Freedom Sunday | Adult & Teen Challenge

We’re so grateful that you guys have come here to celebrate what God is doing at Western Michigan Adulting Challenge tonight. We know that you could have been other places, but you chose to be here with us. You’re partnering with us, not only financially, but in prayer. And we exist as a ministry to develop a life in Christ with hope and freedom that’s found in Him. We do this five different ways. We do this through God’s Word, worship, prayer, discipleship, and unity. As you watch the rest of this video, be keenly aware of what God is doing and how deeply and profoundly He’s touched the lives of students that we’ve been ministering to. Enjoy the rest of this. Fifty-one students have successfully completed our lower-growth classes and have been promoted to upper work.

Fifty-six students and guests have been baptized in our chapel services. We’ve had eight men and women who came back and completed the restoration program. We’ve been able to explain and give the gospel of Jesus Christ to 129 students this year. And with that, we’ve graduated 24 students. When they graduate, we give them a Bible, and these are really amazing Bibles. And this is God’s Word, which we navigate our lives from. The second thing we give them is a towel to always remind them that we live as believers’ lives of service. And so they get to take this home with them. The third thing that we give them is a piece of kindling, and it always reminds them to fan the flame, and their hearts towards the things of the Lord, towards their passion with God. This year, we’ve added new classes to our classroom rotation. We have classes about conflict management, budgeting and financing, the power to change, evangelism. We’ve added a fitness center at our men’s and women’s centers. I just want to let you know that we’ve completed our chapel renovations.

The renovation to the new bedroom and the hygiene storage and added new conversation areas at the men’s center. What has God done for you through Teen Challenge? He gave me a relationship with Him. Put the light of the Holy Spirit in me. Softened my heart and restored my marriage. He’s given me an identity, and I know who I am in Christ today. It’s rebuilding bridges that were burned. Giving me the strength to stay the course. A new life in Christ. Delivered me from the fire. I have freedom and inner joy and peace. Gave me peace. God has given me a

As the Spirit was moving over the water, Spirit come move over us, come rest on us, come rest on us. As the Spirit was moving over the water, ‘Spirit, come move over us, come rest on us, come rest on us.’ Come down, Spirit, when you move, you make my heart pound; when you fill the room, you’re here and I know you are moving. I’m here and I know you will fill me. Come down, Spirit, when you move, you make my heart pound; when you fill the room. You’re here and I know you are moving. I’m here and I know you will fill me.

The Spirit was moving. over the water spirit come move over us come rest on us come rest on us as the spirit was moving over the water spirit come move over us come rest on us fire and wind fire and wind come and do it again open up the gates let heaven on in come and rest on us come and rest on us fire and wind come and do it again open up the gates let heaven on in come and rest on us Come rest on us, come rest on us Come down, spirit when you move you make my heart pound When you fill the room, you’re here and I know you are moving I’m here and I know you will fill me Come down, spirit when you move you make my heart pound When you fill the room, you’re here and I know you are moving I’m here and I know you will fill me I know you will fill me

Come rest on us. You’re all we want. Holy Spirit, come rest on us. Come rest on us. You’re all we want. You’re all we want. Holy Spirit, come rest on us.

 My name is Bill, I’m a part of a staff and interns that are part of this great ministry. And it’s great to be with you again this year. So we exist to develop a life in Christ, with the hope and the freedom that’s found in Christ.

 So our purpose in life is to bring lives to a saving knowledge of Jesus Christ.

 We do it through unity.

 So what we do is we provide a discipline structure. Anybody need some little discipline? I should say, anybody need a little discipline? And we do that through that discipline structure. As we’re drawing We’re up at 6:30 in the morning And we’re on the go all day long We’re going to have two hours of Bible study every day, amen. We’re learning God’s Word, We’re drawing closer in those classes And we’re doing God’s Word work.

And so then we have the great opportunity to work for four hours, amen, because we want to teach them to be productive citizens, right? And we want them to work for their families and work for their lives. And so that’s what we do. And so then we spend time in prayer in the afternoon. Then, we do study hall because every test that they take, there’s memorization. Because if you can change your thinking, you’ll change your life. Whatever consumes your thinking will control your life, amen? And aren’t we all in just some type of recovery? I think we’re all a part of recovery, right? And so we believe that recovery isn’t a 30-day program. It’s not a 90-day program. And it’s not really even a year program, right? Isn’t it a lifelong program, amen?

Hallelujah, as we’re growing closer to Him and letting God do the work. And so it’s the power of God that brings a change in our lives. And so I’m a graduate of The Challenge. And I came in, yeah, praise God, praise God. Thank you, Jesus. Hallelujah. I came in lost. Has anybody been lost before? And I was lost at 18 years old. And God just did an amazing work in my life. It’s that transformation work. And I’ve been, throughout the years, I’ve gone through some problems. I found myself back in ’84, back in drugs and alcohol again. But I knew the way. I knew what God would call me to do. I knew the purpose. I knew the vision. And so I had the ability through the power of God to get back up.

And isn’t that what life is all about? It’s not about falling, it’s about getting back up. The devil makes it about falling, but Jesus makes it about getting back up, amen? Praise God. And so it’s great to be a part of this great ministry. We receive no state aid or government aid whatsoever. There’s so many red tapes tied to those things, right? They’re hidden in there. Yeah. So we’re supported by a church. Churches, businesses, personal families – that’s how we’re supported. And it’s an amazing thing how God has just blessed our ministry. It’s just really neat. I thank God for the church. Thank God for churches like this that support us and are backing us. And so we do our part, and the church does its part, right?

And that’s what it’s all about, right? Amen. So we’re going to have a table set up in the outer somewhere in this church somewhere. I was going to say courtyard, but it wasn’t, not in a courtyard. So, but come visit our table. And so I think we have some CDs to give away, Pastor Phil McLean, and we have some brochures in the back. If you know someone needs this ministry, point them our way. If we have a newsletter, if you want to be a part of our newsletter, you can be a part of that. Your tithe goes to the local church, but at the end of the month, if you have anything left over, we could use it. And so if you want to visit our table, be a part of that. There’s those in the back. And at this time, I’m going to turn this back over to Pastor Ron. He’s our executive director. He’s going to share his vision and upcoming things that are coming up. Pastor Ron.

You know, let’s do a testimony. What do you think? I jumped. I jumped. I jumped. I jumped. I jumped. I jumped. I jumped. I jumped. I jumped. I jumped. I jumped. I jumped. I jumped. I jumped. I jumped. I jumped. I jumped. I jumped. I jumped. I jumped. I I’m going to have Kendra. Where’s Kendra at? Kendra? Come share your heart with us.

from sin. I’ve lived in sin since I was a child. I lived in sin when I was a teenager and into my adult years. And my life was a mess. You know, sin destroyed my life. But God had a plan. You know, God had a plan all my life that I didn’t know until recently. I didn’t know until I lost my children. And then after I lost my children, one of my daughters died. And it wasn’t until she died and I got pregnant right afterwards with my son. And I chose to give him adoption because I had found the Lord after I lost my children. And I just, I couldn’t do abortion. I had to give him life. So I chose a Christian family. That’s something I didn’t have.

And by doing that, they led me here to Teen Challenge. And it’s, yeah, I know it’s amazing. It’s amazing. Yeah. You know, it’s awesome. You know, by me giving him life, God just showed me that life is amazing. You know, it’s incredible how that worked out. You know, I didn’t know how to pray before. And I started writing my prayers out. And I would ask God just to speak through me so I could pray out loud for people. Because prayer does wonders. You know, when someone can hear you praying for them, I know what it did for me when I first got into the program. And I wanted to give that back to my sisters, my new sisters. And the next thing I knew, like a couple days later, I was just flowing just in great prayer.

It was awesome. You know, it was awesome. You know, it was really great. Before I came to Teen Challenge, I didn’t have hope. And I didn’t even know what hope was. I had none. And He restored my hope. You know, God restored my hope for the future. You know, I have a mission statement. It’s to know the Word, to apply the Word, and to spread the Word. That’s my mission for my life. Yeah. It’s pretty awesome. You know, it’s just really, it’s a wonderful feeling to know the voice of God. You know, what the voice sounds like. And the fact that He, Jesus, dwells inside of us, guys, is amazing. You know, the fact that we have our God living inside of us, and flowing through us, and knocking out the fruits of the flesh, and replacing it with fruits of the Spirit, like that is amazing.

And that’s the things that I’m learning. You know, I didn’t know anything about a carnal mind, and that that’s the devil. You know, I knew that it was sin, but I didn’t know any details about it. And as you build your relationship with Jesus, the fruits come with it. You know, you’re not going to be able to force the fruits. You can’t force them. You have to just focus on this and that. You know, it’s a stairway that you have to focus on. And then everything comes into play. And once you realize that Jesus is the main thing, and the main picture, everything else will fall into place. And right now, I’m still learning, and I’m still trying to build my relationship with God right now, that there’s no room for restoration with other people. There’s just restoration with myself right now, and God. And it’s just really amazing. And thank you guys for having us and listening to us, and God bless.

Glenn, come share your heart, Glenn. Good morning, good morning, good morning. This is a day that the Lord has made, and we will rejoice and be glad in it. Amen. When I first came to Teen Challenge, I was so traumatized with my life. And I didn’t want to talk to nobody. I didn’t trust nobody. And so as I went down, and what helped me really start coming out of my shell was this guy named Ian. Love that man. I love him. Love him to death. And every morning, we would pray. Every morning, we would pray. He would call me family. He would call me Uncle Glenn. And that touched my heart. And Pastor Ron, great man. What a great man. That man really loves us and cares about us.

Because every time he sees me, he tells me, don’t worry about nothing. Everything’s going to be okay. You know, and one of my favorite scriptures, and I got two, is Philippians 4:13. I can do all things through Christ that strengthens me. And my life took a turn back at the end of 2021 when I went to the doctor’s office, and I was diagnosed with leukemia. And it didn’t bother me. You know, hard-headed; still a little stubborn. Went to, you know, how we all hate to go to the doctor. So I went back, finally went back to the doctor again. I had lung cancer. So still, it didn’t bother me. It still didn’t bother me. I kept; it was just medication after medication after medication after medication. And so I went back to the doctor again to come and find out I had a four-inch tumor inside of my stomach. And they said I had pancreatitis cancer. Then they gave me six months to live.

So I ended up lying on my bedroom floor. And I cried. I had called people, told them I was dying. I was getting so weak. I was like 350 pounds. I had lost so much weight; I had gotten down like 200. And God, I heard God’s voice. And He gave me James 5:14. If any among you is sick, let him call for the elders of church. If any among you is sick, let him call for the elders of church. And let them pray over him, anointing him with oil in the name of the Lord. And He told me to get off that floor. He wasn’t done with me yet.

So I got up. I got up off that floor, called the church. And He told me even to pray over myself. You know, it’s faith. It’s by your faith you’ve been healed. So I went back. I still avoided the doctor. I still avoided the doctor. You know, I had, I looked at it. I said, ‘I’m going to go to the doctor.’ I’m going to go to the doctor. I’m going to go to the doctor. I said, ‘I took pictures of the pills.’ My kidneys were failing. And like I said, I was on 26 different medications. And I finally, I went back to the doctor after about three months after that. I finally said, ‘You know what? I’m going to go.’ So when I went to the doctor, he had me scheduled for three different types of surgeries. So then he checked, he checked my lungs and he was like, something ain’t right. And I was like, what you mean? He said, there’s nothing there.

So, so then, he said, well, we’re going to send you to the cancer, send you back to the cancer center to get the blood work done and checked on the leukemia. It was gone. So then I, then he sent me to Butterworth Hospital in Grand Rapids and I ended up getting all kinds of scans and stuff on my stomach for the tumor. It had went from four inches down to 1.8 centimeters. It was gone. And he put on my chart. That it had to be a miracle from God because there’s nothing, there’s no way that I could have been healed because I stopped taking the medication. I wouldn’t take them no more. I just wouldn’t take them. I just wanted to do it, and God, hold on.

Whatever you’re going through out there, hold on. There is a God. He loves you. He loves you. And he loves you. Thank you. . Thanks God. Hallelujah. Don’t you love the way God heals? Amen? I think there’s a dual role in the church, isn’t there? To see the lost saved and see the saved healed, right? And he heals us, amen. Pastor Ron, come share your vision with us. Thank you for letting us come worship with you guys today. And if your praise and worship team has nothing to do on a Friday morning sometimes, we’d love to have everyone of them come down and worship with us. Man, haven’t you been ministered to in the house of the Lord already? It’s so good to be in the house of the Lord with like-minded, like-spirited people that just want more of God.

Do you want more of God today? Alright. As I was on my way down today, the Lord is just ministering to me. We’ve been in Exodus at the program, and we’ve been going through a series called Out of the Wilderness or Lessons in the Wilderness. How many of you guys know that God, still cares about you? And if it seems like a wilderness, he does his best work in the wilderness, yeah? And so this is a point when Moses sees the Lord, and he sees the glory of the Lord. And the Lord replied because the Lord had commissioned Moses to take the people to the promised land, right? And so he was like, one day Moses said to the Lord, ‘You’ve been telling me to take these people up to the promised land, but you haven’t told me whom you will send with me.’ And you’ve told me, ‘I know you by name, and I look favorably on you.’ Is this true that you look favorably on me?

Let me know your ways so I may understand you more fully and continue to enjoy your favor. And remember that this nation is your very own people. And the Lord replied, ‘I will personally go with you, Moses.’ I will give you rest. Everything will be fine for you. I will be with you. I will be with you. And everything will be fine for you if the presence of the Lord goes before you. I don’t know what’s going on in your life today, but my Bible says in everything, give thanks; for this is the will of God. And when you give thanks, you bring God into the situation. And all things are possible to those who believe and believe that he’s present, that he’s able, and every promise is yes and amen.

I don’t know who I’m preaching to right now, but somebody needed hope right now, and God is there. He’s the God of all hope, okay? So in everything, give him thanks and thank. Well, do you know what I’m going through? Well, that may not be the will of God, but it’s the will of God that we give him thanks in the process, yeah? Because he is able. He is more than able. Man, if you don’t personally go with us, don’t make us leave this place. How will anyone know that your favor is on me and on me and on your people if you don’t go with us? The presence among us sets us, sets your people and me apart from all the other nations on the earth.

Do you know that you’re a peculiar people today? You’re chosen, you’re separated, and God’s got this. Turn to your neighbor and say, ‘God’s got this.’ God’s got this, yeah. And I love this because He’s asking to see the glory of the Lord, and God passes His presence before Him. But He declares it to be His goodness. Have you experienced God’s goodness today? His immeasurable grace and favor upon you? We are all, we are all walking in the goodness and the favor of God. Is life perfect? Absolutely not. We have an enemy, but we have the greater One living within us, amen, amen. And so I would rather go through this life abundant in Christ, knowing that even because I can put on the garment of praise in the morning and I can put on the weapons of God’s warfare, they are mighty in who?

God, for the pulling down of strongholds. And so these are the things that we’re experiencing. These are the things that we’re living in and things that we are training. Like Bill said, man, we exist to develop a life in Christ with a hope in Freedom. Freedom that’s found in Him. And our five values that we constantly bang the drum are of God’s word, come on, prayer, worship, discipleship, and Unity. Say it again, Sean. Sean always sings Unity. Yeah. Somebody say Unity. So my name is Ron McClain, and my father was Reverend Phil McClain. We call him the General. He founded Western Michigan Adult and Teen Challenge, and for 53 years, he served the Lord, gave his life to a subculture in America that was lost and broken.

And my career path was in the local church, so I love you all. I see what you’re doing in your community, but it’s a tandem work. We need you. You need us, right? And this is called The Body of Christ. So, for 53 years, yeah, we’ve seen thousands of lives changed. Thank you for Celebrate Recovery, man. I love partnering with you guys. And I like vision, and I have a heart for anybody that has life-controlling issues. That’s what God’s called us to do. And then when I was 59, God called me to a career change. Out of the local church, I went into Western Michigan Adult and Teen Challenge. And I don’t care. Somebody’s got to say yes to the Lord, no matter if it makes sense or not, right?

But when you say yes to God, all of a sudden, doors open that no man can shut. Come on, paths are made straight. What is this valley? It’s brought up by the power and presence of God. What’s this mountain? It’s brought low because it’s God’s will. Come on. And God’s promise. It says our yes and amen. Amen. And so it’s a privilege and an honor to step into this role. I feel like I’m in my own shoes, man. This is my DNA. I loved the local church, and I loved serving God in the local church. And when he transitioned me into Western Michigan Adult and Teen Challenge, it’s like next level. Next level of accomplishment, identity. This is where I feel just absolute freedom to do what God’s called me to do.

And I love investing into all these lives. We’ve got 20-some staff, and we’ve got, what, a dozen interns now. And so that’s one thing that we’ve got to do this past year is open up an internship program. And as we’re developing that, we’re developing emerging leaders, and we’re taking it to a new level as far as education, leadership principles, character. A book a month in classes that pertain to leadership, Christianity, Church history is coming – just for all of you interns who didn’t know that, that class is coming! And you thought it was hard being a student. Here we go. It’s time to step into the role and the call that God’s set you apart to be. So, it’s fun, and we’ve opened up a gym.

That was my son in the gymnasium, and that’s my son that Glenn was talking about, who just developed a prayer life together. And, man, it is so fun doing ministry with your family and your new family. And so, if you’re looking for a place to serve God, ask your local church – hey, what do you need me to do? I’ve got these giftings and callings, but what’s the greatest need, and where do you need to put me? God assembles the body as He sees fit. Amen? And so just give yourself. And if you’re found faithful in little, God will reward you with more. Somebody say amen to that. And all the pastors are shouting me down right now. Yeah. All right. And so this is a part of the program that’s a little bit different.

This is kind of new that we have found, because we want you to get to know the student body a little bit. Our scripture that we launch everything from is out of 2 Corinthians 5:17. Therefore, if any man is in Christ, if anyone is in Christ, he’s a new creation. Yeah. The old has passed away. Okay. That’s the old man. That’s the old nature. It doesn’t exist anymore. And behold, all things have become new. Absolutely. If I could take a snapshot of every one of our students, even our staff, before and after, they don’t even look like the same people. Yeah. That’s how good God is. That’s how thorough God is. And so, grab a mic. One of you guys, grab that mic. One of you guys, grab this mic.

And so, you’re going to hear from them a little bit, and testimonies are invaluable. And that’s our experience with the Lord, right? But now we’re going to ask some kind of pointed questions about experience in the program. So, ladies, what’s your favorite part of the program? My favorite part is getting to know the Lord. All the classes. I’m a nerd. I love books, and I love reading. And I had never read the Bible. I never read the Bible coming to ATC. Yeah. Even though I grew up Catholic, I never read the Bible. So to me, that’s like Tom Brady going to the Super Bowl without having read his playbook. So now that I’ve read the Bible, I know God’s Word, and it’s just getting to know Him. It’s just an awesome relationship now.

That’s awesome. Anybody else? What’s your favorite part of the program? My favorite part is the classes and the study hall and the prayers. So, it’s really three, but they go together because I just like to get taught the Word, and then I like to be able to reflect on it in quiet. So, those are my favorite points. That’s good. Christy? For me, it’s more seeing the new people come in, and they’re all different ages. So, you get to see the new people come in and then watch them go through the change. Oh, that’s good. That’s amazing. We just had a couple graduates, but we also got a 19-year-old at the time that the 61-year-old graduated. And it’s just amazing. That’s awesome. Generational ministry.

And what’s amazing to me is how you guys have to get along – how you long to get along, and sometimes how friction is good, but we fight for a relationship, right? And we don’t bail out. We don’t ditch just because times are hard. We lean in, and we do relational, scriptural relationships. And if there’s hardship, we go after it, and we seek for unity, okay? Blessed are the peacemakers, not the peacekeepers. And so we’re teaching them how to – how to not leave, not how to just abandon relationships. Really good answers. Guys, same question: What’s your favorite part of the program? I would say for me, the classes. Just studying the Bible and, you know, from a historical point of view, digging down into it and just realizing, like, these things are real.

These things happened. And then also just, like, the word study, getting into, you know, just below the surface level or getting past, like, the surface level. I love the scripture and, like, really, really studying it and just doing it with everybody and, you know, just really digging into it. Right. This is Jeff. Everybody say, ‘Hey, Jeff.’ Hey, Jeff. My thing is the perfect is the food. Hey. But anyway, interacting with my brothers, everybody’s got their different opinion. And sometimes it can be up and sometimes it can be down. But we all love it. We all love each other. And I love it. That’s so good. This is Ben. Oh, it’s bound. Am I going to fall through a trip? You’re good. You’re good. I got you. You don’t like what I say.

So this may sound different, but the structure and the discipline, I never really had that growing up. So, you know, the world says structure, discipline, rules. It’s an affront to our very carnal nature. But when you’re walking in the will of God, all of those rules and regulations, there’s such freedom in that. And it’s such a paradox that in total submission, there is complete freedom. And that’s the best part. That’s awesome. Yeah. And even as far as the rules, finding value even in the smallest rules, don’t you have a little story about that that you recently went through? I do have a story about that. So maybe about my first weekend of the program, it’s Easter morning. And nothing is allowed. Okay. So I’m in our dorms as far as food, snacks, anything like that.

So here I am, almost 50 years old, at the breakfast table. And we get this little mini Reese’s peanut butter cup. And they’re like, you have to eat this now. And I’m thinking, don’t tell me. You know, who are you to tell me when to eat this piece of candy? I’m like, nope. I put it in my pocket. Blatant, unrepentant disobedience. And so I’m up in the dorm later trying to get into my word, praying. And I’m like, this isn’t working out. Something’s not right. I’m like, okay. I’m eating my piece of candy in my bed. And God whispered in my ear, ‘this is one of the reasons that you’re here.’ You know, it was just. And so I find myself at the altar the next morning repenting over this little piece of chocolate.

But it was the bigger picture of it. All my life. It is. Yeah. It is. I was raised in the church. I knew the truth. But I never had obedience to pretty much anything except myself. And so. But he’s been teaching me through these little things to walk in obedience throughout the day. It doesn’t matter what it is – if it’s a piece of candy or the biggest sin you can think of. It’s just all about uncompromised obedience to Christ, and that’s it. That’s what. Isn’t that great? I know it’s a small analogy, but we as believers do that every day. The Holy Spirit’s ministering to us. And we’re just like, ‘Ah, you know, that’s not my preference.’ And so, and so you’re okay if I just do this, right?

But it’s the little things that he’s nudging. When we can say no to the little things or yes to the little things, God will give us bigger things, right? And so I love it that you’ve been found faithful even in the little things. But you’ve seen it as monumental, right? Absolutely. And so. Yeah, because I told, I mean, I’m praying to God when I came, show me where I got off track with you, you know. And that’s where it starts. Yeah. You know. Full surrender. Turn to your neighbor. Say, it’s all about full surrender. Full surrender. And that’s what we’re after. I mean, and it’s amazing living with adults, you know. And they’re young in the Lord, but they’re still adults, you know. So there’s this tension a lot of times to where we’re like, man, you know.

And honestly, for me, just starting this. Remember, I come from church culture. And so coming into a brand new infants in Christ, everybody. And sometimes it was annoying, like, just be obedient, you know. And so I remember I was just talking to God one day and I was frustrated. And I’m like, what in the world? He goes, does it sound familiar, though? He goes, because he reminded me of something that I said to him recently. And I was like, ooh, that sounds pretty young. He goes, exactly. He goes, but that’s where you are. And that’s your reality. That’s your normal. And so if you want to walk with these. Guys, understand where they are. Pray for them where they are. And disciple them further than you want to go yourself.

What are we doing? What are we doing as a church? And are we taking the time? Because I can just demand, ‘Hey, don’t eat candy, you know, up in the dorms.’ Or I can disciple them, ‘Hey, man, if you say no right now, it’s going to be a little bigger opportunity later on.’ And if you’re used to saying no to the small things, and that’s why we have a gym now, because we’re ministering spirit, soul, and body. And Ian comes in first thing in the morning, and I think on Wednesday, he’s there at 5 in the morning. And he’s got a workout crew that gets up and says yes to the right things and says no to the second donut. How many of us complain to God that we’re overweight?

And we don’t say no to the second donut, right? Right? So it’s the little things, you know. And so we can say yes to the right things, no to the wrong things. At a smaller level, it’s going to be easier when they get out to say no to the bigger things. How are we doing, everybody? All right. So, Gabe, great to have you here, man. And I love it when I hear you say, ‘Come on, coach.’ What’s the most difficult thing about the program that you’ve encountered since being here? So we’ve talked about the best. What’s the hardest thing? For me, it would be getting rid of the shame. It’s the hardest part, and the guilt. Yeah, man. No condemnation. Yeah, what we’re capable of without him, it’s unspeakable.

But, you know, I have to remind the devil. Jesus said it’s finished, and that’s it. For me, it’s the classes. Because I didn’t know God went through all this. You got this, Genesis, you got Exodus, why? But it helps me. It helps me stay on the right path. All right, I’m going to tell you all the truth now. Yeah, the program’s hard. Classes are hard, for sure. But picture taking 10 of your best friends and then living in a room with them for an entire year. That’s the hard part. You know, their stinky socks and the weird smells they make at night. All of those. Oh, getting used to all of those things. But the thing about that, too, is that when you’re going through something, and you’re really going through it, and you just kind of want to go, you can kind of go and wallow in it, they’re there.

Five-minute showers. I was in the military, so I was used to really short showers, lots of rules, and lots of periods of no talking. So it was a little bit just getting adjusted again. But I would say, honestly, not leaving.

Just when the times get tough, and then you’re so used to, you know, going to alcohol, drugs, whatever, to numb things, and then you can’t, well, you choose not to anymore, and then you’re just kind of forced to feel all those things. So just the staying power of, like, I’m going to see this thing through, and I’m not going to, you know, resort to my default mode, and I’m not going to give up on myself. That’s so good. Turning to Christ instead of a synthetic, you know, answer or a quick fix. And we’re in it for the long haul. And all of you guys that said yes, for the long haul, couldn’t be more proud of you. Yeah. All right. What’s the hardest? The hardest thing for me is living at the same place that I’m learning at.

It’s hard to meet people where they are when I’m still trying to figure out where I am. And it’s hard. So it’s a blessing, though. But it’s just really hard because it’s like training, you know. Normally when you go to school, you go home. Or when you go to work, you go home. And, like, our work and school and everything is our home. So that’s the hardest, you know, and not being able to go to the store. I like to shop, so that’s the hardest.

Oh, Lord. I come from the streets, so for me, the hardest part is to stay just because I know there are so many people out there who could use this program that don’t know that this program exists. I just want to go get them and bring them. And if I don’t stay my course, I’m not going to be strong enough to do that. And that, you fight that every day. That is so good. All right. We’ve got a couple minutes left. But I would love to hear what’s the most profound message of hope that Jesus has personally ministered to you. We all hear from God. And we’re teaching you how to hear the voice of the Lord.

And when he comes in in such a sweet way, and he ministers to each and every one of us where we’re at, what has he spoken to you? That he’s real. Because, honestly, there were times in my life where, yeah, I believed in God, but did I believe in God? When things were going good, it was easy to say I believe in God. But then when things were going bad, I’m like, ‘Is there really a God?’ Because this world is so dark. And now there’s not a shadow of a doubt that I know he’s real. He’s like my best friend. He’s just right there. I’m talking to him. And it’s unshakable. My faith is unshakable. So there’s no turning back now. And that’s awesome. I am real. Can I use your Bible?

What? Can I use your Bible? Yeah. Alright. She’s pulling out the word. Here we go. Never been through a preaching class. Watch this. I’m just going to read what he spoke. It’s Hebrews 13, 5, 6, and 7. But it’s really short. Okay. It says, ‘Don’t love money. Be satisfied with what you have.’ For God has said, I will never fail you. I will never abandon you. So we can say with confidence, the Lord is my helper. So I will have no fear. What can mere people do to me? Remember your leaders who taught you the word of God. Think of all the good that has come from their lives and follow the example. Follow their faith.

I’m going to get to go back out and get those people. I’m going to be able to do that. And I’m going to be able to tell them who God is on a firm foundation. Yeah. You’re going to rescue the perishing. Yes. Close the question again. What’s the one most profound? One message of hope that God has given you? Yeah. I remember this vividly, actually. I think it was about when I had been at the program for three months. And I was kind of, you know, planning an escape and trying to figure out how I was going to talk my way out of it so I could go home. And I was lying there in my bed, and it just hit me. Like, God hit me with, man, you’ve been running for 15 years.

You can be still for a year. And, yeah, that just hit me. And that was… three months. Three or four months ago. Yeah. That was pretty profound. Yeah. For me, it was; I’m an angry person. So God, and I’ve been praying about it. God, help me, help me, help me, help me. And me and Pastor Bill talked about it. And it gave me some enlightenment. But he said, ‘Stand fast.’ And I’m like, okay. I’m like, Lord, it’s hard. Because I don’t like to read the Bible. I don’t know; I don’t know anything about the Bible. But now, he says, ‘Just take your time.’ And it’ll come to you. So I’m staying here. My anger is getting better. Yes, it is. And I love the Lord. Amen. Amen.

I would have to say that no matter how many times I’ve turned my back on the Lord, he was there waiting, calling me back. And he’s calling the prodigal home. So if you’re praying for people out there, don’t stop. There’s hope; there’s always hope. There’s mercy. All right. All right. In ten words or less, what are you most, we had a sermon this past Friday. What are you most grateful or thankful for right now? You first. You first. We’re going to mix up the order. Okay. I’m thankful that God gave me a second chance to do what I’m doing right now, you know, to spread the good news about him and glorify him. Second chance. I get to stand here and talk to you guys.

I’ve been delivered from alcoholism and being delivered daily from other things. Deliverance. Two words, spiritual maturity. Spiritual maturity. He woke me up this morning. The dew on the grass, the sun on the sky, and everything in between. That is awesome. And that is what God’s doing at Western Michigan Adult and Teen Challenge. So thank you for all of your support. Thanks for having us in. Thanks for praying for us. And thank you for giving to us. You guys are super faithful, and we can’t do this without you. And so I love this partnership that we have. And I’m going to ask Pastor Eric to come back up, and he’s going to tell us what to do next. Everybody, welcome your pastor. Thank you. Thank you. Hey, wasn’t that incredible to hear these stories?

You know, I love what Pastor Denny always says – he says, ‘We’re not just going to celebrate recovery, but celebrate discovery.’ Celebrate discovery. Celebrate discovering God’s future, God’s plan, God’s purpose. And when you do that, you’re not going to be able to arrive in records and records really never in touch with your past. And you know what? And you have to just change your life. Who cares? There’s something in you that’s just tugging on your heart saying there’s more. There’s more. There’s more. There’s something missing in your life. And I believe that that more, that missing piece is a relationship with Jesus. Not a half-hearted surrender, but a full all-in kind of surrender. If you’re in here this morning and you want to start that relationship, that fully surrendered, that fully obedient life with Christ, I just want you to, if you want to accept Jesus as your Lord and Savior, raise your hand right now.

Right now, this is your morning. Come on, somebody right here. Anyone out there saying this morning, ‘I want to accept Jesus.’ I see you in the back. Anyone else? I want to accept Jesus. Today is my day. I want to start this journey. Everyone in the room, let’s say this prayer together. Everyone: ‘Jesus.’ Thank you so much for dying on the cross for me. I accept you as my Lord and Savior. Change me. Make me into the person you created me to be. I’m going all in. In Jesus’ mighty name. Amen. Amen. Let’s give it up for the six hands that went up this morning.

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