I was at the St, Croix Falls Middle School last Wednesday as part of the “Technology and Drug/Alcohol Awareness event where only about 130 students were and, and much less than that toward the final session. I then went to Eau Claire this weekend to do 2-day training on working with addicts and ex-convicts to a ministry called 513 Free. 513 Free is a ministry band that plays shows in jails and prisons. They have other ministries they do within that heading, including Tandem (where they hook mentors up with troubled youth), Re:Entry (where they have a transitional place for inmates coming out of jail/prison and setting them up with mentors), and the Pen Project (a magazine mostly written by inmates and put together in part by inmates).

Over 30 people came to the 2-day training. 30 people who have a sincere desire to either work together to help people that fit into these categories, or a desire to see where they might fit in and possibly be a doer rather than a sideliner or complainer. It was a beautiful weekend and there could have been many other things they could have been doing those 2 days, but they chose to be inside learning about how to help others. What were you doing this weekend? Who was on your mind this weekend: self or others?

Ya see, if you haven’t noticed, we have a slight problem in all our communities. Outside ALL of the other problems, we have a drug/alcohol problem that is killing many, putting many behind bars and affecting relationships, crime and taxes. We have ignored it for so long that it is now out of control, but yet we sit back and do nothing but TALK about the problem and Complain about the problem, and BLAME everyone else but ourselves for not getting it solved!!

When I speak at schools I typically start out by having all the students stand up. I then ask 3 questions, that, if they apply to them they must sit down. The questions are this: “Do any of you have a close family member, extended family member or close friend who has committed suicide? Do any of you have a close family member, extended family member or close friend who is an addict? Do any of you have a close family member, extended family member or close friend who is or was in jail/prison, or on probation/parole? It is pathetic that typically all but around a dozen students are still standing just with these 3 questions in EVERY school I have ever been at.

“But it’s not my problem,” many have said and continue to say. IT IS ALL OF OUR PROBLEMS! It is in every community whether large or small, it is somehow affected ALL our families, and if it hasn’t yet, just give it time. Yet we live our lives selfishly and expect others to be responsible for “fixing” this problem. It’s easy to ignore until it enters your own home or neighborhood, then you are suddenly in emergency mode wondering how this could have happened. Wanna know how it happened, go look in the mirror.

I heard a saying that goes: “I always wondered why somebody didn’t do something about that, then I realized I am somebody.” There is much more I could say about this, but we as a community, and especially the Church, need to start stepping up. I end as I began: “If you’re not part of the solution, then your part of the problem.

Brian Cole: From Satanist To Pastor

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