Extending God’s kingdom
By Paul Chisholm, Cadet –
Jesus still performs miracles every day. If you need proof, just look at me and others like me who have graduated from an Adult Rehabilitation Center (ARC). I am a proud graduate of the Canoga Park ARC and an example of what God does through Salvation Army ministries.
Years back I was a slave to not only drugs and alcohol, but also to the lifestyle that comes with it and I couldn’t fathom ever escaping my addiction. After having a couple years of sobriety, I had relapsed and honestly had given up on the thought of ever being able to get clean and sober again. During this time, my daughter was born. Just after she turned two months old, the Department of Children and Family Services came and took custody of her. They told me that given my past criminal and drug record, they didn’t see me ever being able to get her back. I was told I had until she turned a year old to get my life together and prove to them I was capable of being a father or she would be adopted.
This was God telling me it was time for a change.
I entered the ARC and, having had sobriety before, I knew I needed something bigger than an abstract “higher power.” I needed Jesus! While there, I heard a message that God uses broken people to do great things. It hit me like a ton of bricks: I was a broken person, but God could still use me to do great things. I accepted Jesus Christ as my Lord and Savior and have never been the same since.
I started to pray and read my Bible, and God opened my eyes to the life-altering message of the gospel. Soon after that, an adherent class opened, and I joined it. It was taught by Envoy Jerry Bloom, who led the Santa Clarita Valley Corps. During the process of this class, God put it on my heart that he was calling me into ministry. Envoy Bloom saw my heart for God, my love for people and started to disciple me.
God started doing many miracles in my life and I tried to be obedient and faithful to him. I graduated from the ARC program and became gainfully employed. God blessed me with two jobs and I was able to pay off my debts to the IRS, my student loans, banks and even the courts. But, most importantly, I gained custody of my daughter. God gave me the blessing and the opportunity to be a single father. The Lord guided and comforted me through each season in my life, each court appearance, each day that I thought it was going to be too much to handle.
I’ve learned whenever I’m scared, lost or confused the Lord is right there with me. I am learning that God has given me talents and skills that I had once used for evil in my addiction, but now he is refining and using them to further his kingdom for good.
We are all miracles here on stage today. The real miracle is in the heart transformation that occurs when living in and abiding with Jesus. Jesus is after the heart of us all. He not only wants to heal our physical conditions, but he wants to heal our heart condition. Jesus calls us to be disciples, followers of him. In following him, he brings the kingdom to us. It starts in our hearts, with love for Jesus and is spread to the rest of the world.
Luke 9:2 reads “and he sent them out to proclaim the kingdom of God and to heal the sick.” That’s what God is calling all of us to be, disciples, spreading his kingdom and healing the sick. As part of the Messengers of the Kingdom, my session mates and I will do our part in participating with God in extending his kingdom.