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-Exchange one prison for another.

Well the Star Tribunehas reported that Jeff Dubay has been sentenced to 180 days in the workhouse for his drug related offenses.  Judge Smith also gave him a stiff warning that the next step is prison.  He had failed to follow through with the diversion program and substance abuse court and had failed twelve drug tests while missing eleven. 

Jeff sadly turned to cocaine to fill the emptiness inside after finding the truth in Ecclesiastes that what he had chased after was ultimately all nothing.  He lost everything including now his freedom for his drug.  Perhaps his lawyer is right and his moving to Brainard, Minnesota away from his drug connections would be the answer. However, this is often not the case for people who have turned to drugs for an answer.   Here it is moving from the prison of addiction to actual time in jail.  It is the told bottom of self.  

Jeff Dubay’s struggles are not uncommon and we all think we are good enough.  The mindset is that if you just have enough strength and will power and drive to succeed, you will do what it takes to be successful and avoid anything that can drag you down. Yet, each of us at one point or another turn to something to feel the emptiness.  It does not matter whether what is turned to is socially acceptable or not, but it is something that is an attempt to fill what Blaise Pascal called a “God-shaped vacuum” inside us all. The true satisfaction only comes when one is in right relationship with God. The only way anyone can get right with God is through Jesus the Messiah by turning from self and accepting the gift Jesus has to offer.  If you want more details on turning to Jesus please read this page: https://peacebringer7.wordpress.com/how-to-become-a-christian/. Please don’t wait till you reach bottom to look to turn to Jesus.   The consequences and problems will still exist but there will be peace and the driving emptiness will be no more.

Now for any who struggle with addiction, including Jeff Dubay. I strongly recommend getting involved with the Teen Challenge treatment program.  They will deal with both the addiction issues as well as the connected spiritual issues.

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Please see this post for most recent thoughts and update: https://peacebringer7.wordpress.com/2010/01/12/addict-lost-in-addiction-and-the-pathway-to-death-1-12-10-update-on-jeff-dubay

News Commentary: The light of the Gospel in the Life and death of Coach Ed Thomas

There have been a lot of death of famous people mentioned recently.  Not only do we have the recent deaths of Michael Jackson and Farah Fawcett.  Other recent deaths include Ed McMahon, Billy Mays, Fred Travalena, and Karl Malden.   There was another death that has been made public as well.  This death was the tragic murder of high school football coach Ed Thomas.  On June 24th at around 7:45 Am Ed Thomas was shot by former student Mark Becker. 

Normally the deathof a small town football coach would not be anything people really attend to, but attention is drawn to Ed Thomas related to his having coached several NFL players with the most recent being Green Bay Packers linebacker Aaron Kampman, Jacksonville Jaguars center Brad Meester, Detroit Lions defensive end Jared DeVries and Denver Broncos center Casey Wiegmann.  So without contributing to the success of these men’s life within the apex of cultural entertainment, Ed Thomas would be widely known and this article would not be written.

The death of Ed Thomas and the man who killed him shows a contrast in lives.   Ed Thomas was a man who loved God and served others.  He was a man that taught values related to hard work, perseverance, and leadership. He bore witness to the Gospel in both word and action.  According to news reports his life reflected that of a person serving the Kingdom of God versus his own kingdom. He had success and failures in reaching many with the love of God.  His life and impact is exemplified by this quote from Aaron a “Coach Thomas was very special to me and many other young men from the Aplington-Parkersburgcommunities. His legacy for many will be associated with his tremendous success as a football coach. However, I believe his greatest legacy comes not in how many football games he won or lost but in the fact that he was a committed follower of Jesus Christ. He lived his life trying to exemplify this faith and convey those values to those under his influence. His faith in Christ pervaded everything he did and that is why in the midst of the heartache we all feel there is comfort in knowing he is with his Savior.”

In contrast, is the life of his murderer Mark Bennett.  He was a former student and player who has coached by Ed Thomas, yet some how the words and life of Coach Thomas didn’t reach Mark who chose to go a different path then the one taught and demonstrated by Ed.  Rather Mark lived a life caught in the mire of drug addiction.   He reach a point where is mind had been damaged and destroyed, likely do to the drug use.  The end result is the man with the destroyed mind and life took the life of the man who showed him another way.

These two men show the contrast between those who walk in the light of the Gospel and serve the kingdom of God and those lost in darkness.  Darkness seeks to destroy all light.  It seeks to have people lost and without hope.  The man Mark Bennett followed the path of darkness, with momentary pleasure, to the point of destruction.  Coach Ed Thomas walked in the light of the Gospel, even in tought times. He had strong faith, not just in the people in the town he loved, but in Jesus, who he served. 

Now it may seem here that darkness won the battle. The light that was shown in the life of Coach Ed Thomas has been extinguished. Yet, the light of his life still shines.  The impact he had on the town of Parkersburg will not be forgotten.  The words he spoke to the boys he coached will be remembered.  Each person that Coach Ed Thomas touched will think over what Ed Thomas meant and the Gospel he preached and demonstrated.  The end of Coach Thomas life does not end his influence. 

Sure his death brings questions such as how could God allow one who followed Matthew 5:16 (“Let your light so shine before men that they may see your good works and glorify your Father who is in heaven.”) so clearly? I read in one article stated that Coach Thomas was the rock on which the town of Parkersburg   Somehow such a statement seems contary to what Coach Thomas lived and demonstrated.  Jesus the Messiah is the rock each of needs to turn.  Perhaps Coach Thomas was called to be with the God, so that others may look to Jesus and not Coach Thomas.  There are plenty of what ifs.  The simple fact is God’s purposes will be served here. That what prince of darkness and all that hates light meant for ill, will serve to reach others with the light of the Gospel. 

 Now word is Parkersburg is a moral town with many churches.  Such a fact is only a surface fact.  The town certainly has many people like Mark Bennett, lost and confused and on the pathway to destruction.  The town probably has fewer who live and follow Jesus in the manner of Coach Ed Thomas. Each person and where they are with God is unique.  Only God  truly knows the heart but the fruit of  the lives lived can be evident.  One who has a light who shined the truth of the Gospel.  One who walked a dark path of destruction.  Each person has a choice which path to follow.  The light of the path is not through self-effort. Ed Thomas lived the way he lived through the power of the Gospel to move beyond serving self to loving and serving others because of Jesus and what he did for each of us at the cross.

My prayer is for each person Coach Thomas impacted that they take a step closer to Jesus.  If they know him not, that they open their eyes and ears and heart to the Gospel and turn to the Kingdom of God.  If they know Jesus that they look for ways they can love others and walk out the Gospel in the world in which they live.   Each person was touched.  Also pray that folks do not turn to the despair of darkness that is exemplified in Mark Bennett’s life and choices but rather the light as shown in Coach Ed Thomas life.  And ultimately pray that God cuts through the damaged mind of Mark Bennett and that he may yet turn to Jesus in repentance.   May those that  were hurt by Mark’s choices be able to turn to light by embracing forgiveness rather then the darkness of hate and bitterness.

In closing, ultimately Coach Thomas has been taken away from the confines of this world into the presence of God almighty.  The tragic loss is felt by those left behind, while Coach Thomas is in the presence of the Light of the World.  No darkness, pain, or suffering.  His service on earth is at an end until the time of Jesus return and the resurrection of the saints.  Mark Bennett on the other hand will be imprisoned one way or another.  His physical status will match the prison he is already in.