February 27, 2016

This past Monday I was out with a friend of mine sharing the gospel of Jesus Christ with the citizens of Fall River and something happened to me that I never experienced before.
My friend Rob and I prayed and asked the Lord to send some people to us so that we might minister Jesus . Within two minutes, an acquaintance of mine who grew up in Somerset, who played sports and who seemed outwardly to have it all together got out of his car and walked to the median I was standing in. He immediately told me he was in the grip of addiction, making money ONLY to spend on dope. He was crying out for help. I reminded him that Jesus Christ could change his life.
Next, about 10 minutes later a young man with Rhode Island plates drove to the inside lane and told me he wanted to talk to me at the Shell station across the street. He was with three young ladies. He asked me what I was doing. I told him that Jesus was better than the dope he was smoking and that “looking to make some moves” and sell the drugs in his car was NOT in God’s plan for him. He asked me to pray for God’s blessing on his actions. I told him and his friends that God is not in the business of blessing those who live contrary to Gods will. I prayed for him “that the Lord would break his heart and turn it to Jesus”. He didn’t like the prayer, but who likes to be told that they are sinful and under the wrath of God unless they repent and turn to Jesus and trust him as Lord and Savior.
Within 15 minutes a homeless women came up and started to dialogue with me. In the midst of our conversation she mentioned to me that she was struggling with multiple addictions. My heart was broken for her, knowing that her addiction was destroying her life.
As we ended our time, Rob brought a man to me. He was inebriated and had been for about one week. He would be crying one minute and then be laughing the next. He was delusional. Addicted to alcohol and helpless.
Last as we were putting away our crosses, another young man in his twenties started sharing his story. He asked for a ride to the hospital. Rob drove one man home and I drove this young man to meet his girlfriend. In the midst of our ride I sensed he was doing drugs and I asked him how much he spent daily. His response was “I spend about $150 per day on the stuff. I buy some, I shoot some, and I sell some. Five people within an hour, all struggling with addiction and all in desperate need of Jesus.
I went home broken and thankful. It was only 21 years ago that I was delivered from the effects of alcohol. I wasn’t addicted to alcohol, BUT used it as a comfort and it was destroying my life. I found radical change not in a program BUT in a person. That person is Jesus Christ. I’m not against programs and I believe they have their place in recovery, but here is the reality. Whenever you empty your life of something you fill it up with something else. What are you filling your life with?
I found out that in receiving Jesus as Lord, in following him (learning who he is what he has done, and who I am) through a personal relationship found in God’s word, and being involved in a church family, it has changed me beyond what I ever could do on my own.
Modern psychology tells us that the problem is on the outside and our strength is found within ourselves. Biblical Christianity says that our problem is within (we are our greatest enemy, broken sinners) and the solution is found outside of us (in a person named Jesus).
The bible tells us salvation is found in a person (Acts 4:12). When you put your trust in Jesus rather than in yourself and repent of your sins, God sends the Holy Spirit to live inside of you. He becomes your strength and power to overcome any and all addictions.
How do you know if you have salvation and NEW strength to fight addiction? We are reminded that “he (the Holy Spirit) who is in you is greater than he who is in the world” (1 John 4:2-4). God has placed the Holy Spirit in each believer to help them say no to drugs and yes to his plan for your life without drugs. In Christ you can say no to drugs and fill your life with Jesus plan for you.
No one does this perfectly. The process is messy, and for many a lifetime of ups and downs. Some fall back BUT they can get back up because they have another friend like Jesus, (the Holy Spirit). He told the Father of the boy with the evil spirit, “All things are possible for one who believes.” (Mark 9:23).
Our church is being burdened to not only offer a Christian program (Celebrate Recovery) but people to walk those who struggle with addiction encouragement. We want to help those who want Jesus understand God’s word and a friend who will remind you of your new identity. This program has helped thousands because it has Christ at the center. With Jesus “all things are possible” (Matthew 19:26). Will you pray? Will you participate? Will you send some? Have a great weekend and come visit us during the Easter time as we celebrate the power of the risen Lord in our lives.