I've struggled for years as a rogue Christian, Church-less, or bouncing from church to church without membership or continued fellowship with its members. Back on February 2nd 2020 I walking into Grace Fellowship Church in Toronto, ONT. Canada. The story about how I found this Church is beautiful as well so let start from the beginning.
I came to Christianity (not according to my will or desire, but Gods will for my life) back in 2015, while I was in jail. I remember getting out of jail and wanting to be so good for God, that I didn't even swear for over a year and a half. This might come to you as a surprise, but my vocabulary wasn't the best at the time. I stopped listening to secular music or watching secular television, and I really wanted to learn about God and who or what He is. I would get a little bit of fellowship from a soup kitchen I attended, and sat around a few people who were Christians and talked about Jesus a lot. I soon ended up moving to BC due to some issues I had with my brother that lead to me getting charged. In BC I joined a group of people who were trying hard to live for Christ, but we never really went to church, and when we did it was always "lets go try this church" I ended up being kicked out of that group of people because I couldn't understand why God would predestine some for Hell, and others for Heaven, and I was apposed to the idea of a tyrant God type being damning us to eternal hell fire. I ended up joining a legalistic cult, that was into exorcism and false faith healing. This is where I learned to street preach and evangelize people, so I do believe God put me there for that reason. How ever the pastor was crazy and I tested his spirit when he couldn't heal me of my Chronic pain that mysteriously had hit me so suddenly, and that was not of God. I was in a relationship with someone and we were going to get married, she was much younger then me and it was difficult for me to manage and deal with the relationship due to the fall out in the group, plus where I was working, I started to slowly become angry again, and go secular due to the pain I was incurring, I became very over weight and ended up in a wheelchair for a few months. When I eventually came back to Ontario I ended up drinking daily and getting into a lot of fights, bur I did attend this Calvary Baptist Church in Windsor, ONT. with my buddy who I had the falling out with in BC. (We are now friends again, but have had some minor disagreements and working things out) This is where I met the guy who was now living in Toronto because His daughter was at the sick kids hospital there, but he came back for that 1 weekend in almost a year, where I met him. I moved back to Toronto in 2019 and just led a life of drugs and alcohol for a few months until I was placed in jail. However, I did reach out to the pastor at CBCW and asked him if he knew about a solid Church in Toronto. He connected me with Justin. Justin went to GFCT and invited to come and pick me up downtown and take me on the following Sunday, I agreed, but ditched, because I was ashamed. I ended up going to jail for fighting and drinking where I read the Gospel of Jesus by John MacArthur addressing the Lordship of Christ. This book hit me so hard I repented and started to get back on track with Christ. When I was released, I was determined to study hard and learn as much as I could because I wasn't going to waste my life anymore on things of this world, I was going to invest in a seminary somehow, even if it was only in a library of books on my laptop, I was determined. I spent all my money I had on a bible software called Logos.com and started to work. I messaged my buddy and fellow Street Preacher, Dorre Love, and asked him if he would disciple me and so we hit the streets, and did bible study basically daily. It did take long until we realized out theology was very different, and he started to show red flags of my previous legalistic Pastor from out west. We would attend a Pentecostal church where Dorre walked out of 3 times while we were there because of unqualified female pastors teaching from the pulpit. We then attended few more churches but they all sucked. Dorre was into the music and worship, and I wanted to Learn the bible. I reached out to Justin and asked him if I could go to his church for real this time, of course he extended his love and gave me the address but unfortunately he would't be attending due to moving back to Windsor. I invited Dorre, and was ditched. The sermon playing that day wasn't the best sermon I've heard, because they were introducing P-Mac (Paul MacDonald) to the congregation because he was going to be Church planted as a pastor somewhere else. However, This day we did communion together, and I don't know what happened to me but I started balling and tears coming down my face, sitting by myself in the 3rd row up front. A man named Murray sat next to me, and after the sermon He asked me my name, and asked me a little bit about myself and I told him a brief few things about who I was and my intentions in this Church. He simply extended his love and probably could see my brokenness and asked me if I'd like to come to lunch after the service. At first i was hesitant because I didn't have any money, and I hate being in this type of situation, so I asked him where it would be. He told me that his family has fellowship after church and we would all go back to his home and have lunch together, he assured me that there would in fact be plenty of food and because we weren't going to a restaurant I decided to take a chance and go. A tear falls down my face because this man literally has no idea what he did for me that day. I met the most wonderful people at that dinner table, and i opened up to them and trusted them with something i don't freely give to anyone. I decided right away that this was my home church and I wanted to become a member. Pastor Paul, a very giantly tall stature of a man of God with huge hands almost crushed my wrist when he shook my hand for the first time, I tried to hide the paid but I'm sure he could see it, I told him about having arthritis really back and I had to fist bump from now on. keep in mind this was the first time this fellow has ever met me, and he does not know anything about me nor should he even try to remember who I was or my pain in my wrist, but the next Sunday when I showed up early and made my way into the gym, he approached me with his hands in a fist to bump mine, and express how he remembered about my pain. to most people this might not mean anything but to me it meant the would because this man actually remembered and cared enough to make it a point not to hurt me. I instantly trusted him and was confirmed that I would become a member of this Church God willing! I started to show up early, because honestly I just wanted as much time their as I could get. I would attend the prayer meetings a few times, and pray with these people even though I was scared, I trusted them somehow. There is a member named JK who attend's this church, and the first few services I heard about him, and how we had similar testimony's, I think I met him the second or third Lords Day there, and was instantly inspired because he was my age and already had his masters in some type of biblical study, and later was accepted for PhD. He invited me to his home for a bible study and fellowship and this was when I got my first taste of fellowship with young adults like myself, who loved Jesus as much as I did, and held the same theological beliefs. I was in heaven. one time at a fellowship lunch at church I was with JK and his wife Laura. Laura asked me if I wanted to go to fellowship with her and JK and a few other people, I gave some lame excuse why I couldn't go, and she did't accept that, and went and got me a ride with them to attend. I was so happy I went, I played some cool board games, talked about Jesus, had some snacks and was able to for the first time in a long time, just be genuinely happy. These people have had an impact on my life in such a way that is indescribably and its only beed about 6 months, and half of that was over the internet due to the virus. The pasors have reached out to me various times, even though they are busy and i am not an official member yet. (I was up for membership vote the week Covid-19 happened)
2 months later Covid-19 happened and I haven't been able to have the right fellowship I need. I really miss these people even though I barley know them, I feel like I've known them forever, or that I am intended to know them forever. I feel a bond or an attachment to this church that I can't describe. I have been struggling with out them, and drinking and using drugs again. I've since repented however, again, since this seems to be a daily thing, (needing repentance) This is my struggle, that Satan wants to stop me from progressing. I have a hope in Christ that all things are for His Glory, though. I'f I never found this Church before Covid-19 happened I don't think I would be where I am today. I need this church and I love this church! I can't wait for the day it opens again and I can feel the embrace of love from the people God intended me to live life with.
I suggest you find a home Church and join as a member and get involved. Fill your time with the things of the Lord, and you will find a joy explainable. Don't be a rogue Christian.
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Grace Fellowship Church Toronto