As dream becomes reality next week when we move into our facility, and with the New Year quickly approaching, it is a good time to reflect on the absolute blessings God has given us and how we must put them to use for His purpose. After all, we owe everything to the people who have supported us, and to those moving forward with us, and to the God who always goes before us.
In the early part of 2000 Campus Church began an involvement in the recovery ministry, and they asked for help to get started. From that beginning of training at North Atlanta to the duplex of disaster to meetings of 2-3 people, to these moments of today, that Church has stood with and beside us to love on us, nurture us and develop us into a ministry that reached over 10,000 people this past year. Campus has been the earthly rock of our foundation and will remain a key partner in our future. More than just Christian brothers and sisters, they are awesome people of compassion.
Then, this past November, we began a new relationship with Life Church International, the first of a few Church expansions we hope to have. Not only did they open the door, they have literally embraced this opportunity to help the addiction community with our meetings, service work, food box program and outreach to help people find a relationship with the Lord. A big shout out to Darryl, a minister on staff who is all in on our partnership.
Then there is Good Landing Recovery, a faith based sober living and intake facility that has blossomed into a major partner. Trey Lewis, the founder, had been a speaker at most of our "Celebrations" and is a lights out man of God who tells it like it is. We have and will continue to prosper together.
Add to this our partnerships with Step By Step, Sober Living Recovery, and Sober Living America and great people like Bridget, Christy, Randy, Ryan and Taylor, the tireless leaders who continue to lead through the ups and downs of this recovery process who have invited us into their lives. It compliments our own faith to serve each one of these.
Then there are the amazing efforts of the Combees, Willie Mae, Tab, Trellis, our singers the Devaneys and Proclaim, Jenny and Megan, and our chef and all purpose guy, David. This rounds out the framework of our future vision of a solid starting team. Add to this supportive families like the Dowdys, the Thames, the Burnetts, the White's, the Thomas's X 2 and so many others giving us the encouragement to continue to serve on the front line of faith.
I say "starting" because we are just beginning to make a difference in others lives and we are just following in the footsteps of our forefathers of faith. And, now to our complete surprise, we may have the opportunity to help rescue another church. The church that leased the property before us had their loan fall through, and now must find a temporary home to worship in. I have spoken to the pastor and we are trying to work something out to accommodate them.
We just happen to have some space available. Selah!
Yesterday I had a conversation with someone about those times when God shows up big time with a personal encounter. I'm talking about those moments when there is no doubt that it is a God moment, one in which he puts his indelible mark on our lives. Christmas reminds me of that, and how sometimes we just don't get it.
Very few people said when he was born - It's Him! Very few people who heard him preach or watched his miracles said - It's Him! And when he died on that cross, nary a soul around, except one awe struck soldier said - It's Him!
How often do these moments happen when we just take it as a matter of fact instead of thinking, man, this is the creator of the world talking to me, this is the one and only walking with me, this is I Am going where I am. The more it happens the more ordinary we take it, but the feeling should be, God you are there, you are with me and I am overwhelmed at your presence in my life!
This time of my life, I am not letting every single moment of knowing It's Him pass by without really letting it sink in. When I do, the purpose of my life is clear, it's not about me - It's Him! And the more it sinks in the more he seems to reveal himself, and to be totally truthful, I am overwhelmed that THE God, the one and only God, is giving me a glimpse of who he really is.
And for many of you, I know your stories, I have seen your responses and I know you understand what I'm saying because you see what I see. As a matter of fact there is a Christmas song about it "Do You Hear What I Hear" and within it are these words:
Do you see what I see, said the night wind to the little lamb! In other words, It's Him!
Merry Christmas to all and to all a good night, Glenn
P.S. Enjoy our new website - acrossthebridgeinc.com - Facebook page still under construction.
Three of us attended a meeting of the Gwinnett Place Community Improvement District meeting this morning and while sitting there listening to the plans the leadership has for Gwinnett, I realized how Across The Bridge will be a vital part of that plan. They spoke of improving the community, sharing highlights of lower crime rate, and then along came a speaker that hit home. He spoke on the problem of homelessness.
There are about 8,000-10.000 believed to be homeless in our county, though the state says there are only slightly over 200, and presently no immediate shelters to house them. In fact, there is no real system to put them through to change that condition except for The Salvation Army and Family Promise. All of that is fixin' to change, as we would say here. They have a plan, they have money and they have partners who will make this happen. And they understand that addiction is a major contributor to this statistic.
That's where Across The Bridge comes in. Our Piece of the Puzzle is to help this statistic reduce, help the addictive to heal, and recover to become productive citizens. Last year alone we addressed 10,000 people through our meetings, Sponsorship and Celebrations. We helped many of these not only get clean, but also bring them into a relationship with the Lord. The amount of people who have picked up long term chips has more than quadrupled and our ministry has grown by leaps and bounds.
So now, effective January 1st we embark on a new journey in our own facility with room to expand on the two churches and five recovery places where we hold meetings. We are our own 501(c)3 charitable organization that will solely rely on our partners who donate, those organizations who partner with us, revenue from our building, and grants from private funders and the government.
We will have meetings in our 6000 square foot building that was formerly a church, that include AA, CA, 5th Tradition, ATB 12 step, Women's Groups, Men's Groups, Bible Studies, a Friday Night Worship service especially designed for those in recovery and their families, a food bank, clothing thrift, and so much more. And, the most important thing we will have is a place for those who are striving to get out of addiction can come, be accepted, steered in the right direction, and given hope that a loving and merciful God can and will join them in this battle.
We are the advocate of the lost, we have a plan, we have some partners, we have some money, but we need the seeds of added support from others who can donate time and/or money, as well as equipment, furniture and prayers. We are that piece of the puzzle that may be the best investment you could possibly make because we address the issues that not only affect the human soul, but also the soul of our community.
Homelessness, crime, broken families, broken lives, we are on the very front line as not only their advocate, but yours because there may come a day when we are needed by you for a problem in your own life within your own family.
We humbly ask that you help us get off to the right start, until all these other financial situations kick in and I assure you we will continue to work to connect other major partners to ATB. So far we have raised over $15,000 toward our facility and outreach work, applied for over $50,000 in grants with many more applications to come, but we need about $15,000 to reach our startup goal.
If we can raise that money by January 1st, we will track down a Santa Claus who will match your donation dollar for dollar! All we need from you is to help us put that last piece in place of our own puzzle and we will have made a complete picture of human kindness in technicolor!
We thank those of you who have already provided part of that beautiful picture!
Love your servant hearts, Glenn
Mailing address: Across The bridge Inc, 6600 Sugarloaf Pkwy #400/281, Duluth Ga 30097
New Address January 1st: 900 Cripple Creek Drive, Suite A, Lawrenceville Ga 30043
I have tried my best to figure out everything about God and what plans he has for me, and just when I think I have, he does something different. Imagine that, and imagine if we knew it all, we would certainly avoid all the trouble and pain, stay in the places of life where we were safe and sound, and enjoy the benefits of predicting a bright future ahead.
Just the thought of that makes me cringe because the adventure of life is just that, an adventure, and part of its dynamics is that wonderment of what we do not know. Thus, when asked what the future has in store for me, I say without hesitation, We'll see!
At the very end of the movie Charlie Wilson's War which is essentially about three key people along with the people of Afghanistan defeating the mighty Russians (this is a true story), the CIA agent tells the story of the Zenmaster and the 14 year old boy.
The boy receives a horse for his 14th birthday, and all the people in the village say "wonderful", and the Zenmaster says we'll see! Then a few months later, the boy falls off the horse and breaks his leg. The villagers say "how terrible" and the Zenmaster says we'll see!
Then war breaks out and all the men of the village have to go and fight, except for the boy who has to stay behind because he has a broken leg, and the other villagers say, "how wonderful", but the Zenmaster says We'll see!
We think that the situation we are in is the worst, or that thing we did is so great, and it is part of real life to feel the emotion of those times. But to take that to the extreme and think things will never get better or that we will always experience the best of life, is to think that we are God who knows the future, and we are certainly not him.
If we trust in him and understand that each moment of life has a lesson for us to learn, then our attitude about what happens next will always be.......(you say it now!)
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.