2019-04-12 A Worthy Cause.

“For I am not ashamed of the gospel, for it is the power of God
for salvation to everyone who believes,
to the Jew first and also to the Greek.”
Romans 1:16

Tonight is the annual banquet for The Fortress. Let me use their own words to describe their mission:

“The Fortress is a thirty bed, men’s, faith-based, restoration program, whose center of focus is Jesus Christ. It is not the ‘Program’ that saves us from addiction, it is Jesus in us and Jesus in the “Program” that leads to Victory over addiction.

At The Fortress, we understand the importance of developing a true and realistic relationship with Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. It is the only way we can be restored Spirit, Soul, and Body.

If you are struggling with addiction to gambling, sexual immorality, alcohol, or drugs, The Fortress is a safe place to find refuge from the storm.

Proverbs 18:10 The name of the Lord is a strong fortress; the godly run to him and are safe.”

I was turned on to these folks back when they first opened up in Willmar MN in 2014. I have personally witnessed many, many people break the chains of addiction through faith in Jesus Christ. Believe it or not, folks, Jesus is still in the business of saving lives. Don’t get me wrong, not all stories end up like they hope; but many do. One thing is certain, everyone is presented with not only a full explanation of the gospel but how to incorporate it into daily life.

It is a place to roll up the sleeves and get deep into the mess of people’s lives – and they dive right into it. They go directly at the root of the problem. They understand this is spiritual.

2 Corinthians 10:3-6 For though we walk in the flesh, we are not waging war according to the flesh. For the weapons of our warfare are not of the flesh but have divine power to destroy strongholds. We destroy arguments and every lofty opinion raised against the knowledge of God, and take every thought captive to obey Christ, being ready to punish every disobedience, when your obedience is complete.

Those of you who have been around me for some time know how much I like this place. It is a convergence of God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit – all focused with the intensity beyond the comprehension of man. Other programs offer sobriety. Few offer eternal life.

Honestly, I wish the church would really take a look at what is going on with places like The Fortress and Teen Challenge. It won’t except to keep it in the back of the mind as a place to ship chronic alcoholics and drug addicts – people they are completely unprepared to deal with. Yes, while it is true that some need intensive care, there isn’t a single person who can truly say, “I’m fine.” Nobody’s fine. Yes, many of us are saved, but nobody has yet achieved perfection. Look around your church. How many are too fat? Do you think that’s the way God designed things? What about marriages? How many do you think are truly happy? Hardly any, that’s how many. How about finances? How many are using their money the way God intended? How about time? Who do you know that has plenty of margin so they can be readily available at God’s calling? Only a few of the retired, that’s who. Let’s wake up, folks. Anxiety and depression ravage our church. So does lust. Well over half the men in church regularly view pornography – including pastors!

How can these things be? I’ll tell you how. We go to church late and leave as soon as the bell rings. We don’t spend any time getting to know each other well enough to reveal our weaknesses – our sin – to be vulnerable enough to allow change. Let’s not kid ourselves. Very few even want to. This may be more true of pastors than the congregation. When is the last time you have heard a pastor get vulnerable in front of the congregation and expose his hidden sin? Don’t you think he has big problems? You bet he does! Of all people, wouldn’t the pastor need help protecting himself against the schemes of the devil? Of course, he does. Yes, pastors have big problems. Over half the pastors regularly view pornography. Think about that. I googled and found that over 40% of pastors admit to having had an extramarital affair. Do your own research.

We wouldn’t suspect any of that on Sunday – unless, of course, everything blows up! We don’t have to look very far to find a congregation that experienced that, now do we!

Now, don’t tell me that your church is different because you have bible studies or life groups. Honestly. While your church may indeed be an exception, remember that exceptions are very rare. If you are one of the very rare, your members should be pouring out in the streets because of all the miracles God is doing in the lives of everyone. Is that happening in your church?

Listen, do yourselves a favor. If you live in the Willmar MN area, go to The Fortress’ Banquet tonight. If you don’t live close by, look for a place like it. They are all over. You just need to look for them. I tell you one thing. If you get involved, you will be changed; and you won’t be satisfied with church as usual.

Isaiah 65:1-2 “Come, everyone who thirsts, come to the waters; and he who has no money, come, buy and eat! Come, buy wine and milk without money and without price. Why do you spend your money for that which is not bread, and your labor for that which does not satisfy? Listen diligently to me, and eat what is good, and delight yourselves in rich food.

Father, I ask for favorable driving conditions and a house of generosity at tonight’s event. I pray that many will be encouraged to expect more from their church and a burning desire to be a catalyst for change. Amen.

Copyright © 2019 Scott Powers

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