All Posts Tagged: freedom
Blessed are those invited to the Supper of the Lamb.
Memorial Day was birthed in May of 1865 by a group of freed slaves in Charleston, South Carolina. They visited a cemetery for Union soldiers, decorating their graves to Remember: FREEDOM is not FREE!
Israel received this instruction for the eve of their liberation: “Each Jewish man is to take a lamb for his family and slaughter it at dusk. He must take some of the blood and smear it on the two doorposts and the lintel of the house in which his family will eat the meat, along with bread. This will be a memorial day for you….” (Exodus 12:1-12) Remember: FREEDOM is not FREE!
“On the eve of his crucifixion Jesus took bread. When He had given thanks, He broke it and said, ‘Take this bread and eat it. This is my body which is broken for you. Do this to remember Me.’ After supper, He took the cup. He said, ‘This cup is the New Way of Relationship between God and you via my blood. Whenever you drink it, do it to remember Me” (1 Corinthians 11:23-25) . Remember: FREEDOM is not FREE!
“Every time you eat this bread and drink from this cup you proclaim the Lord’s death until He comes again” (1Corinthians 11:26). Jesus will return with the Father’s new production, “a new heaven and a new earth.”(Revelation 21:1) Here’s Act One: “Then I heard the sound of many people. ‘Let us be full of joy, for the time has come for the wedding supper of the Lamb. Those who are invited to the wedding supper of the Lamb are happy.”(Revelation 19:6-10) FREEDOM is not FREE!
Guess what? YOU’RE invited! Just RSVP to Jesus!
Last time on The Allender Center Podcast (check out part 1 by clicking here), Dan launched a new series exploring our signature Training Certificate, a year-long program that guides individuals through engagement with their own stories of harm and trauma for the sake of learning to offer healing and restoration in the stories of others. This week, Dan is joined by his wife, Becky Allender, who shares about her own experience of going through the Training Certificate and the impact that it continues to have in her life.
Becky: “I had the most wild and wonderful ride with my group leader and the six other people in my group, just loved it. I couldn’t believe what reading one story and then processing it could do, and then listening to their stories and processing. And with the skill of a facilitator who has done this for over a decade, it was transformative. I was over the moon experiencing life and freedom and more connection with the group leaders, the teaching staff, and my friends and family.”
For years before enrolling as a participant herself, Becky served as a behind-the-scenes intercessor and prayer team leader during the Training Certificate sessions. She saw the importance of the program and the work it was fostering in the lives of many, and she loved praying and laboring on behalf of the people going through the work. But, says Becky, she was resistant to pursuing group story work herself.
Becky: “Then I realized the power of the group experience, and I was a goner. I came home a changed woman. […] I became more aware of desires and needs that I have, and I spoke to those more forthrightly.”
Dan: “The work you did in the group opened so much more of your heart’s desire for connection than almost any other experience I’ve seen you go through.”
Becky: “With the stories that I didn’t even really remember until the assignment to write, I think it gave an avenue of clarity of why I am the way I am, and why my style of relating has been the way it has been. It allowed me to have compassion for parts of myself that I wasn’t proud of—I wasn’t proud of my quietness, my timidness, and I was able to see the root of the reasons why that became such an integral part of myself as a very young child.”
Dan and Becky discuss the experience of learning to honor and bless both the harm and the goodness they received in their families of origin with more depth, kindness, and freedom. For Becky, the experience has changed how she approaches her marriage, how she tends to the wounded parts of herself, how she steps more fully into her unique calling, and even how she interacts with more intention, clarity, and gratitude with others in day-to-day settings, like the grocery store or a yoga class.
Becky: “In this setting, you have the luxury of time to follow the sentence that leads to shame, to follow the sentence that left that person in such a vulnerable, dark place, not just to have sympathy—and for me this has been the uncomfortable part—but to go deeper into the sorrow. From my own experience, it was the deeper, sorrow-filled, dark parts that the leader or other members of my group kept pushing me to go a bit farther in, that is where the lights connected and went off. […] It’s that releasing of stories that allows such freedom and new awareness of yourself and others.”
Dan: “You do engage my own heartache differently. Instead of just the care that you normally would have provided, you really are committed to deepening and broadening the implications of the matters that my heart is engaging. And—my goodness—you are way more powerful with regard to the sword you carry.”
Becky: “There was more healing—so much more healing than I ever could have imagined.”
The Spirit of God is on me because God anointed me. He sent me to preach good news to the poor, heal the brokenhearted, to announce freedom to all captives, pardon all prisoners. God sent me to announce the year of his grace! (Isaiah 61:1-2)
With this passage Jesus commenced His ministry. One word encompassed His goals: FREEDOM! Since Adam and Eve disconnected themselves from the Creator the human race has been in prison. We’re all born with a Woodstock mentality: “if it feels right, it must be right!” Paradoxically, our prisons are constructed in this manner: no boundaries, no limits, and no restrictions. “In those days there was no king in Israel. People did whatever they felt like doing” (Judges 17:6). Fyodor Dostoevsky uncovered an even worse condition: “The best way to keep a prisoner from escaping is to make sure he never knows he’s in prison.”
“He sent Me to preach, to heal, to free, and to pardon.” “God is not a celestial prison warden jangling the keys on a bunch of lifers—He’s a shepherd seeking for sheep, a woman searching for coins, a father waiting for his son” (Clarence Jordan). “With Jesus, God’s rescue operation has been put into effect once and for all. A great door has swung open in the cosmos which can never again be shut. It’s the door to the prison where we’ve been kept chained up. We are offered freedom: freedom to experience God’s rescue for ourselves, to go through the open door and explore the new world to which we now have access” (N.T. Wright). “The past does not have to be your prison. You have a voice in your destiny. You have a say in your life. You have a choice in the path you take” (Max Lucado).
ESCAPE YOUR PRISON! Listen to the story of Paul Wood. “At the age of 18, Paul was a high-school dropout in prison for murder. While spending time in maximum security he discovered the life enriching quality of learning. This led him to voraciously pursue both formal and informal means of education. He acquired both Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees in Psychology and Philosophy while in prison and by the time he was released he was two years into a Doctorate in Psychology. Paul is now a respected coach and consultant who uses his knowledge and experience to assist individuals and organizations to achieve their developmental goals. Paul will be using his own journey to illustrate and discuss the universal ingredients of successful personal change and growth.”
My friends, I don’t feel that I have already arrived. But I forget what is behind, and I struggle for what is ahead. (Philippians 3:12-14)
We’re fast approaching the pivot point of an old and a new year. Whereas we may remember and learn from happenings in 2015, we’re unable to retrieve them for the purpose of alteration—either by way of addition or subtraction. That’s simply not an option because 2015 is no longer unavailable. Von Goethe nailed it: “Time flies, and what is past is done.” On the other hand 2016 is both unavailable and unknowable. Consider this heavy-duty fact: none of us knows how much of 2016 we’ll experience. So, my point is this: our field of action is the present. And our action is determined by nothing other than our choices. Relative to time this is the only power we have: CHOICE.
Dr. Victor Frankl, a Jewish psychiatrist, was imprisoned by the Nazis in World War II. His wife, children and his parents were all killed in the holocaust. The Gestapo made him strip naked. As they cut away his wedding band, Frankl said to himself, “You can take away my wife, you can take away my children, you can strip me of my clothes and my freedom, but there is one thing no person can ever take away from me—and that is my freedom to choose how I will react to what happens to me.”
Some years after liberation Dr. Frankl, reflecting on his harsh imprisonment, concluded the following: “We who lived in concentration camps can remember those who walked through the huts comforting others, giving away their last piece of bread. They may have been few in number, but they offer sufficient proof that everything can be taken from a person but the last of the human freedoms—to choose one’s attitude in any given set of circumstances.”
So, as we face 2016 “where no one has gone before” remember these words: “Your life is the sum result of all the choices you make, both consciously and unconsciously. If you can control the process of choosing, you can take control of all aspects of your life. You can find the freedom that comes from being in charge of yourself” (Robert Bennett).