Good morning: Ready for a weekend of coast-to-coast celebrations? I think many of us might say that the Fourth of July is our favorite national holiday. It comes during the warm days of summer. It’s a time of picnics, games, and best of all, dazzling fireworks displays—all in honor of our nation’s birthday. We have much to be thankful for as citizens of the United States. The Lord has blessed us with a stable government, unparalleled economic prosperity, and what is even more important, the freedom to worship Him without interference. The celebration is a welcome change of pace. It gives us a chance to reflect and recharge. In the excitement of a fireworks display we may forget everything else for the moment. But then what? The multi-colored trails in the sky dim and fade into nothingness. The ground-shaking “booms” are swallowed by silence. July 5 will dawn and nothing will have changed. Life’s trials, disappointments, and tears will still be there. By nature, we tend to look for hope in things that are loud and impressive, such as when the prophet Elijah on Mt. Carmel called down fire from the Lord which incinerated not only the sacrifice, but even the wood, stones, and soil of the altar. The people who witnessed this display of God’s raw power were awestruck. “The LORD—he is God! The LORD—he is God!” they said (1 Kings 18:39). Yet as soon as the flames died down, everything went back to what it was before. There was no turning back to the Lord in repentance. Better and far more powerful than either human or divine fireworks is the loving voice of God calling us to come to Him for what we need most, peace with Him. What is there to celebrate if we are God’s enemies and destined for eternal death? What hope is there if we come into the world dead in sin? The psalm writer says, “Why are you downcast, O my soul? Why so disturbed within me? Put your hope in God, for I will yet praise him, my Savior and my God” (Ps. 42:11). Jesus’ cross is barely noticed by the world, but it was there that sin was washed away by the blood of God’s Son and everlasting life won. It changes everything, not just for a moment, but for eternity. That is cause for celebration every day. Yours in Christ, Pastor Service time tomorrow is 9 a.m. The Lord’s Supper will be celebrated. Remember that Edgerton Ave. will be closed to traffic from about 7:45-8:45 a.m. due to the Firecracker Four race. More volunteers are welcome to help with the water table/misting station. Plan to arrive by 7:30 a.m. If you don’t care to hand out water, come and cheer on the runners!