Updated: Sep 19, 2018
As I write this update I find myself sitting in a small dark bedroom on the upper floor of a large men's recovery house immersed in a program called Teen Challenge in Saginaw Michigan. As a volunteer here I've had the privilege of learning all the inner-workings of the program and how they've had so much success in making real and lasting change in the life of addicts.
If I could sum it up in two words...its Jesus. Strange that it could be that simple - and yet it is. I'm reminded of the 1,000 year rule of Jesus Christ described in the book of Revelation when He will return to the earth and usher in a millennium of all peoples and nations coming to worship him and learning how to live a life of love and obedience. The impact of satan seeking to steal, kill and destroy will be removed as he is locked up in the bottomless pit for 1,000 years. His negative influence will no longer permeate the minds of the citizens of all the nations. See Rev 20:1-6
This is exactly the environment that Teen Challenge seeks to create. One where the outside influences that caused so much damage and destruction in each of these men's lives are barred from entry. Now living in an environment void of the constant pull towards destruction, these men are free to focus on rebuilding their character from the ground up based on a relationship with God through Jesus Christ.
As is clear and evident in this house, scripture too seems to indicate that it wont be easy at first. All though satan is gone and that direct effort of the enemy has been cut off, the damage has been done. The work of the devil to create destructive ways of thinking and rebellious self wills are firmly planted. Only by the power of Gods Spirit can these attitudes be crushed once and for all. The same must happen to all the peoples who live during this 1,000 year reign of Christ. A few old testament prophecies crack open a window into that future time and give us a sneak peak into what it will be like. Its not all peaches and cream. Check out Zech 14:16-19 and Isa 30:21
In much the same way that we see God whispering in the ear of His people in Isaiah 30:21 whenever they begin to walk astray to the left or to the right, Teen Challenge creates an atmosphere of constant course corrections. Corrections that are not forced or coerced but rather come naturally from a spring of constant focus and desire to seek and build a relationship with God. Every hour is planned out and filled with a constant dripping of the power and spirit of Gods love. From the very first hour of the day everyone joins together in prayer and bible reading. The rest is filled with classes, choir, study, prayer and worship - a constant barrage of positive influence that redeems the time of a satan free environment.
On more than one occasion I was privileged to witness the hand of God so heavy on one of the students that he "broke" under the power of Gods love. When one finally realizes and accepts the love and freedom that God shows to a sinner who has been carrying with them a 10 ton sack of atrocious past - the result is overwhelming. The will is then broken, the defensive arguments are gone and the Holy Spirit can then begin the healing process.
To say that I'm impressed with the program is an understatement. I've learned a lot in my brief time here and I can say without hesitation that Michigan House of Hope will certainly model much of our Life Recovery Program after theirs. While some things will be different because we're seeking to serve a broader group (homeless), and we are physically planted in a very different environment (air force base), the concept and plan will be much the same.
1.) Cut off all negative outside influence
2.) Change character by immersion in Gods word & love, then
3.) Assist in re-entry to society while being a constant source of support in starting over.
Please continue to pray that Gods Spirit guides all the plans and decisions for Michigan House of Hope and that He provides us the physical and financial support we need to do a powerful work in peoples lives.