Staring Into the Abyss & Finding the God of Grace.

It is often said by people who say preaching grace is a very bad thing and that grace will cause you to lose your holiness. These 2 had to deal with an unplanned pregnancy. Since they were not married, they were admonished publicly. The church also refused to marry them. Since then, they had to deal with condemnation, shame and had almost lost the faith. This was due to their act of immorality, I must state. It has nothing with the said church.

This is a testimony of what the Grace Gospel had done. This is dedicated to those who preach that we have to condemn people for their sin for real repentance to happen. This is simply not true. When sin abounds, Grace much more abound. Read this. This is a remarkable story of how a man and a woman who looked into the abyss of losing their faith, marriage and hope and how a God of grace ministered to them. It all started in April 2011 when Jonathan’s name popped up on my MSN Messenger.

No more condemnation

By Jonathan Wong

I’ve been a Christian about 20 years now. Since I first accepted Christ, I started going to Sunday School and then to church, all the while serving in areas that I felt God had given me talents in. My girlfriend and I became tutors in Sunday School and were part of the music team and the choir.

However, my girlfriend and I became sexually active, and she got pregnant. I was 23, and she was 22. We confessed our situation to the church leaders and were relieved of all our service in church and told to refrain from partaking of the communion as part of the disciplinary action, with the assurance that we will be restored after some time.

The guilt and condemnation of what we had done was immense and a great burden. We were ashamed of ourselves. We got married, and after about 3 years, we were restored to church ministry. Yet, nothing felt the same. Singing in the choir became just singing and doing something we were good at. Going to church soon became a burden. The Bible became dead to us.

After our second child in 2003, we started missing church now and then, due to all sorts of excuses. Then, it completely stopped when our third child came in 2006. The responsibilities and burdens of life took a toll; church became a distraction, and God became an after-thought.

My marriage became very rocky, and my wife and I would be constantly arguing, mostly over financial matters. My short temper did not help. We were on the brink of a divorce until divine intervention came.

One day, a former church friend of many years started making contact with me on MSN Messenger and asked about my family. He began to minister to me and introduced the message of grace to me. I vividly remember him telling me that I already possess God’s righteousness and that it could not be taken away even if I sinned. He told me of testimonies of healings and miracles of supernatural proportions. It was too much to take then, too radical. I asked, “Could it really be so easy?” I couldn’t believe that God would bless, heal and miraculously confer favour to us.

I finally accepted his invitation to join him at the New Covenant Church (tNCC) on Easter 2010. As he continued to minister to my wife and me, as we continued to mingle in the presence of other church members, as we continued to soak in the wonderful Good News of grace that brought us to Christ in the first place, the supernatural became a natural part of our lives.

We began to accept the truth that we are the righteousness of God in Christ and revel in the fact that by Christ’s perfect, finished work at Calvary. We felt our burdens of life, the condemnation and guilt of having had pre-marital sex while serving in church and conceiving a child out of wedlock, lifted off our shoulders completely.

For the first time in so many years, we felt liberated with so much joy. My relationship with my wife healed. My finances started straightening out. Money came from unexpected sources and helped to relieve debts and support the family. There was supernatural favour in all areas of our lives. The key to all of that was to learn and experience shalom and rest in our hearts.

A particular highlight was how my mom re-dedicated her life to Christ. She had accepted Christ in her teens, but after her older sister died of cancer, she resented God and denounced her faith. She embraced another faith strongly for many years, reading more books on that religion that I had read of the Bible.

When we first started attending tNCC, her condition became much worse, and the cancer metastasized to all parts of her body. We prayed for a miraculous healing for her. Unbeknown to us, God was actually healing her spiritually instead. Through the visitation of the pastor and a few other friends from tNCC, God softened her heart and she re-dedicated her life to Christ a week before she passed away. As staunch as she was in her previous faith, her eventual re-dedication to Christ was nothing short of a miracle to me.

Now, my wife and I are actively serving in tNCC’s worship team, and we cannot wait for the next service in church. We’re always excited and expectant to be washed over by the word of God, and we can never hear enough of His grace.

Safe & Sound

By Chermaine Kay Robson

I came from a broken family. My parents were divorced when both my sister and I were very young. My mother had custody of us. As my character was very similar to my father’s, I felt like I was treated as the black sheep in the family. I always felt that I couldn’t live up to my mother’s expectations. Soon I lost my self confidence and found myself searching for love and belonging outside.

In 1991, I attended my school’s Christian Union and was invited to Sunday school and church. I accepted the Lord as my Saviour that year, despite my mum’s objections. To me, church was the only place I could find solace, where Jesus’ love protected me.

I met my husband, Jon, in church. We courted briefly, broke up, and then reunited four years later when we were teaching the same Sunday school class and serving in the choir. We were so caught up in serving that we lost track of God. I got pregnant.

From then on, I felt a hundred steps further away from God because of my great sin. Although there were some people who tried to help us, I still felt like an outcast. Some of the responses we got made me feel so condemned, bitter and resentful. I felt that not only was I not good enough for my mum but I was also not good enough for God.

We drifted in and out of church. After Sean, our eldest son, was born, then came Danielle, our daughter. I kept praying to God every day, asking for forgiveness and for Him to keep my family well. Our marriage was filled with shouting and quarrelling. I didn’t feel secure and couldn’t trust my husband, always fearing the same fate that befell my parents.

In 2006, God blessed us with our youngest daughter, Chloe. It was a testing time for us as she was born premature. Her lungs were not developed fully yet. She was on life support in the ICU, and the doctors were not sure if she would survive till the next day.

I told God, “Why now? I can’t take it God.” I heard a still voice telling me, “My child, have faith in me. I will not let things happen that you can’t handle.” I could only hold her tiny little fingers and sing, “Jesus loves you this I know.” Miraculously, she survived and strengthened and could be discharged within five days! Usually it takes weeks and months. I thank God for His grace every time I see this feisty 5-year-old today.

However, with three children, we stopped attending church; we were worn out and tired. Then in 2007, my mother-in-law fell ill. I received a VSS letter from my company, so I decided to quit my career to take care of my mother-in-law and my children. The toll on my marriage continued, and we were on the brink of divorce.

On Easter Sunday last year, we visited tNCC for the first time upon the invitation of a friend. I didn’t really find it pleasant. I couldn’t accept the grace message. My heart was still very bitter and hard. To me, nothing could come so easy.

Little did I know, my husband was liberated by the grace message. I could see changes in him. He became more patient, loving and affectionate to me and the children. He listened more and was more sensitive towards me.

Despite our tight finances, my husband decided that I should have a break and attend the church Family Camp in 2010 by myself. On the first night, camp speaker Paul Anderson Walsh’s sermon liberated me and changed my mindset of being a Christian. I saw how God was showing His kindness and grace towards me. I was no longer an outcast — I am free from condemnation and guilt. I am seated next to Jesus because of His victorious death on the cross for me. I am safe and sound in God’s hands.

From that time, I began to read the Bible in a different light. As we began to let God do His work in our life, we saw our finances, marriage, children and family life changed. Sean and Danielle took the step of baptism. My husband and I celebrated our 11th wedding anniversary by renewing our vows before God in the church ceremony that we never had.

At the same time, though, my mother-in-law’s health took a turn for the worst. By God’s strength and wisdom, together with our pastor and church members, we shared the Good News to her. A week before she passed away, I managed to pray with her, and she rededicated her life to Jesus. She’s now up in heaven, sitting next to Jesus. Praise the Lord!

I thank God that He has reconciled me with my father, and I continue to claim that one day, my mum and my in-laws will come to know the Lord in His perfect time.

All of my days now, I rest in You, Lord. I am free now. I no longer need to strive to be good. I have You in me, Your supernatural power that works supernatural things in me and through me. Though trials and tribulations may come, I know that You are in control. Nothing can touch me for I am the righteousness of God in Jesus.

Thank you, Jesus!

Jon & Cher first shared their story at our Sunday celebration on July 18, 2010. They renewed their marriage vows on their 11th anniversary, on Sept 25, 2010.