Having moved here from Finland, the promised land of vacations, I’ve really learned to appreciate the three-day weekends like this one! Gotta love it – if the holiday doesn’t fall on Friday or Monday, they just carve out the extra day to make it a long weekend! I wish it would work in the church, too, since we will of course be worshiping Sunday morning like always! Fortunately it is so much fun that it doesn’t feel like work anyway!

And the weekend is full of worship. I led at Celebrate Recovery on Friday night and again at church Sunday morning. Independence Day makes it special, it’s very cool to acknowledge that we live in a land where we’re free to get together and worship. It’s very different even from Finland, where believers are usually looked down at. They’re “weird,” “foolish” etc., and the judgment is passed immediately. It’s been a real joy to show our friends what real faith looks like, we’ve stayed friends with many people from high school and even earlier…

When it comes to worship, it’s interesting to marry music & Independence Day together. As a worship leader, it’s about the songs and the greetings, comments, prayers and so on. What I love about church today is that it’s not overly churchy or Christianese, it is real and straightforward. It’s about what God means to our independence – on a personal level I never had any before I met Him! I was so bogged down by what others did or thought of me that I didn’t have freedom. Now the only question is what God thinks, and He appreciates me much more than I do! Same applies to all of us, we often think way too little of ourselves while God sees our potential and has plans that are way bigger, wilder and more amazing than we can imagine. As I keep moving towards my new season as a worship pastor, I get blown away again and again at how much bigger His thoughts are than mine. Because of His faith in me, I can trust Him and also believe in myself, as long as I keep leaning into Him. That’s real independence!

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