The Alpha Course: “I knew very little about the Jesus I thought I knew so much about”

As the fall session of The Alpha Course is almost upon us {Tuesday, September 17, 2013},  we thought we’d take five to ask Alpha Course graduate, Tony Beaudion about his experience with Alpha. Tony now works with The Recovery Course and Celebrate Recovery here at Immanuel, and his road to that began with Alpha. 

IC: What’s the story about how you were invited to or heard about Alpha?
Tony Beaudion: It all started with just coming to Immanuel for an adult baptism, which I did not understand since she was already baptized as a child. It was only going to be one Sunday as I already had a church. Now here is the rest of the story …

Immanuel Church: What was your relationship with God like before Alpha?
TB: Before Alpha I knew about Jesus and who He was but I did not have a close personal relationship with him. After the baptism mentioned above I decided to try Immanuel Church. Still committed to my church I went to its 9 a.m. service and then Immanuel at 10:45. Six months later I started attending Immanuel only and that started things.

IC: Did you ever think you would go to Alpha?
TB: I never considered going to Alpha; I thought since I knew so much, what was the need? I was invited several times and had the same response, ‘I am above that already.’ The person inviting me told me later she thought I would never go.

After persistence by my friend and her telling me there was someone in Alpha leadership I would really like, I decided to go. She was, of course, right. He made me feel very comfortable, and we are still friends today.

IC: Did you have an “aha” moment during Alpha? Please share.
TB: I found out during the 10 sessions that I knew very little about the Jesus I thought I knew so much about. I found a fellowship in Alpha I had not experienced before. I became a member of Immanuel shortly afterward and was baptized.  I thought what my parents did was enough, but now know that once I made the decision to accept Jesus as my Lord and Savior that is when I should get baptized. It is an experience I will never forget. Little did I know at the time that Alpha would lead to Beta then The Recovery Course and now Celebrate Recovery.

IC: What was your relationship with God like after Alpha?
TB: Today I have a relationship with Jesus like never before and I keep praying for that relationship to grow deeper, filling me with the knowledge and wisdom of the Holy Spirit so I can be of maximum service to Him and His children.

IC: Would you encourage others to attend Alpha? Could you speak into any fears of hinderances some may have?
TB: If you are on the fence about whether to accept Jesus as your Lord and Savior, then this course if for you. If you just want to know more about this Jesus people are talking [about], Alpha is a good starting place. It’s no pressure and you can just listen if you want, but I’m sure you will have some questions as you go along.

IC: In one word, describe Alpha.
TB: I try to reserve the word awesome just for God, but since this is all about Jesus, Alpha was Awesome!

Want to learn more about The Alpha Course? Join us for a free, no-pressure brunch this Saturday, September 14 from 9:00 -11:30 a.m. at Key Lime Cove in Gurnee to learn more about The Alpha Course at Immanuel Church. 

Local Outreach: Love, INC. {Immanuel Church Unleashed}

Because of your generous giving lives are being changed! Here’s a story of how God is at work through Immanuel people in our own community! Thank you for your generosity!

by Cyndi Pleasant, Immanuel attendee and co-leader of the Love INC ICU team

Listening to Pastor Joe’s sermon and hearing the words from Isaiah 61 a few weeks ago, resonated with me after a day of volunteering with members of the Immanuel family and our partners from Love Inc.

Once a month several people from Immanuel come together to deliver basic necessities and the Love of Jesus to families and individuals that are starting out in an apartment or home after a time of loss and despair. Entering an apartment with only a chair and a lamp … a hospital bed to sleep on because that’s what you were given upon leaving the hospital after surgery, the emptiness of this apartment became quite noticeable. It made me aware of how much I have, and how much I have that I could live without. Yet even without a couch, a dresser or a coffee table, there is thankfulness for no longer having to live in a shared living arrangement where personal space is a coveted commodity.

The joy we shared as we spoke about Jesus’ love for these recipients of used furniture and household items was by far the best part of the day. We gave out Bibles and prayed together before going on to our next delivery. We encouraged joining in worship with a nearby church and offered names of churches in their area. On we went after big hugs and even bigger smiles.

In the words of Pastor Joe: “The deepest joy, the longest lasting joy comes when we join hands with God in the mission to serve the poor, the needy and those in bondage.”

Joining God in this mission of sharing the joy of knowing Him truly does bring the lightest step and the deepest joy. If you haven’t had this experience you truly haven’t lived. We are blessed to be a part of a church family that offers so many opportunities to join together in this mission.

If you’d like to be involved in an Immanuel Church Unleashed project, visit our website and learn more!