Convergence

It all started with a desperate phone call from a hotel room. He was drunk and barely conscious. A Gulf War veteran running away from his demons, forced into a corner, and unsure of what to do. I choose to believe that it was God’s mercy that led him to remember his childhood association with a Church of Christ. So from a bed of shame and humility he pulled the phonebook out of the drawer of his nightstand and called the church. He talked to David Kilbern on the phone. David went to Scott’s room and thus began a rocky relationship that was to overcome broken trust, forgotten promises, and a bond that went beyond brotherhood.

Over the next year and a half Scott was in and out of rehab facilities. He would at times be out of touch … and then would come the phone call that was so reminiscent of that first one. There were times when it seemed there was no way to help this broken man who had lost everything he owned in Katrina. He was overseas at the time. Scott saw things that only veterans understand while at war. He came home to nothing. For a while he thought alcohol was his only friend. Even when we thought he was doing well, he wasn’t. A few times we tried to give up on him, but our love for this lost soul overcame our frustration at his failures.

Finally Scott admitted his own weakness and entered himself into the VA’s residential program for substance abuse and post traumatic stress disorder. Eight weeks later Scott is sober. He has created an optimistic world for himself, rather than the dark spiral downward that used to characterize his thinking. His weakness has not been removed. It never will be. He has, however, the tools to handle the darkness within. Part of that is his trust in the grace of God. Scott has told me that one thing he learned by being a part of Central was that God loved him deeply and that he could trust God’s grace.

Last night there was a celebration at the VA for Scott and his four classmates that have completed their courses. There were many tears between the classmates and the doctors who taught the classes. I am so proud of Scott’s progress and the man he has become. A few of us went over to celebrate with Scott and to take him to a Mexican restaurant of his choosing for supper. Scott is moving on to a re-entry program that will equip him to use what he now knows in civilian life. Offer a prayer for him when you get a chance. He is well on his way to many celebrations of success.

Scott and David

Convergence. Along with the joy and happiness of Scott’s celebration came another phone call. Another friend who was losing his battle with alcohol was falling into familiar desperation. Phone calls to local rehab facilities brought reports of full beds and long waiting lists. I called an old friend who has been down this path and he told me about a place about an hour away that he had a lot of respect for. So while I was driving to celebrate with one friend who has overcome alcohol, another friend who is overcome by alcohol was being taken to a rehab facility. Pray for his success in defeating this wretched enemy. When I talk with these men who have lost so many years to the bottle, I know that most of these battles are not going to be won.

We need more Christian residential facilities for people escaping substance abuse. There are so many people who need help and there are so few facilities available to offer them the help they need. This is a growing problem. Jesus is the only answer. For every one that is rescued, many more are falling by the minute.

Kilberns, Dobbs, Ingram Celebrating with Scott

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 On a different subject, I’d like to congratulate the Television Meterologists for creating hurricane hysteria by exalting TD 10 into a near-hurricane. Communities are going on red alert. The Governor of Louisiana has declared a state of emergency!!! Evacuations in Jackson County, Mississippi are considered! The USM Coast classes are cancelled tomorrow! Biloxi opens storm shelters! On the other hand, casinos are staying open. Dr. Jeff Masters predicts that this storm, if it even develops further, will only offer 50 mph winds. Not that I want to be out in it … but this can be found in a summer thunderstorm. I do appreciate that we shouldn’t take any threat lightly, but this is overkill. Jim Cantore must be disappointed in Pensacola.

Tornadoes can occur in this type weather, of course, and we should be praying for the folks in Eustus, FL who suffered several losses of homes last night.

In another case of the media making news, the fact that Giuliani answered his wife’s call during a speech to the NRA is being reported everywhere. I love it. This guy is on wife #3 … he finally figured out what his priorities need to be. I suppose with the immorality portrayed in the media and celebrity lifestyles these days this is beyond the comprehension of many. I have instructed Mrs. Dobbs not to call me during a sermon, though.

        Star Simpson

Star Simpson figured out today that wearing a fake bomb in an airport is not really considered art. I would suggest that she consider some other kind of art. Star’s kind of art is a scary kind that makes people dive under tables and run for cover. Kind of like her hair. Did I say that out loud?

Don’t tase me bro! Student Andrew Meyer got a shocking conclusion to his questioning of John Kerry! It might have hurt a bit, but he has now ascended into YouTube fame. Too bad there’s no fortune to go along with it. I wonder if that should become our new catch phrase… Don’t Tase me Bro!

I better go before I get into trouble.

Oh, this week’s CENTRAL BULLETIN is now posted.

Thanks for reading!

John

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