Free In Christ

Finding Freedom in the Churches of Christ

Archive for July 2009

The First Year

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I have collected all of the articles from the first year of this blog and put them into an easy to read PDF format.  Because of the fact that blog posts become out-dated the day after you write them, I wanted to make some articles available to people who missed them the first time (as I doubt anybody will scroll back that far).  I left out articles that dealt too heavily with current events and didn’t include the “Experiential Baptism” series because I am planning to expand it and put it in a separate document.  This e-book is available in the “Books” tab and is offered free of charge.  Thank you for following me this year.

Written by freeinchrist

July 30, 2009 at 8:00 am

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One Year!!!

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Back on July 2nd this blog became 1 year old.  The time went so fast that I didn’t even realize until today that it was one year ago I started writing on this site.

It didn’t become what I thought it would become and I probably didn’t work on it as much as I thought I would but we have had nearly 1000 hits in just over 100 posts.  That isn’t terribly good for a blog (actually its not good at all) but since I haven’t done ANY marketing for it, it isn’t too bad.  I wanted interested people to find it for themselves and to let the Lord decide who (if anybody) would read it.  So far, I have been satisfied.

Looking forward to another great year.  Thank you for reading.

Written by freeinchrist

July 30, 2009 at 1:16 am

Posted in Uncategorized

The Next Phase

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I feel like I am entering the next phase of my walk with God.

I started out as a legalist who thought he was right with God based on His works.  God then rescued me from my arrogance and showed me the beauty of His wonderful grace.

Next, I took this grace that I had applied to myself and started to apply it to others.  Slowly, I saw more and more people as receiving the grace of God and I was eventually able to rejoice in this.  I learned that many more were saved than I had previously thought.

Then, I began to see how religion had enslaved me and many others and was able to see that God was offering me freedom.  This was a further application of grace.  Once you find out that you don’t have to earn God’s affection, you stop needing a religion to show you how.  I slowly stepped away from religion and now it is rarely a part of my life.  I never felt closer to Jesus than when I stepped away from trying to please Him myself.

Next, I learned about who I really was.  When you stop doing works to merit God’s favor, you have to figure out how you will live under grace.  You find out what had been hiding under the cloak of religion.  You meet your real self and realize the truth that you are as messed up as those you used to judge.  I had to figure out if I could live the way God wanted me to because of trust (or was I only able to be controlled by fear).  Did I really believe that God’s way was the best and did I really trust Him to take care of me?  I still ask myself this sometimes, but I find myself trusting God more than ever and doing things out of love rather than fear.

Now, I feel myself entering the next phase: showing this grace and love to others.  I, honestly, would be fine not entering this phase because it will be the hardest one of all.  This is because it involves people in a way that it didn’t before.  I am entering the phase of loving my enemies, praying for those that persecute me, turning the other cheek, giving my shirt when he has taken my coat, washing someone’s feet, and forgiving sins.  I am being asked to test whether I truly believe in the power of Christ’s love to transform people.

I have always believed these things as propositions.  If you had asked me “should I love my enemies”, I of course would have said “yes” but it is very different to believe that you SHOULD love your enemies then it is to ACTUALLY DO IT.  God is taking me to the ACTUALLY DO IT phase of my spirituality.  He has put the desire in my heart and now I am feeling real change.  It is exciting and scary all at the same time but if I want to be like Christ, if I truly believe the words that come out of my mouth, I must be willing to walk with Christ and live in His Kingdom way.

Written by freeinchrist

July 28, 2009 at 2:58 pm

An UnSpiritual Day

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Sometimes I have a day that I’m just not feeling the presence of God.  Today was one of these.  I was basically concerned with my own stuff and had little concern for the things of God.

So, what do I do on those days?

I give myself a break.  Trust in the love and grace of God and try to get my focus back on the things above.  That’s it.

Written by freeinchrist

July 27, 2009 at 2:08 pm

When Will I Stop Worrying About Money

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This is a question that I have asked myself for many years now and I wish I was closer to being free from dependence on wealth but this one really has me.  I never feel like I make enough money.  All I feel is debt and obligations going up and up while my net worth stays the same.  If you have been reading this blog long, you will know that I didn’t have employment at the first part of the year and only started working again in April.  I am very thankful for this job, but I still don’t feel like it is enough.

I hope to one day be able to trust God with my finances as I have learned to trust Him in some other areas of my life.  I find it odd that I have an easier time trusting God with my eternal salvation than I do with my checkbook.  Lord, help me grow in this trust.

Written by freeinchrist

July 26, 2009 at 1:38 pm

The Myth Of A Christian Religion

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I just finished Greg Boyd’s “The Myth of a Christian Religion” and would like to write a few comments on it.  Overall, I liked the book but I may have taken this in a different direction given the title.  The book is about how Christianity is not a supposed to be a religion but that we have made it into one and then Boyd discusses things like racism, creation, sex, social oppression and many other things that are incorrectly taught and/or dealt with by the Christian religion that true Christianity should concern ourselves with.  In this sense, it is a good book and I highly recommend it.

The only critique I have of the book is that a book called “The Myth of a Christian Religion” should deal more with how we have changed Christianity into a religion and how our religious view of it distorts it.  This seems to be what he was trying to do, but I think a different format may have done this a little better.  It could have contained more critiques of modern Christianity to show how we have taken Kingdom (Boyd’s prefered term) and made it into religion.  Boyd may have left these things out because he covers religion further in his book “Repenting of Religion” (which is a far better book than this one).

I would still recommend buying the book for a couple of reasons.

1. The chapter on sex is one of the best that I have read in a Christian book (although it is only a few pages long).  It shows some teaching in this area that has often been neglected and shows why the Bible is so concerned about sex when the world views it as rather recreational.

2. The chapter on creation brings up some interesting points about environmentalism without taking sides in the political debates going on about that topic.  Boyd basically shows that a Christian should care about the creation and animal kingdom because God created them but doesn’t use the book to voice his own opinions on what should be done with it.  I was both annoyed and pleased that he offered no suggestions.  On the one hand, I would love to know what a great teacher like Boyd thinks the Christian response to something like global warming would be and on the other hand I am glad he didn’t turn his book into a polarizing political statement.  I guess you can’t have both.

So, overall this book is worth reading but could have gone deeper into the problems with religion.

Experiential Baptism: Conclusion

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Well, yesterday’s post completes my Experiential Baptism series.  I hope to expand on it more in the future but for now I put it to bed.  It’s been fun.  I hope that  I have given you something to think about and contributed to the discussion about baptism.  Thanks for reading it.

Written by freeinchrist

July 20, 2009 at 8:00 am