Certification Testimony – Lisa

My Certification Process with Grace Fellowship International
By Lisa Hummel

Back in 2002 my husband Tom and I started marriage ministry at our church [in North Carolina]. It had been a 15-year journey that led us to write a pre-marriage curriculum and establish a vibrant marriage ministry that is still going strong today. However, we knew God was leading us to something deeper. Couples came to us after they had already been through counseling, yet still struggling. This perplexed me because I thought that’s why you went to a counselor, to get help! I didn’t feel led to get a counseling degree, so we both got certified as a Life Coaches, hoping it would equip us to help couples and individuals move out of where they were to where God wanted them to be. That was the beginning of my journey and what led me to Grace Fellowship International. Through my frustration of trying to understand how to help people, the Lord led me to GFI, and I knew I needed to go through the Exchanged Life Conference and the Spirituotherapy Workshop.

Lisa (left) at the August, 2028 Workshop with her 2 practice partners

I learned so much in both the conference and workshop. I learned biblical truths that I had never been taught before. I had understood who I was in Christ, but it was the first time the gospel was presented to me in one piece and with such simplicity. The message and the meaning of the cross became so personal to me and helped me to gain revelation of my own identity in Christ. I felt like so many questions were answered for me personally and I knew these truths were the missing piece in our ability to help couples and individuals to break free. As I shared these truths with my husband, we both have grown much deeper in our understanding of what it means to deny the flesh and walk in the Spirit.

The certification process gave me the tools I needed to become more equipped to share the gospel and biblical truths with those who are struggling. God has opened the doors for me to minister to many women through one on one counseling, online Bible studies as well as couples and individuals through Sunday School classes. I have seen many “aha” moments when using the wheel and line diagrams!

I am currently using my training to minister not only married couples alongside my husband, but with many women who are struggling in their Christian walk. My husband and also I created a marriage training using a combination of the Spirituotherapy model and other marriage material. We use this in our church as we are building a marriage team. We’ve also introduced the wheel and line diagrams in Sunday School classes and felt led to build a discipleship team. This training has helped me see the importance of discipleship within the church. Since my certification, my husband and I have both become licensed pastors; we felt the Lord leading us in that way. I know God has a plan and a purpose and that He has equipped us for good works. I have no idea where this will ultimately lead, but excited in what God has next.

I’m so thankful for Dr. Solomon’s obedience to Christ’s leading to develop the Spirituotherapy model and for John Woodward for his continual encouragement and counsel through my journey. Blessings to this ministry!

Lisa Hummel CPLC
Marriage/Relationship Coach

________________________

Congratulations, Lisa!

Tips for Tools

Tips for the Tools: The Value of GFI diagrams in Soul Care Ministry

Tom Bruno’s Soul Care team at New Life Community Church, Elgin, IL hosted a Grace 220 seminar last year and on February 8, 2020 they had a follow up workshop training day. Their focus for that Saturday was the significance and usefulness of Dr. Solomon’s “Wheel diagram” in personal ministry. After a review teaching by Tom, John Woodward joined them by Skype. The introductory teachings were followed by practice sessions and group discussion.

John’s half hour introductory talk was titled “Tips for the Tools.” In this case, the tools are the wheel and line diagrams used in Handbook to Happiness (and other the GFI materials and training). Here’s the outline of equipping the talk:

Tips for the Tools

The Spirituotherapy diagram:

*A tool (Like other tools, this depends on the one using the tool and the need.)

*A testimony (The soul care provider needs to have a “Galatians 2:20 testimony.”)

*A technique (As with other tools, there is a need to learn the way it could/should be used. These tools are intended for  precept-upon-precept conversations in a Discipleship Counseling process.)

Benefits for the Soul Care provider:

*Illustrates the root problem and ultimate solution (The root problem is typically the person walking after the flesh—the “self-life. The ultimate answer is the experiential knowledge of Jesus Christ as Savior, Lord and Life.)

*Simplifies the process (Instead of being preoccupied with labeling and classifying symptoms, Spirituotherapy is heart-oriented.)

*Facilitates the interview (The diagram(s) can be a guide for an important sequence of diagnostic and prescriptive insights.)

Benefits for the care recipient:

*Helps him/her to understand the concepts (The wheel diagram gives a visual reference point for the counselee and and illustrates spiritual, psychological, physical and social dynamics.)

*Helps him/her to track the conversation (There is a flow of diagnostic and prescriptive counsel as the diagrams are used.)

*Helps him/her to remember the counsel (The diagrams can be given for review and follow up. They are in tract or book form (such The Wheel and Line tract and Handbook to Happiness, ch. 2.)

A PowerPoint version of the diagrams is here:
https://gracefellowshipinternational.com/share-slides/

JBW
2/8/2020

A Spiritual Cure for Depression

Sometimes life can get overwhelming. Even the apostle Paul could feel that way. He testified that in the province of Asia “we were burdened beyond measure, above strength, so that we despaired even of life. Yes, we had the sentence of death in ourselves, that we should not trust in ourselves but in God who raises the dead, who delivered us from so great a death, and [d]does deliver us; in whom we trust that He will still deliver us” (2 Cor. 1:8-10). Sadness about life’s disappointments can eventually sink us into depression.

An estimated 19 million American adults are living with major depression. [1]

The Mayo clinic defines clinical depression as “a mood disorder that causes a persistent feeling of sadness and loss of interest. Also called major depressive disorder or clinical depression, it affects how you feel, think and behave and can lead to a variety of emotional and physical problems. You may have trouble doing normal day-to-day activities, and sometimes you may feel as if life isn’t worth living. More than just a bout of the blues, depression isn’t a weakness and you can’t simply “snap out” of it…” [2]

Biblical counselor, Dr. Tim Allchin notes that depression is often linked to other emotional struggles such as

•  Anger
•  Fear/Anxiety
•  Stress
•  Guilt and Shame (Real or False)
•  Broken Relationships (Death, Divorce, Dysfunction, Distance, or Damage)

“…We cannot effectively deal with depression without evaluating our responses to the difficult circumstances and emotional stressors of our life.”[3]

In his book, Spiritual Depression: Its Causes and Cure. Dr. Martyn Lloyd-Jones observed,

“Spiritual depression or unhappiness in the Christian life is very often due to our failure to realize the greatness of the gospel… Where believers go astray is that they tend to focus on their performance (they are preoccupied with themselves), rather than on their relationship to God (justification). When we come back to the gospel of grace, it is all a matter of belief or unbelief – faith or feeling … Ultimately it all comes down to this – the real cause of “troubled souls” is the failure to realize that we are “one with Christ” – “united with Christ.” We died with Christ . . . we have been buried with Christ . . . we have been raised with Chris t. . . and we are now seated in heavenly places in Christ! (Rom 6:3-11; Eph 2:6). Paul says we are to “reckon these things as being so” (Rom 6:11). If you are looking at your past and your sins and you are depressed, it means that you are listening to the devil. Rejoice in the grace and mercy of God that has blotted out your sins and made you His child. Stop looking at yourself and begin to enjoy Him! By God’s grace you are what you are – it is all “grace!” Become absorbed in the “grace and love of God” and you will forget all about yourself – it will deliver you from self-interest, self-concern, and from depression (which is the result of focusing on self).”[4]

For example, the psalmist declared,
“Why are you cast down, O my soul?
And why are you disquieted within me?
Hope in God;
For I shall yet praise Him,
The help of my countenance and my God” (Psalm 42:11).

Dr Bill Gillham discerned the root cause and ultimate cure for depression:
“Christ alone must be your primary Source if you are to be liberated from the chains of depression. A practitioner who always treats depression as the problem is missing the mark. Just as fever is but a symptom of the cause, so it is with depression. Depression is a symptom of a deeper cause. Most counselors would agree that less than 5% of depression cases have physically induced depression which does not respond to counseling. PMS, hypoglycemia, diabetes, hormonal imbalance, thyroid or blood sugar problems, etc. are physical factors which can cause depression. Counseling such a Christian with spiritual truth can subject him to even greater despair because although he may see the truth which sets a man free, he can’t appropriate it. However, the remaining 95% of the depressed Christians can experience victory solely through spiritual counsel.”[5]

Cathy Solomon just published a flip booklet about Christ-centered solutions to help the depressed person. It’s online here: https://cld.bz/ShSgcTo

May we move beyond life’s disappointments to confident hope in God’s encouraging and sustaining grace.


John Woodward, Jan. 4, 2020 Grace Fellowship International

[1] https://www.webmd.com/depression/default.htm

[2] https://www.mayoclinic.org/

[3] https://biblicalcounselingcenter.org/what-the-bible-says-about-depression/

[4] D. Martyn Lloyd-Jones, Spiritual Depression: Its Causes and Cure. Eerdmans Publishing, 1965.

[5] https://www.lifetime.org/articles/depression-2

Flip book: https://cld.bz/ShSgcTo

Craig Hill

Craig Hill, founder of Family Foundations International, presents a video blog “Daily Spirit & Truth.” Recently he gave a teaching on Romans 5:10-11: “for if while we were enemies we were reconciled to God through the death of His Son much more having been reconciled we shall be saved by His life and not only this but we also exult in God through our Lord Jesus Christ through whom we have now received the reconciliation.” He says, “What did Messiah do when He died shed His blood rose from the dead?…The blood of Yeshua actually exchanged and He took 100% of the sin out of your spirit and replaced it with 100% of His righteousness…” View this six minute teaching here:
https://craighill.org/dst-289/
Another video blog is on man as spirit, soul and body.
https://craighill.org/dst-287/
These themes are part of the Message of Exchanged Life Counseling.

Testimonies of Transformational Change

“Let the redeemed of the Lord say so,
Whom He has redeemed from the hand of the enemy” (Psalm 107:2).

One of the appealing traits of Exchanged Life Counseling is the fruit that the Holy Spirit so often produces. Testimonies of grace-oriented life change validate the truth and glorify the Wonderful Counselor (Isaiah 9:6).

The discipler/counselor does well to have many examples of testimonies that he/she can learn from and refer to, such as They Found the Secret (V .R. Edman) and Exchanged Lives! (John Best). Books of testimonies by Charles Solomon include From Pastors to Pastors: Testimonies of Revitalized Ministries, Handbook to Happiness (chapter 8), and Discipling the Desperate.

Video testimonies are also making an impact. Here is one by my friend, Aaron Kim, that is reaching many on Youtube. May God use such testimonies to encouraged those in need of hope, and direct them to Christ-centered solutions.

Guaranteed Ability to Cope – His Sufficient Grace

by Joe Fornear

Life can be overwhelmingly hard and the temptation to despair can be great. Happened to me when I was diagnosed with Stage IV metastatic melanoma in 2003. I was soon after given the prognosis of “days to live.” The cancer and it’s cures were far more than I could personally handle emotionally, physically or spiritually.

I’m so glad, however, that the Lord displayed His amazing grace and powers through human followers, like Job and Paul. In 2 Corinthians 11:23-25, Paul lists among some of his hardships the following experiences, any of which would devastate most of us!

  • Many imprisonments
  • Beaten times without number
  • Five times he received thirty-nine lashes from the Jews.
  • Three times he was beaten with rods
  • Once he was stoned
  • Three times he was shipwrecked, once floating in the ocean for 24 hours

“The 6 rounds of chemo whipped me” doesn’t quite rise to the level of “I was whipped by a leather whip with metal shards in it 195 times” (five times thirty-nine)! Paul desperately sought God to remove these trials, eventually God responded, “My grace is sufficient for you” (2 Corinthians 12:9).

What does “sufficient grace” mean? Here are five elements to the grace He supplies:

1) He gives HIS peace – In John 14:27, Jesus says, “Peace I leave with you; My peace I give to you; not as the world gives do I give to you. Do not let your heart be troubled, nor let it be fearful.”

2) He gives peace that surpasses understanding – Philippians 4:7 – “And the peace of God, which surpasses all comprehension, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.”

3) The love of God is poured out within our hearts – Romans 5:3-5 – “We also exult in our tribulations, knowing that tribulation brings about perseverance; perseverance, proven character; and proven character, hope; and hope does not disappoint, because the love of God has been poured out within our hearts through the Holy Spirit who was given to us.”

4) Inexpressible Joy – 1 Peter 1:8 – “Though you have not seen him, you love him. Though you do not now see him, you believe in him and rejoice with joy that is inexpressible and filled with glory.”

5) Joy that’s better than the world’s joy – Psalm 4:7 – “You have put more joy in my heart than they have when their grain and wine abound.”

Don’t ever fall into the trap of despair, God can handle your battle through you!

In His Grip,
Joe and Terri Fornear

(used with permission)

Stronghold Ministry

About Stronghold Ministry

 

Sophia’s Testimony

Excerpts

…Reflecting back to September 2018 when God revealed to me to seek out Cross to Life Discipleship Ministry for biblical counseling to August 2019 when I am writing this testimony, my experience can be summarized by the following four steps, through which God’s invisible but eternal presence and grace has been working in me to sanctify me to become the person He wants me to be. Indeed, God causes all things to work together for good for those who love Him and for those who are called for His purpose. What is His purpose for me? For those whom He foreknew He also predestined to become conformed to the image of His Son Jesus Christ so that He would be the firstborn among many brethren (Romans 8:28-29).

Step 1: Brokenness – I came to the end of my own resources.
I remember pastor Troy Dobbs sometimes quoted in his sermon that “brokenness is the blessing that nobody wants”. I agree. I don’t want to be broken, instead I want to be protected and shielded from hardship. But is my want realistic in life? Is my want the same as what God wants in my life?

Growing up in China before I came to US in my early 20’s for education, I had experienced hardship in life due to my parents’ turbulent marriage. Home environment was unstable, not nurturing, full of hostility of my parents against each other on a daily basis, and insecure. Suffering from youth in this environment had motivated my young soul to ask deeper questions about life, such as what is life, why I am here, who am I, where I am going, what is the meaning of life, why is there suffering, why human hurt each other, is there a solution for suffering, and is there hope? I didn’t find answers to my questions in academic success, career in prestige accounting firm, physical attractiveness, philosophy, and psychology. I was broken inside losing hope in life, then God saved me at His timing and in His way in 2006…

Step 2: Total surrender – Jesus Christ is not only my Savior, but also my Lord, and my Life…

Step 3: Identification – My union with Christ is not only head knowledge but also life experience.
I learned my identification with Christ in the following ways:
1) Identification in His death. He died for me (Romans 5:8). I died with Him (Romans 6:6).
2) Identification in His burial. I was buried with Him (Romans 6:4).
3) Identification in His risen life. I live with Him in newness of life (Romans 6:4-5).
4) Identification with His glory. I share the splendor of His Character by His indwelling life (John 17:22, 2 Corinthians 4:7, Romans 8:17-18).
5) Identification in His concern for a lost world. I have been sent as His ambassador to share His good news with a world that does not know Him (John 17:18-20, 2 Corinthians 5:19-21).
6) Identification in His triumph. He always leads me in triumph over sin (Romans 6:14), over circumstances (Romans 8:25-28), over Satan (Colossians 2:15).
7) Identification in His reign. I am to reign in life through Him (Romans 5:17). I will reign with Him (Revelation 5:10).
8) Identification as joint heir with Him. I share in all that He is (Romans 8:14, 17, 1 Corinthians 3:21-23).
9) Identification in His suffering. We suffer with Him in order that we may also be glorified with Him (Romans 8:17, Philippians 1:29, 1 Peter 4:12, 13).

Learning and comprehending my identification with Christ becomes not only head knowledge but also real experience. Somehow God has caused the biblical truth and teaching of union with Christ becomes realized. I experienced Him and His life in this process. My words fail to explain or describe it. I experienced deliverance and His life, His abundant life, truly wonderful beyond words. Galatians 2:20 is no longer a familiar and memorized biblical truth, but reality.

Step 4: Experience the Abundant Life of Christ – I experience the power and life of Christ in me in daily walk.
How to live the abundant life of Christ in me on a day to day basis? I learned that to cooperate with God and sail above life’s trials and challenges, I need to “spread my wings” through surrender and trust. I need to surrender to God’s control moment by moment (Romans 12:1,2; Luke 9:23) and trust fully in Christ’s indwelling presence to live through me moment by moment (Galatians 2:20, John 15:5). As I “spread my wings” through surrender and trust, let God’s Word dwell in me and maintain an attitude of praying (Colossians 3:16; Philippians 4:6,7).…

Read Sophia’s complete testimony here: Sophia’s Testimony