This past Sunday was super exciting as we welcome in our second new member’s class of the year. It is amazing to watch how God continues to build Christ Church through reaching those who are far from Christ. This class was particularly special, because it included some of our first graduates from Hope House. Hope house is our discipleship residence program for those who struggle with addictions. Below is a testimony from one of the men from Hope House. What a privilege it was to hear this and then baptize this brother!
– Pastor Jeff
I want to start with John 14:6, “ I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the father except through me.”
First and foremost, I like to thank my Lord and Savior Jesus Christ for everything he has done for me and everything he will continue to do for me. He’s changed my life.
I was born and raised in South Philly with my brother and sister. My Dad was the breadwinner and my mom the home maker. I had everything I wanted and needed. My dad was the glue that held the family together spiritually and financially. Being raised Catholic, Jesus Christ was always in our household whether it was from schooling or through my father who was very devout. However, my father passed away at the age of 41 and I questioned the Lord, “Why?” The answer I received was that He needed him more than I did. I was 9 years old and that answer was hard to swallow. I started struggling.
At the age of 17 I enlisted in the USMC to take some of the pressure off my mother, While in the Marines, I was deployed to Beirut and Grenada where I saw first hand fellow Marines and others dying around me. Again I asked the question, “Why?” Why them and not me?” I had no answers. I turned to drugs and alcohol to cope when I got out of the Marines.
For ever 30 years I was a great servant to a terrible master and I served it well. I began to want to live less and less. I tried suicide, but my life was spared. Still I struggled and was never at peace. I’ve been through the revolving door of rehabs. I never got better. The door just kept revolving.
And then God brought me to Transformation to Recovery at Christ Church. The Jesus that I had heard about all those years ago from my father, he became real to me. He became real through the people that I came to know. Chris King explained to me the good news of Jesus. John Carlson helped me to put my faith in Jesus. Arthur Robinson showed me what it looks like to be a godly man and he is the kindness most selfless person that I have ever met. Pastor Jeff saw what God could do in me and believed in me, even when I didn’t believe in myself. I’ve heard a leopard may not be able to change his spots, but he can change his walk. I believe this is what has happened in me through being born again. I still have my struggles, but now I know that I am not struggling alone. Jesus is my forgiveness, the Holy Spirit my strength and living one moment at a time, I will make it through. I have surrendered my life to Jesus and he is my hope.
I will end with Philippians 4:13, “I can do all things through Christ who gives me strength.”