It looks like most of the rain is clearing out just in time for a big holiday weekend. As you know, this coming Monday is Memorial Day, and many families are making plans for a fun filled 3-day weekend. I hope you get to enjoy some time outdoors at the lake or pool, or perhaps a BBQ with some of your closest friends and family. But amidst all of the excitement, I also hope you take some time to pause and reflect. This weekend should remind us that we are blessed beyond measure to live in the United States of America. Many today have tragically lost sight of that reality, but that does not negate the fact. Despite all the problems our country currently faces, I still contend that we live in the greatest nation in the world. Every day, you and I experience a level of prosperity and freedom that most of the world has never seen firsthand. It’s important for us to humbly acknowledge that truth with great thanksgiving to our God, but we must also remember that our blessings came at a high cost.
Jesus reminds us, “Greater love has no one than this, that someone lay down his life for his friends” (John 15:13 ESV). Thousands of brave men and women have demonstrated this kind of love by willingly laying down their lives on our behalf. Our freedom is not free, and many heroes that we’ll never know paid the ultimate sacrifice to preserve our liberty. They must not be forgotten, and that is why Memorial Day is so important. So I encourage you to remember them by praying for the families that will be missing someone at their family gatherings. Pray for the spouses and the children that are pressing on with heavy hearts. Pray for the parents and grandparents that have gone through the pains of burying a child. And pray for protection over all our current service men and women who are protecting us just like the heroes that walked before them.
This Sunday we will have a special time of prayer together as a church family. We’ll be praying for all the things I just listed, but we’ll also be praying for others in the world that are not experiencing the freedom we have. We’ll lift up in prayer our brothers and sisters in Myanmar and in other areas that are experiencing hostility and oppression every day. We’ll also be praying for Israel as they continue to navigate through unrest in the middle east. If you’re in town this Sunday, I encourage you to join us for this service. One of the best ways you can honor the lives of our heroes this weekend is to exercise the freedom they protected for you to gather and worship our savior Jesus Christ.
Lastly, make sure you’ve bought your lunch for Sunday June 6th! We’re going to have our first ever Summer Kick Off Party at 12pm that day. We’re treating this as a high attendance day, so I encourage you to find someone that you can invite to church that Sunday. We’re cooking out burgers/hot dogs, our BFG classes are having a chili cook off, and we’ll have inflatables and tailgate games out for people to enjoy after church. It will be a great day of fellowship so make sure you wear a Hawaiian shirt and come ready to celebrate the arrival of summer. You can buy your lunch ticket right now by clicking this link: www.austinbaptistchurch.com/summer. Come expectant to meet with the Lord this Sunday and I look forward to worshipping with you on this special weekend.