A little story about freedom

Our sneak peak of summer starts with a Memorial Day at the end of May. Some get a day off work, the kids get a day off school so we pack up the minivan and go to an overcrowded beach or theme park. We fly our flags, march in a parade and salute our veterans and sing let freedom ring. Less than two months later we have the biggest freedom...

If man’s best friend is a dog…

The phone call came from one of our truck drivers, a man who was a graduate of our program. A man with a long history of addiction. “We heard a sound from a box behind store 7 (one of our Family Stores in our county). There’s a puppy in it. Can we keep him?”   We’ve heard the saying that a dog is man’s best friend. I grew up in...

Is it time to receive your commission?

I, Paul, and my companions in faith here, send greetings to the Galatian churches. My authority for writing to you does not come from any popular vote of the people, nor does it come through the appointment of some human higher-up. It comes directly from Jesus the Messiah and God the Father, who raised him from the dead. I’m God-commissioned. Galatians 1:1-2 Message We are going to a commissioning. We’re...

Which lies do you believe?

The men come to us wearing the truth of addiction. Its stench is a life rotting away from the denial they are caught in its grip. Their faces gaunt, their eyes flat, their hearts hollowed from its lies. For too many food, rest, and a hot shower will cover addictions truth: it comes to destroy. They will, again, believe the lie they can do this on their own. That lie...

There are always alternative facts

Our son was at the age where he was losing the last of his baby teeth. He was also at the age of uncertainty of a tooth fairy. He was leaning toward believing this was another fable parents told their kids much like the more famous one about, well, you know…..the fat guy in a red suit. Jonathan called out to his dad one morning. The tooth still under his...

The sacraments aren’t the same as salvation

We noticed the small crowd of people in waters about waist high. They were just off the shores of our local beach. My curiosity was raised as I craned my neck to get a look at what was going on. Ah….as I thought…a baptism. The hugs of joy from those on the sand encircled the man, dripping wet from going under these waters made holy. I was 12 the first...

Everyone worships something

Once a year we have our Sunday worship gathering in a park. It’s intentional though started by necessity. It began by needing to vacate our building that shelters a maximum of 100 men for at least six hours while the electricity was turned off to install a generator. The generator is needed in the event of power loss from a hurricane. (Since hurricane season is one of our two seasons...

We’re on a mission

The organization we’re with has a purpose statement for the area we’re assigned to. We have an overall mission statement but in our singularly focused area of ministry, we also have a statement defining our purpose. It says, in part: “The primary purpose of an Adult Rehabilitation Center is the spiritual regeneration and rehabilitation of men who have undergone a process of disaffiliation from those significant ties, which enable individuals...

Learning to Love ‘These People’

“Mama, are you going to give that man some money?” We stopped for after school Icee’s at the corner convenience store. The homeless man stood at the corner in his rumpled, dirty clothes and his blank stare. “No. We don’t give money to those people.” I continued the education that had been given me as a child. These people were different. They’re on drugs or drunks. They’re not like us....