A Dream of Freedom

I had a dream the other night that everything in my life was being controlled. I was in bondage and imprisoned to someone who controlled me. My money was his, my job was his, my friends were his, my relationships were his, my wardrobe was his, my time was his, and my words were his. I was constantly aware of where he was because he was always there, watching to see that I did what he wanted.

This dream became a nightmare as I kept falling deeper and deeper into the bondage of a sort of slavery to this man. It was terrifying. Every move I made had to be done just the way he wanted. I feel suffocated and shaken by the grips of this captivity. And it all felt so real.

I woke up from my  nightmare in the middle of the night and started contemplating what I would do. Because I was still half asleep, I still thought the dream was real. Even if it wasn’t, that feeling of captivity was still fresh on my mind. I felt unsafe and unsure of what to do.

As I started feeling more awake, I started thinking about what this dream meant. Why was I having a dream about an evil man controlling my life? I had never experienced anything like this before. It didn’t relate to anything in my life. But God showed me that it had everything to do with me and my story. It had everything to do with many of our stories. We all can relate to this story of slavery to an evil one.

Before I became a Christian, I was a slave to sin, fear, and the devil. I was constantly being tempted and drawn to things that were meant to kill and destroy me. The evil one doesn’t care about my well being. He only wanted to steal my happiness, joy, and ultimately, my soul. The bondage I felt in my dream was representing his grip that he had on my life. But that was all before I turned to the One who set me free.

As I lay in my bed, contemplating how I shake this horrible feeling of my dream, I asked myself, “How do I break free from this evil?” And in my tired daze, I said to myself, “Jesus! That’s how!”

I know it was only a dream. This may sound silly to you. But that simple reminder of what I’ve been saved from was a game-changer for me during this Easter season. Do we actually realize what we’ve been saved from?

The world can often shield our eyes and make sin look like the good guy. It can make the lifestyle of living in slavery to sin look like freedom! Like we can do whatever we want. But once we step back and think of the devil’s motives behind the lifestyle he wants for us, we see how true this verse is:

John 10:10

“The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy…”

Being reminded of the captivity of sin has made me see just how significant Easter is for us! For me, I am reminded of how Jesus showed His love for us and set us free. I believe I had this dream to remind me of what I’ve been saved from and what I am now promised.

This dream was about the promise of freedom. Freedom from pride, abusive relationships, racism, sexism, sex trafficking, addictions, illnesses, fear, abandonment, physical pain, past mistakes, doubts, and loneliness. The only One with the power to give us freedom from these things is Jesus Christ. Through His death and His resurrection, we now have the choice to choose new life with Him that is apart from our bondage and our past. His act of love for us created a new path to leads to life.

John 10:10

“The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy. I came that they may have life and have it abundantly.”

We have so many problems in our world and in our society. There are things we can cry and complain about and be disgusted with and angry about. But I’m telling you, your only hope and only solution to these things is Jesus. Because of what He did on a cross, we know that Jesus conquered sin and the devil so that we no longer have to live with those things anymore. He has the power to free us from the chains of our slavery to sin today!

You don’t have to be enslaved to the devil’s standard of money, careers, friends, relationships, wardrobe, time and talk. He wants you to let all of these determine your joy when we know that ultimately, these things don’t fulfill us. The enemy keeps telling us that they will. He has no problem with lying to you. All he wants is for you to be entrapped to live his way with these things.

Jesus Christ wants you to have an abundant life. We see that through what He did on the cross. This season of celebration is important because it is a game-changer for all people. We now have a way to escape bondage and run in the gift of freedom. I am so thankful that Jesus saw us in our captivity and longed to set us free. He didn’t just talk about it, He did something about it. He did something we remember thousands of years later. It’s that important to us and this world.

He is risen! Get excited about what He did for you. Don’t worry so much about your Sunday outfit or Easter meal or Easter baskets as much as you simply celebrate Jesus and what He has done. He has set you free and longs to free the rest of the world from captivity.

He has a dream of freedom for all people. I hope you do as well. Tell the world of what Jesus had done!

1 John 5:12 

Whoever has the Son has life; whoever does not have the Son of God does not have life.

Romans 8:28

And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose.

Luke 24

On the first day of the week, very early in the morning, the women took the spices they had prepared and went to the tomb. They found the stone rolled away from the tomb, but when they entered, they did not find the body of the Lord Jesus. While they were wondering about this, suddenly two men in clothes that gleamed like lightning stood beside them. In their fright the women bowed down with their faces to the ground, but the men said to them, “Why do you look for the living among the dead? He is not here; he has risen! Remember how he told you, while he was still with you in Galilee: ‘The Son of Man must be delivered over to the hands of sinners, be crucified and on the third day be raised again.’ ”

 

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Why We Do It.

Last weekend, on a Sunday night, Marion High School opened it’s doors to 300 people who came to worship the Lord at an Enlightened event. In the small city of Marion, Indiana, we saw hundreds of students being serious about their faith in their school. God spoke to us about helping those in need and being the ‘Good Samaritan’ to our peers in our schools. The people you’d least expect were called to step out and be courageous for the Lord. We were empowered and inspired by the testimonies and songs shared by high school students from this school. This event changed the atmosphere at their school and in this city. We praise God for speaking to us so clearly on March 13, 2016 at Enlightened Marion. What started at a school called Byron Center High School in Grand Rapids, Michigan is now an event happening in different schools and students who strive to bring Christ on their campus. What a joy it is to remember where we’ve come and where we are going!

God had a plan for Byron Center High School since before time began. He knew that Enlightened would be planted there as a seed only to grow into more schools, more states, and impact more young people’s lives. He knew that lives would be saved, people would be called into ministry, and lives would be restored in His name. The number of people who showed up to the testimonies shared were no surprise to our great Father. He made us to move and work for His glory. As students gathered to worship two years ago in a high school auditorium, we felt the atmosphere change in that building.

It was worshipping together with brothers and sisters of Christ that changed our perspective on how we are to worship. We weren’t worshipping in our comfortable box with the people we knew well in youth group. We were praising our Father in a high school with hundreds of other high schoolers from many different schools, homes, and faith backgrounds. It was Jesus that brought us together and it was Jesus that was glorified.

The reason I believe in Enlightened is because I long for the days when I can worship my God with my peers in uncomfortable situations. I long for the day we can go out of our comfort-zones and give God all we have because He deserves that and more. It was incredible to experience a worship time that wasn’t about us for a change. It was great to look around the room and see people truly moved by God not the songs. God’s hand is over this ministry and I know He is continuing to see His plan unfold in the years following that first event.

The definition of event is, “a thing that happens, especially one of importance”. We remember events and we look back to them. Can you remember the first time you went to school? Or the day you got your license? If you’re a Christian, do you remember the day you turned your life around and gave it all to Jesus? Do you remember those significant moments in your life? Of course you do! They are things of importance that have changed your life forever. They change the way we think and act and speak. They give us new perspectives and new insights on how to be better and become the person we always strive to be.

The most important event to me is not Enlightened. It is not when I first learned to ride a bike or drive a car. The most important event that has affected my life deeply was Jesus’ death on the cross and His resurrection three days later. Yes, I realize I just gave you two events but they go hand in hand! Jesus didn’t just die, He rose from the dead! And when He did, He saved us from sin and death. That is good news and that is the reason we do everything. It is the reason we have thankful hearts. It is the reason we go out of our way to help a neighbor with a chore. It is the reason we give to the homeless and abandoned. This good news is the reason we wake up and take on the day with a different mindset. It is the reason Enlightened started.

Enlightened is a ministry started by high school students that is devoted to supporting and equipping high school students to lead an event full of worship and story telling at their school for their community. These events are for high school students to encourage their peers to be the salt and light in this generation. We focus on schools and hold these events at schools because we believe, as students, that it is the biggest mission field God has given us in this season of our lives. There is a story to tell; the event where Jesus died for our sins has affected our lives. We need to share this event with our friends! Because if we know how great our lives became after we experienced Jesus in our lives, we know we ought to share it with the rest of the world. The Gospel gives us a mission to go and tell the world. We want to invite our peers to join us as we live for this mission!

Why young people? Why students?

Students are cool. Students are passionate. Students care a lot about what they choose to care about. And students have more power in this world than they know. I had the privilege of working alongside many students in planning Enlightened events. I got to see how God has gifted each one of them to contribute a special part to Kingdom Work in their schools. Some students loved talking to people so they greeted students at the doors of their event. Other students loved technology so they ran the slideshow for lyrics and videos during their event. There were even some students that took on the responsibility of raising money for materials needed for their event. God used every single person on each Enlightened Crew (the whole group of student leaders) to leave a prominent impact on their high school’s campus.

Enlightened birthed and grew because God planned for students to do big things for Him. We see Him continue to call and equip high schoolers to lead Enlightened events at their schools now. The process is not easy. It is not a road easily followed. But it is a good road, because through it all, we get to experience God’s work in us. His provision through the planning process of an event is surreal. From financial issues to filling in spots for a team, God provided. He is the Provider, and we’ve seen why He is called Provider.

God has a plan. And for now, Enlightened is continuing to grow and seek out opportunities to reach the Gospel to young people everywhere. We love what we do and we are so thankful that God allows us to be apart of the journey.

Matthew 5:13-16  

You are the salt of the earth. But if the salt loses its saltiness, how can it be made salty again? It is no longer good for anything, except to be thrown out and trampled underfoot. You are the light of the world. A town build on a hill cannot be hidden. Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a bowl. Instead they put it on its stand, and it gives light to everyone in the house. In the same way, let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven.