As a teenager and even into my days growing as a Marine, I don't recall ever thinking about getting married and having children. Having grown up in a divorced, single parent family, my thoughts were never about that as there was never that. My thoughts were initially to be a professional baseball player and then just to fall in love. My life never seemed to fit into a world of "normal".
Coming home with the disappointment of the war in Viet Nam I became lost, running the race of life as a sprint, getting as much as I could from whomever I could. I took Paul's words in Corinthians and turned them upside down, I ran like a runner running aimlessly with no apparent prize in sight and continued this way until my mid 30's, never finding a place where I fit in.
After all, it is the human race, so why not run it as fast and as furious as one can? But what happened to me is possibly what happened to you. I ran out of gas, became empty, and no longer had any clue which direction my life should go in. There was no lane to run in, and no finish line in sight.
Then came Jesus and I found my lane. Then came Paul's words only in a different perspective:
"You must also run in such a way that you will win......They do it to win a prize that will fade away, but we do it for an eternal prize......So I run straight to the goal with purpose in every step. I am not like a boxer who misses his punches." 1 Corinthians 9:24-27 partial - NLT
Now the light bulbs turned on, Run To Win, but do so with a purpose in mind, that purpose being the mind of Christ to run and lead others to the finish line without living or punching aimlessly. Quite frankly I threw way too many aimless ones that missed, all because I had no idea what prize I was running for.
Now I do, and as the preacher at Sandy Springs Church of Christ and later at North Atlanta, Bill Long, so accurately put it, the prize is simple. Go to heaven and take as many people as we can with us.
That my friends is a marathon event, not a sprint, in which every single one of us can Run To Win!
There is only one way to approach addiction recovery, and that is with a humble attitude and a spirit of powerlessness. Step One talks about it and a key phrase is that "our lives have become unmanageable". There is a fog present when we stop using, and that fog can only clear up if we are patient enough to endure however long it lasts.
That is where we come in as well as a host of other wonderful organizations, that provide Steps, suggestions and spiritual solutions that lead to recovery. It is imperative that we all work together for the common good of those we serve, and for the ultimate good of leading people into a relationship with the Lord. Patience, as well as humility is a fruit of the Spirit, and we who support this effort to recover need to be extremely patient with the process.
As ATB continues to grow and add meetings, partners and services, we must be humble in asking people to support us, and patient that God will provide what we need. But we must always ask, because the priorities of life are different for each person and the only way to remind people we are here, and that we need support is to continue to ask for it.
And, as we ask, we do so humbly imploring others that what we do benefits them, their families and our community by contributing to our cause. Their own children, spouses, friends and extended family battle addiction, who is there to help? Who answers the call at 2 AM when the caller has caused so many problems that they are cut off from all those who know them?
In many cases, we, and those like us, are the last resort before dire consequences. We are on the front line because somebody has to stand in the gap, somebody has to provide an avenue of hope when all the rest of it has been used up by that lost soul. We are not God, but we are the ones he has chosen to act on his behalf with open arms and forgiving hearts when no one else is left to do so.
We are here, only by the grace of God, and by your generous hearts. Please continue to stand with us and offer your financial aid so that the call will not go unanswered. May God bless your giving!
Glenn Yankowski, Executive Director
Across The Bridge Inc.
Mailing Address: 6600 Sugarloaf Pkwy #400/281 Duluth Ga 30097
Physical Address: 900 Cripple Creek Drive Suite A Lawrenceville Ga 30043
For some unusual reason most of my life has been spent trying to overachieve. The overwhelming desire to do so has been somewhat tamed, but like most of us, all of the defects we have will never be totally removed, it is in our nature to be of course, human beings.
We have some prime examples of good overachievers, and it starts with the apostle Paul. He was here, he was there, he was everywhere, and he almost ran himself into the ground on several occasions, including despairing of life itself. When we run that way on human power, not empowered by the Holy Spirit, we tend to flame out. If we remember correctly, he did tend to think his way was the right way, and God had to reel him in.
But Paul wrote of The More Excellent Way in his letter to the Philippians. He said in paraphrased words, if you have any encouragement in your relationship with Christ, have the same joy to serve and purpose that he had. Then he wrote the key to overachieving only as far as God would take us:
Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit, but in humility consider others better than yourselves.
That perspective change is the actual key to success in my life, getting out of the way (though still moving forward) and finding God's way rather than my own. Being humble, as Christ constantly preached and demonstrated in his own behavior, and not caring who got the credit for anything accomplished (all the praise and glory to Him), and has become the most excellent way to travel on.
Does it still wear you out, do we still feel somewhat spent most of the time? Of course, but when poured out, you begin to realize that this time it was for the right reason, and the Holy Spirit ignites us with new, fresh energy every day, led by that Spirit to tread on The More Excellent way that follows His path, in His direction, with His people who are way more important than we are.
Can't tell you how good I felt writing this, am about ready to jump for joy. But then I remembered my back pain and decided just to smile a lot. I will bet He is smiling too!
It seems like it will never end, and it most likely won't. People pray with and for us, but it doesn't go away. We cry out to God for relief, and the answer comes back like this, "My grace is sufficient for you". And then the condition of human fallibility hits us, we are in for The Struggle.
The question is not when it will come, but how will we handle it when it does? This is a world where things don't always even out in our eyes, but in God's vision it is in perfect balance. Bad things happen to good people even in the middle of them doing the best they have ever done. And people trying to change, those of us who have visited hell here on earth and survived, there always seems to be one thing that hangs on to us and won't let go.
So what are we to do? Maybe take heart in what the Apostle Paul wrote:
Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ's power may rest on me. That is why, for Christ's sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong. 2 Cor 9.5-10
No magic here, just reality. Think of it this way, your spouse or your child is tortured and nailed to a cross to show you how much they love you. Before they die, they ask you one thing, to remember how they handled themselves in the middle of their worst struggle. Do the same as I did, in other words.
That is why those words, "My grace is sufficient for you" should sustain us in whatever struggle we are in. Jesus showed us how to take the pain then Paul showed us how to turn it into gain. Because others are always watching us to see if we act like what we believe in. And, how do we grow if we never learn how to handle The Struggle?
Or just say it like this: When I am weak and the struggle overwhelms me then He is strong within me to handle what I must go through. He did it, they did it, I can do all things through Him who gives me strength!
The popular phrase to describe many different scenarios is "Boom." Mostly it is a good thing, just a descriptive way to say wow, that happened! Then there is the other side, When Things Go Boom in a tragic way.
Wednesday night in the middle of nowhere, without rhyme or reason, after hearing a great speaker talk about the one thing he was holding back from God, 7 people surrendered their life to Christ. No intention to do so by our good brother, Darryl as he was getting ready to pray, it just became a spontaneous outpouring of faith. He let the Holy Spirit do his thing, and Boom!
Then, there was the loss of her home to fire of our dear sister Tabatha, who has already endured way too many hardships. Such a good woman helping many, working multiple jobs to raise her four grandchildren, and then another tragedy hits.
We will all rally to help her, but within her beats that heart of a champion that will not let things derail her from what her purpose is, where her faith is at, or those beautiful children that she has taken on the responsibility of raising. Boom! That's the sound of that enormous heart beating within her that will see her through this tragedy because she knows the God she serves is so much bigger than any earthly temporary setback.
When things go Boom we tend to focus more on the event (s) but we should think about those within that event and how it affects their lives. In those seven, it will be how we rally around them to teach and support them after their decision, long after the applause and "Atta boys" are over. They require a nurturing to strengthen their new faith.
In Tab's case, it's how do we support a person whose life has changed who was doing so well and yet had a life changing tragedy? How do we explain it to her except by the way we react to love and support her through this life rebuild. Not just with words, but with actions that create more than just noise.
The reality of our walk with the Lord, is that both good and bad situations still happen, but when those bad ones do, we want to make sure our walk with Him is strong enough that our lives don't blow up in one big Boom!
Glenn is an ex-Marine Viet Nam vet who is also a recovering alcoholic, clean and sober for 30 years. He has been involved in start up and ongoing recovery ministry at North Atlanta Church and Campus for the last two decades. He has a passion for outreach and to spread the message that the answer to lasting and fulfilling recovery from addiction is in a relationship with Jesus Christ. He and the ATB team are available to assist in your questions or needs on an individual basis and will do so maintaining complete confidentiality. You may e-mail him at firstname.lastname@example.org.