The Next Generation
“You therefore, my son, be strong in the grace that is in Christ Jesus. The things which you have heard from me in the presence of many witnesses, entrust these to faithful men who will be able to teach others also.” 2 Timothy 2: 1-2
I can remember my first time walking into the sawmill here at Dunklin. My initial thoughts were, “They must be crazy. There is no way I am doing this for 10 months.” Everything in me began to think about ways to get out of this “dilemma” I currently found myself in. I can laugh at myself now as I recollect that day; it was the first day of an entirely new life. I didn’t recognize it at the time. I could barely get past the craving for a mood altering substance, a cigarette at the very least. I needed anything to help me elude this “bleak” circumstance. God’s perspective was much different; His thoughts were more along the lines of, “Here is my son, I have been waiting for him and pursuing him for years. Finally, I am going to have My way in him. All things are new for him from this point forward. He doesn’t realize it yet, but he will. I am going to do something powerful and miraculous in him. I am bringing this one back to life; I am setting him free. I know the plans I have for him. I have plans to prosper him and not to harm him, plans to give him a hope and a future.” (Jer 29:11)
This scripture eventually resonated within my heart as I went through the program in 1998. I was 29 years old and my life was an empty mess. I had lost all hope. The Lord began to gently whisper to me, “Nick, I have brought you here for a great purpose. I know the plans I have for you….. I have a hope and a future for you…..trust Me.” What I thought this meant and what it actually meant were two very different things. Thank the Lord! I would have settled for so much less if I would have done what I wanted to do. Fortunately, the Lord tells us in Isaiah 55:8-9 “For My thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways My ways. As the heavens are higher than the earth, so are My ways higher than your ways and My thoughts than your thoughts.” God has always had a bigger plan than I have ever been able to imagine. He tells us in Ephesians 3:20, “I can do immeasurably more than you can ask or imagine”. When I tried to wrap my mind around the future and the plan He had for me I anticipated the great American dream. That was prosperity, right? I was delusional. I would have sabotaged the whole plan had I been left to my own devices. Fortunately, His grace prevailed and for 17 years He has proven Himself to be faithful and merciful.
When I step back and look intently at what has transpired over the years it overwhelms me. I once thought that I would never meet a godly woman out here in the middle of a swamp. “How in the world is that going to happen?” He told me He would bring her to me. He did just that; I saw her in church here at Dunklin one Sunday morning and ran into her (actually followed her) in the cafeteria after the service. I introduced myself to her and 5 months later we were married. Since then, He has blessed us with two beautiful children and almost 13 years of wonderful memories. Needless to say, my life is Incomparable to anything else I could have put together. God literally made something beautiful from the ashes.
I believe He is still whispering the same things to us right now that He did to me when I first began this adventure. “I know the plans I have for you, plans to prosper you…plans to give you a hope and a future.” There are some things that will never change at Dunklin and I believe it is important to mention those as they determine who we are, which determines the path that we will continue on in the future.
Dunklin will always propagate the good news of Jesus Christ to drug addicts/alcoholics and their families. This is our main purpose and what God has called us to. There is nothing more powerful than to witness a man set free from the chains of addiction. Jesus Christ will always be the “Cornerstone” of this ministry. Paul says in I Corinthians 3:10-11, “By the grace God has given me, I laid a foundation as a wise builder, and someone else is building on it. But each one should build with care. For no one can lay any foundation other