I need to confess I had a very drunken summer.  I spent a lot of time hanging out with drunks.   Every summer we try to reconnect with old friends that our busy schedule of the rest of the year doesn’t allow.  We make a point of getting together with old friends that we have not seen for a while.   This year some of them we hadn’t seen in years or even decades.  And as much as I loved catching up with old times there was one thing that every gathering seemed to have in common… an extraordinary amount of boozing.   For someone like myself who has been busy with church work for many years it was almost shocking to see how much people drink.  And after they have had a few, or a few too many, they start cussing and swearing and telling dirty jokes.  At times I wondered if they guys (and gals) were really lawyers, salesmen and accountants or if they were in fact actually pirates.

As the evenings wore on some of our old friends got stupider and stupider, at which point we excused ourselves and went home.  For the record we don’t drink at all.  Not even an occasional glass of wine.  It is not so much for biblical seasons.  I am quite certain that Jesus would have drank wine as I am pretty sure that Welch’s grape juice was not yet available for the Last Supper.  With the lack of refrigeration and often poor water supplies in biblical times, fermenting grape juice into wine was a practical solution for storage.  The bible does not condemn ‘drinking’, but ‘drunkenness’.  And make no mistake about it, it is not a casual warning but very stern prohibition put in the same category as murder.  …murders, drunkenness, revelries, and the like; of which I tell you beforehand, just as I also told you in time past, that those who practice such things will not inherit the kingdom of God. (Gal 5:21)

The warnings abound in scripture because it is so easy to abuse alcohol.  At what point have we gone too far?  If one drink is fine, how about 2? or 3? or 4?  Where is the line?  ‘Sipping saints’ always tell me they know where the line is for them.  To which I always ask, “Ya, how did you find out?”

For me it is not really a biblical debate but a cultural one.  Our culture has a serious drinking problem. Way too many people drink way too much.  It is as if you cannot get together socially these days without copious amount of liquor to lubricate the event.  When did people lose the ability to socialize without getting hammered?

My grandfather was an alcoholic and started drinking at noon on workdays.  My father did not consider himself one because he didn’t start till 5 PM.  But then he made up for lost time.  Thirty years ago I looked that the damage alcohol does to our world and decided I was giving it up for good.  It ruins marriages, families, relationships and health, is the cause of many accidents and most vehicle deaths. I personally fail to see any good reason to drink and therefore I don’t.  We hear all this nonsense about the health benefits of drinking wine but rarely do we hear that it only takes 2-3 drinks daily to lead to life threatening liver disease.  I have watched people die from liver disease and let me tell you it is a wretched, painful and inglorious way to die.  Especially when you contrast it with the way the liquor industry glamorizes drinking.

Young, good-looking, happy men and women with great bodies and perfect teeth—stretched out in their bathing suits on the beach, or relaxing in their after-work clothes at a local tavern. No matter the setting, the message is always the same—these people know how to have a good time!  Who wouldn’t want their lives to be like this? It is an appealing image, one that marketing experts have honed into an extremely seductive message. All you need to do is drink our beer (or wine, or liquor or cooler) and this could be you with your extraordinarily attractive friends leading the ‘good life’!

How come they never use this girl in the beer ads?

Or this guy?

Or these two winners?

And hey, who wouldn’t want to party with this bunch?

And my personal favorite – this guy?   Everything about this picture screams ‘the good life’ right?

Ok, I will admit it.   I am on a personal crusade to discourage drinking amongst christian people.  If there ever was any virtue in drinking alcohol it has lost its meaning a long time ago.  Our culture has fallen off a cliff in the use of mind altering substances and as christians I don’t think we can jusifty participating.  Would I welcome back a 1930’s style prohibition.  Never!  You cannot legislate behaviour.  It needs to grew out of a personal conviction to honor and please God with our lives.  Our bodies are the temple of the Holy Spirit after all.  I like the way Peter put it;

… no longer live the rest of time in the flesh for the lusts of men, but for the will of God.  For we have spent enough of our past lifetime in doing the will of the Gentiles–when we walked in lewdness, lusts, drunkenness, revelries, drinking parties, and abominable idolatries. (1 Peter 4:2-3)

We have “spent enough time” indeed, let’s start living for the will of God.

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30 Responses to MY DRUNKEN SUMMER

  1. Steve says:

    Heh heh…..don’t miss those days. The guy who put his face through the step is a keeper. Well the urinal deserves some applause as well.
    Poor fellas, I almost feel sorry for them…..almost. LOL!

  2. Betty says:

    It did not matter, in what kind of situation, my friend Peter Y. was in, he always took those things as an opportunity, to tell the people, who Jesus is and how much He loves them and in some cases, that was the first time, those people ever heard of who Jesus is and to me that was very encouraging to see and how they responded.

    From my experience, I think it is better not to have any alcohol, it destroys families and makes life miserable for everyone else involved.
    I keep asking myself, why is it so hard to understand, for people who have Jesus as their personal Lord & Savior, to live a life, for Jesus and Jesus alone and be different from the world??
    Jesus has SO MUCH to offer to us, EVERY day.

    Those pictures of the so called party goers, are in a way funny, but not when it comes to family members, that have an alcohol addiction, there is nothing funny about that.

    I will share with you about my uncle Frank, who was drunk almost more then not, for a big part of his life and PRAISE GOD, in the beginning of this year, he took Jesus as his personal Lord & Savior.
    Jesus gave, uncle Frank a vision, of him going to heaven, after he died, but when he reached the pearly gate, the angel told him, I can not let you go into heaven, with the life you are living now and pointed him to the gate which he could enter, which was the gate to Hell.
    That was the day,he committed his life to Jesus totally and Jesus replaced his thirst for alcohol, with hunger for Jesus and now he spends a lot of time reading Gods word and growing stronger spiritually and a few days after he committed his life to Jesus, he got married to his common-law wife and Praise God, for the life he now lives.

  3. Steve says:

    Sorry Betty, I didn’t mean to laugh at others expense. I figured they were staged pictures anyways. You have to have a head made of granite to bust a step in half and I find hanging from a urinal by your face a little unlikely as well. Ok I’ll shut up now.

  4. Bruno says:

    A post about drunken behavior and it gets posted twice. hm…

    As a random question, it is apparent that many people around the world drink to have their version of what they claim to be ‘fun and happiness’ but as you have traveled aplenty, have you seen this problem in poorer countries and region where many missionaries go. It seems regardless of the financial situation, people always end up finding liquor, but I was wondering if through your travel, you’ve found that these people seem to drink for different reasons?

    Hopefully, this makes sense 🙂

  5. Mark Hughes says:

    You are correct, alcoholism is a problem everywhere you go in the world. It is still marketed as the ‘good life’ in poorer countries as a hangover from Western culture but people drink for different reasons. Many drink to drown out otherwise miserable lives. What is happening on our native reservations for example is tragic. Many have nothing to do, no jobs, no prospects and alcohol is the only escape. The consequences are horrific.

    Canada’s north is a huge mission field and God is doing some amazing things there. Depending on where you go you can find destitution or revival. Jesus really is the answer to this problem.

  6. Steve says:

    I used to drink like these people and with these kind of people. I still remember stories that are funny(those pictures remind me of some of them) but sadly when I see my old friends every once in a while, they are still drunk. They’re still filled with so much pain.
    That’s why I pray like a house on fire for every single one of them every single day because every single one of them is coming to Christ. They’re not going to be destroyed on my time or God’s time.

  7. Betty says:

    You are forgiven, Steve!
    When I see my Family member,so drunk, that is not funny.

  8. Steve says:

    We all have many things to forgive.

  9. Jusuf says:

    I cannot remember how I got the idea of having a motto “never run away from any problem”. When I was a U of Ottawa student, I mixed and drank pinacolada with friends, and never like it when my head started funny so I’ve never passed out after any kind of drink. For years stop drinking any alcohol. Years later when working in the oil service industry as part of entertaining clients, I did drink a can of beer but never allowing myself out of control, though some clients kept drinking until talking without any meaning. Back then I practised taekwondo at least 4 days/week and participated tournament in Toronto, I knew about God, I went to any kind of church, I considered all religions were the same, and did not really know about Jesus other than hearing the name at church and reading bible at home.
    After receiving Jesus as my personal savior and Lord, I drink beer and wine about a glass per year or not at all for years.

    Now, everytime I smell alcohol from anyone close to me, I feel discomfort.
    I think, may be I’m wrong; “my motto of never run away from any problem” and “my taekwondo exercise” that prevent me of using alcohol to run away from problem, and using alcohol to make me looks cool. Could be my grandma on her knees pray for me miles away before she passed away every nights.

  10. morron says:

    morron 32 up, 8 down
    1.) The Spanish name for certain varieties of peppers (Capsicum annuum) having a smooth flavor, fleshy body, and large size with a square or rectangular form. Usually refered to as bell peppers in English

    2.) More commonly, an incorrect spelling of the word ‘moron’ Used exclusively by true morons in all forms of print as well as the internet. This misspelling is a clear indication that the user is not just a moron but also an illiterate ignoramus incapable of intelligent intercourse with the rest of humanity.
    1.) “It’s not a habanero its a morron, you moron!”

    2.) Refer to other definitions cited here as an example of how this misspelling is used by morons to expose their true nature to the world.

    on a much neccessarily ‘911’ mode,… the deut 1:11 ‘blessing damn is about to break’, that Joan Hunter was sharing about @ Church Camp ,a.k.a Blessing overload. is causing me to fear… LOL as if!!… a spirituall comma/ 4a lack of better words…if I don’t debrif, soon I anticipate a spirituall coma of sorts! Its 2:31 …must sleep …or…something….gtg2 room where sleep may happen, if, I’m His#1girl

    besides I have PHYSICAL PROOF, that I’ve
    been healed because…ru computing!!get this!!!!!!!….ruready4 it??!!!

    ok, but seriously….healed!! remember..icyam..and forgot 2 remember about the PHYSICAL PROOF THINGY….OK HERE’S THE PROOF…I DO NOT WAKE MYSELF UP SNORING ANYMORE!! Halleluia!!

    …sorry ….brain.. still …on …must continue on ….wait a minute , did I spell debrief correctly.. is that spelled correctly!? …ANYONE!!!???

    LOL!!!HA!!!HA!HA…but seriously..please get the point and anyone call me anytime @ 1-204-555-5555.

  11. Karen L says:

    My question is…what are we doing about this? We can go up north, or downtown Vancouver or any reservation and proclaim that as our “mission field”, but what are we doing in our own communities to promote a lifestyle of not drinking?

    My daughters are both Christians….EVERY weekend at the high school that they attend they are invited to “drinking” parties; (where the goal is to get drunk, stoned, have teenage sex)They always say “no” because they want to honor their faith.

    In our community, we have this thing called “safe grad”, which is anyone can drink, no matter what the age, and they are given a ride home via school bus and the RCMP look the other way. It’s put on by PARENTS!!! This only promotes and glorifies underage drinking…Only by God’s grace my girls think that this is stupid.

    I can go on and on with more of the same. They go off to college, and drinking is glorified there. How can we as church family support and encourage our children now and when they leave home that a life of non drinking is a good thing?

  12. TS says:

    As a child of alcoholic parents and 4 alcoholic siblings I could not agree more. More restraint would be good. This is a problem which is generational. Three generations on my mother’s side with a 4th growing up in it. 4 generationd on my father’s side with a 4th growing up in it. And 3 generations on the step father’s side. This is a learned/ inherited generational problem

  13. TS says:

    grammar and spelling not a strong point today. Should say “with a 5th generation growing up in it on my father’s side.

  14. Jasmine says:

    As children of God, we are no longer slaves to anything in this world. As 2 Timothy 1:7 states, God gave us “a spirit of power, of love and of self-discipline.” (NIV) I think the real epidemic here is a lack of self-discipline in more facets of our lives than just the irresponsible use of alcohol.

    We live in a culture where people strive for control over every aspect of their lives yet lack control over themselves. Just look at how easy it is for us to allow our anger to make us act in ways we normally wouldn’t even consider acting, or how easy it is for us to cheat on our spouses and then lay the blame on them for not fulfilling our needs when in reality all we’ve done is allow our selfishness to take precedence in our lives. In Proverbs 18:21 it says, “The tongue has the power of life and death…” (NIV) and yet how many times have we misused that power and brought destruction to our relationships? Consequences help cure us of our irresponsibility in some cases but not all.

    Self-control is one of the things mentioned as evidence of the fruit of the Spirit, yet how do we achieve this? In 2 Peter 1:5-8, we are called to “make every effort to add to your faith goodness; and to goodness, knowledge; and to knowledge, self-control; and to self-control, perseverance; and to perseverance, godliness; and to godliness, brotherly kindness; and to brotherly kindness, love. For if you possess these qualities in increasing measure, they will keep you from being ineffective and unproductive in your knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ.” (NIV)

    So in order to achieve godliness, we need to have first achieved self-control–and not just the minimum measure of self-control but an increasing measure. I thank God that through His grace and by His power, it is possible for us to conquer our natural self. And once we have found freedom in Christ, we can help others find freedom in Christ as well. Notice that brotherly kindness and love come after godliness.

    The amount of kindness and love we have shown to others is minimal compared to the full measure of His kindness and love, and I am thankful that the Holy Spirit is at work within us to transform us into His likeness.

    Submitting to God’s authority is an exercise in self-control. In a world where people exert their own power and authority to control everyone and everything within their sphere of influence, we believers do the opposite and submit to God’s authority and put Him in control of our lives. Practicing our faith in this way allows the Holy Spirit to work a miracle in us by creating in us a level of spiritual maturity that would be impossible for us to achieve on our own. And it doesn’t stop there—according to 2 Peter 1:8, we should be experiencing an increasing level of spiritual maturity thus it is a continuous process of transformation.

    Putting to death our own natural inclinations and desires is the most difficult thing to do, and yet we must do it if we are to be effective and productive in our mission as salt and light in this world.

  15. lesley says:

    Alcohol has been the most destructive thing in my life for 40 years. I swear to myself that I will stay sober and then I end up back on a binge and need several days to recover.

    It has ruined relationships, jobs, opportunities – too much to put down here. I wish alcohol would disappear.

    Someone once pointed out that liquor is also called ‘spirits’, and that it in fact contains evil spirits, that you take into your body when you drink. I believe it.

    • CrackerJack says:

      Hey Leslie, remember that as long as you’re trying, the battle is not over, and victory is a little bit closer today than it was yesterday. My addiction was drugs, and for a shorter time; but I know your frustration. It would’ve been great for it all to disappear away, but it never did.

      If you’re reading this blog; you’re running in the right direction and the finish line is just up ahead.

      My victory came when I confessed I could not quit on my own and literally cried out for God’s help; and I know He will respond to you too… because He cares for you, for me, each and every person, so much that He sacraficed His only Son; for our sins.

      If you’re not already; please get connected with the living body of Christ; the church. Fill yourself with His word, the Bible, and soon there will be no room left for those bottled spirits!

      You’ll be doing your happy dance in the winner’s circle….

      PS: “The Bondage Breaker” – Niel Anderson; great book; the truth about those spirits and how to get rid of them.

  16. Sally says:

    The problem with alcohol use is that it is an acceptably social thing. I have heard it said many times, it is ok to drink alcohol,at least it is not drugs! When alcohol comsumption is seen as socially acceptable and not seen as “harmful”,it is easier to fall into the trap that it is ok to drink. Until this mindset is changed we will not see any inroads in this problem. And most people are followers and not leaders so they want to fit in and will not take a stand to be different(fear of man). And lets face it our society is all about living for the senses and pleasing self and the flesh and it is fun to drink, for a season that is. Change can only comes when more people raise the standards and show that there is another, better way to live. We can take a stand against things like “safe grad” as karen L mentioned which condones drinking. As believers we know that God’s ways are better and we can show by example that you don’t have to drink to have fun! I heartly agree that I have never seen anything good come out of alcohol, seeing it’s destructive force firsthand both growing up and in my marriage, but I sure have seen how the power of God has changed lives for the better! There is hope for anyone, Jesus saves and delivers!

  17. Renata says:

    Here’s my post!
    Always wondered why Jesus made wine at that wedding. …read it and you’ll understand.

  18. Patricia says:

    I am in agreement with you that drink is not necessary in any form but moderation. I applaud you for your spiritual and biblical principle level you are at. Do you ever notice that it seems to be the young that are the most rebelious and want to drink or do other things to fit in with their peers and gain more independence in the World. They have a hard time finding that in Jesus Christ for some reason?

    What is the answer? One fellow said to send them all packing to feed the hungry in Africa or India. He did with his son and what a life changing moment it was for him.

  19. sm says:

    Alcoholism has been a HUGE problem in my family. My dad was the first one to break the chain on both sides of his family. As a teenager he vowed to never drink. I grew up so proud of him that I had easily decided not to drink at all and more recently, I named my son after him.:)

  20. Pingback: UP THE KREEK WITHOUT A PADDLE | Church of the Rock

  21. Evelyn Bennett says:

    Pastor Mark,

    I love what you wrote. I love going down memory lane. However I need you to clear up something for me. I found scripture that condones drinking and I need an interpretation.

    Proverbs 31:6

    Liquor is for the dying, and wine for those in deep depression.

    Please post a response. Thank you.

  22. patrick leblanc says:

    Tank you and God be bless…Every sunday after my church time a come to my pc to listen to youre prech y love Glory to God…From montreal

  23. patrick leblanc says:

    hope visite u one day day if God whant…Be bless brother Mark

  24. Wade says:

    Proverbs 20:1
    Wine is a mocker, Strong drink is a brawler, And whoever is led astray by it is not wise.

    All types of liquor are associated with partying and promoted and glorified by the world, so there fore as christians we should seperate ourselves completely from liquor.
    Even if an unbeliever does not think that there is anything wrong with a social drink and then finds out that the christian that witnessed to him has a drink once and a while, the testimony of that christian has been destroyed because the unbeliever will hold it against the christian.
    At the very least Social drinking is a stumbling block and a bad example to christians and non-christians and that is bad enough.
    May the Grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you all. AMEN.


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  26. Wendy says:

    I feel like a failure as a parent. Three out of our 4 grown sons drink. Two of them drink alot and these 2 still live at home. They are not allowed to drink in our home but they store their drinking supplies in their rooms. I cant stand alcohol. I dislike everything about it. These sons age 20 and 23 dont have enough funds to move out on their own yet. Pastor Mark, my heart aches to hear about them drinking and them thinking it is harmless to their bodies. They are Christians and they remind me that Jesus made wine so it’s fine. I seriously doubt that the wine and beer in Jesus’ day was the same toxic level as today.

  27. Wendy says:

    This is the same Wendy as above. What do you think about this. I am considering giving the son who doesnt drink a big cash bonus at Christmas for abstaining. I am also considering not giving the other sons anything for Christmas until they stop drinking completely. What do you think? OR do you have any other suggestions? Thanks for your reply.

  28. Heidi says:

    Wendy, I know you were asking for Mark’s opinion, not mine, but hopefully you’ll find value in my advice anyhow.

    I understand your frustration as a parent, but holding back Christmas gifts, until your children do as you tell them to, is probably not the best move as a parent. It could cause a lasting rift in your relationship which, in the long run, would cause you to have even less influence over their actions.

    You’re adult children have lived with you long enough to know where you stand on this issue. They respect you enough to not drink in your house or in your presence… and hopefully one day you will see eye to eye in this issue. But until that day comes, I think you should let them know that you love them, even if you don’t love what they are doing to themselves.

    You should also make sure that, when they do drink, they do it in a safe place with people they trust, and that they have a safe way home. You need to keep the lines of communication open… so that if they do get themselves into a situation where they need your help (i.e. need a safe ride home, suffer from alcohol poisoning etc.) they know that they can rely on you to help.

    By help, I am not referring to financial aid. I would not support my child’s drinking, by loaning them money to buy alcohol, driving them to the beer store, or paying off debts that resulted from drinking. Not condoning it, means not participating in it at all.

    You should make my stand clear. They need to know that you love them and you want what’s best for them… and because you love them you refuse to help them participate in an activity that can cause so much harm.

    I hope this helps! Being a mom is hard!… and standing up for what is right is also hard. But your kids need you to do both, if they are going to, one day, turn into the strong, confident, honorable men that you hope they’ll be.


  29. Heidi says:

    Oh, wow! That had a lot of typos in it! Sorry guys! I should have proofread it before posting. :0(

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