Jesus promised abundant life to those who follow him and that is exactly what was
experienced by those who participated in the Life in the Spirit Weekend at the Pastoral Center
Friday, April 27, through Sunday, April 29. The weekend was filled with joyful music,
inspirational talks and small group discussions. It was an extraordinary opportunity for
participants to discover or re-discover the person of Jesus Christ and the power of the Holy
Spirit in their lives.
On Friday evening, participants were greeted with lively music followed by a description
of the power of the baptism in the Spirit to transform the life of the believer. In his description
the presenter, Vincent Cerasuolo, used an analogy of someone who had spent all his life inside
a movie theater until someone brought him outside. It was not until he left the theater that he
experienced the real world that is 3-dimensional and filled with smells, textures, the warmth of
the sun, and other sensory stimuli. Now the person could live life the way it was meant to be
lived. Similarly upon receiving the baptism in the Spirit each individual is empowered to live
the wonderful, abundant life that Jesus promised.
The evening continued with a talk on God’s great, never-ending love for us and the
importance of surrendering control to God and allowing him to sit on the throne of our lives.
Following this talk, the participants were asked to respond by committing their lives to Jesus.
While evening closed with prayer and music, folks lingered to talk and get to know each other.
Salvation was the topic of the first presentation after the opening song on Saturday
morning. Helping people understand what Jesus has done and will do for them and their need
to make a decision was the focus of this talk. Also included in the morning schedule was a
powerful witness to the new life that Jesus offers us. The speaker shared how her life was
transformed from one of hopelessness and thoughts of self-destruction to a life of fullness in
the Lord after she attended a healing service and came away acknowledging Jesus’ lordship
and opening herself to the Holy Spirit.
The talk after lunch covered two topics. The first topic was how to be open to receiving
God’s gifts. The second was contrasting the gifts of the Holy Spirit found in Isaiah 11:1-2,
which are meant for conversion and personal spiritual growth, and the manifestation gifts of the
Spirit found in 1 Cor. 12 whose purpose is to equip us for evangelization.
After each talk the participants were called upon to respond to the message by doing
something: praying for deliverance and healing, entering into praise & worship, reciting the
sinner’s prayer, opening up to the gifts of tongues and prophecy. The small group discussions
that took place after the responses were lively, animated, and thought provoking. Participants
consistently requested to extend discussion and sharing time.
The baptism in the Spirit ceremony took place late Saturday afternoon beginning with
the participants reverently processing into the chapel at the Pastoral Center. Four scripture
readings were proclaimed before each participant was individually prayed with to receive the
baptism in the Spirit. At the end of the ceremony one participant, Nat Mugavero, stood up to
share that, while this was not his first Life in the Spirit Seminar, he felt something very special
had happened and that he experienced a rekindling of the Spirit within him.
At the end of the ceremony and sharing, everyone returned upstairs for a celebration
that included cake and soft drinks. At the close of the day most people lingered, wanting to
share their stories, build bonds with others, and/or ask questions.
The participants and team returned Sunday afternoon to continue to share their
experiences and for 2 more talks. The first talk, entitled “Growth”, described 4 important
components of growing in the Spirit: Prayer, Study, Community and Service. Next came a talk
on transformation in Christ which concentrated on the Holy Spirit’s desire to work in us to
change us and make us holier, as well as to use us to evangelize and bring the Fire of
Pentecost to all we meet. Part of this talk was also an encouragement to face trials, which
happen in everyone’s life, with faith that God is always with us and He has a love-filled plan for
Beautiful, inspirational songs were intermingled throughout the schedule and the formal
part of the weekend ended in song and rejoicing. As happened on Friday and Saturday
evenings, folks lingered: talking to new friends, receiving personal affirmations, and expressing
gratitude for a blessed and transforming weekend.
“ It was a blessing for me… I want to say a massive thanks to everyone...This weekend I felt
the joy of Christ…When you were praying over me it was so beautiful coming through me. I
could feel the love of Jesus…I wish we could take this and bring it to the mass on a Sunday
because I feel that there would be a lot more people come running. So I want to thank you
personally from the bottom of my heart…Thanks very much, folks. God bless you all.”
“I came this weekend and I didn't know what to expect…I feel I am so grateful to God that I
was able to be a part of this weekend and I am so grateful that you are here. The Charismatic
Renewal is a part of our church and a part of our faith…Thank you because, like I say, I am a
work in progress but I am so grateful to God that this is helping me to continue along my faith
journey… I am just praising God right now.”
“I came on Friday and said, ‘Oh, what have I gotten myself into.’ I was way out of my comfort
zone…I woke up at 6:00 on Saturday morning and I knew I was coming back…it was great to
meet all you good people…it's a dog eat dog world out there…to come into this community, it
was all energy towards God and it's all good. There is no badness. It is a beautiful thing…I am
a person of prayer. I pray 30 times a day… Friday I was jar with a lid closed tight…during mass
in the morning, something was coming through me - Pray to Saint Paul…(crying he said)I am
not a crier. I’ve been amazed by all the stories... When we were huddled up there altogether
and you were talking in tongues and singing, I was like ‘This is Heaven’. It was an unbelievable
feeling. It was great, I have to say. I am releasing myself. I’m a different man, I'd say, in 48
hours. And I have to stay at it…Now I am going to move forward.”
“I am very, very grateful. Someone mentioned about being recharged… It helps you very
much… I am so grateful to all of you.”
“…truly an anointed and joyful gathering …”
“… so much gratitude for those who blessed us all by attending and responding so openly to the
Holy Spirit's promptings….”
“This past weekend was an extraordinary time for all who attended…”
From one of the speakers: “We were privileged to witness the light of the Holy Spirit illuminate
the lives of those who came seeking him! Alleluia! God is so good! … They have begun a new
phase of their journey with their Lord…I believe everyone was touched by the Spirit this
weekend. I know I was.”