Have you ever read the sign on a store, restaurant, or similar public place and the name turned you off? The establishment might be perfectly fine but the name makes you feel uneasy. This has happened to me many times, most notably in November of 1996.
As I walked to a convenience store in the neighbourhood I’d just moved to, I noticed a cement building with black letters on its front. When I read, “FIRST EDMONTON EVANGELICAL MISSIONARY CHURCH,” I wanted nothing to do with the place. I envisioned people being pushed over by the preacher and then rolling around the floor. I imagined other charismatic activities such as people jabbering away in tongues and making animal noises. Having come from a cultic house church that was fixated on signs and wonders, I shunned the building.
Toward the end of November, I began to have second thoughts. If I didn’t like the Sunday service, I could always walk home. So I worked up my courage and walked into the foyer on a snowy Sunday morning. An elderly man greeted me and invited me to attend Sunday school since I arrived so early. I reluctantly walked to the room he indicated.
To my surprise, it was filled with adults who diligently studied their Bibles. I enjoyed the lesson that the Sunday school leader taught. This was the sort of edification I’d craved for years.
The Sunday service was also different than I expected. The congregation sang hymns and behaved themselves respectfully. The pastor’s message was also orderly and filled with properly-exegeted scriptures.
That first service impressed me so much that I attended the church for almost four years. When I moved to my current home, I found a similar church in the next town and willing congregants to take me there.
You can read the entire story in How I Was Razed: A Journey from Cultism to Christianity. It shows how the Lord led me out of a toxic house church to the freedom of his compassionate grace. Visit Amazon, Barnes & Noble, or Virtual Bookworm Publishers for details about this remarkable testimony of God’s providential guidance.