James McAdans, Tomoka, Ormond Beach
The fact that I am alive today is a miracle. This is not a story about me. It is a story about God.
I have been a Christian all of my life. However, I struggled with addiction to alcohol and drugs and major clinical depression for thirty-eight years beginning at the age of fifteen.
As a consequence I lost my family, friends, marriage, career and health. I was suffering from end-stage liver disease and was told by doctors that I had less than a year to live unless I received a liver transplant. It was just me and God now.
Faced with what I thought was an impossible situation; I turned everything over to Him, asking only for His mercy and grace. And, Mercy and Grace is what I received. I can only say that what happened was nothing short of miraculous, the details of which only God could have arranged. This year I will celebrate the 10th anniversary of receiving my liver transplant and the eleventh year of sobriety.
Obviously, God still had plans for me. He led me to Psalm 40 and told me how He heard my cry and reached down to pull me out of the pit of destruction, put my feet on solid ground and steadied my steps; how He now has put a new song in my mouth – a song of Praise to Him that many will hear and come to fear and trust Him; how His ways and thoughts toward us are so wonderful and numerous they cannot be counted; and how I, in thanksgiving, should not restrain my lips in telling the good news to as many people as possible.
Although I had been a Roman Catholic for over 30 years, He led me to Tomoka United Methodist Church through a friend, where I found a family, received several years of discipleship training, served as Chair of the Finance Committee and Treasurer and became a Certified Lay Servant.
Today I am alive in a personal and intimate relationship with God through Jesus Christ His Son, my Lord and Savior. My ministry is to bring the good news of hope and freedom to those suffering from addiction and other life problems.
For the past year God has given me the opportunity to teach a weekly Recovery in Christ class at a local resident homeless assistance program where many suffer from a host of addiction and life problems.
I teach that recovery and true freedom is not achieved in a step program that you follow, but rather through an encounter with God; that through the power of the Holy Spirit freedom from the things of this world can be found.
I stand as a personal example. When I tell my story and teach the Gospel of Jesus Christ I see hope in their eyes. I see people change over time. I have seen people leave the program and return to independent living. Some may never live independently again, but they feel better because they have hope.
All around us are millions of people suffering from the ills of this world. The mandate of Jesus Christ for us is to react; to bring His message of hope; to heal the brokenhearted and to free the captives.
Unfortunately, too many of us sit in our churches and wait for them to come to us. Jesus tells us that we have to go out to them and meet them where they are. My greatest frustration is that too few are willing to do so.
I would like to see more people involved in delivering the message of hope to those in need. God tells us that we need to see the face of Jesus in everyone we meet. Jesus lives in and through us so that those in need can feel His loving touch and soothing voice first hand.
My question to you is this: Do people see the face of Jesus in you?
Up Next Week…
Lauren Weaver, First Vero Beach
A sixth grader tells how her compassion for a homeless man led to the birth of “Lauren’s Way,” a community-wide effort to make a difference for the homeless of Indian River County.
The Florida Conference of The United Methodist Church
450 Martin Luther King, Jr. Avenue
Lakeland, FL 33815
(863) 688-5563 or toll free (800) 282-8011