Tuesday, July 5, 2016


The fireworks were so close overhead it felt like we were almost inside of them. People were whooping and yelling in excitement and then, over the portable speaker played the song "Good, Good Father." Amid the crackling booms and sparkling flashes and excited squeals from children, a few arms raised, responding in worship to
"You're a Good, Good Father
It's who you are, it's who you are, it's who you are
And I'm loved by you
It's who I am, it's who I am, it's who I am." 
I looked around at the families who had welcomed us into their celebration and was overwhelmed with what a good father the Lord is to His people. The men and women represented that evening came from all walks of life and experiences but they had come to know the goodness of their heavenly Father. There were men and women who had been bought back from the slavery of addiction, prisoners who had been released with purpose and calling, the lonely set firmly in the family of God, and broken families given new hope and healing. Some have been walking with the Lord for months, others years, all with their own stories of God's redemption on their lives and each playing a part in an urban movement here in Wichita, Kansas.

Our family is blessed to see God's great work in their lives and be a small part in what the Lord is doing in our city through these mighty men and women of God. Our son ran through the crowds and played and rough-housed with men, who in another context or from an outsiders-eye might give pause, and I felt nothing but joy at what he can learn from their brave surrenders to Christ and unashamed pursuit of God's glory in this city. They are taking the Gospel into places and into lives that many others dare not go in the city and the Kingdom is advancing as a result.

A few minutes later, the grand finale of fireworks burst forth in perfect timing with the next song on the playlist and the glorious sprays of color and light against the sky danced to

"You unravel me with a melody
You surround me with a song
of deliverance, from my enemies
Till all my fears are gone
I am no longer a slave to fear
I am a child of God

Celebration of freedom afforded us in this country is not insignificant, but it dwarfs in comparison to the freedom given to us in Christ. The knowledge and weight of this gift swirled through the group like the smoke from the fireworks, nearly as tangible.

It was a moment I will not soon forget. Hearts who once knew what it felt like to be enslaved to sin were unfurled before God, their bodies so small in silhouette against the the finale of fireworks, even smaller before our great God, yet joyful and fearless children standing in the freedom of their Father's love. That kind of freedom is contagious.

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