Fourth of July is right around the corner. While barbeques, pool parties and fireworks are fun, it is good to remember the real reason that we are celebrating. Not only do we have freedom in the United States, but we also have freedom in Christ. Both are great reasons to celebrate.
Here are some ideas to add more meaning to your Fourth of July.
Have a picnic. Invite your friends, family or your small group to have picnic or barbecue. Encourage everyone to invite a friend, neighbor or teammate that doesn’t know Christ. Your church or ministry might even be having one that you can invite people to. Have everyone bring a dish or drink to share. Don’t feel like you have to have an agenda or outreach planned. Instead, try to get to know others and have meaningful conversations with guests. Introduce yourself to someone new. Connect a new person with someone that you know. Sometimes it can be helpful to play a game or have some planned activities so that people have a reason to connect. It can be fun to have volleyball, a sandcastle contest or even a watermelon eating contest. After the picnic, invite everyone to your small group or a church event.
Reflect on the freedom we have been given. Take time before or after the Fourth of July to reflect on the freedom that we have in Christ. Read through Ephesians. Write down what our life was like before Christ and what we can now experience because of a relationship with Christ. Pray and thank God for setting you free. If there is a verse that is meaningful, write it down on a sticky note and put it in a place that you will see it every day this week. It could be on a mirror, on your steering wheel or at your desk. Whether God helped set you free from an addiction or sin, remembering what we were delivered from can help us to be more thankful for where we are now.
“As for you, you were dead in your transgressions and sins, 2 in which you used to live when you followed the ways of this world and of the ruler of the kingdom of the air, the spirit who is now at work in those who are disobedient. 3 All of us also lived among them at one time, gratifying the cravings of our flesh[a] and following its desires and thoughts. Like the rest, we were by nature deserving of wrath. 4 But because of his great love for us, God, who is rich in mercy, 5 made us alive with Christ even when we were dead in transgressions—it is by grace you have been saved.” Ephesians 2:1-5
Pray for those that protect us. From police to our military and government leaders, take time this week to pray for those that protect us locally, nationally and internationally. Ask God to give them wisdom and discernment as they make decisions and for their protection. You might even want to ask them how you can pray for them specifically. Police officers, firefighters and military often have to work on the holidays. Pray for their time away from friends and family. Pray that God would provide support for their family while they are away.
Serve those that serve others. As you get ready for your Fourth of July celebrations, think about a group that you can bless. It could be your local firemen or maybe a military family that lives in your neighborhood. Ask God how you can serve them. It might be inviting them over for a meal, making dessert for them or asking them if there is something you can do for them. Write them a note and let them know how much you appreciate them. You might even want to get them a gift card to a coffee shop or grocery store to show your appreciation. It can be fun to get your small group or group of friends together to serve your local fire station or police station. Ask them if there is a project that you can help out with.