A Spirit Filled Life | Sue's Testimony

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You Must Be Born Again

The Holy Spirit was there in the beginning hovering over the waters ready to bring life: on earth, in Adam, in Mary’s womb, in our resurrected Lord to ultimately culminate in God’s redemptive work in us, His creation so that we may cry out Abba Father.

How does that look to me personally? Let me share some recent circumstances that would point to what only the Holy Spirit could accomplish as His teaching, His conviction, His revelations were given so that God could continue His refining work to make me into His image.

Here is part of that journey…

A series of events in the past few months had paved the pathway for me to be able to hear God speak. Having a past in legalism, God clearly put me in circumstances that made me acutely aware of my sensitivities to ‘hurts’ that occurred in the ‘church’. One of those areas of concern arises whenever there is a conversation regarding the ‘born again’ experience. Long story, but in my past ‘church’ history it has been a topic where I felt I had to vehemently defend my position in Christ.

I thought I was ‘healed’ of this but when this recently came up, I noticed a strong but silent response. I felt my heart shut down towards instruction, towards church authority, towards being able to yield to the working of His Spirit in me.

I knew I needed healing in this area and repented before God and a sister in Christ.

Shortly after this, I met one of those Christians. The ones where you immediately sense the presence of the Holy Spirit. The Sprit didn’t just show up when the conversation was about God, but it was there from ‘hello’ to ‘goodbye’. The Sprit’s manifestation brought chills to my being. I knew I needed to ask some questions and hear their testimony.

This individual had a past where the enemies plotting brought destructive bondage and the resulting consequences. (drug addiction and incarceration) Yet in this man, I saw joy, freedom, and contentment, not someone in a state of still working through things or battling demons of the past.

I knew this victory came from Jesus but wanted to know how God brought him to this place of freedom; was it immediate, was there a ‘pathway’ or program or something I wondered?  With unfeigned emotion he recalled the moment he cried out to God. His cry came from a heart that wanted to know and love and serve Jesus more than anything. ‘More than anything’…that statement struck me in the heart. 

God brought me to this point and to this moment that I would hear the convicting work of the Spirit providing the opportunity to grow, to be changed, to die to self.

How do I do this God? I fail so many times. I want to want You more than the end results, more than anything Lord

You must be born again.

Now hearing this for the first time again, it didn’t matter the time, the place, the experience, the prayer. It was the heart.

8 The wind blows where it wishes, and you hear its sound, but you do not know where it comes from or where it goes. So it is with everyone who is born of the Spirit." - Jhn 3:8 ESV

I never really understood this scripture. Now I could hear.

Like a leaf on a tree, the leaf’s movement is according to the direction of the wind that touches it…so it is for those born of the Spirit. God does in me what only He can do, by His Spirit in me. Born again.

That simple yet that profound.

This is the Holy Spirit! 

Aligning circumstances, aligning my heart, reminding me of truth that transforms me. 

12 Therefore, brethren, we are debtors--not to the flesh, to live according to the flesh. 13 For if you live according to the flesh you will die; but if by the Spirit you put to death the deeds of the body, you will live. 14 For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, these are sons of God. 15 For you did not receive the spirit of bondage again to fear, but you received the Spirit of adoption by whom we cry out, "Abba, Father." - Rom 8:12-15 NKJV

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A Spirit Filled Life | Robyn's Testimony

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Vlog | Easter Festival Booth

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Come along as we go behind the scenes with Redemption Church's team while we put together a booth at Delray Beach's Easter festival. We had a lot of fun and no one fainted from dehydration! It's just one of the ways we are keeping a faithful presence in our community. Take a look.

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A Spirit Filled Life | Jenelle's Testimony

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A Spirit Filled Life | Kristan's Testimony

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“So this happened to me during a therapy session a few months back - my own therapy session; I was the client, not the counselor. I was feeling downcast and discouraged and it became clear it was frustration about myself and the way I was handling things, thinking about things, responding to things etc. I was explaining to the therapist how discouraged I felt and overwhelmed. I was going back over how I was feeling and explaining to her that the worst part of the discouragement was that I didn’t like who I was, which felt even more discouraging. But the Holy Spirt then said to me that I needed to yield to Him. It’s as if the Gospel became real again, front and center, in that moment. It’s quite true - I don’t like who I am in my flesh; in fact there’s nothing good there, but I do like the new creation Christ has made me to be, which is reflected most clearly when I am yielded and obedient to Him.”

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Fellowship In The Church by Andre Amirato

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“And they devoted themselves to the apostles' teaching and the fellowship, to the breaking of bread and the prayers.” -Acts 2:42

The early church saw many signs and wonders, as are recounted to us in the Bible. They worked in unison lifted one another up when necessary. The book of Acts shows not only a history of the church’s first steps, but it also provides an outline of behaviors, followed by the results of these behaviors. Those who accepted the word of God as truth came together and, as the above verse states, devoted themselves to 1) the apostles’ teaching, 2) fellowship, 3) breaking of bread, and 4) prayers.

I would like to consider one of these behaviors in this space: fellowship. 

Merriam-Webster dictionary defines fellowship as “a community of interest.” Acts chapter 2:44 states, “all who believed were together and had all things in common.” The early church consisted of a group of individuals who came to Christ, advanced in like-minded behaviors, as outlined in verse 42, which resulted in great blessings and, as verse 44 shows us, they were together and had all things in common. They were successful in creating a “community of interest” and benefitted greatly from their fellowship. Through their behavior, they lifted each other up in the name of Christ as we are called to encourage one another. 

This passage demonstrates one of the most obvious reasons why fellowship in our lives is so important. Fellowship; or the pursuit of community with a common goal (which in this case is worshipping Jesus) provides us with encouragement and support. Without living in communion with fellow believers, we remove the opportunity to provide for each other’s physical needs and encourage one another in prayer or reading of the scriptures as we are also called to do in the same verse we’re called to live in fellowship.

Earlier in chapter two we see a great miracle where the Lord’s disciples speak in different languages, and this resonated with countless individuals from faraway lands as they recognized their own languages. This shows us that God’s power is awesome and transcends any kind of barrier. We also see that God’s church has always consisted of those from incredibly diverse backgrounds. If we look closely, we will find countless verses with God’s people worshipping him “… from every nation, from all tribes and peoples and languages…”  (Revelation 7:9). God made us different from one another, and intends to see us all worshipping him together.

In our natural lives, we know that when we interact with those from different backgrounds, we tend to be more productive and profitable (Weiner 2014). This is attributed to a multitude of factors including the fact that we expect to be challenged differently from those of dissimilar backgrounds as we are unsure what to expect (Phillips 2014). Those who gathered at the time of Pentecost are connected in the sense that they happened to be in the same place at the same time and that many of them gave their lives to Christ, but we have no real evidence of much anything else to unite these individuals other than their common belief in Jesus Christ. 

If we are God’s creation, we must accept that we are all his creation, those who are similar, and those who are dissimilar. This passage clearly shows that the only similarity needed to form a community and benefit from one another’s company is a common belief in Jesus Christ, followed by engaging in the behaviors we are commanded to follow: read his Word, share with one another in communion, share with one another to provide for physical needs, and to pray. As we share in communion, we are met with the realization that God’s word is for everyone and that God has built every one of these distinct cultures and languages, giving us the opportunity to challenge ourselves to be better. Let us then encourage one another to share and learn from all indiscriminately as the Lord has called us to share to all “And he said to them, ‘Go into all the world and proclaim the gospel to the whole of creation.’ ” (Mark 16:15).

Fellowship isn’t just about sharing with those who already believe. Fellowship is about building a community of interest centered around the worship of Jesus Christ. We were commanded to pursue this community and our command holds true to this day. Building our community requires the extension of a relationship to those around us, and those further away and the encouragement to all to seek the Lord. I want to encourage you to embrace the diversity of our planet as an opportunity bring a diversity of laborers into our fellowship and creating Christ centered communities out of those from every nation and peoples. Let us pursue fellowship both within our more natural communities and without, to include all of creation.

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For This Reason... by Sue Stahl

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Many years back I remember seeing a Christian play, and there in the scene at the point of Jesus’ Crucifixion in a shadowy background was another character depicting the ‘Father’. As each nail pounded into His Son’s body, the Father’s body would simultaneously mimic each movement of every nail piercing pain and agony that His Son was experiencing. 

I remember this now not to debate the ‘separation’ and ‘forsaken’ scripture questions that come up regarding the Father’s position at the moment of our Lord’s crucifixion (Mark 15:34). Here now instead God has brought me to a place to better know, understand and remember at this Easter Season, the depth of the Father’s love and purpose, and presence in the plans of His sending His only Son.

Jesus would have in no other way.

6 Jesus said to him, "I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me. - Jhn 14:6 NKJV 

The example of Jesus’ devotion, obedience and unity with the Father can serve as a testimony of how to worship in Sprit and truth as He did. 

In the earlier chapters of the gospel of John, Jesus’ commitment and passion to His Father’s will is evident: 

- His ‘food’- His fullness and sustenance were found in accomplishing God’s will. 

34 Jesus said to them, "My food is to do the will of him who sent me and to accomplish his work. - Jhn 4:34 ESV 

-He relied upon His Father to provide the direction, wisdom and guidance to complete the 

work He was given to do 

"Truly, truly, I say to you, the Son can do nothing of his own accord, but only what he sees the Father doing. For whatever the Father does, that the Son does likewise. - Jhn 5:19 ESV 

-His purposes and His works were done as a testimony to point to His Father 

36 But the testimony that I have is greater than that of John. For the works that the Father has given me to accomplish, the very works that I am doing, bear witness about me that the Father has sent me. - Jhn 5:36 ESV

-He sought only to glorify His Father 

54 Jesus answered, "If I glorify myself, my glory is nothing. It is my Father who glorifies me, of whom you say, 'He is our God.' - Jhn 8:54 ESV 

The references regarding Jesus response and interaction with His Father in the gospel of John are a great example of how to have a heart set on surrender to God’s will. These scriptures also remind us of the ‘roles’ of our triune God in bringing us the gift of salvation.

However, there in the living word interspersed between Jesus’ relationship of surrender and commitment to the Father and His mission, I began to see the greater purpose. The unbroken unity and representation of His Father bound up in one revelation. Jesus’ ultimate desire is for us to know the Father’s love as He does.

Each gospel stories intended purpose seemed set in place to reveal His steadfast and unequivocal love for every one of the many He encountered. His care for Lazarus, His healing of the blind and lame, the feeding of the 5000, the woman caught in adultery to name a few. Here in these gospel stories, I heard Him saying ‘This is how much my Father loves you!” 

16 "For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life. - Jhn 3:16 ESV 

In the midst of the approaching agony of His own death and suffering, the red letters of John 17 set a seal on a love that is beyond our human abilities to comprehend. Jesus lifted up His eyes to heaven and then He prayed for us!

These 26 verses reveal the heart of God- a heart that longs for us, protects us, claims us, desires us. All of us. Love manifested. Oneness with He and Father. 

He finished His Father’s work for us. He gave all the Father had given Him for us. He consecrated Himself for us. The glory He received given to us.

23 I in them and you in me, that they may become perfectly one, so that the world may know that you sent me and loved them even as you loved me. - Jhn 17:23 ESV 

Lord Jesus, revive us by Your word and truth. May we be in oneness with You and the Father. Excite us by Your love and our mission to bring that love to others. By Your might and power. Thank-you Jesus. Amen 

14 For this reason I bow my knees before the Father, 15 from whom every family in heaven and on earth is named, 16 that according to the riches of his glory he may grant you to be strengthened with power through his Spirit in your inner being, 17 so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith--that you, being rooted and grounded in love, 18 may have strength to comprehend with all the saints what is the breadth and length and height and depth, 19 and to know the love of Christ that surpasses knowledge, that you may be filled with all the fullness of God. - Eph 3:14-19 ESV 

Join Us On Easter

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Prayer Is Not An Option by Sue Stahl

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A strong statement, yes, but this mindset may be needed to help us recognize the many schemes of the devil that are at work to destroy our desire, our approach and position in prayer.

In Ephesians 6, the great analogical lesson on our spiritual armor ends with the warning to ‘keep alert with all perseverance’ by ‘praying at all times in the Spirit, with all prayers and supplication’.
Thus personally, I have asked Jesus to teach me how to pray.
These reminders of His truth have helped me to reposition myself into the blessing that is found at the throne of grace.

• Prayer isn’t about my words. It is about my heart’s desire to draw near to God.
He knows what I have need of before I ask Him. He intercedes for me when I don’t know what to prayer. His ways and thoughts are higher than mine.

I come to God as He is: Almighty, Creator, Sustainer, Life giver.

I come to Him as I am: weak, beggarly, childlike, foolish, uncertain, sinful.

We meet in the dwelling place of His love, His mercy, His power.

Light penetrates the darkness. I am home.

13 And you will seek Me and find [Me], when you search for Me with all your heart. - Jer 29:13 NKJV

• Prayer is the mortar to build the church:
The descriptive phrases that are coupled with prayer in the early church exhibited a passion, a certainty and a confidence that God would perform as He had promised in continuing to build and nurture His church. The sampling of these words would indicate that the knowledge and practice of prayer was foundational to the health of the church:devoting themselves to prayer, earnest prayer, worshiping with fasting and prayer night and day,constant in prayer, praying at all times in the Spirit, continuing steadfastly in prayer, praying without ceasing, striving in prayer, always in prayer, remembering you in prayer, Struggling for you in prayer.

2 And he said to them, "The harvest is plentiful, but the laborers are few. Therefore pray earnestly to the Lord of the harvest to send out laborers into his harvest. - Luk 10:2 ESV

• Prayer is a thread of eternity weaving my soul into the oneness of a triune God.
The Atonement-ordained by my Father in heaven who gave me the right to be called a child of God.

Jesus, the eternal sacrifice who became flesh and dwelt among us.

The Holy Spirit who gives life and is a guarantee of my heavenly inheritance.

The One who is the same yesterday, today and forever.

The One who parts the seas and walks on water.

The One who completes the good work that He has started.

My prayer is not about me in this moment, it is about His desire for me to embrace Him in every moment, forever. His eternal purposes become my goal, my vision. My momentary trouble is but for a moment.

22 The glory that you have given me I have given to them, that they may be one even as we are one, 23 I in them and you in me, that they may become perfectly one, so that the world may know that you sent me and loved them even as you loved me. - Jhn 17:22-23 ESV

• My prayers bring delight to my Father and His response is my reward (a giving back, a payment, something I receive)

He tells us to ask that we would receive. His delight is to give us good gifts from above.
His intimate blessings reveal that we are His children and He knows the desires of our hearts.
Abba Father, Give us this day our daily bread. Fill and satisfy my longing soul with the good things from Your hand.

6 But when you pray, go into your room and shut the door and pray to your Father who is in secret. And your Father who sees in secret will reward you. - Mat 6:6 ESV

• Prayer is the conversation of truth that leads to life.
Eve’s conversation in a beautiful garden lead to rebellion and death.

Christ’s conversation in the garden of suffering lead to surrender and life.

I don’t need to wait to be in a place of suffering to seek Him.

He is a God of all seasons and always worthy of praise and thanksgiving.

41 Watch and pray that you may not enter into temptation. The spirit indeed is willing, but the flesh is weak." - Mat 26:41 ESV

• Prayer brings healing
This is how they will know that we are His disciples. We learn to trust, we become authentic, we receive instruction, we are brothers and sisters in Christ. We become knit together. We love.
In prayer, the vulnerability and weakness of another becomes a fragile treasure carefully lifted up.
We are changed. The cry for God’s healing touch upon another becomes our own balm of healing.

16 Therefore, confess your sins to one another and pray for one another, that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous person has great power as it is working. - Jas 5:13, 16 ESV

• Prayer is a service of the Kingdom Priests
In the ancient priesthood, ritual and sacrificial duties were required to allow sinful man to meet with a Holy God. Though the Levitical priesthood has now been replaced by the leadership of our High Priest Jesus Christ, our role of intercessory prayer is our offering as servants under His ‘royal priesthood’.

Our prayers for the saving of souls, for the Word to go forth, for missionary needs, for doors to open, for ministries, for the church to grow are right now the petition being declared in the heavenly realms!
His Kingdom come, His will be done on earth as it is in heaven.

8 And when he had taken the scroll, the four living creatures and the twenty-four elders fell down before the Lamb, each holding a harp, and golden bowls full of incense, which are the prayers of the saints. 9 And they sang a new song, saying, "Worthy are you to take the scroll and to open its seals, for you were slain, and by your blood you ransomed people for God from every tribe and language and people and nation, 10 and you have made them a kingdom and priests to our God, and they shall reign on the earth." - Rev 5:8-10 ESV

Thank you Lord Jesus that You have seated us with You in the heavenly places. Let us serve in our position beside You. Please elevate our response to prayer as a privilege with purpose and power by Your Spirit Lord. Teach us how to love You more through our prayers. Amen


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God & Depression Event

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This month, we were able to partner with Kristan Torres, a friend and licensed mental health therapist from Hope Christian Counseling in Boca Raton, to host a public event in our community called GOD & DEPRESSION.

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This was an event designed to encourage and inform people on the topic of depression from a Biblical standpoint. The evening focused on how GOD is able to help us, to speak to us, and to address our depression in practical ways. Natalia Snelling & Will Torres were also able to share some of their experiences with depression and how God has helped him in times of struggle.

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You can listen to the audio or view the video of the presentation below. Please also feel free to share with anyone you think would be encouraged by the message!

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Finding God in Our Anxiety by Kristan Torres

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“There are times in our lives when our peace is based simply on our own ignorance.  But when we are awakened to the realities of life, true inner peace is impossible unless it is received from Jesus.” – Oswald Chambers, My Utmost for His Highest (1935).

I love this quote, because I believe it captures so well the true condition we are in, while living our earthly lives.  I’ve written it down and carried it with me in working with clients since first starting out as a therapist a decade ago.

Anxiety is real and common. 

We have all experienced forms of anxiety; some more than others.  For some people it’s a nuisance, for others it causes distress, while for others it can be debilitating.

But what does the Bible have to say about anxiety?  Let’s look at the Psalms. 

Psalm 94:19 (ESV): “When the cares of my heart are many, your consolations cheer my soul.”

In this translation, the word “cares” is used, however in other translations, the word is “anxiety” or “anxious thoughts.” The Psalmist is describing that he experiences times where he has many anxious thoughts.

Do you relate?  I believe that we all can relate to times when our cares, anxieties, worries are many.

The verse goes onto describe that God’s “consolations cheer my soul”.  What does this mean?  Consolation means comfort after a loss or disappointment and in some other translations, the word “cheer” is instead, “delight”.

I like what Ellicott’s Commentary for English Readers (1897) explains: “Delight.—Literally, stroke, and so soothe. The Hebrew word is used in Isaiah 66:11 of a mother quieting her child with the breast, and in Jeremiah 16:7 of the cup of consolation given to mourners at funerals.”

What a beautiful picture this is of God’s comfort for us during times of anxiety.  God comforts and soothes us.  I wonder how many of us pray for God to comfort and soothe us when we are anxious? I’m not even sure that I had thought of needing comfort and soothing while feeling anxious – I think I’ve mostly prayed that it would just go away.  I’m sure you relate.

But maybe, God’s not going to take the anxiety away.  Maybe, our experience of anxiety, and reaching out to God for help, gives Him the opportunity to comfort and soothe us, as a good mother would her child who is upset.

God desires intimacy and closeness with us. Why wouldn’t He use the experience of anxiety to draw us close to Him?

Let’s now look at Psalm 112:7 (ESV): “He is not afraid of bad news; his heart is firm, trusting in the LORD.”

How many of us experience anxiety as the fear of “bad news” coming our way – whether real or imagined?  The reality is, we will have both.  Bad news will come our way eventually; there will be emergency situations we weren’t necessarily expecting.  There will be loss of things, positions, health, and of important people in our lives… on this earth.

But there will also be the imaginings of bad news; things that aren’t at all real that come to our minds.  And in this verse, the “bad news” that is described here includes both the real and the imagined.

The Psalmist goes on to describe that his heart is firm – immovable – because he is trusting in the Lord and in His love and grace “which is sufficient for him even in the worst of times” (Gill’s Exposition of the Entire Bible, 1748-63).

When we call to mind God’s love for us, it strengthens us.  So, what are our worries when compared to the love of God?

And here’s the trick or lie of anxiety – it has a big bark with no bite – the big bark is because it involves your mind and physical sensations in your body; nervousness, digestive upset, panic, and more. Because we can feel it so strongly – we think – it must be real!  But much of anxiety is not.  It’s really a lot of “what ifs.”

Think about the movie version of the Wizard of Oz. Everyone in the land of Oz feared the great and powerful wizard.  Dorothy and her friends endured so much to get to the wizard so that they could beg him to give them what they needed.

They finally arrived and fearfully approach – the loud voice, the smoke, the fire, the video of the strange looking man – he was as they imagined him to be – scary!  But then something happens, and the giant “wizard” breaks down.  Come to find out, it’s just an old man hiding behind the curtain, trying desperately to get his machine working again.  This, the scared old man, is all that much of anxiety is. Impotent, with no ability to actually help us.  All bark, no bite.

But our God on the other hand, is very real. And He is so much greater than any anxiety we could ever have.  Remembering how big our God is in comparison to how small and powerless our imagination is helps put things in their proper perspective, bringing calm to the storm.

An important note:  If your experience of anxiety feels out of control or is disrupting your ability to function in your daily life, you probably need professional help. It will be okay and we’ll walk you through it.  That’s what therapists are here for!  Feel free to reach out to me through http://hope-sessions.com and if I can’t help you, I would be glad to help you get to someone who can.

Join us for our next event: God & Depression

Depression is a problem that many live with on a daily basis. It can hinder relationships, cause health issues, and cause even the most routine activities to feel overwhelming. 

Whether you or someone you care about suffers from depression, we invite you to join us for an evening where you will hear from licensed Mental Health Counselor, Kristan Torres, on the subject of GOD & DEPRESSION. 

Kristan will discuss the topic of depression from a biblical standpoint. Her insight into this subject will both encourage and challenge you as she shares how GOD is able to help us, speak to us, and address our depression in practical ways.

Appetizers and drinks will be provided.

This event is FREE, but RSVP is required as space is limited.

Register Here

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