Tag Archives: Teen Challenge of Arizona

Back-to-School Bash Dust Storm

You may know that my “real” job is being the web and video guy for Teen Challenge of Arizona.  I love telling the stories of what God is doing through the ministry.  A week or so ago the Phoenix Men’s Center had it’s annual Back-to-School Bash.  This year we had a twist.  A Haboob hit shortly after the event started!  No one panicked.  No one left.  The volunteers and Men of the Center all pitched in to make sure everyone stayed safe, got fed and got backpacks full of school supplies.  Here’s Mike with more:

Passionately Christian

Yesterday I wrote a little bit of why I am a “Passionate Conservative.”  I could have gone on, but I don’t have hours to write and you don’t have hours to read.  Bottom line is I believe that Conservative Principles when applied in a Representative Republic give individuals the best chance to be the best they can be.  As individuals prosper, the entire society is lifted up.  Indeed the results have been dramatic for the entire planet!

This morning I want to talk a little bit about why I am passionately Christian.  Bottom line is Jesus gave up Heaven so God could have a friendship with me and you!  In other words, God died so that when you die you don’t have to really die!  You can live with Him forever!

The only requirement to qualify for Heaven?  Believe in your heart that Christ died in your place and paid for your sins and on the third day rose from the dead.  Believe that in your heart and confess it with your mouth.  That’s it!  Romans 10:9 & 10.  You then exchange your earthly sin for His absolute righteousness.

Now as simple as that sounds, we all resist.  Well, most of us.  I do know a couple of wonderful people who have been Christians as long as they remember, but for most of us we decided that “having fun” in our youth was more important then being called “Jesus Freaks.”  Of course the fun lead to heartache and sometimes disease.  While we might be “good people” we are all pretty selfish by nature.  Of course God was still drawing us to Him and eventually we responded and accepted His wonderful gift of salvation.  If you haven’t and are alive enough to read this then there is still time.

For me it started in Sunday School at the First Conservative Baptist Church of Canby.  I was maybe 8 or 9 and our Sunday School Teacher was showing me in the Bible that God talked about springs in the bottom of the ocean.  Springs that scientists were just barely discovering thousands of years later.  That was enough for me to accept Jesus into my heart.  I still remember the joy I felt as I prayed and in my minds eye I saw light bursting from my heart!  It was pretty cool.

But.  I eventually stopped going to church and eventually started living more and more for my own desires.  That included increasing drug and alcohol use as a teenager and young adult.  I even shared a drug needle to inject some cocaine into my arm.  I only tried it 2 or 3 times in a one week period when I was about 20 years old, but I ended up paying a high price for the temporary rush the cocaine gave me.

I found out much later that I had Hepatitis C.  The worse kind too.  It was also about that time that God drew me back to him.  I started going to church, got baptized and started reading my Bible.  During worship at church I would cry out to God and also actually cry as He was healing my heart.  The folks around me at church probably thought I was a troubled man, but I didn’t care.  God was working while I was in His presence.

It was during one of those times that I heard God say in my heart about my Hepatitis C, “I’m going to take this from you.”  It was a word I clung to during the difficult one year of combination drug therapy.  I lost a lot of weight and some hair.  Food lost it’s flavor and I had suicidal thoughts.  All side effects of the drugs, but I hung on because I had God’s promise!

Sure enough, after a year of treatments I was Hepatitis C free!  And still am today.  That was 10 years ago.  Since then I have left my TV career and have served in a few ministries.  Mission Odessa, Family Life Radio and Teen Challenge of Arizona along with some churches along the way.  I don’t know if I will stay working in ministries as a job the rest of my life, but I do plan on ministering the rest of my life!  God has shown me a lot in His Word and through experiences with Him that I have to share.  It’s too important.  I don’t always live as I should and God doesn’t just give me what I want, but I know that He is always with me and He always gets me through.

If you want more evidence that God is who He says He is, check out this blog entry from a couple of years ago.  Stars really do sing, just like God said they do thousands of years ago!

If you don’t know Jesus and you are still alive, it’s not too late.  To say that it is awesome to know the God who created the Universe as a personal friend and Father is an understatement!

Rejoice!

Last night was the second Tucson Fall Banquet.  The banquet series takes a break today before resuming for three nights in the Phoenix area.  (you can find out more here)

As you probably know, Teen Challenge of Arizona is my employer.  I maintain the web site and do some YouTube videos.  It is a very rewarding job as you can imagine as we see literally hundreds of boys, girls, men and women set free from drug and alcohol addiction every year.  My small role of support allows me to tell some of the amazing stories of how God is saving lives through the ministry of Teen Challenge.

This years banquet theme is Rejoice!  Philippians 4:4 says, “Rejoice in the Lord always and again I will say, Rejoice!”  The banquets are more then just our major fundraiser for the year.  They are also an opportunity to share the amazing things that God is doing and to Rejoice! in them.

One amazing story I got to tell after Fall Graduation is that of Karami’s and how God not only saved her life and changed her forever, but also changed her Dad and her entire family!  Karami and her family shared from the stage last night.  While I didn’t record that, I can share part of their story with you via this YouTube story I put together at graduation in September:

Reasons to Rejoice! indeed.