Sunday, July 27, 2008

Phil Bonasso: A Love Story Part VII

Hi Everyone!

Phil Bonasso here welcoming you back to our blogger site.

Thanks for reading my wife's account of how the Lord brought us together! Praying that you will be encouraged!



As is often the case, when we give Jesus control of our life, He begins to turn our passions into ones that will please Him and ultimately fulfill our dreams and desires.

The word ultimately is key here!! The bumpy ride I referred to in the last blog is the process of change that is necessary for character to be forged so that we can keep our eyes on Jesus no matter what happens.

Phil Bonasso gave his life to Jesus as a teenager and experienced the Presence and Power of the Holy Spirit. What this produced in him was an insatiable desire for knowledge and understanding of the Word of GodJesus himself and the Bible. The Bible calls this “hungering and thirsting for God”. He began his quest by rising early every morning before school to read and meditate in the Bible. (His Father would often comment, later, on how he was impacted by his son’s devotion.) He also read, as much as he could find, by Godly men such as Watchman Nee, etc. He would often visit a monastery in Atlanta where his sister lived. Here Phil Bonasso would sit and talk with the monks about the things of God and they gave him access to their library. Yet, he was still a teen and had the normal challenges of that age.

One of his struggles was his desire to live a pure and holy life unto the Lord, yet he recognized that he wanted desperately (that’s how teenagers feel!) to have a girlfriend. Phil Bonasso wanted direction. A turning point in this struggle was about to be visited by the Holy Spirit.

As people often say, “Be careful what you pray for….”

Thursday, April 3, 2008

Phil Bonasso: A Love Story Part VI

Hi again Everyone!

Hope you have had a wonderful Easter season. Thanks for reading my wife's blog on how the Lord brought us together. She goes way back into our High School years on this entry! Blessings!

Phil Bonasso





It seems to me that the most amazing things that the Lord does with us
seem to be hidden in the moment. It is hindsight that reveals the
significance. So it was when Phil Bonasso began going to these prayer
meetings as a teenager. It was a small act of kindness by one of the
ladies who dared to reach out to an aloof teen that started Phil
on his way to a relationship with Jesus and an encounter with
the Holy Spirit.

In order to understand this part of "our" history I must explain some
of the "Church " history of the time. In every denomination …
Catholic, Episcopal, Presbyterian, Methodist, Baptist, etc., God was
causing events to take place where the power and Person of the Holy
Spirit was poured out upon members of these denominations. These were
not isolated incidents: It was happening from California to
Pennsylvania in small churches and universities. In some cases the
church leaders had no idea what to do and most everyone had a hard
time explaining what they were experiencing and how to tell others
about it. Most often people just knew if you got around people who
were praying it would probably happen to you. The life changing
dynamic that was produced by this encounter with God was oftentimes
radical. Some people moved into "communities" to live with others who
had experienced this outpouring. Others left college and went to
Seminaries. Some changed their religious affiliation. There emerged a
desire to read the Bible;There was a thirst for God and His Word that
went beyond Sunday morning. Many wanted to go to church more than once
a week, which is why prayer meetings became popular. It did not even
matter where the prayer meetings were located. They could be at any
church, someone's home, or a "coffee house"(Not the same as
Starbucks!). It didn't matter how many people came or who they were.
There could be hundreds or three. God always showed up and lives were
impacted. There wasn't much explanation beyond "come and see for
yourself." It was one of those times when the beginning can only be
described from the middle or the end.

When Phil Bonasso's mother invited him to this little prayer meeting,
no one had the words to describe what he was looking for, but a woman
moved in kindness and gave him some books to read about salvation and
the Holy Spirit. It was a simple gesture. It was a simple book. Yet,
It was the beginning of a thirst and hunger for the Father, Son and
Holy Spirit to fill Phil's heart and soul and spirit in a way
that would cause him to find his calling in life and his wife. He was
about to embark on a bumpy ride…

Friday, December 21, 2007

Phil Bonasso: A Love Story by Phil's wife Part V

( Hi everyone! Merry Christmas!! I hope your Holiday season is going fantastic! Thanks for visiting again and reading my beautiful wife's posts on how the Lord brought us together. Blessings, Pastor Phil Bonasso)



Although Phil Bonasso also grew up in a traditional denominational
church, his experience with God was quite different…a little more
"colorful" maybe. By the time he was in high school he knew about God
and believed that there was a God and participated in the traditions
of the church. But he was about to encounter God in an unexpected way.

As I said before, high school was a challenging and lonely time for
Phil Bonasso. Although he was a huge romantic at heart he was very shy
when it came to girls. He was in and out of trouble with the
Principal. He loved playing basketball on the school team but was
afraid of playing in front of the crowds. His father was a colonel in
the Army and therefore often gone. His brother with whom he was very
close had gone off to a Military Academy. His mother was engaging
challenges of her own. Confusion and depression were held at bay by
music and cigarettes…and God's everloving Hand on his life.

This was the time that God began to show Himself in unconventional
ways in Churches. His mother being a devout woman sought support in
the Church with the challenges she was facing. She was invited to a
meeting with other women who would come together to pray. This unique
meeting helped her so she thought it might help her son. After many
times of being asked and after many moments of misery, he agreed to
go.

How odd it was that a high school teenage boy would choose to go to a
meeting of middle aged women who just sat around and prayed. God was
using Phil Bonasso's desperation to set him up for a most amazing
encounter…with Him.


To be continued…

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Phil Bonasso: A Love Story Part IV by his Wife

( Hi evreyone! Welcome back to my blog! Thanks for continuing to read my wife's post on how the Lord brought us together! Thanks again, Pastor Phil Bonasso)



This love story must now continue with my love story with God and
Phil Bonasso's love story with God. It has to continue here because
it was in each of our journeys toward God that we found each other.

It seems to me that at whatever age you encounter God, the experience
that occurs in your heart and soul is the same…and you always remember
the very moment it happens.
My story begins when I was 6 years old attending Catholic grade school
in Pennsylvania. In first grade I was introduced to the God who made
me and loved me. I was in awe of such a wonderful being. By the time I
was 7, I was learning about Jesus and how he died on the cross for my
sins. It was through learning about confessing my sins and the
sacrament of Communion that I came to the realization that I wanted to
know Jesus more.
I remember a specific moment kneeling in my second grade classroom
praying to Jesus. I told Him I loved Him more than anything and that I
always wanted to be close to Him. The response I experienced from the
Lord in my heart I had no words for then but years later I came to
understand as "being saved" or "giving my life to the Lord". From that
time on I had various encounters with the Lord as He led me, through
the traditions of the Church, into a deeper understanding of His death
and resurrection…for me and the world. The choosing of His will over
mine was another vivid experience which happened at twelve years old
as I was.praying "The Lord's Prayer" at my bedside before bedtime:
This I would eventually learn was called choosing His Lordship for my
life. With the advent of the Charismatic renewal upon the
denominational churches, I began seeking the presence and activity of
the Holy Spirit in my life. High school came while I was searching for
this expression of the Holy Spirit. It was a lonely, yet great time of
my life because my loneliness drew me closer to God whom I dearly
loved.

Meanwhile Phil Bonasso was on his own journey leading him to an
interaction with the God with whom we all have to do…


To be continued…

Thursday, November 8, 2007

Phil Bonasso: A Love Story Part III by his Wife

(Hi again! Hope you are having a great day! My wife's thoughts continue. Thanks for visiting!)


How can two people find each other when they are so far apart? I guess
they have to be looking for the same thing! Or they have to be found
by the same person.

At the time Phil Bonasso and I were in high school an interesting
phenomenon was happening in the spiritual "world". God was doing
something in the lives of many young people so much so that a name was
given to it. It was called the Jesus Movement. Many kids were finding
that the loneliness and insecurity they felt at that time in their
life could be touched by the hand of God in such a way as to fill them
…complete them. The deep down loneliness was gone.

So high school, for many young people at that time as well as Phil
Bonasso and I, became not just a time of seeking love and romance but
a time for seeking God in a unique way. Different from being a child
in church believing that there is a God. But rather that the God that
exists wants to know you and cares about all that you do and all that
you are.

So this love story that I am writing about Phil Bonasso must begin
with our separate love stories with God. It was in searching for God
…looking for the same thing…that we eventually and amazingly found
each other…



To be contiued.....

Sunday, October 28, 2007

Phil Bonasso: A Love Story by Phil's wife Part II

(My wondeful wife contiues her story!)

So how can Phil Bonasso be my high school sweetheart if we didn’t even know each other…and we were so different? Well, high school is a very interesting time of life. It’s what’s happening in a person’s soul that makes it a unique, yet universal moment. As different as Phil and I were, we did have some similarities.

Phil Bonasso came from a Catholic family and so did I. The number of children in the two families would have given one a hint to that possibility. I never quite understood when I was young why the next question after how many kids were in my family was always followed by the statement “You must be Catholic! Anyway, our families were devout Catholics. By high school I also was very devout. Phil was not so much. I never got into” trouble” but Phil was in and out of “trouble”. We both seemed to be natural leaders. I was quiet internally but not afraid to lead. Phil Bonasso was the same. We each had many friends from both sides of the tracks, so to speak, which translated very differently in the Northeast compared to the South. But he was lonely and so was I: That’s the inevitable state of the high school person’s soul no matter how popular one is.

Because of this innate loneliness we were both looking for sweethearts … we were looking for each other…in high school…many miles and many experiences away…

To be continued…

Friday, October 26, 2007

Phil Bonasso: A Love Story by Phil's wife

(Hi Guys! My wife wanted to post some encouraging thoughts about the Lord's hand in guiding us to each other. I hope you enjoy her keen insights!)

I keep a picture of Phil Bonasso on my desk. I suppose many couples do that. But my picture is of him in his basketball uniform as a high school athlete. I didn’t know Phil then. He went to a high school in Alabama: I went to a high school in Pennsylvania. Not only were our schools far from each other but the lives we led before I knew Phil were also very “far apart” experientially.

I am the oldest of seven children. Phil Bonasso is the youngest of five children. I lived in one place all my life. He lived in Kansas, West Virginia, London, England, Germany, and Alabama. His father was an officer in the Army.

In high school I was a very conscientious straight A student, a cheerleader, a class officer and very na├»ve. Phil was not at all concerned about grades, played basketball, was student body president and very “street smart”. If you know anything about high school politics a class officer is very different than a student body president. A class officer pretty much works like an ambassador of the Administration whereas the student body president works for the rights of the students. At that time in history the “rights” were usually things that were not allowed like wearing jeans, smoking, free class periods, etc. I think you get the picture that Phil and I approached school in a very different way.

I keep the picture of Phil Bonasso on my desk and I tell my children that it is a picture of my high school sweetheart…

To be continued…