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Jesus and Freedom for the People You Love

From the series Jesus Skeptic

Many parents today, are deeply concerned about the hostile world their kids are growing up in. In this message, our guest teacher John Dickerson shares the ways parents can set their children up to make wise choices, good friends, and avoid the prevalent problems all around us. Don't miss why it's so important we get back to our faith-based roots.

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Message Transcript

When I was an investigative reporter, one of the first big investigations I had to do was on heroin addiction in Phoenix. And I profiled this young, 19-year-old girl named Mickey, who was down to about 90 pounds. She was so addicted to heroin. It was destroying her body. And as I looked into Mickey's story, one of the unique things about it is that she wasn't born in the slums or in poverty. Her parents were attorneys. She went to Disneyland as a kid. She had the perfect little girl bedroom with stuffed animals all around.

And when we think about this question: What can you do to set the people you love up for a life that they live free from addiction, free, hopefully, from divorce, free from as much pain and suffering as possible. It's important that they have a good education. Yes. Playing youth sports. That can be good. Yes. Mickey did all those things. And at one high school party, when she decided to smoke a little marijuana, it led to her then trying cocaine, and then trying meth, and then trying heroin, and ending up living in a drug house at age 19.

How do you prevent that kind of thing - in a world where there are so many things that our kids are exposed to: division and hatred and so many things that are designed to addict them? How do we set them up for freedom? We can't control their choices, but how can we set them up to make good choices? Well, Jesus speaks about this in John chapter 8. He speaks about freedom. And as we've learned in this series, when Jesus speaks He's not speaking as a guru, or a self-help coach, or even a great, spiritual teacher, He claims to be Almighty God.

And so, in this series, we've documented: Yes, He lived; yes, we know what He said - it's recorded in the gospel accounts; yes, His birthday is the zero of our calendar and He's impacted humanity. He has more followers than anyone else ever in the history of the world. But the real power of Jesus is in His words. And within these claims to be God, we each have to look at these and say, Was this guy actually God on earth, as He claimed or is he some weird lunatic? Because just good people who are helpful, moral examples don't claim that they're God, they don't claim that they're going to return and judge every single person for how they lived their life. But Jesus made these audacious claims.

And it's within that context that Jesus said things like this, in John chapter 8, He said: If you hold to My teaching, then you're really My disciples. So, your salvation begins when you believe that He died on the cross for you, but being a disciple means you're continually reading the teachings of Jesus, and you're continually looking at your life and saying, Am I doing what Jesus said?

Now, none of us do this perfectly, but it's about trajectory. Is there an effort to simply obey the words of Jesus in your life? If so, then He gives this promise. He says: … then you will know the truth - not a truth, not one of many ways, but the truth - God's truth.

And then, this well-known phrase that, even if this is your first time in church, you've heard this phrase before: … and the truth will set you free. The truth setting you free is dependent on the first part: Do you hold to Jesus’ teachings? Are you striving to do what He says in your life? In other words, Jesus just is making this radical claim. He claims to give unrivaled freedom to those who follow His teaching.

In most of the other freedoms in our lives we’re recipients of. We've been born into a country where we have a lot of freedom. Most of us didn't personally achieve that. But the kind of freedom Jesus talks about is freedom from death - that you have eternal life; freedom from sin, from any kind of addiction or habit or pattern that that makes your life smaller; freedom in family systems - when there are things like alcoholism, or abuse, or co-dependence, or insecurity that get passed down from generation to generation. Jesus claims He can break that in your family. He can change that. This is a radical claim.

And in our series, we've been seeing that followers of Jesus in history have been at the leading edge of setting other people free. Those who gave their lives to turn the conscience of countries against slavery, we saw from their writings, they were followers of Jesus. And all that is documented. It's not opinion. But I want to show you today, while we'll look at a little bit of history, I want to show you what this looks like right now, right here. We're a bunch of people who've taken Jesus up on this promise that if we do what He says, He'll set us free and we've found it to be true. Zach and Lindsay are two of those. I want you to go ahead and see their story.


When we first met each other, it was just like a friendship. It was about getting high. It was about having sex. It was about using one another. I had gone through a DCS case. My house caught on fire. I ended up signing over custody to my parents for my two oldest children. And at that point I started using meth.

I went to prison a few times and then every time I got out I would try to be good, do good, but I became homeless after my mom got diagnosed with cancer and she ended up having to leave the house that I was raised in. So, after that, I didn't have nowhere to go. And then I ended up in a homeless shelter. I would keep going out, trying to just say I was going to use one or two, three times, and then eventually it led down to bad roads.

Then we got married, we got married high at the courthouse in our hometown. And my parents encouraged us to go get help at a detox center in our hometown. It didn't help us any at all.

When I picked her up from the rehab, I had heroin on me and basically threw it in her face again. And

We ended up getting out and going to live with the man that we met in the detox center, where he would let us spend his money, drink, and get high there.

But when we got kicked out of that house, you know, we didn't have nowhere to go. So, we went and sat at the Walmart. So, with the heroin and the meth, you know, I finally got to the point to where I realized that it was going to lead me to prison again for the rest of my life or dead. And at the time I wish I was trying to find drugs just to be able to end my life and not wanting to live. And just feel like I just felt like giving up. I tried to get on Facebook and just try to call and tried to reach out to anybody that I could.

We were sitting there on our phone and Zach just looked at me and we didn't know what to do. He was like, “What are we going to do, Lindsay?” Nobody that we were messaging was able to help us. It was like God was letting us know, These aren't the people that I want you to go and get help from.

I sent a message to a guy I know that was in my childhood. And he reached out to me and he said he would come pick us up. And then I mentioned Trinity Life ministries. And he knew about that. So, I went to the Trinity office there and I had a interview with him. And then he asked me when I wanted to enter the program. And I told him that same day.

I actually had to wait a month before I could get through the gate. So, our Christian friends allowed me to live there a month. Also, while I was able to visit with my children. And they were able to come spend the night with me, just all these open doors that God opened for us.

My mentor, Tim Moser was his name. And he was there through everything.

Just knowing that my husband has this really good relationship with a godly man is wonderful. It's great. I support it all the way.

But when Tim was mentoring me he invited me to a service. And so I came to the first service. And then after that, I made that commitment that this was going to be my home church.

I really like this church and I come to love this church, now. I have come to love the fact that my husband stood and stood firm into wanting this to be our home church. And I love it now. I love committing every Sunday coming here because of everything that we've been through. I just felt like I was being led to commit and to make the decision to basically share some PDA [public display of affection] for Jesus. And it was just so great to be able to have this good, good memory of my husband baptizing me because of everything that Jesus has done. And It just really is a home here being a part of this church, all the people that we've met along the way since we decided to start living for Christ. And it's so, it's so amazing.

My life has changed tremendously from being homeless, to being a drug addict, to now being able to be there for my kids and my family, and be a godly man and lead my family and my wife.

I would say that our lives completely took a 180 turn. We're being reconciled with family members. We're able to be examples to others who could be out there right now using, and then seeing our story. And you know, we're doing it all for the glory of God. And the only reason that we're able to keep moving forward is because of Jesus. Our oldest children come visit us every other weekend. We're able to show them what Jesus has done in our lives because our oldest children saw us in our darkness. And now they see us in the light, because of Jesus. He just baptized his son. And now, his son's mother and her husband want to get baptized. And it's great. Like there are so many open doors here and now we're finding just like Tim and Lisa have been able to lead us in different ways to Jesus. Like now we're seeing we're seeing fruit by, by the, some people from our past that are now being led to Jesus because we brought them, we were able to bring them here to connection point.

It's never too late to surrender your life to the Lord.

There is no hopeless cause. It's all a matter of desiring to do good, desiring a better life, and the answer is Jesus.


Give God the glory for that transformation. “Those the Son sets free are free, indeed.”

There were things I saw as a journalist that I thought, People could never get free from that kind of addiction. And now, as a pastor, I see Jesus doing it. I see Him setting people free, not only from addiction, but also from insecurity, from never feeling like they could do enough to be accepted, from never feeling like they're good enough, set free from shame, set free from greed, set free from guilt, set free from brokenness. “Those the Son sets free are free, indeed.”

And you're just sitting in a room full of people who are broken and imperfect, but who have found in Jesus that when we hold to His teaching, not perfectly but consistently, then we come to know the truth and it does set us free. It changes our emotions. It changes what we see, when we look in the mirror. It changes how we treat the people around us. “Those the Son sets free are free, indeed.” I tried to make it through that video without crying, because I know exactly where Zach and Lindsay sit. And I'm sitting there watching them through the video. How are they now? They're here every weekend.

The point of this is Jesus. All we are is a place that connects people to the source of life, to the one who not only creates, but also redeems and restores and recreates. You see, God's truth, obeyed, sets people free.

God's truth is always available to set you free in your life. But whether it will or not depends on will you obey it? And I hope you've heard from me you don't have to obey it perfectly; you just have to obey it willfully, intentionally, with some consistency. We all still stumble and fall down. We're a group of imperfect people, but what we have in common is when we fall down, we've got people around us who pick us up and dust us off and say, keep following Jesus. He's the path to freedom.

Now this is true for individuals. This is true for families. So many families in this church and in Jesus’ movement over the last 2000 years, where, for generations, greed or alcoholism or physical abuse or emotional abuse or some other thing was just passed down from generation to generation. And that pattern could never be broken until there was a generation that believed in Jesus and held to His teaching and then they knew the truth and it set them free.

And what we see when we look back over the last 2000 years is if you get enough people together who were experiencing that, then they start to help other people experience that. And the movement grows and it starts to actually change the society in which they live.

And this might sound like an impossible claim depending on your education background but we looked at primary evidence. What did Harriet Tubman say about Jesus? What did Frederick Douglas say about Jesus? And we found out that the leaders of the movement to end open and legalized slavery, not only here in the U.S., but around the world were dedicated followers of Jesus and were motivated by Jesus’ teachings. That's according to their writings. That's not me putting that in their mouths.

We saw the same with the top 10 hospitals. We saw that the Mayo Clinic, John's Hopkins, Massachusetts General, those three of the top five are symbolic of the top 200, which have
spread healthcare around the world. And that each of them had followers of Jesus at their founding, that they were started to care for the poor. And to obey Jesus’ words where He says, “Whatever you do for the least of these you've done unto Me.” And again, all of that was documented.

Now, very briefly. I want to give you a thesis, and the thesis is this that we live at a time where, yes, society's imperfect, but we've inherited some fruits of freedom, prosperity, even longevity of our life-span that are unusual in history. So, the average lifespan in human history has been 45 years. Now, in the U.S. it's about 80 years. That's changed in the last 200 years because of specific advances in healthcare. Where did those come from?

Most people throughout history either were slaves, or they lived in a society that had slaves. In the last 200 years that has changed. Who were the people who changed that? Where were they educated? How did they do it? These are all fruits that we inherit. Even what we assume are our property rights and our human rights and that we can go to a court and hopefully have at least an effort at a just and fair trial, that’s unique in history. Where did all of this come from?

And if you think of these as fruit on a tree, the reality is that there were seeds that were planted. And we can trace these through history.

We looked at the Reverend Samuel Wright, an African American gentleman who was born into freedom because of the Quaker Christians, long before the civil war. And he gave his life to help end slavery. It was very rare that he knew how to read and write as an African American before the civil war. Why did he know how to read and write? Well, it was because of the Quaker Christians.

It was them and the Puritan, Christians who pretty much instituted what we now call public education - that every boy and girl gets taught how to read. Now, over the generations that's been handed on and it's obviously not overtly Christian anymore, but that's where it started. And if you were to look at each of these advances, one of the things they all have in common is the university, as we know it today. And could you imagine if there were no universities today? One, how terrible would it be to not be able to watch college football?

So, thank you Christians for founding the university system so we can watch our favorite team get pounded or win. But it’s so much more than that. Just imagine if right now there were no universities in the United States, the roads that you drove on today to get here, wouldn't be like that because there wouldn't be engineers trained to grade and design the road like that. The vehicle you have wouldn't exist. The electricity you had that you can turn on the lights, it wouldn't be there. Without the university, you removed that one thing from the last 1000 years and we're back in the dark ages. So, where did the university system come from?
Just imagine if right now there were no universities in the United States, the roads that you drove on today to get here, wouldn't be like that because there wouldn't be engineers trained to grade and design the road like that. The vehicle you have wouldn't exist. The electricity you had that you can turn on the lights, it wouldn't be there. Without the university, you removed that one thing from the last 1000 years and we're back in the dark ages. So, where did the university system come from? Well, we don't have to have an opinion about this or guess because it's documented. The university system, as we know it, started about 1000 years ago in Europe and it started in Christian cathedrals.

I'll show you here, the crest of Oxford university, which is still ranked the number one university in the world. Oxford was founded in 1096 A.D. So, it is almost a thousand years old. This crest has three crowns on it, which symbolic of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. This crest, in the middle, has some Latin words. What do those Latin words say? They say this, The Lord is my Light - education was called the light of learning.

And the whole idea was that the light of learning would enlighten society so that people could treat each other the way Jesus said. Now, the church that Oxford grew out of, was it a perfect church? No, churches tend to get corrupted throughout history. They get a lot of power and money and they tend to get corrupted. But every time that happens, there's a band of sincere followers of Jesus who say, Hey, this isn't about Jesus anymore, we're going to break off and we're going to get back to following Jesus. And that happens all throughout history.

Oxford is not unique in being founded as a Christian university. Now the word university actually comes from a Latin word for all things, Universita. And these were cathedral schools that were at the largest Christian cathedrals throughout Europe. And they said, we're going to start to each all things - Universita. So, if you trace the first seed universities like Oxford, you'll find about a dozen of them throughout Europe. All of them grew out of Christian cathedrals. All of them have Christian, overtly Christian foundings like this. Those universities would then train up people like Isaac Newton.

Now, if you were to ask who's the most influential scientist in all of history who has transformed society, so that we now live in the modern era, you know who I'd like to asked that question to Albert Einstein. Albert Einstein, who would you say is the most influential scientist ever? And he answered that question. And he said, It's Isaac Newton. You know, you were taught about him with the apple and gravity, that guy. Isaac Newton unlocked the cabinets of science for all of humanity. And soon after would be the industrial revolution and the modern era because of Isaac Newton's learnings.

Behind me, here is a picture of one of the pages of Isaac Newton's journals. He was prolific. There are tens of thousands of pages. Now, if you know anything about ancient languages, you see at the top there Hebrew on the third line, that's the Hebrew language, the Jewish language. It's what the old Testament is written in. You see, Isaac Newton started as a theology student. He learned ancient Hebrew and ancient Greek and ancient Aramaic. He would go into the libraries at Cambridge and Oxford, and he would pull out ancient manuscripts of the Bible. And all of this is documented. He would do these mathematical calculations from the Old Testament. He made predictions based on those. And for Isaac Newton, if you read his works like Principia, one of his most seminal works, you'll find that his theology and his science were hand in hand. He was a devoted follower of Jesus. And we don't know that from people's opinions, we know that because we can read his own writings.

You might think, Well, is Isaac Newton, some weird anomaly or exception? Here's the bottom line. Johannes Kepler, who gave you your eyeglasses, Blaise Pascal, Robert Boyle, who gave us Boyle’s Law, the father of modern chemistry, and the list goes on. If you take a secular atheist’s list of the most influential scientists in the scientific revolution, and then you look at their own primary writings, you'll find that over 90% of them were Christians, and that over 70% of them wrote passionate things like Kepler and Pascal and Isaac Newton about their faith in God.

Here's an excerpt from one of those journals of Isaac Newton. He wrote: This is life eternal, that they might know the only true God and Jesus Christ whom Thou has sent.

Now here's my point. I'm not saying that Isaac Newton was perfect or that any Christian was perfect. The only perfect person is Jesus. But when people form a whole group and say: We're going to try to obey the Word of God. It leads the people around them up into more freedom, more dignity for the people around them. And this would be my assessment based on the hundreds of ancient documents that I compile in the book, Jesus Skeptic, that we live in a society that is the result of a pursuit of truth. It's almost like climbing a mountain.

Graduates of Cambridge would cross the Atlantic and start Harvard university, started by the Reverend John Harvard, a pastor and its seminary graduates would go start Yale and Princeton.
Their graduates would start the University of Michigan and IU and Butler and, and literally the entire university system that we know today can all be traced back here in the U.S. to Harvard, which traces back to Cambridge in Oxford, and all of them were overtly founded to teach the Bible. Now, clearly that's not their main thing anymore, but they and their graduates have brought more light to the world than perhaps any other movement in history.

Now, if you want to get nerdy like me, in the late 1800s, if you wonder, Why doesn't Harvard and Yale, why don't they teach all about Jesus anymore? In the late 1800s, as many of those nations that had been predominantly Christian experienced prosperity and wealth and freedom, unlike any other in the world, any other in history, people thought, We're smart enough. We don't need God anymore. This God stuff's kind of antiquated. I mean, could a guy really raise people from the dead? You're telling me that God came to earth and died on a cross and rose from the dead?

And the smartest people at the smartest universities decided, We could build a better society without God. Why do we need God? And this is very clearly traced through academia and philosophy. In the late 1800s, you get at German universities, that had been founded by Martin Luther, a Protestant Christian, you get this philosophic turn that says, We don't need God anymore. Perhaps you've heard of Frederick Nietzsche who said around that time, God is dead. We can build a better society without God. Let's keep the progress and the success and the technology, but get rid of the Bible.

And it wasn't long after that, that the world started to spin into chaos. Two world wars would follow. And we now live at a time where there's still a lot of Christian values in our land assumed, but the overtness of Christianity is pretty much not allowed. To the point that in 2016 Oxford University, they pick a word of the year, every year to describe society. They said the word to describe society now is: Post-truth. Academics used to be about what's the truth, but we've moved beyond truth. And it's from that move beyond truth that some of the greatest atrocities in human history have happened.

For example, if you think of the Soviet Union, we all know that tens of millions of people starved to death, that many educated people were arrested and thrown into prison camps called gulags, often up in the Siberian wilderness in the snow.

I want to show you two paintings that demonstrate this, not from my opinion, but from the Russian people. This is a painting by a famous Russian artist named Mikhail Nesterov. This was before the Bolshevik Revolution or before communism took over. What was communism? It was the philosophy of Frederick Nietzsche and his peers, Karl Marx, and others who said, We don't need God. We can make a better society without God. And in this painting, what you see is Jesus on the left. And you can see all the different classes of Russian people looking to Jesus, because that was the Russian norm. Was it a perfect church? It was the Orthodox church. It was far from perfect. It was pretty corrupted. It was pretty broken. And yet people of every class knew about Jesus and worshiped Him to some degree. Russia was known in the late 1800s as the Holy Rus or the land of a thousand domes because the Orthodox churches would have these domes on them.

Well as Lenin and other young Russian revolutionaries read the post-God ideas from the German seminaries, they led the country to completely turn away. Clergy would be arrested. Church bells would be melted down. And at that time, this same artist, Mikhail Nesterov painted a second painting. If you look closely at the middle of this painting to the right, you'll see clergy and others holding what looks like a portrait. And if you study it closely, it's the face of Jesus. And then Nesterov painted over the face of Jesus with dark paint. And the whole point is he's symbolizing that: My nation has said, we're no longer going to follow Jesus. We're going to follow a new young ideal. And if you study it closely, you'll actually see a kind of John the Baptist prophet who looks half naked and he's trying to warn them: Don't do this. Don't try to make a better society without God. It won't work.

Well, we know from the last 100 years, how it worked. Massive decreases in human rights, starvation, loss of private property. If you want to know, Well, John was, was it getting rid of God that really made all this happen? How about instead of me answering that, how about we ask the best, one of the top academics from the USSR, who once he disagreed with the government got arrested and taken to a prison camp in the snow, survived. His name's Alexander Solzhenitsyn.

And after the fall of the Soviet Union, Solzhenitsyn went around the world trying to warn people. Here's what he said, “If I were asked today to formulate as concisely as possible, the main cause of the ruinous revolution that swallowed up some 60 million of our people, I could not put it more accurately than to repeat: Men have forgotten God. That's why all this happened. That's the opinion of an academic who survived the gulags. You can read more about it in the book, Jesus Skeptic, I'm not going to unpack it anymore today. But my point is this, what people believe affects the way they treat the people around them. You multiply that out by millions of people. You get radically different societies. Jesus said, “If you hold to my teachings…”, what did He say? “Love your neighbor as yourself.” “If you give a cup of cold water to someone who's thirsty, you've done it as unto Almighty God.”

When societies follow the words of Jesus, those societies lead the way in freedom. And when societies discard the words of Jesus, they lose those freedoms. Now we can't control entire societies, but we can control ourselves, and our families, and our movement. And we can be people who say: We will hold to the teachings of Jesus, no matter the cost, because that's the best way to guarantee freedom and prosperity for our kids. And that's the best way to guarantee for ourselves, freedom from addiction, freedom from greed, freedom from unforgiveness.
[Jesus:]“If you hold to My teachings, you're really My disciples. Then you'll know the truth and the truth will set you free.”

I'm actually a pastor's kid. Some of you probably didn't know that. I pushed away from it for a season. And then God brought me full circle. Part of how God brought me full circle is that when I pushed away and I was skeptical and I was working as a journalist and a reporter with the values of: I want to speak the truth. I want to expose corruption. I want to help the weak. I want to bring justice and accountability, I realized as I looked around the world, those are actually Christian values.

And even if I think I'm too smart to be a Christian, when I go out and do work along those lines, I'm actually doing work along the lines of Christian values. And then as I looked more into my family of origin, I'm one of four boys. By statistics in the U.S., if all four of us are married, two should be divorced, right? That's about the divorce rate. All four of us are happily married. All four of us are free from addictions. All four of us are excelling in our respective fields. One's an educator, one's a businessman, one's a varsity basketball coach. And I looked back through my family and this wasn't always the case for my family. It was when my grandpa trusted in Jesus in the 1940s that he had a radical conversion and he broke the patterns of the Dickerson family, going back hundreds of years. He broke patterns of abuse and of depression. That all changed when my grandpa was transformed by Jesus.

And then he passed that freedom onto my dad and my dad wasn't perfect but he raised me with one thing. He said, “John, I don't care how much money you make. I don't have any money for you for college. I don't care if you're successful in this world, but you have to know the Word of God.” And he just filled my mind with the Word of God, to the point that even when I pushed away from it and went off and made the money and got successful, the Word of God was still in there, the greatest inheritance that any child can have. And the Word of God continued to speak to me. And then as I did the research, I saw that this claim, “If you hold to My teachings, the truth will set you free,” that it's proven in families, in individuals, even in societies. God's truth, obeyed, sets families free.

I wonder today. What if the best thing that you could do for your family is to believe Jesus more and obey Him more. I've found that to be true for me. What if the best gift that you could give to your family is to make sure every week they're gathered with other believers so that their minds are being filled with God's truth.

I want to show you the story of a mom here in our church family, who in some ways, similar to me, was raised in a branch of Christianity, but kind of turned away. Go ahead and have a look.


I loved growing up in the Church. That we had that faith. My parents instilled that faith and I wouldn't change that. I just, for my family, I wanted something a little bit different. I wanted them to have the faith, but I wanted there to be a better understanding of what it is, what it means and why it's important. And I think that's why I stepped away for as long as I did. Cause I didn't know what I wanted that to look like.

I grew up in the Catholic church, family of five. So very faithfully went to church every Sunday. As a little kid, you don't really understand anything that's happening. You just you're listening to the priest talk and you don't really know what that means. So, in college I started questioning what I personally believed. Like, the Catholic faith was my family's faith. And again, I love that I was raised in the church, but I just wanted to try to better understand what my own faith was.

My husband and I got married. He was not raised in the church. And so didn't really have that interest or desire. And then kids came along and I really had a strong desire to get back into the church, but I still didn't know what church, what kind of church.

So, I did some church shopping with the kids and then my husband would come for your major holidays, because it was always a great family photo opportunity, but just nothing really sank in for him. But then the Easter before The Greater Things campaign, on his own he came down, the message with John, just hit him just right. So, he started attending with us, me coming consistently, the kids coming and getting more involved and their baptisms. You know, because as a young adult, I really had a firm belief that, well I was already baptized, you know, and my parents did that for me. I don't need to do that again. And I was very adamant that I didn't need to do it again.

But then again, just after seeing everything, the kids being baptized, my husband coming to church, which is something I prayed about for about 14 years and really never thought it would happen. I just, I made that decision for myself. So, I did a believer’s baptism this past January.

And then the August one came up and he was like, “I think I'm ready to do this.” I was like, “Okay.” And then it was also really funny because we had a lot of conversations about who was going to do the baptism. And I told him it's usually whoever brings you to the church, what that looks like. And I said so that's something I can do. Or if you feel more, are comfortable with some of the other guys that you've gotten to know. And so, then he finally just said, “Well, I'm going to let whoever's there do it.”

Well, then he filled out the registration and read more into it. And the night before he's like, “Well, this is what the registration says. So, I really think that should be you.” So, I actually got to, I actually got to do his baptism, which was amazing. I don't even know how to put it into words. It was just the most amazing, joyful, exhilarating, like I really never, ever imagined that that's something he would choose to do, let alone being the one to get to do it for him and the kids were watching. So that was really cool, too.

We still have our moments - what family doesn't? But the type of music that we listen to has changed, both of the boys have been praying before like their marching band. They pray before their performances. A couple years ago, that's not something they would've done. Really, a church like Connection Point it's as big or as little as you want it to be. If you come and you just come and sit through service, it's probably going to feel really big and you're probably going to feel lonely. But if you come and you plug in, then it's the smallest church in the world.


Isn’t that a great story? I love seeing God set people free. God's truth is always available to set you free in your life. But whether it will or not depends on will you obey it? And I hope you've heard from me you don't have to obey it perfectly; you just have to obey it willfully, intentionally, with some consistency. We all still stumble and fall down. We're a group of imperfect people, but what we have in common is when we fall down, we've got people around us who pick us up and dust us off and say, keep following Jesus. He's the path to freedom.