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His Way

Sex Sells….(even kids candy)

 

I keep seeing the same Super Bowl introduced commercial on television.  It’s a cocktail party scene where everyone is gazing at and murmuring to one another about one of the attendees, a female chocolate M&M.  They are assuming that she is naked.  Realizing this, she explains that she is not naked but a chocolate coating.  About that time a red male M&M enters the party and from a distance quickly notices the chocolate female M&M and assuming like the rest that she is without clothing, celebrating declares, ”Oh, it’s that kind of a party!” and immediately tears off his red coating to reveal his naked chocolaty self as he begins to dance.  I wondered to myself, “Whatever happened to M&M’s original sales slogan “Melts in your mouth, not in your hands.”

 

Obviously our society has changed and even candy is no longer marketing itself to clean conscience mothers, but adult party goers looking for more seduction.

 

Where has our culture gone?  Apparently our candy has gone with it!

Self Forgiveness?

Long before I became the Director of The Way, but most certainly since I have become the director, I have often heard the bemoaning cry of “I know God and others have forgiven me, but I cannot forgive myself.”  Forgive myself is the long standing pursuit of secular psychology to keep patients engaged in protracted counseling sessions.  It’s the stuff our self-centered culture has glommed onto as a vain sort of humility.  It sounds noble and good, but where from a Christian point of view does it come?

The Bible and its author, God, do not hold to this viewpoint.  Let me explain.

If you remember the parable of The Prodigal Son, the younger son demands and receives his share of his father’s estate prematurely, he then in his immaturity squanders it all and finds himself destitute in a far off land.  There Jesus says, “He comes to his senses” and realizes his father’s lowest servants are at least now starving to death, so he plans his return.  In preparation, he creates and memorizes his script.  It goes something like this, “Father, I have sinned against heaven and before you. . .”

Notice the offended parties from his point of view.  They are two; God, the creator and orderer of the heavens and Dad.   There is no other offended, certainly not the prodigal.  Unless the post parable events included a psychologist who convinces the prodigal of his need to long term therapy to forgive himself.

Biblically only the offended can offer forgiveness, and in this case that is only God and Dad.

The problem is not self-forgiveness, but rather self-absorbed pride in not being willing to accept the grace of God and others.  To accept forgiveness takes the humility to openly admit my wrong and the faith to accept grace.  God’s word promises it and others offer it, but do we have the humility and faith to accept it.

So humble yourself and accept the grace of God and others.  Live free.

Tom Reynolds

Ageless Male?

I have consistently been hearing a radio commercial advertising, “Ageless Male.”  It’s some type of testosterone supplement that renews men in their 40’s and 50’s to the vitality they had in their 20’s and 30’s.  They claim that as a man ages he begins to lose his testosterone a few percentages each year so that by the time he reaches his 50’s he is only “half the man he used to be.”

Their final appeal is “Be the man you used to be, try Ageless Male. . .”  At first glance this sounds attractive, especially when every muscle aches, your energy level feels just slightly above slug range, and it takes you twenty times of that commercial playing before you can actually clearly hear it and even remember what it said!

But think again, do I really want to be the man I was?  Hopefully during the past 30 years of testosterone loss I have been gaining in other areas like spiritual, emotional, and relational maturity.  When I look at what God has done in my life and where I am today because of Him, do I really want to go back?  Though we may like to fantasize about the past, do we really want to go back there?  And if we do, what indictment does this have upon our present condition and the past years of growth and progress.  Have we not lost perspective?

Paul states in Philippians 3:13,14, “But one thing I do; forgetting what lies behind and straining forward to what lies ahead, I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.”   Paul often talks about what he was and what he is now by the grace of God and I certainly doubt that he would want to go back.

Don’t buy in to our cultural youth glorification movement whether it be found in advertising or mirror gazing or casual conversation.  If God has been at work in you then you are truly much more than the man you used to be.  Paul said in II Corinthians 4:16, “So we do not lose heart.  Though our outer nature is wasting away, our inner nature is being renewed day by day.”  Don’t waste your investment in “Ageless Male” but trust in God’s plan of “Eternal Male”.

Tom Reynolds

God Working…

God Working in the Lives of Humans

Reflections about The Way from Clyde Jones

 In Paul’s address to the Athenians in Acts 17:24-31, he declares in verse 27 that (among other things), “God determined the times and places that men should live.” He then gives as the reason, “that men would seek him and perhaps reach out and find him.”

God is invisible, a spirit being (John 4:24). Paul affirms this in Colossians “He(Jesus) is the image of the invisible God.” The Hebrew writer (11:1) tells us that faith (in God) is being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see. Then in verse 6 says, “that without faith it is impossible to please God, because anyone who comes to him must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who earnestly SEEK him.”

Therefore, when God works in this world in the lives of humans we do not see him visually, but we see the actions of those in whose lives he works. For example, in Hebrews  11:27 we learn that Moses, who left Egypt, not fearing the King’s anger, because he saw him who is invisible. Men are called by God (Rom 1:6&7) to be his people and told that God works in their lives for their good (Rom 8:28). Paul further assures us that, God works out everything in conformity with the purpose of his will (Eph 1:11) and tells us (1Tim2:4) that he wants all men to be saved and come to a knowledge of the Truth.

It is difficult, if not impossible, to see God’s activity in the lives of humans until we can look back and see what has transpired or God chooses to reveal it through his written word.

The work that began five years ago, in May 2007, as The Way , a recovery program for men enslaved by addiction to drugs and alcohol, is a vivid example of God working in the lives of men who earnestly seek him. First, he took Clyde Jones, a retired NASA engineer who knew essentially nothing about addiction, along with his wife Georgine and put the right circumstances and people into their life. This resulted in a facility where as many as twenty two men could be housed in comfortable living quarters and be taught the good news of Jesus Christ.

For the first six months the program was plagued with financial and organizational problems. Not seeing a solution to these , there was consideration for closing down, but God stepped in and brought Tom Reynolds in to lead the program. Tom has steadily improved the organization and operation so that now the program has nationwide appeal with a waiting list for entrance much of the time.

To help with the financial side God sent Bill and Teri Neiland in to organize and direct a business model which is increasing our stability and consistency. Also God has worked in the lives of seven men and two ladies to serve on a board of directors to oversee the work as well as provide essential funding. None of these generous board members receive any compensation for their service. Furthermore, all of these board members could use their time and resources to affect a more comfortable life for themselves, but have chosen to do this so that men enslaved by addiction could be set free.

It is difficult to conceive of this program being in any way as effective as it has become without the hand of God guiding the lives of all involved. As I shared some of these thoughts during a recent graduation of two men, I reflected on how God also brought them to The Way having prepared all this. Each life to God is very precious and he works constantly to make opportunities for men to be freed of their addiction that Satan has so cleverly deceived them with. When I think of how amazing this five year journey has been I cannot but “bow in humble adoration and proclaim my God, how great thou art”.

As I observe the hand of God, I see him bringing people and circumstances together to present opportunity to find him, by men willing to seek him. The men who have come to The Way have been given an opportunity by this program to find God. The people involved in making the program what it is are being used by God to accomplish his purpose of having men be saved and come to a knowledge of the Truth. I didn’t recognize it when it was happening, but am thankful that God worked in my life to use me in a small way to bring this about and give my life meaning it never would have had.

Words From a Graduate & His “Mentor”

Words from Sean after his graduation from The Way last week:

While at The Way, I have gotten my life back. My relationships with members of my family are the best they’ve ever been. I came into this program beat down and broken, and God used The Way to restore me.”

And an except from a letter written to Sean from his counselor while at The Way:

“…From our first meeting you were clothed in black, feeling guilty, lonely, and sorrowful. Today, you wear a heart of colors and an attitude of joy, optimism, and freedom in Christ. How great our Lord is and His mercies are new each day!