It’s been 5 years since I began my relationship with FOCAS Ministries/The Lord’s Gym and I can say without a doubt, my life has been radically impacted and changed in the best way possible. Before joining the team, I had begun ministry in the late 90’s as an Elder at my home church, New Hope Christian Center and would later become an assistant Pastor in 2008. This being said, I had no idea of how much my faith would develop through the pain and suffering of the people this ministry is called to serve. Of all the vices that trap the hearts and minds of the men and women we minister to, substance abuse has been the most prevalent foe. There are many forms of addiction gripping the precious souls that break the threshold of our doors daily whether it be for a plate of food, a listening ear, a shoulder to cry on or to get a membership to the gym and to sit in on a devotional. Whatever the reason, this is where the in-between for many begins.
Time and time again, I’ve heard these words from the people we love on, “this place is a refuge”. The Covington Lord’s Gym has become inadvertently an intervention (in between) for those struggling with heroin addiction. There are no easy fixes for this deadly drug but there is hope beyond the addiction at the Lords Gym. Often men come in with desperation in their eyes and a longing to be free from the mental anguish that accompanies the physical debilitating grip of the drug. I’ve seen hopelessness crushed at the door of the gym by the presence of God demonstrated through the men who work and volunteer at the Lord’s Gym. It takes a willing heart, patience, and most of all love to take the journey with broken men daily. It is fitting that a passage from God’s word be considered.
1 Corinthians 13New King James Version (NKJV)
The Greatest Gift
13 Though I speak with the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I have become sounding brass or a clanging cymbal. 2 And though I have the gift of prophecy, and understand all mysteries and all knowledge, and though I have all faith, so that I could remove mountains, but have not love, I am nothing. 3 And though I bestow all my goods to feed the poor, and though I give my body to be burned, but have not love, it profits me nothing.
4 Love suffers long and is kind; love does not envy; love does not parade itself, is not puffed up; 5 does not behave rudely, does not seek its own, is not provoked, thinks no evil; 6 does not rejoice in iniquity, but rejoices in the truth; 7 bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.
8 Love never fails. But whether there are prophecies, they will fail; whether there are tongues, they will cease; whether there is knowledge, it will vanish away. 9 For we know in part and we prophesy in part. 10 But when that which is perfect has come, then that which is in part will be done away.
11 When I was a child, I spoke as a child, I understood as a child, I thought as a child; but when I became a man, I put away childish things. 12 For now we see in a mirror, dimly, but then face to face. Now I know in part, but then I shall know just as I also am known.
13 And now abide faith, hope, love, these three; but the greatest of these is love.
Kevin Johnson – Chaplain Covington Lord’s Gym