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The power of your changed life can be very persuasive even to those who refuse to be persuaded by the word itself.

Just a few years ago, Decision magazine told the story of Rick and Shawna Pilat, a Winnipeg couple who had recently come to faith in Christ. For Shawna, it started on a Sunday morning in January 2000, when her husband, Rick, had not yet come home from his all-night partying.

As Shawna angrily washed dishes in the kitchen, she noticed a man speaking on the television. She was quickly drawn to his message – he was funny and warm, and seemed to be speaking at her level. “I felt something come over me that I can’t explain,” she remembers. “I couldn’t quit crying. At the end of the program it said, ‘Join us,’ and it gave the name of a church in Winnipeg.” Shawna says, “I couldn’t get my son dressed fast enough.”

On the way to the church, Shawna had one purpose in mind: getting emotionally strong enough to kick Rick out. She had tried using marijuana, alcohol, and various relationships to put Rick out of her heart. Now she thought she’d found the answer, but God had a surprise for her.

At the end of the message, the pastor invited people to give their lives to Christ. Shawna raised her hand. “I never looked back,” Shawna says. Three weeks later, Rick asked if he could join her at church.

He had seen the change in her life, and he knew that his behavior was hurting his family. He was addicted to drugs and sex, but after four or five weeks of attending church with his wife, he recognized his need for Christ.

Still, the following months were not easy for Rick. He says, “I was going to church and wanting to do right, but I kept doing wrong.” It wasn’t until a Promise Keepers event that Rick finally came to true and genuine faith in Christ. That day, he turned from his sin and accepted the forgiveness God offers through Jesus Christ. Then he went home and told his wife, “I can be the husband you need me to be now.”

As a result, Rick and Shawna’s lives took a 180-degree turn. They became active in their church, and now they share the hope of God’s restoration and forgiveness with struggling couples as volunteers with Promise Keepers. Rick says, “When I think how Jesus can change people – no matter how deep in sin they are – that overwhelms me. If he did it for us, he can do it for anybody.”

(Source: Kristen Burke, “Winnipeg Couple Set Free,” Decision magazine, December 2006, p.13. From a sermon by C. Philip Green, Grace at Home--Part I, 6/11/2011)

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