Don Cobb
The Miracle: Redwood Gospel Mission graduation -- May 1, 2009
By Don Cobb
May 3, 2009

This is my introduction of the graduates and this is what the process called "The Miracle" is doing for people.

God is amazing. Amen?

Sitting in front of you tonight, the men and women on this stage whom we all love and stand with, and support, and for whom we've come here tonight to acknowledge their incredible victory over homelessness & addictions, some of whom have spent the majority of their lifetimes in prisons, both physically and psychologically, these men and women have come from every background imaginable. From healthy homes to tragically unhealthy homes, with strong, loving parents and with dysfunctional, broken, addicted, alcoholic or even physically or emotionally abusive and unavailable parents, these are all men and women who have fought the good fight, and like those of us who are blessed with the opportunity to serve them, came to a point in their lives when they realized they were losing that fight. And so, they gave up, they surrendered. Finally, exhausted, lives burned to the ground, most of them, finally humbled enough to say "Lord, help me," and mean it this time, they found their way — God paved the way for them — to the Redwood Gospel Mission, where Jesus Christ met them, gathered them up, shined His light all over their lives, surrounded them all with brothers and sisters in Christ who lifted them up in prayer, who held them up when they would stumble, who shared God's incredible Word with them, and who taught them a new way to walk through their lives, through the narrow gate, and down the narrow path where God pours out His blessings on them, more than they — more than any of us — deserve.

They've now learned, as God's word tells us in Jeremiah 29, perhaps the most important lessons they'll ever learn in their lives, that God has plans for each and every one of us, plans to prosper us and not to harm us. Plans to give us hope and a future. They've learned an amazing thing about their Creator, who calls us all to principled living, in which rigorous honesty, humility, faith, perseverance, patience, self-discipline, confession and accountability, acceptance and surrender all contribute to their transformation into men and women of character, and yet for all of us, principles such as these are practically impossible to practice on a regular basis...impossible, without God's help. And He made us that way, that we would figure out, each of us in our own time and on our own terms that left to our own devices, we will never become men and women of integrity. We need God. We need His Holy Spirit to fill us, to lead us, to guide us and to teach us and convict us, because if nothing changes, nothing changes.

As a staff, oh, how I would love to stand before you and receive the credit for having turned these graduates lives around. I, and I suspect that our whole staff, would love to bask in the applause that might come if we were able to fool all of you and ourselves into thinking that we were responsible for the profound change in their personalities. We would love to take that credit, if only it were true. But it's simply not true. As much as we would love to change every person's heart and mind and make them more like Jesus, and as much as we might love one another or feel desperate that they need to change, many of you know, we cannot change each other.

But God can. And an amazing thing happens when we begin to pray for the men and women who come to us for help. Amazingly, as God begins to move on their behalf, He moves the community, the people who donate to this ministry, without which we would have no ministry at all! The Lord puts it on people's hearts to support the Mission, and not just with cash donations but with everything under the sun. Our Thrift Store Manager Michael Timon can testify that the Lord prompts people to give just about everything you can possibly think of, from money to time, to furniture and dishes, tables, chairs, vases, power tools, automobiles, pianos, musical instruments of all kinds. Toys, clothes, medicine, sports equipment. When we begin to pray for the men and women we serve, the Lord moves the community to give, to personally give counsel, to preach and sing and teach and mentor and sponsor these men and women who need exactly all of that. The Lord brings prayer partners and volunteer counselors who help our staff by giving their time and love and knowledge and support to the men and women in the New Life Program.

We are here tonight, all of us here tonight, to acknowledge and to honor these men and women before you, to celebrate their transitions from their old lives, into their new lives in Christ. It's no small feat, what these men and women before you have accomplished. We who work at the Redwood Gospel Mission New Life Programs, who are blessed with the opportunity to serve your sons and daughters, your mothers and fathers, your sisters and brothers and your friends who are up on this stage this evening — we see to it that it is no small feat for them to walk all the way through the New Life Program and to experience the incredible victory that comes when they complete this part of their life's journey, this season they've just spent with us, learning the value of principled living, the value in trusting God, so that they can experience the true freedom that only comes when the truth sets us free. The Truth has set them free.


Next up: Conversation, confession, honesty (there's that word again)...

("The Miracle" is an ongoing series of articles by Don Cobb regarding the process through which an individual and/or a group of individuals or nation get right-side up. Addiction, sexual, life, or relationship issues regardless how deep or serious are all resolved through this miraculous transformation.)

© Don Cobb


The views expressed by RenewAmerica columnists are their own and do not necessarily reflect the position of RenewAmerica or its affiliates.
(See RenewAmerica's publishing standards.)

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Don Cobb

Don Cobb, RAS is an addiction recovery professional and serves as Executive Director for North Bay Recovery Services in Sonoma County, CA. Don recently published a book entitled 12 Steps: NOT For Dummies... (more)


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