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My Testimony: What God has done and the hope I have in Christ JesusWe look forward to that time when we will all come in the unity of the faith and of the knowledge of the son of God, unto a totally complete man, unto the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ. We look forward to the adoption, to wit, the redemption of our bodies. We look for the manifestation of the sons of God.
This page speaks of the hope we have in Chist Jesus. We have been saved to hope and expectation for the adoption of sons. The Bible says that this adoption is the redemption of our bodies.
A testimony of the hope I have
in Christ Jesus
This is a testimony of the hope that I have in Christ Jesus. Sometimes, it may be hard to understand the experience of another person. If some of my experiences seem strange, search the Scriptures to see whether these things are true. Pray for the guidance of the Holy Spirit. On the other hand, you may have had very similar experiences.
How I was saved and when:
I can't remember the day that I started believing in Jesus. My mother taught me at a very young age. Probably the earliest recollection that I have is of a phonograph record I was given. This was sometime around age five. The record had the Lord's prayer on one side and the 23rd Psalm on the other side. I can remember laying in bed and listening to this record, and a comforting presence would come and be with me and I would experience a deep peace as I listened. Now, looking back, I recognize this presence. He is the anointing, the anointed one, the Christ. This was and is the same Holy Spirit who visited the disciples in the upper room on Pentecost. He is the same one who blesses our church services and our times of private prayer.
How God dealt with Kathy and I to enter in and begin to move with the Spirit:
My wife and I were attending a denominational church. One day, our pastor gave a wonderful sermon about being filled with the Spirit. This was not a Church that accepted the idea of speaking in tongues or the gifts of the Spirit, but the pastor certainly spoke by the Spirit that day. He used plenty of Scripture. That sermon opened my eyes to the living experience that is possible with Jesus. Later that week, thoughts of the Holy Spirit and being filled with the Spirit occupied my mind.
I could tell you exactly where I was driving my car when it happened. I was driving along and my whole life changed. It was as though my spirit was suddenly released from terrible bondage, although I hadn't realized that I had been in bondage until I felt what that freedom was like. I stand in awe of this experience. My spirit was suddenly sort of dancing and rejoicing and jumping around with the Holy Spirit?I'm trying to describe something for which there are no suitable words.
Up to that moment, the Bible had seemed relatively boring and hard to understand. From that day forward, the Book became easy to understand and exciting. Topics like prophesying, speaking in tongues, apostles, and prophets seemed to be so real and possible, although I had not previously heard of such things in the here and now.
When I asked my pastor about these things, I was told that those things were for the "apostolic age." I was also quoted the verse, "As for prophecy, it shall cease." When I asked, "Aren't these things happening anywhere?" my pastor replied, "Nowhere." Even though I was told that these things were occurring nowhere, I felt in my heart that they must be happening somewhere.
It was during this time that God began to unfold truths to me. He would show me something in nature. Then, I would see the same truth when reading the Bible. Then, our neighbor, who was in the move of the Spirit, would talk to me and it would be a confirmation of the same truth. He would loan me the Sharon Star publication, and I would find the same truth there. God just made each point so real. Then He would go on to the next truth. I should note here that God never started by giving me the truth through my neighbor. It was always from the Bible and from nature first.
This process of teaching that I was going through went on for some time. During this time, I began to feel very uncomfortable in my old church. The services were devoid of the moving of the Holy Spirit. There was no freedom for ministry from every member, which was one of the things that God had made very clear to me. It felt like being in a straight jacket.
With an uncle and a grandfather in the ministry and a brother in the seminary, leaving the denomination would not be my first choice. I tried to repair the church, but just got told that I was wrong. I don't know how I ever thought that I would be able to overcome hundreds of years of tradition. My wife especially did not want to make waves with my family and with her family by changing churches.
Finally, I began to take a Sunday off here and there to check on various churches, but found nothing.
Eventually, I asked my neighbor where he went to church. He went to the Church in Geneva, IL. He consented to take my wife and me to church with him. When we got there, everything in the service fit. It all fell in line with Scripture and with everything that God had been showing me.
My wife was still resistant. She knew what it would mean. We lived close to our parents and saw them many times each week. Then, she made an agreement with God. If God would give us a house out in the country, she would consent to going to church in Illinois and the Church at Geneva. There wasn't much risk in this agreement since there was no way we could afford the house she wanted.
Well, God is a God of miracles, and He gave my wife the house in the country. At that point, we committed to start attending the Church at Geneva.
Since that time, I have made many mistakes. I learned that if I sought God, I got God. If I sought spiritual experience, I got something, but not necessarily God. There are other spirits who are very glad to make themselves available. But, as Jesus said, our Father knows how to give the Holy Spirit to those who ask for it. I learned to stay away from Eastern meditation techniques. I learned to just seek God and pray earnestly. I also learned a lesson about the danger of following an independent man of God. I believe that this man was a man of God, but when he declared his independence, there was no one to correct him or to balance his ministry. I suffered for this, but my family suffered much more than I did. Praise the Lord who heals me. Praise the Lord for a wife who stood by me in all my error.
Now, I fellowship in a local Church where every member is a ministry and the service flow in the Spirit as it is written in 1 Corinthians 12-14 and Ephesians 4 and Romans 12. Rather than entertainment, we seek to be led by the Spirit and to edify the body of Christ. The gifts of the Spirit operate in the Church both in and out of the service. This Church functions according to the biblical order for the government of the Church. That government functions on three levels, in the home, on the local level and on the universal Church level.
I'm an elder/bishop, in a sense, in my own home, with my wife a deacon or minister. My office in my home provides for, protects, and acts as a priest for my wife. When my children were home, it did the same for them. My wife governs the home with me, meeting me at my weakness and giving balance to my ministry.
Our local Church is under the government of elders and deacons. There is no chief elder other than the Lord, Jesus Christ. The elders submit themselves to each other, so there is no lack of government or disorder. The deacons are spiritual offices who function under direction from the elders.
The elders submit to the traveling, universal elders and deacons who function much as the apostles did in the first century Church. they set (ordain) local elders and deacons. There is not chief among them other than our Lord, Jesus Christ. Each of the brethren is under the government of the body of apostles. The brethren have been set into their offices by God in a miraculous way during the outpouring of the Holy Spirit that began in 1948 in North Battleford, SASK, Canada and continues today. As new traveling ministries are added, they are indicated by the Holy Spirit and set in by the laying on of hands of the presbytery. It is a very humble life, just as the first century apostles found the execution of their office to be.
When revelation of the interpretation of any Scripture is given, it is because God had revealed it to all the brethren just as in Acts 15. This revelation is then committed to local elders who teach no other doctrine in the local Church. This government has provided tremendous stability, but also leaves the door open for God to unveil more and more of His Word. Theological wrangling is wonderfully absent.
Often, under the anointed ministries of those whom God has set, I have received songs. I have tried to be faithful in putting these songs into a format so that they can be used by the universal Church.
Gifts of the Spirit and ministries are imparted to every member through prophecy and the laying on of hands of the presbytery. God gives some gifts to each member, but not all to any one, because He is making us interdependent. He is building a holy temple. As we all with open face behold the glory of the Lord as in a mirror, we are changed into the same image from glory to glory, the Spirit of the Lord does this. The traveling ministries, apostles, prophets, evangelists, pastors and teachers equip the saints for the ministry by imparting gifts, providing government, setting elders, receiving doctrine, and many other ways of equipping the saints.
The saints, with this equipment, minister. Speaking the truth in love, the Church is being built into a holy temple resting firmly on the foundation of apostles and prophets with Jesus Christ being the chief corner stone. Before us we see the day when we will all come in the unity of the faith and of the knowledge of the son of God, unto a totally complete man, unto the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ. We look forward to the adoption, to wit, the redemption of our bodies. We look for the manifestation of the sons of God.
I have come to be convinced that the Bible does not encourage speculative rationalization, reasoning based on unfounded assumptions and presuppositions or any kind of leveraged logic that tries to expand knowledge beyond the revelation in the Word. In fact, the more I walk with God, the less that I see the Bible as needing interpretation.
Copyright Bob and Kathy Stenson. Freeware. Use it freely.