It is for freedom that Christ has set us free.
Elsie had her first encounter with God at a very young age. She had an unspeakably traumatic experience, but she felt God’s presence so tangibly.
At 3 years old she was abused by people who were supposed to be babysitting her. She felt God lifting her outside of her body and telling her that this horrible thing wasn’t really happening to her.
“I remember the bright light in my room and I remember realizing at that very moment that my parents weren’t God and that there is a God who is going to take care of me,” she said.
She knew this God in her heart, but she could never put a name to Him. She would go to church services, but sermons filled with intolerance and judgment left her feeling confused.
“I just can’t believe that the God who saves me, who loves me, who loves everybody would be saying crazy things like that,” she said.
Eventually she came to Key to Faith and she was finally able to put a name to the God she knew cared for her. It all made sense when Pastor Dana Termini told her that God writes His Word on people’s hearts and that He has always been chasing her.
She worked in banks for her whole adult life, but she never felt like it was the right fit for her. She knew that she had greater abilities and greater dreams to help people who struggle with alcohol and drug addiction.
Last year on Mother’s Day, she heard Pastor Carl Lenz from Hillsong New York City preach a message about going bold with God. That message inspired her to finally let go of her federal banking licenses and quit her job at Wells Fargo.
She had no job and no direction, but remained calm because she knew that God would take care of her. People would ask her what she was going to do and she would tell them that God was working on it.
“God is going to take care of me if I’m pursuing the faith lane that I should be in,” she said. “I felt like I had a greater purpose to help people get to recovery and to help them get sober.”
At the end of the month she heard another encouraging message from Pastor Brian Houston from Hillsong about dreams and destiny. He said that God places a destiny in every human and that their dreams will match their destiny if they stay the path of God.
A couple of weeks later, Elsie was having trouble finding a job. She had many business plans and made a bunch of calls, but she found out that none of them would make her any money.
However, a few days later she met a woman through a friend who is a clinical outreach coordinator. She places people in treatment for drug and alcohol addiction, which is something that Elsie was doing for many years for free.
Shortly after, she met another person through a friend who hired her as a clinical outreach coordinator a few months later.
“The whole thing was that I wasn’t afraid. I go bold with God. The freedom I feel is like jumping off the side of a mountain,” she said. “Christians should go bold. I can go anywhere and I don’t have to live this protected life from people or from places or from financial fear. God freed me from that.”
She’s been in her position for 7 months and she’s already seen many amazing things happen. Last week, they received a grant for $1.75 million from New York State and the same day she had lunch with one of the biggest names in her industry.
“The people I’m meeting and the circles I’m in are the biggest circles in my industry,” she said. “It’s all God, it’s not me.”
A few years ago, Adam was a year into being sober from heroin and went through a devastating breakup. He had an idea of God, but he thought of Him as an impersonal word to keep him sober.
One Sunday his friends took him to Hillsong NYC and there was a guest speaker who spoke about hearing the word of God. He quoted John 10:27 (My sheep listen to my voice; I know them, and they follow me), and it was in then that Adam heard the voice of his shepherd.
“That moment I remember so vividly because I felt the freedom that I never felt before and I felt the love that didn’t feel before,” he said.
The next morning he made the decision to give his life to Christ and he continued to attend Hillsong and serve there. Eventually he met Elsie through a friend and she invited him to Key to Faith, which is now his home church.
“[Part of the freedom is] knowing that I did not need to deserve it and that I was saved by grace,” he said. “Freedom in Christ means that I can love other people without saying, ‘I did this and that’s why I’m here and you should do it too.’