Dramatic life changes can have modest beginnings. Just walking across a room was all it took to start a conversation that changed Brian Chudy’s life.
In March 2018, Brian came to North Pointe Church a broken man. His home is a stone’s throw away from North Pointe, so when his wife strongly suggested he seek out help for his drug addiction, the closest church seemed like a good choice. He just had to walk across the parking lot.
Brian and his wife showed up 10 minutes early for North Pointe’s 12:30 p.m. Sunday service and found their way to some back-row seats in the auditorium. They weren’t churchgoers, so everything was new to them. The back row felt safe.
Here is the rest of Brian’s story in his own words:
“A guy walked across the room to shake our hands. He introduced himself as Bob. Later, we found out he was the lead pastor of the church. At the end of the service, we hung around to talk to him again. He suggested we get together later that week.
“The next day I got a text from Bob confirming our meeting time. I was impressed. We met in Bob’s office, and I shared my story. Addictions have been a lifelong struggle for me. Even the battles I’ve won didn’t guarantee the end of my struggle. Bob told me that everyone has a hurt, a habit or a hang-up—or all three. Jesus came to set us free from these. I learned how I could experience freedom through a decision to follow Jesus as my Saviour.
“When Bob asked me if I was ready to invite Jesus into my life as my Saviour, I replied ‘Yes.’ So we prayed. And something good happened. Something great! I became a follower of Jesus. Right away I was introduced to Joey Pilgrim, another pastor at North Pointe, so I could share my story of salvation with him.
“My life is changing. I joined the Christ-centred Addiction Recovery Education (C.A.R.E.) ministry. My family is happier. My wife and two sons attend with me on Sunday mornings, and the boys have joined the youth program on Friday nights. I was baptized in water on Sunday, May 27, 2018.
“Plus, I met an incredible group of guys in a program called Men of the Rock. I’ve always been into physical training, but these guys take it to the next level. The facility manager at North Pointe leads us every Wednesday night and Saturday morning in physical and spiritual training. It’s rigorous and I love it.
“I’m so grateful to my wife for encouraging me to go to church. Now I’m addicted to the right things—real hope, new life, and lasting purpose.”
Brian’s story is a testimony of how modest beginnings can lead to dramatic life changes. One choice. Then another. And momentum is gained in the direction of hope. Life change happens best through a team because it takes more than one person to support and sustain change in a new believer’s life. When good changes occur, it is easy to become addicted to the right thing.
The adventure of partnering with God involves bestowing the gift of amazing grace on undeserving, and often unsuspecting, people. It really is the greatest gift a person can receive. Brian has become addicted to God’s grace, and I have become addicted to the adventure of encountering people like Brian.
Ten thousand steps. That’s roughly the distance you travel from sunrise to sunset each day. On Sunday, March 18, 2018, the Lord made my steps count when I simply walked across the auditorium to welcome a guest. When you are willing to be led by the Spirit to walk into someone’s life, your walk with the Lord will take on a whole new dynamic. Here are two simple things you can do to partner with God this coming year.
Start each day with a “readiness prayer.” I guarantee it will change how your day goes. What’s a readiness prayer? “Lord, ready me to encounter people with whom You need me to talk today. Season my words with salt. Order my steps. I am open to Your leading and ready to give a courteous and respectful answer to anyone I encounter.” Make that your prayer in the morning every day.
Then practise listening to people. Listening to others is the beginning of grace. Resist the urge to offer pat answers or formulas. The Holy Spirit will bust through neat evangelism strategies every time. God is in control and knows just what each person needs to hear.
Use your steps wisely in 2019 and you’ll be surprised at the people who find real hope, new life, and lasting purpose through your encounters. Discovering how powerful it is to lean into the Spirit’s leading is the addicting part. But there is real freedom in being addicted to the right thing.
Rev. Bob Jones is senior pastor at North Pointe Community Church in Edmonton, Alta. You can read his blog at http://blog.northpointechurch.ca. This article appeared in the January/February 2019 issue of testimony, the bimonthly publication of The Pentecostal Assemblies of Canada. Photo © istockphoto.com.