By Georgiana Francisco | Correspondent
Focusing on the work of Jesus rather than allowing oneself to be intimidated by the aspects of evil highlighted one of the keynote addresses presented at the 51st annual New Jersey Catholic Charismatic Conference held Sept. 21-22 in St. Mary Mother of God Church, Middletown.
Using the theme, “Jesus Is Lord!,” the two-day event that was sponsored by the Diocese of Trenton Catholic Charismatic Renewal offered the more than 200 participants opportunities to participate in praise and worship experiences, a healing service, Mass and to hear compelling messages from an array of speakers who are known throughout the Diocese as well as on national and international levels.
With more than 30 years of pastoral experience helping people find freedom in Jesus Christ, keynote speaker Neal Lozano – author of “Unbound: A Practical Guide to Deliverance” and director of Heart of the Father Ministries – presented a five-point strategy on how “we can overcome Satan’s influence by focusing on Jesus’ work rather than allowing ourselves to be intimidated by the aspects of evil.”
Lozano, who holds a master’s degree in religious education from Villanova University, Villanova, Pa., reviewed each of the five keys and discussed how they can unlock the door to deeper faith and relevance to living the Gospel each day. He noted that all of the keys to healing, or freedom, are primarily found in the Gospels.
“The less subjective we are, the more objective we can be toward ourselves and others,” he said.
Reflecting on the first key, repentance, Lozano said, “We must repent our sins. And when we do, we believe that God forgives us. But we must forgive ourselves, as well. To forgive yourself means being in agreement with God…We forgive ourselves the same way God does.”
For the second key, forgiveness, Lozano turned to The Lord’s Prayer in the Gospel for insight: “Forgive us our trespasses, as we forgive those who trespass against us.”
For the third key, healing, renouncing the work of one’s enemies,” Lozano reflected on how “Jesus forgave those who crucified him, saying they didn’t know what they were doing.”
“God is willing to release the power of those words again through you,” Lozano said. “Forgive in the name of Jesus.”
To have the ability to renounce the work of our enemies, which is the fourth key, comes directly from Jesus, Lozano said. “If we are in union with Christ, we can command the enemy to leave us alone. It takes practice, but it can be done.”
“Take authority over your demons, and in the name of Jesus, command them to leave,” he said, emphasizing his point by asking the attendees to stand and repeat after him: “In Jesus’ name, renounce Satan…In Jesus’ name, I renounce anger…In Jesus’ name, I renounce fear.”
“This is an expression of our human dignity,” Lozano said.
For the fifth key, receiving God’s blessing of your identity and destiny, Lozano said that by being open to God’s love, “we not only are blessed, but we also discover who we really are.”
“We were meant to be blessed, just as Jesus was…through prayer and the Sacraments…and we need to break down the walls that prevent that blessing, because only then will we recognize who we are and what God means for our destiny,” he said.
Along with Lozano, other presenters were to include Paul Martini, an associate evangelist with Global Awakening; Debbie Gaudino, executive director of the Diocese of Trenton Catholic Charismatic Renewal, and Father John Gordon, who currently serves as coordinator of the Archdiocese of Newark’s Office for Evangelization and coordinator of the archdiocese’s Catholic Charismatic Renewal, who served as master of ceremonies.
Described as the longest teaching conference in the United States, dating back to the early days of the Charismatic Renewal in the 1970s, the NJCCC is open to all ages who are “looking to grow in their relationship with Jesus Christ in the power of the Holy Spirit,” according to Father Jeffrey Kegley, pastor of St. Mary Parish and diocesan liaison to the Catholic Charismatic Renewal.