The Headline of my Louisiana paper this morning was:
AUTHORITIES VOW TO CLEAR ROADS;
PROTESTERS CLAIM RIGHTS VIOLATED
Protests Start Peaceful, Turn Confrontational as March Ends
All of this is taking place in our Capitol City of Baton Rouge, Louisiana and is being mirrored in many other places across our country. Indeed, these are serious times with serious issues that need conversation, listening ears, understanding and solutions. Martin Luther King once said, “We must learn to live together as brothers or we will perish together as fools.”
It is easy to think leaders don’t care and no one is doing anything. However, I find many leaders and citizens care deeply and the good ones are quietly and diligently working to bring about real change. Let me give you an example. I lead a monthly Leader Faith Forum in which many local elected leaders attend. Behind the scenes many of these leaders, under the leadership of Covington Police Chief Tim Lentz, worked with many others to launch, “Project Angel.” Law Enforcement initiated this new program in St. Tammany Parish, encouraging anyone with a substance abuse problem to walk into a police station to seek help, and turn in their drugs without fear of arrest. If desired, those asking for help will be driven to the Giving Hope Retreat Center, not far from where I live, and can stay for up to a year in treatment for free. At this faith based center, people receive care, housing, meals, counseling, discipleship and spiritual nourishment to get on their feet, overcome their habits and find transformation.
Project Angel helps people with problems from alcohol to cocaine. Historically, law enforcement has addressed the problem of drug addiction by simply putting addicts in jail, thus feeding a stigma that keeps users from seeking help. Chief Lentz says, “We believe it is time to change the way we do business. We think we should give those suffering from addiction the help they need instead of handcuffs.” What a novel idea … HELP NOT HANDCUFFS! Over the years, this program can help thousands stay out of the criminal justice system. It is a wonderful partnership between Government, Community leaders and a Faith based organization.
The great news is that 47 people walked into a police station
within the first few weeks and asked for help.
I am now teaching and sharing Jesus monthly to about 60 men who are participating in this program at the Giving Hope Retreat Center. Better yet I take elected leaders and business leaders with me to stretch their faith and tenderize their hearts to the work of God. It is a win-win-win God kind of thing. The Good News is changing lives.
Our District Attorney Warren Montgomery said that two years ago Project Angel would never have happened. What happened? People worked together…Parish President, Judges, Law Enforcement, Public Defender, Coroner, Legislators, Community Leaders, Faith Based Groups and Citizens. Jeremiah 29:7 says, “Seek the welfare of the city where I have sent you into exile, and pray to the Lord on its behalf; for in its welfare you will have welfare.” I thank God how people of faith are being used in the public square to change lives.
- The 2016 Louisiana Legislative Session finally concluded. It was the longest in Louisiana history. I thank God for the opportunity to lead legislator and lobbyist Bible studies and for all the one-on one-connections. I have seen elected leaders trust Christ as Savior during this Session and many to grow in their faith.
- It was a delight to teach military officers for eight days at Officers Christian Fellowship Retreat Center at White Sulphur Springs, Pennsylvania. It was a joy dealing with choice leaders and their families as they yearn to live out their faith in their world. Donna and I had opportunity after opportunity to speak to couples about navigating wisely in our complicated world.
- I have been asked to meet with a group of black pastors in Baton Rouge on July 22nd. Please pray for this timely event.
- New participants are flowing in to many of our weekly and monthly Bible studies. A couple of weeks ago I shared the Gospel and a man understood for the first time.
- Pray for open doors in churches to preach or share with groups my message IS THERE HOPE FOR AMERICA? If you know of an opportunity…let me know. People are starving for Good News and Hope.
Helping Louisiana’s Leaders,