12 Reasons I Quit Drinking (Before I Ever Really Started)

I have only been intoxicated two times in my life. Both were while I was in High School running from God and His plan for my life. Both are times I regret and experiences I cannot change. Thankfully these two occasions are only memories and serve as life lessons to me and those I desire to help. Although there have been numerous decisions that I have regretted through the years and addictions I have struggled with, the decision to quit drinking (before I ever really started) is not one of them. Here are a few reasons “Why I Quit Drinking (Before I Ever Really Started)”:

  1. My flesh longs for pleasure and satisfaction apart from God. There are many things people run to for pleasure and satisfaction apart from God—alcohol, comfort foods, immoral relationships, etc. Alcohol would only serve as yet another cheap substitute for God in my life. I already run to too many broken and empty cisterns to quench the thirst as it is. There is no need to add one more alternative.
  2. Untold children have been harmed and scarred for life due to alcohol use and abuse. My wife has seen and experienced things in her life that I cannot even begin to comprehend as a direct result of the use and abuse of alcohol. These memories cannot be erased from her mind and the scars cannot be removed from her soul. Alcohol served as a contributing factor to these horrific experiences. My children have suffered from my imperfect parenting, but I am thankful they have never suffered anything as a result of an intoxicated childmom or dad.
  3. If my children decide to use or abuse alcohol it will never be because they followed my example. I have the responsibility to be an example to my children. If I do not want them using profanity, disrespecting others, dishonoring God, harming their body (which is the temple of the Holy Spirit), and having sex outside of marriage, etc., then I have the responsibility to teach them not only with my lips, but also with my life. Since I have absolutely no desire for my children to ever experiment with alcohol, and possibly fall prey to its addictive nature, it is incumbent upon me to set the example in this area.
  4. I understand that the wine referenced in the Bible and the alcoholic drinks available today vary in large degree. First, when you see the word “wine” in the Bible it could mean non-fermented juice of the vine or a fermented beverage. The context must determine the type of beverage being referred to. Second, the alcoholic content in ancient beverages was far less than the alcoholic content of today’s beverages.[i] Fermentation was often impeded and alcoholic beverages were often watered down to prevent intoxication. Distillation (to boost alcohol content) was not invented until the Middle Ages, long after the Scriptures had been written.[ii]
  5. I have many more choices than my biblical counterparts. In Bible times beverages were very limited. Water sources were often polluted. Milk was available from a variety of animals, but refrigeration was not. Keeping the fruit of the vine from fermenting was challenging, but not impossible. However, today I have hundreds of non-alcoholic, non-intoxicating beverages available to me. I can drink all of these without harming my influence, clouding my judgment or compromising my self-control.
  6. Alcohol use can lead to alcohol abuse and addiction. Ken Idleman, former president of Ozark Christian College and pastor of Crossroads Christian Church in Evansville, Indiana notes:

No one starts out to be an alcoholic. Everyone begins with a defensive attitude saying, “I’m just a social drinker and there is nothing wrong with it!” No one says, “It is my ambition that someday I want to lose my job, my health, my self-respect, my marriage and my family. Someday I want to be dependent on alcohol to get through my day.” Yet, this is the destination at which several millions of people have arrived. Why do you suppose that is? It is because alcohol is promoted and elevated as a normal/sophisticated activity in life…. It is also expensive, addictive and enslaving. People get hooked by America’s number one legal drug. And just like all illegal drugs, alcohol finds its way into the body, the bloodstream and the brain of the user/abuser.

One of my most memorable conversations in the state penitentiary in Jefferson City, MO, was with a young man facing a 28-year prison sentence for the brutal sexual assault of his own 8-year old daughter. I will never forget the image. The tears literally ran off his chin and splashed on his shoes as he gushed, “I guess I did it. I don’t know. I was drunk at the time.”

Could you live with the knowledge that your dangerous exercise of Christian liberty factored into your children’s ruin?

A good friend during my growing up years was the only child of social drinking parents. When his folks were away, he would go to the rathskeller [German for tavern] in the basement where he developed a taste for alcohol. I won’t bore you with the details. He is 65 today. A broken life, broken health, broken marriages, a broken relationship with his only son, a broken relationship with his only grandchild, a broken career and a broken spirit that . . . Tragically . . . he tries daily to medicate with the alcohol that led him to this tragic destination.[iii]

  1. I have absolutely no desire to support an industry that has caused untold heartache for millions of people. More than 55% of highway deaths are alcohol related. There are drunk drivingmore than 17 million alcoholics in America alone. Alcohol use and abuse has left death, disease, disability and fractured relationships in its wake.[iv]
  2. Drunkenness and other sins resulted both times I decided to drink alcohol. It is crystal clear from Scripture that drunkenness is a sin and that drunkenness is often accompanied by other sins (Proverbs 23:20-21, Romans 13:13, I Corinthians 5:11 & 6:10, Ephesians 5:18, Galatians 5:21).
  3. I do not want my senses clouded, and alcohol use clouds ones senses. This is a scientific fact[v] and is one of the reasons why God did not allow the priests to use any alcohol while preforming their priestly duties (see Leviticus 10:8-11). While one may argue this makes it ok to have alcohol when not performing their priestly duties, why would a Christ follower ever want their senses clouded? Repeatedly in the New Testament we are commanded to be “sober-minded.” The idea of being sober minded is the idea of thinking seriously and clearly about things. Alcohol use dulls these senses and impairs rational thinking.
  4. Since alcohol use clouds the senses, decisions made during under the influence of alcohol are not the same ones that would be made under the influence of the Holy Spirit. Ephesians 5:18 clearly says, “And do not get drunk with wine, for that is debauchery, but be filled with the Spirit.” Our choices should be “Spirit” influenced, not “spirit” influenced (the word “spirit” is often used as a synonym for alcohol).
  5. My alcohol use may negatively impact others. Even if I did not have an addictive personality and even if I could be content with one glass of low alcoholic wine, those whom I influence and who look up to me may not fare so well. This is what led Paul to say: “It is good not to eat meat or drink wine or do anything that causes your brother to stumble” (Romans 14:21, see also Romans 14:19 & Habakkuk 2:15).
  6. Scripture warns me about the addictive and destructive nature of alcohol.[vi]
    1. Proverbs 20:1-Wine is a mocker, strong drink a brawler, and whoever is led astray by it is not wise.
    2. Proverbs 23:29-35-Who has woe? Who has sorrow? Who has strife? Who has complaining? Who has wounds without cause? Who has redness of eyes? Those who tarry long over wine; those who go to try mixed wine. Do not look at wine when it is red, when it sparkles in the cup and goes down smoothly. In the end it bites like a serpent and stings like an adder. Your eyes will see strange things, and your heart utter perverse things. You will be like one who lies down in the midst of the sea, like one who lies on the top of a mast. “They struck me,” you will say, “but I was not hurt; they beat me, but I did not feel it. When shall I awake? I must have another drink.”

dwi1I have witnessed first-hand the dangers associated with alcohol use and abuse. Both of my grandfathers used and abused alcohol; as a result they left painful memories with my parents as well as other members of my family. Two of my brothers used and abused alcohol and suffered relational, physical and spiritual harm as a consequence. One of my brothers was tragically gunned downed in cold blood, in a bar, where he was drinking alcohol. Thankfully my other brother turned from his drunkenness and sin and found forgiveness and grace in the arms of the Lord Jesus Christ who set him free from his addiction.

There will be many things I will regret when I stand before my Lord. There are many things I have done in my life and things I have struggled with that I regret. However, I have never regretted, nor will I ever regret, the decision I made as a teenager to quit drinking after those first two experiences. Apart from my own salvation in Christ and my marriage to my beautiful bride, the decision to live an alcohol free life is one of the best decisions I believe I have ever made. I have been in the ministry since 1996 and have met multitudes of people who regret their first drink, but I have never met anyone who said they regretted abstaining. I can’t imagine anything I have missed in my life because of my decision, except more regrets.

If you would like to know more about how Christ can set you free from any addiction, including alcohol, please contact us. We would be glad to point you to the “fountain of living waters,” the One who can quench the thirst of your soul.

[i] http://christianstandard.com/2012/08/to-drink-or-not-to-drink/

[ii] http://www.olsenpark.com/Sermons11/Alcohol.html

[iii] http://christianstandard.com/2012/08/to-drink-or-not-to-drink/

[iv] http://christianstandard.com/2012/08/to-drink-or-not-to-drink/

[v] http://www.niaaa.nih.gov/alcohol-health/alcohols-effects-body

[vi] http://www.crossroadschristian.org/blogs/blog/12806077-can-a-christian-drink-alcohol

Dirty Words-Is it Just a List to Avoid?

The word “profanity” comes from the root word “profane.” The word profane, according to “Merriam-Webster’s” online dictionary means: (1) to treat (something sacred) with abuse, irreverance or contempt; (2) to debase by a wrong, unworthy, or vulgar use…therefore profanity is the use of “language that treats sacred things with abuse, irreverance or contempt…language that debases things or others.” As Christians and “temples of the Holy Spirit” we should not want to say things that reflect irreverance upon the name of Christ, nor should we use our language in a way that dishonors Christ.

Isn’t it interesting that even the “world” recognizes the use of “profane language.” This is regularly seen when one picks up a movie and it says something like: “Rated PG-13 for profanity or explicit language.” Many individuals who reject Christ and His Word know that there is a difference between “language” and “explicit or profane language.” (Let me run a little rabbit trail here…that line continues to be blurred and I am sure that one day in the not too distant future the line will dissapear as far as the world is concerned).

So what does the Bible have to say about this subject? After all, that is the standard…certainly not Hollywood’s rating system. Certainly not a list that changes from state to state. What type of language should we and should we not be comfortable with?

In Ephesians 4:29 the Holy Spirit inspires Paul to instruct Christians regarding their language (this certainly isn’t a comprehensive view of acceptable language…we are just looking at one passage to help us with this issue today). He says: Let no corrupt communication proceed out of your mouth, but that which is good to the use of edifying, that it may minister grace unto the hearers. He goes on to indicate that when Christians do such things we “grieve the Holy Spirit” that lives within us (see also verse 30).

Paul makes it explicitly clear that we are to stay away from “corrupt communication.” This refers to: polluting, evil and even worthless language. If we breath polluted air we are taking in the toxins that are in the air and breathing them into our lungs. The same is true with profanity…it is spoken, then it is heard, then it is processed in the brain and then it produces thoughts that are not appropriate and finally produces a response. Others are affected either positively or negatively by the words we say and even the tone we use. Therefore, as a Christian, and as an individual who should be seeking to live their lives to please and honor Christ, we should not say or write things that would “pollute” someone else’s thought process. Scripture reminds us that we will be held accountable for the words that we use!

Paul then gives us HOW we should use our language. First of all are to use words that“edify.” Words that “edify” are words that are spiritually beneficial for others…they are words that BUILD UP! Do the words you use BUILD UP others? You see I think some people think that as long as they stay away from the “bad word list” they are ok. However, you can stay away from your list and still use your mouth to hinder people’s faith and discourage people in their walk for the Lord. This is corrupt communication as well.

Secondly, our speech is supposed to minister grace to the hearers. How can the words you use minister grace to someone else? Grace, as far as our salvation is concerned refers to God’s undeserved favor toward us. It is through this undeserved favor that our sins can be forgiven and we can become part of the family of God. Therefore, God’s grace helps or enables us to be delivered from the penalty of our sin. Then we think of what some refer to as “sustaining grace.” Sustaining grace is God’s undeserved help from day to day to face whatever may come our way. In this passage we are told that God can use our words to minister grace or help to someone else. How can help someone else if the language we are using doesn’t honor the Holy Spirit that resides in us…if the language we are using treats that which God calls sacred as something that common and unimportant?

May we as Christians never get comfortable with language that doesn’t glorify God (give a right representation of Him to the world), that doesn’t build up another Christian, or that doesn’t help others clearly see the Christ of Calvary and help God’s family to grow in the grace and knowledge of Him.

Yes I think we should stay away from the “list” but I hope it goes far deeper than that. I hope we will look deep within our hearts and think about this verse the next time we open our mouths.

Short Term Mission Trip–What to Expect

Ok we are going on a mission trip this summer! Yeah! Here is what to expect:

  • We aren’t going to have enough people so pray for more
  • Expect to be bullied, harassed, attacked, injured and to possibly die
  • You cannot bring:
    • Extra Money
    • Extra Clothes
    • Cell Phone
    • Toiletries
    • Electronic Devices
  • You will eat and live with total strangers
  • You are going to be expected to preform miracles

So who wants to sign up?

I’m not sure how many parents will sign the permission slip for this one! For that matter how many adults would be willing to go?

This is the short term mission trip requirements found in Luke 10:1-12. Jesus was going to send out 72 people (36 teams of two). However, He indicates there are still more people needed, so the first matter of business for his recruits is to PRAY! The same is still true for those who are interested in taking short term mission trips today. Prayer is vital. If you are planning a short term mission trip bathe it in prayer. Bathe the participants in prayer, bathe the city in prayer and bathe those who you are going to minister to in prayer!

Secondly, Jesus lets them know that He is sending them out “as lambs in the midst of wolves” (v. 3). All they that live godly in Christ Jesus shall suffer persecution. For most of us and for most of the mission teams that we host in America, that simply means someone saying, “I’m not interested…get off my property, etc.” However, what if it meant more? Are we any better than the martyrs who willingly shed their blood to take the Gospel to the heathen? Make sure your mission team knows there will be opposition and prepare them to face that opposition with a Christ-like spirit.

Thirdly, Jesus instructed them not to carry any excess and to depend upon Him to provide them with a place to stay and food to eat (vv. 4, 7). I’m not suggesting you go on your next mission trip without any hotel reservations, money or food. However, pray for creative ways to help your group learn to depend on God to do something great! Jesus wanted these 72 disciples to strip away any dependence they had upon themselves and their belongings and depend wholly upon Him! Find a way to let this trip become a way to put God to the test (not tempt Him, but rather test Him…see Malachi 3:10).

Fourthly, Christ enabled them to have the power to heal the sick (v. 9). Though God still heals, these apostolic sign gifts are not for us today. However, if a mission trip does not have the supernatural touch of God upon it, what spiritual mission has it accomplished? Let this be a time when those who are involved depend upon the power of Christ to get out of their comfort zone! This summer, one young man had never taught a lesson before. However, he was willing to do so and the Lord used him to share the Gospel and a young man received Christ as his Savior! In a sense this young man was a vessel whom God used to bring healing (spiritual healing) to this lost soul!

If Jesus’ invitation were extended to your church or mine in hopes to recruit a short term mission team the volunteers may be few. However, the harvest is still plentiful and we need to pray that the Lord of the harvest would continue to send forth the laborers into His harvest field!