation for all who are lost and searching.
Our true Independence Day was not July 4, 1776, but the day we received Jesus. No government, president, earthly revolution, or movement can grant us the freedom we need . . . only Jesus can do that. Every battle for liberty, justice, and equality that is won will ultimately be pointless in the end if the battle for the hearts and lives of people is not won in Christ. That is the true battlefield we must charge each and every day.
For the Christian, the salvation of people must be paramount, and thus the preaching of the gospel must be paramount! Daily, we must seek to lay down our individual lives, take up our cross, and follow Him into the battlefield for the freedom of those who are still enslaved by sin and death. We must realize that the true battle isn’t “against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms” (Ephesians 6:12 NIV). Therefore, we must equip ourselves with the “full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, [we] may be able to stand [our] ground” (Ephesians 6:13 NIV).
Quote to Remember: Whose world am I going to change next?—Pastor Doug Sauder
Quote to Remember: Whose world am I going to change next?—Pastor Doug Sauder
As you think about this weekend’s teaching, here are a few questions to reflect on and consider with your family, your circle of friends, or in your group.
Ice-Breaker: What’s your favorite Independence Day tradition?
Discussion Question 1: What does the dream of freedom mean to you?
Discussion Question 2: This weekend, Pastor Doug shared that we have to fight to stay free. Read Galatians 5 together as a group. For believers, what does this fight look like? What steps can we take to fight the good fight for our freedom and the freedom of others?
Discussion Question 3: Pastor Doug stated, “We’re blessed to be a blessing.” How can we who have been blessed be a blessing to others? What can we do this week as individuals or as a group to bless someone in need?
WALK IT OUT
Ponder: What sacrifices need to be made in my life in order to bless others?
Practice: Who can I bless this week and how?
Pray: As you pray this week, remember to thank the Lord for the freedom you have as an American, but more importantly for the freedom you have in Christ! Pray for those who have yet to experience and receive this freedom.
We have several exciting Bible plans available for you to subscribe to! From a new reading plan on faith for women to plans on experiencing peace, overcoming anger, or dealing with pride, we have a variety of awesome resources for you to grow in your faith and study the Word of God.
To view our reading plans, click here.
A LOOK AHEAD
As we continue to track the news and information about COVID-19 and its effects both worldwide and right here in our surrounding cities, this week we will continue to hold services ONLINE.
Join us this Wednesday evening as we begin our summer classes! From Alpha (our featured sanctuary class series) to apologetics to essentials of the faith to finances, these online classes will help you get to know Jesus and learn valuable and practical ways to experience the life God created you for.
Then on this communion weekend, we’ll continue our study through the Book of Genesis as Pastor Chris Baselice of our Plantation campus shares a powerful and difficult word from Genesis 35 about remembering. Discover how to return to God and how to remain anchored in Jesus.
We look forward to spending another awesome week with you!
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Danny Saavedra has served on the staff of Calvary since 2012, managing the Calvary Devotional and digital discipleship resources. He has a Master of Arts in Pastoral Counseling and Master of Divinity in Pastoral Ministry from Liberty Theological Seminary. His wife Stephanie, son Jude, and daughter Zoe share a love of Star Wars, good food, having friends over for dinner, and studying the Word together as a family.