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.”