Restoration Projects

AOC_Capitol_Restoration

Last Fall I had a delightful autumn run down the Mall in Washington, DC.

I ran 2.5 miles, starting near the US Capitol Building, running past the Smithsonian museums, the Washington Monument, the WWII Memorial, the Korean War Memorial, the reflecting pool and Lincoln Memorial, the Vietnam War Memorial, and back down the Mall to the Capitol.

I wrote that while I was running, I was thinking about the great freedoms we have in the United States, and the ultimate freedom we find though faith in Jesus Christ.

Well, I was back in Washington recently, and lucked out with a day where temperatures were near 50 degrees; so off for another run I went.

I ran the same general route, and as I headed back East to the Capitol, I noticed that it is undergoing a restoration project. After my run I stopped and took a selfie with the dome in the background. And I started thinking that I, too, was undergoing a restoration.

JW-Capitol-Restoration

When I was there in the Fall, I only ran about 2.5 miles. This run was 4 miles. I’ve changed my eating habits, been walking, hiking and running more. Not only have I lost weight, but I feel better, and am running longer and with more strength. I feel better. I’m focusing on things that are truly important.

But the restoration of the Capitol dome, as impressive as it is, and my restoration as a result of taking better care of myself, pales in comparison to the restoration that we find in Jesus Christ.

Jesus restores us fully into relationship with God. We need this restoration because we are separated by our sins. No matter how hard we try, sin is simply a part of us. Some choices we make knowing they are wrong, others we struggle and fight against; sometimes winning, sometimes losing.

Unfortunately, there is no room for error when we are talking about a relationship with a Holy God. To be in God’s presence, we must be perfect, just as God is.

And that’s why our restoration is so important. God desperately wants this relationship with us. That’s why he created us!

So, though his ultimate love, grace and mercy, he restores us through the sacrifice of Jesus.

We are his ultimate restoration project!

.

.

Photo credit: Architect of the Capitol, photo in the public domain and PastorJamie.com

Freedom

Lincoln be free galations 5-13

Recently I was in Washington, DC for some meetings. It was a gorgeous day while I was there, 65 degrees and sunny with a light breeze.

Luckily, I had some time in the afternoon so I went for a wonderful run, starting at the US Capitol and down the Mall past the Smithsonian, the Washington Monument, the World War II Memorial, the Korean War Memorial, around the Lincoln Memorial and finally past the Vietnam War Memorial.

As I was running, I was thinking about the amazing freedom we have in the United States. Freedom of Religion, Freedom of Speech and the Freedom to Assemble, among others.

This yearning for freedom is built into us as human beings. It’s in our DNA. President Ronald Reagan knew this, saying in his second Inaugural Address, “Freedom is one of the deepest and noblest aspirations of the human spirit.”

But where does this yearning for freedom come from?

It comes from our Creator.

We were created to stretch for this freedom. And while our political and social freedoms here in the USA are wonderful, they really pale in comparison to the ultimate freedom we find in God.

Freedom you say? But Pastor Jamie, isn’t God all about rules, what we CAN’T do? Just look at the 10 Commandments.

Good question! At first glance it may seem this way, but when we look at God’s commands we can see that they actually give us great freedom. Freedom to love God and love each other. They show us how God intends for us to live in relationship with Him, and with each other.

And, God loves us so much He give us the most basic freedom of all: freedom to choose whether or not to believe in and follow Him in the first place!

Then, when we come to understand God’s great love for us, we have available to us the greatest and most important freedom in all the universe: freedom from the things we do that hurt ourselves and others.

It’s those things that keep us away from the perfect relationship with God that He wants when our time on Earth is finished.

That’s how much God loves us. He forgives us for all we do that is hurtful. And all we have to do is accept this amazing gift!

Scripture link:  Galatians 5:13
Photo credit: PastorJamie.com