New LTTL Group

We are delighted to announce that a new LTTL group is starting  October 11, 2017, from 7 – 8:30 pm at Coastal Christian Church in Ocean City, NJ. The church is located at 801 West Avenue, Ocean City, NJ, 08226.  The meeting will be held in the Coastal Life Center. For more information, please call 609-399-4747. We would appreciate prayer that many lives will be touched as a result of this new group.

If you are interested in starting a group in your location, please email us at lovethemtolife@gmail.com.

September Ministry Update

Surfing the wave of grace…

XL Project – Love Them To Life
Reaching Out to Those in Addiction and to Those Who Love Them

“Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves receive from God.” 2 Corinthians 1:3-4

The God of all comfort – what an amazing reality that the God who holds the universe together cares about the things that hurt us! He is not far off but is intimately involved in every facet of our lives. Even when He allows suffering to touch us, it is never to harm us but to help us grow. Joe and I are certainly walking through difficult times with his worsening health issues, and yet Father comforts and sustains us. He continues to allow us to reach out to those in addiction and to those who love them.

We had a wonderful opportunity to share our ministry on radio in July as we were interviewed by Deb Moore for her program on LiftFM and then on WYRS with Bob Wick. (See the blog post below.) As a result of the interview with Deb Moore, we found out that a large church in Cape May Courthouse is using our book Beside Still Waters in their support group meeting for parents with children in addiction.

Joe was invited to give his testimony at the Wildwood Boardwalk Chapel on August 23rd. He has a long history with the Boardwalk Chapel, as at age 9, he used to try to sell newspapers to the pastor. What he didn’t know then was that the pastor was the father of our friend and president of America’s Keswick, Bill Welte. Joe spent many of the darkest years of his addiction in Wildwood, so going back there to speak and share the hope of Jesus Christ was truly full circle for him. He gave his testimony at the Hymn Sing at Keswick on Sept 7th and then spoke at the Men’s Breakfast at Bayside Chapel in Barnegat, NJ, on Sept 9th. His topic there was “Suffering: Just Another Opportunity to Trust God.” He will also speaking at Bethesda Mission in Harrisburg on Sept 14th. We have been invited to speak at our first supporting church, West Davenport Free Baptist Church in Oneonta, NY, on October 1st – we always love getting together with the wonderful people of that church located in such a beautiful setting.

Joe and Pastor Jim Zozzaro at the Wildwood Boardwalk Chapel


Love Them To Life is continuing to grow. There are currently 8 groups that are either LTTL groups or are using the book in their own support meetings. There is another large church in South Jersey that is going through the final permissions to start a group – that should be off the ground by the end of Sept or early October. Earlier this summer all the leaders of the LTTL groups met through a phone conference and talked about ideas for the ministry and the challenges they face as leaders. It was a wonderful time as sisters in Christ who are dedicated to reaching out to other mothers in crisis.

It is so important for ministries to be very transparent about their finances and the way donations are used. We hear stories of various charities that do little more than enrich the pockets of their leaders. We want to make it clear that all money donated to XL Project/ Love Them To Life goes directly to the ministry. Neither Joe nor I take a salary from the ministry at this point. The money is used to help with ministry expenses, travel, and providing books to mothers who do not have the resources to be able to buy one. We have a godly board of directors who give of their time to provide oversight and encouragement to us as we “reach out to those in addiction and to those who love them.” All donations are tax-deductible.

If Father lays it on your heart to assist us in the battle against addiction, donations can be made in several ways:

1. By Check – 31A Yorktowne Pkwy, Whiting, NJ 08759. It should be made out to XL Project.

2. Electronic giving through PayPal  is this site’s Donate page here.

One way that you can help us is to “like” us on Facebook and share us with your friends. We have an XL Project page and a Love Them To Life page. Sharing us with your friends is a great way to get the word out that there is help and hope for those in addiction and for those who love them.

“Hopecasting” in the Midst of Crisis


This is an interesting article profiling a program located in New Hampshire for women who are in addiction. – Cherri

“Hopecasting” in the Midst of Crisis: Christians Take on the Scourge of Opioids

ERIC METAXAS with Stan Guthrie

No matter the crisis, when Christians take the love of Jesus to the hurting and suffering, hope and transformation are sure to follow.

In his new book “A Practical Guide to Culture,” my colleague John Stonestreet ends several chapters with what he and co-author Brett Kunkle call “hopecasting,”—a reminder that no matter what the issue or crisis, “God’s story continues to play out all around us.”

And when it comes to the nation’s growing opioid crisis, we could use a lot of hopecasting.

We’ve talked about this before on BreakPoint: The federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention calculates that an average of 78 people die of an opiate overdose every day in the United States. Annually, opiate overdoses kill more than 28,000 people, with heroin taking the lives of more than 10,500 of them. More than 20 million Americans have some kind of substance-abuse problem, but just 10 percent are receiving any treatment.
And as John has said, the problem isn’t primarily chemical, in the composition of the drugs themselves. It’s a manifestation of a “terrible hopelessness settling over a large part of America.”

So what can we do about it … and begin to restore hope? Well, rather than tell you, I’d like to show you.

In its annual “Hope Awards” issue, WORLD magazine has provided some great examples of what Christians are doing in their communities to provide hope in Jesus Christ—to help “those who labor and are heavy laden” to find “rest for their souls.”

Exhibit A can be found at the New Life Home. For the last four decades, this Christian residential program in Manchester, New Hampshire, supported by 50 churches, has offered primarily opioid-addicted women an 18- to 24-month recovery program. And it has an amazing 89 percent graduation rate.

Clients don’t have to be Christians—and often aren’t—but they are asked whether they’re open to God working in their lives, and they agree to go to church every week. At New Life they acquire life skills, learn about the Bible, study for their GED or a college degree, and help out with assigned chores.

Here’s something else that’s different at New Life—the women are allowed to bring their children to live with them. Today 15 women and 20 children live at this warm and welcoming home.

Here’s a vignette about one resident, named Rachel, from WORLD reporter Emily Belz: “Rachel, who escaped a violent gang situation and has been in the program for 22 months, now has her three children with her. Rachel’s parents found her living homeless on the street and pushed her to enter New Life and be a mom again—at that point she hadn’t seen her kids in 18 months. ‘God gave [my kids] to me for a reason, and He knew everything that was going to happen,’ Rachel said. ‘I need to restore my life with my kids, that’s why I’m here. I’m not here just for myself.’”

Another resident, Shauna, was sexually assaulted as a teenager, and then again while serving in the military. In the aftermath, she became hooked on opioids and alcohol and lost custody of her 2-year-old, who was scheduled for adoption. But Shauna entered the New Life program and experienced a 180. After seeing Shauna’s turnaround at New Life, the Massachusetts Department of Children and Families reversed its adoption decision and recommended reunification. And she’s now living with her son.

So what’s the cure for hopelessness? Only Jesus Christ and His love, carefully and consistently applied by His people into the lives of those who so desperately need it—maybe even somebody you know.

So hats off to the New Life Home in Manchester, and hats off to WORLD Magazine for the 2017 Hope Awards. Come to BreakPoint.org, click on this commentary, and we’ll link you to these inspiring stories and the other nominees for the WORLD Hope Awards.
reposted from BreakPoint Daily, July 13, 2017

Freedom From Addiction (Part 4)

Freedom From Addiction, Part 4
By John Woodward

~~~~~~~~

In the journey to freedom from addiction, we have looked at the adequacy of knowing Christ as our LIFE. Since He is the true Vine, and we are the branches (John 15:5), we can look to Him for the strength and virtue that is necessary for all of life’s demands–including freedom from a stubborn habit. We have also seen the strategic value of other biblical principles in the process of appropriating God’s power for specific habitual struggles. These freedom principles include:

1. The Importance of a DEFINITE DECISION

2. An ACCOUNTABILITY RELATIONSHIP.

3. The value of UNCONDITIONAL LOVE

4. A BALANCED VIEW of YOURSELF (as a person)

And now we consider:

5. The PAINFUL CONSEQUENCES of the behavior.

An alcoholic who came in for counseling was asked, “What has drinking cost you?” He replied, “It has cost me everything!” and then went on to list the financial loss, broken relationships, and inner conflicts that were left in the wake of this addiction. Sometimes the severity of the consequences is not obvious to the one in bondage, but it is definitely obvious to those around him/her. As the saying goes, “No man is an island.” The quotation from Romans 14:7 fits here also: “For none of us lives to himself, and no one dies to himself.”

This factor was important for Jack, who severely harmed his family through an addiction to pornography. Through God’s power and grace, he has been restored and they allowed his wife to put their story (and God’s remedy) in print. He confesses, “My wife has been writing this book for over two years now … She has suffered more than I’ll ever understand. I pray that God will show me the suffering and pain she and the children have endured. It’s essential to have a strong idea of what your family has gone through in order for the addict to take responsibility, start giving back, and start healing. My wife and children have shed many, many tears over this addiction … Just as Nehemiah and the children of Israel needed to see the damage to Jerusalem before they could start to rebuild the wall, when I began to see how hurtful I’d been to everyone, the healing began to take place. The Lord gave me courage to go through this difficult process … “[1]

After being sensitized to this, we should resolve to “not put a stumbling block or a cause to fall in our brother’s way” (Rom 14:13). When we avail ourselves of freedom in Christ, we become available for His divine purposes in the lives of others: “In a great house there are not only vessels of gold and silver, but also of wood and clay, some for honor and some for dishonor. Therefore if anyone cleanses himself from the latter, he will be a vessel for honor, sanctified and useful for the Master, prepared for every good work” (2 Tim 2:20-21). This equips us to love our neighbor as we love ourselves.

Freedom principle 6: CLAIMING GOD’S PROMISES

Imagine God’s will as a beautiful, framed picture. When you get a framed picture and want to put it on the wall, you choose the right spot and put a nail there to hang it on. Now consider God’s promises as NAILS to HANG YOUR FAITH upon. “The words of the wise are like goads, and the words of scholars are like well-driven nails, given by one Shepherd” (Eccles 12:11).

The apostle Peter affirmed the importance of God’s promises: “His divine power has given to us all things that pertain to life and godliness, through the knowledge of Him who called us by glory and virtue, by which have been given to us exceedingly great and PRECIOUS PROMISES, that through these you may be partakers of the divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world through lust” (2 Pet 1:3-4).

How about doing a Bible study and recording the promises of God that are most relevant to your situation? Here’s a head start: Phil 4:13,19; 1 Cor 10:13; and John 8:32.

Freedom Principle 7: The wisdom of REPLACEMENT

If we remove a negative behavior without replacing it with a positive one, we remain unnecessarily vulnerable to trip up again. The Lord Jesus illustrated this concept when He taught about exorcising a demon: “When an unclean spirit goes out of a man, he goes through dry places, seeking rest, and finds none. Then he says, ‘I will return to my house from which I came.’ And when he comes, he finds it empty, swept, and put in order. Then he goes and takes with him seven other spirits more wicked than himself, and they enter and dwell there; and the last state of that man is worse than the first” (Matt 12:43-45). An unsaved man–even if freed of a demon–needs to be saved and filled with the Holy Spirit (Eph 1:13; 5:18). Even in the Christian life, reforming the flesh will never change a person’s heart. When God takes His rightful place of preeminence there, He will change the believer from the inside out (2 Cor 3:17-18).

Scientists tell us that “nature abhors a vacuum”; likewise we are not only to “put off” the negative, but to “put on” the positive (Col 3:8,12).

For example, instead of unlimited eating, enjoy planned, tasty, balanced meals.

Instead of drinking alcohol, choose delicious unfermented beverages.

Instead of smoking, buy special gifts with the money saved.

Instead of watching seductive TV, read a good biography or novel.

Instead of listening to music that is addictive and sensual, listen to music that is uplifting and faith-inspiring.

Instead of immoral internet surfing, use a filtered access and explore educational CDs.

Missionary and author E. Stanley Jones prescribed an imtimate relationship with God as the secret to overcoming negative coping patterns. He called this “the expulsive power of a higher affection.” How can you most easily remove a dangerous item from a toddler grip? Offer the little one something that looks better! “Delight yourself also in the LORD and He shall give you the desires of your heart.”

Freedom Principle 8: SCRIPTURE MEMORY

Spiritual disciplines won’t achieve freedom if cranked out as a form of self righteousness, but when we discover the power of abiding in Christ and claim our victory in Him, the disciplines fortify His righteousness in our character. The Psalmist testified, “How can a young man cleanse his way? By taking heed according to Your word. Your word I have hidden in my heart, That I might not sin against You” (Ps 119:9-11).

Remember the value of God’s promises? How about memorizing them? When you have God’s Word in your heart, it is available for the Holy Spirit to use to protect you from the Enemy and from thoughts that trigger temptation. Notice Christ’s skillful use of memorized Scripture in resisting Satan! (Matt 4:4-10). Likewise, when tested, we are to wield the “Sword of the Spirit which is the Word of God” (Eph 6:17).

A major issue in the freedom process is the tearing down of strongholds (2 Cor 10:3-5). Since this is such a big topic, it would be worth studying in a separate series of articles.[2]

There is so much more that can be written about this topic, but I pray God will bless these principles to maximize your experience of freedom spiritually, psychologically, and physically. “Now may the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, that you may abound in hope by the power of the Holy Spirit” (Rom 15:13).

Freedom From Addiction (Part 3)

Freedom From Addiction, Part 3
By John Woodward

When we lived in Pennsylvania, USA, our first apartment was on a rural road. One winter’s day we needed to drive to another state, but it had snowed the night before. A blanket of snow more than a deep covered the ground everywhere. Our car then was a Ford sedan that didn’t have much ground clearance. We made our way to the car and started our trip. After turning out of the driveway onto the road (which had not been plowed) we only drove about one block and got stuck in the snow! How frustrating. It took extra traction and strategy to get unstuck and make our way to the cleared roads and finally to our destination.

We have been comparing addiction to being “stuck.” The power to pull out of the “ditch” of sinful, compulsive thoughts and behavior is the indwelling power of the resurrected Christ! We gained this favored status when we received Christ as our personal Savior by grace through faith. As Romans 5:10 says, “For if when we were enemies we were reconciled to God through the death of His Son [salvation], much more, having been reconciled, we shall be saved by His life” [liberation].

Yet this power seems to have been appropriated by some believers who have continued to struggle with besetting sin–addictive behavior. We have used the concept of putting “traction” under the wheels of a stuck vehicle to illustrate the validity of biblical principles that relate to gaining freedom from bad habits.

These principles are “planks” that facilitate us with needed “traction” to get out of any “ditch” of bondage: We have noted so far:

1. The Importance of a DEFINITE DECISION

2. An ACCOUNTABILITY RELATIONSHIP

Now the next Freedom Principle:

3. The Value of UNCONDITIONAL LOVE

Sometimes the Enemy discourages us by attacking our perception of God’s love. We think we have to get free to qualify for receiving real love. This yanks us back to a works mentality. Feelings of guilt (usually inflamed by “the accuser of the brethren” [Rev.12:11]) deflate our awareness of God’s compassion for us.

Yet God does love you! Consider these quotations from the Word:

“The LORD has appeared of old to me, saying: ‘Yes, I have loved you with an everlasting love; Therefore with lovingkindness I have drawn you'” (Jer 31:3). “He who did not spare His own Son, but delivered Him up for us all, how shall He not with Him also freely give us all things? Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword? Yet in all these things we are more than conquerors through Him who loved us. For I am persuaded that neither death nor life, nor angels nor principalities nor powers, nor things present nor things to come, nor height nor depth, nor any other created thing, shall be able to separate us from the love of God which is in Christ Jesus our Lord” (Rom. 8:32-33,35,37-39).

Why is this appreciation of God’s love for you so strategic to living free? We are made in God’s image; we are designed as relational beings. Divine love calls forth from us a response of grateful love. As Paul wrote in Romans 2:4, “Do you despise the riches of His goodness, forbearance, and longsuffering, not knowing that the goodness of God leads you to repentance?”

Picture the love of God as illustrated in the joyful, eager, loving response of the father in the parable of the Prodigal Son (Luke 15). You recall how the son got fed up with wishing for pig’s food. He realized then that he preferred fellowship in his father’s house to wasting away in the world. This led him back home. He didn’t have to settle for servanthood at home; the father lavished him with the gracious blessing of family status (see Eph. 1:3; 1 John 3:1,2). When we focus on the limitless ocean of God’s love for us, it gives new motivation to chose His best for our lives. The next Freedom Principle is…

4. A BALANCED VIEW OF YOURSELF

Although this concept is often exaggerated and misunderstood, we need to place value on ourselves as well. The familiar “second greatest commandment” reads, “You shall love your neighbor as yourself” (Matt. 22:39). Granted, loving ourselves is not a command; it is an assumed healthy concern.

But consider this: if you think you are worthless, how can you adequately respond to the basic motivations of life … such as fear of personal loss and desire for personal gain? Take salvation, for example. The appeal to be reconciled to God assumes that the sinner cares enough about himself to desire avoidance from hell (fear of loss) and prefer the eternal benefits of heaven (desire for gain). Likewise, you have to care enough about yourself as a person to think your life’s potential really matters; it really is a tragic loss if you stay stuck in a rut. It really does matter that you gain freedom, because there are positive benefits to you, the Lord’s kingdom, and others in your life. As the Scripture says, “For none of us lives to himself, and no one dies to himself. For if we live, we live to the Lord; and if we die, we die to the Lord. Therefore, whether we live or die, we are the Lord’s” (Rom. 14:7,8).[1]

If you rationalize your lack of freedom with a “Who cares? / My life doesn’t matter” attitude, then you are being duped by the Enemy. Your Savior says, “Are not two sparrows sold for a copper coin? And not one of them falls to the ground apart from your Father’s will. But the very hairs of your head are all numbered. Do not fear therefore; you are of more value than many sparrows” (Matt. 10:29-31).

We don’t feel worthy of such love because it is undeserved. God loves us by His sovereign grace. Because He cared enough about us to create us and redeem us through the infinite value of the blood of His Son, we must value ourselves as well (1 Pet. 1:18,19). Your creation and redemption is God’s gift to you; what you allow God to do with your life is your gift to Him.[2]

As we appropriate the freedom that is ours, we do ourselves a huge favor!

“Delight yourself also in the LORD,
And He shall give you the desires of your heart”;
“For the LORD God is a sun and shield;
The LORD will give grace and glory;
No good thing will He withhold
From those who walk uprightly” (Psalm 37:4; 84:11).

Forget about the TV hype, “Who wants to be a millionaire?” A better offer is, “Who wants God’s best for his/her life?” That isn’t just a matter of chance; it is a matter of faith and freedom.