As you well know, we have a major holiday on the first Friday in July this year—Independence Day. We commemorate and celebrate the signing of the Declaration of Independence by the Second Continental Congress meeting in Philadelphia on that morning of July 4th, 1776. You know that Thomas Jefferson penned the original draft as the youngest member of the appointed committee which included John Adams, Benjamin Franklin, Roger Sherman, and Robert Livingston. And you probably also know that Jefferson died 50 years later on July 4, 1826. Did you also know that John Adams also died that very same day? And just five years later, on July 4, 1831 a third founding father, and our fifth president, James Monroe died.
Many of us will enjoy having a day off, perhaps attending a parade and watching the fireworks. But I wonder if we sometimes tend to take our freedom for granted.
That is certainly a danger in such a prosperous and free country like the USA. We perhaps forget the cost of political freedom and how much we benefit from our nation’s freedom of religion, speech, the press, and assembly. These liberties are a gift from God! And as Christians we must not abuse them; nor fail to humbly thank God for them. Let’s commit this month to enjoy our freedom by assembling together every Sunday to worship the Lord and every Wednesday to seek His face in prayer. Not only that, but this month exercise your freedom to share the Gospel with someone! Enjoy being part of God’s work in our area.
I enjoyed the freedom to attend the 42nd PCA General Assembly which met in Houston, Texas this year. Interestingly, two other Presbyterian denominations were also meeting the same week, though in different cities and with (much) different agendas.
Attending General Assembly is joy as well as a privilege and responsibility. Let me share some highlights from my time in Texas.
One of the greatest delights is hearing about the work of our denomination’s permanent committees and agencies: the Administrative Committee, Christian Education & Publication, Mission to the World (MTW), Mission to North America (MNA), Reformed University Ministries (RUM), Covenant Theological Seminary, Covenant College, Ridge Haven Conference Center, PCA Retirement & Benefits, and the PCA Foundation. There is also work to be done, both in smaller committees that meet Monday and Tuesday as well as the debates and decisions made on the floor of the Assembly, that is, with everyone voting.
An exhibit hall is open most of the week except during worship where not only our Church’s ministries are represented, but also other organizations share what they are doing. I had a wonderful time speaking to the folks at the Life Action Ministries booth and stopped by the Trail Life USA and American Heritage Girls displays. Doug Hudson did not make it this year, but Ministry to the Military International was there and I was able to talk to Terry Fox who is heading to Anchorage, Alaska with his family to minister. Covenant College coordinated over 40 seminars that were tremendously helpful.
But the highlight every year is worshipping together each evening. Assembling together to sing, pray, and hear the Word preached—to worship together is an essential and beautiful part of General Assembly.
And I humbly thank God (and you all) for the freedom to participate this year.
May God bless you this month as you enjoy (and exercise) your freedom,
This post was taken from the pastor’s article in our monthly church Newsletter.