As many of you know, Christ Church has a faith based recovery ministry called Transformation to Recovery and part of that ministry is a residential discipleship house for guy’s in recovery. We call this place Hope House. Since Hope House opened just about 3 years ago, we have seen 15 men graduate and transition back to independent living, embracing their new identity and purpose in Christ. This past Sunday we celebrate the graduation of two more men. Below are their stories. Join us in celebrating God’s work of grace in their lives!
I can remember a time in my life when I had no hope. I was wrapped up in guilt, shame not being able to look at myself in the mirror. Leading a life, I had no control over, dreaming of a better way of life but not knowing how to have one. I was totally lost, but now I see someone much bigger than I, who had and has a plan for my life greater for me than I could ever imagine. In my affliction in my lower state is where Christ found me and now knowing that It was all Gods mercies and Grace that led me here to Philly. From being discouraged to being totally grateful and allowing me to remain humble. The Lord led me here to hope house where I have grown in his grace and in trusting in him have gained such a beautiful family in Christ. Through Hope House and the grace of me being there my faith amazingly kept growing and growing. It’s truly amazing what happens when I fix my gaze in Christ and to understand that it is a very lonely place to be when I was the center of my universe.
Now to the best of my ability I walk with him and talk with him, and He is my universe and how important it is to me to revolve around him. Knowing that he rewards those who diligently seek him. Knowing what it means that his grace is sufficient to me.
I’ve been in hope house for almost two years, led there by the grace of God and welcomed with open arms. I’ve learned and gained so much through my trials and tribulations there has been nothing but gain. Truly grateful for places like hope house. For the pastors and leaders of Christ Church to all my extended family thru Christ and how the spirit of God works thru and in all of it.
In the scripture it says that for “I Know that all things work for the good for those who love God” and I want to praise God for my extended family in Christ and for my future family in Christ, as well as my exchange life in Him. From being lost to being fund and set free. I’m so grateful I was chosen in the furnace of affliction knowing each day his mercies and grace are new. Slowly but surely, I’m becoming more like his son Christ. One of my prayers is that through the gospel I can help others to be set free from the chains of addiction.
As I walked through the front door of this humble dwelling on 9th and Cantrell in South Philly I wasn’t sure what to expect. See, I love Jesus with all my heart. In His presence is fullness of joy. There is no better place to be. I was in search of more for my life and walk with Jesus. Little did I know, God had me right where he wanted me. A place where I could be gracefully broken, healed, loved and then restored.
I had been clean and sober since 2014. I turned my will and life over to the care of Jesus and boy had things changed for me. I was thriving. I had gotten married, joined a local church, opened a new business, and even bought my dream home in Media, PA. However, behind the scenes I was struggling again with alcohol. I started to drink on occasions thinking I could manage it. I was wrong. Over the last year my drinking increased and I was having real issues controlling it. Then COVID-19 struck our country and everything changed. I didn’t handle the changes very well. After trying to stop drinking again and again(and failing) I knew I needed a deeper level of care and I surrendered. I went to treatment for 30 days in Malvern and when I got out I wanted to use the time to grow closer to my savior and get a firm foundation in sobriety. My wife was doing some research on-life to see if there were any Christ-Centered programs in our area. She came across Transformation To Recovery. I spoke with John Carlson, the founder and director and I really loved his energy and story. He told me how God had transformed his life through the teachings of Jesus and discipleship under other men of God. I was excited to hear what God was doing in TTR. He told me about Hope House. A recovery house that was focused on making disciples of Jesus and helping men of God stay clean through His power one day at a time. I felt the Holy Spirit moving in my heart and knew this is where I needed to go.
During the time I spent at Hope House God really humbled me and opened my eyes to His call on my life and the fact that He wants me to be in a constant relationship with Him. On Monday nights we had Discipleship Curriculum with TTR and small group bible study with Christ Church. Tuesday night’s we had a bible study at Hope House. Wednesday we had a 12-Step Biblical Perspective meeting that was led by Arthur which is a real blessing to my soul. Thursdays we have Real Men Talk in which we discuss real issues that men of faith deal with. Every Friday we had The New Life Recovery Meeting in which we dive into the deep things a salvation and discipleship. Saturdays, we had Addiction Victorious in which we learn about addiction from a biblical perspective. And on Sundays, I attended Christ Church and got to hear the Word of God from Pastor Jeff which was the rhema word for the week to come. My week’s were filled with gospel truth and my wife and family can really see the change in me. I feel God’s hand on my life and I am experiencing his life changing presence fresh and anew.
One of my favorite times of growth in the house were during mornings devotions Monday through Friday from 7am to 8am. I was able to share with the other men in the house and they also poured into me. It is a great way to start each day during the week.
Overall, my experience in TTR and The Hope House was awesome. I called it my Jesus adventure. I grew in the Lord by leaps and bounds. I feel closer to Jesus now than I have in a long while. I now have 9 months clean and sober and my family and I are closer than we ever have been. God is great and greatly to be praised. I am extremely grateful for the opportunity I was given, and would highly recommend it to other brothers who are serious about sobriety and growing to know Jesus in a more intimate way.