Blog Space of Rev. Adrian J. Pratt B.D, pastor at Mount Hebron Presbyterian Church, Ellicott City, MD

Monday, October 6, 2014

This is my Story, this is my Song, 1. Called to be Free

In worship last week we reflected on the theme 'I believe in mystery'. The sermon can be found here. One of the mysteries of our faith is how God guides our lives.

Since moving to my current church a number of questions have been re-occurring. 'How did you become involved in the church?', 'What made you want to be a minister?' and 'Why did you move from your home in Great Britain to the USA?' To answer those questions I’m preaching a series of sermons I'm calling 'This is my story, this is my song'  the first of which will be this coming Sunday, October 12th. For a bible passage we'll take a look at Galatians 5:1-13

This is something I've done in my previous churches, and it's usually received a good response. If you have folk you were thinking of inviting to a service, this series might be a good one to bring them along to!

Offering a personal word of testimony has for many years been an evangelistic tool adopted by many preachers. The danger is that putting one self on a pedestal may draw attention away from God and towards the person speaking. I assure you, my intention will be to focus people on the grace of God, with the hope that as I speak of the way God has worked in my own life, folk will seek for God to work in their own lives.

In the sermon time I'll be reflecting on a verse that has had a deep impact on my own life :- Galatians 5:13; “You were call to be free, but do not use your freedom to indulge the sinful nature. Rather serve one another in love.” By way of a pre-sermonic bible study, some thoughts...

Freedom is a Calling. God calls us to come out of lives that are self-seeking, self-satisfied and self motivated and discover that seeking the Kingdom of God is the true path of freedom. This involves us making some hard choices and definite decisions. We choose to listen for God’s direction through scripture. We decide that the pressures of this world will not mold our existence, but rather the prompting of God’s love.

Freedom is not self-indulgence. We have this warped notion that freedom is doing whatever we want to do. In reality following such a path leads to nothing but ingrained habits, addictions and the inability to make realistic choices. Jesus invites us to make His love the center of our being, a love we can know and experience through the Holy Spirit.

We are set free to serve. As we allow ourselves to be inspired by the Holy Spirit our focus shifts from ourselves to others. The two great commandments about 'Loving God' and 'Loving our neighbor' take on a sharper focus. We find ourselves not only wanting to help make a positive difference in peoples’ lives, but greatly enjoying it!

For a musical break enjoy Hillsong United "In Your Freedom"

Prayer: Lord, You call us to freedom. But freedom is not what we always think it is. True freedom can only be found as we surrender to the influence of Your love. Help us to find our center in You. Amen.

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