His Way News and Blog

His Way

Mood Mastery

Tom Head ShotA plague has hit Alabama within the past few years…Kratom.  Kratom is an herbal extract derived from a root that grows in Southeast Asia.  While illegal in the countries it grows in, this substance has been imported into the U.S. and now sells in some convenience stores as a “5 Hour Energy” type product called Vivazen as well as under other product labels.

This substance has the pain blocking effect of prescription medications like Percocet and Lortabs yet is available without a prescription to anyone including children who purchase it right off store counters.  It is a highly addictive opiate like substitute.  Opiate addicts are flocking to it as a socially legitimate substitute for heroin or illegally obtained pain medications.

Currently there is a bill in the Alabama State House and another in the Senate to take this substance off the counters and make it only available through a doctor’s prescription.  While we are praying that this bill will pass the legislature and be enacted into law to protect the vulnerable and the innocent, my greater prayer is that the mindset that makes us all vulnerable to these types of attacks can be transformed.

Scripture encourages us to, “Therefore, preparing your minds for action, and being sober minded, set your hope fully on the grace that will be brought to you at the revelation of Jesus Christ.” (I Peter 1:13)  Unfortunately, we’ve grown accustomed to  attempting to control how we feel by depending upon substances that we intake.  When we train ourselves to wake up with caffeine, boost ourselves with energy drinks, sooth ourselves with alcohol, and put ourselves to sleep with medications, we set ourselves up to become dependent on something other than what God has designed our “fearfully and wonderfully” made bodies to do.

We also face the spiritual threat of becoming dependent on something or someone other than the Lord which puts our faith in jeopardy.  If we are dependent on something other than the Lord, we can become vulnerable to spiritual attacks from the evil one.  As James warns, we can become “a double-minded man, unstable in all his ways.” (1:8)

Paul shares a principle that is a guiding light on this topic.  In I Corinthians 6:12 and 10:23, he states, “All things are lawful for me, but not all things are helpful.  All things are lawful for me, but I will not be enslaved by anything.”  All things are available to me in Christ, but I must not allow anything to enslave me to the point that it overrules Christ’s in my life.

The way I have attempted to practice this principle is to avoid any substance addictive products such as caffeine or sugar.  I enjoy coffee but I drink only decaf.  And even with that, I take periodic sabbaticals from it to be sure I am not growing dependent upon it.

Let me also add that your body has naturally designed chemicals within it that serve to wake you up or energize you or help you sleep.  When you use artificial means, your body begins to not produce these chemicals, which then automatically creates a physical dependency upon these artificial substances.  Therefore, you not only become physically dependent but risk also spiritual compromise.

You will notice that if you take a sabbatical from the product you will feel the ill effects of your dependency; that is your “detox”.  If you feel detox symptoms like headache, nervousness, low energy, and irritability, it should alert you to your dependency problem and encourage you to steer clear of these products in the future.  I assure you these symptoms will pass in a few days and your body will return to produce these chemicals naturally again.

Don’t risk your physical and especially your spiritual health on these artificial products.  Don’t risk having a divided hope, but become sober-minded and set your hope fully on the grace of Jesus!

Also please join us in prayer for the passage of HB175 in Alabama to rid our stores of these dangerously addictive substances.

Tom Reynolds

Dedicating God’s Child

Tom Head ShotIn celebration of our youngest granddaughter’s birth, we recently attended her baby dedication at my son’s congregation.  They were celebrating the addition of eighteen children to their church family in the past year.  It was a beautifully done celebration.

A special touch was that all the men who led the service were the fathers of the children being dedicated.  During the reflection prior to taking communion, one of the fathers discussed in depth the at risk birth of his son and how for many days after the birth his son struggled for life.  He ended his reflections discussing the sacrifice that God went through in giving up his one and only son for us, a feat the father admitted he could not imagine doing.  What an unfathomable, amazing love God has for us!

While I reflected on God’s incredible sacrifice of love for me, my mind began to drift in a little different direction.  What does this sacrifice say about my value?  God valued me so much that He made a decision that I was worth His only Son.  My Heavenly Father concluded that the giving up of His only Son was worth the adoption price of having me as one of His children.  God prized me that much!

God prizes you that much!

That’s a dedication

Tom Reynolds

“Matt’s Story”

Matt HarriganMatt’s story has a familiar beginning. He’s from a good family and grew up going to church. While he was a good student and played sports all through high school, his drug use started when he was only 13 years old, trying marijuana and alcohol with friends. It escalated from there.

After high school, Matt went to Auburn for two years and says, “I became a drug dealer at Auburn. I mostly sold marijuana, but eventually pills and cocaine too.” He also developed a serious addiction to pills after being prescribed a narcotic painkiller called Roxycodone after surgery. When the doctors quit prescribing them, he started buying them on the street. It didn’t take long before Matt was using drugs intravenously.

Realizing he had a problem, he moved back to Huntsville to live with his family and change his lifestyle, but was soon using heroin. “I did the junkie thing for a year and overdosed twice.” Matt went to a rehab center for a while (and was even baptized while he was there), but eventually made bad choices and was dismissed from that program. Back at his parents’ house, he overdosed 3 more times, one time not breathing for 15 minutes. Matt’s parents gave him 2 choices – move out of their house or go to His Way.

Now –  2 months away from his one-year graduation, Matt is part of the His Way Advanced Recovery Group (ARG) program, and providing leadership for the other residents. He says his life is completely different. “I always believed in God and knew about God, but I never acted on it. This time, I am trying to walk it out. The approach at His Way has been to show me that I need to let God change my whole life.” Instead of focusing on not doing drugs, Matt credits His Way with helping him change his friends, his surroundings, and his attitude. He has found a new life where he doesn’t want to do drugs anymore.

After graduation, Matt plans to move back in with his parents for 2 months and then go to scuba diving school in Louisiana, with the goal of becoming an underwater welder. He plans to stay in touch with the close friends he’s made at His Way, but is looking forward to an exciting new career and a fresh start in a new city.

When asked what he would like others to know about His Way, Matt says – “His Way can help anybody that is ready to change their life. But you have to be ready. I am very appreciative of everything His Way has done for me. I only had death or prison ahead of me. So, I truly feel like His Way saved my life.