Tag Archives: addiction

Called to Connect the Inner-City to Christ in Connecticut

Special moment of prayer at New Antioch Church of God.

By Carl Stagner

New Haven, Connecticut, is home to Esau Greene. He grew up in a family well-known to the community, achieving success in school, excelling especially in sports. After college, his story took a turn for the worse. But before it was too late, Jesus Christ not only rescued him from a life of drugs but also called him into ministry. Knowing what it’s like to live on the streets yet highly educated with a degree in human services, and coming from a family of influence yet familiar with the allure of drugs, Esau Greene is God’s man for the job—urban pastor in a college city. Though the church he leads is only three-and-a-half years old, it’s already grown from 5 to some 130 people. Continue reading

A Sure Bet: West Virginia Pastor’s Kid Reclaims “Wasted Years”

Duane singing “He’s All I Need.”

By Carl Stagner

Duane Clarke was raised in a Christian home with loving, godly parents. As a PK—“pastor’s kid”—he heard the gospel preached more times than he could count, whether at Middle Grave Creek Church of God near Moundsville, where his father was senior pastor, or at Ash Avenue Church of God, where his father had served as Sunday school superintendent. At age fifteen, while attending youth camp, Duane went to an old-fashioned altar and asked Jesus into his heart. Soon after, he followed Jesus’ example in baptism. But when this young sports fan checked into a local bar to purchase Lakers tickets, he was inadvertently introduced to sports betting. It wasn’t long before he was thrust into the world of gambling, and for thirty years, he couldn’t find his way out. Hell stole much from Duane Clarke’s life, but Jesus would have the last word. Continue reading

Exposing the Link Between Pornography and Sex Trafficking

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By Levi Scott

Although there is no longer legally sanctioned slavery in the United States, it persists among us, under the radar. According to a 2015 CNN report, “Sex-Trafficking: The New American Slavery,” the sex trafficking industry in Atlanta, Georgia, alone was worth 290 million dollars. And that was the year 2007. While few of us in churches are going to street corners in red light districts, a surprisingly high number of Christians are involved in viewing pornography, which has a major impact on the demand for, and the profit of, sex trafficking. Continue reading

Choosing Jesus Over Porn: A North Carolina Pastor’s Victory

By Carl Stagner

No one wants to talk about it. It’s silently eating away at the souls of our teens, our men (and women), and even our younger children. Our Sunday school teachers aren’t immune. Our board members and elders aren’t immune. Our pastors aren’t immune. Why aren’t we talking about it? The world is. Lately, so is Aaron Holman, pastor of youth and young adults at New River Community Church of God in Sneads Ferry, North Carolina. Ordained in July, this Christ-centered leader is boldly sharing his own struggle with pornography so others may find freedom. Continue reading

CHOG Brings Addiction Recovery Ministry to Reservation

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Photo: Church of God Ministries leaders join Native American Ministries leaders to start a Celebrate Recovery ministry.

By Handel Smith and Ryan Chapman

As we drove through the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation community of Wounded Knee, South Dakota, the unimaginable reality of a community plagued by alcoholism, domestic abuse, and unemployment was alarming and difficult to process. In the midst of chaos, sadness, and confusion, we reached out to Christ. New hope and encouragement are being restored, due in part to a partnership formed by Church of God Ministries (CGM) with those serving our Native American brothers and sisters. Continue reading

Chivalry Restored: California Church Gives Men a Second Chance

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Photo: August 2014 graduates of Joshua House proudly dressed for ceremony and celebration.

By Carl Stagner

Crossroads Community Church of God in Yuba City, California sees an often overlooked need in our culture today—ministry to men. Specifically, they’ve recognized a void in outreach efforts to men who have hit rock-bottom, given their lives over to drugs and alcohol, and have lost all hope for recovery. After just a few years in operation, Joshua House has celebrated men who have stepped up to the plate, broken free from addiction, acquired jobs, and reunited with their families. For these men, however, the road to recovery is not without its twists and turns. Continue reading