Jesus had a vision that Peter would become a pillar for His Church and that he would be the one who would open the door of the kingdom of God for the first time to non-Jewish people, a moment in history (Acts 10) that brought forth a countless harvest of souls through the ages.
Dear reader, please never forget that the Church of Jesus Christ, nearly one billion people strong and more than two thousand years later, began with the simple message of a man that most considered to be a loser and a spiritual “has-been.” Those who rubbed shoulders with Peter could have told you he was a “big talker” who failed miserably when push came to shove, just another pathetic story of wasted potential. Jesus burned with this vision that, by faith, Peter would become a man of God, a man of courage and eternal influence. Dear friend, this is faith with repentance! It is faith that cries out: “Oh, Lord, teach me to see myself and to see others with a faith that will transcend the limitations of circumstances, backgrounds, tragedies, failures and my human understanding and abilities.”
The beauty of the Church all over the world is not found in her buildings, architecture or programs. The brightness and value of the Church in the 21st century is in the testimonies of lives transformed by faith with repentance, one person at a time, birthing a people with a story to tell, a message of grace, hope and redemption for real people with real lives living in the real world today. This is what motivated me to respond by faith with repentance to His call and His cause and to dedicate my life to the work of God.
I believe that in the hearts of millions of men and women of all ages and life experiences, there is an insatiable thirst, a search and dream for a God they don't know yet, have not found in traditional religion, who through faith, offers the possibility of finding new direction and hope.
Dear reader, please join me wherever you are to simply pray: “Lord, increase our faith! We want to do away with fatalism, rituals, unbelief and cynicism. We want to change direction.” Beloved, you will then hear a voice that will allow you to lift up your head and wipe the tears from your face, as it speaks these words of hope to you today, “Blessed are those who hunger and thirst . . . for they shall be filled” (Matthew 5:6).
Faith with repentance will always receive resurrection.
Claude Houde, lead pastor of Eglise Nouvelle Vie (New Life Church) in Montreal, Canada, is a frequent speaker at the Expect Church Leadership Conferences conducted by World Challenge throughout the world. Under his leadership New Life Church has grown from a handful of people to more than 3500 in a part of Canada with few successful Protestant churches.