Let Freedom Ring

“Let Freedom Ring”

Inscribed on the Liberty Bell is a portion of Leviticus 25:10, instructions for the Year of Jubilee, “Proclaim Liberty throughout all the land unto all the inhabitants thereof.” Indeed, freedom and liberty are central to how we define ourselves as Americans, as evidenced in the Bill of Rights, which outline the freedoms which we enjoy.

But no document, no matter how well-conceived and executed, can truly guarantee freedom. Jesus addressed true freedom in John 8, declaring in verse 36 that “if the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed.”

“Everyone who sins is a slave to sin.” (John 8:35) Make no mistake: No matter what freedoms we enjoy, if we sin, we are living as slaves.

Real disciples, Jesus taught, hold to his teaching and know the truth, and it is this truth which sets them free (John 8:31,32). Are we real disciples?  Do we study God’s Word, holding to its truth so that we experience its freedom?

This Independence Day, let us dedicate ourselves not only to living in the truth that sets us free but also to fulfilling the call to proclaim liberty to all the inhabitants of “the land of the free.”

Your greatest calling in life, your greatest privilege, and your greatest joy is to be an ambassador for Christ. The best way to carry out this calling is in the way that you live and the truth you proclaim.


Otis A. Fortenberry

I Need A Counselor!

It’s no shame to need a counselor. We read of the kings of Israel who sought advice and wisdom from counselors. I have a counselor I seek out regularly…in fact every morning. “Your statutes are my delight; they are my counselors” (Psalm 119:24). Each morning I ask the Lord to teach me and guide me by the Holy Spirit as I read and think about God’s Word. Of course, there is an important place for human counselors. However, the counsel from the Bible doesn’t require an appointment or cost you money. The price you pay is time, discipline, and attention. The rewards you will reap are out of this world! We don’t “have to read the Bible”; we get to read the Bible, and make it our primary source of counsel for life. There are many who try to attack the Bible, claiming it is full of discrepancies and errors. When I read articles by skeptics, I wonder how often they actually read and study the Bible. Personally, I discovered wisdom, purpose, and insight into my own nature when I started reading God’s Word. The counsel of the Bible lifts me out of discouragement, shakes me out of lethargy, and fills me with great joy. A sadness comes into my heart when I think of how many people will go through their entire life and never know the life-giving counsel of Scripture. As a pastor, I don’t read the Bible just to get sermon thoughts. I read because I need what God has to say to me. As a sheep first (and under-shepherd second), I need to hear God speaking to me, keeping me on the good path and sparing me from self-destructive behavior. My prayer for every person connected to Highway Tabernacle is for you to delight in the Word and develop a great hunger to think God’s thoughts. If you are new to the Bible, I suggest you open to the Book of John. Before reading chapter one, pray and ask the Holy Spirit to help you understand and obey what God says. In areas where you are confused, don’t give up. Believe that as you grow in the Lord, these areas will become clearer. The counsel of the Bible is right in front of you…waiting for you to mine its treasure. Enjoy!

Pastor Mark Boucher

Our Amazing Father

The word “father” evokes strong emotions in many people. At just the very word, some may feel love, support and acceptance, while others feel abandonment, anger, deep sadness and longing. Others may even feel nothing, a deep-seeded apathy that has been a way to cope through disappointment and disillusionment. I have been blessed with a father who is godly, faithful, wise, supportive and loving. Praise God for the fathers out there who consistently give their children the gift of their presence. Fathers, this is often a thankless society, degrading of fatherhood and manhood in general, but please don’t give up! We need you more than we probably even know.

Whatever our earthly experience with fathers may be, it is a comfort to know that there is a Father who will never fail us. In the Old Testament, we see hints of God’s Fatherhood in that He creates, guides, disciplines, defends and saves His children. “Yet, O LORD, you are our Father. We are the clay, you are the potter; we are all the work of your hand” (Isa. 64:8, NIV). In the New Testament, God’s Fatherhood is even more explicitly stated. Jesus’ favorite term for God was “Father.” He sometimes even used the intimate word Ἀββᾶ (Abba), an Aramaic term that is warm and endearing, an almost baby-like term. That relationship isn’t exclusive to the Son of God and His Father, but God is our Father, as Jesus said in Matt. 6:9. As a Father, God gives good gifts (Matt. 7:11), He disciplines because He loves (Heb. 12:6), He is compassionate and comforting (2 Cor. 1:3), He is glorious and holy (Eph. 1:17), He is constant and unchanging (Jas. 1:17).

God wants us to encounter Him as our Father. I remember an experience I had in Mozambique, Africa a few years ago. I was attending a two-month long mission school and during a time of worship one day, I glanced over at an interaction a father was having with his baby. The little boy was sitting at his father’s feet, extending his arms, and the father was holding a water bottle and letting some drops trickle into the baby’s mouth. A simple scene, but God spoke to me in that moment and said, “That baby is you, Nicole, and the father is Me. I want you to always realize your dependence on Me, even for something as simple as a drop of water.”

Putting our trust in God as our Father is the best decision we can make. He knows best how to care for us, guide our steps, and correct us when we need it! This Father’s Day, we honor and thank our earthly fathers, and we express our thanks to our heavenly Father who has been so gracious to us. “How great is the love the Father has lavished on us, that we should be called children of God! And that is what we are!” (1 John 3:1a).

Nicole Boucher

The Gap

I’ll never forget the time I was driving down the highway toward Boulder, Colorado. I had never seen the Rocky Mountains and there they were…straight in front of me! They were so large, it seemed like they were just minutes away. However, it took almost an hour of driving to get there! Sometimes, between what we see and the reality of the situation, there is a “gap.” The gap may be distance or time, and the only way to cross it is to keep on going. Consider with me a “gap” scenario from the Bible. In Luke chapter one, the angel Gabriel brought Mary astounding news: “You will be with child and give birth to a son, and you are to give him the name Jesus. He will be great and will be called the Son of the Most High” (Luke 1:31-32a). So, Mary knew the promised Messiah was coming! It would only be a matter of nine months and God’s promised Son could be seen and held! Gabriel then went on to say, “The Lord God will give him the throne of his father David, and he will reign over the house of Jacob forever; his kingdom will never end” (Luke 1:32b-33). Now, imagine what probably went through Mary’s mind: The Messiah is coming in nine months and when He’s grown up, He will set up His great kingdom for the whole earth to see! There’s only one problem…God’s plan wasn’t going to work like that. God’s plan included a “gap.” Jesus would come through Mary, live a sinless life, die for the sins of the world, send back the Holy Spirit, and establish His spiritual kingdom in the hearts of those who follow Him. Yes, the Lord Jesus would rule and reign over all the earth, but that was to come later. The only way to experience the final fulfillment of God’s Kingdom is to travel through the gap. I wonder how many of Jesus’ disciples were totally confused when Jesus ended up dying on the cross, instead of sitting on the throne. Make no mistake, the throne is coming, but the gap must be crossed. From the reality of the gap, let us remember this: When God promises something to us, we should not be discouraged or surprised at the passing of time which may follow. Just keep traveling down the highway of faithfulness toward the majesty of God’s mountains. You will cross the gap and arrive at the destination. God’s grace and your perseverance will bring you all the way home!

Pastor Mark Boucher