Tuesday, December 25, 2012

Very Rich!

                                                                                                CELEBRATE RECOVERY          


In some ways it reminded me of the birth of a child a very long time ago. To say the child was coming into the world in not the best of circumstances would be a colossal understatement.
She had struggled with severe depression for many years which had spiraled into all sorts of addictive and obsessive-compulsive behaviors. To elaborate on her situation would be too painful, except to say the cost had been great, she had nothing. And now she was unwed, pregnant and not knowing where she would go or what she would do, in an unfamiliar place, at the mercy and kindness of strangers. No money, no husband, no home, no job, afraid. Nine months would be a very long time.
Here we were in an unfamiliar city awaiting the birth of a child. The presiding physician was a small oriental lady by the name of Dr T. She came into the room after the birth to visit with the family. She said something like, “You have a beautiful healthy baby boy.” At which time Pam proudly mentioned this was our eighth grandchild. Dr. T was stunned, her eyes widened and her mouth dropped open. She uttered words I hope I never forget. With a strong oriental accent and sheer surprise she said, “OoHh! You very rich!” The truth of her statement struck me. In the midst of the most desperate circumstances new life had come! Literally our daughter had been given new life in the form of a child. A new life with new hope, new purpose, new vision, new love, new innocence, new dreams for a young woman who had lost almost everything. And this was the eighth such gift to our family! That was eight years ago. God has been wonderfully good to her and us, now we have nine!
I’ve thought about this event often, virtually every Christmas since. I sometimes envision the similarities to that first Christmas.
Mary a young woman in pretty dire circumstances herself, unwed, pregnant, not knowing where she would go or what she would do, in an unfamiliar place, at the mercy and kindness of strangers. It is almost like I can see the announcement of the birth of baby Jesus in a more profound way.
The angels and all of heaven standing breathless in anticipation of His birth into this fallen world, new life thrust into a dark world.
What does all this have to do with Celebrate Recovery? The birth of baby Jesus brings new life new hope, new purpose, new vision, new love, new innocence, new dreams, not just to one young woman but to all people, you and me, the entire world! Acceptance of, reliance on and surrender too the person of Jesus Christ our Higher Power is the only way to abundant life!            
“And so it was, that, while they were there, the days were accomplished that she should be delivered. And she brought forth her firstborn son, and wrapped him in swaddling clothes, and laid him in a manger; because there was no room for them in the inn. And there were in the same country shepherds abiding in the field, keeping watch over their flock by night. And, lo, the angel of the Lord came upon them, and the glory of the Lord shone round about them: and they were sore afraid. And the angel said unto them, Fear not: for, behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people. For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, which is Christ the Lord. And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God, and saying, Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men.” LK. 2:6-14.Or, the angel could have said it like Dr T. “OooHh, you very rich!” God wants you know how very rich you are due to His love gift of Jesus Christ! Celebrate life, Celebrate Jesus!
Merry Christmas!
Jim & Pam

Friday, December 14, 2012

Why Broken Lampshades Are the Best Gift This Holiday Season

By Dr. Kelly Flanagan on Dec 14, 2012 04:30 am

Lampshades can emit tremendous beauty. Even broken ones. Maybe we’re all like broken lampshades, and maybe we don’t need to wait to be fixed in order to be beautiful…


Photo Credit: swirlingthoughts (Creative Commons)


Every therapy office has a waiting room. Waiting rooms are an important part of the therapeutic experience—they contain those rare moments of peace and quiet before entering the psychotherapy room. Moments of decision, when we decide what parts of our story we will share with the person we have chosen to trust.

But I wonder if sometimes the waiting doesn’t end in the waiting room.

We enter into the therapy room and immediately begin a waiting of a different kind. Waiting to be fixed. Waiting to be cured. Waiting to be repaired. Waiting as passive recipients of a remedy—a word or an experience that will leave us finally feeling whole. We have put our lives on hold until we feel, finally, perfectly put together. We wait to truly begin our lives. We are waiting until we feel properly fit for purpose and meaning.

I think this happens in psychotherapy offices all the time.

But I wonder if we also wait like this in our hearts and homes and neighborhoods and nations and in our world.

Advent—the liturgical season leading up to Christmas—is meant to be a season of waiting, but I wonder if we’re all waiting for the wrong thing. I wonder if we are all waiting until we feel like we have it all together—afraid to really put ourselves out into the world while we still feel so cracked and broken.


I have three lamps in my office. Each of them has a lampshade the color and texture of old parchment paper. They emit a warm, even glow and people who peak into my office on a dark winter afternoon will often remark on the sense of peacefulness evoked by the lamplight.

My lamps create beauty.

And they appear to be pristine themselves—perfect, whole, untarnished, classy. But I’m going to let you in on a little secret: they’re all broken. The lampshade on my desk is marred by water stains, which are rendered invisible when the light is turned on. The lampshade on my side table has a gash across the back of it. And the shade on my newest lamp—the floor lamp—was torn in assembly before I even had a chance to turn it on.

My lampshades are stained and ripped and torn. My lamps are a mess.

And they are beautiful.


We’re all ripped lampshades.

We’re all stained by life, ripped by experience, and torn by pain. But there is good news: we don’t need to wait to be beautiful. We don’t need to wait to be fixed or cured or somehow redeemed in order to be an inviting light in this world.

On U2’s most recent album, Bono sings: “You don’t know how beautiful you are. You don’t know, and you don’t get it, do ya? You don’t know how beautiful you are.”

Perhaps the best gift we can give ourselves this holiday season is to know that we are all broken lampshades. Broken people. Stained, ripped, torn and beautiful people. If we could cling to the grace of this, perhaps we would step out of the waiting rooms of our lives and step courageously into this world—into marriage and parenting and friendship and into quiet moments in which we keep only our own company.

Maybe we would discover that our rips and tears are like a prism, reflecting the light within us in unique and beautiful ways. Maybe in this discovery we would become a gift given to others, as well. Broken and beautiful givers of light, inviting others into the peaceful glow of the light we cast.

Let’s be ripped and torn together this season. And let’s know precisely how beautiful we are.
QUESTIONS: Is there something you’ve been waiting to begin. How could you step into that new part of your life now, before you are completely whole?

Wednesday, November 21, 2012


                                                                                                CELEBRATE RECOVERY          
                                                                                              Changing Lives All Over the World 

Greetings Partners & Friends,

“We can only be said to be alive in those moments when our hearts are conscious of our treasures.”  ~Thornton Wilder

I hope this letter finds you keenly aware of the treasures in your life and therefore experiencing life to the full. Most of us are incredibly blessed yet we find reasons to complain.
H.U. Westermayer wrote, "The Pilgrims made seven times more graves than huts. No Americans have been more impoverished than these who, nevertheless, set aside a day of thanksgiving."
“You say, 'If I had a little more, I should be very satisfied.' You make a mistake. If you are not content with what you have, you would not be satisfied if it were doubled." ~ Charles Spurgeon
"Gratitude is not only the greatest of virtues, but the parent of all the others." ~ Cicero
Melodie Beattie says, “Gratitude unlocks the fullness of life. It turns what we have into enough, and more. It turns denial into acceptance, chaos into order, confusion into clarity… It turns problems into gifts, failures into success, the unexpected into perfect timing, and mistakes into important events. Gratitude makes sense of our past, brings peace for today and creates a vision for tomorrow.”

This holiday season I share with you these thoughts in regard to gratitude and then I’d like to ask you to do something.
The Bible says, “Don’t worry about anything; instead, pray about everything. Tell God what you need, and thank him for all he has done.”

Don’t worry about anything. Worrying doesn’t change anything. It’s stewing without doing. Worry is a learned response, you learned it from your parents, peers or experience. That’s good news. The fact that worry is learned means it can be unlearned. Jesus says, “So don’t worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will bring its own worries. Today’s trouble is enough for today.”(Mt 6:34 NLT)

Pray about everything. Use the time you’ve spent worrying for praying. If you prayed as much as you worried, you’d have a whole lot less to worry about. God is interested in every detail of your life so pray about everything.

Thank God in all things. Always pray with thanksgiving. The healthiest human emotion is not love, but gratitude. It actually increases your immunities; it makes you more resistant to stress and less susceptible to illness. People who are grateful are happy. But people who are ungrateful are miserable because nothing makes them happy. They’re never satisfied; it’s never good enough. So if you cultivate the attitude of gratitude, of being thankful in everything, it reduces stress and increases happiness.

Think about the right things. So if you want to reduce stress in your life and raise the barometer of happiness, you must change the way you think. The way you think determines how you feel, and the way you feel determines how you act. This involves a deliberate, conscious choice where you change the channels. You choose to think about the right things: focus on the positive and on God’s Word. When we no longer worry, when we pray about everything, when we give thanks, when we focus on the right things, the apostle Paul tells us the result is, “The peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.” (Phil. 4:7 NLT).

What a guarantee! He is guaranteeing peace of mind.

So if gratitude is as important and powerful as these folks seem to think, I am asking you to do something that can be a huge blessing in your life. I want you to make a list. We make all sorts of lists all the time, grocery lists, to-do lists, prayer lists, and especially in CR, inventory lists, amends lists, lists of things we have done wrong, things we have done right, people we have hurt, those who have hurt us, those we need to forgive and those we need to make amends too. There are all kinds of lists in our lives. I am asking you to make a gratitude list, things you are thankful for! Make a list write it down it is the most important list you will ever make. Keep it close, look at it often and add to it frequently. I believe this simple exercise has the potential to literally change your life! Try it for thirty days just see what happens.
I believe that if you will do what I am asking, you will be radically blessed. I believe it, but more importantly God guarantees it! How about that! I am going to do it myself and my list starts like this;

 “Let me say first that I thank my God through Jesus Christ for all of you,,, (Rom 1:8NLT).

We have many treasures in our lives; you are one of them, thank you!
Jim & Pam

Saturday, November 10, 2012

Celebrate Recovery Principle 5

Hey Partners & Friends,
Celebrate Recovery Principle 5 says, “Voluntarily submit to every change God wants to make in my life and humbly ask Him to remove my character defects.”
“Happy are those whose greatest desire is to do what God requires.” Mt 5:6 GNT
There is a lot packed into that seemingly simple statement. Let’s break it down.
Voluntarily- I choose to submit, God doesn’t force me, he gives me the opportunity to choose Him, and it is His passionate desire that I do so. He lets me make choices right or wrong. I must voluntarily make that choice.
Submit-This word submit can’t be over emphasized. Because that is the last thing we want to do, submit to anybody or anything. We want to control our lives, and that’s exactly how we got into the mess we are in. Surrender to the Lord, ironically it seems, leads to victory. Victory that we have been unable to attain no matter how hard we try. This idea is contrary to our thinking, submit to win, and surrender to have victory? How does that work?
 “My thoughts are nothing like your thoughts,” says the Lord.
    “And my ways are far beyond anything you could imagine. For just as the heavens are higher than the earth, so my ways are higher than your ways and my thoughts higher than your thoughts.’ Isa 55:8-9 NLT
Every change- not just the changes that we want to make but the changes God wants to make in our lives. We must not try to pick and choose which character defects we want to keep and which ones we are willing to let go.
Then we must humbly ask- sincerely, earnestly ask for God’s help, understanding that we can’t do this on our own. If we could we would have already done so. We need our higher power Jesus Christ to enable us to get past the destructive behaviors and allow Him to remove our character defects. We’ve got to come to God honestly, wholly, and earnestly asking for his help to remove our character defects. We are looking for change, deep change in our lives, more than just changing behaviors (which we must change to get different outcomes) but change in our character which causes us to become more like Christ. “And because of his glory and excellence, he has given us great and precious promises. These are the promises that enable you to share his divine nature and escape the world’s corruption caused by human desires.”      2 Pet 1:4NLT
Who does not want victory in their life? At Celebrate Recovery we learn how to volunteer for it! God doesn’t force us to turn to him, He loves us with a passion and He wants us to choose to love him back. Many times we turn to God as a last ditch effort, we are at the end of our rope, nowhere else to go. Basically we give up trying to do it our way and say God, HELP!
Thanks for volunteering with us in this ministry!
Jim & Pam
                                                Please designate gifts to Believers Church “Recovery Missions” Thank You.

Sunday, October 28, 2012


I am starting to feel let down by God because He is not taking my depression away. Can you help?

Your question moves my heart in a number of ways because I have talked to so many people over the years that feel like you do. There is some specific problem they feel in the emotional area or with another aspect of life that is not working. They pray for God to make it different and He does not. Then they begin to doubt His love, or even His existence.

There are a lot of things God could do for your depression, such as wave His hand and just “take it away.” But He typically does not do it that way for a very specific reason. Usually when we are depressed, it is for a real issue that needs to be worked out in our lives. If God were to take away the depression (which is the symptom), the things about us that need to change would go unheeded. We would be the same, but our depression, the signal that tells us we need to grow in some area, would be gone. And we would have no reason to grow.

This is why James says for us to “consider it all joy when we encounter various trials,” because the trials, accompanied with the wisdom of knowing what to change, have the effect of our being made mature. (James 1:1-5) In other words, when we go through pain, and we learn what we need to learn from the process, we are made more complete. But, if the trial were just “taken away” from us, we would not be any more mature even though we were no longer in pain.

For example, if your depression were coming from a sense of isolation or loneliness, God could “take away” the depression, but you would still be cut off from deep relationships with other people. God wants you to live in deep relationships. So to be isolated and “un-depressed” would thwart His very design for how life is supposed to work. Isolation should leave us depressed, and the depression should be a signal something is wrong.

There are other causes for depression as well, such as feelings of powerlessness or inferiority, unresolved pain and hurt, not developing talents, and distorted thinking…to name just a few. God wants you to change these kinds of things. This is what redemption is all about, “growing up into Him,” and becoming mature. (Ephesians 4:15) And as James says, He will give you the wisdom to know what you have to learn in this trial. (James 1:5)

It may also be you have been very hurt by someone. If so, He wants you to face that hurt. He wants people who have been hurt to get the love they need. Through the healing touch of His people, they can grow in love. If He just “cured” your depression, the injustice that may have come your way in life would have never been touched and made right by love.

In addition, sometimes depression can be a sign that there is a physical problem. Everything from a simple chemical imbalance to significant illness can cause depression and you should see a doctor to make sure nothing is wrong. A physician should check depression that persists.

I long for your depression to go away too. But I also long for you to have a better life. That can only come through growth and finding what issues you have to deal with and change. This can be a grueling task. Remember it is a path God wants for us and it has great reward. He wants us to work on it, for He is working too, the team effort will bring great reward.

As Paul says, “continue to work out your salvation with fear and trembling, for it is God who works in you to will and to act according to his good purpose.” (Philippians 2:12,13) Use this struggle to find the changes you need to make, and allow God to do His work in you of healing and growth. Find the help you need from others, such as a counselor or a support group, and ask for the wisdom to make the changes you need to make. Then go for it. Remember, you are not alone in your struggle; God and the heavenly witnesses are all pulling for you. (Hebrews 12:1)

By Dr. Henry Cloud

Sunday, October 7, 2012


I like being in control of my own destiny, why should I submit to God?
God wants you to have the freedom to be in control of your life. However, you may remember the phrase “one nation, under God.” In thinking of the individual’s life, we would do well to look at ourselves as “one person, under God.” The other aspect of this has to do with remembering who is in charge. It is God’s creation, it is His world, and He is the one who makes the rules. The world is His and all that is in it. As the psalmist says, “It is he who made us, and we are his.” (Psalm 100:3)

What flows from the fact He is God and we are not, is that we are to be under His “lordship.” Or in other words, do things as He says. He made life, it seems we would understand He is the one who knows best how it all works. In His direction to us, as He outlined it to Adam and Eve, there are two sides to His instructions. One side is the freedom we have to enjoy life and all that He has created. The other is a way of living that is to be avoided. Listen to His words to Adam and Eve.

“And the LORD God commanded the man, ‘You are free to eat from any tree in the garden; but you must not eat from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, for when you eat of it you will surely die.’” (Genesis 2:16,17)

He gave them freedom to enjoy life and the fruits of life He made for them. But he told them they needed to stay away from the tree that symbolized the position of Godhood. The knowledge of good and evil was something God Himself was to know, and mankind was to be protected from. In short, we were to be protected from playing the role that only God can play. We were made to be the creation, not the creator. We were made to obey Him, not dictate our own rules. And in doing so, we would avoid death and separation, and the experience of “good and evil.” It could have been “all good,” if we had only obeyed.

So choosing to live life under God, not trying to be equal or over Him, is a wise choice. He made life, and he best knows how we should live it. Submitting to Him is for our benefit because He seeks to protect us.

From Love, Receive and Obey, by Dr. Henry Cloud

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

CR Principle 4

Hey Partners and Friends,

Now we are at a place in our sharing snippets of the CR principles where we come to mountain moving time. The infamous Principle 4, Step 4.
Principle 4: Openly examine and confess my faults to myself, to God, and to someone I trust.
It takes guts to do this, courage. God tells us repeatedly in scripture to be strong and courageous. I believe engaging in this principle takes faith, the kind of faith that moves mountains. The result or goal we are looking for is the promise or truth Jesus talked about in MT 5:8 GNT “Happy are the pure in heart; they will see God.” That sounds pretty good, huh? When our hearts are pure on the inside we are blessed with the ability to see God on the outside. The Message bible puts it this way; “You’re blessed when you get your inside world—your mind and heart—put right. Then you can see God in the outside world.”
So how do we go about doing this at Celebrate Recovery? That brings us to Step 4 of the 12 steps: “We made a searching and fearless moral (honest) inventory of ourselves.” We intentionally look at ourselves and our own lives. Typically we (you and me) have the tendency to do just the opposite; we tend to get all bent out of shape and upset over government, politics, corporations, greed, corruption, crime, traffic, immigration, courts, justice, prices etc, etc. Our attention gets consumed by the problems and issues of the boss, the neighbors, the world and everyone in it. Truth is we can’t do a whole lot about any of those things. The very best thing we can do is to find recovery for ourselves, allow Jesus to change us. Then we can be a positive influence on everything and everybody in our lives. We can actually help encourage others by being a strength not a weight or burden. We can be part of the solution not the problem. Here’s the point, at Celebrate Recovery we learn how to look at ourselves and our own issues not everybody else’s. Sometimes I think we watch the news so we can see the garbage in other people’s lives which allows us to feel better about ourselves and basically ignore our own issues.

Jesus talked pretty directly about this idea when He said, “And why worry about a speck in your friend’s eye when you have a log in your own? How can you think of saying, ‘Friend, let me help you get rid of that speck in your eye,’ when you can’t see past the log in your own eye? Hypocrite! First get rid of the log in your own eye; then you will see well enough to deal with the speck in your friend’s eye.’
The scripture we use in CR is Lam 3:40 “Let us examine our ways and test them, and let us return to the Lord.” This implies if we examine, really look at, our own ways and test them we will find areas or attitudes or behaviors that are at least counter productive or even destructive to our selves or others. Places where we don’t line up with God’s will for our lives. Then we can intentionally and specifically give those areas over to the Lord to help us, and ask Him to change us or do for us what we have not been able to do for ourselves. David, the man after God’s heart prayed it this way; “God, examine me and know my heart; test me and know my anxious thoughts. See if there is any bad thing in me. Lead me on the road to everlasting life.”
God answered that prayer in David’s life, He has answered it in mine and I am seeing Him answer it in countless others. Psm 139:23-23 NCV

Thank you for partnering with us in this mountain moving ministry.

Jim & Pam

Monday, October 1, 2012

The Beginning of Real Change...

If you are interested in a new beginning to pursue goals you have always wanted for yourself, this is an outstanding Christian coaching video to view http://www.cloudtownsend.com/webinars/demo/1/ .    While its 64 minutes, I believe you will find it valuable for its teaching and insights.  Dr. Henry Cloud is a key figure who is aligned with Saddleback Church, Forest Lake, CA, and Celebrate Recovery, and has much to say about healthy processing.  I encourage you to take the time to consider…

Bro. Rob

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

CR Principle 3

Hey Partners and Friends,

I am so glad God created us with the ability to choose, aren’t you? Ever thought about how many choices you have everyday. Someone said, “We all make choices, but in the end our choices make us.”

This month I want to share another snippet of a CR principle. All the principles are critical for recovery but this one is HUGE. It is the crux of all the rest of them. The first two principles are the basis from which we get to the third, being the central theme of all the steps.  
  1. Realize I’m not God; I admit that I am powerless to control my tendency to do the wrong thing and that my life is unmanageable.
  2. Earnestly believe that God exists, that I matter to Him and that He has the power to help me recover.
And now;
3. C
onsciously choose to commit all my life and will to Christ’s care and control.

Read that principle again and let it soak for a minute. I mean think about it, if we miss this we are missing it all.
At times all of us get into a bit of a funk and just go about our daily lives doing what we have always done, the same old routine not really thinking about it. I believe God wants us to be conscious of the fact that we do not have to get stuck in routine, habitual cycles of behavior or thinking we can make choices. A very long time ago God said, “Today I have given you the choice between life and death, between blessings and curses. Now I call on heaven and earth to witness the choice you make. Oh, that you would choose life, so that you and your descendants might live! DT. 30:19NLT
I believe God meant it when he said it then, and I believe he means it today. It’s like every day I can choose good or bad, life or death, blessings or curses.  I used to think it was a command, but as I look closer I realize it is the plea of God’s heart. The bedrock of the Celebrate Recovery ministry is this principle, this choice. God has given us an indescribable ability, and that is the ability to choose. What we do, how we act, what we think and how we feel. People in recovery many times have lost site of this truth. They believe the lie that they have no choices they’re just stuck, addicted, trapped with no options. Jesus said, “You will know the truth and the truth will set you free.” Jn 8:32
So we do have choices and the choice above all choices is- what are we going to do with Jesus, all other choices in life pail in comparison to this one choice. We must, “Consciously choose to commit all my life and will to Christ’s care and control.” Today we can make that choice and everyday for the rest of our lives and just see what happens. Everyday when you wake up choose life, choose blessings, choose good. Choose to commit the day and your will to Christ’s care and control. Thank you that one of your choices has been to partner with us in this ministry.
God has made His choice, it’s you!
 Jim & Pam

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Why are Boundaries necessary?

Because God is behind the concept of boundaries. According to the Bible, this need is fundamental in the creation of mankind. God created us to be free, and to act responsibly with our freedom. He wanted us to be in control of ourselves, and to have a good existence. He was behind that idea all along.
But as we all know, we misused our freedom, and as a result, lost it. With the loss of freedom came the loss of self-control. The results of losing self-control are displayed in a wide variety of miseries. Consider a few of the alternatives to self-control:
  • Controlling relationships where people try to control each other.
  • Faith that is practiced out of guilt and drudgery instead of freedom and love.
  • Being motivated by guilt, anger and fear instead of love.
  • The inability to gain control of our own behavior and solve problems in our lives.
  • The loss of control to addictive processes.
  • These are to name just a few. It is no wonder why the need for Boundaries is felt so deeply.

In fact, these issues are so dear to the heart of God, He says it was one of the motivators for the sacrifice of Christ Himself: “It is for freedom that Christ has set us free. Stand firm, then, and do not let yourselves be burdened again by a yoke of slavery.” (Galatians 5:1) Jesus died to set us free: from sin, from the devil, from the world around us. And that is the essence of what Boundaries teach—freedom.

From The Simple Scoop on Boundaries by Dr. Henry Cloud

Saturday, September 15, 2012

Need for redemption

The link http://marshill.com/media/real-marriage/disgrace-and-grace is a sermon from Mars Hill Church in Seattle that focuses on the epidemic of sexual assaults, addressing the victims and the abusers, and the redemption that is necessary through Jesus.  It is powerful and worth your time.
Bro.  Rob

Monday, September 10, 2012

Beginning new website...

We wanted to let you know we have an updated website http://cr-believerschurchtulsa.blogspot.com/ that we will be using for keeping you up to date for all the Celebrate Recovery activities at Believers Church.  On this page you will find our various Posts to encourage you from the local stories coming out of our group.  Additionally on the left hand side, there are resource links to the national CR websites for help with serving the folks who participate in CR, training guidance and the other significant items we think important.  On the right side of the page, we display various lists, our training plans, and other relevant tools.  Also for fun, we have the link to the SkitGuys.com videos that are both funny and inspirational.

Hope you benefit from this webpage, and do please let us know of any ideas or suggestions to improve or expand the value of this page by emailing the ‘Contact Us’ address.