Watch out for those dogs!

I have been at Helping Up Mission since the end of 1998.  In 1999, I took the role of Spiritual Life Director and in that role took responsibility for overseeing all the Mission programs in 2003.  While I don’t mean to slight any other work I have done in the past, this has been the most meaningful thing I have done in my life. I really do love my job.

Tom Bond joined our 12-month residential Spiritual Recovery Program in 2002 and graduated in 2003.  While still a member of our Program, he began to help me “adjust” things around here.  Tom was a guy who knew how to get things done right and I knew I could trust him.  After graduation he didn’t have anything else better to do, so he stayed on as a graduate intern helping me “recreate” how we wanted all our programs to run.  Then he joined the Mission staff and ran the Program office.

A few years ago, Tom was promoted to Program Director and oversaw all the administration for every program we were running – six different programs at the time.  Then, last year, he assumed complete responsibility for every aspect of all our programs and all the Program staff.  While I continue to work closely with him every day, I now focus even more on teaching and other strategic Mission objectives.  Tom is doing a wonderful job!

As we continue to move ahead, we want Tom to also sign, along with Executive Director Bob Gehman and me, all the certificates and the graduate diplomas which the guys earn here.  Bob and I both have Bible verses with our signatures: Bob’s verse is 1 Chronicles 4:9-10 (Oh, that you would bless me and enlarge my territory! Let your hand be with me, and keep me from harm so that I will be free from pain NIV) and mine is Jeremiah 33:3 (Call to Me and I will answer you and tell you great and unsearchable things you do not know NIV). Tom likes to refer to Jeremiah 33:3 as God’s phone number. He has been thinking about what verse he wanted to use with his signature. 

This morning, we were texting about his verse and he said he likes Philippians 1:6 (being confident of this, that he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus), but that is one of our memory verses and he didn’t think that was very original.  He also likes Jeremiah 29:11 (For I know the plans I have for you, declares the LORD, plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to you a hope and a future NIV), but my verse is from Jeremiah and he thought he should find another one.  Tongue in cheek, he did suggest John 13:7 would fit (You do not realize now what I am doing, but later you will understand NIV), but we decided that probably wasn’t best!

Then he said he wanted his verse to be Philippians 2:3 (Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit, but in humility consider others better than yourselves NIV).  I read what he typed too quickly and thought it was 3:2 (Watch out for those dogs, those men who do evil, those mutilators of the flesh” NIV).  Well, it took a few more texts to get me on the right page, but I have it now.  This is a great verse which represents Tom’s prospective on life and what he wants to teach the men of Helping Up Mission to practice every day – but I still like that dog verse and will keep it in mind for the future!

One Day at a Time,
Pastor Gary Byers
Spiritual Life Director