Addiction is real, and it shows up in sometimes unexpected places. Whether by drugs or alcohol or sexual sin, addiction becomes quite a stronghold that keeps us from experiencing the freedom we can experience when we walk with Christ. Today’s guest is co-pastor of Joshua 1:2 Fellowship in San Angelo, Texas, where he lives with his wife and their daughter, Sarah. He’s on the podcast today to talk about the Kingdom work being done in San Angelo, and also about his own personal journey into a relationship with Jesus Christ.
Mike’s father was led to start a ministry in San Angelo soon after Mike was born. He moved his small family from San Antonio to begin Joshua 1:2 Fellowship. Their ministry is two-fold. First and foremost is the Joshua 1:2 Home, which serves both men and women, many (though not all) of whom are struggling with addiction. The Home is set apart from other programs in that it is a voluntary program run by a team of clergymen, paraprofessionals and former drug addicts. It’s also unique because everyone who is part of the administration of the program lives in the facility as well, including Mike and his family. The second aspect of their ministry is the church, which provides a place for the members of the program along with their families to come and worship together. That’s where Mike co-pastors, along with his father. The biblical instruction and discipleship, along with the sincere desire to change, is key to breaking the addictions and discovering the abundant life available to each of us when we give up self in exchange for Christ.
Mike shares his personal perspective from growing up as a preacher’s kid. Standards and expectations were, as is the case for many, very high for him as the pastor’s son. He grew up with his parents, but also shared them with the thousands of men and women who came through and stayed at the Joshua 1:2 Home. As Christian parents, we often want to respond with a Word for each and every situation or conversation our kids bring us. Mike reminds us that sometimes, kids just want to be heard by their parents, not ministers. We don’t always have to respond with “Sunday School” answers every time. He always knew of God, heard about Him plenty. The difference is, as he points out, knowing God in your head versus knowing Him in your heart.
At the age of 13, as he became resentful of his lack of privacy and hurt by his desire to have a father more than a pastor, Mike was drawn away by marijuana and alcohol. Those eventually led to an addiction to crystal meth. For over four years he lived this way – the streets, the drugs, the depression. At the age of 17, depressed, lost and confused in his sin, he began to talk to God. Tired of the life he was trying to live, Mike called out for Him to change him, and He did. God broke the bondage of sin and in turn freed him from the addictions, depression, anger, bitterness, and resentment. For the first time, the God he knew in his head became the God he knew in his heart. Mike has continued on his journey with the Lord ever since.
Mike encourages us with this word from Isaiah: ”Do not fear, for I am with you; Do not anxiously look about you, for I am your God. I will strengthen you, surely I will help you, Surely I will uphold you with My righteous right hand.” Don’t give up. Trust in God, knowing He is walking with you. He’s helping you with your daily battles. He won’t forsake you, desert you, or leave you stranded. THAT is the goodness of our Father.
Jake Enriquez: 00:00 Press and reach episode number 35. God is always with you with Pastor Mike Suarez Jr.
Jake Enriquez: 00:19 Good morning, afternoon, or evening. Whatever this may be to you. I sure hope and pray that you’ll be found well in spirit, my friend. Hey my name is Jake Enriquez and it is a joy, honor, and a privelege to be your host today. So please let me welcome you to press and reach a podcast where we’re simply walking out our faith and encouraging others along the way to do the same.
Jake Enriquez: 00:48 Welcome back to press and reach. My name is Jake Enriquez your host and man, what a beautiful wonderful morning it is once again. We wish all of you well and pray and hope that you will be found well in this day. Today we have another guest on our show that we’re going to talk about a few things but before we do I just have to tell you really I experience so many different things out here with others with people when I get the chance to just talk with people hang out and discuss many things and I do know and understand that a lot of people right now are going through very difficult times when it comes to dealing with addiction when it comes to dealing with strongholds. I’m telling you it’s bigger than you can ever imagine out here. Some of these things that are really taking place really hindering people from a walk or a freedom or anything for that sort. For that matter I should say we’ve we’ve got somebody with us today. Our next guest who’s come on to kind of talk about some of those things and he is the co pastor of Joshua 1 2 fellowship out in San Angelo Texas. Also these guys have been doing this for quite some time. They also have a house out there. So I just want you to welcome today this morning Mr. Mike Suarez. How are you doing, Mike?
Mike Suarez: 02:11 I’m blessed. Thank you for having me.
Jake Enriquez: 02:12 Yes sir. Absolutely. Thank you for being here with us man. And you know any time and every time we talk with people we ask them to introduce themselves that way we can kind of get to know you on a personal level so if you would man just kinda introduce yourself who you are and where you’re from if you would.
Mike Suarez: 02:27 Yes my name is Mike Suarez Jr.. Um I was born in San Antonio, Texas. And I was raised in San Angelo where I currently live with my wife and my daughter who we have, Sarah.
Jake Enriquez: 02:42 OK. OK. So you were actually born in San Antonio. Alright alright, San Antonio. How long did you live there?
Mike Suarez: 02:50 Well my father and my mom are from San Antonio. And so when I was like four months old in 88. My father was led by God to come to San Angelo to start a ministry. And so I was as you know as a young infant was moved to San Angelo so I was raised in both cities.
Jake Enriquez: 03:11 OK. OK. So probably back and forth. I’m not too familiar with San Angelo but certainly San Antonio, we’re pretty familiar with that. Well man, thanks a lot again for being on the show this Morning . Now I know that you guys are part of the Joshua 1 2 fellowship. First off before we start why is it Joshua 1 2?
Mike Suarez: 03:36 Well Joshua will want to read the scripture the Bible God chooses Joshua to lead his people out of Israel. And his first statement he says that Moses my servant is dead. Now you rise up and take my people to the land I promised you know and so do some circumstances. And our ministry where we come from the Lord gave us a new open the door you know to cross into Jordan which is a new chapter in our life in the ministry. And so the Lord spoke to us today it goes into what we do. You know working with Jews and women taking them into a new land that God has for them.
Jake Enriquez: 04:14 You know absolutely it actually is about new leadership. But the same goal. You know where we are. We all look to advance the Kingdom of God. So he hands it off to Joshua and now Joshua’s up and running and of course he tells them to be strong and courageous and that’s awesome. So tell me about a little bit about the ministry that your in, the Joshua 1 2 fellowship. Tell me is it more of the home or the church or both or how does that work.
Mike Suarez: 04:42 Well it is two ministries and one we have are many women home. It’s like a Christian rehab centers a nonprofit organization and there, we focus on reaching out to the community the surrounding cities and also from other states of men and women that struggle with addictions drugs, alcohol, and gang life. You know people in prisons and so our facility is open for your charge where they could come and stay with us live with us. You know I live there. My family lives there and everyone that is part of the team lives in this facility and so it’s like a home. So that’s what we call it a home you know. And so there are program constantly there and all spiritual things like prayer three times a day the word of God. And of course we feed them three square meals a day. You know, we clothe them they have no clothes. We have clothes. They have a place to stay where to call, this is my new home. So that’s one of our ministries where we focus on is that’s our primary ministry and our second is our church. Is where we have our public church. You know so for those families that have those members are in a program or people that have struggles they could come and join us or church.
Jake Enriquez: 06:09 OK. So when we’re looking at the home we’re talking about people who are struggling with addiction is that right?
Mike Suarez: 06:17 Yes. Not everyone that comes in. We have a few that have no addiction There just lost and God just brings them to the doors.
Jake Enriquez: 06:25 Right. And Mike you’re saying that you guys live there? Wow. That’s incredible man. And you know I’m glad you pointed that out and I want to take a moment to point something out about that. Oftentimes we hear people who start these these ministries so to speak. And maybe they get them developed and they get them going and they’re kind of on the side. In other words are part of what they do. But you guys actually live there with them. Yeah. I think that’s amazing. And that’s a 100 percent commitment to it all. And you’re growing the family of God in that maybe we can sort of reshape that. So I mean tell me a little bit about the pros and cons the struggles that you may have are and of course some of the good behind it as well.
Mike Suarez: 07:14 Well the job that we have that God gave us is it’s not an easy job because we’re working with men and women that come from the streets the drug life, gang life, prison. And so they have a mentality of you know. And so when they come into a Christian home, you already know the struggles you’re going to have. And so this daily it’s a daily different obstacle. You know things that come up and know God uses a strength to take care of those problems. You know God changes our hearts. But from what I’ve seen for the past 30 years we’ve been going on 30 years. You know when the men and women come into the home they want to change. And so that helps them change. We also help them to change.
Jake Enriquez: 08:12 Sure. Okay. Yes sir. Yes sir. Absolutely. But number one you have to have a desire.
Mike Suarez: 08:15 Yes. Yes sir. They have to come in with an open heart. Most of them do. But at the same time they struggle a lot of these men and women struggle with you know the change part you know they never lived a clean life they never lived a life out of the streets besides the streets. In the environment, you know sometimes that kind of keeps them from going forward.
Jake Enriquez: 08:42 I’m glad you point that out because environment has so much to do with it. You know you can have. In other words you can have people. And out here we can all have some struggles that we may be going through but if we’re continuously around that that we’re struggling with, man it just makes it so much harder so if you’re if you have an environment you’re able to create an environment. It’s clean and drug free or what my you know what it might be. Man what a beautiful thing it really is because then you can start to cultivate you know recover. You can actually start to see it happening. So but you said something else now. Number one I think about desire you have to have a desire to do it. You have to have a desire to leave these things behind but also you’re talking about discipleship. OK so elaborate a little bit on that. I mean what do you guys do when it comes to discipleship?
Mike Suarez: 09:34 Well the way our homeless program is, you know, they have to wake up early you know do chores clean, eat breakfast at 8:00 a.m. sharp. We have prayer every morning at 8:00 a.m. sharp and so these men and women have to be at prayer. And then it’s about 30 minutes long, so 8:30. Then at 9:00 we have four we call a chapel service that’s designed with praise worship. One of the preachers pastors ministers will you know share word with the men and women. And so after that we break into a discipleship classes and we have lessons designed to teach them the basics of Christianity. You know the fallen men were sent to place saved by grace we share in the Holy Spirit. Spiritual growth area in that Bible discusses that these men and women need to know the foundation of the Gospel. We are so daily you know we’re like if you remember Jesus with his disciples he lived with his disciples for three and a half years right. You know and the concept of it was this daily you know teaching and you know of course we don’t know the full story because you know they say that if Jesus, If they wrote everything the Bible would not be finished. You know I’m sure Jesus and His disciples had issues that he had to address and he did. You know he did. And that’s how our homeless, you know. It’s designed with the same principles of that picture.
Jake Enriquez: 11:17 Oh I like that you said that this takes place daily though.
Mike Suarez: 11:21 Yes. Oh Monday to Sunday. Yeah. You know it’s a lot of work but you know God gives us the strength and thus we sacrifice our lives you know time, energy, money, strength.
Jake Enriquez: 11:38 Yeah I have everything. So but in both male and female? And that’s incredible. We certainly certainly lifts you guys up in prayer as you move in that. So let me ask you this because I’m hearing what you’re saying you guys are doing but also we’ve read it on your Web site that you look for that to continue like for these guys to leave there and go take that somewhere else and do the same thing.
Mike Suarez: 12:07 Yes. Yes that’s part of the discipleship. Some of the men and women God touches them and God calls them to a ministry similar to ours to go to another city state where people are hurting. That needs a place like us where they’re going to be there to help them you know.
Jake Enriquez: 12:24 Yeah absolutely. And will be received there by somebody else. Yes yes continue to move on. That’s awesome. So let me ask you something Mike. What does this have to do with you coming up as a kiddo. I mean did you come up in church. Well what was it like for you as a child?
Mike Suarez: 12:42 As a kid, I’m a pastors kid you know. So a pastor’s kid is a lot of pressure you know how you know because you know there are a lot of standards that they have to meet up to and and so. Me growing up in church. It was a different kind of ministry because I was raised you know around men and women. You know that was living with us you know. Yeah. To have your average you know normal childhood. And so my my childhood was based on you know my parents my family and the many women in our home right. And so growing up I fully understand how God work or the things of god. And so because of that I had a bad view of God. I had a real selfish heart where I want to know my privacy. I want to know my father as a father and not as a pastor times and so that kind of led me away from God. So when I was 13 in school not being to act different try to seek something that I want and that led me to a few drug addictions you know small addictions like smoking marijuana drinking on the weekends at parties and that just let me down a hill you know bigger and stronger addictions.
Jake Enriquez: 14:04 Sure. You know. Yeah. You said that you wanted to time your father as a father not father as a pastor. You tell me. Now tell me a little bit more about that if you would man and just whatever you may be talking about I want to hear about it because it me right there I want to know what they got right there.
Mike Suarez: 14:25 Well as the pastor’s kid you know we understand there is God. And there’s and that’s very important. But sometimes you just need a father to be there as a father you know to support you know to understand and sometimes for me personally I don’t know about other pastor kids. But when you approach your father for your question or advice or counseling you know you kind of want that you know we understand God already you know he’s there for us he supports us but we just want the man figure of a father you know to love and support and help you to you know in life. And it all comes back to yes we got it in.
Jake Enriquez: 15:12 You know man I greatly appreciate you sharing that. You know that’s a great word right there and I hope and pray right now that people can receive that especially in their ministry.
Mike Suarez: 15:23 I know there’s a lot of pastors that struggle with that to their kids. You know elders pastors kids that struggle with that too. And I’m a testimony of that because of my parents you know of their faithfulness to God. It brought me back you know. Yeah. And even though I have my it was about four and a half years of my hitting the streets drugs you know that kind of life when I was 17. The lord just, I was just broken and in my addiction to my depression and there I actually caught onto God for myself for the first time and that’s when God became real. And when God became real, my life really makes sense you know. You know I understood my parents so you know and you understand the sacrifice. You know their heart. You know why they love people the love, men and women. Because I shared my father and my mother with not just my family but with thousands of drug addicts.
Jake Enriquez: 16:28 I can understand now where you coming from Mike. We appreciate that. So those are the those are the struggles and I can certainly understand how we can get lost in that. And again for those who are in ministry I mean I pray and hope that you hear Mike’s heart. You know there is a there is something else that people are searching for like kids are searching for from you know dad or mom. Like throw a ball with me or hang out with me or let’s go fishin or camp whatever it might be. I just want to talk to you about this. You know and I remember that I’ve got seven kids Mike I think I always think about trying to meet them where they are you know whatever it is they may be going through but the challenge sometimes for us man. You know you want to come with the word and everybody don’t want a word right there they want a dad. Praise God. Thank you for that. I’ll tell you what are we going to do. Might we’re going to take a really quick break and then we will be right back.
Jake Enriquez: 17:25 Hey guys it’s Jake. Hey I just want to take a brief moment to ask you if in fact you like the podcast to come Subscribe, rate, and review. Just take a brief moment to do that. But not only that we ask that you come and visit us on pressandreach.com. We’re all about faith family and community. Listen if you have a story about how your faith in the Lord has seen you through. We certainly want to hear from you. Whether it’s been in your business life or your personal life which could be your marriage or dealing with your family. Whatever it may be. We know that faith is a daily walk. So come join us as together we build our communities back up and give God all the glory.
Jake Enriquez: 18:10 Welcome back to press and reach we’re hanging out with Mr. Mike Suarez Jr. and before the break we’re certainly talking about coming up as a kiddo in you know he really touched touched me in the heart. I know as ministers sometimes you know were out there and we want to share of course the word. And as we come up with our kiddos we want them to have every last bit of it. And but as Mike was talking about earlier you know sometimes a kid wants dad you know so or a kid wants mom and bless his heart man and bless the hearts of all the parents that are out there I hope and pray we all receive that and receive it. Well Mike as you were talking about earlier you know coming up I do know and you touched on it before the break you know for your breakthrough or as a matter of fact when you’re 17 I believe. But you know we all have a time that we come into that our faith is challenged or maybe we grow in faith I should say a testimony whatever it might be. You have a time that you would share that your faith was truly strength.
Mike Suarez: 19:09 Oh yes. You know. Growing up in a church you know as pastors kids or minister kids you know of god you know. And I show people many times you know God in your head but not in your heart you know. And that’s like 17 inches you know. And I all shared is that people many people will miss having my 17 inches because they know of God in the head but not in our heart as in a personal relationship. And so me as especially I knew of God in my head and that kind of drove me away from God not understanding God is my addictions. I got hooked on crystal meth. And I remember when I was 17 years old back in 2005. I was in a very depressive state. I was up many days in my addiction. And I remember in my room were was you know lost and confused in my sin and I did begin to talk to God told them thank God I’m tired of this life I’m trying to live you know changed me do something in that instant. No I felt the Holy Spirit come into that room and touch me. And when I fell that touch all I could do was you know cry and weep. You know broke me. I have been and I have been touched by God like that. Yeah. And so when I woke up I went to sleep crying at night. And when I woke up the next morning I felt so clean you know new fresh this weight lifted off and I knew then that God had something in my life. You know he broke the bondage of sin in my life and that bondage of sin took care of everything else my addictions my depression my anger bitterness resentment all that just disappeared and one night and I knew God something and there since then you know I just continue on my journey with God.
Jake Enriquez: 21:23 Praise God. I hear you talk about surrender right there mike. The awesome thing is when we surrender and I do want to take a moment to point that out like today. If anyone is listening in on this podcast and you’re struggling with things and you’re tired man it doesn’t take but today you could do it today and ask God to help you with these things and ask the Lord to come in and your life and be lord and savior. And I got to tell you the surrender behind it is so powerful that we never really understand you know just how did that happen. Because you know people sometimes they think I have to know everything before I do this or do that. But man I think this is just personal opinion right here. But I think our Lord loves to hear when you say man I can’t do this sometime. Come on now. So that’s where you start coming home with surrendering man. And now for that help he’s surely going to help you.
Mike Suarez: 22:22 Yeah. And there’s one thing that I share with these men and women that are in our home that you have to surrender you have to come to a point where you surrender your whole heart to God that’s on the way he would change you completely.
Jake Enriquez: 22:35 Yes absolutely. And you know as we talk about that and when you talk about surrender there might be some other things that come up in life along the way. Do you ever feel you struggle with different things like man, I’m not fully surrendered right there.
Mike Suarez: 22:52 Many times, you know because of our flesh. I still have that you know a man like you know I have to force not force myself but I have to really overcome my doubts and my fear of approaching my father because I see how that fear of man as he does we are you know. Oh I don’t have the average father.
Jake Enriquez: 23:42 Ok, I understand. Well man we pray for you and dad and I know Hey your dad has raised a great son.
Mike Suarez: 23:49 We have a great relationship but I know that it could be a lot better. Yeah.
Jake Enriquez: 23:53 OK so there’s nothing wrong with that desire and a better relationship stronger relationship with dad. But you know what. There’s nothing wrong with us praying alongside you OK. We’re going to do that as well. Better believe it man. Well along the way you know I know you have developed some different character traits and you know sometimes we don’t even know it’s happening you know what these character traits develop in us. Can you think of one that you feel has been developed in you along the way.
Mike Suarez: 24:23 Well one thing that was rebuilt develop is my patience. OK I have a lot of patience for some reason I don’t know why. Yeah but I believe it comes from my mom my mother you know to me. You know she was very patient very humble very quiet. And so I take that side of my mom you know my parent is more of her side of when I come across circumstances Storms of My Life. I have a good patience on just Lord or do you really want to do. Were you trying to show me. No. So that patients helped me not to make poor decisions. Now you know.
Jake Enriquez: 25:02 Sure. And thank you for that. That’s that’s longsuffering right there. This is one of the first things you ever spoke about. Gonna need that longsuffering suffered as a Good buddy always tells me that means to suffer along with one another. OK so you know I think about patience that it may have been developed in you and you have that along the way. You know you know your leader my dear leader and leaders need not only patience but they need different things. But of course we also need help along the way. So sometimes it might just be from other people and they could give us these things by way of books or audio or whatever it might be but you happen to have a book that you would recommend to the listeners today.
Mike Suarez: 25:51 Yes. In our leadership because we you know and I know some of the listeners know that you know the Christian lot we have battles daily and our battle is against you know Satan and the army the fallen angels you know. And as one of our struggles you know as Christians and a book that we are reading currently as a leadership team is this titled all the strategies of Satan how to detect and to defeat him by a warrant. We’re just being OK. You know and this is it opens our eyes to know how the devil comes in to attack us and it helps you to prepare yourself for our spiritual warfare. You know. Yeah spiritual warfare is a subject that a lot of Christians don’t want to really get into because we can’t ignore it. We have an enemy that is tryng to destroy our lives our families and the people in this world that we live in you know we can’t forget that we’re really in between a battle was already won by God but Satan is trying to take as many souls to hell as he can. And that’s something that I just encourage is that you know we have to be aware of the spiritual warfare our struggle is not against flesh and blood but against you know principalities rulers. You know.
Jake Enriquez: 27:27 So OK so the strategies of Satan. OK. And these books of course are this book I will put in the show notes. So Mike how can somebody reach out to you guys at the Joshua 1 2 fellowship. How can someone reach out to have a website.
Mike Suarez: 27:42 We have our website. Yes sir. It’s a www.joshua1-2fellowship.com and also to find us on Facebook and Instagram.
Jake Enriquez: 27:56 OK we’ll put all of those places there in the show notes as well. So let me ask you this man. I have to ask you before you go brother. You know I know you deal with people a lot and people that may be struggling in their faith and maybe a certain circumstance right now. What would you say to our listeners who may be at this point in time in their life struggling themselves with their faith.
Mike Suarez: 28:18 The Lord gave me a scripture this morning as I was reading my daily devotions and in Isaiah 41:10 where the Lord reads Do not fear for I am with you do not anxiously look about you. I am your God. I will strengthen you. Surely I will help you. Surely I will uphold you with my righteous right hand and I just want to encourage everyone yourself and the listeners. Don’t give up. Trust in God knowing that God is walking with you. He’s helping you with your daily battles. Yes he will forsake you. He will never desert you leaving you stranded. And that’s the goodness of our father.
Jake Enriquez: 29:09 Yes sir. We greatly appreciate that. You know it makes me think if creator of heaven and earth of all that is seen that unseen greater of me and you by the way. Breathed life into each and every one of us. The scriptures say he is with us therefore who in the world it could ever be again. Yes. This is so. That’s a great word.
Jake Enriquez: 29:30 I appreciate that man Mike. We like I told the guys that come on and are willing to come and share like yourself and we love you we thank God for you and what you do and you and your family are doing for the Kingdom of God. Greatly appreciate you.
Mike Suarez: 29:45 Thank you for having us. And I pray for you for your ministry. That God will give you the strength and the energy to continue to press for a prayer for your family as well.
Jake Enriquez: 29:55 Thank you so much Mr. Mike Suarez Jr from Joshua 1 2 fellowship and for the show notes on this episode. Simply go to pressandreach.com/PR35.
Jake Enriquez: 30:08 Once again it’s been a joy hanging out with you. So please keep pressing and reaching and remember that you’re not walking out your face alone out here. For he has promised that he will never leave you nor forsake you. Have a blessed and wonderful day.
The Strategy of Satan: How to Detect and Defeat Him, by Warren Wiersbe