There are times when opportunities present themselves that tell us what we are made of. Our faith and perseverance are tested beyond anything we faced before, and we wonder how strong we are.
What we are facing right now in the COVID-19 crisis is a big challenge, but it is no greater than any one we have overcome before. For some of us, it is just another mountain to climb, for others it is an immense struggle. What makes this one different is the media hype and social media frenzy that has stirred up fears rather than calm them.
In Viet Nam, most thought we had a walk over, an easy battle to win over a nation far inferior in weapons and technology. It was the first war the media could report back to the US with uncensored coverage. We spent a few years fighting with one hand tied behind our back (a politicians war), then we got hit hard all across the country by the enemy in what was known as the Tet Offensive.
This surge, which was later pushed back, inflicted major casualties on the enemy, but it gave them confidence they could win. Simultaneously the media sent back photos of broken and torn up bodies, dead American soldiers and made commentaries about the severe brutality of it all. It was certainly bad, as all war is, but the hype made it worse.
Much of it was true, as are the mounting number of cases and deaths of COVID-19, but any attempt to think positively and have optimism about the outcome, the supplies coming, the many who are sacrificing to help others, is met with way more amounts of gloom and doom. The Tet Offensive turned the Viet Nam war in the enemy's direction, and today, an attitude of negativity and dire consequences can turn our faith into many fears. With that attitude, the enemy wins.
David, who faced battles and controversies seemingly daily, said it like this in Psalm 144: Praise be to the Lord, my Rock, who trains my hands for war, my fingers for battle. He is my loving God and my fortress, my stronghold, and my deliverer, my shield, in whom I take refuge, who subdues people under me.
We may not be ready for all the consequences of COVID-19 and all the medical emergencies that come with it, but we have already been given, through our faith in the Lord, all that we need to overcome what's coming in this battle.
Don't let anyone tell you anything different!
In conjunction with our recovery partners and in the best interest of the people we serve, we are shutting down all meetings at the ATB Building and the two churches we partner with, Campus Church & Life Church International until April 1, at which time we will re-visit potential meetings. This includes the Saturday Night Community Worship, ATB 12 Step, CA, CMA, & SAA. We will continue to be available for on-site meetings and any individual groups who wish to conduct self contained type small meetings at ATB.
We are also working on video meetings as we type this and will provide info on that soon. Additionally, I will be available to speak with anyone who needs to talk at 404-915-7376.
We are family always and will do what is right to preserve and save lives, as well as to continue to trust in the God we serve to bring us through this crisis. Always Faith over Fear!
This country has been through so many crisis, and yet still stands strong. You, me, many of us have been through hell and back and are still standing. Now is a time to remember what brought us through - faith, not sight.
Everybody has their predictions, protocols and precautions for the Coronavirus, but it is a great time to remember the one who knows the outcome asks us to stand on his rock of faith and hold on. ATB remains open for those at risk subject to evolving circumstances.
We are Standing On The Rock! But we are taking a few added steps for the safety of our folks:
1. Asking people to stay home from our gatherings if they are sick and asking that they cover their mouth and nose when sneezing or coughing. If anyone has a persistent cough or sneeze we will kindly ask them to leave.
2. Continuing all events as normal unless mandated by government or state requirements, but changing the circle of hands & hugs at the end of our meetings to praying in place.
3. Ensuring our ATB Building is cleaned and disinfected per CDC guidelines after every meeting.
It is important that people like us who deal with at risk people by the nature of what we do, continue to be there for them to show strength, courage and determination to win this current battle. It is all important to remember that whether we get sick (stats show only 1 in about 20-25 who contract the virus are dying) and if we should die from it, we will be in the right place anyway. We are just trying not to take anyone else with us too soon.
So let's have faith, strength and an attitude that this too will end, and let's continue the battle as soldiers in an ongoing battle to lead our folks to the right place in life!
We live in the greatest country in the world, free to express our rights, religion and reasonable opinions, which include love, sometimes hatred, and often contempt. We even fought against ourselves over freedom to have slavery. But yet, many of us are still slaves. Slaves to money, prejudice and addiction to so many other things.
Additionally, God gave us free will, so in America, we should be totally and unconditionally free. And yet, just one look around our community will show us that our freedom and free will has led us into the edge of darkness, a place where we have blocked the sunlight of God's Spirit and replaced it with the images of gods similar to what our Hebrew brethren did wandering in the desert.
God has given us the promised land, yet we remain unfulfilled in our promises. We only have to look at two of the most quoted scriptures to see that God knew, despite all he did for us, we would still be discontent.
Pick one: Then you will know the truth and the truth will set you free. John 8:32
So if the son sets you free, you will be free indeed. John 8:36
The first one offers a qualifier most people do not quote: If you hold to my teachings. Simply, we will be free if we are in covenant with Him. In the next one it adds a disclaimer afterward: I know you are Abraham's descendants. Yet you are ready to kill me.
Bottom line, we have been truly blessed, but we continue to throw those blessings away by exercising what we have defined as freedom, we kill the messenger of faith, and we turn our back on the real God for all the fake gods of what we call pleasure. Then, the pleasure requires more pleasure, because the pleasure becomes less.
But to be truly freed, to walk away from the internal incarceration of slavery, to bask in the glow of perpetual freedom, we must walk and stay in the Son-light!
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.