I met Brian Seeley of Gospel Inc. in September 2016 at Grace City Church where I had been attending since March. I came to Grace City with my wife in a difficult season. We were searching for rest in the midst of a difficult engagement and the sudden loss of my then fiancee’s father. We came broken, looking for grace, community, answers, friends…trying to find the Jesus we felt we were drifting away from. At the time, I didn’t realize how much was going to change for me from that introduction- looking back, I can see how badly I needed it.
Grace City teamed up with Gospel Inc. to help with their Monday night Bible study on The Person of Jesus (Paul Miller) and build relationship with the men coming through the halfway house. Brian and I began chatting about Gospel Inc., the work he is doing at the halfway house and with the homeless community here in Lakeland. As Brian filled me in on the heart and vision of the ministry, I was getting more excited to join in on what Jesus was doing through Gospel Inc. in the lives of these men.
The next Monday I joined several guys from Grace City and met 5 men living at the halfway house to talk about Jesus. Some of these men came from prison, some from local homeless ministries, some straight out of rehab. My first thoughts were, in a pompous, prideful tone, “this is a different crowd than the guys I’m used to running with.” A lot of these men have damaged the relationships they care most about because of their addiction, the secrecy, the lies and the betrayal that often come with it. Some of these men think they know who Jesus is, some of them are confused and offended by who He claims to be, but on Monday night we all came searching to understand more. I came that Monday thinking I had something to offer these men who had given up everything for addiction.
On the Mondays that followed, as we began to dive into the study on how Jesus lived, my heart began to feel compassion and I was able to relate to the very same men I so easily judged. We learned of Jesus’ heartfelt care, His honesty, His sacrifice, and ultimately His glory. Our stories, common struggles, and similar pain began to unite us more every week. After a short time, I looked forward to joining these guys on Monday nights and related to everything they feel and are tempted by in my own life. Where I might turn to money, pride, judgment or consumerism in my brokenness, these guys turn to drugs and alcohol. We’re walking together side-by-side working through the grief of loss and confusion of hurt. Together we’re learning to trust Jesus and live more like the God the Scriptures reveal, while we look for hope and the peace that Jesus promises in our circumstances.
I haven’t missed a Monday night since I met Brian in September. These relationships have taught me the value of living in authenticity and admitting and embracing my brokenness while boldly claiming God’s grace over my life. It’s been invaluable to learn more about Jesus and walk through life with guys who don’t have anything to prove to anyone. It has freed me to admit my failures and seek to understand others’ mistakes. Over the last 8 months, I’ve learned that we all come broken and looking for grace, community, answers, friends…trying to find the Jesus we feel we are drifting away from.
If you’re broken like us and looking for Jesus, we would love to have you join us on Monday nights here in Lakeland. Contact Gospel Inc for more details.