TESTIMONIALS

I am hearing, more clearly, the things that God wants to teach me

“The tools for Bible reading and journaling which were taught to us have really been an eye opener. I read my Bible daily, but the daily journal has helped me to look deeper into the text, and therefore I get more out of it as well. I find that I am hearing, more clearly, the things that God wants to teach me.” – Participant

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I no longer harbor bitterness toward those people

“The forgiveness experience was the breakthrough for me! It was so freeing. The hurt disappeared. It was replaced with fatigue and sadness for a short time, and then it was like a burden gone. Now when I think about the things that were hurtful to me, there are no more pain-filled memories. The slate is wiped clean. I no longer harbor bitterness toward those people. My attitude has changed toward them. The amends that I completed went well. I was glad that I was able to open up and confess my wrongs to the people that I hurt.” – Participant

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Content of the program

“The clear half hour video sessions guided me through my feelings and behaviours and directed me to the root of my problems, that ‘nothing good lives within me, that is, in my sinful nature’ (Rom. 7:18). Because this is the root of all issues, at Life Renewal we can all share during small group discussions that follow, no matter our background, no matter our issues.” Participant

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Life Renewal is for everyone

“I know many see this program as being for those who have severe pain to deal with such as abuse, addiction and marriage breakdown. But this course will benefit everyone. In addition to very biblical teaching in so many areas, we learned to identify our defects of character and how to concretely begin to change them. Everyone has them. Some that we know, and probably even some that we don’t.” – Participant

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I needed to trust Him with everything in my life

“Along with a few other things, I’d became a co-dependant. This person’s mental health became my happiness. If this person was happy and enjoying life, I was happy too. If this person was having a bad day, I was very sad and worried. I feared the “what ifs” of the future and how life would go for others under the influence of this person. I needed to get my focus back on God again. I needed to trust Him with everything in my life, which has always been my struggle.  Going through LR was a great experience. I loved being challenged to think deeply about myself, why I do things, and to take responsibility for my own actions. God used LR to gently re-teach me to focus more up, rather than in or around. If I just focus on serving Him, then the rest will fall into place.” – Participant

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Growing closer to God

“My relationship with God has grown every week since the September I began Life Renewal. I was constantly challenged to think beyond what I thought I knew about myself and God. Digging into my past wasn’t always easy of course but the way it made me understand why I act the way I do was so beneficial to changing my behaviours. I also learned why I felt so distant from God and although I still have a way to go yet, I know that He is constantly bringing me closer to Him.” – Participant

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God showed me so many areas of my life that I needed to change

“I believed that I was doing alright in my walk of faith and that I did not have any huge problems or pain to deal with in my life. I had heard so much good about the program, so I was excited to see how it could help me as well. God has blessed my attendance of this course far more abundantly than I could ever have imagined. Very quickly, God showed me so many areas of my life that I needed to change. I was holding on to the past, had resentment towards God and others that I did not even realize was there, and had a desire to be perfect which made me hold others around me to a standard too high to attain.” – Participant

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The power of my addiction to pornography and masturbation has faded

“At life renewal, I found the love and fellowship of brothers and sisters in Christ. The power of my addiction to pornography and masturbation has faded in many aspects of my life. Satan is very crafty though and he learns new ways to tempt me. The brothers at life renewal received me with open arms when I shared with them. They still support me today, through prayer, texts, phone calls and hanging out.” – Participant

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My small group pushed me to look deeper

“I didn’t know why I was going, even after the first session. I blamed my rut on my poor money spending habits and my hobbies. But my small group pushed me to go for something deeper: my addiction to pornography and masturbation. I knew it was wrong but I figured it was a losing battle and I had hung up my armament for this fight. But God, with this program and his people involved, had me dust off my armament and equip myself. Then He showed me that it wasn’t even my fight. Even though I had this equipment, He was still going to fight for me.” – Participant

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Dealing with withdrawal and overthinking

“Life Renewal has helped me by teaching me how to work through the mess of thoughts that usually overwhelm me. I am now able to work through it well enough to articulate my thoughts and better understand what is/was bothering me. The program taught me to give it ALL to God. When I give it all to God I can try, and try again in His strength. I can keep up the good fight and open up and talk/share and keep from withdrawing.” – Participant

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Working Through Past Issues

“A dear friend of mine took life renewal last year and I couldn’t help but notice how happy she was. I wanted that in my life. I also felt that, even though I said I was a Christian and could check off all my boxes, I never truly felt close to God. Life Renewal seemed like a good place to start. Little did I know it would turn my whole world upside down. I was allowed to feel sad for the things done to me but I did not have to live in bitterness because of it. I can now say: ‘Holy spirit come abide within, may YOUR joy be seen in all I do’.” – Participant

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FACILITATOR // COORDINATOR TESTIMONIALS

Good training takes practice. It takes accountability….it takes celebration!

First of all, this is truly amazing….God works in so many ways. I came to Life Renewal to do away with my pornography struggle. I went to my elders and said ‘I have a problem’. Well they took it seriously and got me setup with some accountability and help from a friend.…this was ’new to me’; talking about my struggle and taking active steps to conquer sin in my life. Well, then I came here and Life Renewal made ‘new to me’ the norm because I began to see the new and different things in my life as God’s work, God’s kingdom, God’s people, living and knowing Him and learning and experiencing His deep and unconditional love. That’s what’s happening here and I love it….and this year I got to see that from day 1 as a facilitator. It made me uncomfortable in my human skin, it made me cry, it made me laugh, it made me cry some more….if you would have told me a few years ago that I would be smiling through the tears of my brokenness because of Christ’s sacrifice, I would have scoffed and then wondered a little….how do I get there, from battling and falling every day to, joy and firm confidence in Christ. Life Renewal helped me get there. It’s a place where I could expose my sin to the light, practice that, learn about Christ’s sacrifice and full deliverance from sin, and how to live in the joy of that comfort….and how to practice that. It’s like a rigorous training course for Christian living. Good training takes practice. It takes accountability….it takes celebration! I also want to say how Life Renewal has given me a vision for my life. My life vision before coming here was “I’ll have this for life…..just fight it as much as you can but don’t get caught’ I truly believed that I was going to struggle with pornography and masturbation for my whole life. Through the sovereignty of God, He used His people and this program to break that lie that I was believing and gave me a new vision and new belief. God is in my heart, Christ died for me and I can have a beautiful relationship with him and through that relationship my whole life changes from squashed and subdued to alive and free.“…in view of God’s mercy, offer yourselves as living sacrifices holy and pleasing to God.”

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Office-bearers, most of all people, need the help that God works through Life Renewal”

“I wanted to better pastor people who struggle with addictions and to break the power of sin in their lives. But I also wanted to face my own sin and struggles. To learn to treat others, especially my own family, with more patience and love. I was also finding that the pace of life in consistory meant that I was focusing a lot on others’ spiritual state – but not enough on my own spiritual life. I do feel more equipped now to get to the root of sin [when I help others]. But it is a long process, a difficult process, and it’s the work of the Holy Spirit. I can now with confidence recommend Life Renewal to my congregants who are struggling with sin, depression, addiction, etc. Here’s the truth: taking the program while in the consistory was difficult. But the blessing was a lot greater! Life Renewal is difficult for an office-bearer because it’s a lot of work. So add at least 2 nights to the 2-3 nights we’re busy with consistory work, and there’s not a lot of time for anything else. And it’s difficult, because it’s a lot of soul searching. This was especially hard for me at first, because I found myself in a group with a number of my own congregants. How can I open up to them about my sin? What will they think of me? But actually it was an amazing blessing. I was able to see God at work in their lives during the year, and it was all the more sweeter because I knew them so well! And I soon realized (this is one of the first lessons learnt in Life Renewal) the idea that people – even congregants – will think less of me because I’m a sinner, is a lie, and just my pride. I’m not on any pedestal as an office-bearer and I don’t need to pretend I am. I’m a sinner in need of grace and help just as much as they are. So I’d heartily recommend Life Renewal to office-bearers: because office-bearers most of all people need the help that God works through Life Renewal. We’re called to counsel others, and we’re called to be an example to the flock in our charge. But at the same time we struggle with sin in our own lives! We often feel so inadequate and untrained. And worst of all, the busyness of life in consistory might mean that (like me) you at times neglect your own relationship with the Lord, your spiritual growth and personal holiness because you’re so busy focussing on others! If any of that sounds like you, you should consider giving Life Renewal a shot. By God’s grace it has helped me with all this. Like me, it will force you to slow down and take a long hard look at your life. It provided me the questions and tools and time to focus on my personal holiness and life of service to God instead of just others. It taught me the sinful defects of character like selfishness or impatience that were behind many of my sinful treatment of others. It taught me to be more open about my own sin. Also to other brothers in the church who can help, encourage, reprimand, and pray for me! And the process of going very deep into your own sin, denial and blindspots and all, will remind you how powerless you are in the face of your sin and how much you need Jesus Christ! And it will equip you more to share that message with others. – Rev. Ben Schoof, Maranatha Canadian Reformed Church, BC

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Life Renewal serves as another instrument in our local church for ministering to the needs of the members.

“I had the privilege of being invited by one of our members to the graduation ceremony that concludes the 27-week program. At this ceremony the participants share a personal testimony of how the Holy Spirit worked in them healing and renewal through this Christ-centred program. Already then I was impressed by what I heard. Some of the participants found freedom from entanglements with pornography, while others found freedom from significant pain and trauma in their pasts. Some entered the program to support loved ones and found themselves benefiting significantly. The evening was a powerful testimony to the fact that God was working through Life Renewal to provide healing and restoration. This past summer [2018] we as pastors were considering running a program in Langley to deal with the issue of pornography, but we decided to commit ourselves to hosting and facilitating Life Renewal in Langley instead. We had two main reasons. First of all, Life Renewal is an intensive, 27-week program. We saw this intensity and duration as a significant positive. Quick and easy fixes simply do not exist, or are not effective. The second reason was that Life Renewal addresses a wide range of needs within the body of Christ. Many of our members are struggling with brokenness, hurt, or besetting sin and we wanted a program to which we could direct anyone and everyone, not just one particular segment of the church. Life Renewal serves as another instrument in our local church for ministering to the needs of the members. It doesn’t replace the pastoral work done by the elders or the pastors, but operates alongside it. It builds up bonds within the communion of saints and equips the saints themselves to serve and assist each other. – Dr. William den Hollander, former pastor of Langley Canadian Reformed Church

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Life Renewal is essential because so few of us know how to walk the path of sanctification

“Life Renewal invites believers to walk in the way of repentance, forgiveness and reconciliation. So many of our sin struggles in this life have a relational component: we choose to self-medicate because of a broken relationship with a parent; we give ourselves to pornography because a friend once showed us a website; we become bitter and angry because a friend hurt us; etc. We cannot break free from our sinful patterns of living and grow in grace, until we identify our sins, acknowledge them before the Lord, hate them because of our great love for Christ, and commit ourselves to a life of mortifying/putting to death the old sinful habits. In my view, Life Renewal is essential for every Christian; not because we are so unfamiliar with the doctrine of sanctification, but because so few of us know how, by the grace of the Holy Spirit, to walk in the path of sanctification. If your great desire is to have eternal life – to know the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom he has sent (Jn.17:3) – Life Renewal is for you. Life Renewal does not take shortcuts and it most certainly is not formulaic. Rather, Life Renewal’s success as a Discipleship program is that it reminds believers of Christ’s call: “Take up your cross and follow me!” What a privilege and joy it is to walk with fellow brothers and sisters as they join and support you in following the Saviour! – Pastor Garry Vanderveen, Christ Covenant Church (PCA), Langley, BC

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One heals in connection with the help of others

“In the field of addiction medicine, sexual addictions are classified as ‘process addictions’. Scripturally, in the parable of the Prodigal son, the prodigal son states after returning to his father from a ‘wild life’: “I have sinned against heaven and against You”. Sexual temptation and acting out (porn, extramarital affairs, premarital sex, masturbation, etc) are all done in ISOLATION. Help is sought IN COMMUNITY, using support groups and accountability partners. It’s not for nothing that the first word of the first step in a 12 step program is the word ‘WE’. One heals in connection with the help of others. Life Renewal is a faith based, Christ centered 12 step program that is recommended for those struggling with addictions, relationship issues , complex (childhood) abuse and other abuse issues, including acting out sexually. This program was initiated in our church a number of years ago and runs now in many churches in Ontario as well as out west.  This program has taken much of the material from Freedom Session (by Pastor Ken Dyck, Surrey B.C.) which has been modified into a Grace focused recovery program.   Healing from addiction cannot be done without spiritual change. In Life Renewal, there is much focus on the surrender process, dealing with life’s inventory and resentments, looking at character defects and shortcomings and making amends and living day by day in a spiritual manner. I would suggest that all pastors and office bearers take a critical look at this support group and even take the program, not only to benefit themselves as well as to help other struggling brothers and sisters.  I trust that Life Renewal may help those who are struggling with the shame of sexual temptation/acting out. The Lord can use shame to motivate one into recovery. – Gary Veenman MD, Diplomate ABAM, Elora ON

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I recommend it to any church members who wish to take inventory of themselves and come to a deeper relationship with the Lord

“I followed the program when it was first proposed, and found it very revealing when it came to understanding my own weaknesses and dealing with some stumbling blocks to my relationship with Christ. I recommend it to any church members who wish to take inventory of themselves and come to a deeper relationship with the Lord. The program is especially helpful to members who are struggling with imbalances in life due to traumatic things they have done or had done to them in the past and which are dragging their spiritual life down. It helps them to deal with those difficult matters in a very real way. While pastoral direction can take place from time to time, this program requires a strong commitment from participants to follow through the sessions weekly over a number of months. As well there is usually wonderful support within the groups and bonds are created which benefits the communion of saints. I heartily recommend this program! ” – Minister Emeritus J. Moesker (Can. Reformed), participant and former board member

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