Faith Matters: Grace Works helps addicts transform behaviors

By Terry Robinson

Advocate staff writer

Billy King
Billy King

The Transformed by Grace program seeks to help those who have fallen victim to drug addiction and other destructive behaviors.

“We don’t win them all by any means ... but we keep trying,” leader Billy King said of the faith-based support group which meets at 6:30 p.m. each Monday at Grace Works Church, 16131 La. 44, Prairieville.

King, an elder at the church, said the one-hour meeting consists of prayer, Bible study and discussion. He said the group draws anywhere from five to 22 people, many of them from the Home of Grace addiction recovery facility in Mississippi.

“They come out of there and they have a hard time getting adjusted again,” King said. “They need some kind of an outlet, getting advice from people who have already made it.”

It’s important for the attendees to continue to keep the right company and gain encouragement from others, he said.

Buddy King, no relation to Billy King, tries to be one of those voices of encouragement. He started attending the program not because of an addiction of his own but because of the addiction of a grandson.

“I started going to the meetings to learn what I could do to help him,” Buddy King said. “I figured I could go and maybe could do something for somebody else’s son or grandson.”

Both men said the soundest advice they could offer is getting a relationship with God.

“The ones who attend the meetings and go to church on a regular basis seem to do better,” Buddy King said.

Billy King said he knows from the experience of a 25-year drug addiction how essential it is to “turn it all over to God.”

“I was saved as a young man and then got into this mess at 25 (years old),” he said. “Once I got hooked, I just couldn’t shake it.”

But God did, he said.

“One night I was coming home from a party,” Billy King said. “I said, “God, I need your help … and I saw this crooked looking smile on his face and he said, ‘This is all I’ve been waiting for.’ He took the drugs. He just took everything away from me.”

Billy King, 71, said he’s been clean 23 years.

“I had a lot of people praying for me. People stayed after me and stayed after me,” he said.

Buddy King said anyone is invited to the confidential meeting that provides support for a variety of circumstances. A meal is served at 6 p.m.

“The other night a lady came through who wasn’t really an addict,” he said. “She was just having family problems. We spent almost the whole meeting just talking to her, trying to help her get through the problems she was having.”

Sometimes the struggles go beyond the meeting room. And Billy King makes himself available for calls.

“I can’t do anything,” he said. “God does it all. But maybe I can be there to help.”

For more information Transformed by Grace, call (225) 622-7805 .

Hope revival

The Hope Christian Center revival will feature five speakers in five days — and a meal each day.

“We’re going to feed you spiritually and we’re going to feed you physically,” said the Rev. Henry Martin, pastor of Hope Christian, 5013 Windfall Court in Baton Rouge.

The noon revival services begin on Monday with Bishop Ivory Payne, of Baton Rouge, followed on Tuesday by the Rev. Ernest Jenkins, of Baton Rouge, on Wednesday with Bishop Printos Taylor, of Los Angeles, on Thursday with the Rev. Leo Le Fleur, of Las Vegas, and on Friday with Bishop Jackie Roberts, of Chicago.

The revival will include guest musicians and lunch after the services, said Martin, 72.

“We’re hopeful that people will come, gain knowledge, hope and be revived,” he said.

For more information, call Martin at (225) 355-8194.

‘Killing the Church’

Confrontation is actually healthy for a church, says the author of “Killing the Church: The Failure to Confront (WestBow Press).”

Jeff Parker, a graduate of the New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary and a resident of Brandon, Miss., said failure to confront sin with biblical truth will eventually kill a church.

“If there is any responsibility of the church, it is to confront people ... The cost of confrontation and correction may threaten the survival of some churches, and yet failure to do so may undermine the very reason for which they exist: the Great Commission,” Parker writes.

“Some leaders are already recognizing that the confrontation may be the hardest battle waged in Christendom since the (R)eformation. Churches and perhaps even denominations may cease to exist. Why? Because many individuals will not respond in a positive way to confrontation, let alone correction.”

Parker said pastors should be more confrontational leaders but many reject that responsibility because of fear losing members or other factors.

“Though (pastors) are called by God to be voices of truth, they instead get caught up in recognition, doting over denominational notice,” he writes. “It is critical to the health of a church that the pastor, above all others, recognizes the damage of willful, defiant disobedience by members who chose to live their rebellion in the public arena.”

In the 179-page paperback, Parker details the cost of confrontation to the person and the church. He also cites several examples of leaders in the Bible who had to confront others, from Nathan the prophet to Jesus. “Jesus taught his disciples by example that nothing involving people — not even the church — could be effective if there was no accountability, discipline, and confrontation,” Parker writes.

Among the books’ 20 chapters are “Confrontation and Criticism,” “Confrontation Must Be Seasoned With Grace,” “A Barrier to Confrontation: The Church Hop,” “Preaching That Confronts,” “The Confrontational Nature of Worship” and “Warnings Before You Start.”

Faith Matters runs every other Saturday in The Advocate. Terry Robinson can be reached at (225) 388-0238 or email trobinson@theadvocate.com