The love of Christ
Changeds Communities by Changing Lives

It is mind boggling how KootenaiCounty has changed in the last forty years. I remember growmg up m a simpler and slower time in Coeurí d Alene. Sanders beach was my front yard and Tubs Hil my back yard. Neighborhood baseball games, swimmmg all summer, fishmg, bike rides and kick the can.
Never figured it all could change so drastically. Itís no loner simple and life is being lived out in the fast lane. Yes, good things have happened, yet good is rapidly losing ground to evil, darkness and the increasing breakdown of families and communities.
Life was a little more secure back then. Now times are critical and complicated by harsh reahties hke rampant drug abuse, domestic violence, a fifty percent divorce rate, broken children, shootings, rapes and various crimes. What happened? How did we get here? Donít know all the reasons, but I know if changes donít take place in a serious manner, beautiful North Idaho will be transformed into another area to move out oflike so many have moved here to escape the growing evils where they grew up.
Instead of letting evil overwhelm us, letís learn from the past and take a stand. Why let denial and complacency finally destroy us and cause us to say,Ē Boy, we should have done something different back then while we had a chance?Ē You know something. I have heard multitudes who have moved here into North Idaho from bigger cities and different states say, ďI hope we donít have to move again to a safer and less complex place.Ē Guess what? The darkness is every where. No more places for us modem day pilgrims to go and find a safer and less complex new world. We either take a stand for good and righteousness and challenge evil and darkness or starting looking for places to run.
I became a casualty of darkness in the past. In the depths of my despair caught in the grips of addiction, in 197 4 I made a choice to change because of my Brokeness and others in my community choose to empower me to change. Friends, educators, family, community members along with the loving presence of Christ became concerned change agents in my life. At a time when I gave up on myself of ever becoming a healthy and productive citizen, God and others did journey with me.
My journey changed me from a hopeless helpless addict medicating away my pains within, towards eventually becoming a more healthy person with a passion to facilitate Godís life changing love. I am so grateful that I recovered from my addictions, went back to college to become a minister. I have worked in prisons, jails and in the streets and walked with hurting people who were broken like I was and became a change agent in their lives. I have seen multitudes of broken people who wrote themselves off and were wrote off by so many other realize that God didnít.
If more of God's people don't choose to really become change agents in God's loving power and really serve Christ out in our communities as reflectors of the living Christ within, then evil and darkness will take us down with the ship of complacency.
I know people can change il} Christ's power and presence, I have experienced it myself If God can change me, He can change any one, at time. No matter how bad things get. I know others who changed and no longer repeat criminal activity, violence and life destroying patterns. Now they have become healthy contributors to society.
Isn't that what the goal of corrections is all about? Is not that what concerned citizens want to see more of around where they live? Is that not the goal of God's love to the Nations? Our society is looking for true spiritual help. They want to see and believe in a God who is real and overcomes evil. Many of the un-churched are disillusioned because of the religious infighting going on between various denominations. The credibility of the gospel is damaged as a result. The hurting and searching need to connect with the life giving and changing spirit of Christ. The witness of a loving Christ will be validated much more ifHe is allowed to personally touch people out in the real world through Christ filled Believers.
I the last few years I have realized that many of the authority systems, community leaders, social care giving agencies and business people are wanting the Faith community to be more involved in working together toward social wellness. At this time social ills are growing out of control and are destroying families, kids and communities.
I have worked along side of many secular systems and faith based organizations over the last twenty years. There are many good people who are very concerned about the future of Kootenai County. As a Christian minister, my concern is, how can Christ be released through His believers out in the real world more and more? He is a real powerful change agent in our communities. He promised if we would go out that He would be with us and make a difference. The sad reality today is evil and darkness are winning the battle.
What is even more sad is the Spiritual Body of Christ has the ultimate power to restore social ills. Many are asking, when is it going to happen? I ask, when is the salt of the preservation of Christ going to pour out and overcome the growing darkness that only Jesus has the power to destroy?
Many have been praying over the years for God to move and bring revival to our land. I believe God is wanting to move, but He needs more willing servants in our land to step out by faith, step up to the plate and actively minister to people, organizations and sytems out where they live, work and play. Lazarus was raised from the dead because His followers chose to move the stone by faith. Jesus wants to release our county from the death grip of evil. He is waiting for His modern day followers to move the stones indifference, divisions and complacency.
The harvest in our land has been ripe for years. God needs willing laborers to go out to the fields of harvest in the communities we live in. He will heal our land if we repent and change our evil ways. I believe there is a huge need for all of us who go by His name to repent for not being the Light in past years that could have overcome our social darkness. Repentance is more than saying, "Sorry God." He expects us to actively do what we haven't been doing. Our God is waiting for His people to actively stand in the gap for Him in our land. I pray that God bless all as we obediently respond to Holy Spirit in these critical days.