I was thinking the other day about what Jesus went in the Garden of Gethsemane. This was really to me a pivotal point in the life of Jesus. When we study the Old Testament God has a lot of anger towards His people with the way they are living their life. I would imagine the anger level God had when His beloved son walked the earth and the way His life ended could had been a breaking point. To me this point when Jesus is praying about the will of His father the story and history could have been different. God could have said no My Son has suffered enough. At this point taken Jesus back into Heaven. Then He could had all the Angels to destroy the Earth. Then God could have remade the entire universe all over again. He could have done this because he felt like we were not ready yet. Instead of all of the possibilities of that moment in the Jesus obeyed the will of God. We have more hope today because we have a comforter that is always there for us. Even in the darkest times in my life there is a hope within me knowing that I will get through the situation I am going through. So these or just some thoughts of a religion major.
Thinking of my mentor Dr. John Mark Trent while writing this blog. He died a little over a month ago. I have never meet a person that embodied God’s grace in the way he did. He never meet a stranger. Just an example for others that didn’t know him to understand what I mean. There is this one lady that I know it was her first time sing at her church. Dr. Trent was the pastor at the church at the time. As the mom started to sing her little boy I think around two at the time started to run to her. Dr. Trent scooped up the toddler in his arms and made a new best friend as he comforted the child while his mom sung. The little boy never screamed or anything because he knew he was safe in his new friend’s arms.
He was also the type of person that the atmosphere changed when he walked into a room. I always felt at peace when I was around him. He constantly challenged me in everything that I did. This challenge made me to grow even more. I was thinking that the grace and love that Dr. Trent showed to so many people throughout the years being a pastor, counselor, and professor and impacted many people. This grace was just a little glimpse of what God has for us. Wow then I could never fully comprehend the amount of grace and love that God has for us. However, at the same time I am so thankful of His grace and love and how it has changed my life.
My mentor Dr. John Mark Trent died yesterday. Please keep everyone in yours prayers as this was unexpected.
So in my community I learned some news and I just have to write about it. In Bay Minette the Chief of police decided to do this program that people can decide if they were rather go to church than jail. This is coped from a local news channel.
(BAY MINETTE, Ala.) – A Baldwin County city is turning to churches instead as an option to keep criminals out of jail.
“It’s not a crime prevention program,’ Bay Minette Police Chief Mike Rowland said, “It’s a crime intervention program.”
Pastor Bruce Hooks says he’s ready to give it a try.
“Oh, yeah! I’m excited, man. I’m eager, anticipating!”
The chief and the pastor are talking about a new initiative that, with the help of a judge, would allow some first time offenders to wind up in church rather than jail.
Fifty-six churches have agreed to take part in Operation ROC: Restore Our Community.
“What we wanted to do is target that group of people who most likely would have a chance to be more productive in our community,” Rowland said.
Judges who currently sentence offenders to jail time or community service would have another option to offer qualifying first time, non-violent offenders. Instead of going to jail for a year, that offender could choose to avoid a cell entirely and go to Sunday church services for a year.
“We’re hoping that,” Rowland explained, “through this program for the next year, we will take a substantial number who are sentenced and turn them around and let them become productive people in the community.”
It’s a partnership where pastors would monitor attendance and offenders would have to check in . If it works, the department and local clergy believe the idea could save money and restore lives.
“We want to teach them that they’re valuable,” Hooks said, “that God has a plan, God has a purpose. That they can be successful, that they possibly can become the person that God wants them to become.”
I am just not sure how to look at this program. As a religion major and someone wanting to go into ministry I can understand the thinking behind the program. There are people who are in church and regularly attend that are hurting. So I just cannot see how making someone that is a non violent offender to go to church for a year is going to change them. These people need more structure than just a required attendance. I helped out a friend in Montgomery with a program called Celebrate Recovery. Which is kind of the same principle but with structure.
In case you are wonder about Celebrate Recovery. What is Celebrate Recovery?
Our society is becoming more and more complex. Kids now have three sets of grandparents. Sexual addiction for men and women is growing at an exponential rate. Divorce is at an all time high — for Christians.
This is our reality. 20 years ago, Saddleback Church launched Celebrate Recovery with 43 people. It was designed as a program to help those struggling with hurts, habits and hang-ups by showing them the loving power of Jesus Christ through a recovery process. Celebrate Recovery has helped more than 17000 people at Saddleback, attracting over 70% of its members from outside the church. Eighty-five percent of the people who go through the program stay with the church and nearly half serve as church volunteers. Celebrate Recovery is now in over 19,000 churches worldwide!
In Celebrate Recovery groups across Australia and the world only one in three who participate in Celebrate Recovery are there for drugs and alcohol.
So why are they there? They want to celebrate their recovery from any kind of addictions — overeating, stress, worrying, sex, obsessive compulsiveness, anger, depression and a multitude of life’s hurts, habits and hang-ups.
Be a part of this proven program that takes a Biblical approach to overcoming addiction.
The Celebrate Recovery program involves 8 principles from the beatitudes of the New Testament, and 12 biblical steps of recovery.
This program is distinctly Christian, uncompromisingly biblical, and proven to work within the church. It has clearly brought people together to discover a new level of care, acceptance, trust and grace.
And, for those who seek to mature spiritually, making better decisions that will help them become Christ-like in character.
“Welcome to the ‘Road to Recovery.’ You are in for an exciting and amazing journey as you take the hand of the true and only Higher Power, Jesus Christ, and walk with Him toward healing and serenity.” — Pastor John Baker founder of Celebrate Recovery
I am not sure how Paul when even deal with a situation like this. However, I am sure that Paul and others from the Bible would require more of people than just attending church for a year.
I just feel like if my community feels this strong about a program then maybe they should look at Celebrate Recovery since this is a program that has proven results. I would really like to see other comments on this and other people’s views on this matter.
It has been a long time since I have blogged. Even though this was for a class assignment I have decided to continue blogging. Since my last post I have graduated college and moved back home with my mom to become a little more financially stable. When I first moved to Montgomery to go to college I knew no one there. The only thing I knew for certain at that time is that I was suppose to be at Huntingdon College for this season of my life. Once I graduated I left a family in Montgomery. These are people that came into my life during that time. People that if I was not at college I would have never had the privilege of knowing them. Moving away is going to test these friendships. Some for various reasons will unfortunately be just for a season. However, some of the treasured friendships will last a lifetime. I am so thankful for my experiences and pray as an alumni I will still be involved in the college. It is amazing that God knows what we need at the exact time we need. I am a very passionate person and I have always known that God has something for me to do. We all have a calling on lives and we must live in our calling. Thank you God for all that you continue to do in and through my life. Thank you Lord for making beautiful things.
Well I saved my last blog for this class in theological terms of Paul what is most important to me. This theological aspect is grace according to Paul. This grace includes transforming grace. I believe why this was so important to Paul is because he knew the power of transforming grace. Just think about Saul he was transformed so dramatically that he was given a new name Paul. Through my Christian walk I have witnessed and personally experienced this transforming grace. I have seen people who were one way and are now living a new life. In my own life this transforming grace made me realize that I have worth in my life. Because of my experiences I struggle with depression. Especially before I came to Huntingdon College I had an unhealthy view of self-esteem and self-worth. Through the grace of God I was able to pull through these things. When I smile it is with a very grateful heart. We all have stories of things we have or are going through. I just want to challenge to those who read this blog to totally embrace the life that God has given for you. As I review my life I am amazed how God has transformed my life. The last thing that I leave for those who have been reading this blog is to keep letting God transform you through His grace. However, to those who have not had this experience let Him transform you through His grace as well.