Seeking Revival Amid the Spirit of Religion

My name is Colin Langille, a 38-year-old (at the time of this writing) living in Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada. While I have only been a born-again believer for not quite 4 years at this point, I have been heavily involved in “church” since I was 11. Through that time, I have experienced worship from the point of view of almost every major denomination in our area: from United Church of Canada, to Anglican, to high Catholic, to Wesleyan, to Pentecostal, to Southern Baptist. Someday, I even hope to experience worship from the point of view of an ecclesia of Christians.

The biggest challenge to finding a real, authentic experience of God in worship in Halifax, Nova Scotia is being surrounded by so many half-measures, all claiming to be the real thing. When I first began “doing church”, it was as a young church choir member and organ student. I accompanied the choir and played pieces in the name of the “Ministry of Music” (which unfortunately had very little to do with Ministry), and even then, I knew that the applause was wrong. When I left for college, it was to study organ and church music at McGill University in Montreal, and six years of study and two degrees later, I was a better organist, but had still learned nothing positive about worship. Sadly, the organist world in Montreal was a gossip pit of who was sleeping with whom behind which organ after service, and people competed with each other to put on the best show and most impressive music, quickly tacking on a “for the Glory of God” only if they feared a priest might be nearby.

During my time there, I felt that there should be something more. I remember meeting with the priest of the church where I worked about “becoming a minister” after completing my music degree. He was very wise and gracious, and insisted that I examine my motives and attempt to discern if I truly felt a calling from God. Somehow, I had the sense to realize at the time that wasn’t for me.

Returning to Halifax, I found work as an organist in an Anglican church. I remember being asked at the end of my interview if I believed in Christ as my Saviour and wondering to myself what that had to do with being a church organist. My pride and arrogance had been bred into me at school and grown within me like some unholy parasite, and I set out to repeat the same patterns I had learned (fortunately, without the sleeping-with-people-behind-the-organ part).

Then I took a job as a music teacher at a small conservatory, and met a former pastor-turned-school-administrator. Her background was very different from mine (one which we high-and-mighty organ students mocked on a regular basis), and for reasons that can only be God, I kept going back to her office to talk about Jesus. I didn’t believe half the stories she told of the miraculous wonders she had seen during her time in the ministry, but I wanted them to be true.

After a few years, I married her daughter, and we had a daughter of our own. She was patient with my spiritually-dead church and we continued there for a time, until she finally pushed me to move on. I had become a full-time school teacher by then, and the demands of family and two jobs was becoming too much.

We began attending a local Wesleyan church, and there I had my first experience with modern, evangelical worship. In the beginning, I gritted my teeth through the guitars, drums, and pop music while bringing my many years of music analysis and bred-in-the-bone snobbery to a full and unflattering judgment of what I was hearing. But though I could turn my nose up at the uncultured sound, I could not help but see and feel how much more alive the atmosphere was, far more “right” than that created by any great choral anthem sung for the praise of people. Here, people worshipped God, rather than sat and watched as we allegedly did it for them. I experienced my first brush with the anointing of the Holy Spirit.

Here also, I heard sermons to which I actually wanted to listen. I learned about grace, forgiveness, and the personal love that God has for me. I began to actually read Scripture, and with the help of some online resources, succeeding in my first cover-to-cover read. I began to see how everything fit together; I began to have a faith of my own. Finally, in November of 2012, the Lord helped me work through some final exercises in forgiveness of those who had wronged me, and when he led me to ultimately forgive myself, I felt his love pour through me.

Since being born-again, God has given me a voracious appetite for learning about His ways. I have re-read the Bible, finding more and more truths within its pages, and I have devoured other Christian books on a myriad of topics. I know that God has blessed me with the gift of teaching and that he has called me to be a worship leader, using the very styles of music my sinful pride once kept me from appreciating.

Where I live, the Spirit of Religion has a stranglehold on the Christian faith, and churches throughout the region are bound. Revival is so desperately needed, and the only Bible schools in the area have either closed down or embraced Wicca and Eastern philosophies alongside the teachings of Christ. With a full-time job, student debts, family (I now have two children), and a volunteer music ministry at a local church, I don’t have the option of enrolling in a “typical” Bible seminary, either in person or online, and while I can listen to lectures and sermons at my leisure, I know I will never actually accomplish anything unless I am part of a structured degree program. It is my sincere hope that, through the education I can get at CLI, I can learn what I need to help bring real, Holy Spirit-inspired revival to my city. Please pray for Halifax, that eyes will be opened, hearts will be softened, and the Holy Spirit will be allowed to move freely in all churches and congregations.

“All Things Work Our for Good” Even Great Trials

Marisa D. Slusarcyk
Age 30
Canada

My name is Marisa, and I am a country girl born and raised in rural Canada. I am surrounded by a large group of people from different churches and have been blessed by all of them in many different ways.

You may be wondering why I chose the title of this essay to be “Raped for the ‘Glory of God’”, so I am going to tell you.

I was a teen mom before it was “cool”, the father of my children was raised in a strict Baptist church and his father was a pastor. I had been raised Catholic but considered myself a plain old Christian, someone who loved the Lord, nothing more, nothing less.

The title comes from the years I was held by this young man. The years I spent being raped, sold, beaten, and tortured in ways that I still haven’t managed to share with anyone but God, and the kicker was that his father, the church Pastor, was reciting scripture telling me that I wouldn’t need to be punished, raped, hurt, abused, etc., if I would only obey because “woman obeys man and man obey God.”

I was only 15 years old, and everything I knew about God was being twisted up in my head by this “leader” who was supposed to be guiding me right. I found out after I escaped with my children, at the age of 19, that this was what he was preaching to all the women who came to him with allegations of domestic violence.

I didn’t know what to do with my life. I sometimes still don’t. But one thing that I did the night I left and continued to do to this day is pray. I prayed that God would expose the truth, which He would protect the church and us. That he would keep my children and myself safe.

It took me YEARS to get myself to open up my Bible. I was terrified that what I would see would be the words that had been planted into my subconscious and fragile mind. Instead, I found that God is a loving God, not a God, who hurts or wishes anger or hurt. Not a God, who would allow his men to abuse the women, He created.

I found myself needing to read more and more to find the truth and the more I looked, the more I found and in a very cathartic way, I was well on the road to healing those old wounds, and more importantly, my fear of God was gone.
A priest I had talked to while on my journey told me, “even Satan can read and quote the Bible.” That was a moment I will never forget as we bowed our heads and prayed and not for what God could do for me, but for the protective shield He had placed around me and my children that allowed us to be free. I was praying my thanks.
So, in summary, I was raised knowing the Lord, my views were very much distorted through brainwashing as a young teen and my need to find the truth is how I came to the Lord the way I have.

I never expected myself to pursue ministry, after all, my church life was obviously not a good one, but I realized that through sharing of my stories, through my praying for others, my sharing of the Word, that I was in fact ministering. It hit me hard when a well known online ministry for women sent me a card in the mail thanking me for my ministry. I wept as I read those words because I had no clue that I was having an impact, never mind an impact in the fight for Christ.

I don’t attend church; I do attend youth group through the Mennonite church as my son attends each week and I enjoy the fellowship with the youth pastor and his family. It has been such an encouragement for me to be able to talk about the things the Lord has placed on my heart, get feedback and have people to pray with.

Most of my ministry is online. To groups of women who wear battle scars that are often worse than my own. I love being able to have a conversation with these people, pray for them, and let them know that they are not only loved and cared for by me, but by Christ.

I had rejoiced when a friend decided to be baptized, I have sent hundreds of letters to people in prison and have been so blessed by their stories and their words and of course their love for the Lord. It amazes me that in such a dark place these wonderful men and women focus solely on His Light!

Unique challenges I face in my geographic area aren’t exactly challenges at all; we have a population of about 15,000 people, half of the students in town go to the Christian schools, and there is an active church on nearly every street. I suppose the challenge is finding the right church home where I feel safe, accepted and free to share my testimony, though like I said previously, I have had the opportunity to do that with pastors and friends.
These are the people who have been my support, encouraging me to dive into the Bible, to look up the Hebrew and Greek, learn, ask questions, work hard, study harder and to keep my faith when I feel like burrowing my head in the sand.

Interestingly enough, my one child doesn’t believe in God, while my other child goes to youth group and participates very much in Christian activities, he has even won recognition badges for his eagerness to share and be a good Christian role model. The lack of faith my other child has doesn’t sway me; it makes me want to share more, pray more and show how much God works in everything, all the time. While there are struggles, I know that the seeds I am planting in her will eventually grow as she decides to start reading about God herself.

I would appreciate prayer for me because I don’t know what exactly I feel the most lead to do. I know I am lead to share the Word, but I do not know in what capacity. I would love to have the Lord hang a big neon sign telling me what I am going to be when I grow up, but I guess that is unlikely, though not impossible. I need prayers for strength, courage and direction. I also need prayers to continue to have positive role models in my life who I can go to when I am at a loss.

Thank you for this opportunity. It has been a wonderful journey so far. Please know that the staff, volunteers, and other students, are in my prayers. I may not know what you all need, but God knows exactly what is needed, and I trust that He not only hears my plea but will respond to His will!

Toronto Free Ministry Training – “Ready to answer God’s call”

Kendell T. O’Brien of Toronto, Canada – Christian Basics Graduate.

Toronto Free Ministry Training – “READY TO ANSWER GOD’S CALL”

Heavenly blessings in the Name of The Lord Jesus Christ! My name is Kendell T. O’Brien, and I am 39 years old. I am married to my gorgeous and lovely wife Samantha, and we have two adorable children.

I live in the Greater Toronto Area in Ontario, Canada. Toronto is the most multicultural city in the world; it is very exciting to see. However, it is heartbreaking to know that millions have not surrendered their lives to Jesus.

When I was a little boy, I truly asked Jesus into my heart. When I got older, I began to make my own choices, which caused me to stray. I began to get full of the world; my eyes were blinded and my ears were dull to hearing the Truth.
In 1996, for about the entire month of August, God graciously began to pour out His Spirit upon my life in a series of supernatural encounters. I knew he was seeking me as according to LUKE 19:10, “for the Son of Man has come to seek and to save that which was lost.” Then on August 31st 1996, I cried out to Him, surrendering my life to His Lordship. That day, I was born again and fill with His Spirit.

My dream is to see my city, my nation, and this world to encounter one of the greatest REVIVAL the world have ever seen, and to see others like me doing the same.
I have at times sought a way where I can be equipped to go and do whatever The Lord has purposed my wife and I to do, but there seemed to be no way. Then I stumbled across The Christian Leaders Institute website, after typing in “Ready to answer God’s call”.

I am currently serving as an Elder in my church. In the past I was involved in various ministries, the most recent as a Youth Leader. My wife and I are current Life Coach Leaders(one of our church various ministries). We mentor and lead a small group in our home, to help them grow in Christ and become disciples for Him.

Having a scholarship at CLI will be a tremendous blessing to me and my family. My wife and I prayed for God to make a way, and thank God, He did!  The fields are ripe for harvest and we must fulfill Jesus’s commission(Matt. 28:19-20).

Whereever you live in this world, this Toronto Free Ministry Training not just offered in Toronto. Enroll now yourself!

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God Can Change Anyone

Kelli Elizabeth Vance

Calgary, Alberta, Canada

Faith-based Organization for Mental Health,

Addictions, and Homelessness

While growing up, my parents raised me, my brother, and my sister to know the Lord. When I was six years old, I invited Christ into my heart but some how lost my way. It’s hard to pinpoint what went wrong, but I was a troubled child. I had a learning disability and did terrible in school, I felt so dumb and embarrassed by it. My self-esteem was low, and my grades greatly suffered. I got kicked out of school, and ran away from home, and as a result, my life strayed even further.

I was eleven years old when I started acting out, most likely because I was sexually violated by a much older man. No one could control me, and I was always getting in trouble. At the age of twenty, I was pregnant with twins and didn’t know what to do so I got married to the father. I re-committed my life to Christ and sensed His power and Spirit active in my life but managed to slip away again. I discovered that my husband was unfaithful, and I tried to bury the pain but ultimately ended up blaming God.

Twenty-five years have come and gone, and God has been truly faithful. He never stopped loving and communicating with me, and I never stopped praying to Him. I tried many times to quit my addiction, but I could never sustain it for long. Until one day, Christmas 2008, when God dramatically intervened and profoundly changed my life forever.

My testimony is long, and I’ve done the recovery work. It’s been seven years now, and I continue to live drug-free. My relationships with my family and children have been restored. My place of employment encourages me to pray and minister to the lost. I have deep compassion for the lost and broken-hearted. I love to study and teach. Ordination is important to me because it demonstrates that I have studied hard and met the qualifications to work and fulfill various commitments in church.

When I found out CLI was free, I signed up not knowing where it would it would lead. That was three years ago. I fell in love with the professors and programs, and the learning is never ending. The quality of education from CLI, is evident by the Holy Spirit manifested in my life. I can honestly say I’m making up for lost time, and the process is still on-going. My hope is to finish Ordination then complete the Diploma program. And I plan move on to an Associates Degree. My goal is to reach others with the essentials of the Christian faith, by the Authority of God and His Word.

I sincerely thank Christian Leaders Institute for the learning and training experiences they continue to give me. May God continue to bless this school.

Passionate Calling – “Phoenix” Risen from the Ashes!

Passionate Calling – “Phoenix” Risen from the Ashes!

Sometimes you experience incredible obstacles and sadnesses in life. Some blame God. Some curse God and die. Others come to see God as their only hope. And when they find hope in God their lives are changed forever. Many who find hope in God will be given a passionate calling to change the world for God.

Alysha Wolf (now 22 years old) was born in a home where her father abused her mother. Her mother fled from the United States and escaped into Canada.

When I was young and still living at home I was raised as a Christian, to uphold the faith of God and always believe fully in Christ. When I was 5 years old my mother left my abusive father and literally fled from the U.S.A into B.C., Canada with me and my older sister of three years…it was only by the grace of God that we made it across the border that night.

Her mother divorced this abusive man. By the time Alysha was eight, her mother had remarried and moved to Quebec.  From British Columbia, this new family ended up thousands of miles away in Quebec and then in Ontario. By age sixteen, Alysha left her home in Ontario and went to British Columbia. The first step in a passionate calling to serve Christ begins with trials. Alysha fills us in.

Years later in 2002 (I was 8) my mother moved us to Quebec, there she married my step father, I was always raised to go to church and I felt that I had a deep connection with Christ or so I thought. But by the time I turned 16, I left home from where my family was living in Ontario and I ran away to Vancouver, British Columbia.

I thought that I could handle myself on my own, and to me God was a thing of the past and I didn’t need him anymore. My deep love for God broke due to trials that I believed were his fault (I know now they have only made me stronger). I rebelled against everything I thought that I believed and I felt that I was finally free. I ended up getting pregnant when I left home. I was scared and didn’t know what to do, but I was too proud to go home. I had my baby, a beautiful baby girl. However, events happened where I learned the true nature of the father and the secret that he was hiding from me. These facts led me to allow my child to be adopted by a family that could provide so much more for her then I could (this was 2010). I hated God!

But God loved Alysha.

I believed that is was God who made it so that I had to give up my baby girl in order to keep her safe from her father. I got in with the wrong crowd, and I began doing drugs (finally gave in to peer pressure from my “friends” that this would take the pain away). Also, during this time I received a phone call from an officer in the States telling me that my birth father (the one my mother left when I was 5) had recently committed suicide and that my years of searching for him were over.

Alysha stopped blaming God for all the bad things that happened to her. And God was placing a passionate calling in her heart as He drew Alysha back to Him.

By the time I was 19, I began looking at my life and realized that every choice and every event that I had blamed on God, the situation that I was in was not his fault but my own. I took a hard look deep down and found that I was the one that needed his help and it was time to go home. After four years of never seeing my mother, it was time to go home! It was time to go home to God.

God opened new doors for Alysha as she found work and found the man of her dreams.

After I was home things turned around. I stayed home for a while and then found a job in Creston BC where I met my husband. We have been happy ever since! I am now 22 years old, married for almost a year now, and soon we will have the first addition to our family!

Alysha has a passionate calling into ministry. Her husband and family share her passionate calling.

The reason why CLI is something that I want so badly is because one day I want to be a Christian Youth Leader. This is my passionate calling into ministry.  I want to help other youth not go down the same path that I did. I want them to feel the deep love for God. I want them to have a passionate calling to serve the Lord. But not just because their church or parents tell them to, but because they choose it. They can be shown what a personal walk with God is all about, and they can be on fire as I am! I want my child that is on the way to be brought up in the right way, knowing that God is the savior of all. No matter how hard the trials are, no matter how dark the path may be, God is right there beside you; all you have to do is call on him. I want the youth of this world, the next generation, to know that no matter what you have been through….You can always become a “phoenix” risen from the ashes!! Newborn in Christ!

Christian Leaders Institute is for those who need an opportunity to serve Christ but have no other way to get high-quality training. Sometimes you experience much disappointment, heartache and pain in life. God may be summoning you with a passionate calling to do something for Him. You are passionate because you know that only God can save you and everyone in this world.

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Canada Ministry Training Free

CLI student Jason Corbeil

Canada Ministry Training Free

Hello! My name is Jason Corbeil. I live in Ontario, Canada. I am excited to receive this Canada ministry training free of charge.
Canada is a fantastic country, full of beautiful lands and people of multicultural descent. Those involved in Ministry in Canada face many challenges as in other parts of the world today, but also enjoy the freedom to express themselves without fear of persecution.

I grew up in a Christian home and went to church as I grew up. My family fell away from the church when I was around 12 years old. Upon turning the age of 18, I felt the urge of God return to church and have felt a strong call on my life ever since. I have often questioned this “call” I have felt and have put things off and focussed on other things for many years.
However, this feeling of being called still exists and seems to be growing stronger as I get older.
I am now forty years old and do not believe I can let the opportunity to obtain the training from Christian Leaders Institute pass me by. The Lord has been more than gracious to me. My life verse is Jeremiah 29: 11 “For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans for welfare and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope”.

My ministry dream has been something I have had since I was abut 18 years old. The thought of standing at a pulpit and teaching others about Jesus Christ has long been something I have felt called to do. Unfortunately, life has thrown a few curveballs, and I have not had the opportunity to pursue this dream for many years until CLI made its way into my life.

I have helped with many different church programs over the years. My wife and I have been Youth Group Leaders and Sunday School Superintendents. We have taught at Daily Vacation Bible School for many years.
I believe that I identify the most with the word “Pastor”, as I feel that one needs to be ordained as a Pastor to be viewed as worthy to teach others about Christ. It is not an absolute necessity but does give one more credibility amongst unbelievers.

If I had to choose one key experience in my life that prompted me to pursue ministry, it would have to be when I was still in youth group. A group of men from our church attended the Promise Keepers “Stand in the Gap” march in Washington D.C. back in the mid-1990’s. It was an awesome experience hearing thousands upon thousands of men singing praises to God outdoors acapella. It was a very moving time for me!

Living in rural Ontario, poses some unique challenges. There are many local churches nearby, and most have Pastoral staff already entrusted to lead their congregations. Our town, is a small one, and there is a lot of poverty here as well. Yes, even in Canada, there are many of those who do not have many resources to maintain even basic needs.

A scholarship at CLI is tremendously important to me because, as a family man, I would otherwise not be financially able to pursue the studies that CLI has to offer anywhere else. I have looked into various schools over some years and have not been able to begin studies. Thanks for this Canada ministry training free of change.

I would appreciate prayers for my ability to keep up my studies while at the same time, working fulltime to support my family.
The Lord has blessed me greatly over the years. I pray that He will use me as an instrument to bless others.

My Time for God and Them

My name is Sergio E. Martinez. I live in Canada since 1988. I gre up in a Catholic family and I felt my whole life that the teachings were distilled to the convenience of the church and not focused on Jesus and God our father. My life was turned upside down when I saw myself living with 12 children since their mothers had left and my brother and I, along with our mother were raising them. I found myself in the leader seat and noticed that with the help of the word of God and the Bible, things were a little bit easier. I decided to learn more and apply more knowledge to my situation. The Lord helps me every day and I now have a dream to plant a church for those close to me and anyone else who wants to learn from The Bible through Jesus and me as his servant. The CLI scholarship put simply is a blessing in my life. I am a single father of 4 and I also help my brother with his 8 children day in and day out. Thanks CLI for existing and providing me with so much knowledge that I look to turn into wisdom in order to lead my family and others in my community in a small future church.

Standing on the Word

My name is Kristina MacDonald, I am 32 years old, married and the mother of two beautiful children. I live in a rural community in Atlantic Canada. I was raised in a christian home, but had a falling away from my church when I was a young teen. Shortly after my parents separated, I moved to the city. At age 19 my world was turned upside down when I lost my brother to a sudden unexplained death, I struggled dealing with this for a long time.

One year after my daughter was born I had the opportunity to move to the house I grew up in and work in my mother’s restaurant business. It was at this point I started turning back to God. I realized I wanted my daughter to be raised knowing God and going to the beautiful country church in the same way that I had. After all, a lot of the congregation was not only family through God but blood family. I started helping in the church with small tasks, trying to fit in.

Fast forwarding over the years, I had many difficult events take place, my husband become physically disabled and unable to work, my daughter and myself were diagnosed with a genetic heart condition, my great grandmother fell ill, our taking care of her, then her passing away, and most recently, I lost my job.  Each trial drew me closer to God, making me rely on Him more and encouraging me to share and teach others about Him. I am now very involved with my church. For the past 7 years I have been a youth leader and Sunday School teacher. I also hold a few offices in the church.

I feel I have been very blessed to be able to take CLI’s online training. With my current financial situation, I would not be able to have this training any other way. I hope to use what I learn at CLI to further my understanding of God’s Word, to help be a better teacher, and help bring revival, to the church, community and beyond.

Readying Myself to Teach – Ministry Training in Canada

“Bless the Lord, oh my soul, and all that is within me, bless His Holy Name.”
Psalms 103:1

My name is Laurie, and I live with my husband on the west coast of the vast country of Canada. I am blessed to be surrounded by the beauty of the natural revelation of our God. Towering trees, rushing streams, crashing ocean waves and majestic mountains frame the city of Victoria.

Although a “developed country”, the need for the Savior is great in Canada. Often against the backdrop of “much”, the struggles become those of complacency, independence and the acceptance of sin as normal. How that must grieve God who longs for us to seek Him with all our hearts, to lean on Him only for all our needs, and to set apart all our lives for Him in holiness.

I am eternally grateful that the Holy Spirit called me when I was but a child of 12. Special meetings were held at a local church to which I and my mother had been invited. Each day the thought of God choosing me to be a part of His Bride for His Son before the foundation of the world fills me with wonder, much encouragement and humility. Although my life has been strafed with sorrows and many challenges – God has had His Hand on me.

After college I ended up working in the very department I graduated from and was drawn to teaching. Completing an Instructor’s Diploma the Lord affirmed through many sources that teaching was something I was gifted at. It is hard to match the excitement of seeing someone grasp a concept or skill and make it their own. Truly students leave the class better for being there. This stirred me to want to translate this experience into teaching and learning the Word and encouraging the Walk of my fellow believers. I have felt this avenue may have closed due to an accident I had. I now feel I had lessons to learn and God has been schooling me in anticipation of His plan for me. His timing, as always, is perfect.

Although a door is not open at the moment to fulfil this desire to teach “officially”, I believe opportunities are all around to instruct others about our wonderful Lord. The way we live speaks volumes. It is my job to be ready, as Paul told Timothy, to “be a special instrument, set apart, useful to the Master, prepared for every good work.” (2 Tim. 2:21)

This is why I was excited to discover CLI which gives ministry training in Canada as well as everywhere else in the world. It was an opportunity to marry my desire, my own studies, and the biblical-based curriculum of the Christian Leaders Institute. The online program was just what I was praying for – something I could work on at my own pace with my health needs, disability, and without the financial burden. Now, that is a ministry! God richly bless you! I long to be prepared for God’s moment.

I would ask you to join me in prayer in asking “that He may grant me, according to the riches of His glory, to be strengthened with power through His Spirit in the inner man, and that the Messiah may dwell in my heart through faith. That I may be rooted and firmly established in love, may be able to comprehend with all the saints what is the length and width, height and depth of God’s love, and to know the Messiah’s love that surpasses knowledge, so that I may be filled with all the fullness of God.”
(Eph. 3:16-19)

Online Ministry Course To Set A Part The Called And Chosen

 “My Pastor, as good a friend as he is, does not know all my story, he does know about my calling. I did my best to explain it to him. He knows I am doing an online ministry course, but does not know the extent of it yet, but he soon will. I will be telling him as much as I can about the online ministry course, and, as I am asking you also now, I will ask him for a prayer for the strength and wisdom to continue in the right direction, with Jesus’ help of course.”     – CLI Student, Darin Pearman

Online Ministry Course- Getting Past the Spiritual Attacks

My name is Darin Pearman. I was born in London in 1961, I was not raised as a church-going child. My parents, ex-choir members, insisted that my brother and I attend Sunday School, but I rebelled so they dropped the enforcement. Religion and its associated melodrama, was no more than a source of ridicule and jokes for myself and my “friends.” Later I became the object of their bullying and ridicule and the school punching bag for the first nine years of school. (This led to some psychological issues which were only dealt with recently.)

In 1975 our family moved to Montreal, Canada.  My father, a Technical Design  Engineer, accepted a new job with Brown-Boveri.  Unfortunately, the level of education he required meant he was hardly ever at home.  Like his dad before him, he didn’t show any affection to his children either.  So although I knew my father growing up, he was not available to me as a loving parent.  Anyway, once we had settled into our new life I resolved never to allow myself to be bullied again. Unfortunately, that had the reverse effect, and I became unapproachable to many. This carried over to my college years until I flunked out in 1981. During that time I turned to the drug culture and rock music while I worked my first real job.

About then I met my first wife, we dated for two years before we got married. (She already had a son) By this time my rocker lifestyle had cost me my job so I was unemployed. We survived another two years, having had a daughter by this time, when she left me for my best friend. I managed to get custody of my daughter as she had to work for a living.

After a few failed relationships, I thought I had finally found ‘the one’, and after getting a payout for a back injury at work, we moved back to London, England, to start a new life in 1992. I got a job working as a salesman for a large electrical retailing company and worked my way up through the ranks to become a manager within two years. Unfortunately, my partner had become mentally abusive to my daughter, and because I was often away from home, I didn’t know about it. By her fourteenth birthday, she had discovered boys and booze. I found myself having to go and fetch her from school, quite drunk, whilst in the middle of a stock audit at work.  After getting into yet another relationship to try and get a mother figure in my daughter’s life, she ran away from home. I didn’t have any real contact with her for six years.

The new relationship I was in became like a prison sentence.  The woman I was with became more and more mentally and emotionally domineering to the point where I was being slapped and beaten in front of her children and brother. I was living in fear of her, and her father and brother, since she had convinced me they were quite capable of murder as they had both done it before. By this time, I had resigned from retail, and had become a bus driver. I had risen to the rank of supervisor, when I finally snapped, I couldn’t handle the emotional abuse at home anymore.  I was, quite literally, sitting on the bedroom floor with a 100 antidepressants in one hand and a glass of water in the other when a still small voice stopped me.  Six months later, I went out, stood in the middle of a field and shouted out, “God of the Universe, Whoever You are, take me away from all this!” I was totally broken. (Summer 2006). I carried on in this relationship for a another ten months when I made up my mind that I was going to leave whether I lived or died.

So in May of 2007, I found myself with no wife, no family, no daughter,  nowhere to live, and as far as I knew, no future.  I was still working and had a little money with me, but I didn’t even have a bank account. This is when God began to change my life for the better. Unbeknownst to me, the lady who was running our canteen at work had somehow taken a liking to me, and had offered to put me up in the house where she was staying. This Christian, African (Ghanaian) lady actually wanted to help me. Even though I briefed her on my situation, she still said yes, and, within two weeks, we had become more than just friends. In those two weeks, she had gotten me to go to her church and my daughter had called for a reconciliation! This wonderful lady and I are now married (2010), and I have, along with my daughter and her partner, two wonderful grandchildren. God is so good!

Because of my past, my wife and I went through some very rocky patches, but with the help of our faithful, loving Pastor, we are still together. We still argue from time to time, but the events are less frequent, and less eventful, except for the beginning of this year (2014). Due to what I can only describe as spiritual attacks, I found myself having thoughts that did not fit my current lifestyle (as a Christian, having given my life to Jesus, God having audibly told me during my morning shower that I am forgiven which was very weird, having been baptized, and now speaking in tongues). These thoughts caused an immense conflict in me, and caused a rift between my wife and I. This has since been repaired fully. But at the time, I was very close to breaking down emotionally. After a short prayer, it would seem that God had also had waited long enough, and showed me what was meant for my harm, He would now turn for my good, and showed me just what His Love was all about. It would be very difficult to even try to put that into words, so I won’t.

He also showed me a staircase of fourteen steps, and explained to me that each step was a test, that I would pass the test, but He also showed me that with each new level, there would be a new devil. That trial was the first step, and I had passed. He told me to teach and preach the word of love, but I would need to go through these things in order that I am ready for the ministry. All this took a matter of minutes, but it seemed like ages, and I will never forget it. Hence, I am now going through your online ministry course, and preparing myself for the battle ahead. He did not however, show me where I was to do this, but I am sure He will.

 Enroll in CLI’s Free Online Ministry Course

Train! Teach! Preach! And Evangelize! To enroll in CLI’s free online ministry course, click here! No matter how dark your past may look. No matter how easy or difficult your life has been. God does not call the qualified, He qualifies the called. Join us today! God bless.

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My Story – Nick Vander Ploeg

My name is Nick Vander Ploeg. I am currently 27 years of age and married to a wonderful woman named Kayla. I am employed as a youth pastor at a Christian Reformed church in London ON, Canada. I just completed the course work of the Getting Started Class at CLI. I have never had any formal ministry education and so CLI has helped me so far to increase and test my knowledge in Christian Basics. I am excited to continue to grow in this way through further study at CLI in hopes to be fully ordained as a pastor upon conclusion.

I have been a Christ follower my entire life. I grew up in a Christian home, and have felt a calling to ministry for a long time. I completed my formal education to be a school teacher in 2011 but God made it clear that He wanted me in ministry instead and so I have been running the youth program at my church since my graduation from Teacher’s College. The Associate Pastor at my church kept putting the bug in my ear to take this position of Student Ministry Director and it has been the best decision I have ever made in my life. I have loved every minute of my calling so far and so have begun this education process so that I can learn more and be more effective as a church leader to the point of being fully ordained as pastor someday soon. My wife is also in school to be a nurse and so we simply could not afford for both of us to be in school while I am working and so CLI has made this dream possible for us through free education.

In Canada, we have a culture much like the United States, but I would argue that our culture is less influenced by Christian values in everyday life. God is seemingly more important to a larger number of people in the United States than in Canada. Atheism is a growing and large belief in this country. This makes church work a little less accepted I think by a lot of people and so makes it challenging to say you work at a church to non-believers. They simply do not understand why I would choose this route rather than follow my education background as a school teacher. I believe wholeheartedly that God has put this calling on my life to be a pastor and a lot of non-believers in my life have a hard time accepting that. This is a challenge that I have accepted though and it has not stopped me from loving my calling or from wanting to pursue a higher education.

The church that I work at has completely supported me in my current position running the Student Ministry and also in my goals to become ordained as a pastor. The staff at our church is truly like a family and they are excited for me in my pursuit of this education. My wife and my extended family are excited for me as I continue in this journey and support me however they are able to. I also think that the people that really know me in our congregation support me in this adventure. We have a very large church population and so it is difficult to know everyone, but I am getting support from the people that I am blessed enough to call my family and friends in this journey.

I am extremely excited to continue in my studies at CLI and work towards being fully ordained as pastor (hopefully someday soon). This has been very good at enhancing my knowledge already and I am ready for this to continue as I go further in my studies. I forgot what the life of a student was like since I have been out of school and I have really enjoyed becoming one again here at CLI. Thank you so much for making this possible for me! Thank you CLI for the blessing you are to people from all around the world and for those of you that have read my story. Please pray for me as I continue in this education!

Isa Monteiro, Toronto, Ontario, Canada

My name is Isa Monteiro. My family and I live in Toronto, Ontario, Canada. I am a language teacher by trade, a student by nature and am passionately in love with my Maker, His Word, my husband, and my daughter who has just entered her first year of residency at University. Glory to God!
As far back as I can remember I have considered myself to be, and have been labeled by others, an “extraordinary” optimist. Amid many horrendous wilderness moments throughout the course of my life, I have refused to stay down for very long, even while battling severe on and off bouts of depression for nearly 35 years.
I was born in Lisbon Portugal and immigrated to Toronto, Ontario, Canada with my young parents at the age of five. I was not raised in a Christian upbringing but my parents were both loving, moral, dedicated to family, and believed in Providence.
Although an over achiever, I struggled with an emptiness and heart wrenching void that was inexplicable; I hungered for and was in constant pursuit of truth. I was married for 15 years to a highly respected lawyer; a brilliant “intellectual” mind; and very ironically, an atheist! Upon reflection, I make sense of the loneliness, void and the misery that accompanied the absence of God in that relationship. I was able to bypass an excruciatingly painful divorce and emotional breakdown.
It was not until the Lord miraculously and most unexpectedly blessed me 11 years ago, with the gift that is my current husband and mighty man of God, that I was introduced to and began to seek an intimate relationship with my Maker. I had always sensed the Lord’s hand on my life, so to speak, but I had walked a very secular walk and had not known Him personally.
Since then (2003), I have been on an exhilarating walk with the Lord and am testimony to His consuming love, grace, mercy, miraculous power and unwavering faithfulness. I find myself, without fail, the one that others run to for encouragement, support, a listening ear, a shoulder to cry on, someone to laugh with until their stomach hurts, when all else looks bleak. Before surrendering my life to the Lord, I had always felt “alien like”, as if there was something uniquely different about me. I was able to separate myself from the natural world and realize that all was temporal, that all was as it should be and that there was a “mighty power source” in control of everything. In addition, I have a heart that not many are able to relate to; I am incapable of focusing too long on anything that distracts my ultimate feeling towards anyone but love. I am able to discern past flesh; see the spirits at play behind the scenes, and continue to love everyone unconditionally. There is nothing that gives or has ever given me greater joy, then the intrinsic love I feel to love. Satirically, this has been a great cause of heartache and feelings of disassociation, for unconditional love is clearly not of this world, yet it is my deepest yearning for all mankind.
It’s crazy interesting (God’s ways are awesome) that it wasn’t until I was in my first year of University, enrolled in religious studies, that a Muslim student, in one of our seminars, told me that my name, “Isa” meant Jesus in Arabic. I thought at the time, it super cool, as I was exploring all things spiritual; reading and learning about different religions and philosophies, but I somehow majored in psychology and English :). Nearly three decades later, not that I would ever dare refer to myself as “Jesus”, I can see something quite spiritually symbolic about my namely connection to my Lord; just wanting to be more and more like Him and a reflection of His love.
I compare my optimistic nature in the natural, or what I often refer to as my “alien like” faith in the spiritual, to the Roman Centurion in the Bible. God’s Word tells us that Jesus “marveled” at the faith found in this man while basically saying, “Lord do not trouble yourself, for I am not worthy to have you come under my roof…
The Centurion had so much faith in Jesus, that he recognized the powers of Jesus’ very words! I believe that there is no greater faith than to trust the WORD of God! It has never ever let me down!
This unwavering belief in the every Word of God, and an unconditional heart of love, are my heavenly gifts; gifts that wholeheartedly inspire me, and of which I am committed to sharing with all the world.
Throughout the course of my walk with the Lord, I have been prophesied over numerous times, and many a time in reference to the church that I will plant and pastor; confirmation of the vision God has planted in my heart.
Currently at the age of 48 and an empty nester, I am eternally grateful for a scholarship at CLI which will help to equip me with vital respected ministry tools necessary for the fulfillment of this fervent call.
I am eager and fully committed to proclaiming our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ, and to be found in Him all the days of my life.

Love and all things beautiful unto all God’s children is my forever prayer.
<3 Isa

High School Drop Out To Spread The Word of God

Canada Graduates Spreading the Word of GodFamily

My name is Keith D Millership, I am a Canadian currently living in New Brunswick, Canada.  Before God got a hold of me I was a drug dealer, a person who did not have anything.  I had a child at the age of 16 and for three years I raised him by myself. Then I met my wife who helped me in many ways including getting us involved in a church. Now we have three more children.

We both share the word of God with all who will listen but our passion is for children and youth ministry.  They are the future of the world so they need to know the word of God and that is who we share it with. Our dream is to see them have a foundation in their lives and their families lives that will spill over to the people they come into contact with. CLI would allow us to get more information to train these young people, which would in turn allow my wife and I to have more tools in our work and ministry. Please pray for us to have strength in our work and for our family. Thank You. God Bless you.

Keith D Millership

PAUL’S THANKSGIVING AND PRAYER

I am preparing an expository sermon.  This is a message for a multi-ethnic church starting the week without a pastor on a Thanksgiving Sunday.

This is to encourage and challenge the congregation to be thankful even in the most difficult situation on life –personally and as a church; and to remain faithful to the praise and glory of God.

PAUL’S THANKSGIVING AND PRAYER
(Philippians 1:3-11)

INTRODUCTION:

What are we thankful for today? We thank God for his many gifts. For happy occasions, it is easy thank God, but what about during unhappy occasions? What about if we are in the midst of urgency can we still thank God? Do we have the joy to do that?

Illus: There was a simple farmer who did not know much intellectually but knew how to walk with God. One day, he lost his only horse, which he needed for working in his fields. His neighbors remarked, “bad, very bad.” But the farmer answered, “good or bad, only God knows.” A few days later, the horse got tired of the competitive life in the jungle and decided to go home to his master. With him came other wild horses. His neighbors commented, “good, very good.” The farmer repeated, “good or bad, only God knows.” His only son who helped in their livelihood fractured his leg while trying to tame the wild horses. Once again, the neighbors reacted, “bad, very bad.” The farmer replied, “good or bad, only God knows.” Their country entered into war and all the able-bodied young men of their region were drafted into the military. The farmer’s son was not drafted because of his broken leg. The exclamation, as usual, “good, very good.” What do you think was the godly man’s rejoinder? “Good or bad, only God knows.”

As I was reading and meditating upon our passage for today I thank God for giving me the strength to challenge the church to be thankful even under the most difficult circumstance in life.

The Apostle Paul, of course, was no stranger to difficult circumstances, and yet in the midst of that Paul overflowed with thanksgiving. One of the letters he wrote while suffering in prison was his Letter to the Philippians, the first congregation that he founded in Europe.

Let us notice what he also wrote to the Colossians while in prison, “Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, to which indeed you were called in the one body,” Paul wrote, “And be thankful… And whatever you do, in word or deed, do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him” (Colossians 3:15-17).

Paul begins his letter with warm and sincere thankfulness and offers a prayer for the Philippians’ continued progress in the faith. The same thanksgiving and prayer you and I can expect for this church.

I –THANKSGIVING (vv.3-8)   what were his Reasons for Thanking God?

  1. CONCERN FOR THE GOSPEL (v.5a) …partnership in the Gospel.

Paul’s joy is prompted by the Philippians’ commitment to the Gospel. From the beginning of the ministry the Philippians were there proclaiming the gospel, establishing the believers in faith, strengthening and edifying each other. They were ready to suffer for the advancement of the Gospel in Philippi (1:30). They have given their life, time and finances.  Paul was thanking God that they understood their marching order.

As some of you partnered from the inception of the church and for most of you who were called to be a part of her till 40 years and looking forward to more glorious years let us encourage and challenge each other to continue to be concerned for the gospel.

2.CONTINUANCE OF THE MINISTRY (v.5b) …from the first day until now.

Recalling their active progress in the faith assures Paul of their certain future. No matter what happened they continued. We believe that in the ministry there are a lot of hindrances, trials, hardships, and headaches. But a true church will just carry on doing what they know is right.

The Philippian believers persevered –they prolonged their fellowship, they endured –they are ready to defend the gospel (v.7)

Illustration: A pastor was challenging the church, “We need to be a stable church – the congregation responded, “Let it walk!” “The church needs to be stable and growing”, the pastor continued. “Let it run!”, the congregation shouted. The pastor with a commanding voice, “The church needs to be stable and growing and continue to remain strong”. “Let it fly!”, the resounding response of the congregation.  “So then it requires your commitment and zealousness”, the pastor said. Then the congregation responded, “Never mind pastor let it walk.”

Are we willing to persevere and endure and commit for the ministry to continue?

   3. COMPLETION OF THE WORK (v. 6) …bring it to completion. Carry it on. NIV

This is strong statement. It means to be fully and firmly persuaded or convinced. Paul’s confidence springs from a deep conviction that God is at work. God never gives up. God will go on working in and through us! Good news, bad news, difficulties, blessings, happy or unhappy occasions –they serve a purpose.

1 Thess. 5:24 says, He who calls you is faithful; he will surely do it.” God cannot leave His work incomplete. Paul’s certainty is on the faithfulness of God. And this is our certainty – God is faithful. He is not through with us yet. We’ve experience His providence, we’ve sense His purpose, we’ve felt His presence, we’ve seen His patience for so many years, let us believe His provision for another man to lead His church.

    4. COMMUNION OF THE BRETHREN (vv.7-8) …partakers with me of grace.

They began, they continued, they rejoiced for the assurance of the completion and they commune. They built a strong relationship with Paul and with one another. They had participated with him in the defense of the gospel.

Like Apostle Paul, let us thank God for our partnership in the gospel, for the continuance of the ministry, for the completion of the work for our communion of fellowship with each other.

While Paul continues his thanksgiving, he can’t help but assure the Philippians  that he too is remembering them in joyful prayer (v. 4). And he detailed his prayer for them in verses 9-11).

II – PRAYER (vv.9-11) Paul was saying, “You are not alone…Someone is praying for you!”

Here we see Paul’s passion for the spiritual maturity of the believers under his care through prayer. That was his great concern. We see this passion revealed in his prayer life. As Paul prays for the believers, he prays for their maturity. This is the very focus of his prayer life. Let this be our focus also for each other, to the glory of God.

A. Request -growing love exercised in wisdom

Paul’s prayer begins with an encouragement for the love that they have to grow more and more. (“still more” – KJV)

Warren Wiersbe commented, “The Philippian church was composed of a mixed group of people, but they were bound together by love.” Where unity is threatened (2:1-4; 4:1-3), love brings together (Col. 3:14).

Aside from his prayer for growing love, Paul prays for increasing maturity in knowledge and depth of insight also.

This leads us to the reason of his request, growing love exercised in wisdom enables the believer to be completely discerning, and that leads him to a pursuit of things that are excellent. What a passion, an excellent pastoral prayer.

B. Reason –discerning what is best

C. Results

  1. being sincere and blameless – “Till the day of Christ”
    Paul is telling the first century Philippians that they  are to live sincere and without offense until Christ returns. What a challenge to us believers in the 21st Century. If the thanksgiving of Paul and the results of his prayer are true to us this day until the return of Christ it will absolutely bring God glory and praise!

Wouldn’t today be a great day for every member of the church to get sincere about the work we have to do?

2manifesting the fruit of righteousness

In such lives where growing love and increasing knowledge are taking place in every area of life, the outcome of which is purity and righteous living, and God receives the “glory and praise.”

3.    bringing God glory and praise

Paul’s supreme ambition in life is the glory and praise of God. Just to see an example in his letter to the Ephesians he keeps on mentioning “to the praise and glory of our God.”

Jesus said in John 15:8, “This is to my Father’s glory, that you bear much fruit, showing yourselves to be my disciples.”

Paul’s prayer says we need for our love to abound still more and more. We need to approve the things that are excellent and we need to be sincere and without offense until the day of Jesus Christ bringing God glory and praise!

CONCLUSION: In the light of Paul’s thanksgiving and prayer let us be thankful that we partner in the gospel and be certain that God will complete what He started good, be more loving to each other, be thankful in all circumstances, and be passionate in bringing God glory & praise.

Pastoral Care and Marriage Reflection – Milton Edwards of Canada

Reflection on the Pastoral Care and Marriage Course

Pastoral Care – When I signed up for this course, I thought lightly of it and had the preconception that it was all about teaching each partner in a marriage relationship how to love each other better. I did not know that there was so much involved in marriage! Although I am married, I found out that I needed to learn how to love my wife as Christ loved the church and gave Himself for it. This course really exposed me and showed me that I was not doing what I am expected to do in marriage. I was not playing my role as husband and head as I should. It also reminded me how women are more emotional than men and need to hear sweet words spoken; that husbands should also demonstrate our love to them by our deeds, like taking them to dinner.

I learned about buttons and how we need to be aware of each partner’s buttons and not deliberately push them. This is something we don’t usually think about. We sometimes try to fix or change the other partner, but I found out that’s the way they are and we have to deal with it. I might have been guilty of trying to push my wife’s buttons instead of showing the love of Christ. I am now aware of that!

pastoral careI was really blessed by the presentation given by Brian F. DeCook Esq. of peacefire. I learned about the peace fire and the wild fire. He really put it in a way I never heard before. I was reminded of the peace that Jesus gives in the midst of the fire. I can now hold on to the promise of Jesus that He will be there in the midst of the fire to cause His peace to overwhelm the wildfire.

I also learned from this pastoral care course about how important boundaries are in order to fulfill the purpose of God. Sometimes I work without acknowledge the importance of boundaries. I gained an insight into how boundaries are vital in every aspect of life. Bible studies and prayer come to mind when I think about boundaries. I found out that if I don’t set boundaries, I would not be able to get enough time to study the Bible and pray.

I learned how dangerous it is to do marriage counseling alone. It just sounds like a pastor’s job is very dangerous. He seems to be in constant danger. I now have great respect for marriage counseling. It is not sometime I would want to do without first setting some serious and vital boundaries. The temptations and snares are too great, and that’s why this is such a scary area. All marriage counselors really need God’s grace and protection continually. This can be very destructive if care is not seriously.

The pastoral care course on hospital and home visit caught my attention, because I certainly would have done all the things that pastor Henry says not to do during a visit without thinking twice. Things like asking, “ how are you doing today?”, or walking straight into the patient’s room without washing my hands. I just didn’t think of a hospital visit the way it was presented in the course. I think everything I would have done would be contrary to the teachings of the course. I would have failed!

The pastoral care course on legal issues was a surprise to me, because I did not think that the church was supposed to report child abuse to the police. I know it’s the right thing to do, but I just did not think about the government and law being involved with the church. I found out how serious it is to be a pastor. I found out how a pastor must take all necessary precautions to protect himself from lawsuits and other issues, not only with men but with God.

Pastoral Care Summary

In summary, I can say that I learned a lot of things from this course of which I did not consider or had taken lightly. I now have a more alertness to my calling to being a pastor/leader of God’s people. I really have a sense of calling to ministry and would like to be fully prepared for what to expect. I have now learned even more in this course about being vigilant and watchful because of the adversary the devil, the flesh, and the world. We have got three enemies to fight and that in itself is a challenge to any child of God. I found out how many obstacles we have to face in this world, living as ambassadors of Christ.

As Jesus warned us, we would have tribulations in this world, and that was no lie! Also, He said we would suffer persecutions, trials, and temptations, which is strongly demonstrated in this course. We are citizens of the kingdom of heaven living in a hostile world that is against us and that’s why we must be so watchful. I just pray for all pastors that God will keep them from all evil and preserve them blameless until the appearing of Jesus Christ to whom be glory, power, and dominion forever Amen.

God bless all His faithful pastors and leaders in Jesus name Amen.