A Declaration of Dependence

a-declaration-of-dependence[1]It’s easy to look at today’s headlines and wonder, “What in the world is going on?” We are certainly living in times of change. Many believe that the moral compass of America and much of the world has been permanently reset. It would seem that God is nowhere to be found in the thoughts of much of the world’s population.

July 4 is the day that America celebrates her Independence Day. In recent days, upon voting to leave the EU, many pundits declared that June 23 was Great Brittan’s independence day.  Others said that Great Brittan’s voters made a huge mistake. Time will tell. What happens in today’s newscast will not surprise God. What happens in tomorrow’s newscast will not surprise Him either. God knows the future, He was there in the past, and He is right here with us in the present. Are you living in an awareness of God’s presence today?

As we celebrate America’s independence today, I want to encourage you to turn your thoughts towards God. Where does God fit in your life? Is He an afterthought, or is He the Lord of your life? Here’s another way to look at it – is your life one of dependence upon God or independence from God?

When it comes to our relationship with God, we either live lives of dependency or lives of independence. What does God want for us? He wants us to live lives of dependency. Look at some of what the Bible tells us about depending on God:

5 Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding. 6 In all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make straight your paths. (Proverbs 3:5-6)

9 The heart of man plans his way, but the Lord establishes his steps. (Proverbs 16:9)

1 I lift up my eyes to the hills.  From where does my help come? 2 My help comes from the Lord, who made heaven and earth. (Psalm 121:1-2)

It’s easy to fall into the trap of thinking that doing things our own way will lead us to ultimate satisfaction. But a life that is lived in independence from God is really a lesson in missing the ultimate point of life. God calls us to love Him more than anything else that the world has to offer. So, in this month where we celebrate our nation’s independence, how about also making a vow of dependency to the Lord?

In The Declaration of Independence, Thomas Jefferson wrote these words, “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal. That they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights, that among these are Life, Liberty, and the pursuit of Happiness.”

I’m so glad that we have a God who gave us these rights. But, even our founding fathers recognized that these rights, lived without dependency upon God were not enough. The Declaration of Independence closes with these words:

“With a firm reliance on the protection of divine Providence, we mutually pledge to each other our Lives, our Fortunes, and our sacred Honor.”

May we live with a firm reliance upon God this and every month. May we live lives of dependency! As you celebrate your independence this month, celebrate your dependency too!

I encouraged the congregation of Woodbury Community Church to take time this week to write out a Declaration of Dependence on the Lord. Then I shared with them the declaration of dependence that I wrote. Here it is:

“I hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal. That they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights, that among these are Life, Liberty, and the pursuit of Happiness.

 But, God, I also hold to these truths. My life when lived apart from You is a disaster. I need You.

 I am a sinner, who desperately needs Your grace. I am hopelessly lost without the salvation that is offered through Your Son, Jesus Christ.

 I am a Christian, who has been saved by grace. I am dependent on Your Holy Spirit for guidance as to how I should live my life, for conviction of sin, and for the courage to live for You and Your glory in this generation.

 If you are the Creator, and I believe with all of my heart that you are, then it stands to reason that I am among the created. I need you to help me understand Your plan for my life. I am dependent upon the wisdom that comes from knowing You and seeking first Your kingdom and Your glory.

 I need your eyes to help me see the world as You see it. I need Your compassion to help me love the world as You love the world. I need your provision to help me provide for my family and to help me provide for the needs of others.

 I need you every second of every minute of every hour of every day. Lord, I declare my dependence upon You. May you help me to live with the joy that comes from living the life that You have called me to. I need Your strength to live that life. I am Yours. I pledge my allegiance and my love to You.”

Below is the sermon that I preached yesterday at Woodbury Community Church, where I spoke on Psalm 34:4-10 and six gifts that living lives of dependency upon God gives us. The sound on the video doesn’t work for the first 30 seconds. I hope that this sermon is a blessing to you.


 

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Fitbit + Little Free Library = Literary Workout

About a month before Father’s Day my wife asked me what I might enjoy for a gift. Feeling as out of shape as I have ever been in my life, I asked her if she might consider buying me a Fitbit.

When Father’s Day came my family had indeed purchased me a Fitbit Charge HR. Like so many who have had this little device, I found myself motivated to get in my 10,000 steps a day. The first couple of days I got my 10,000 steps in before breakfast! According to my Fitbit, I had walked over 70 miles in the first two weeks of having the device! That is a huge accomplishment for me. I’ve walked most of those miles by combining my new love of my Fitbit with another love of mine — visiting Little Free Libraries.

IMG_2768Those of you who know me know that I love my Little Free Library.  I wrote about the process of building it last year. There is hardly a day that goes by where I am not adding new books to my library. Over the past several months I have discovered that within a few miles of my house are at least eight Little Free Libraries. (You can find out more about this awesome movement here).

So, my daily walk now consists of visiting anywhere between two and six libraries. Today, I visited six libraries and it took me just over 10,000 steps. If you live in the Eden Prairie area, you too can get in a fun literary workout. I usually begin my workout with 5-6 books in my hand. By the time my workout is over I have made quick stops at several libraries and dropped off a number of books. It’s fun to see which books are still there the next day or two, and which have been checked out. This fun workout helps get me in shape and also promotes literacy and community in my neighborhood.

Homeward Hills BarnIf you want to try my Little Free Library workout, park your car at Homeward Hills Park in Eden Prairie. There is a library located on the Homeward Hills Park Barn wall closest to the basketball courts. Then you can make your way through the trail through the east of the barn and walk into the neighborhood on the other side of the trail. If you take your first left, you’ll be on Tree Farm Road, where you’ll come upon a great library with lots of great books for people of all ages.

You’ll have to walk back through Homeward Hills Park and go west on Homeward Hills Drive to find your next three libraries. The first one that you’ll come upon is on Tanglewood Drive. Take a left on Tanglewood from Homeward Hills, and you’ll find the library located on the right side of the street, about halfway up. Tanglewood is a horseshoe-shaped street and ends up back on Homeward Hills. Take a left and proceed all the way to Riverview Road, one of the prettiest streets in Eden Prairie.

When you get to Riverview, take a left and then another left onto Purdey Road. Purdey is a circle road, and you’ll find a library on that street. Work you way back to Riverview and take a right. There is another Little Free Library located at the corner of Riverview and Homeward Hills. By now, you have visited five libraries!

The final library is located on Chesholm Lane. I recommend walking Riverview all the way to Mooer Lane. Take a right on Mooer Lane and then a right on Silverwood Drive. Then take a right onto Chesholm Lane and you’ll find the last of the Little Free Libraries in the Homeward Hills neighborhood. From Chesholm it is a short walk back to Homeward Hills Park. See the map below, which is from the Little Free Library’s site.

For a longer workout, you could walk to the Little Free Library at the Staring Lake Park Outdoor Center, or to another Little Free Library located on Mount Curve Road near the Olympic Hills Golf Course Clubhouse. Visit all of these and you will have been to eight libraries within three miles of Homeward Hills Park.

To create a Little Free Library workout in your neck of the woods, visit the Little Free Library’s World Map and see what is near you! Happy walking and happy reading!

Little Free Library Map