We had spoken about it before, and now seems like exactly the right time. A week ago we lost 3 people, two to overdose, and God spoke to my heart that it's time to ramp it up!
There's a song I love called Light The Fire written by Bill Maxwell. In the refrain it says this: Light the fire in my soul, fan the flame make me whole. So ATB will make every attempt to fan the flame in our meetings, activities and services in March that leads to a greater relationship with the Lord. In God's timing and Spirit we will be "lit" in such a way that folks we serve get the message:
We are here for you, we will connect with you, we will teach you, and we will help you find God!
Are we and all our wonderful partners doing this already - absolutely, but not to the extent we will in March. The song goes on to say I feel your arms around me, as the power of your healing begins. You breathe new life right through me, like a mighty rushing wind.
The healing begins when one makes the decision to start, but in so many cases the fire flames out almost immediately because folks start to feel, they no longer have an escape route of their drug of choice and they quit. Or, they get to 90 days, 6 months clean and have nothing to do, the rush of adrenaline has not been replaced by that mighty rushing wind.
He has answers, we have a message, we have the arms, hands and feet to be those who speak revival to those He will revive. We are coming against everything that is coming against the 600 plus people we see a week with the power that can heal and breathe new life into a previously lifeless spirit.
Yes we will be "lit on fire" by Him, pray for us and all those we speak with that the fire spreads into many new hearts and souls and causes more revivals than a Narcan could ever do.
Look for details every week by every avenue of social media!
Been fortunate enough this week to spin off the AT & T commercial into several meetings. If you have never seen this series, they advocate that an okay situation (a doctor, a tax preparer, a babysitter, a tattoo artist and a mechanic) is not something you want done "just okay".
A.A.accurately says in the Big Book in How It Works, page 59, "Half measures avail us nothing. We stood at the turning point. We asked His protection and care with complete abandon." Recovery is not okay if it is just okay. We cannot do a little beer sometimes, smoke a joint now and then instead of meth or heroin, it is like the domino effect, it all falls down eventually. There may be an exception to the rule, but not many.
It also says in that prior section, that we have to be willing to go to any length, let go absolutely and be completely honest. For people who have been dishonest most of their lives and ever trying to escape, these are hard things to do, that is why we must have His protection to get through it all.
In 1 Kings 18 we read the story of Elijah confronting Ahab and 450 false prophets who believed that Baal was God. He said to them, "How long will you waver between two opinions? If the Lord is God, follow him; but if Baal is God, follow him." In other words, just okay is not okay when it comes to the God you believe in. And, if we bring that up to today, we better believe in the right God if we want to get clean and sober.
Elijah challenged them (450 to 1), he even taunted them - and guess who won the challenge? When you know what you believe is truth, you get confident in your faith and even greater confident in your God that he will come through when he needs to. Eventually the journey of faith that begins with a doorknob finds real power, and that power that comes from a relationship with Jesus Christ is way better than just okay.
Or, we can take our chances and live a just okay life that may or may not turn out just okay!
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"Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for thou art with me"
Somehow the King James Version of that phrase from the 23rd Psalm resonates louder than any other reading. Especially starting with that first word "Yea".
Normally when we are in a mess, when nothing seems to be happening the way we want, when real danger looms on the horizon, our very first words are not "Yea, for the valley of death spiral I seem to be in." In fact, in the last week there have been several people who have expressed being in this valley with me. Absolutely a brick wall seems to be in front of you at every turn and you become more despondent by the moment.
Unless, of course, you believe the rest of the words of that phrase. In Viet Nam I had these words inscribed on my Zippo lighter (not quite the same exact words if you understand what I mean), but they were an encouragement nonetheless. But now, I get it. There is no valley we can experience where the Lord is not with us, standing virtually in the midst of the battle fending off evil that is trying to shed doubt and discouragement, holding up the shield of faith that we will make it through and become stronger when we do.
There are so many reasons that this valley happens to us, some not by our own design, but there are some that God sends our way to ensure that we are battle tested and ready for that fight and suffering that comes from it, so that we are capable of carrying on his message with real power.
Real power that others can see in the way we handle that valley, in the way we deliver his good news, and in the way we comfort others who struggle through this. The apostles had it, those that died in the Lions Den had it, missionaries who die in the Lord's service had it, the Christians the Muslims beheaded had it and those of us who are fortunate enough to live through these battles have it.
Yea the present circumstances that we face will not defeat us because our God is much greater than any evil coming against us. If you are presently in this valley, look to the one who knows where the mountaintop is that will help us climb out of that valley. All the medication and mind altering substances in this world cannot compare to his glory that shines through us when we become like his stars of faith.
Remember those other words, for thou art with me, for he will never leave us or forsake us, he is our shield and protector in the midst of our strongest trials. Regardless of the outcome, he will be with us, and we will be with Him!
Yea that's what I am talking about!
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.