|EDITOR'S NOTE: BP Ledger carries items for reader information each week from various Southern Baptist-related entities, and news releases of interest from other sources. The items are published as received.
Today's BP Ledger includes items from:
Kentucky Baptist Convention
James Dobson's Family Talk
Joni and Friends
Substance Abuse Ministries Provide Gospel-Focused Care
By Ken Walker/KBC Communications
WILLISBURG, Ky. (Kentucky Baptist Convention) -- Choe Sergent grew up in a stable home, the son of hard-working parents. He didn't fit the stereotypical image of a strung-out drug abuser. Yet at the bottom of his long slide, Sergent's addiction cost him a management position and many nights in jail.
His descent originated with a prescription for pain pills to combat the effects of a bowel ailment. Sergent finally slipped over the edge after his fiancé put a rifle to her mouth and pulled the trigger.
"I couldn't distinguish between physical pain and emotional pain," Sergent said. "I had a bottle of pills there and when you're hurting, what are you going to do?"
Faced with the possibility of a trip to the state penitentiary, the Whitley County native wound up at Isaiah House, which receives funding and other assistance from the Kentucky Baptist Convention, local Baptist associations and individual congregations.
Founded in 2001, the residential rehabilitation facility in Willisburg houses about 50 men and hopes to open a separate home for women soon.
Not only did Sergent accept Christ during an eight-month treatment regimen, he sensed God's call to ministry. Today he pastors Grove Ridge Baptist Church in the Casey County community of Middleburg.
The grandson of a pastor, Sergent grew up hearing the gospel hundreds of times, but he said the message never touched his heart. It was the people he encountered at Isaiah House who helped him meet Christ.
"You had people like Mark (LaPalme, executive director) … and people who came down there and volunteered," Sergent said. "They had changed their lives and were walking it out. They still had problems but they had 'Somebody' who helped them overcome. That's what drew me."
Such success stories are why the KBC helps fund substance abuse ministries, said Eric Allen, director of KBC's Mission Service and Ministries Department.
"I would suspect that every Baptist church has at least one family that has been negatively affected by drug or alcohol use," he said. "These families need to be ministered to and the Lord has charged us with the responsibility to do so."
Among other substance abuse ministries Kentucky Baptists play a role in are the 2nd Chance Outreach in Jamestown and the SWAT (Servants With A Testimony) ministry of Northside Baptist Church in Mount Vernon.
Kentucky Baptists provide financial assistance in many ways, through the Cooperative Program, Eliza Broadus State Missions Offering and direct support.
Additionally, contributions to the World Hunger Fund provide groceries and hot meals for guests of Isaiah House.
Assisting people who have substance abuse problems, and the programs that help them, is a worthwhile investment of Kentucky Baptists' time and money, Allen said.
"The percentage of residents who remain drug free after treatment in faith-based centers is much higher (than other programs) because they guide residents to Christ," he added.
Jim Clontz, director of missions for South District Baptist Association agrees. South District Baptists support Isaiah House.
"Putting Christ first has been a very important part of it," Clontz said. "Especially when you consider there have been a lot of things (others) have attempted and it hasn't helped."
Through small group Bible studies and Bible-centered 12-step programs, churches are ideally suited to provide ongoing care to men and women who have progressed through a residential treatment program, Allen added.
"One of the greatest needs is for Christians to serve as sponsors and mentors for people in recovery who are involved in small-group follow-up programs such as Celebrate Recovery," he explained.
Some churches and associations may not be able to start a residential treatment center in their area, but according to Larry Martin, a KBC missions consultant, every Kentucky Baptist can join the fight against substance abuse.
"In Kentucky the use of drugs is such a critical problem in all of society," said Martin, pastor of Cane Run Baptist Church in Lexington. "I know one elderly grandmother who has lost three grandsons in three separate incidents. The church has to address all of these needs."
On average, three men each week make professions of faith in Christ at Isaiah House, said Sergent, who serves as secretary of the ministry's executive board. Every month about five new believers are baptized.
Over the years, many family members of Isaiah House residents have also responded to the gospel and begun their Christian walk through the ministry.
"We live among one of the greatest mission fields that exists," Sergent said.
The Kentucky Baptist Convention is a cooperative missions and ministry organization made up of nearly 2,400 autonomous Baptist churches in Kentucky. A variety of state and worldwide ministries are coordinated through its administrative offices in Louisville, including: missions work, disaster relief, ministry training and support, church development, evangelism and more. For more information, visit the KBC website at www.kybaptist.org.
Bluefield College's J.D. Taylor: Changing Lives with Charity and Water
BLUEFIELD, Va. (Bluefield College) -- "Every time you take a sip of clean water, someone dies of unclean water somewhere in the world." That's the profound statement that stirs the heart of Bluefield College student J.D. Taylor.
So much so, he's doing something about it through the help of Charity Water, a non-profit organization designed to bring clean, safe drinking water to underprivileged people in developing countries. In fact, Taylor is challenging the entire Bluefield College family to join him in the cause.
For as long as he can remember, Taylor, a rising senior biology major who plans to attend medical school after BC, has had a passion for missions and ministry. He has served on mission projects in South Africa, Namibia, Peru, Italy, and New York City. He also has participated in street evangelism, after-school programs, praise and worship gatherings, and countless other service projects through his church and BC.
Lately, it's Charity Water into which Taylor has been sinking his passion. After hearing during a leadership conference about the plight of people without clean, safe water in disadvantaged villages around the world, Taylor discovered Charity Water and how that organization is addressing the need.
Charity Water funds a range of water technologies for those in need, including hand-dug wells, drilled wells, rehabilitations, spring protections, rainwater catchments, and BioSand filters. To date, the charity has funded 6,185 projects, providing clean water to more than 2.5 million needy people in villages, clinics, schools and other facilities around the world.
And, according to Charity Water, a clean water project within a village provides more than safe drinking water. It protects the people from disease and gives them the freedom they need to change their community. In fact, diseases from unsafe water kill more people every year than all forms of violence. And, in Africa alone, people spend 40 billion hours every year walking for clean water.
"Having such a profound impact on not only a village's water system, but their hygiene, life expectancy, income, educational opportunities, and overall standard of living is a chance very few people get," said Taylor, who is a member of BC's Student Government Association, Residence Life staff, and men's varsity tennis team. "What an incredible thought -- knowing that we as a campus community were able to change an entire way of life for a group of people." Continued...