Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us,--Hebrews 12:1

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Stop Teen Substance Abuse...NOW!

The Workouts


I started this post early in the week. It was supposed to be a recap of the previous week, a week so busy I never had time to post. Well, now this week has been another. So I'm going to just briefly describe my workouts the past couple of weeks and get on to the bigger and better things God has for me to write on.

We came back from Spring Break and hit the ground running...well, sort of. First, I'd purchased a set of Insanity workout videos on Ebay back in January. I'd told myself as soon as I got through marathon season, I was going to start. Since Wrightsville Beach last month was the last marathon I plan to run this spring, I put in the first video the Sunday we got back.

Today is day 18 of the 60 day program and I can tell you it's least it's tough for a 45 year old fat man. But I'm sticking with it. If God carried me through all the miles I've run the past couple of years, I figure He can carry me through a couple of months of Insanity too!

Since the workouts average about 40 minutes each day, I don't have time to get in the same number of miles each day. Truth be told, I don't really have the energy to do the same amount of miles either. So I've cut way back on the daily miles. Luckily, every 7th day of the program is a rest day and I've timed that to coincide with my Saturday long runs.

Today was supposed to be a long run, and I actually got up and out with plans to do 15 miles. After the first 5 mile loop I stopped at the car, still planning to head out for the other 10. But by the time I'd sucked down a bottle of water, just about to hit the road again, I realized this was the first beautiful day we've had on a weekend. My grass was getting out of control, and who knows what's living at the bottom of my pool right now. So I decided to cut it short, head home, and get to work on some things around the house.

Turned out that was the right decision. Janice and I ate breakfast together, then worked all day in the back yard too. It was a great way to spend the first beautiful Saturday of Spring! We didn't get everything finished but we made a lot of progress.

Next weekend we'll be headed to Alabama for the TEAM 413 Get There and Share Half Marathon, so I guess I can count this as an unplanned taper week for that race. ;)

The Message

These past couple of weeks God has sent some pretty clear reminders of what he wants of me, what my mission is here with this ministry. It started with a friend at church telling me of stories about parties and drinking going on among junior high kids, and of parents who allow kids to party at their house. Then, on the way into the youth service at church the other day, I heard a junior high kid talking to a group of other junior high students say, "...I was drunk and walked into the bedroom." On Thursday, I overheard students at school freely discussing their drinking and partying exploits. And finally, this weekend, talking with a couple of middle school teachers, they told me they hear the same conversations, IN MIDDLE SCHOOL!

I know this is God's timing, me hearing all these things, because it was three weeks ago when our youth pastor asked me to address the boys in the youth group last Wednesday. I immediately knew I'd be discussing teen alcohol and drug abuse, because that's the focus of my ministry. But I didn't get to speak last week.

We had a missionary come and address our Fellowship of Christian Athletes breakfast. She was looking for other places in town to speak, so she could maximize the impact of her trip. Our FCA president also happens to be in the youth group at our church. Long story short, my preaching got put off a week so she could address our kids.

I didn't mind, because she had a message the kids needed to hear, but I had no idea that all this was working in God's timing. I had my message prepared, but had no idea I'd hear so many things that illuminated the absolute necessity of delivering this message. Now, with more stories and more illustrations, I have no doubt the message will be even more effective.
"No temptation has overtaken you except what is common to mankind. And God is faithful; he will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear. But when you are tempted, he will also provide a way out so that you can endure it." -- 1 Corinthians 10:13

Our culture today seems to accept this behavior as unavoidable, as a rite of passage, as something kids will grow out of. But I know all too well that not all of them will get the chance. I talk to too many who only later realize the absolutely devastating effects drugs and alcohol have on their lives. I wear the pictures of too many who never got the opportunity to grow out of their substance abuse, or who were victims of other teens abusing drugs and alcohol.

Paul tells us that NO temptation, not even drugs and alcohol to a teenager, is more than we can bear. God gives us an out! Every single one of us, teens included has to make the choice to abuse or not to abuse drugs or alcohol. Yes, we'll all be tempted, but if we lean on Jesus Christ, we can bear that temptation. Even teens can take the right road, if we don't give up on them.
"You cannot drink the cup of the Lord and the cup of demons too; you cannot have a part in both the Lord’s table and the table of demons." -- 1 Corinthians 10:21

Our society today seems to communicate to kids that anything goes, everything's okay, if it feels good it is good. Even many churches today refuse to preach the part of the gospel that demands we change when we become Christians. It's almost as if they are preaching the gospel as a pass to behave any way we want. But this verse makes it clear, a Christian cannot run with the devil!

That's not saying Christians are sinful. It's not saying Christians won't fall. Every single one of us sins. We can't help it and that's why God sent His Son to suffer and die for our sins. What it is saying is that Christians cannot LIVE in sin! It's impossible to be baptized with the Holy Spirit, to have Jesus Christ living in your heart, and honestly believe that makes it okay to get drunk or high every Friday and Saturday night. It's impossible to "drink of the cup of the Lord and the cup of demons too."
"Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come: The old has gone, the new is here!" -- 2 Corinthians 5:17

Once we truly accept Jesus Christ as our Lord and Savior, we are no longer bound by sin. It doesn't mean we never sin. It means sin loses it's grip on us. The old us that took pleasure in sin is no more, and the new us takes no pleasure in sin. We can be tempted. We can fall. We will sin. But to live a life, CHOOSING to sin every chance we get, taking pleasure in sin without remorse, leading others to sin with no feeling of guilt, these things are not in us. They can't be!

The old is gone. The old us is dead. The new is here. The new us seeks to please God, to honor Christ, and feels guilty, horrible, ashamed when we fail Him. As Christians, we cannot drink the cup of the Lord and the cup of demons. We cannot dine with Jesus and Satan. We cannot honor and glorify God while we willingly live a life of sin!
" 31 So whether you eat or drink or whatever you do, do it all for the glory of God. 32 Do not cause anyone to stumble, whether Jews, Greeks or the church of God" -- 1 Corinthians 10:31

We are ordered to do everything we do for God's glory, to not lead anyone else astray. So the oft-used argument that you can't stop kids from drinking and using drugs just doesn't fly to excuse adults who permit such behavior, enable such behavior, or promote such behavior. If you are an adult who uses this excuse to explain why you allow your kid and others to drink or use drugs, then you are just plain wrong!

As adults, we are responsible for guiding our children, molding them, teaching them, correcting them. There is no excuse for adults providing alcohol and drugs, or a place to abuse alcohol or drugs, to kids! We are told to do everything we do for the glory of God. How can He be glorified while we allow our kids and others to get falling down drunk so they pass out or puke all over themselves?

I know all too well just how badly things can turn out when kids are drinking and using drugs. My daughter, Amanda, was killed at a party where that's exactly what was going on. If you think you can control a bunch of underage kids who are drunk and stoned, you are wrong. Only a few minutes before she was shot to death, Amanda texted her friend and told her she was "having fun." It only took a brief moment to go from that to dead.

She didn't recognize the danger, and she couldn't control the drunken, stoned fool who became angry when she turned down his sexual advances. You don't know what a drunk or stoned person is going to do at any given moment. It's time for ALL adults to stand up and actively discourage teen substance abuse.

If you've been condoning it, promoting it, or enabling it, just stop now! We have to let these kids know it's not okay and it will not be tolerated. We have to let them know we, as adults, will not provide them with alcohol and drugs. We will not provide them a place to abuse alcohol and drugs. And we will punish them when they're caught indulging.

I lost my daughter to drunken, stoned, 19-year-old. I don't want another kid to die because of teen substance abuse. So take a stand with me and fight this epidemic that takes the lives of thousands of kids each year.

If you don't know Jesus as your personal savior, if you're missing the faith, hope, and love written about here, if you want the peace that we as Christians have in our lives, please visit our Got Jesus? page for step-by-step instructions on how to accept Jesus Christ as your personal Savior.

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