It’s time for a sincere, and I hope encouraging, update from my heart to yours. Thank you for caring enough to stay current with us and for your interest in our thriving ministry to men who struggle with addiction. Our power is the Holy Spirit, our tool is the Word of God, and your prayers and gifts are our strengthening in this task.
“Therefore, we are ambassadors for Christ, God making his appeal through us.”
– 2 Corinthians 5:20
I find such joy each weekend preaching the Scriptures to a small group of humbled, hungry hearts. The needs are great with the number of men in our care nearly triple from a year ago. Our new ministry center, opened and dedicated to the Lord since I Iast wrote to you, has become a place for our men to meet and for our ministry to be headquartered.
All who come our way are welcome, and we’ve even begun to host meetings of reconciliation with tender hearts from our former church.1 Every day is filled with message preparation, counseling and listening to these men and their profound stories of struggle to find hope in the midst of heartache – learning firsthand how alcohol or some debilitating drug can take a defeated man, beat down in this world, from bad to worse so quickly.
I am finding incredible joy in offering “a cup of cold water” in Jesus’ name (Matthew 10:42) – and grateful to say I am not doing it alone.
Our small team now serves from our new headquarters at Rock Bottom, where our first and largest Act Like Men sobriety house is located. Our Saturday night ‘church’ happens here for those who gather, then the recorded messages are to sent each week to our friends around the world. Join us – details here for our Saturday night services and Weekly Teaching.
Take a few minutes to be impacted by the two testimonies below. Bobby and Chuck, my ministry partners, have personally walked the road from prison to Christ, to lasting sobriety – long before I was blessed to call them brothers.
We continue to use our annual ride to Sturgis to minister to those we meet, deepen our relationships as a team, and prepare for the new ministry season as summer comes to a close.
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I praise the Lord for the joy I have found in brotherhood with Chuck, Bobby and the men from our Saturday night studies. (If you missed my newer teaching on brotherhood, catch that here.)
1 Peter 2:17 says, incredibly, “Love the brotherhood.” That is not ‘love your brother’ (which is many places in the Bible) but rather, ‘love the thing men are supposed to have between them’.
For lack of a better term, I call that kind of brotherhood ‘our thing.’ Do most Christian men you know have that ‘thing’ with other believing men? Too often, evangelical men turn on one another in a veiled selfishness that falsely claims to be in service to God. The current degree to which women are demanding roles traditionally held by men – fatherhood, elder, even manhood itself – is troubling.
Real brotherhood means lasting loyalty that sacrifices self for a brother’s needs – expressing agapē, ‘you before me’ love.
Men must step up and be men again – God’s men. We must regain a devotion to truth telling with one another in the context of loyal loving brotherhood that perseveres through inevitable storms. Our continuance in forgiveness and love is the key to sustained brotherhood and the life-giving connections Christian men struggle to find, but desperately need. Unless men find ways to stand together, they will continue to lose ground to women who want to be men.
Proverbs 17:17 says, “A friend loves at all times, and a brother is born for adversity.” But having walked the road of immense disappointment of brother betrayal, I have purposed afresh to “act like men” (1 Corinthians 16:13) and “Love the brotherhood.”
If your experience is anything like mine, you too have seen or felt the impact when Christian men bail on each other in the toughest of times – no doubt, I have failed in that too. But God’s grace allows all of us to begin again, and I praise God for my healing thus far in this wonderful new ministry to men. So much so, we have begun referring to JMM as “Act Like Men Ministries.”
Yes, we welcome your help! We bought these sobriety homes with our own resources, and Kathy and I are not compensated beyond medical coverage. While the men in residence cover the cost of their beds, our desire is to stand in this post-rehab support gap where so many men fail, lose their families, and return to their addiction.
Our goal is to revolutionize what happens at a sobriety house.
In previous mailings I’ve explained that too often ‘sober homes’ become dens of addiction, not the safe spaces they are supposed to be. Our determination to set a higher standard and really care for these men has caught the attention of local counties, who now seek us to fill every bed we can provide. Kane County Judges, and other administrative staff, recently toured our facility and were blown away by the sanctuaries we have created.2
Men getting free from addiction need to fill their time productively upon returning from work each day to one of our Act Like Men houses. To that end, we are setting up a woodshop and workout space for them at Rock Bottom. I donated the wood-working tools from my personal shop and gifted leaders on our team are preparing to engage our resident men in gardening, fitness (donations of gym equipment appreciated), and beautiful woodworking projects.
A generous financial gift at this time will allow us to complete the electrical and other build out of the woodshop.
I am grateful, as always, to our family of Change Partners, whose monthly gifts support the cost of our staff. Any gift you can send toward our ministry expansion will help us greatly in standing for and with these men as we help them find lasting freedom in Christ.
Thank you in advance for your friendship and faithfulness to the Lord’s work through this ministry.
Warmly in Christ,
Dr. James MacDonald
1 Our two defamation lawsuits have begun some settlement discussions. Please pray for our wisdom in choosing between substantial financial settlement in our favor and defendant demands to admit no wrongdoing and muzzle my exposing their lies. I am committing not to expose identities or specifics, but must be free to prove what is true when the defamation lawsuits are finally concluded. Please also pray for reconciliation with former HBF pastors, whom I love and long for but remain estranged from.
2 Special thanks to Nancy Shepherd and Annette, our partners at Love Thy Neighbor, who lavishly furnish these homes to the point where men, often coming from prison, upon entering for the first time have broken down in tears of disbelief at what we offer them in Jesus’ name.