Saturday, September 24, 2016

TRANSFORMED by Claude Houde

A family in our church has a powerful testimony. The father had been abused, violated and beaten by a religious figure when he was young and he had burned with hatred for religion his entire adult life.
When he lost his job a few years ago, his wife started receiving aid from several services we offer to the families of our city. Later at Christmas, she became a volunteer, and then she made friends, and little by little, began attending church regularly.
I WILL NEVER SET FOOT IN A CHURCH AGAIN
A year later, when she was again volunteering during the Christmas distribution event, her husband warned her, “Feel free to go, but I will not pick you up! I will never set foot in a church again!”
At the end of her last day of volunteering, she called her husband and said, “Sweetheart, I’m so tired. Please come pick me up at the church.” For whatever reason, he reluctantly agreed. More than an hour later, she still hadn’t seen him so she started to be concerned for his welfare. Looking around the church, she found him in the sanctuary carrying a box of food!
“What are you doing?” she asked.
“Well, I decided to come in and see all this for myself. They needed help so I’m going to stay for a little while longer, if you don’t mind.”
HE LOWERED HIS HEAD AND SOBBED
Two hours later, the couple got into their car in the church parking lot after seeing hundreds of families—the poorest of the poor—arriving at the church and receiving their baskets and gifts. The husband could no longer contain himself and lowered his head to the steering wheel and sobbed. His wife had never seen him like this.
Years of abuse at the hands of “religious” men who represented God streamed down his cheeks in those tears. He finally was able to say to his wife, “When I was a little boy, I loved to hear people talk about Jesus, and I wanted to help others like He did.”
This year their entire family volunteered at Christmas. They have become living stones, living epistles of His grace, read by all men, by the supernatural power of faith.

Claude Houde is the lead pastor of Eglise Nouvelle Vie (New Life Church) in Montreal, Canada. 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.