Archive for the ‘Connected’ Category

This guy, Jonah Hadley, Big Pastor J, headed off to Wells Maine to start a church. Keep his travels in prayer, pray to keep his family safe and pray for the lost to be found up in Maine.
6 years ago I was lost. I was a bottom feeding self induced drug addict paving my own prison pathway to destruction and death.
I was in the Salvation Army Rehabilitation Center trying to find out why and how I got to such a rock bottom in my life after a 10 year addiction to opiates and other drugs. Well that sentence explains the rock bottom. I needed help and I needed it fast.
One night at the Salvation Army, during a meeting that we were required to attend, in walks Jonah, this big dude, full head of hair, bible on his side and a determined stare. Here we go right?
He started to speak and all of a sudden my ears opened up. Now I wasn’t new to this Christian thing, I’ve been one most of my life, just never walked my talk.
Jonah started spitting truth. Right from his heart. No beating around the bush, no watery phrases or advice of the world; he gave a short testimony and went on to talk about how you can basically become free from this so called ‘disease’ of addiction. There are about 100 guys in this room, and hearing Jonah speak like he was talking directly to me or someone one on one in front of so many roughed up men, was impressive.
God used Jonah to get to me, as well as so many, God also used the program, its counselors and as a matter of fact, other addicts as well.
Jonah would come in once a month to the rehab and keep offering this freedom. He kept offering the Word of God and freedom through Christ and how simple it was.
Me and a bunch of others would eventually attend service, meetings at Calvary, which is now Great Rock Church. There we met other addicts, other people with issues just like us. A real down to earth community of believers.
I always thanked Jonah for his sincerity and his honesty although he always told me “it isn’t me brother, it’s the Lord”… I said I know man, but you chose to allow Him to work through you, and for that I thank you brother.
I can proudly say Jonah is a true friend. Always there to listen and definitely there to tell you how it is! He’s all about Truth, accountability and telling it how it should be but from the heart and most of all from the Word of God.
Thank you for being there for me brother. Thank you for hearing me when I was down and hearing me when I am up. Thank you for your strength and your faith that is displayed for myself and others to live and learn by. A true leader, made through discipleship from other strong leaders as well.
We’ll be visiting you soon up in Maine brother and will enjoy many more years together in His Light.

We’ll be keeping your path and your family in prayer. I know God has big things coming for those who keep the faith!!
My pastor, my friend, my brother. Godspeed.
“May the Lord bless you and protect you. May the Lord smile on you and be gracious to you. May the Lord show you His favor and give you His peace.”
Numbers 6:24-26

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This is a great example of what we can do for others. The action it takes to make things happen. Our words only mean so much. Without our walk aligning with our mouths, it is just talk.

Here is a familiar story or for some not so familiar at all. Either way, a great read and a great example of relative love in action.

An addict fell in a hole and couldn’t get out. A businessman went by. The addict called out for help. The businessman threw him some money and told him to buy a ladder. But the addict could not find a ladder in this hole he was in.
A doctor walked by. The addict said, “Help, I can’t get out.” The doctor gave him some drugs and said, “Take this, it will relieve the pain.” The addict said thanks, but when the pills ran out, he was still in the hole.
A renowned psychiatrist rode by and heard the addicts cries for help. He stopped and said, “How did you get in there? Were you born there? Did your parents put you there? Tell me about yourself, it will alleviate your sense of loneliness.” So the addict talked with him for an hour, then the psychiatrist had to leave, but he said he’d be back next week. The addict thanked him, but was still in his hole.
A priest came by and heard the addict calling for help. The priest gave him a bible and said, “I’ll pray for you.” The priest got down on his knees and prayed for the addict, then left. The addict was grateful and he read the whole bible, but he was still stuck in that hole.
A recovering addict happened to be passing by. The addict cried out, “Help me, I’m stuck in this hole!” Right away, the recovering addict jumped in the hole with him. The addict said, “What are you doing?? Now we’re BOTH stuck here!”
But the recovering addict said, “It’s okay, I’ve been here before, I know the way out.”
-Anonymous

The relative history and that related bond can make a huge difference in someone’s life. Reaching out to someone who you know is struggling with something that you have struggled with in the past. Being able to get on their level exactly where they are, knowing that all you have is truth to give to them because you have been there. And offering it in a loving manner, giving advice with a way out. Leading by example.

Many people offer many different solutions and pathways for addicts. People who have not been through what the addict has gone through. People who ‘think’ they have gone through what you have been through and think they know the answer and think that they have something to offer. They push it. They constantly advise and admonish with their mouths and the only action of their speech is a reaction, getting angry when you do not agree with their belief system. They constantly bring up your past and use it against you regardless of your victories. Trying to correct something that isn’t even there to correct. Looking for a quick fix, a way to figure you out in a split second.

If I am a plumber, do I have any place in giving an electrician advice? Does a non-addict have any place giving an addict advice? Can someone who has never done an opiate tell a heroin user how to get better? They may have good advice but it will not hit home like it will from someone who has been there and gone through the pains of addiction and the loss of self worth. Most of all coming through and breaking the chains of addiction. Setting a firm foundation in God and using Him as the Answer.

Time goes by and you are out of that hole. Say you believe. Say you have come such a long way from your past and people still don’t believe you. People still need to find a way to tear you down. Instead of praising God for your clean time and how you have come back from the dead, they argue over petty ideas and dispute over personal beliefs. Fighting over foolishness. Claiming your dignity and splattering your worth.

This will happen. This has happened, but I got news for you, you are on your own path. You have a story to tell. You have no one to prove a thing to. You have been chosen by God himself to lead and admonish others through love…

“And so, as those who have been chosen of God, holy and beloved, put on a heart of compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience; bearing with one another, and forgiving each other, whoever has a complaint against anyone; just as the Lord forgave you, so also should you. And beyond all these things put on love, which is the perfect bond of unity. And let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, to which indeed you were called in one body; and be thankful.” Colossians 3:12-15

To love and help others. To lead not as the ones who lead with their mouths but to lead as the ones who live by their example. Make your message your lifestyle. Go out and make disciples. Give what has been given unto you.

Give the second chance. It has been given unto you. Stay humble and never forget where you came from.

Reach out and lend a helping hand. Do it the same way it was done to you.

Become the Difference.

Some of us will be doing the same old thing, some of us will be making changes, some of us will be continuing on the road toward a brighter future.
What ever path you are on be Humble, remain Teachable and stay Grateful.
Thank God for all things.
Be Strong, Be Courageous.
Always look back and see how you are doing. Make adjustments, make improvements, better yourself and become an example for others to follow.
Life comes at us hard sometimes but we have people placed in our lives to help us get through just about anything!
Most of all we have a God who we can call upon when we are down, a God to praise when we are grateful and a God to thank when we succeed.
Persevere, keep your head up, be confident, renew your mind and walk with your chin up knowing that your strength comes not from you but through our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, the One who died for us, the One who has your back no matter what.
He will never leave you nor forsake you.
Be full of Faith, be full of Hope.
Walk not just believing, walk knowing.
Love blindly.
Love.
Become the Difference.
Happy New Year and may God Bless you beyond your wildest dreams!

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Does a cloudy, stormy picture like this make us miserable or are we already miserable and this triggers it? I think storms are awesome and beautiful myself…

I’m no doctor. But I can tell you, that through perseverance, dedication and remaining grateful for what I have simply makes me happy. I actually love life and everything it has to offer.

I’ve heard quotes like this one, “The seeds of depression will never take root in a Grateful heart!” How true is this? I sit back often and reflect where I was, where I could be and where I am. Yes, I have days where I am stressed out but it’s temporary. I feel anger, sadness and loads of pressure with the daily struggles of life but I constantly tell myself that I have a God who is greater than any problem I will ever have.

Usually when I’m driving to work first thing in the morning, I daze off a little and remember where my life used to be. I put myself where I was, depressed, tormented and enslaved by addiction then quickly I snap back to reality. I usually say to myself “Thank you Lord for your Grace and where I am today” or “What a sick way to live”… those are my two replies usually.

Then I thank Him for saving me and I reflect on what I am grateful for. I go over every little thing I have and am so thankful because I know that if I were still living in addiction, I would be so miserable and depressed; barely living, just floating around like a zombie, hustling and haunting anyone with money and seeking enablers.

I see people who claim and hold on to bi-polar, anxiety and other excusable issues. I see people who are so stressed out. I see people who are constantly complaining and are just absolutely miserable. I don’t know if it’s because they haven’t experienced what it’s like to lose everything. And I mean everything.
I don’t know if it’s because they haven’t fully surrendered their old nature and allowed a change to take place. I don’t know if they are just so stubborn that being humble, teachable and grateful are nonexistent in their daily vernacular, that they are words they probably do not understand.

I used to be on the quick acting Ativan, Xanax and many other long term anti-depressants as well. I actually still have panic attacks but they are getting so much better. Yes, the hyperventilating, “where did THAT come from”, no warning, “I’m gonna piss myself” panic attacks. They suck. I actually went to a respiratory doctor, had x-rays done and he said, “Everything’s fine, it’s all in your head Mike.” “Oh, great, that’s just wonderful, thanks Doc.” I said to him as I was leaving the hospital with a confused look on my face. Now what am I supposed to do? I think I may have even laughed at myself the whole ride home!

“So not also do I have an addiction problem, I now have a mental issue!? Great.” That’s what I was dealing with. Totally freaking out over everything. This was a time before I got help. Before I tried. Before I put any effort into anything. I was still lost. I didn’t even know how to persevere, I couldn’t, I was so weak. My choices were wrong and my addiction belittled my sense of who I was.

Well, 3 years coming up with one very short relapse after 10 months, after a surgery I was not even close to being prepared for. Glad it happened though. I am stronger from it. I knew what to do, who to talk to and where to go, thanks to time in rehab and thanks to the people who offered time and served as lighthouses in my life, God I am so thankful for them.

It took time, clean, no drugs at all, not even Tylenol or Advil. It took time to persevere and gain a strength that I have never had before. A strength that keeps getting stronger as each day goes by. I persevered by remaining teachable. That I am and will always be a work in progress. That I will always have the ability to learn and grow. That I do have the capability to be humble and close my mouth when I am supposed to. To thank God for a paycheck, for family, for friends. That listening to others speak and understanding that it is not all about me. That accepting others for who they are and where they are in life, without judgment, puts my life into perspective. That I do have something to offer. That I am strong enough to overcome obstacles and achieve my goals. That I do indeed have the power to say no, but not only say no, but to tell someone that they do not have to live this way, and offer advice, plant a seed, and move forward.

Thank you Lord for this gift. As I continue to be humble, remain teachable and stay grateful for what you have given and continue to give me, I am looking forward to a happy life with You and every blessing You are going to offer. The biggest blessing is hoping I touched someone’s life in one way or another.

Become Free! Become the Difference!

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This was taken on December 29th at Gillette Stadium, the New England Patriots vs. the Buffalo Bills. It was pouring out but it was still exciting being in the crowd and watching two teams battle it out. Talk about strength in numbers.. there’s nothing like the incredible roaring sound of 70,000 people!

You may have heard the saying “A single twig breaks, but the bundle of twigs is strong.”

It’s true, that is, if all the twigs are in good condition. If you have a bundle with most of the twigs rotted and deteriorated then this quote has no integrity. I mean, yes, even with weak twigs, the one twig will be stronger but eventually it too will be weakened. So to avoid destroying the single twig, a majority of the twigs used in the bundle must have strength in order to be used for its purpose.

In Recovery, especially in early recovery, we start gaining some strength. We start listening, learning and growing. We start going to meetings, we start surrounding ourselves with the right people and we start setting principles and boundaries that benefit us in many ways. We have the infatuation, the ‘Newly Wed’ syndrome, the ‘I got this’ attitude and man are we feeling like an indestructible, invincible suitcase of a million dollars.

This is a very delicate stage in our recovery. We are like a single twig with maybe a few other twigs but not yet a strong, mended bundle.

Six months go by, maybe even a year, and maybe even quite a few years go by and all of a sudden we look back and we have stopped doing what was making us strong. We stopped going to meetings and we stopped sharing. We stopped listening. We stopped being humble and teachable. Most of all we stopped being grateful for the things God blessed us with. We had become part of a bundle of strong and resilient twigs. Once with the know how and perseverance, once part of a community of believers fighting the same fight, in agreement, in harmony.

Now we are back to being a single twig. Battling a war against addiction all alone. Becoming lost and seeking advice and comfort elsewhere. Unprepared and lacking in strength, we make drastic decisions which alter our path. We are led astray and become uncomfortable with life. The blame and shame game is back to round one. Everything we learned seems to just be simmering on the backburner in our minds. We lose focus and start asking God why and how.

Then a little voice with a huge influence persuades us to make a phone call and take a ride… Fill in the blank, you know how it goes.

We may be born again, we may have 20 years under our belt, we may be stronger than ever and we may even have God right by our side but the war is never over. We may think it is sometimes but it is not. This is why we need Him on a daily basis.

The devil does not enjoy seeing us prosper. He doesn’t want us to succeed and become clean. He wants to destroy us and make us feel worthless and useless, without purpose.

Our strength comes from God and God alone. He uses others to strengthen us. He gives us people in our lives to make us whole. God gives us people to talk to, to share things with and to celebrate life with. He opens doors and opportunities for us. God has given me and you purpose and gifts to help others, to reach out, to become one in His name. “Again, truly I tell you that if two of you on earth agree about anything they ask for, it will be done for them by my Father in heaven. For where two or three gather in my name, there am I with them.” Matthew 18:19,29

“Calling the Twelve to him, he sent them out two by two and gave them authority over evil spirits.” Mark 6:7. Power in numbers? There sure is.

“Just as a body, though one, has many parts, but all its many parts form one body, so it is with Christ. For we were all baptized by one Spirit so as to form one body” 1 Corinthians 12:12

We were not created to battle life on our own, let alone Addiction. We were created to battle it together, side by side. We need each other for support and for encouragement. Keep persevering through God’s grace. Keep God first in all you do and become part of the bundle that when together is indestructible! And when God is with us, who can be against us?

There IS Strength in Numbers…
Become Free. Become the Difference!

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Yes, we all eat. Ultimately, if we do not eat… we die. This is how we were designed. We were designed to eat and drink in order to survive.

I believe, as you probably do, that there are three parts to us. Mind, body and soul.

Mind Food: Our minds are extremely expandable and are capable of holding large amounts of information. In case you forgot, we all were required to have a kindergarten through twelfth grade education, minimum. Some of us continue on to college, earn a bachelors’ degree and even continue on to earn a masters and a doctorate degree. Some people continue daily trying to learn new things to further their horizons and to fill themselves with knowledge. We feed our mind in order to learn and grow.

Body Food: Our bodies are formable as well. Some bigger than others :). We all have had to partake in physical education through our growing school years. We exercised and we were fed somewhat healthy foods. Some of us go on to be professional athletes and some of us Olympic athletes. Many of us simply enjoy exercising because of how it makes us feel and seeing the results of it gives us motivation. Our bodies require sleep too. We were designed to rest and to recover. We eat, drink and sleep in order to stay alive and to grow.

Ok so… we can agree that our bodies and our minds are capable of receiving ‘food’ in order to grow and survive. It’s just the way God created us. Actually, everything on this planet that obtains life needs some form of food. It’s the order of life in which we live. There’s nothing we can do about it. And I’m pretty sure we all can agree that we need all three, mind, body and soul, to function. Without one, the others are rendered useless.

Soul Food: Our souls are also susceptible and capable of being ‘fed’. It is our soul that makes the drastic decisions. It’s that little voice that tells us when we should or shouldn’t be doing something. It’s our moral standards. It regulates everything we do. It’s the part of us that needs a Higher Power. The part of us that glorifies God and becomes at peace when we receive Him. Our soul is what is left over when our mind and our bodies cease to exist. It’s the unique part of us that is like no other. Our ego. Our personality. A part of us that has no DNA and can not be traced. It’s what makes us special and keeps us going.

The food our soul needs is praising our Creator. Digging into the Word of God. Surrounding ourselves with constructive, productive and strong people who know God and who try, every day, to live life according to His Word. Our souls become at peace when we walk with God. No? Why, because you can’t see it? I guarantee what you cannot see will fill you. We cannot see the wind, yet we feel it and know it’s there. I am convinced God exists as I am convinced I am using a keyboard to type this. I have changed. My friends have changed. People all over the world have changed and continue to give thanks to God through His son, Jesus Christ.

Funny, we feed our addictions without question. We hurt. We blame. We cause arguments and fights over a chemical or substance we love. We will do ANYTHING for that feeling, that HIGH, that temporary fulfillment which has not a speck of worth or backbone to back itself up. We just do because we want to do; to satisfy our mind, our body and our soul for no reason at all.

Do you really want to become free? Are you serious enough to want to change your life? If you are an addict, you know our ways get us in to jails, institutions and death. Maybe you’re not there yet. Maybe you need to go through a little more pain and agony, maybe you need to hurt more family members and friends in order to get you to think straight. I don’t know. All I know is there is an Answer right in front of you, it’s up to you to persevere and choose.

Become Free. Become the Difference!

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I went out and picked up a new smartphone not too long ago… the HTC One. It’s a sweet phone. Has all the bells and whistles, literally!

All in all it’s a great phone. It’s very practical. I can check my email, send email, glance at my calendar, go online, use the GPS, take photos, videos and so much more. It has a quad core processor, Beats Audio sound, a big screen with amazing graphics and all the apps one could ever need to explore the world through just a single touch. YouTube, Facebook and yes, even Word Press are at my fingertips. Phone calls, texting. I can even control my bank accounts and purchase things online at any time. I mean, what more could I ask for? You got to love technology!

There are many different smartphones out there. However, all serve the same purpose. Some are quicker than others. Some smartphones are more rugged, some are even water and dust proof. You get the one that fits your needs. One you are happy with.

But there is one thing every smartphone has in common. One downfall. One universal CON, one thing that these smartphones need… and that is SERVICE. Other than battery power, without service and a mobile data connection, these things are about as useful as a paper weight. I know when I have no service or a bad connection, just about every option and opportunity is rendered useless; the phone doesn’t produce all it has to offer very well. And every app on my phone turns into nothing but a thumbnail.

We are the same way. We are highly intelligent, highly functional and capable of doing just about anything we put our minds to. We are more than conquerors! We can learn, we can teach. We have the ability to explore and create. We have the power to make decisions, the power to take control and the power to help one another.

Nonetheless, IF we are not connected to a Good service, all our gifts are rendered useless as well. If we do not surround ourselves with productive, purposeful people, our lives will not be purposeful. If we are not linked into a strong network, one with a solid foundation, we will not be used for what we were designed for and our purpose will not be revealed.

I mean, how many times have you wanted to grab your phone and chuck it off the wall? Doesn’t it aggravate you when your phone doesn’t perform when you need it most? The answer for your problem is right in your hand but it becomes useless. I wonder how God feels when we screw up and don’t perform the way we’re supposed to. When we ignore what we are supposed to do and do what we want to do. When we walk around like we are deactivated, lifeless and discharged. What good are we???

As a smartphone needs a strong connection to be fully functional, so do we. Be connected, stay connected. Find a service that fits your needs. You have a purpose, find out what it is when you are linked in!

Become activated. Become the difference!

“For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.” Ephesians 2:10