What an exciting month of memories! I can’t believe it’s been 10 years. Yes that’s right, ten years ago March 3, 2003 we purchased the ministry property off the court house steps. This has been such an exciting ten years it seems as if it has only been 10 months (Well maybe a little longer). I remember very well how it all came together, and it’s such an exciting memory in my life I’d like to share it with you.
His Steps was formed in 1998. I knew the Lord wanted me involved in ministering with those caught in the grips of the sin of addiction (idolatry). Part of God’s plan prior to the residential house was that I spend several years ministering in downtown Atlanta. I found a house to rent in a neighborhood that had been taken captive by crack cocaine. Rock of Ages III was formed in that little house, it was a blessing to be able to teach the truth of God’s Word to these folks. We held Wednesday night and Sunday morning church services in that little house on Westview Drive. I also just hung out at that house to be available to counsel people as they would periodically drop in during the week. I’d always have a pot of coffee brewing praying for opportunities to share the love of God with anyone who’d come over. This ministry lasted until the summer of 2002. In 2002 the City of Atlanta came through and basically tore down the entire neighborhood.
As the board of Directors met to see what direction to now go in, the decision was made to pursue the residential house. There was no money available to purchase a house and we didn’t know where we would even find a suitable house. This turned into a season of prayer for me. It wasn’t long before our Lord started answering my prayers. I wrote a newsletter in August of 2002 and in that letter explained we were going to try and raise funds to get a residential program started. I thought it would be a rental house near my personal residence. In September I received a check from a regular donor for $5,000. They sent this check in response to me stating in the newsletter that we were going to be raising funds, I hadn’t even talked with them prior to this. We then held an evening fellowship of the current donors to explain our plans to raise money for the house. At that meeting we raised an additional $2,000. I certainly felt this was enough to start renting a house, but the guy that had given the $5,000 asked me to keep him posted as to the progress. I called him and told him we were going to rent a house. He said,
“No, Tim I think you should buy a house not rent it.”
I said, “That would be preferred but I can’t buy with $7,000.”
He then said, “what if I give you $25,000 more?”
I responded, “I think we could move in the direction of buying with $32,000 in hand.”
As we moved into the fall another donor totally unsolicited gave $22,000. Now we had $54,000. Wow, God was really working here. But again where would we find a place with a house for the men and a house for Kit and me? At this point I started looking at foreclosures and was unable to find a suitable one. In February of 2003, I found the perfect house; it was on a 5 acre tract of land in my backyard. Isn’t it just like God to provide the perfect place? I didn’t even have to move. Here it was in literally in my backyard.
A friend of mine who deals with foreclosures for a living met with me and explained the process; I’d need at least another $100,000 to be competitive in the bidding. Here was the next challenge. I contacted the two guys that had given the previous large sums and they lent me the cash to be able to go to the auction. God was faithful and we were able to purchase the property. Once purchased I took out a mortgage and paid these guys back the $100,000. At this point I could say the rest is history. But it gets better. We have been making payments on this property since 2003 when it was purchased and have made many wonderful improvements to the house and property.
Last March gave me another milestone to remember in ministry; the house caught on fire and burned significantly. At that time we thought perhaps the Lord would move the residential side of the program, but we soon found those doors closing. The insurance rebuilt the house and we reoccupied in August of 2012. During the reconstruction phase I talked with several donors and they have pledged significant amounts of money to pay the property off, we still need another 50,000 to pay it off but are well on the way towards a mortgage free ministry house! This would add significant funds back into the monthly operating budget and for that we praise the Lord.
March offers a personal time of rejoicing for Kit and me as well. Last March Kit went with our daughter in law to Uganda for the adoption of our two newest grandkids, Easton and Evie. Also in March last year my doctor found significant blockage in two main arteries in my heart without me suffering a heart attack. The doctors were able to correct the problem with stints and we’ve been a full year now with no further complications.
So now you can see why I have so many exciting memories in the month of March.
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This has been a very exciting month of ministry. I’m always thrilled when I see our Lord working in the lives of the men here at His Steps. This past month one of the men has been in an extreme spiritual battle. He has been vacillating back and forth as to whether or not God would have anything to do with him, even to the point of talking about taking his own life saying, “What’s the use of living if God isn’t going to save me?” We spent many hours talking and praying together and looking at God’s Word and working through his spiritual struggles.
Today he has totally surrendered to God’s call on his life. He told me just this morning how good it feels to be open and honest about his sin and to surrender his life to the control of Christ each day. He has even begun to hold the other men in the house accountable for their sinful actions.
Here is a brief word from him:
“I’m a 40 year old named Matt. I came to His Steps Ministries grasping for a solution to end a life of drug addiction and alcohol abuse. I had previously exhausted every other known remedy. I've been in and out of 12 steps programs, secular treatment facilities, psychologist visits and have even tried on my own willpower, but nothing has lasted.
"I grew up in the church and thought I knew the necessities of Christian living. It never dawned on me that my addiction stemmed from a sin problem and an improper relationship with Jesus Christ and my constant rebellion to His Word. Over the course of two years I went from being a professional law enforcement officer to an unemployed homeless vagrant with no driver’s license and worse yet no hope. I now know that my constant disobedience to God’s commandments was the means to my downfall.
"Since coming to His Steps my depression and suicidal thoughts have subsided. I’ve learned the truth about God’s amazing grace, repentance, Godly sorrow, fearing God, and the sovereignty of God. For the first time in my life I’m taking the Scriptures seriously. I know that Jesus Christ is my only hope and day by day I am learning more about Him and how to serve Him.”
I hope that encourages you as much as it did me when I first read it. Please continue to pray for us.
or (770) 595-4294