Sunday, January 27, 2008

Amazing Grace

Today was a special service with new faces leading. Pastor Shannon, Brooke and Darlene had gone to Chicago for a meeting about worship. With classic hymns and two heartfelt testimonies, many people were touched this Sunday morning at New Life Covenant.

Today’s Scripture readings were from Psalm 27:1, 4-9 and I Corinthians 1:10-18

Cheryl Borndal’s Testimony
At age 12, Cheryl received the Lord as her savior during a retreat. She was underneath a blanket with others sharing secrets. Her secret was that she was not a Christian. The Lord came to her at that time and she has been abundantly grateful for that.

Two years later her father died, which grieved her because she knew he had not been a Christian and she would not see him again. The pastor comforted her afterwards and said that he had indeed accepted Christ and there would be a happy re-union one day.

Her mom re-married and the newly blended family had eight children, including four teens. It was a great privilege to grow up in this family where Christ was so evident, working in their home. Her parents modeled a life of faith and they knew that it was God’s blessing that sustained them. “It’s not us, it’s God,” he mom would say.

She said her mom was also a woman of prayer, stating more than once that prayer was the source of her strength.

Cheryl said, “God works through our lives. I’ve learned to agree with whatever He says.”

Her favorite verse is Philippians 4:13. “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.”

Brady Stroschein’s Testimony
“I feel odd being here,” said Brady as he stood at the front of the church, tall and open-hearted. “I ain’t the churchy kinda fellow.”

Brady shared how as a child he was made to go to church and to sit quietly in the pew, hand folded, no clapping. His legacy included being the first child to fail confirmation in the Lutheran church where he grew up.

The life he lived was not a pretty one. “I was the guy you didn’t want your son playing with or your daughter looking at. I was the guy who ran into your car while drunk and left the scene of the crime.”

But there came a day when his life changed and he was relieved from his bondage. “We all know these people exist,” Brady said, “but I’m here to say there is hope for them.”

He was given the opportunity to change, to sober up. And today he hasn’t had a drink or drug in nine years. “I haven’t hit anyone in seven years,” he said and the two times he’s been in jail he was released right away because it was clear he was not a menace to society.

He’s grateful to God because of his new life, which included the opportunity to start a business. He used to be a bad guy, but now has a wonderful, loving wife and three kids. “Things can turn around 180 degrees in a life and you can be given a chance to help others. I’m really one of the lucky ones.”

A living example of God’s amazing grace, Brady closed by stating, “Don’t give up on the rotten guy down the road.”

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