How Do You Catch a Monkey? (The Trap We Humans Fall For)

We've all seen monkeys. We see them in zoos, but they live in the wild in Central America, South America, Africa and Asia. There is no known estimate of how many millions monkeys are alive today, but there are over 600 species of monkeys.As cute as monkeys seem, they can be incredible pests. Farmers in areas where monkeys live try to capture and kill as many as they can because monkeys will ruin crops and eat their food. If you’re in parts of India, you have to be careful eating your f … [Read more...]

6 Things I've Learned Hanging Out With Addicts

 This article first appeared in the Summer 2015 edition ofChristianity Today's Leadership Journal.I'm a good pastor's kid: cradle roll, Sunday school, Vacation Bible school, the whole nine yards. I never went crazy or rebelled. I grew up in a well-adjusted home and didn't get tripped up by the land mines that can wreak havoc on so many lives. I was a good church kid who hung around with other good church kids. Life was good. I spent my first decade of ministry in churches … [Read more...]

Story of Hope: Jennifer

Forget the former things; do not dwell on the past. See, I am doing a new thing! Now it springs up; do you not perceive it? I am making a way in the wilderness and streams in the wasteland.—Isaiah 43:18-19Jennifer grew up in nearby Sturgis—in a middle class, safe, whole family unit, complete with a dad, mom, and younger sister. So how was it that in 2012, as a young 30-something, she was facing her third divorce? She couldn’t believe or understand it.Family life wasn’t exactly ide … [Read more...]

Celebrate for Molly!

Can somebody give me a 'slow clap' for Molly? You don't know Molly, but God is doing something huge in her life. If you can get excited about life change, then you can celebrate for Molly. Molly is an addict. She came to Mt Vernon Church recently through Recovery House (a local residential treatment facility for drug and alcohol addictions). It was a big deal for Molly to even show up to church.Molly grew up with some bad religious scars from her childhood and vowed never to go back. Whe … [Read more...]

Two Things to Always Remember About Yourself

Earlier this week I made my monthly visit to the Recovery House, an in-patient facility for ladies overcoming drug and alcohol addiction. I always treasure my time there, and this week was no different. While talking with them, I was reminded of two incredibly truths:1. You're more important that you think. The ladies went on and on about my sermons, saying that in group therapy on Mondays they always have to share something significant they learned from over the weekend. They said by … [Read more...]

Why I Love Hanging Around Addicts

You'd never think that a "good church kid" from a staunch Southern Baptist background would willingly hang out with a bunch of addicts, but I do and I love it! More than that, it's one of the favorite ministry things I get to do each month. Mt Vernon church works together with Recovery House (a local in-residence treatment facility) to help ladies battle drug and alcohol (and more and more prescription drug) addictions that are ruining their lives.Every Sunday a dozen of the ladies from … [Read more...]

Celebrate Something Small Today

"I've just filled out the paperwork to start community college!", she told me ecstatically. On the surface, those don't look like words to throw a party over. I mean, it's not like she got into Harvard or Yale. And she's also 25, starting to get on the older side for college. If anything, she should be chastised for waiting so long.But here's why I celebrated with her, and here's why you should to: she was a statistic, another example of someone who could not and would never be a productive … [Read more...]

And Then She Told Me She Was a Lesbian . . .

Recently I got a chance to practice what I preach in the most unusual and uncomfortable fashion. One of the great privileges I have is working with a group of ladies at an in-treatment facility center in Columbus who are dealing with a host of addiction issues. One of the things I try and do is help the ladies dig deeper underneath their addiction to discover what's really driving it. We've talked through traumatic events, bad-guy boyfriends, abortions, abusive homes, you name it.One of the … [Read more...]

How to Have Your Heart Broken in Ministry

My heart is broken the fourth Monday of every month at 1 pm. It's like clockwork. If you want to have your heart broken in ministry, here's a guaranteed way: work with people suffering from addictions. Mt Vernon Church is privileged to have a partnership with Recovery House, an in treatment facility assisting ladies dealing with drug and alcohol issues. During the first 90 days, the ladies come to Mt Vernon every week for Sunday services. We get to know them. We learn their backstories, their … [Read more...]

Calling a Spade Anything But a Spade

On July 3, the Egyptian military ousted democratically elected president Mohammed Morsi and installed themselves as the functioning government. In recent weeks the military has begun opening fire on supporters of ousted president Morsi, killing hundreds of them. By all classical definitions, what happened in Egypt was a military coup.Yet interestingly enough, the White House has called what has happened in Egypt everything but a coup. Their refusal to call a spade a spade is simple: by law, … [Read more...]