We’ve been talking about freedom at New Covenant Church for a while now.

I think that most of us realize that Freedom is not the absence of something, but rather the presence of SOMEONE.  It will happen naturally: With more of Jesus in our lives, there will be more Freedom.  If you want to be more free, get in (and stay in) the presence of God.

It’s not easy to describe or easy to accept this idea of freedom coming through Jesus’ presence, because most of us have a picture of walking with Jesus as being forced to be holy.  The idea of holiness is all distorted because we think holiness is about as much fun as being in a padded room wearing a straight-jacket listening to monks humming funeral dirges.

In essence, we have this idea that being in God’s presence is about as much fun as watching Godzilla Raids Again.  (Here’s the trailer if you really are a glutton for punishment:

Godzilla Raids Again

We’ve got to reject idea that being with God is boring and lame.

As I look back over the past few years, I see much more freedom in the way we think.  I see more freedom talk in our conversations.  This is encouraging.

I’ll be honest, though.  There is much more for us.  The Bible says that we can have life and life more abundant.  (John 10:10).  I like the way that The Passion Translation puts it:  “…I have come to give you everything in abundance, more than you expect —life in its fullness until you overflow!”

Do you have life “…in its fullness until you overflow?”

I was watching a video the other day and the topic of joy came up in the presentation.  (Joy has come up over and over again in the past few months, and every time it does, I feel challenged.)  This man was describing how we Christians sing and talk about joy without a shred of evidence in our lives or on our faces.

The way he put it made me laugh.

What he said made me cry.

If you don’t know what joy is, let me give you a brief definition from John Piper: Christian joy is a good feeling in the soul, produced by the Holy Spirit, as he causes us to see the beauty of Christ in the word and in the world.

I have committed to discovering Joy.  I know that the only way to Joy is through God.  Joy is produced living in His presence.

Proverbs 14:4 says “An empty stable stays clean…” and I think Pastor Sam has paraphrased it as “If there is no manure there is no cow”.

So, if Joy is, as John Piper says, “produced by the Holy Spirit”, what do we say about a joyless church?  “If there is no joy, there is no God?”  Sobering thought, isn’t it?

Joy is only truly possible if I am free.  I am only free in God’s presence.

Freedom come.  God, dwell in me.

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