Breaking Free 101
By Kate Berkey - August 31, 2017
Posted in Adult Ministry, Stories from NMC, Discipleship
So if the Son sets you free, you are free indeed. John 8:36
At first it felt a little strange, almost like learning to ride a bike. On the one hand, the process was exciting. On the other, it was awkward, but Don and Cathy Miller had a feeling that pushing through the unfamiliarity of it all would lead to healing and wholeness. That evening, the two sat together on the campus of Bethel College in a room with pockets of people, all in pairs, all different ages. There was a hushed murmur throughout the space as everyone participated in the same exercises.
They were asked to call out sin, to denounce lies they believed, bitterness they held onto, rebellion that lurked in the corners of their heart. They sat in moments of listening prayer, asking the Holy Spirit to reveal specific areas of brokenness in their lives, and as sin came to mind, they wrote it down.
It took time. It took silence. It took stillness. It took embracing the unusual, the awkward, the new and unfamiliar. Yet Don and Cathy found the Holy Spirit to be faithful week after week. As they sat together, huddled close, He would reveal an area that needed some work. Through the power of Scripture and prayer, they declared the Holy Spirit’s power over their lives. They asked for forgiveness. They declared ground that was once ruled by sin to be holy and set free by Jesus.
For ten weeks, Don and Cathy walked through this process as they attended Breaking Free 101. Each week, they focused on a different area of bondage, areas that Satan loves to control. After listening to an hour of teaching, they spent about an hour in prayer, asking the Holy Spirit to reveal parts of their lives that needed to be set free.
“I think what surprised me the most about this class was the personal nature of it. Cathy and I signed up to work on things in our marriage and family. Yet, through all we learned, I began to realize that to build a healthier marriage and family, I needed to be set free of things in my own life. I realized how my history and ancestry held me in bondage. I realized that I needed to be set free from things done over the generations,” Don explained. “Through this, I was able to experience freedom, and we as a couple were able to experience freedom.”
Don and Cathy weren’t at rock bottom when they signed up for Breaking Free 101. They weren’t on the fringes of the church or struggling with deep, dark, secretive things. They were a normal couple trying to lead a very normal family. At the beginning of 2017, they simply found themselves stuck. Issues they had been trying to resolve for months were still unsolved and the list of solutions felt small. As a word of advice from Pastor Dave, they met with Bill Jones, creator and facilitator of Breaking Free 101.
“For me, this class brought tremendous growth and freedom, because it opened my eyes to see the bondage I was in, my marriage was in, and my family was in. Before this class, I always knew there were things I needed to work on and grow in, but Breaking Free provided the tools I needed to recognize these issues, call them out, and declare freedom over them,” Cathy explained.
Individually and as a couple, Don and Cathy did the hard work of digging through their past and their present, reclaiming territory. Over time, their entire family noticed a difference. Where there was once anger and worry, there was now joy and contentment. Where there was once disengagement and struggle, there was now peace and wisdom. For the first time, Don and Cathy had the tools they needed to overcome areas of bondage.
“I would say that because of what we learned in this class, Cathy and I are able to navigate through problems in our marriage more quickly and sometimes more easily,” Don said.
Of course Breaking Free 101 is not just for married couples with families. It’s for any Christ follower who longs to find freedom from the bondage in his or her life. These areas don’t need to be big and dramatic. We all experience bondage in our lives and desperately need the power and blood of Jesus to set us free from them.
For Don and Cathy, giving up a couple of hours on a weeknight was completely worth all of the time and energy they poured into the class. It was worth walking through the new, uncomfortable, painful, and awkward, because in the end, they experienced true freedom, peace, and joy through Jesus.
Interested in taking Breaking Free 101? You don’t have to drive all the way to Bethel College! NMC is offering this 10-week course from September 20-December 6 from 6-8 PM. You must sign up with a partner, and the cost is $25. To register, please click here. If you have any questions, please contact Pastor Terry at 574.773.7773 or TerryBley@nmc.church.