The Spirit’s Freedom // The Wild Goose – Segment #12

Through a veritable sea of
people in the popemobile. The weather was much improved from
Heronia, but it was windy and cool. That didn’t dampen the spirits of those
lucky enough to see the pontiff up close, or even those further back in the crowds. And he moved among them,
touching as many as he could, exchanging a few words here and there. In a speech he told them
that their pain and suffering contribute to
the mission of the church. That suffering can become
an act of love for God. That the sick and elderly hold
a place of honor in the church.>>Appearance at the Roman Catholic
Church’s World Youth Day in Denver, Colorado The event is expected to
attract a quarter of a million teenagers from around the world. The Pope says his trip to Denver
will focus on peace and life.>>I’m at the National Shrine of St. John Paul in Washington,
DC on the Weekend of Divine Mercy. It’s just a great blessing for me to be
able to be here and really remember St. John Paul and the profound impact that
he had on my life as a young priest. But, more than that, the impact that
John Paul had on the life of the world. And one of the consistent themes of
John Paul’s ministry was this call and this invitation that the Lord
has given to us to freedom. Knowing his background,
being in communist Poland and through the Nazi regime in Poland,
John Paul consistently spoke of freedom. Is that God wanted his people to be
free and it’s always been that way. John Paul spoke a lot about freedom and
one time he was in St. Louis, Missouri. And he was speaking to a group of young
people and he spoke about freedom. He said, true freedom is
a wonderful gift from God and it has been a cherished part
of your country’s history. But when freedom is separated from truth,
individuals lose their moral direction and the very fabric of society
begins to unravel. It seems to me that John Paul was
prophetic when he was speaking that, that we’ve seen that in our country, that the truth is whatever
somebody wants to believe. And freedom is whatever
somebody wants to do, but when those two things get separated, the
fabric of our society begins to unravel. Look around,
aren’t we seeing that take place here? Pope John Paul goes on to say, freedom is
not the ability to do anything we want, whenever we want. Rather, freedom is the ability to live
responsibly the truth of our relationship with God and with one another. Remember what Jesus said, you will know
the truth and the truth will set you free. But it raises the question for us,
what does it really mean to be free? There’s lots of monuments in this place,
in this city in Washington, DC. There’s a lot of monuments to freedom. One of the most beautiful ones
is the Korean War Memorial. And it’s just a beautiful monument. And there’s this large stone,
I think it’s granite or marble. And etched in black stone is
written freedom is not free. You see, we as Americans,
freedom’s a part of our DNA. And in New Hampshire they have on
their license plate, live free or die. And they’re serious about
that in New Hampshire. Recently I was driving down the road and
there was this huge billboard and it was a big bowl of guacamole with
red tomatoes and green peppers and just looked delicious. And in huge print was, taste freedom. I mean, I love guacamole,
but taste freedom, really? The other interesting thing is,
there’s a credit card you can get now. And the credit card is called Freedom. A credit card called Freedom. Am I the only one that
thinks how crazy that is? And yet, you can’t call a credit card
bondage because nobody would buy it. But what does it mean for us to be free? John Paul says freedom isn’t
the ability to do whatever you want. So, where does this freedom come from? What does it mean? And we look at the very
beginning of the scriptures. When we take a look at
the second chapter of Genesis, it’s the creation of Adam and Eve. And there’s just this beautiful scene, the
scripture says that God was with Adam and Eve, and they were walking
in the garden hand in hand. Just this beautiful, intimate scene. Scripture also says they were naked. Maybe that’s a little bit too free,
I don’t know, but. So they’re walking through the garden,
and the Lord says, it’s actually the first words out
of the mouth of God to humanity. And these first words are important. So the Lord says to them,
he says you are free. He says you are free to eat any of
the fruit, just not this fruit. But it’s important that us
to really understand that. That God, his first words out of
the mouth from God to us is you are free. That God has created us to be free. That it’s always been his desire,
his plan, his hope, his dream that the human
person would be free. So freedom comes first and foremost from our relationship with
God who’s created us that way. Remarkably, God shares his
freedom with you and with me. He shares that and
he imparts that and he gives that. I don’t know, again, if I was God,
that’s just frightening. But if I was God,
I don’t know if I would have made us free. I mean, think of the problems, and
the struggles, and the difficulties, because we are free. I would have made everybody
these little robots. But that’s not what God did. He shared with us his radical freedom, and he gives that to us so
that we can freely choose to love. We can freely choose to be
in relationship with him.>>I would say the freedom that the Holy
Spirit really brought in my life was, first of all,
an acceptance of who I was before God. I always approached God, I think in
some ways like I approach my own dad. Which was trying to please,
always trying to do things. And the understanding
that God loves me and I don’t have to do something for
God to love me. I can just accept how God loves me. And that was just such a freedom of always
viewing my life in comparison to others or judging the things I was doing, or
being really scrupulous about it, or doing these other things.>>So the first words out of
the mouth of God is, you are free. Adam and Eve eat of the fruit
that they were asked not to. And then the scripture says they clothed
themselves, and they hid from the Lord. They hid from the God who loved them,
and poured out his blessing and his grace upon them. The next thing we hear out of
the mouth of God is, where are you? To be able to pray and to think about
that, that they walked away from the Lord, and then the Lord goes looking for
them, and where are you? And I think the rest of the story of the
scripture is that reality is that we had wandered away from the Lord and
we we’re hiding from the Lord. If I was God,
I would not have gone looking. I wouldn’t have gone looking for us. But the Lord wanted us to know his love,
he wanted us to know his freedom, so he comes looking for us. And the rest of the scriptures is really
a story about a God who wants to remind us that we are free and that we don’t have to be slaves and
we don’t have to be in bondage. So we jump to Exodus and
that beautiful image of Moses. And the Lord goes to Moses and he said,
I’ve heard my people’s plea, go and tell them that they’re free. That they don’t have to be slaves. So Moses goes to the people and
he says, guess what? The Lord is coming and
he wants us to know that we’re free. But they all say the same thing. No we’re not Moses, I mean, look, we have
shackles on our wrists and on our ankles. We’re not free. So Moses goes back to the Lord and
he says, Lord, I told them that they were free but
they didn’t listen. They didn’t believe it. And it’s interesting what the Lord says,
is he says, go to the pharaoh. Go to the source of their bondage. You see, what the people had done is
they had begun to define themselves by their slavery. They weren’t sons of God,
they weren’t daughters of God, they weren’t chosen people of the Lord. Rather, they chose to define themselves
from their brokenness, or from their slavery, or from their sinfulness,
and they forgot that they were free. They had forgoten that God
wanted them to be free. So, Moses goes to the pharaoh, and
that says something to us here. On the theme of freedom is,
go to the source of the bondage, and often times that’s
not what we wanna do. We don’t want to look at that source of
bondage, but in order for us to be free, to be radically free,
we need to be able to go to the pharaoh, to be able to speak to
the source of bondage. So the stories of the Old Testament
are a story about a God who is continually reminding us that he wants
us to be free, that he created us free, that he shares us free. The desire of God’s heart
is that you could be free, that I could be free, but
the reality is, is oftentimes we’re not. We just try harder and we make up our
mind to be free and we get trapped and we’re slaves again. In fact, in the scriptures, in that Exodus
text, God leads them to freedom and things become difficult and they actually
say, we wish we were slaves again. Imagine, we wish we were slaves again. I know that you freed us God,
but we wish we were slaves again. And so often times we’re caught in
that tension between being free and not being free. So at the appropriate time,
freedom would finally come.>>I was still trapped in the world. I’m still trapped in my career. And the Lord was loving me. And I later realized that
the place of conversion for me was at the very place that
was taking me away from him. It was in my office. The place that was my kingdom was burning, and I was being invited into his kingdom. And that was so transforming. And I went to mass with Terry that night,
and I just remember weeping and weeping and sobbing, and I couldn’t
catch my breath because I was crying. And I realized, I was on my way home. And yet I didn’t know how to get there. And of course being raised
Presbyterian I had all of my questions about the Catholic faith. And so I took a year to begin to
learn about the Catholic faith. And I entered the RCIA program and
entered the church at that point.>>In the second chapter of Luke. In the [UNKNOWN] Zechariah,
before Jesus had even entered the scene, Zechariah is prophesying. And Zechariah is saying,
blessed be the Lord, the God of Israel, he has come
to his people to set them free. Then at the very beginning
people are asking, I wonder what Jesus is coming to do? Jesus is coming to set us free,
blessed be the Lord, the God of Israel. He has come to his people, finally. Finally, his people are gonna be free. Then we find in the fourth chapter,
just two chapters later in Luke, Jesus is beginning his public ministry. And they hand him the scroll. And he rolls open the scroll, and
he begins to read from the Prophet Isaiah. And he says,
the spirit of the Lord is upon me. So the first thing we remind ourselves is, that same spirit that
anointed Jesus anoints me. That same spirit that anoints
Jesus wants to bless you. The spirit of the Lord is upon me and
he’s called me to give sight to the blind, to heal the cripple, and
to free the captive. I mean, at the very beginning
of Jesus’ public ministry, the first things he says is, the reason
I’m here is to give sight to the blind. And those of you who are captive, I’m here to tell you that you
don’t have to be captive anymore. That Jesus brings us a freedom that
only Jesus, only the Son of God, could be able to bring us. A freedom that cannot be taken away,
for Jesus was radically free. So at the very beginning, Hh says,
I’ve come to give sight to the blind, heal the cripple, and
free those who are captive. And that’s me, that’s you. It’s easy for us to hear that, it’s like,
okay, God came to heal the blind, and, well, those blind people are,
that’s me. I’m the one who’s blind,
you’re the one who’s blind. That we aren’t able to see the Lord, we
aren’t able to see people around us that need grace or need help or
need kindness or forgiveness. That we’re blind, and
Jesus comes to heal the blind, that’s me. And to free the captive.>>I remember at that point
also going to a prayer group, and listening to these
people pray in a way I had never heard since back when I was age 16. And so I was on this journey back, both from an intellect
perspective to understand the Catholic faith and
to understand scripture, but also this passion that had been
stirred up as a result of 9/11. And, it was just this
phenomenal journey back and it lit a fire that has never gone out. And I always hear these stories about,
well, converts making the best Catholics. And I don’t necessarily subscribe to that. I think an encounter with Christ is
what makes us the best Christians. And so my encounter was that moment, but it wasn’t simply that one encounter. Those encounters have continued in so
many different ways. It was as if I had surrendered
my life at that moment, and I realize that God had been revealing
himself to me in so many ways. And I had been blind.>>That’s me. We’re captive by so many things, so
to fear or frustration or anger or control or whatever it is. So Jesus says at the very beginning
of the fourth chapter of Luke, I have come to bring freedom. In the eighth chapter of John,
John writes, when the Son sets us free, we’re free indeed. Finally, when the Son sets us free,
we’re free indeed. It’s not just power of positive thinking. I can be free, or we can,
like Dorothy click our heels or hit our heels a couple of times and
we’re gonna be free. Rather, when the Son sets us free,
we are free indeed. Galatians 5:1 says, for freedom,
Christ has set us free. So, don’t be yolk to slavery again. And then finally in
Second Corinthians 317, where the spirit of God is,
there is freedom. You see, as I stated, it’s God’s deep desire that each
one of us be able to be free. But so often times we felt that we
could make up our mind to be free. If I just try hard enough,
I could be free. If I just make up my mind, I can be free. But we hear in the scriptures, where the
spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom because the spirit of God brings freedom
that only the spirit of God can bring. That the spirit of God
wants to rest upon you. He wants to rest upon you,
and bring you freedom. But what we have to do is, we have to come to that place where we
understand what it is that binds us. And the Spirit of God wants to be
able to do that to us as well. The Spirit of God wants to
be able to come upon us and show us the areas that he
wants to bring freedom. I mean, it’s important for us to take
a minute or two just to be quiet and pray and say, Lord what is it
that you wanna free me from? I mean, think about in your own life. How often times do you do something
you wish you hadn’t done? You make up your mind,
I’m just gonna be more patient or I’m gonna be more loving and kind. It seems that lasts like a day or
maybe 20 minutes, I don’t know. Why is it that I do that? Well often times it’s because there’s
a bondage or there’s a slavery in our life that we’re not aware of and the Spirit
of God wants to make us aware of that. Are you frightened? Does fear seem to bind you? You’re not able to be who you desire to be
or do what you wanna do because of fear. Or the past, I think so
many people are bound to the past, things that they’ve done in the past, or things that have happened to them that
they can’t seem to escape from their past. Or for some, a desire to control, we just
wanna control everything and we’re always bound or some of, honestly some addiction,
some of you are bound to addiction, addiction to alcohol or
pornography or whatever it might be. The Lord desires to bring freedom and
there’s something beautiful about the person that’s free,
that they’re different. There’s something about them
that they live with a peace, and with a joy, and with a presence, that can only come from where the spirit
of God is and they experience freedom.>>This is hard to put in to human words,
because it’s feelings that I don’t think maybe the English
language has good words for.>>Give it a shot.>>It’s kind of like this, almost like this sense of clarity. This sense of where I felt like my
life I had maybe been in this murky, like in murky water and
you’re swimming in murky water. And for the first time you realize,
my gosh, it’s crystal clear. This is crystal clear.>>So the Holy Spirit allows you to see.>>Yes, absolutely, and I think the
Holy Spirit allows you to do things you didn’t think you were capable of doing,
and really to transform your life.>>I’m positive about that.>>In ways that people don’t recognize. It’s like this entirely
new version of you.>>I think for me, one of the experiences
of freedom that I had in my life was honestly the image that I had of God. Through some circumstances, my older brother got into some trouble and
I remember praying one day. I said God, do something to him to
show him what he’s doing is wrong, just a simple prayer. Well a couple of days after that,
my brother lived in Denver, and we got a call from
the Denver Fire Department. My brother had been in an accident, and
we didn’t know what had happened to him. As it turns out, he was working on
a car and it fell off the jack, and it broke my brother’s skull in
a couple of different places. Thank God he lived, but
remember the prayer of a child, do something to him to show him
what he is doing is wrong and a couple of days later
a car falls off a jack. So, first off, don’t make me mad or
I’ll pray something like that. But for
this kid it’s had a profound impact on me. What I began to realize, or began to
believe and I didn’t even realize it was that I thought God was kind of mean,
that God was kind of a harsh God. If I did something wrong, if I sinned,
if I disobeyed my parents or something like that,
there was gonna be some punishment. So if anything went bad, I was always
wondering what did I do to deserve that? Or my mom’s got multiple sclerosis and
I remember as a kid thinking well, somebody must have done
something wrong to cause that. Now I couldn’t articulate
it the way I can now. But there was this subtle sense and
subtle belief that God was a mean God, that he wasn’t for us,
that God wasn’t on our side. Well I remember one time after having
a profound experience of the Holy Spirit, I was in Minnesota sitting next
to this lake and just praying. And I remembered this situation
with my brother and this prayer, and do something to change him,
and this bad thing happening. And I remember sitting in that lake, and
God just really broke into my heart, and the spirit of God was just really
coming upon me and filling my heart. And I heard the Lord said to me,
Dave that’s not the kind of God I am. I’m not a mean God, I’m not a harsh God,
I’m a God who’s on your side. As we hear on Romans, I’m a God who’s for
you, and seriously, I just began to weep. In that moment, I saw God more for who he was and he freed me from my past,
my past images of God. And I think people probably get
tired of me saying sometimes but I say a lot,
that’s not the kind of God we have. But it wasn’t until the spirit of God came
upon me and freed me from this false image of God that I could begin to really
see God more for who he was. A loving Father who wants to shower
his love and his blessing and his mercy upon me. Not a harsh judge. Where the spirit of God
is there is freedom.>>You just, you get to that place and I don’t know I don’t want to just, Be comfortable.>>Survive, or exist, yeah.>>Yeah,
I just don’t wanna be comfortable. Yeah, I just don’t wanna survive. I want the wild ride.>>That’s awesome.>>I crave that now, you know? I wanna see where he
takes me every morning. And I just don’t want to be routine,
>>I think that’s what my life would be.>>Yeah.
>>And I think for a lot of us that’s where our life is. And we ask ourselves, especially at this
weird middle aged stage as we look back and we’re like is this all there is? I’m 46 and this is it? And that’s not the answer.>>Yeah sure.
>>It doesn’t have to be. That’s not what God wants.>>That’s great.>>Jesus wants us to be free because
Jesus himself was radically free but so often times I think we’re like third
graders, it’s the last day of school and we run out for the summer vacation and
it’s like yeah we’re free, we’re free. And then the next day it’s like what now,
what now? Well, freedom is for a purpose. Freedom is for a purpose and we really see that in
the life of Jesus who was radically free. And I think maybe one of the places
we see that most perfectly is when Jesus was on the cross. He’s on the cross. He’s been beaten. He’s been crowned with thorns. He’s been crucified,
nailed to the wood of a cross.>>In the midst of that, Jesus looks down
on the people who had just done this to him and he says, Father forgive them for
they don’t know what they’re doing. I mean, think about that. If that was me it would have been,
Father smite them! But what Jesus does,
is he actually makes excuses for us. Father, forgive them. They don’t know what they’re doing. If they knew what they’re doing,
they never would have done this. If they knew who I was,
they never would have done this. If they knew how much I love them, and
how much I wanted to give myself for them, they never would have done this. So Father, forgive them. I mean, that is radical freedom. That at that place,
that Jesus can say Father forgive them, that’s a man who is free. And finally, I love the text
in Galatians when the Lord, when Paul is again talking about freedom. For you were called for
freedom, brothers and sisters. But do not use this freedom
as an opportunity for the flesh; rather,
serve one another through love. That’s it. That’s it. The reason Jesus came was to
be able to bring us freedom. I remember, I was talking with a student
one time, and I was talking about freedom, and all that the Lord wants
to give us in freedom, and how the Holy Spirit wants
to bring us some freedom. And And I talked about that, that God
wants us to know his freedom for love. And she says to me, that’s it? I said, yeah, that’s it,
that God wants to bring his freedom. He wants to share his freedom so
that we can know his love. So that we can live in his love. So that we can share the love of God
which comes to us through Christ Jesus. Where the spirit of God is,
there is freedom. And my prayer for your is that you can experience this
freedom that can only come from Christ. So here’s my invitation for
you for the next couple of days. To be able to pray for that. My encouragement for
you is to take a couple of minutes today, over the next couple of days, and
just stop, take a breath and ask the Lord. Lord, what is it that I’m bound to? What is it that I’m a slave to? Your past or your sin or your brokenness,
whatever it is just say, Spirit of God rest upon me and show me
what it is in my life that I’m a slave to. Then what I ask you to
do is write it down. Just take a piece of paper,
maybe your prayer journal and write down two things that you
think God wants to free you from. And for the next week, for
the next month, make that your prayer. Jesus free me from this. Because the Spirit of God
wants to bring freedom. So let us pray. Lord Jesus, we ask that you’d
come with your Holy Spirit, that you’d send your Holy Spirit
upon us at this moment. In Jesus we pray that your Holy Spirit
will show us the things in our life that bind us. The things from the past or
the sinfulness, or the brokenness, or whatever doesn’t allow us to be free. Jesus, allow us to see that. Allow us to see in our life our Pharaoh,
our source of bondage. By the power of your Holy Spirit, by that same Holy Spirit that
broke the power of death in Jesus. That same Holy Spirit would come upon me,
would come upon you and fill us. That we can know they freedom
of God that comes only from a relationship with the power
of the Holy Spirit. Where the Spirit of God is,
there is freedom. May Almighty God bless you, the Father,
the Son, and the Holy Spirit, amen, amen.

1 thought on “The Spirit’s Freedom // The Wild Goose – Segment #12

  • Good prayer….Holy Spirit Free me from this………We all have something!
    I liked the testimony of murkiness becoming clarity.Excellent.

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