Freedom House Update: A way to help Kingdom Pathways via IGive.com

It has been awhile since I have posted any updates regarding the Kingdom Pathways run homeless outreach program Freedom House. The governmental issues were able to be sorted at and cleared at a moment when all was about to be lost. Since that time the program has operational with funding primarily through U-Care insurance for men. The funding covers the bare basics and is volatile. There is ongoing need for help from others and donations can be made easily for details go here: http://www.kingdompathways.org/generosity.php.

Why does a program that gets insurance funding need help? Isn’t everything covered? The answer in short is no. Already funding issues that have put things in jeopardy have come up. The program is operating on a bare bones budget and there is need for more staff but there are budget limitations to hiring.

Also there is limits on the individuals served. Right now only those with one insurance provider are eligible. There is no source of funding for uninsured or other insurance options. Given the current budget one persons stay averages out to cost $3400 a month. So in order for one uninsured individual to be placed there would need to be that much income designated and assured.

The program is a faith based program so any material that builds up individuals spiritually needs to come from other sources than governmental funds. So donations for material and training to help facilitate healing and growth is extremely important and can only be done via donations.

Given the nature of insurance there can be funding lags due to technical issues that put program at risk of coming short of budget. God has provided up till now and will continue to do so.

Now one may be reading this but thinking “Hey I would love to help but I just do not have the additional money to give right now.” Well, there is a way that involves helping out in a small way that does not entail any new investment from you. It simply diverts a portion of what you purchase online to the non-profit you support. The only catch is that you need to download a “button” so that when you shop online there is recognition of the purchase and funds diverted. Just follow this link: I GIVE.  Sure the amounts are small percentages but every little bit helps. If you buy things online and want to help, this is easy.  If you follow the link and download the appropriate button, you can help each time you make a purchase. 

Whether you choose to help in that way or not, please do continue to pray each day for the program and the men in the program to reach freedom and healing from addiction and be set on the path of life.

Ministry Spotlight and Urgent Request: Kingdompathways.org: Freedom House

I am on the board of a local ministry that is focusing on helping those chemically dependent with housing issues. It is a Christ-centered ministry that is looking to provide a unique Jesus Christ gospel-centered approach to treatment. The owner and his wife have given all they have to give to get things going as awaiting approval for funding from state to provide treatment/services. They achieve this but now have face another barrier of needing to undergo a zoning change by city in order to operate.  The changes will not happen before the end of the month so they ministry needs basic funds in order to operate this month.  Please go to www.kingdompathways.org and check out the ministry. Feel free to ask me any questions. My responsibilities are to oversee the mental health components of the ministry. The current staff are operating on a volunteer basis until state funds come in. Please prayerfully consider giving to this ministry at this time.   Included is the donation letter written by the ministry owner:

To Whom It May Concern,

Kingdom Pathways is a fully published and audited 501(c)(3) and

described in detail at http://www.KingdomPathways.org.

Kingdom Pathways is a multi-church outreach to the homeless, helping the homeless in practical

ways as described at http://www.KingdomPathways.org. Kingdom Pathways gathers multiple

mainline Christian churches together to do bind together in spirit of the

prayer of Jesus in John 17:20-23.

Kingdom Pathways is currently approved for funding through the State of MN,

awaiting a zoning change, and is currently experiencing grave financial

difficulty in the waiting. The difficulty is in paying the basic housing bills

in waiting for the new funding.

Electric and Gas, food bills, phone, household insurance, water, trash, van

insurance, and mortgages all need to be paid in the waiting. Please consider

assisting us.

Kingdom Pathways founder Jim and Lori have given ALL their savings, ALL their credit, and ALL

their hearts to see this succeed. The board that meets regularly to support this

ministry is impressive. See the picture and bios of the team on the website homepage at

http://www.KingdomPathways.org.

Blessed and Grateful,

Rev. Jim Michaud

Exec. Director

Kingdom Pathways, 501(c)(3)

www.KingdomPathways.org

Addendum: Just read rest of board member email and found this piece:

We have a public hearing for the zoning on November 10th, 3:30PM. Please rally
whomever you can to support us on that day in the St. Paul City Council
Chambers on the 3rd floor of the City Hall/Court House Bldg., on the corner of
Wabasha and Kellogg.  (Change of
Non-Conforming Use Sober Housing to Non-Conforming Transitional Housing, which
we have been for 4 years).

Musing on the Tragic Death of Amy Winehouse

Well yesterday, 7/23/2011, the pop music artist Amy Winehouse died. Sadly, not one person is truly surprised at her death for she was living on borrowed time, long ensnared by addictions to drugs and alcohol. It was simply a matter of time. She continued to use and ultimately she died. Sadly, her one hit was the song “Rehab” which she essentially wrote and sang about her rejecting a plea for her to go to drug rehabilitation. Her is a fact, while Amy’s life and death was tragic and while many can easily sit in judgment over how sick she was and proclaim if only she would get clean, each of us are really no different. When it comes to making changes, we too often protest “No, no, no.” There are things we like, we enjoy that we really just do not want to give up. We resist calls to repentance with the reply “No, no, no.” It takes brokenness and a realization of the truth to move toward change. We all have choices to make. There are many paths to death and destruction beyond the likes of alcohol and drugs. We are selfish and walk paths even with full knowledge that it is not good. We all have trouble embracing changes and turning from the paths of death. Ultimately there is one choice each person needs to make and sadly the refrain there is too often “no, no, no.” And that choice is surrender to the Creator, to Jesus the King of Kings. All to readily the response is “They told me to submit to Jesus” and “I said no, no, no.” See, for the appeal of self-direction and choosing own life, even if well aware of the pain and emptiness with lack of true peace, is alluring. Any life that dies apart from surrender is tragic. It is the path of many, not just Amy Winehouse. It is a sad day that such a hurt and broken soul reached the death point. It is too late for Amy, it is not too late for you. Please do not cry out “No, no, no” any further. This is true even for those who have submitted to Jesus yet God is stirring you to change and let go of areas of sin in your life. Stop saying “no, no, no” and repent, for the rejection only brings more pain. Surrender, say yes, it is worthwhile!

Addict lost in addiction and the pathway to death. (1-12-10 Update on Jeff Dubay)

Well the tragic story of Jeff Dubay continues to unfold.  The Star Tribune provided a new update as to his progress and it is not encouraging. Apparently he had been released from the workhouse to do sentence to serve work, and ended up at inpatient residential treatment at the Prodigal House treatment center.   According to the article, the facility gave Jeff  a view ‘second chances’ but he failed to engage and take part in the treatment program. The article reports that he  was just going through the motions and making no real effort to change.

The story really highlights the difficulty at reaching a point of recognition and motivation to change.  The addictions and desire for them are stronger than a  will to live.  Jeff was unable to reach the point of having a will to change.  He is a slave to his addictions.  Of course, it is easy to look down on Jeff Dubay or other addicts.   Dr. Drew Pinsky’s Celebrity Rehab shows other people in similar states with varying levels of treatment engagement.  All equally lost.   Yet, Jeff Dubay and the varied celebrities are no different from the condition of us all.  It is easy to look down on these folks and the paths of death and destruction they are walking.   However, anyone walking  a path of self is on a path of destruction. Some are not as obvious but it is all to real.  The level of denial that exists is   the same as it is with these lost souls. 

There is only really one path that is not a path of destruction, and that is the pathway of Jesus.  It is surrender of self to Him which results in reaching a state of true peace and wholeness.  Now, such surrender does not involve instant change.  There is a process of cleansing and changing.  No one has to have things right to surrender.  It does involve surrender of self.  It is not something that is of lip service and words easily said.  Rather, it is a complete turning of the will.  As Bob Dylan once penned, We all gotta serve somebody.  The choice is who, masters that lead to destruction or one that brings life, wholeness, and true peace?  Jeff Dubay and various other celebrity drug addicts have sad stories.  They once had achieved something but are destroying themselves for the false peace of one for of temporary stimulation or another.  Their pathway to death is obvious. Their prison is readily apparent.  Yet, take a look at your own life, ask  for open eyes to see where the path you are treading leads.  There are only two  options.  Pathways leading to death and destruction, and the pathway of life.   

 As for Jeff Dubay, the man needs prayer that he  can   have his eyes opened to what he is doing to himself and the cost.  Pray that His eyes and ears become opened to spiritual truth and he sees  his need for a Savior and the true peace found in Jesus.  Yet, whether he does or not, his ability to change only comes at a point of brokenness and recognition of need for change.  It is the same for each of us.  Until we reach that point, the steps on the pathway of death but continue.  The pathway to death is always easy to take, it takes recognition and work to move off that path.

News Commentary: Jeff Dubay Update

Previously, I commented on the downfall for former Twin Cities sports radio personality Jeff Dubay. Since then he had entered a diversionary program with the hopes of avoiding legal consequences.  Well, I just recently learned of an update posted on June 16th in the Minneapolis Star Tribune where he is now due to face a year in jail because he failed the diversionary program.  He has continued to a slave to his addiction.  His story is a sad one. It is one where people who have not fallen to such an addiction can easily cast asperions and look down on Jeff Dubay, but he is really no different then the rest of us. 

KFAN sports personality Dan Barerrio today made a comment essentially suggesting that Jeff is just an adolscent who has not grown up.  Such a comment fails to grasp the elements of addiction that are common to us all.  We all have areas we turn to for satisfaction or to cope.  Our desires often lead to our being slaves to any number of things that become the focal point of life.  Some common things people reach the point of serving are food, entertainment, sex, and work.  For the likes of Dan Barerrio and others, Jeff’s behavior is one to castigate based on the fact that it led him to destruction.  The destructiveness of drug and alcohol addiction is readily apparent, the desctruction of other areas of self-focus on not quite as clear but the ultimate destructiveness is true.  

Again, the prayer for Jeff Dubay is that he finds the truth of the Gospel where there is true freedom and grace.  Jail time may well help him be at a point of re-evaluating and perhaps have a chance to turn to Jesus.  Jeff and Dan and others need to realize that ultimately we all fall short.  It is not about being “strong enough” nor “growing up.” It is a matter that when we seek to serve our self, depend on our own morality we will falter.  We all need a savior for there is no one righteous.  We all choose what we serve, the sins birthed through our own selfish desires, or surrender to Jesus and his gift of covering the consequences of our continual failing to do what is right and moral.

So, I ask the reader, where are you in life? What is there in your life that dominates and you live your life essentially serving?  A re you depending on your own will and ability to choose the moral path?  What is stopping you from turning to Jesus the Messiah?   Are you on the path to destruction?  It is real easy to be proud of self or not making choices that Jeff has made, but he is no different then any of us.  He is a man who was sure of self, built his kingdom and eventually faltered and made choices that led to his own destruction.  The paths of destruction are wide and many and most people do not want to hear that the are on such a path.  We can easily see the failures of others and ignore our own selfish evils.

News Commentary: Hilton Sex Scandal

Today the Star Tribune posted another article regarding sexual impropriety and scandal. This time it involves Hilton Executives who reportedly had an orgy in a Hilton banquet room that ultimately led to two employees leaving or being terminated from employment. Unlike the recent Metrodome incident, this incident involves people in positions of corporate power engaging in recreational sex but also using their power to dismiss those that had a problem with the event or refused to go along with the event.  The event would be considered similar to the infamous Vikings “Love Boat” the difference being the location.  This is a another example of folks who ultimately have deep emptiness turning to sexuality and substances to satisfy themselves with momentary pleasure.  It also displays what can happen when positions of power give individuals perhaps a sense of entitlement and invulnerability. 

       In terms of entitlement, it seems that when people attain levels of power it is often followed by several indulgences that often accompany the increase in power.  The more money and more you have, you have more access to whatever you want.  At some point, individuals can reach a point where they believe they have the right to do whatever they want.  In terms of this Hilton executive scandal, it can be viewed as they run the Hotel, they can do what they want within the privacy of their Hotel. If they want to use one of their banquet rooms for a party that devolves into a drunken orgy, they have that right.  Ultimately it becomes a viewpoint that these people in power view the power as giving them the right to do whatever they want and whatever anyone else thinks is irrelevant because they have the power and authority.  This kind of mindset can be seen here or anywhere any type of scandal rises to the surface.

      These people in power can also exhibit a sense of invulnerability.  It is a matter not only that they can do what they want, but that no matter what they do they can overcome any consequences.  Some people reach a level of influence, money, and power that they reach a point where there is no fear of consequences.  Perhaps years have gone by doing the exact same thing and no one complained or had any problems.  The longer a person goes without facing consequences or only receiving minimal consequences, the concern over consequences diminish.  However, there is a Biblical principle based on Numbers 32:23 that your sins will find you out.  Ultimately, no one is invulnerable to consequences.   Each of us sooner or later will face consequences to what we do. 

       And in reality, it is not just people in power who exhibit tendencies toward entitlement and invulnerability. Each of us in our own self focus exhibit both.  Anything that happens or reported we all have the capacity to do.   We all have selfish pursuits and things we feel we have a right to have and often do things thinking that we won’t face consequences.  Often times we do not, but ultimately there comes a time when the consequences occur.  If not in this life, then certainly in what comes after death.

      There is only one answer that gets us away from self centered pursuit.  There is only one way for ultimate freedom from the eternal consequences of our selfishness.  The answer is the Gospel. The answer is accepting Jesus sacrifice as taking on the consequences of our own selfish actions.  Only in Jesus is there freedom and true peace.  Yet, in this day and age not only is there a lack of regard for the temporary consequences of this life, but no consideration for the eternal.   Where are you today?  Are you caught up in your own pleasures and distractions.  Are you any different then the people being reported on in the article?  Jesus is the way, the truth, and the life.  Please consider your eternal position and let Jesus pay the price for you.  Turn from your selfish pursuits and turn to Jesus.  It is worth it.

The Hooked Goose: A picture with spiritual signifigance

Take a moment and prayerfully consider this picture.  Ask God to reveal to you the spiritual significance of this picture, then come back and read my thoughts.  Please feel free to share your thoughts and what God speaks to you in the comment section. 
Notice the lure

Notice the lure

 

 

 

 

Okay, hopefully you have taken time to prayerfully consider the picture.  My first reaction to the picture was first it being a symbol of being yoked. Yet, with the lure being stuck in the goose it didn’t seem to quite fully fit.   Then my attention shifted to the nature of sin being a trap and that the Enemy has many for of bait sitting there to trap and entangle people.  There is no shortage of ways a person can get ensnared including the range of sexuality, drugs, entertainment, food, money, power, and so on.  Once we get drawn and hooked by a particular lure, there is always temptation to return.  The variety of sins are much like this lure.  We get used to them, not even notice, but every once and while feel the pull and get led off course.  This picture to me represents a typical Christian.  We are infilled with the Holy Spirit (goose is a symbol of Holy Spirit in Celtic Christianity) yet we have various sins that we have been hooked by that pull on us to lead us astray. We can have those hooks removed.  We can be delivered from the snares but there are specific steps, just as there would be steps to remove the lure in this picture.   Biblically the steps involve repentance, submission, forgiveness, reconciliation, and faith and probably others. At some point on this blog further examination on the steps to freedom over the snares of sin while occur.  Take some time to think for yourself about the snares you have that may pull at you, what keeps you from moving in the direction God has for you.