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Category Archives: Drug Abuse

“Uuuh,….. We Don’t Have a Program”

When we started Trinity Fellowship nearly 28 years ago the Lord was faithful to show us what He wanted us to help Him build….and how He wanted us to build “it”. We had no preconceived idea(s) as to what it should be or how it should look. So, we were dependent on what we believed He was saying to us. That only makes sense when you understand that our lives are to be lived by faith. One of the things, early on, that seemed to be clear is that we would be an organism (not organization) that the Father would use to set people free. That freedom would include everything from freedom from sin, addiction and faulty thinking to freedom from lifeless religious bondage as well.

Looking back through the years it seems clear that the Lord has definitely kept His part of the promise, as He always does. One of the things that’s been extremely rewarding has been the steady stream of people who have come to Sayre to find that ‘freedom’. We’ve built some amazing friendships with folks from all over that we would have otherwise never had the privilege of knowing.

One particular case in point happened not too long ago when a person we didn’t know called about a friend who had experienced a moral failure in his ministry . We didn’t know the person who called but we had been referred to him by someone we both knew.

When he called he was understandably full of questions such as, “What do y’all do?”, and “What’s the Cost?”, and “How do you do what you do?”. I tried my best to answer all those questions and finally he asked, “Well, what kind of program do you have, anyway?” My reply must have taken him completely off guard; “Uuuh, …..we don’t have a program.” It’s really true there’s not a program per se here…but what we do produces long term results.   We’re not batting a thousand but we’re doing pretty good. Here’s some reasons why;

  • We first bring them into our ‘circle’. It’s not an inner circle because inner circles are, by nature, exclusive. We’re inclusive!
  • We let them be a part of whatever it is that we’re doing at the time. If we’re on a ministry project they come along and they might even help if they’re willing. We never apply pressure on them to do that but the door’s always open for them to participate. If we’re going to lunch, they go. If we’re going to a basketball game, they go too. We let them know that they’re an important part of our family.
  • We let them see the ‘real’ side of us. We refuse to put up the facade of perfection. Truth is, we’re far from it. Besides, it’s just not our style!
  • We’re learners…..and we help to develop that trait in them, by seeing us do it, while they’re here.
  • We spend quality time with them. We swap stories. We listen to their story. They listen to ours’. It’s a great way to build long-term relationships. And, that’s what we’re all about.
  • We help them to understand the Father’s love for them. We encourage them to connect relationally with the Father and we explain how easy that is.
  • We treat ’em like VIP’s…….’cause they are!
  • But more important than all the other stuff….we just love ’em. It never fails, you know! It’s undefeated! And, it always works!
  • The Lord always does His part…..which is just about everything!

But, program, uuuuh …..we don’t have a program.

Audio Version:

Interested in a little ‘binge’ reading?? Try these:

Do You Have Enough Faith??

The People That Nobody Else Wants

Simplicity! It’s All I Have to Offer

It’s Not Your Job to Fix Them!

A Place Where People Get Well

 

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“I Am the Danger”

That’s one of the most memorable, ‘stand out’ phrases  in the popular TV series, Breaking Bad. The show ran for five seasons on AMC. (*you really should watch it if you haven’t!) The story is built around Walter White, an underachieving high-school chemistry teacher in Albuquerque with a brother-in-law who’s a federal DEA agent. Walter goes out on a routine drug bust with Hank where he accidentally encounters Jesse Pinkman, a former, way below average, student escaping the drug bust from an upstairs window. The two make eye contact and that’s how the story begins. Walt is mesmerized by Hank’s talk of the amount of money these meth dealers are making. The story gets more complicated when Walt discovers he has inoperable lung cancer. His worry about that and how his family will make it without him consumes him until he comes up with an idea. He looks up Jesse, who has all the contacts in the drug world, and the two enter a bizarre partnership whereas Walt begins to manufacture the purest crystal meth anyone has ever seen, blue meth. And, the adventure begins.

Much of this took place without Walt’s wife, Skyler, having any notion about it. She found out about it at a point and after an intense conversation/argument with Walt about it she says, Walt, if what you’re saying is true….you could be in a lot of danger”. To which Walt angrily, emotionally….and, actually, truthfully declared in a loud voice, “I am the danger!”. And, …..he really was!

In our walk with the Lord there are plenty of roadblocks and challenges of about every kind you could think of. Any of these things have the potential to take us out or at the very least stall us out in our journey with Him. We’re encouraged in the Bible that these things are all a normal part of the Christian life. The struggle is real, so they say.

But, in the final analysis, it really comes down to you….and your willingness to exercise the faith that already resides within you. You’ve heard the old saying about certain people, “You’re your own worst enemy.”. That can be true of any of us if we’re not careful. You see, nothing……and I mean nothing, (*or nobody!) can keep you from fulfilling the destiny the Lord has purposed for you……except you! ‘You are the danger’! You might be tempted to bail on that plan. I’ve been tempted that way in the dark hours so many times it ain’t funny. But to do that would be a sure guarantee of missing my own destiny. There’s bound to be those points in time that we have to decide, yes….or no to the plan of God.

You’ll either be the ‘danger’ to yourself and risk forfeiting your own destiny……or you’ll be the ‘danger’ to the enemy (your adversary, the devil) that he’s always dreaded you would be!

You are the danger!

The choice is yours!

You’ll like these, too:

Turns Out They Were a Lot Smarter Than We Thought They Were!

Shift Happens!

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“Hug-A-Thug”

Over a year ago I got involved with the Beckham County Drug Court. I guess you could say I’m an unofficial member of the DC team. Drug Court is a pretty amazing thing if you ask me. (Click here FMI) I have developed some great friendships with a lot of the participants that are in the program. It’s one of the highlights of everything I do these days to see these folks overcome their addictions and become productive members of society. I can’t speak for all the Drug Court programs in Oklahoma but I can definitely vouch for ours’! The success rate for these men and women to ‘get well’ is pretty darn good. I believe that can be attributed to the entire Drug Court Team, which includes the Sheriff, DA, County Judge…as well as others. But what seems to be the shining star of the whole program is the support that the DC participants give to one another. It’s pretty amazing. Very often all it takes is just someone who’ll love you and believe in you. More often than not….that makes the difference.

The Drug Court program is not without it’s criticizers, though. There are plenty of people who don’t much care about it’s success. Seems a little bit crazy to me. There are those out there who’d rather see these people go straight to prison and I guess I can kinda see where they’re coming from. But, I’d always like to see someone get another chance. And if they blow it in Drug Court….prison it is!

Some of the detractors like to mockingly refer to Drug Court as the Hug-a-thug program. I cringe a little bit if I hear that but you know what they say, “haters gonna hate”! I was thinking about their little moniker (hug-a-thug) a few days ago and I came to a conclusion or two. What if a hug for these people really did make a difference?! What if, maybe for the first time in their life, they could actually believe that someone cared?

I don’t have to sit long in DC to realize how good I’ve had it. I’ve never had to wonder if my Mom & Dad loved me. I didn’t have to grow up with them being the ones who introduced me to, and gave me drugs. I never was kicked around from family to family because no one really wanted me. So, yeah….I’ve had it good. Doesn’t take too long for me to start having a heart to see these folks do good. I’m a fan! …..and if I can help… I will!

Back to that hugging thing; I come from a long line of huggers. It’s something we’ve always done in our household. Probably came from my Mom’s side of the family. You see them….they’re gonna give you a hug…like it or not. I guess it’s contagious. But there really is something about a hug, something profound, something real and something, I think, that could really be important! There’s even scientific evidence that hugs are healthy for us….both physically and emotionally!

Here’s some scientific evidence of what a hug can do: *(thank you David Clark!)

A. Activates antitoxin hormone that can fill us with joy
B. Allows for more patience
C. Remedy against stress and anxiety
D. Strengthens self-esteem especially in children.
E. Releases the dopamine hormone responsible for good motivation
F. Helps alleviate pain or a bad moment
G. Communicates emotions without saying a single word
H. Helps preserve immune system
I. Helps balance central nervous system
J. Is an example of love, affection and unity

So there’s the evidence!

What’re we waitin’ for…….”Let’s hug some people!!”

You’ll want to read these too:

It Feels Good To Be “Believed In”!!

Drug Court

Prison Prayer Project

Party at the Prison!

VIP #7 – Rick Hudson

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Good Ground Grows Good Weeds, Too!

I was having a conversation today with a couple of close friends, who also happen to be on the Beckham County Drug Court Team. *(click on link for one of my most read blogs) They were both ecstatic about a person they both knew who had just been approved to enter the Drug Court process. That’s a big deal, especially for that person, because it means he won’t immediately have to go to prison and will have a chance to redeem himself if he’ll adhere to the DC rules. It’s a great program here in Beckham County, with a lot of amazing success stories. *(click link for a blog you’ll love!) This person has been down the wrong road for a good long while but both agreed that he’ll be one who’ll be a leader in the DC program as he progresses on his journey!

But their conversation reminded me of an incident at least a decade before. We were having a big youth event at church and a great pastor friend of mine, Lynn Schaal, from Idaho was staying with us at the time. The teens were showing up for the event by the dozens. There was a small group of about 5 kids who came in the door. Most of them were dressed in black and one particular little teenage girl had several piercings and was wearing a dog collar type thing around her neck with huge silver spikes on it. She was obviously a leader among her little small, rebellious looking/acting group. My friend, Lynn, immediately went to talk to her as soon as she came in the door. They had a short visit and when he returned I’ll never forget what he had to say! “I love kids like that!”, he said. “Anytime I get the chance to talk to them, I do!” …..and here’s what he said that really stuck with me, “You know, good ground grows good weeds too!”  I’d never thought about it that way but it’s true. Everyone knows that good ground grows good fruit. That’s a no-brainer. But his point was that oftentimes when you see people who display some of these bizarre and extreme characteristics with dress, behavior, attitudes, etc., that many times ‘underneath’ it all is a person with incredible potential….if it were just pointed in the right direction.

 

Since that day I’ve never forgotten what Lynn said….and as I’ve observed people…I really believe he’s onto something! It’s helped me to look beyond what’s on the surface and to try and see the untapped potential that might lie just beyond what’s seen!

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Drug Court

It was a major blessing today when I went to the Beckham County Court House to celebrate one of our favorite little girls graduating from Drug Court. Katie Crowdis is just like family to us. We’ve know her since she was 8 or 9 years old. Her dad, Dennis, is a very good friend of mine. And like a lot of us…Katie made some choices down through the years that weren’t very beneficial to her. But over the past couple of years she’s turned it around dramatically….due in large part to support and encouragement from family, friends, mentors, peers….and the Lord. Katie has two beautiful little kids, one a 4th grader…the other a 2nd grader. She’s a great little mom and is really gaining ground in reclaiming back her life. We are extremely proud of her! Today was a big day!

It was my first time to experience the nuts and bolts of Drug Court and all I can say is that I’m extremely impressed. I think it’s a great program. I don’t know a lot about all the details but my understanding is that Drug Court is their last chance to ‘get it together’ before going to prison. They’re held to a high degree of accountability but there’s no messing around….if you don’t comply….there’s consequences.

In all there were about 40-50 participants there today. I knew maybe a dozen of them. The atmosphere was very positive and the support among the group for one another was overtly obvious. About 5 of the others who were moving a level up in the program, stepped up and read a letter they had written to the Drug Court Team. The letters were all sincere and heartfelt. One was particularly touching to me. Barbara T. talked about her previous disdain for God and how she blamed Him for her situation. But she continued in her letter how that she pressed in with Lorna Pennington, the Drug Court Coordinator, about the Lord….and how Lorna encouraged her to develop a relationship with the Father. She did that and everything changed! *(as it always does!) I can’t remember hearing a better testimony and I found myself blotting some tears.

I’ll bet the Drug Court Program is doing good in every county in Oklahoma….but I can’t imagine a better team anywhere than the one we have here in Beckham County! Props to Judge Michelle Roper, Drug Court Coordinator Lorna Pennington, Eric Easter….and probably a few more that I’m not aware of…for your supporting, encouraging and affirming,  Y’all are doing a stellar job! Thank You!

Everybody wants to make a difference with their life and work and y’all are gettin’ it done! Y’all really are The Dream Team!!

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