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Do You Want What You Have?

Tiger WoodsSeeing Tiger Woods struggle shooting rounds of +4 and +3 on golf courses he dominated for years, causes questions to continually swirl regarding his future and even his present.

Golf commentator, Paul Azinger, made a statement that as an entire generation tried to duplicate Tiger’s swing; he was trying to change it.  Tragically the only one dissatisfied with Tiger’s swing was Tiger.  Over the years, Tiger has had numerous major swing changes and four different coaches and he now seems lost in his swing mechanics.

This is the fruit of discontentment.  You end up not wanting what you have while straining to get something you can’t have and thus you end up with nothing.

A number of years ago I watched a very gifted and talented friend jump from job to job because he would get tired of the position he had and the next one would look much more attractive.  But then after a few months, the luster of that new opportunity would fade and then the next opportunity would look more attractive.  In the meantime, his career growth remained stagnant.  I shared my observations with him – you look like a man who gets on a train going north only to see the next southern bound train looking more attractive, so you change trains for the next opportunity only to see the next northern bound train looking more attractive, so you jump again.  You do a lot of train changing and have a lot of activity, only to find yourself a few miles from the original train station, never getting anywhere.  This is the constant plight of the discontented.

I have chosen to define contentment as “wanting what you have.”

The much often quoted scripture of Philippians 4:13, “I can do all things through Christ who gives me strength” is the conclusion of Paul’s longer discussion regarding contentment.  He begins in verse 10 thanking the Philippian Christians for their renewed interest in helping him.  He states, “Not that I am speaking of being in need, for I have learned in whatever situation I am to be content.  . . I have learned the secret of facing plenty and hunger, abundance and need.”  The secret is realizing the strength of Christ can sustain me in every situation.

So make the faith decision today to “want what you have.”  And stop trying to become what you are not.  Stick with the original swing coach, Jesus Christ.

Tom Reynolds

The Charleston Difference

FlagThe peace, quiet, and harmony in Charleston, SC after the tragic racially motivated murder of nine African-American Bible study attendees at Emanuel AME church on June 17, 2015 by a white supremist  youth stands in stark contrast to the almost year-long protesting, rioting, and violence following the killing of one African-American youth in Ferguson by a police officer.

What creates such a difference?  The difference is created by the decision of the Christian community in Charleston to forgive the perpetrator.  Two days after this senseless crime, the daughter of 70 year old victim, Ethel Lance, said to Dylann Root, “I will never talk with her again.  I will never be able to hold her again.  But I forgive you!”

AME Bishop John Bryant stated at the memorial service, “Someone should’ve told the young man.  He wanted to start a race war, but he came to the wrong place.”

This reveals the power of Christians who choose to obediently walk in the footsteps of Jesus.  Jesus taught and practiced a non-violent response to violent, sinful, and even abusive behavior.  He taught ideals such as turn the other cheek and going the extra mile.  And followers such as Paul emphasized to “Bless those who persecute you; bless and do not curse them. . … Beloved, never avenge yourselves, but leave it to the wrath of God, for it is written, “Vengeance is mine.  I will repay, says the Lord.”  To the contrary, “if your enemy is hungry, feed him; if he is thirsty, give him something to drink; for by so doing you will heap burning coals on his head. Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.” (Romans 12:14, 19-21)

In I Peter 2:21, Jesus’ lead apostle recounted, ”For to this you have been called, because Christ also suffered for you, leaving you an example, so that you might follow in His steps.”  The path of Christian discipleship is a choice of willfully enduring suffering as Christ did.  This isn’t just a good suggestion; it is a calling of Christ.  It is the calling of God!  Peter goes on to explain that in the midst of Jesus’ greatest anguish and suffering on the cross, He did not retaliate or revile, but instead graciously bore the abuse because,  He entrusted “Himself to Him who judges justly.”  The Christian faith calls us to non-retaliatory entrustment of violence, wrong, and suffering to a God who judges justly and will manage the fairness issue while we manage the obedient, love and grace issue of forgiveness.

As Reverend Nelson Rivers of Charity Missionary Baptist church in North Charleston stated, “You cannot be the thing you hate.  You cannot become the evil you seek to eradicate.  Forgiveness is not the same as ignoring the facts.  We want justice.”  But Christians entrust justice to God and do not take it into their own hands as some self-righteous vigilantism.

The fact is Jesus bore our sin in His body, so that we may be healed. (I Peter 2:24)  And, we as His followers must bear the sins of the world and carry them to Jesus that healing may come here as well.  In the context of restoring sinful people, Paul writes, “Bear one another’s burdens, and so fulfill the law of Christ.” (Galatians 6:2)  The burdens we must bear in fulfilling Christ’s law of love is the consequences of the sins of others.  And the only way we as frail, weak people can bear those sins is through the forgiveness of Christ.

Jesus prayed from the cross as He was being brutalized in every conceivable way.  He prayed for those who were abusing Him as they were actually abusing Him, stating, “Father, forgive them for they know not what they do.

As followers of Jesus, we must pray the same whether in the face of great social harm or even personal slights.  It is Jesus’ path of peace.

Tom Reynolds

“I Wanted To Die” – The Fred Smith Story

Fred IIAsk Fred to tell you about his life up until now and he is pretty straight forward.  “I had a really rough childhood.  At age 15, I started drinking and smoking pot and that was the start of 43 years of mostly ‘hell on earth’. I died once that I’m sure of and was dead for 4 hours from a drug and alcohol overdose in 2009. I quit drinking then to save my marriage, but didn’t give up my drugs. I chose drugs over my family, well everything, and I saw no purpose for my life anymore”.

Fred’s life is a completely different story today, but it was a hard journey to this point. Fred knew God from a young age, and went to church off and on at different periods of his life, but says that he mostly just ignored the “little voice” he heard warning him as he made one bad choice after another. He joined the Navy at 17 and his drug and alcohol use escalated out of control. Fred was married and divorced four times, has seven children and twelve grandchildren. If you know Fred, you know his emotions are always very close to the surface, but this is particularly true when he speaks of his family. Over the years, his choices and broken promises led to complete separation from some of his children and grandchildren.

One night in 2010 while he was fishing, his fourth wife discovered him smoking a joint after he had promised that he had stopped. Tired of the drugs and lies at this point, she gave him an ultimatum: “You can have the drugs or you can have me”. Fred says through tears, “I said, ‘See ya later!’ That’s how deep in my addiction I was”.  After that experience, he lived mostly as a hermit for 3 years, smoking pot and popping pills, eating only once or twice a week and rarely showering. He tried to shoot himself several times, but the gun would never go off. “I wanted to die”, he says, “I had no purpose. All I was doing was causing pain”.

These years of hopelessness finally came to an end one day when he overdosed for the second time that month in May of 2013. During the time he was unconscious, he will tell you that God paid him a visit and showed him what hell was really like. “It was a dark, desolate and lonely place where there was no God, no love, no feelings, no happiness, no joy or hope!”  He saw himself laying on a concrete slab all alone, then he dissolved to dust and blew away. “It was so vivid and real to me, that when I woke up from that experience I did not believe anymore that there even was a God”.   But as the fog wore off during the ensuing time in the mental hospital and another rehab center, Fred says God “cleansed his heart” and he started to read his Bible and believe again. By the time he arrived at His Way, he was over 2 months sober and seeking a personal relationship with the Lord. “I didn’t come to His Way to get off drugs. I already knew I would never touch them again. I came to find a personal relationship with God, to seek his face”. He chose to read his bible and pray instead of spending his downtime watching TV or playing games and he says, “I found God’s face, grabbed hold of Him and wouldn’t turn loose until He blessed me. When He did, I claimed His promises”.

Early one morning, during his daily routine of reading his bible on the front porch, Fred says he surrendered his all to God and prayed; “Lord, You’re the potter and I’m the clay. Mold me and use me as you will”. At that moment, he received God’s Shalom, a peace like he had never known before. “People want to keep a little control for themselves, to be able to say they have some final control over things. You can’t do that. You can’t just give 99.99999% of your heart, will and trust! You have to give 100% of yourself, all your will, and trust to God! After that, just obey and continue seeking His will and claim the promises found in his word”.

Fred has since reconciled with his children and has a life full of Jesus and his family and friends, driving home nearly every other weekend to see them. He also is now on staff at His Way, calling it his “JOY” instead of a “JOB”. Having found this peace that passes all understanding, Fred wanted everyone around him to have it. But he soon discovered that he couldn’t give it to other people.  Only God does that when that 100% commitment is made. “It is so hard to see people hurting, stressing and worrying, knowing that they don’t have to experience those things”. So much so that Fred prayed to God to take away the peace, but he wouldn’t take it away. So Fred prayed to God for a better way to show and express it to people in a way that would cause them to be willing to make the 100% commitment it takes to get it for themselves.

Then in December 2014, Fred was diagnosed with Stage 4 adenacarcenoma lung cancer. This isn’t what he would have chosen for the next season of his life, but he knows the cancer has a purpose. Though he knows he doesn’t have to understand the purpose, he feels that it has opened up a door to share God’s peace with others. He does this by having a positive, peaceful and confident attitude in spite of a somber and, to most, a frightening prognosis. He started hearing from people via social media and in person how he was an inspiration to them, having this peace even looking at death soon, short of a miracle from God. Also he feels truly blessed by and through the fact that he has been able to bring laughter, smiles and hope to faces full of pain, fear and worry in the room at the cancer center where he and the other patients are receiving their chemotherapy. “It’s a dark place, and I get to bring the light of Jesus into it by sharing through testimony the power of God’s comfort and peace, showing gratitude to God even for my cancer, praising God, praying and cutting up with the nurses and other patients.  Through all these things I’ve realized that God has blessed me with this cancer in answer to my prayer for a better way to show and express His peace to others. What better way than to show Gods complete and perfect peace and even gratitude facing man’s number one fear ‘Death’!”

Though his future is uncertain, Fred is not bothered by anything the world can do to him. He says it is pretty ironic that for many years he wanted to die, but couldn’t.  And now that he has found a reason to live, a purpose, he is facing the reality that he may not have many years left. “When God’s purpose for me on this earth is done, he will call me home. And I’m ready”. Until then he will continue to share his story of hope and peace through Jesus to those in recovery and those afflicted with sickness.

Brenda Newman

Take A Picture

Tom Family III just recently returned from visiting my family in the Pacific Northwest and also attending the U.S. Open Golf tournament held in my home town of Tacoma, WA.  We were able to share some wonderful family experiences which we recorded with hundreds of photos.  This one was taken as a four generation memory of my 88 year old father, me, my son, Andrew, and his nearly three year old daughter, Adelyn.

As I was traveling back home scanning through our pictures, I began asking myself, “Why do we take pictures?”  The answer I concluded was to preserve and share memories.

Memories are critical to our makeup.  God emphasizes this throughout scripture.  In Deuteronomy 6, as God’s people, are preparing to enter the Promised Land after a 40 year wandering and training in the desert, he emphasizes how critical their memory is to their faithfulness.  He instructs them to keep His word close to them.  He says that they should constantly instruct their children about His commands, and that they should bind scripture on their hands, foreheads, and even on their doorposts.  He then explains why these reminders are so very essential:

And when the LORD your God brings you into the land that He swore to your fathers, to Abraham, to Isaac, and to Jacob, to give you-with great and good cities that you did not build, and houses full of all good things that you did not fill , and cisterns that you did not dig, and vineyards and olive trees that you did not plant-and when you eat and are full, then take care LEST YOU FORGET the LORD, who brought you out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of slavery.” (Deuteronomy 6:10-12)

In our affluence, we can so quickly forget.  Our threat to faithfulness is not when things are bad, but when they are good.  I see it all the time.

I interview all the men and their families who are potential residents of our recovery program at His Way.  Most express a desperation and a willingness to do anything to get the help that they need.  They plead and beg for help at whatever cost necessary.  But once they enter the program and get a few days of comfortable beds, warm meals, and safety, many of them begin to complain.  They begin complaining about their roommate, or the schedule, or some of the instructors, or the food, or the rules and restrictions.  When things get better how quickly they forget.

I have seen the consistent pattern of forgetfulness, leading to grumbling and complaining out of ingratitude, and next thing you know – relapse, a loss of the faith that began their sobriety.

So here is my suggestion for us all, TAKE A PICTURE!!!

Take a picture of where you have been, what God has done for you, and how others have been God’s blessing to you.  And do as God suggests in Deuteronomy.  Show your pictures and tell the stories over and over again.  This is the only way I know for us to maintain our gratitude and in so doing maintain our faithfulness to the One who has delivered us all.

Jesus ended his time on this earth by giving us a picture to assist us in this process.

And He took bread and when He had given thanks, He broke it and gave it to them saying, “This is my body, which is given for you.  Do this in remembrance of me.”  And likewise the cup after they had eaten, saying, “This cup that is poured out for you is the new covenant in my blood.” – Luke 22:19,20

So, let us live in gratitude by constantly and regularly participating in Jesus’ picture of His sacrifice for us through the Lord’s Supper.  “Do this in Remembrance of Me!”

Tom Reynolds

Great Article in Shattered Magazine!

Here’s an article in Shattered Magazine about Mike, a graduate of His Way!


The Face Of Evil

ISISISIS is the contemporary face of evil.  Their “YouTube” videos fill the airwaves with innocents, of which many  are Christians, being brutally slaughtered publically in an effort to terrorize the world with their power and rage.

But faces of evil have always filled our social conscience whether they be terrorist leaders like Osama Bin Laden, or social criminals such as cannibalistic killer, Jeffery Dahmer, rapist/murderer, Ted Bundy, psychopathic killers like Charles Manson, or nationalistic leaders pursuing genocidal extermination such as Saddam Hussein,  Pol Pot in Cambodia, Joseph Stalin in the USSR, or Adolf Hitler.  They tend to be the faces of human moral depravity that fill our social conscience.

At His Way, faces of evil for many families enter our doors as addicts who have ravaged their families and local communities.  The stories of family terror are too numerous to tell.   But in a relatively short period of Christ influenced sobriety the distorted faces, glazed eyes, and hardened hearts of addiction yield to the tender, softer spirit that lies dormant beneath the surface.  Many mothers tearfully declare, after having not seen their son for their first thirty days in the program, “There is my fifteen year old boy that I lost so many years ago!”

But are the faces of systematic mass murder or drug and alcohol crazed men, the limit to God’s view of evil?

Jesus tells his disciples a story to explain the nature of God’s kingdom.  A king is settling accounts with his servants when one enters his presence owing “ten thousand talents” which is equivalent to 200,000 years of labor!  While the king begins to make arrangements to extract as much as possible from the servant for payment, the servant falls to his knees begging the king for patience, that with time he will pay back all he owes.  The offer is absurd.  There is no possible way the man can even begin to scratch the surface of his debt.

But amazingly, the king in his great mercy, grace, and compassion decides to forgive the debt and release the servant.  While we would expect the next scene to be a family reunion celebrating the amazing grace the man and his family had received, instead we find him strangling a fellow servant and demanding a debt paid that is mere pennies relative to the great debt from which he had just been released.  In like manner, the indebted servant begs for patience so that he could pay back the debt, but instead of extending him the same grace he had just received, he insists upon payment and has him thrown into debtor’s prison.

Jesus says that his fellow servants saw this action and reported it to the king, and the king demanded that the forgiven servant be returned to him.  The king then indignantly confronts the servant for his actions of being uncompassionate after so much incredible mercy was shown him.  The king expresses that he should have shown grace as was shown him.  The king confronts the servant with this phrase, “You wicked servant!

Jesus reveals that from God’s perspective true wickedness is not necessarily the heinous crimes that fill the front pages of our papers or the alerts that saturate our cable news networks, but the unwillingness to extend to others what God has so graciously extended to us.

Wickedness is to not forgive others as God has forgiven you.  Or not to serve your  neighbor as God has served you.  Or not to love your brother as God has loved you.

While it may be more comfortable to see evil in the face of cruel despots, the real evil may be closer than we would care to look.  It may be found in our own resentments, our own defensiveness, and our own selfishness.  The face of evil may even be seen in our own mirrors.

Tom Reynolds


Found Money!

Found MoneyThe stories we can tell about items we have found in our donation piles at The Saving Way thrift stores are limitless. The stuff we get runs the gamut from hilarious to disturbing and from goofy to gross. And yes, we often find loose change and occasionally a few dollars tucked into pockets of old clothes and purses. That loose change is added to the His Way scholarship fund.

Recently, one of our employees, Toshiko Wingard, discovered an envelope inside a neatly folded blanket that was donated to the store. She opened the envelope, which contained some old letters and…to her excitement, also a bunch of small bills adding up to over two thousand dollars! Larry Rice, our Operations Manager, has been at The Saving Way since day one, and was quick to point out, “Since we opened our first store five years ago, that is the most exciting thing we have ever found in a donation!

Fortunately, there were enough clues in the envelope to allow us to track down the donor via the internet and social media. In fact, as it turned out, one of the donor’s family members is a mutual friend of mine on facebook. A few years ago, before the internet, it would have been nearly impossible for us to reunite the money with its owner.

The owners of the money were surprised and delighted to receive the news that we had discovered this treasure, and as it turned out, they didn’t even know the money existed. They are in the process of cleaning out their parents’ home, and thought they had checked through all of the items pretty thoroughly before bringing them to our store to donate.

To reward Toshiko’s honesty, the Puryear’s donated enough money to the store to pay for a pizza party for our entire staff. Upon meeting them, Toshiko simply offered her infectious smile and a simple, “It was the right thing to do.” Larry and I agree that our staff at The Saving Way is the best, and we are pleased with the honesty of our employees. It shows not only a heart for this mission, but also a heart to do what’s right all the time.

Brenda Newman

Sales Manager, The Saving Way

Fail Your Way To Success

Kobe Last month, Kobe Bryant, star guard for the Los Angeles Lakers, set an NBA record in his 19th season, by missing more field goals than anyone in the history of professional basketball (13,421).  This report widely circulated as one more reason to criticize the much maligned NBA super star nearing the end of his playing career.  This record helped critics support the hypothesis of Kobe being a selfish player who shoots too much and harms the success of his team with his ego-centric approach to the game.

Interestingly, he surpassed this list of hall of famers in reaching his milestone; Celtic great, John Havlicek (13,418), Elvin Hayes (13,296), Karl Malone (12,682), Kareem Abdul Jabbar (12,470), and Michael Jordan (12,345).  These superstars are the most prolific scorers in NBA history.  The point being that to be a great scorer you have to be willing to make a lot of attempts, and accept failure as a part of success.

Brett Favre, the superhero quarterback for the Green Bay Packers, holds the record for the most completions in the NFL at 6,300.  But he also holds the record for the most interceptions (336) and the most sacks (525).  Reggie Jackson, nicknamed Mr. October because of his incredible clutch hitting in playoff and World Series games, holds the record for the most strike outs in the American League at 2,597.

All of these great athletes were not afraid to try and fail.  In fact, that is what allowed them to succeed.

In addiction recovery, relapse is considered a part of the recovery process.  Most addicts I know who are enjoying a long season of sobriety got there through some stumbles and failures.  Many are trapped in addiction because they fear the failure of attempting sobriety.  Satan has convinced them that they can never succeed so why try.  His messages within our heads and hearts proclaim self-doubt and failure.  But God proclaims through the Apostle Paul, “If God is for us, who can be against us? . . . Who shall separate us from the love of Christ?  Shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or danger, or sword?. . . No, in all these things we are MORE THAN CONQUERORS through Him who loved us.” (Romans 8:31-37)  In Christ, we have already won!  So nothing should hold us back from trying.  For God promises in His Word that, “for He who is in you is greater than he who is in the world.” (I John 4:4)

So, don’t let the fear of failure paralyze you from potential success.  Fail your way to victory.  Failure is the pathway to success.

So step up to the plate, swing for the fence, throw up another jumper, you can’t win without trying.  All the greats know that.  Be a great!

Tom Reynolds

The Secret of Contentment

Tom Head ShotI was leading a Bible discussion at the headquarters of General Foods.  It was a very interesting group because we had executives, middle management, and line workers all together discussing God’s truths on a weekly basis.  It was a very special time.

One week I began the discussion with a question for everyone to answer, “Assuming that the value of a dollar remained constant forever, what annual salary would you need to be paid in order to be content forever?”  Of course some of the initial responses were outrageous amounts like $1 million or half a million, but then some answers began to moderate – $100,000, $35,000.  I expected the grand amounts, but I was surprised at the more modest sums.  But then I asked the follow-up question, “For which of you would the amount you mentioned be the amount you make now or less?”  Can you guess the answer?  NONE!

No matter how extreme or how modest our ideals are, all thought that contentment would be attained with just a little bit more.

But that belief is the foundation of discontentment – the continual quest for more!

Paul in Philippians 4 states, “Not that I am speaking of being in need, for I have learned in whatever situation I am to be content.  I know how to be brought low, and I know how to abound.  In any and every circumstance, I have learned the secret of facing plenty and hunger, abundance and need.  I can do all things through Him who strengthens me.” (vv.11-13)

The secret of contentment is realizing that all I need I already have in Christ Jesus.  As Peter declares, “His divine power has granted to us all things that pertain to life and godliness, through the knowledge of Him who called us to His own glory and excellence.” (II Peter 1:3)

The realization that all God offers me in Christ is a present possession that creates a spirit of gratitude.  And gratitude is the only attitude that will create genuine contentment.

Gratitude Attitude Picture

Contentment is wanting what you already have!

So, this Thanksgiving begin a celebration of gratitude and don’t ever let it end. Continue it throughout the year and the remainder of your life.  This is the secret of contentment.

Tom Reynolds

Love Lifted Me

At His Way, we welcome any man who is committed to overcoming addiction, but we were not sure about Mike.  Mike’s professional diagnosis coming out of jail made him well beyond our capabilities.  He had spent the majority of his adult life incarcerated. He had been labeled with some extreme psychological dysfunctions. He had deeply embedded grief issues that appeared to remain unaddressed. And, numerous social and relational difficulties.  Through much prayer and the unwavering faith of believing that God can do far more than we can ask or imagine, we agreed for Mike to come.

Upon Mike’s arrival, we quickly realized that his issues far exceeded our capabilities and training, but we were thankful that he had the support of the mental health community as well.  His grief issues were deep.  He had lost his mother and his son in two separate tragic car accidents, both while he was incarcerated.

Mike, also, had had a traumatic childhood.  At twelve, he was seriously injured when he was hit by a car while riding his bicycle.  Three times he was declared dead while doctors worked to save his life.  He recovered from that accident, but was never quite the same again.  The trauma had changed him.  He also grew up as an only boy in a home without the influence of a father.  So by the time he arrived at His Way, it was evident that he craved positive male attention.

Though Mike was extremely intelligent, he lacked the ability to succeed in a traditional classroom environment and chose to drop out of school at a young age.  Over the years, he had made vain attempts to complete his education with a GED, but was never able to stick to the process long enough.  Typically, frustration and self-doubt would force him to quit.

Over his time in and out of institutions, he had never stayed long enough to get help.  He would eventually feel uncomfortable for some reason and run.

But at His Way, Mike found the loving fellowship of Christian brothers that helped him grow.  The unconditional acceptance he found helped him work through many of his social and relational difficulties.  He was able to openly address and work through his grief issues as he told and retold the stories of tragedy in his life.  Some days Mike would be found sitting alone watching and re-watching the DVD of his son’s memorial that was played at his funeral.  He would invite us to watch with him as he would reflect over those special times.

Early in his stay, he would face difficult issues and would contemplate running.  But his brothers would stop him and persuade him once again to stay.  There were numerous staff discussions warning us of Mike as a flight risk.

Through much cajoling, Mike was encouraged to begin GED classes in order to complete his high school education.  Mike was extremely hesitant.  He had tried it a number of times before without ever completing it.  While he has yet to finish, he has a passion and resolve to see it through this time.  He has enjoyed the assistance of many coaches, tutors, and encouragers among his brothers at His Way.  He is well on his way to reaching this success.

He is also dedicated to a job that he loves and that loves him.  I hear constant praise for his strong work ethic and commitment to a quality job at The Saving Way Thrift Store.

All of his attention getting habits and idiosyncrasies have been met with loving understanding, support, and care.

Above all, Mike has grown in his passion for Jesus and his truths about who he is in Christ, truths that he has actually experienced through the fellowship of the staff and residents of His Way.

Mike graduated His Way after six-months on November 6.  He has moved into a house of Christian fellowship while continuing in the job he loves and is nearing completion of his GED.

Though Mike’s diagnosed issues were well beyond the scope of the professional experience of the staff and residents of His Way, they were not beyond the unconditional love of God expressed through the fellowship of His people.

Mike was also humble enough to be willing to accept the help and support of others.  He accepted their vision for his life and confidence in his abilities even when he didn’t see it and self-doubt could have quickly overwhelmed him.

Peter encourages Jesus’ followers to “love one another earnestly from a pure heart” (I Peter 1:22) because “love covers a multitude of sins” (I Peter 4:8).  Unquestionably, God’s love has overcome Mike’s history of sin, his personal idiosyncrasies, and the tragic sins that were committed against him in his past.  As we celebrated Mike’s graduation accomplishment from His Way, I could not help but reflect on the chorus from the classic Christian hymn, “when nothing else could help, Love Lifted Me!

Mike’s transformation was brought by the power of God’s love and his acceptance of it.  And so can all of ours!  May God’s love lift you as it has Mike.

Tom Reynolds