Let Freedom Ring

“I have to…”Christmas as it was meant to be

“I have to _____.” Fill in the blank.

It’s a dangerous phrase. Common, yes. Necessary, at times. But taxing, even toxic in the world of December overload.

Bound, hard and fast, to the emotional expectations of ourselves and others, we feel obligated, trapped to “do,” to “spend” our time, energy or money on things that may have relatively little value in the big picture of life.

Choice is an option, but we see and feel little of its influential power.

Greg McKeown challenges us to exchange “I have to…” with “I choose to…”

Go ahead, give it a try. Do a mental inventory of what’s on your schedule for this week, this month.

Through this simple exchange of words, may we find the freedom to do Christmas as it was meant to be: guilt-free.

Why did Jesus come? He made it clear in Luke 4, Jesus quoted from Isaiah 61:1:

“He has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim freedom for the captives…”

Captivity takes many forms.

How will you pray for freedom this Christmas? This year?


First time here?

Welcome! We’re a group that gathers around the theme, “There has to be a better way.” We’re finding it in the 4-word mission statement, “Run hard. Rest well.”

  • It’s a journey into the heart of God. It comes our way through an on-going exploration of four biblical rhythms that revive, replenish and restore: Sabbath Keeping, Sleep (and other simple stress-reducers), Stillness—personal retreat, and Solitude—personal retreat.
  • It’s an expedition that challenges us at every turn. It convicts us in deep, tender places. It alters our priorities and plans. It’s not for the faint of heart.
  • It’s adventure at its best – as we learn to run the race in a power not our own.

First time here?

5 thoughts on “Let Freedom Ring”

  1. All of my “have to’s” are choices. Pool therapy, visits with…., caroling. These are things that no one holds a ax over my head about. They are pieces of joy offered in the midst of expectations. Cards weren’t done this year. Awwww! Presents may not be bought! Doubt that will happen. I need Jesus! I have to see Him in this season. I need reminders and those come with carols and lights and church and visits. All the things we let slide because of other things. My present for you this year is Peace. Love you.

    • Merry Christmas Betty! I pray it is a wonderful day for you this year, and joy follows you through the new year into next! Presents are things that fade away while the song in our hearts lives on because of His great love. It is our love from Him that we share that makes Christmas so special. May peace and love follow you always!

      • Merry Christmas, Erin. May you experience the peace that passes all understanding throughout the holidays and into the new year! Ooh! I feel like I just got my first present! Thank you, sweet friend!

  2. I have to look into myself everyday!

    Yesterday a visiting pastor gave a great sermon of repentance as he characterized himself as John the Baptist referencing the Pharisees John may have encountered. It occurred to me, Repentance is something done every day. It is not just making amends for one’s sins, but renewing one’s self (myself) with God every day.

    “Dear Lord, I know I am not pure in heart. Oh Gracious Lord forgive me, guide me. Let your will be done in my heart, so I may share my love for you with others. Let them be opened to your infinite love so they too may in turn share your love.”

    Prayer is repentance. Doing is the result of prayer. I pray my love for the Lord is shown by the smile in my heart. Jesus spent 40 days in the desert. Jesus prayed. Yes he performed miracles too, but so much in the bible, he prayed. He taught us to pray. I am not God, I love God. God does the miracles, and I pray. I pray. I repent. It is what I can do, what I am called to do, communicate with the Lord.

    Often in society we need the help of others to help us move forward. Whether it be a counselor, a boss, a friend, or stranger. I am going to God first when I need help (which is all of the time). I am going to ask for his guidance first. With God on my side, I can break free from all the things that captivate me. The fruits of the Spirit are the tools at my side while the sword of Truth conquers all. I am armored, I am ready. I love you Lord. Dad is my freer indeed.

    • Beautiful! Christ is very visible in you to all around. We stumble. We fall. But God is there to catch us, pick us up, dust us off, and set us back on His path. Merry Christmas.


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