Friday, July 28, 2017

Hope for the Opioid Addiction Criss

It’s been a long time since I have written in this blog. I have completed writing a book based on Catskill Mountain Christian Center’s Pastor Robert Engelhardt’s preaching I learned so much from the first 36 messages that I transcribed from his On Fire Radio Podcasts and I encourage anyone seeking the Lord to listen to them and the many messages that are available that surpass the initial 36 messages.  You can search On Fire Radio on I-tunes or go to  to listen to them. (Update - check out the mt4christ247 podcast - subscribe today by going to the podcast links on 

            I submitted the book and an accompanying study guide to Pastor Engelhardt and he generously agreed to co-author the book and to facilitate getting it published.  He has submitted the work to his editor and I patiently wait the day that it is published.  The project was a complete work of faith on my part and now I will trust the Lord to do with it as His will determines, come what may. 
I have also been blessed to be taking an increasing leadership role in Rock Solid Church’s recovery program, Celebrate Freedom  

 (Update - We have transitioned to Christian Discipleship which should be the core of successful recovery- We still meet on Thursday but have opened our doors to every one who wants their freedom in Christ - the New ministry is Community Freedom. )    
I have been teaching from the Celebrate Recovery program and from my personal experiences every three weeks and recently have been entrusted to lead the Men’s small group discussion session following the weekly teaching.  I praise the Lord for this opportunity to give back and to proclaim the hope that can only be found in Jesus Christ.  With a desire to bring this hope to more people in the Columbia county  area, I have been attending Columbia Pathways to Recovery meetings to make the community aware that we exist and that we are available to offer the hope of a new life to those who struggle with hurts, habits, and hang ups.
Columbia Pathways to Recovery (( is Community Recovery Organization and advocacy group whose goal is “to educate the community about the substance abuse issues that occur in our community”

They have partnered with Chatham Cares 4 U to create a help line for those in Columbia County who seek recovery:
Columbia Pathways To Recovery / Chatham Cares 4 URecovery Helpline
877-HOPE-365 (877-467-3365)
9am to 9pm / 7 days a week
Information, resources and referrals
Chatham Cares 4 U  is the Chatham Police Department’s progressive community program that seeks to save and change lives of those with substance abuse problems. (Update - Chatham Cares 4 U has been discontinued) 

Their Facebook page states: “Any person who enters the Chatham Police station to request help with their addiction to opiates shall be deemed “a participant,” and will be immediately screened into the Chatham Cares 4 U Outreach Initiative Program. If a participant entering the police or safe place requesting help is in possession of drugs or drug paraphernalia (needles, etc.), the items will be seized and marked for destruction, but the participant will not be charged. Officers having contact with participants entering the Chatham Police or designated safe place will be professional, compassionate and understanding at all times. The attending Officer will immediately notify the Police Chief or his/her designee that a participant is requesting help with their addiction, pat down the participant for drugs or weapons, and then take the participant into a private room or designated area.”
Chatham’s program was inspired from the success seen in Gloucester, Massachusetts where “Police Chief Leonard Campanello developed a revolutionary new way to fight the war on drugs by doing something about the demand, not just the supply. Under his plan, drug addicts who ask the police department for help will be immediately taken to a hospital and placed in a recovery program. Gloucester’s, and now Chatham’s, program also works “to remove the stigma associated with drug addiction, turning the conversation toward the disease of addiction rather than the crime of addiction.”  They “work directly with treatment centers to secure scholarships and fully-funded in-patient programs for addicts while working with police departments, pharmacies, and families to put nasal Narcan into as many hands as possible, recognizing that while it is not a panacea, Narcan can save the life of an overdose patient and give that person another opportunity to get into treatment and fight their disease” ( ).
             There is great work being done through Columbia Pathways to Recovery and Chatham Cares 4 U to battle the opioid addiction crisis that plagues our community.  It is our intention at Celebrate Freedom to offer those who successfully complete detox and rehab a program and a community that can give them a purpose and a hope to leave their addictions forever in the past.   Celebrate Freedom has joined Columbia Pathways to Recovery as a member to support their efforts and be considered as another pathway to recovery for Columbia residents in need. 
            Beyond the work I have been doing at Celebrate Freedom, I am also pleased to report that I have joined Rock Solid Church’s Jail Ministry team.  I have gone into the Columbia County Jail on several occasions preaching of the hope for a new life that is available through faith in Jesus Christ.  I have had the pleasure to teach and counsel the men in jail of the possibility of a changed life through their faith and have offered the Rock Solid church community, its food bank, and Celebrate Freedom as resources they can utilize to change their lives after their release.   Our jail ministry has borne fruit as I can testify that some of  those who had spent years in prison and in and out of jail are now standing with me in our church services, and at Celebrate Freedom, committed to the new life that their faith in Jesus Christ has given them.   
            So long time no blog but as you can see I have been busy.  It is my intention to be more faithful in writing in this blog for I have been greatly convicted to share the hope that I’ve found that seems to be lacking in our modern society. 
            I encourage all who read this to press into their faith and to get involved with their church and the community at large.  Christians need to show the world that we care and that there is hope for right now and for eternity in Jesus Christ. 
            I have included links to Columbia Pathways to Recovery and Chatham Cares For U and encourage you to support their efforts and to follow their examples for those in other communities.