Elizabeth Schenkel
Wed June 28, 2017 · Comments

Celebrating True Freedom

We will never forget our arrival back in the United States after our first year of living in Central Asia. We landed in New York and hurried off the plane, eager to re-enter our home country and see our friends and family. At that time, the walls of the entry hall of Kennedy Airport were covered with the Bill of Rights. Honestly, we could have kissed them and the ground we walked on. It was such a relief to be back in a FREE country—a country where our basic human rights are guaranteed. Not a perfect country, by any means, but a great one.

After 16 years living abroad, we moved back to the U.S. five years ago. This Scripture from Galatians expresses our burden for ourselves and for all American believers. Perhaps because we have lived in some of the most repressive countries in the world, we feel rather heavily the burden of responsibility that comes with freedom. It is our conviction that even as we celebrate our freedom, we need to ask ourselves how we are using that freedom. 

Are we using our freedom of religion to talk about Christ by submitting ourselves to the guidance and power of the Holy Spirit day by day? We aren’t all evangelists by calling, but we are all witnesses of God’s good work in the world and in our lives. We don’t have to preach the whole Bible to people around us, but can joyfully take our liberty to share our personal journey of faith with anyone who will listen.

Are we using our freedom of expression to love the people around us? The political atmosphere is super charged right now. We are free in the midst of that to love everyone, regardless of their opinions and convictions. Our freedom to express our own opinions, however dearly held, should never override our freedom to love… yes, love even our enemies.

Do you have any helpful ideas or good stories about sharing your faith in the past few months? How do you go about loving those who do not share your political and or spiritual convictions?

We have so much freedom here in the U.S. The apostle Paul tells us that we were called to be free. Let’s not use our freedom to indulge ourselves, but rather to be known as those who love others. 

God bless you!  Have a wonderful day enjoying your freedom in Christ!

Elizabeth Schenkel has been actively involved in Christian ministry on three continents over the past 39 years. From 1974 to 1996, she worked alongside her husband, Erick Schenkel, to plant a thriving church and launch an innovative elementary and junior high school in Massachusetts. From 1996 to 2007 Elizabeth and Erick lived and worked in Central Asia.

In 2007, they moved to France and then to Turkey to serve in North Africa, the Middle East, and the Turkic and Persian world. In April of 2012 they moved to Orlando where Erick is serving as Executive Director of Jesus Film Project®. They have five children and two grandchildren. Elizabeth attended Duke University and is fluent in Russian, with a working knowledge of French. She works as a screen writer with Jesus Film Project.