Wednesday, March 30, 2016


I've been cleaning up my study area which has been cluttered receipts, old mail, and miscellaneous garbage. However, I am glad I am going through it carefully because I keep finding bits of paper where I took notes at a Bible study, one of my classes, or at recovery.  
Today I found the following, which came from my sponsor & mentor, Bob.  I have cleaned it up with fancy fonts and reordered things a bit and added some additional translations of the scriptures quoted.   

This simple study is powerful for encouraging those who struggle (um... all of us) with life's difficulties. If you're looking to build yourself up, recitation of the scriptures and the text in red, is a powerful way to speak hope into your life.  

It’s Worth It
2 Corinthians 4:17 (NKJV)
17  For our light affliction, which is but for a moment, is working for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory,
2 Corinthians 4:17 (BBE)
17  For our present trouble, which is only for a short time, is working out for us a much greater weight of glory;

2 Corinthians 4:17 (GW)
17  Our suffering is light and temporary and is producing for us an eternal glory that is greater than anything we can imagine.

Live with Eternity’s Values in View

My Crown outweighs My Cross
My Purpose outweighs My Pain
My Destiny outweighs My History
My Hope outweighs My Present Problems
My Favor outweighs My Failures
My Grace outweighs My Shame

1 Thessalonians 5:16-18 (NKJV)
16  Rejoice always,
17  pray without ceasing,
18  in everything give thanks; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.

1 Thessalonians 5:16-18 (BBE)
16  Have joy at all times.
17  Keep on with your prayers.
18  In everything give praise: for this is the purpose of God in Christ Jesus for you.

1 Thessalonians 5:16-18 (GW)
16  Always be joyful.
17  Never stop praying.
18  Whatever happens, give thanks, because it is God's will in Christ Jesus that you do this.

Praise the LORD

One last note of interest, the original document had PTL inscribed at the bottom, and I was clueless as to what it stood for.  After a google search, I slapped myself mentally: PRAISE THE LORD, duh.  Apparently I am not completely sanctified yet.  Also avoid urban dictionary when looking up abbreviations; 100% sure Bob didn't mean any of those translations.  

May God Richly Bless You. 


Tuesday, March 29, 2016

Do you believe in magic?

Want to change your life magically? I'm not  sure how to do that but my Sponsor Bob shared with me a D. James Kennedy devotion, that if the imperatives (highlighted in Red) are followed, can work wonders in your life.   I hope you find this simple lesson to be a profound help in your life. - Marc

  The Christian’s “Magic Wand”
“Let us come before His presence with thanksgiving” – Psalm 95:2

Have you ever wished for a magic wand that could change all the unpleasantness of life into something good? Wouldn’t you love a way to instantly sweep away all the trivial things that accumulate until they drag you down?

  I believe the Lord has offered us something similar to a magic wand. It can change our outlook on the circumstances surrounding us. What is it? Gratitude. When we feel grateful, our perspectives toward things change. We see our circumstances in a new, more positive light.  And when we have grateful hearts, we want to express our gratitude outwardly through thanksgiving. This can work in reverse, too. If we give thanks even when we don’t feel very grateful, we often feel our attitudes change in a more grateful direction, just as if we passed a magic wand over ourselves.

  Thanksgiving transforms the secular or commonplace into the sacred. When we give thanks to God, suddenly we see God everywhere! We find ourselves living in an enchanted land, a land in the presence of our great Creator and Redeemer. With our spiritual eyes open, we can see that it is God who gives us everything, from our daily bread to the money we need. Our faith grows stronger as we express gratitude. All things become suffused with the divine presence.

  And as we recognize God’s blessings, our thankfulness gives us victory over temptation and sin. How can we commit adultery when we are grateful for ours pouses? How can we steal when we are grateful for and content with what we have? How can we envy others’ talents and abilities when we feel thankful for the way God has made us? How can we grumble or complain when we’re thankful for God’s blessings?

  We should thank God, and we should also show gratitude for the ways others have blessed our lives. Everyone needs the kind of lift that gratitude brings.

  What are you grateful for today? Thank God for all the blessings He has given you, and see how it changes your perspective on life. And don’t forget to express thanks to someone who has enhanced your life. I hope that in your thanksgiving you’ll experience joy. 

“When you drink from the stream remember the spring.” – Chinese proverb

Saturday, March 26, 2016

Power of Prayer in Recovery.

In our Celebrate group, one of our guys said he was having doubts about God and didn't want to come to our weekly meeting.  He came the next week and admitted that he only had a single day sober but we supported and encouraged him all the same and he seemed to be all right.  

This week he contacted me about going to the meeting  via text and asked if it was all right to come if he had been drinking.  I asked if he was drunk. He said no but he smelled like booze.  I told him not to drink anymore, to shower and brush his teeth, and I would pick him up.  The meeting was 3 hours away so I figured oh well better at the meeting then home alone drinking.  

I picked him up and he admitted to drinking since we spoke but he would behav himself.  I wasn't thrilled ( or sure about what to do) with the prospect of taking someone under the influence to the meeting. Part of me was ready to tell him to go sleep it off and to come next week but I decided to bring him so we could counsel him.  I wasn't sure what was going to happen and frankly I was annoyed with having to worry about his behavior.  

Fortunately, he didn't act outlandishly during the teaching portion and was respectful.during the small group discussion. He admitted that he had been drinking and he didn't know how he was going to move forward. He was receptive to advice but seemed to be consigned to his failure. He said that he knew he was killing himself slowly but was hopeless on doing anything to stop it.  His sponsor and I spoke on the power of God to change him and urged him to give himself back to the lord.  He had left the Lord but the Lord hadn't left him.  He broke down and cried that he wanted to be restored but didn't think he could do it again. We asked if we could pray for him.  His sponsor and I prayed over him to let The Holy Spirit inside him drive out this spirit of hopeless addiction.  As his sponsor prayed, I prayed in tongues feeling the spirit move me to.  (Okay I know most people think praying in tongues is charlatan tricks or just insanity, but that is not my experience.  I am no expert and would refer anyone interested in the subject to check out Robert Engelhardt's book "Speaking in Tongues: Heavens Language" ).  Then I prayed over him (in English!) for him to surrender to the Lord and to know that God's infinite love and forgiveness was enough to cover his failure and that the Lord's power could change his heart and mind to break these chains that were binding him if he would  just let go and let God. 

He thanked us for praying for him and I took him home.  I told him to get rid of any alcohol he had but he advised me that he had drank it all.  Although I prayed for him, I was not to hopeful. He lives alone and could do whatever he wanted. His attitude towards drinking and smoking weed ( "out of weed too, Marc! He had shared.) was pretty bad so I was afraid that he might fall I spite of his willingness to look for help.  The next day my fears seemed confirmed.   

"I try and I try to no avail."  He posted on his wall.  

I replied with “Deuteronomy 4: 30 When you are in tribulation, and all these things come upon you in the latter days, you will return to the LORD your God and obey his voice. 31 For the LORD your God is a merciful God. He will not leave you or destroy you or forget the covenant with your fathers that he swore to them.”

I didn't get a reply.  Work took me away for the day and after I went straight to church for a Goid Friday service.  

His sponsor was there and he asked if I had heard what happened.  My heart sank.  "He checked into detox. The Holy Spirit was there working last night when we prayed over him!"

"Praise the Lord! 

Unlike most Good Friday services, my church's was a prayerful worship filled celebration and I prayed and worshipped with great enthusiasm last night!   

I know praying for others might make you feel awkward but God can move all things and he is listening. So keep praying! 

Friday, March 25, 2016


March 22, 2015 was the day I woke up hung over, prayerfully, for the last time.  I had entered the Celebrate recovery program at Rock Solid Church in Hudson NY two weeks prior and had been excited at the prospect of cleaning up my life but circumstances had put me in an environment where I thought the pressure to not drink was too much, so I didn’t even try.

I wish I could say that the last time I went drinking was an epic party to end all parties but it wasn’t.  Don’t misunderstand me.  I didn’t say I didn’t have fun.  There was live music, nice people, lots jokes, and laughs.  There were also drugs, desperation, dysfunction, and the signs of 30 years of indulgence in the faces of those in attendance.  The ravages of alcohol and drugs and the emptiness of trying to recreate moments of youthful exuberance were all around me.   Even in the moment, I saw this wasn’t what I was supposed to be doing, or even wanted to do anymore, as a Christian.  The morning after my hangover wasn’t that bad but my soul ached that I had broken my fellowship with Christ.  I repented that morning, asking God to forgive me for walking back into the darkness and to help me not to go back ever again.

God is good to forgive us our sins if we ask (1 John 1:9) and even though I failed, I felt that God had answered my prayer.  I went to the next Recovery meeting confessing my failure expecting criticism but finding acceptance.  I left with a determination not to fall again and to surrender my life daily to God. 

God has been faithful.  I haven’t fallen.  I had never conceived of the possibility of living without alcohol for a year.  Some of you, who read this, may not either.  However, if you trust in God, pray to Him to help you, and continually turn to Him to lead you; He will set you free.

I have completed the Celebrate Recovery program and now lead worship at our meetings (NOW with live mic and electric guitar! WHAT?!?!?) .    I have begun teaching, on occasion, because I have been there, I get it, and I know what is possible if you put yourself into it.   If you are in the Hudson area on Thursday nights, we meet at 6:30 pm at Rock Solid Church. 

More importantly, I stand as a sign post pointing to the one that can save you, heal you, and free you: Jesus Christ.  It’s great to get sober but He can do so much more.  He has revealed to me that getting sober was only the beginning of a new life in partnership with him.  With Christ, I have earned an Associate’s degree in Biblical studies, conquered the fear of public speaking, and gone on mission to Africa.  In my journey, I have gained continuing revelation of truth and my purpose in life.  He has revealed to me the errors in my thinking and changed my priorities to be a faithful follower, husband and father.  

I don’t know what issues, problems, hang ups, or concerns you may have.  But I know this: Christ cares about you. He loves you. And He can give you new life.  This Sunday we celebrate His Resurrection: the proof that He is the Son of God and everything He said is the truth.  This Sunday can be the day you can start a journey that ends in joy and eternal life.  I invite you to celebrate His Resurrection this Sunday at Rock Solid Church; services are at 8:30 & 11 am.  For information about our church go to:

I wish all who read this all the best and I pray that you let Christ be the one to lead you in this life and beyond in His eternal Kingdom.  God Bless You!

Thursday, March 17, 2016

Happy St. Patrick's DAY 2016

Happy St. Patrick’s Day to ALL!  I wish everyone a joyous, festive, and safe day.  I also would encourage those celebrating to recognize that St. Patrick’s Day is more than just celebrating a national heritage; it is the celebration of the spreading of the Gospel of Jesus Christ and the hope of eternal life that was brought to the people of Ireland.  Below I am sharing an excerpt from David Jeremiah’s book “Upward Call”, that I hope you will find as informative and inspirational as I did. Erin Go Bragh!

“Patrick’s Troubles
“Always carrying about in the body the dying of the Lord Jesus, that the life of Jesus also may be manifested in our body.” – 2 Corinthians 4:10
Today is the day that the patron saint of Ireland Saint Patrick is honored.  A native of Britain, he was captured in the late fourth century A.D. by Irish pirates at the age of sixteen and enslaved for six years in Ireland. During that time he committed himself to Christianity. He escaped and returned to his family in Britain where a few years later, he had a vision of the Irish calling him to return and minister to them.

            Rather than resenting his years as a slave to the Irish, Patrick used the time as a shepherd to contemplate what it meant to know Christ, what it meant to know God’s forgiveness.  He left Britain as an unconverted teenager but returned as a believer in Christ. Without those six years of suffering, who knows how different Patrick’s life may have been. And who knows how many Irish might have never heard the Gospel through Patrick’s ministry in Ireland in the 5th century?

            Times of trouble in life, be they brief or extended, require a change in perspective.  Instead of asking, “Why is this happening to me?” we must ask, “What is God doing in my life? What does He want me to learn in this situation?”  “   -David Jeremiah from Upward Call    

Saturday, March 12, 2016


Bloggers blog right? or write? RIGHT!  
I have been gone too long. I need to share to tell you, and to remind myself, of all the wonderful things the Lord has done for me.

Well I made it back alive from my mission trip to Africa.  My life was never really threatened but we are never promised tomorrow and I suppose there were plenty of moments in my trip where my life could have ended:

 plane crashes (6 flights in total),

disease (Ebola screenings!),

street violence (I’m assuming Soldiers/police in downtown Harare and in the Shop Rite in Livingstone carry AK-47s for show),

falling to my death from a fool hardy trip halfway down a 500 foot gorge (I was wise enough to turn back when I realized that Crocs didn’t offer the best footing and that it wasn’t  worth it.  An exhausted companion who did the entire trek later confirmed “It was stupid!” Apparently the river below didn’t offer much more than the view from above, except swarms of mosquitoes and flies. )

However, the Lord watched over me and I am safely back home.

It was an incredible experience that I will never forget. The fact is dedicating two weeks of my life solely for the Lord’s purposes was one of the greatest things I have ever done.   I felt like I was my ideal self:  all my time could be categorized as working for the Lord or proclaiming the gospel and my personal testimony.   All throughout the trip I felt I was being led by the Holy Spirit. Every devotional or gospel message seemed to lead to the next in a purposeful unfolding that made everything I encounter seem truly momentous: AS IF IT WERE MEANT TO BE!!! 

The mission  team from my church were united in spirit and purpose with no division or conflicts which isn’t always the case with large groups of diverse people (16).  I found a new level of respect for Pastor Jaron Halsted and Pastor Mike Lambert as they ably lead and ministered to the group with great skill. 

The team spent a week in Harare Zimbabwe where we did concrete and tile work that would help support an orphanage that was funded by Pastor Ephiel Mukamuri of Logos Rhema Ministries. Pastor Ephiel welcomed the team into his home and was a most gracious host providing for all the teams needs during our visit.  While in Zimbabwe, I spoke at Pastor Ephiel’s church and two schools that he supports sharing my personal testimony and the Gospel.   We ended our time in Zimbabwe with a picnic with the orphans, dancing, and praising the name of Jesus in song.   

The team then went to Livingstone Zambia where we did brick and mortar work for a school that the Temple of Power church is building.  Pastor Nelly Chibwela opened up her home and heart to the team richly providing for our needs during our visit.   While in Zambia I preached at Temple of Power Church and at Pastor Buster Tembo’s House of Testimony Church.  Near the end of our trip the team crossed the border into Botswana for a day long Safari, where we took a river Safari and then hopped into trucks going into the bush!  The African landscape was graced by spectacular blue skies and sunshine as the team spied, herds of elephants, lions, wart hogs, baboons, crocodiles, hippos, impalas, lynx, and cheetahs.  Our final day in Zambia we went to the awesome splendor that is Victoria Falls. 

My time in Africa was well spent and I don’t regret it but in life sometimes things aren’t always so wonderful. 

The truth is my wife, who doesn’t share my zeal for missions or evangelism, was not happy with my decision to go to Africa.  I had made a determined decision to go regardless of her feelings and she barley communicated with me while I was away. What made matters even worse was that Michele suffers from recurring kidney stones and infections. She was hospitalized just before my trip but she was out when I left, granted with a subsequent appointment to remove a stint while I was to be away.  Things took a turn for the worse and she had to be hospitalized while I was away, another stint had to be put in.  She was extremely angry for what she sees as me abandoning her.  Upon my return , she was cold telling me she had contacted a lawyer in regards to getting a divorce.  She was also very ill. She refused to go to the Hospital that day but after a night of vomiting and not being able to keep anything down we were headed back to Albany Medical Center.    

While I was in Africa, I had left under the strain of a spouse who didn’t fully support me and I could understand why some people leave their families, or some people go into the mission field for good.  The problems of my life back home were gone, geographically distant and removed.   I really felt the urge to leave, find a nice Christian woman, and spend our lives being missionaries.  However, the Holy Spirit was leading me while in Africa. The messages I heard were about forgiveness, hope, and love.  I strained and prayed mightily for guidance but as much as I was taken with the life of a missionary and preacher that I had come to experience everything I heard told me to go back home and minister to my wife, to show her the love of Christ that has changed my life so much.  I sulkily agreed that this was what the Holy Spirit was telling me to do, so I reluctantly agreed to go home, apologize to Michele, and to begin to honor, love and obey her as our wedding vows commanded.  

So I apologized and started to do things to be there for my wife, reluctantly agreeing to stop going to Bible college to be there for her.   I took her to her doctor appointments and started doing things around the house to get things in order.  I still had fantasies about running off with some Christian woman and being a missionary but I decided to serve my wife regardless of my irrational feelings.  Understand me when I say I was really grieved about this conflict between my desires and what God was telling me to do but I also felt good about being there for Michele and getting the house in order (AS IF IT WERE MEANT TO BE).   

I’m happy to report that after days of speaking words of encouragement and serving my wife I had a revelation about my irrational thoughts.  I discovered that all my thoughts of running out of my marriage were just insane flights of fantasy that I had given power to by dwelling on.  I realized that in my mind leaving my wife and finding love elsewhere was built as an option to consider so I had opened a door to sin.  It’s the tenth commandment : You shall not covet (Exodus 20:17).  I was wanting things that weren’t mine and it was wrong.  As a married man, I was supposed to love my wife like Christ loved the Church (Ephesians 5:25). I haven’t been faithful to my wife like I should have been.   God was calling me to repent.
I am happy to say that Michele has fully recovered from her infection and that she has forgiven me.  I have made it plain to her that I am going to love honor and obey her to the best of my abilities and things are going well. 

I was chasing after God relentlessly to the exclusion of my wife.  I felt the call to the mission field and went in faith.  My visions of a revival sparked by my visit to Africa weren’t realized but the Holy Spirit spoke to me. Apparently, God wanted to get me alone for a while to show me what was important. Galatians  5:22-23 says” But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, long suffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control. Against such there is no law.” I have spent two and a half years learning about God and faith but hadn’t put the lessons I had learned into practice in my marriage.  God sent me to Africa to show me that He is awesome and ever present and to tell me to exhibit the fruit of the Spirit in my life and marriage.  .

I know I will be challenged and I might fail sometimes. I know that I may never get my wife on board with the Spirit-filled Christian life that I want to live. She may tire of me and leave me but I am going to try to do God’s will for my marriage.

Pastor Mike’s wife, Sue Lambert, had to endure 8 years of marriage to him before he gave himself to the Lord. Now he is a Pastor!

In the Bible, Joseph was in prison for years before he was raised to prominence and saved his family and the entire nation of Egypt.   Moses spent 40 years in the desert serving the Lord and never set foot in the Promised Land.  Paul was rendered blind when Christ was revealed to him with no knowledge that his sight would be restored and he would go on to give his life spreading the gospel. 

The point is serving God isn’t without hardship and it is not about receiving a reward here on earth (Matthew 5:12 Rejoice and be exceedingly glad, for great is your reward in heaven, for so they persecuted the prophets who were before you.). 

I am going to try to do what God would have me do in my life and marriage without the expectation of reward.  I am going to serve, honor and love my wife as an expression of my faith in Jesus Christ.  .