Early in my time in church as a young adult, well meaning church leaders thought I’d be great as a youth leader. What they didn’t know was that the mere sight of a pre-teen or teenager gave me a light form of PTSD. My own experience at that age was enough for a lifetime. And, years later, I had enough reliving of those years as my daughters went through them. So, no: I was not doing that in my spare time.
I quickly learned that there were people—as odd as it seemed to me— who loved that age kid. My job was to support them, pay their way, and cheer them on. They would go into that mission field “on my behalf.” I could do my part, but never have to play some silly game with an awkward 12 year old.
As a much older person now,I know that there are lots of ways to support others to do work you just aren’t good at, aren’t called to do, or just don’t have time to do. You can pray; you can send encouraging notes; you can support them by hosting fundraising parties and write checks yourself.
I’m guessing many of the folks who write us checks feel this way with working with the population we serve at the Jesus Center. You all are happy to send us to do the work on your behalf. And, we are thankful for the critical role you play in that work.
July is always the month I think about freedom and independence. I think about those who fought for our freedom from tyranny to create the United States. I give thanks for the young men and women who go through real serious training and then take up assignments all over the globe still today. I think of those who work in our state capitals and in DC who ensure our freedoms are protected. These men and women have done this work on my behalf. On your behalf.
Our flag is a reminder. It is a promise of our independence. And, it is a call to join this fight to preserve our freedom.
As a person of Christian faith, I think of Jesus who lived, died, and rose to insure our eternal freedom from the tyranny of sin, from a life of bondage, and a promise of new life here on earth and in heaven. Jesus did this for us. On our behalf.
The Cross is a reminder. It is a promise of our salvation. And, it is a call to join the work of God to offer salvation to renew the lives of all.
Every day at the Jesus Center we think about freedom, hope and new life. We know that the love of God in Jesus and the very principles of our nation, tell us that new life is possible. Freedom is good. And, everyone deserves these opportunities. Freedom for All.
New life because, “for God so loved the world [all people] that he gave his only begotten son.”
Here’s Janet’s experience:
“When I was a little girl I used to think of freedom and the 4th of July as a day filled with parades, watermelon eating contests, and the beautiful night sky filled with breath taking fireworks. But as I grew older, I found that freedom can only be found in Jesus.
Once I became addicted to mind-altering chemicals, they took me down paths that were unimaginable. During all this time I would get gentle nudges from the Lord. There was a verse that was embedded in my heart. 1 John 4:4 ‘Greater is he that is in me, than he who is in the world.’
Slowly, during this time of my life I found out that I’m worthy. I’m worthy of love, life, and freedom of fulfillment that comes in Jesus Christ. Then once again a tragic event happened, and I turned to drugs and found myself living on the streets: one of the lowest points of my life for a few years. Then one day I found myself at the Jesus Center as a participant. I was able to pick back up the pieces of my life. I was willing to do anything and not to go back to those lonely nights and days on the streets.
The Jesus Center Staff gave me hope again. They gave me the freedom to choose life and helped me to see the real me again—the little girl that was so in love with Jesus.
If you have ever been broken, God knows how to put all your pieces back together.”
Paul goes on to say in Galations 3, “as many of you as were baptized into Christ have clothed yourselves with Christ. There is no longer Jew or Greek, there is no longer slave or free, there is no longer male and female; for all of you are one in Christ Jesus.” We ALL deserve expressions of love, justice, opportunity and freedom.
That’s what we are about at the Jesus Center. When you join with our work, you say yes to freedom for those who are so often left on the fringe like Janet. Left for lost. We offer freedom from the bondage of mental illness, addiction, trauma, homelessness, hunger. Together we can ensure that there is a path to health, wholeness, freedom and salvation.
The land of the free. It is for all of us. It is our job, who know what health, freedom and salvation look like to serve on their behalf: to help and to offer a hand up to those who have not yet tasted the sweet, sweet fruit of freedom and life abundant.
Jesus said, “I came that they may have life, and have it abundantly.”
Blessings as you choose to step out for others to offer true freedom!
In service, on your behalf,
Laura R. Cootsona