Sunday Morning Love Addiction

Sunday morning we went to church at the True Purpose Thrift Store. They added a bunch of folding chairs to the furniture section, and turned it into a makeshift church where we all sat in a big circle. The service was one of the coolest ones I've ever been to. Pastor Jeremy led for the most part, but was constantly opening up the floor to anyone who had something on their heart, something they needed prayer for, etc. Lot's of people were prayed for, lots of things were shared, and God's presence was strongly there through the whole thing.

You could tell that the guys in the program used to be living in a very different kind of lifestyle. There was a "rough around the edges" feel to them. But you could also tell that that wasn't who they were anymore. They were cleaned up, and had a gentleness and peacefulness that you could clearly see. That is why Tommy, the older man who was sitting behind us when we came in, stood out. He had all of the former, without the latter. Facial hair scruff, bloodshot eyes. He looked like he had just walked in off the street.

At the end of the service, Pastor Jeremy was asking if anyone had anything else they need prayers for, or if there was anyone present who had not ever asked Jesus into their hearts as their personal Lord and Savior. That's when Tommy spoke up.

Tommy had been addicted to drugs and alcohol since he was 13. A period of almost 30 years. He'd been in and out of jail, living on the streets, all alone. He had no family, both his parents were dead. He told us how he woke up in the middle of the night the night before, face wet from apparently crying in his sleep. He lied there in bed, sobbing, realizing that something in his life needed to change.

When he got out of bed in the morning (this same Sunday morning), he couldn't get a friend of his (who runs a local homeless shelter) out of his head. Everything he did, everywhere he went...there was his friends face. So he finally went to see his friend. Tommy told him that he was seeing him everywhere, that he couldn't get him out of his head, and that he wanted to change. He wanted to break this three decade addiction that had been running his life. His friend pointed him to True Purpose, and told him he should come to the church service.

And so Tommy spoke up, and told us all of this. He then went on to say that he was ready to ask Jesus into his heart. He knew he couldn't do it on his own any longer, but was ready to change with the help of God. He went up front, and Pastor Jeremy walked him through the steps. Everyone clapped and applauded, and many tears were shed by all.

It takes $200 to enter the program at True Purpose. This gets them into the program, and then they work at the thrift store, cut lawns, etc to help pay through the rest of it. We had decided yesterday as a group that we wanted to donate $200 to True Purpose for the next person who wanted to enter the program, but didn't have the money to afford it. After Tommy got up and shared his story, and accepted Jesus into his heart, we all knew immediately what we needed to do with the money.

After the service, we went up to Tommy to congratulate him, hug him, and encourage him. And then we told him that we just gave Pastor Jeremy a check for $200 for him to enter into the program. If we thought he was crying before, that was nothing.

He collapsed into his chair and just started weeping into his hands, overcome with joy and disbelief. Emotions overwhelmed all of us, and we just all stood there together crying and smiling. He was so grateful, both to us and to God. He told us that he had told God that he was ready to turn over a new leaf, if God would only provide the means.

I can very honestly say, that that was the coolest, most important thing I feel that I have ever done in my entire life. For just $200, we completely changed this man's life. That night Tommy ate a warm meal, and slept in a bed. He is on a path of new beginnings in his life, for the first time in 30 years, all because of an act of love.

The crazy thing is, we weren't even supposed to go to Tennessee. It was a last minute change. But I know now that we were and are exactly where we're supposed to be doing exactly what we we're supposed to be doing. I'm so thankful that we were able to be used in such an amazing way, touching a life that I know will go on to touch many others. That is an experience that will be with me for the rest of my life.

:) Jason


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