Rosewood Park Alliance Church
"We recently hosted the Restored Conference here at Rosewood Park Alliance Church as a way of providing a great spiritual growth opportunity for our church and those in our community. One of the things we have recognized over the years is that as Christians we are regularly caught in bondage or negative sin patterns that seem to stall our spiritual growth and our walks with Jesus. The Restored Conference has been an amazing tool for our church as it provides a very simple, non-invasive opportunity for our congregants to deal with some of this bondage and sin patterns, in order for them to be free to continue pursuing all that Jesus desires of them.
Our hope for our church having gone through this is that more and more individuals would be able to freely move on the path of discipleship as they grow in their relationship with Jesus. We pray that these individuals would learn how to live out their faith well, here in our church and out in the world. We hope that the freedom that they have found in Christ is an amazing witness to those who don’t yet know Jesus!"
Associate Pastor Joel Cyr
Rosewood Park Alliance Church
Forgiveness Testimony – Clay Harmon
September 24, 2022
"One of my earliest childhood memories at four years of age was hearing my mother scream. I looked around the corner into the kitchen. My dad had thrown a knife at her, and it was stuck into the cupboard doors inches from her head. I recall him saying that if he wanted to kill her, she would be dead. Ensuing years involved living with relatives and finally a foster home for me and my four siblings.
At age ten, my dad visited me in the foster home and told me that the Lord giveth and the Lord taketh away. I had no idea what he was talking about. I found out later that my mother had been living in the same house as my dad and his girlfriend and that my mother had hung herself. I grew up attending seventeen schools and living in seven foster homes and the homes of two uncles.
I married, and we had four children. The oldest, a son, was given up for adoption because we were not yet married, and the youngest one, another son, died from a crib death. Friends introduced me to the Holy Spirit, but I chose the spirit of Johnny Walker instead. A life of adultery, drunkenness, and the trigger of the death of our baby led to divorce. I then married a drunk, and we had two more children. I sobered up, and she kicked me out of the house when I poured her hidden bottle of vodka down the sink.
At the time my business was prospering with some retail stores, and with a partner, we owned an upscale billiard club in the Okanagan. I chose to teach the ladies’ pool lessons. I was attracted to one lady and invited her to spend a weekend with me for fun and frolic in Calgary. She looked me in the eye and told me that my time would be better spent reading the Bible. To her astonishment, I did just that and a few months later submitted my life to Christ. Within forty-eight hours I was broke, unemployed, living alone, and suicidal. God was teaching me about self-sufficiency.
This lady gave me a mimeographed sheet containing the Steps to Freedom, and over weeks I worked through the Steps on my own. When I got to forgiveness, it was easy for me to identify that I needed to forgive my dad. I forced myself to think of the few good times instead of the violence in our home and was able to forgive him. Sondra encouraged me to visit my mother’s grave, and while there, I had a strong impression from the Holy Spirit that I was to pray. I was astonished at the anger towards my mother that came out because she had abandoned me as a child. Through the power of prayer, I came to understand that the hidden hurt had brought much destruction on my life and the lives of those close to me. I came to see that the verbal and emotional abuse I had inflicted on my two wives was an expression of that anger. It had been hidden from me. Recognizing that it was there, I could now forgive her.
The lady that challenged me to read the Bible is now my wife of twenty-seven years. Because I had learned to love Jesus, I learned how to love her. I have a good relationship with all my children. God has restored everything far more than what I could have imagined. God is good."
The Northgate Baptist Church in Edmonton is one church of many that is using the Freedom In Christ course as part of its regular curriculum.
The Freedom in Christ Discipleship Course on Thursday evenings has been very fruitful so far. I love this course so much because I get to see people significantly grow in their faith and Christian practice in a relatively short time. And this teaching applies to every Christian, female or male, every culture, whether new or mature in the faith, young or old. In fact, in this particular class, we have a wide age range of participants—from 18 years old to a great, great-grandmother of 85! Even I myself learn and grow every time I run this course, despite having done it dozens of times already. And what a blessing to contribute to the increasing freedom of my brothers and sisters in the Lord!
Two people have done the Steps to Freedom and a few more are booked for November. Please pray for these individual Steps meetings, as they often have the most dramatic positive spiritual impact of all we do in the class. During the Steps, we do an in-depth, moral inventory of seven areas that can hinder our faith and walk with God, just as His Word instructs us to do in Psalm 139:22&23, “Search me, God, and know my heart; test me and know my anxious thoughts. See if there is any offensive way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting.” We renounce anything incompatible with our faith and affirm the truth of the Bible and our commitment to Jesus.
I would recommend the course "Keys to Health, Wholeness, and Fruitfulness” to any Christian (or anyone for that matter). Whether you are a lifelong believer or someone new to the faith, this course outlines ways to blend three major areas of our lives together that are often overlooked or not considered when thinking of one's own personal health. Blending the importance of being healthy spiritually, mentally, and physically in a way that just seems to make sense and bring a feeling of wholeness when practiced in our daily lives. I can admit I always knew these areas are important but often it seems easy to forget that you need a combination of all three to really know what it feels to be whole. Even as someone who has been a lifelong Christian, it was a great tool to remind myself of how intertwined these three topics of our health really are. It has been two years since I did the course, and I still find myself practicing some of the methods I learned throughout the course. The only complaint I have is that I will likely have to do the course again as a refresher and a way to continue on my journey towards a healthier mind, body, and soul! And that is not a bad thing!
REFLECTIONS OF A NOT REALLY RETIRED PASTOR
The Freedom in Christ Discipleship Course
An Invaluable Tool for Growing Disciples
On retiring four years ago from a lifetime in a fulfilling church-planting and pastoring ministry in Ontario, my prayer was that my remaining years would count for eternity through a church-based lay ministry. My desire was to make disciples who would become disciple-makers and so began a search to discover the best tool that would enable this.
In the fall of 2019 I had the privilege to attend a discipleship conference in the US which featured a workshop by Neil Anderson. Here I was re-introduced to the Freedom in Christ resources. Many years prior I had used the Freedom in Christ Beta Course in my church and now my interest was re-awakened.
My wife, Dorothy and I attend a large church in the Greater Toronto Area and are blessed with a godly pastor who wholeheartedly endorses the Freedom in Christ teaching and enthusiastically encourages all in the church to take this course. Starting in 2021, at the height of the pandemic, we started with a group online. Together we were challenged by the truths of our identity in Christ, the need for repentance and for the renewing of our minds with God’s word (Truth, Turning, Transformation).
Over the last two years we have facilitated this course both online and in person with 9 different groups to include over a hundred folks from our church. Here is a sampling of some of their testimonies:
“What has impacted my life from this course is about forgiveness. It’s a struggle to forgive those people you trusted so much but the Lord opened my eyes through this course to forgive them… to be merciful to them for God is merciful to me. This freedom I experienced is the best Christmas gift I ever received. I am no longer chained to this spirit of unforgiveness.”
“The course met my expectations and more! The videos and material were very organized and structured. It has been helpful in restoring my fellowship with my Abba and Jesus.”
“I hope you have even a small understanding of how drastically your heart for God is impacting us. This class is fantastic and your hearts for God is a tremendous encouragement.”
“This course has far exceeded my expectation. It takes a practical approach to reaffirm God’s truth backed up by scriptures, using breakout groups to encourage one another and challenging us to reflect and take action.”
How grateful we are for this amazing discipleship tool that teaches us how we can have freedom from habitual sin, negative thoughts, fears and unforgiveness, helping us grasp the amazing truth of our identity in Christ and how to resist the enemy’s deceptions. It gives such practical and tangible ways to help us move forward by “putting the cookies on the bottom shelf”, moving truth from our heads to our hearts and into action.
We are especially delighted that some who have gone through the course and have assimilated these principles are now embarking on taking others through Freedom in Christ either one-on-one or in groups – disciples becoming disciple-makers.
If, today I could turn back the clock on my pastoral ministry and do a make-over, this is the discipleship tool I would absolutely implement in the church.
A Poem by a recent graduate of the
Freedom In Christ Discipleship Course
Let there be light
I go to church. I claim the faith. I’ve left my life of shame
I’ve walked the path. I’ve served the poor, and all in Jesus’ name.
In all these ways I claimed His truth
And know Whom I’ve believed
My mouth confessed. My words declared
To Him alone I cleave.
And yet at times a shadow seemed to hide his word from me
My mind said ‘yes’ to all His Word. My heart yearned to believe. But I pressed on by will alone and buried all my doubts
Is it just me? Is there not more? ‘What’s wrong?” my soul would shout
At times I pleaded with my Lord
“Where is your work in me?
I see no fruit. I haven’t changed.
I’m longing to be free”
I didn’t know or understand the steps I was to take
For God has given all I need to walk in Jesus’ wake
It is His work. I have a part, and things that I must do.
For faith is choosing to believe and acting on that truth.
And now my love for Him has grown
How real His word to me
For what I knew is now made known
And I am truly free
A PASTOR'S CRY FOR HELP
(Slightly edited for confidentiality and website accuracy purposes)
"Almost 30 years ago, in 1994, a few months after accepting Christ into my life I read Neil T. Anderson’s book, The Bondage Breaker. It changed my life. I had grown up in a very legalistic church and it helped me to understand what freedom in Christ was, as I was released from the shackles of tradition.
For nearly 29 years God has led me on a journey, with the ups and downs of life. From 20__ to 20__ I served as a youth pastor in my church. In 20__ I left the ministry due to burnout. I never thought that I would go back. This past year God told me otherwise. HE CHANGED MY HEART! I have never had such a desire to let others know Him as their Father. I am now the lead pastor at our church in ... and feel quite inadequate to lead the church, but God has been faithful and with much support my wife and I look to serve God so that we can train the people of our church on how to make God known.
Recently, I was counselling someone on habitual sin and the Lord reminded me of the book I had read so many years ago. I suggested he read the book, and since then I have recommended it to a few more people.
This morning the Lord told me to look at how we could make this as part of our “required reading and/or study” for the leaders of our church. I went to Google (of course ) and I came across the Freedom In Christ website. Until this morning I had never heard of Freedom in Christ Ministries. I looked through the material and courses that are offered and realized this is exactly what I need, as I lead the church, and what our church needs. Our church has dealt with the bondage of unforgiveness, gossip, and pride for decades. I have been struggling on how to overcome this. When I was reading through the website it was as if the Lord spoke to me and said…”Here, this is the approach you need to take.”
Therefore, I have decided to contact you to see if you could help me with what the proper steps would be for me to take, so that I can first of all, be an effective leader for our church, but secondly how we can use your materials to free ourselves of our bondage. Would you be able to guide us with this"?
If you would like to know what happened next, please contact us.