Sunday, November 22, 2015

Shabby Chic


Pam has a hobby refinishing old furniture, mainly end tables and coffee tables. She also likes to do some decorating, arts and crafts type stuff. If I do say so myself she is pretty darn good at it. She antiqued a wooden door which we bolted to the wall as a headboard for our bed, it looks great. We have old windows which have been painted and decorated hanging all over our house. She loves that stuff. I think her preferred style is called “shabby chic” or something like that. It’s a big deal. My only involvement is lugging furniture, doors, and windows, in and out of the car, garage and all over the house.   

Anyway she was carousing around on Facebook and Craigslist one day trying to sell one of her coffee tables when kind of a peculiar thing happened. It seems God wanted to give her a word of encouragement, maybe to let her know that some of things she is involved in really are a big deal.

Several people were interested in this particular table that she had for sale. Lots of texting back and forth to various people to see who was actually going to buy it. Then a surprise text, it read;

“Pam I have no idea what’s going on with the table, but if they decide not to go for it, I’d love to have it. I believe the one lady is ahead of me, but I think I was meant to see your post today. Let me explain…While trying to figure out who was getting it, I went to message you and realized who you were. My husband and I met you several months back at Celebrate Recovery. I’ve thought of you often during my struggles. You came to me in the ladies room and visited with me. I want you to know I truly appreciated that. Thinking of you being able to work through your struggles helps me with mine. I just wanted you to know you made an impact.”

Shabby chic, is a form of interior design where furniture and furnishings are either chosen for their appearance of age and signs of wear and tear or where new items are distressed to achieve the appearance of an antique. At the same time, a soft, opulent, yet cottage-style d├ęcor. Old looking, beat up, a few scratches here and there lots of wear and tear, but bursting with character.   

Most times we have no idea the impact we have on the lives of the people we encounter. But like in Pam’s case, just going about her day, doing what she does in CR as a ministry and antiquing as a hobby, she has made an impact in the life of a stranger and fulfilled the of scripture that says;

“He comforts us whenever we suffer. That is why whenever other people suffer, we are able to comfort them by using the same comfort we have received from God.”  2 Cor. 14:1 NOG

Pam has been able to comfort many with the same comfort God has given her. That’s what we do in this ministry, and yes it is a big deal.

At Celebrate Recovery as we share our struggles in the context of the master craftsman Jesus Christ, God takes our old beat up shabby piece of humanity and turns it into “shabby chic” soft, opulent, bursting with character. Valuable once again maybe even more so than before.

Thank you for helping us share our struggles through the lens of Celebrate Recovery which is helping many others with theirs.

Celebrating Recovery,

Jim & Pam

Monday, November 9, 2015

How to Expose the Schemes of the Enemy (and 6 Ways to Protect Yourself) 

Debbie McDaniel, Crosswalk.com Contributing Writer 2015 Jun 29 



In all that swirls around us today, from top headline news stories to the day to day struggles, I'm aware, more than ever - we're in a battle in this life. We face an active enemy every single day that we're here breathing air. We may not see it, we might forget, it's easy to lose focus, and get distracted on all that doesn't really matter. 

But the truth is, spiritual forces are still at work. 

Every wise soldier knows he must do one thing. To get him through the battle. To take him into tomorrow. 

Know who the enemy is. 

Unless we know who the real enemy is and how he operates, chances are, we will not win. We must know his schemes, understand his battle tactics, know his weaknesses and his strengths. We must know what he looks like, and how he disguises himself. We must live aware. 

The same is true in life. Yet sometimes we forget. Often in the day to day of life routines, we lose sight of who the enemy really is. And we start fighting one another, even turning against our own team. Divided families, separated friendships, split churches – we lose power and effectiveness when we fight against ourselves. And nothing could make the Satan happier than to see us at war with each other. 

Other times, we assume we’re fighting the right battles, against opposing forces, but our focus gets blurred. We wrestle and struggle with those that disagree with our beliefs, values, or what we stand for. We spin our wheels, wearying ourselves with critical words and judgmental tones. And in it all, with energy zapped, and more anger than love, we miss it. 

God’s Word reminds us, “For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms” (Ephesians 6:12). 

There’s one who lurks around us today. He’s real. He’s alive. He’s deceptive. He’s crafty. And his primary goal is to strike you down, along with as many others he can drag down with you. He waits. He searches. He watches. Looking for the best time to attack, at your weakest, most vulnerable moment. 

Satan is the real foe we face. And he’s not just some guy in a red suit, pitchfork in hand. Don’t be fooled. He’s far more deceptive. He wants you to fail; he wants you to quit; he wants to render you completely ineffective. 

His main goal is to steal, kill, and destroy. He seeks to gain ground today in as many lives as he can, and in every corner of our world, for he knows his time is limited. 

But we don’t have to let him win. 

God has much to say about his devious schemes. And though he never tells us to be afraid, he does tell us to be on guard and to live aware. 

In 2 Corinthians 2:10-11, Paul reminds believers to forgive those who have wronged them, "in order that Satan might not outwit (take advantage of) us. For we are not unaware (ignorant, uninformed) of his schemes (evil purpose, thoughts, plans)." 

God has a plan for our lives. The enemy has a plan for us too. We have to determine which voice we’re going to listen to, and who we will choose to follow. 

What the enemy looks like and how he works – 10 things: 

  1. He is a liar. A twister of the Truth. From the beginning of time, he has hissed lies our way, twisting God’s word to bring doubt and disbelief. (John 8:44, Genesis 3:1) 
  2. He is a deceiver. He will seek to bring confusion and lead many astray, he is a wolf in sheep's clothing. (Revelation 12:9; Matthew 7:15) 
  3. He is a thief. He comes to steal, kill, and destroy. He will rob us of joy, peace, security and purpose. He will try to destroy our families, lives, and all that we hold dear. (John 10:10) 
  4. He is the accuser. His voice condemns and accuses bringing shame and fear. (Revelation 12:10) 
  5. He is our adversary. He prowls around like a roaring lion seeking who he can devour. His attacks are ruthless. He searches for the weakest, most vulnerable victims to devour. (1 Peter 5:8) 
  6. He disguises himself as an angel of light, he is deceptively cunning and can make himself appear beautiful and alluring. He attempts to make sin look good and evil enticing. (2 Corinthians 11:14) 
  7. He is the tempter. He will do anything to try to lure you away from Truth, away from God. He knows your weaknesses, don’t be fooled. He lures, he tempts, with sex, money, power, greed, and lust. (Matthew 4:3) 
  8. He is Beelzebub. Known as the lord of the flies, the prince of demons. Like flies gravitate to decay and death, he lords over what brings death. (Matthew 12:23-24) 
  9. He is crafty. He is a schemer. He is cunning and evil. He can never be trusted. He is a master manipulator, don’t fall for his schemes. (Genesis 3:1-5, Ephesians 6:11-12) 
  10. He is one who hinders. He is a stumbling block. He will do anything to prevent the Name of Jesus Christ from being proclaimed and Truth from being shared. He will try every trick possible to throw roadblocks in our path and to stop us from being fruitful (1 Thessalonians 2:18, Matthew 16:23) 

Times you can know he will attack: 

  • When you’re already down. Satan never fights fair. He’s cruel. He will try to kick you while you’re down, and attack when you already struggling, and at your weakest, most vulnerable moments. 
  • When you don’t expect it. Often when life is great and things seem happy, we let our guard down. We forget he’s still there, waiting for one unexpected moment when he can come in with a brutal blow. Even when days are good, and we are strong, live aware that dark forces fight against us, in the spiritual realm where we cannot see. 
  • When you think you can handle it. We must live aware, understanding our weakness and find strength in God alone, never in our own flesh. Do not be fooled to think you can’t be tempted. 
  • When you’re making a difference for God’s purposes. If you are a force for God’s kingdom, and living like salt and light in this world, know that you will be attacked. You will. No doubt. Stay aware, do not be surprised, opposing forces will try to stop your influence for Christ. But they do not have to win. And we need not be afraid, for the Lord our God fights for us. He is on our side. 

Protecting yourself from his schemes:

  • Be aware. Stay alert. (1 Peter 5:8) 
  • Submit to God’s authority. Be ruthless with sin, which is an open door for the enemy to work. Resist him and he has to flee. (James 4:7) 
  • Know that in Christ, we are forgiven. You are set free. You have His mighty power working within you. You are more than a conqueror through Christ. (Romans 8:37) 
  • Put on the armor. Daily. Pray. Take up the Word of God, the sword of the Spirit, which is our only offensive weapon. (Ephesians 6:11) 
  • Know that He is for you. He is with you. And the enemy does not have the final say over your life. God fights for you, even in times you’re unaware. He’s always working on your behalf, often behind the scenes where you cannot see. And the enemy’s plans will be crushed. (Romans 16:20) 
  • Keep living aware. Keep standing strong. You are never alone. 


“Finally, be strong in the Lord and in the strength of His might” (Ephesians 6:10). 

“Greater is He who is in you, than he who is in the world” (1 John 4:4). 

Debbie McDaniel is a pastor's wife, mom to three amazing kids and a few too many pets, dramatist and writer. She has a heart to communicate God's hope though the everyday moments of life - the good, the bad, the ugly, and the ones that take your breath away. A lover of every sunrise, forever needy of His grace, this Texas girl finds joy in the simple gift of each new day.

Tuesday, October 6, 2015

Boundaries - When to say Yes... When to say No....

Dr. John Townsend is a wonderful counselor and friend to the Celebrate Recovery community.  This is an excellent 75 minute teaching about having healthy boundaries in our lives.  Bless you all, Brother Rob 

Tuesday, September 22, 2015

Repentance

Tomorrow is September 23rd which is the 10th of Tishri, Yom Kippur, or the ”Day of Atonement”, which is the holiest day of the Jewish year.  Yom Kippur is about purification, when the High Priest of old would enter the Holy-of-Holies of the Temple, and on behalf the nation of Israel, offer a blood sacrifice for the sins of the people.

I heard a good teaching today about how many of us judge others, have philosophies and opinions about how others should be living, and what politicians and nations should be doing to make things right.
 
The speaker’s conclusion was that rather than being worried about others’ sins, we need to focus on our own sin, repent to God the Father and engage with Jesus to walk out our own personal recovery.  We need to individually, honestly confront our denials, and rationalizations, owning our sin, and struggles, and repent to the Father, and share our struggle with a Christ following brother or sister.


Would you consider doing this today my friend?  The time is now. 

Saturday, July 25, 2015

TACOS


Tacos
It’s all about saving the world, changing our lives. Can it be done? How do you do it? What do you do?

I recently went to Oklahoma City on a futon hunting trip.  I wasn’t real sure what a futon was. My wife had found one for sale on Craig’s List, so off we went “futon hunting.” This isn’t quite like hunting deer, rabbit, squirrel, quail or anything I have hunted for in the past. But I thought what the heck I’ll take my gun just in case. Everybody knows Craig’s List is not exactly the safest place to shop, so even if I don’t have to shoot the futon I’ll be ready to shoot the futon salesman if necessary. Long story short, the futon guy turned out to be a prince of a guy. We talked at length about Celebrate Recovery, how God works in our lives and where there was a good place to eat. I didn’t have to shoot him or the futon, go figure.

Actually I had been wanting to go to OKCY for a while anyway. I had heard there was a really good restaurant there “Big Truck Tacos” I love tacos and their motto is “saving the world one taco at a time.” So I am all in, good tacos and saving the world are a couple of my favorite things. For an added confirmation that this hunting trip was ordained by God, the futon guy, recommended Big Truck Tacos as a great place to eat, said he and his wife eat there all the time. Halleluiah!  Here we go to save the world. I had two tacos for my part in the salvation of the world. They were, good, however I’m not quite sure how the whole saving the world thing plays into tacos, but hey, I’m not one to avoid sacrifice.

It seems there are several ways to change the world. There is a new restaurant near my house “Slim Chickens” whose motto is “Life changing chicken.” I love fried chicken. I was raised on that stuff and it is still one of my favorite meals. I’m sure chicken has played a major role in my overall development. As a matter of fact I have been called “chicken legs” on many occasions. Anyway I wanted to check out this life changing chicken. It was good, about equal to the tacos, but I have to tell you it hasn’t changed my life one iota, except for the fact I that I have eaten there four times in the past two weeks.   

I said all that to say I don’t think tacos and chicken will really do a whole lot to save the world or change your life. I have eaten both and all it did was cause me to add a notch to my belt. But there is something else that I know will change your life and save the world one person at a time, Celebrate Recovery. Our motto is “changing the world one life at a time.” I’ve seen it, as well as experienced it myself. We have been doing CR at Believers Church for nine years and we had our celebration CR Sunday last month, CR Sunday # 9. It was great. I generally give an update as to what is going on at CR during this event but I wanted the people to hear first-hand from some of the people whose lives have radically changed through this ministry. So we had what we call “popcorn testimonies” several people throughout the congregation just stand up and give a brief testimony about how the Lord Jesus Christ has changed their lives through the CR model. We had men, women, old, young and in-between share a word about how they have benefited, changed, overcoming all sorts of things like suicidal depression, porn addiction, drug abuse, childhood abuse, loss, alcohol, pain of abandonment, betrayal.

For nine years we have had continuous 12 step groups, currently there are four groups in progress. I wanted to try to share how very significant that is. I want you to know there is much fruit from your prayers and support of Celebrate Recovery. It is good ground. Thanks for helping us do this ministry which really does make a difference. Tacos, chicken, not so much, but Jesus Christ is alive and well at Celebrate Recovery “changing the world one life at a time.”

Celebrating Recovery,

Jim & Pam

Wednesday, June 24, 2015

Celebrate Recovery @Believers Church, Sunday June 28, 2015

If you have ever wanted to learn more about Celebrate Recovery (CR) and what is true recovery, come to Believers Church, 4705 S. Memorial, Tulsa, this coming Sunday June 28th.   As my friends, I know many of you may think that CR is for those people who struggle with alcoholism, drugs, pornography and divorce.  You would be mistaken.  CR is a Christ-centered recovery program for broken people.  I believe we are all broken to some degree and struggle to pretend we are not.  I have struggled for 50 years with a deep sense of ‘shame’, and Jesus Christ through Celebrate Recovery (CR) has been instrumental in me realizing a freedom and healing I have never known.

I originally came to Jesus to be saved, to be recovered.  But once I passed through the initial experience, I mistakenly learned to cope with my many character defects and struggles like everyone else around me in the various churches where I attended.  I wanted a deeper healing that aligned with the Bible and know a greater emotional intimacy with God.  I have found that in Celebrate Recovery (CR) and I encourage you to learn more about the principles & steps that are straight out of God’s Holy Word.  

Please consider and have a blessed day!  Struggle well!
Brother Rob

Friday, June 19, 2015

Tears....

Hey Guys-

I found these pictures fascinating and wanted to share them with you guys, thinking you might as well! Our different tears having very different molecular structure! But when you think about it, it makes perfect sense as our tears have very different functions depending on the kind of emotion they are carrying. In these pictures, we see grief, change, onions and laughing. 

One thing they have in common: 
they all carry experience. 

They come as you express how you are metabolizing events in your life, heart, mind and soul. So, each one of them is doing its own work, carrying the message of what you have been and are going through to move forward.

So what is the work these tears carry in their various molecular structures? 
Why are they all different?

Grief says that you have lost something you were attached to, invested in, depended on, and most probably loved. In the tears of grief, the message is "it is gone. I have to let go." These tears are doing an important work of taking the pain from letting go out of your system. They are helping you value what or whom you have lost....reinforcing the power of love, reminding you to never forget the importance of that person or investment of your heat. At the same time, they are making space for new investment. They are clearing a room inside for what life is going to bring to you to invest your heart in next. This dance of valuing the past, holding on to what is good from it, and taking it forward into the next investment of the heart, making room for the heart's next chapter, is some of the best work of grief. Where do you need to express some loss and let grief do its work of healing your heart?

Change is a different kind of pain. It rips in a different way, as change gets to patterns and structures that were holding us in tact. Ways that we were doing life, maps we negotiated whether in life for ourselves, with others, or in some area of functioning. Changes means that we have to take in new data, information and ways, rip out the frame and walls of the old "buildings," and begin to try to remodel the house. If you have every been through a remodeling effort, it is messy. It is dusty. It becomes loud, painful, and you feel like you can't figure out where anything goes or how to do anything you used to be able to do. At the same time, it stretches you to new abilities and heights as you develop new muscles and ways to adapt to what you have not seen before. It can be incredibly good, yet incredibly painful. A basic law of growth is change. We cannot grow without it, and we cannot change and grow without "growing pains." What pain of change do you need to lean into now and let the tears do their work?

Onion tears to me are the tears of something invading our system that does not belong there. It is toxic. We reject it. Our chemistry says "go away, get out. You do not make me feel good." We are wired in that way, to know what is toxic to us, what burns us, what we want to "get out of us." It can be the poison of a person, group, organization or almost any aspect of life. Any experience that has a toxic effect on our system is going to feel not good to us. We want it away....it burns. These tears help us get the toxic out. What toxins in your life do you need to cry out now?

Laughing tears are our favorite, for sure. What is laughter except the expression of various positive emotional states....it is mainly  just goodness! You have taken in an experience or realization that has made life lighter. Your body is expressing it as it releases the energy of that joy, and your tears carry that message. An interesting tidbit about is that they release some chemicals that can cause depression, and lighten the internal load. Laughter is certainly good at that, and the energy release is your body letting go. Your tears are good for you....emotionally, physically, spiritually, relationally, and in making life work. Embrace them.

One more thing......have you ever wondered why your tear ducts are in your eyes? Why aren't they in your armpits? If they were there you could use some anti-tear deodorant, no one would see them, smell them, or even know you were in pain. But, they are in your eyes for that very reason. Your pain, your tears should be SEEN by someone who is looking right into your soul as you go through that pain. Your pain needs to be seen and loved in order to completely heal. 

So, when you cry....make sure you are crying with someone who cares. It will help!

I hope you all have a great weekend!

Cheers,

Henry
(Ref: newsletter@drcloud.com......  Brother Rob - blessings!)

Thursday, May 21, 2015

It's Not How You Start


Last week was a wonderful Celebrate Recovery gathering. We had several visitors, all of whom said they would be back. Taco salad for dinner, mmm good stuff, worship was great, the band ushered us into the sweet presence of God. One of the band members shared a recent experience he had on the golf course while trying to qualify for the US Open. His first eight holes were terrible, he wanted to quit. As he thought it through, it became apparent he was trying to steer the ball and control the outcome. He had the idea to just walk up and do what you are supposed to do, relax, don’t quit and stop trying to control the outcome. The last ten holes he played some outstanding golf. The moral of the story is “it’s not how you start, but how you finish.

The same theme rang through the testimony of the evening. An older gentleman, (older than me anyway and that’s becoming more and more unusual these days,) was sexually abused as a child which affected him all his adult life, six marriages, five of which failed. About three years ago he came to CR, went through a 12 Step group and last night on his seventy-first birthday shared his story with our group. Mostly a sad story of many years of struggling with sexual addiction and all its ramifications and collateral damage. The carnage left behind after any sin is immense especially sexual sin. We don’t hear much about those consequences anymore which is unfortunate. It would save us and those around us much pain. The Bible says, “Run from sexual sin! No other sin so clearly affects the body as this one does. For sexual immorality is a sin against your own body.” 1Cor 6:18 NLT The Message bible puts it this way, ”There is a sense in which sexual sins are different from all others. In sexual sin we violate the sacredness of our own bodies, these bodies that were made for God-given and God-modeled love, for “becoming one” with another. Or didn’t you realize that your body is a sacred place, the place of the Holy Spirit? Don’t you see that you can’t live however you please, squandering what God paid such a high price for?”

Here’s the good news, the message. God has paid the ultimate price for us. He will not take it back He can’t, it’s already done, a gift from God to us. Not just so we can go to heaven when we die, but so we can live a life of abundance here on this planet. Jesus said, “The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come so that they may have life, and may have it abundantly. The wages of all sin is death but the gift of God is eternal life in Jesus Christ our Lord.

Our testimony for the evening had seventy-one years of living, three years filled with life, the last three. It is not how well you start out, but it is how you finish. It’s kind of sad that we see so many people whose lives have been basically a long train wreck, many years of grasping for fulfillment in the wrong places. But it is a glorious joy when we see how God in His incredible mercy and grace somehow takes the tangled mess, cleans it up and makes it new, even when we have sinned against our own bodies. He does this week after week at Celebrate Recovery, His love never stops. God never quits.

No matter what we have done or how long we have done it, let’s finish well.

Love,

Jim & Pam

Tuesday, April 21, 2015

I'll do it myself,,,


“If I want something done right, I might as well just do it myself.” How many times have you thought that, at work, at home or virtually anywhere you are responsible for getting something done? And many times it is very true. You know what you want done and you know how to do it, so rather than ask someone for help it’s just easier to do it yourself. However in some cases the do it yourself method just does not work, you can’t do it by yourself as hard as you try there is simply, no way. Most men recoil at having to ask for help, it’s like asking for directions, not going to happen.
At Celebrate Recovery we discover that if we could have done it by ourselves it would have been done long ago. If we could get free from our hurts habits and hang-ups’ all on our own we would already be there. Truth is we can’t. It seems this fact is harder for men to accept than it is for the ladies. Men like to fix stuff, anything, everything, grrrrr, we are manly men, nothing too hard! Maybe that is why men have such a hard time admitting they need help.

Celebrate Recovery emphasizes the need for three relationships in order to find freedom, healing and wholeness.

1.       Jesus Christ. Everyone needs Jesus. He is our Higher Power and His power knows no limits, no barriers are too strong, nothing is beyond His ability.

So if the Son sets you free, you will be absolutely free.” Jn. 8:36 GW

2.       A Christ centered recovery group or a church family where you can be real.

God’s purpose was that the body should not be divided but rather that all of its parts should feel the same concern for each other.  If one part of the body suffers, all the other parts share its suffering.” 1Cor. 12:25-26 NOG

3.       The relationship of a sponsor and/or a strong accountability partner.

Two people are better off than one, for they can help each other succeed. 10 If one person falls, the other can reach out and help. But someone who falls alone is in real trouble.  A person standing alone can be attacked and defeated, but two can stand back-to-back and conquer.” Eccl. 4:9-10&12 NLT

 “As iron sharpens iron, so one man sharpens another.” Pro. 27:17

To sharpen something it takes friction, abrasion. This is not a relationship of contention, or condemnation, shame or guilt but of one of love that has an edge on it, some grit when necessary. The NT talks a lot about “one another,” helping, encouraging, strengthening, and loving. We are all in this together like it or not, and we need each other. To make the best of it we need to team up. It seems the American church with its individualist attitude is lacking in this understanding and its killing us. People are suffering in secret and isolation, trying to get free but unable to do so. God has made a way. A huge part of that way is Godly relationships.

Pam and I are so thankful for each of you. Thank you for your faithful prayers and support. You have helped make it possible for us to do this ministry. We could not do it alone.

Together in the body of Christ,
Jim & Pam

Thursday, March 5, 2015

What a TRIP!


Some refer to the Celebrate Recovery process as a journey, indeed it is a journey of sorts. The truth of the matter is life itself is a journey, from the cradle to the grave. It has all sorts of challenges, obstacles, ruff places along the way but we keep trudging on in the hope of good fortune around the next bend. And obviously the journey is not always a hard road. There are wonderful things along the way, incredible joys, times of immense euphoria and thrilling adventure.

I would like to define the CR process as more than a just a journey, it is that for sure, but it is so much more than that. I believe it would be best described as a pilgrimage. The psalmist in his pursuit of God says it this way;

 Blessed are those whose strength is in you,
    whose hearts are set on pilgrimage.

As they pass through the Valley of Baka,
they make it a place of springs;
the autumn rains also cover it wit pools." Psm 84:5-6 NIV
    

The language here is beautiful, expanding the idea of a journey into a heart set on pilgrimage with a holy destination in mind, as the psalmist goes on to say; “They go from strength to strength,
    till each appears before God in Zion.”

Macrina Wiederkehr explains; “A pilgrimage is a journey with a hallowed purpose. Every step along the way has meaning. The pilgrim knows that life giving challenges will emerge. A pilgrimage is not a vacation; it is a transformational journey during which significant change takes place. New insights are given. Deeper understanding is attained. New and old places in the heart are visited. Blessings are received and healing takes place.” That’s it, that’s what happens in the lives of people who pursue God who set their hearts on pilgrimage. It happens in CR and should be happening in the life of every Christian.

So it is not how cruel and hard life is or how contrary the winds blow against us but it is where and what we have set our hearts on. Where we have decided to go. Put in the language of a poet.
"One ship drives east and another drives west
With the selfsame winds that blow.
'Tis the set of the sails
And not the gails
Which tells us the way to go.

Like the winds of the sea are the waves of fate,
As we voyage along through life;
'Tis the set of the soul
That decides the goal.
And not the calm or strife."  Ella Wheeler Wilcox

Thank you friends for joining us on our “pilgrimage” with our hearts set, till we each appear before God in Zion.

Sail on!
Jim & Pam

 

Monday, February 9, 2015

AMAZING


Amazed. When was the last time you were truely amazed? I remember the first time that I experienced amazement. The kind that causes your stomach to do flip-flops, it makes you gasp, literally takes your breath away. I was ten or eleven years old and had traveled to California with my grandmother to visit my dad. So here I was curled up in the seat of a Greyhound bus traveling to California where I would be experiencing all kinds of new and exciting fun things, the Rocky Mountains, Knott’s Berry Farm, Disney Land, and the ocean. Of those things, the Rockies were beautiful, Knott’s Berry Farm fun, Disney Land was very cool, the ocean, well, Amazing. 

Everyone who heard the shepherds’ story was amazed.” Lk2:18 GW.

It’s amazing how the Lord can turn a shattered life around, how He can heal a broken heart, how He can set the captive free. Truly amazing. When Jesus shows up everything changes.

Recently I facilitated another CR twelve step group. What an honor and privilege it was to sit in a group of men, many of these guys young men, hoping to get their lives on track with God’s plan and purpose. Sitting in circle with a group of guys digging into their lives, turning over the rocks of the past, looking, searching fearlessly, sifting through the years, the memories that have formed who they are, and examining their part in all the events, relationships, and circumstances that have shaped their lives. Some of which tragic, some sad, many painful! Also there were outstanding demonstrations of God’s faithfulness, goodness and love weaving itself through their stories. How amazed I am every time Jesus shows up bringing with Him insight, understanding, healing and the truth that brings freedom. It’s miraculous really, a priceless holy experience.

Last night at CR we recognized these men for their courage and faith through this process and they shared with us some of the change that has come into their lives due to the experience. It was a powerful evening. Several friends and loved ones were in attendance supporting their guys. The place was a-buzz with energy, 65-70 attended the celebration. I didn’t talk to everyone who came but I did talk to several folks and “Everyone who heard these guys story was amazed.”

It was a beautiful evening, a holy moment if you will. These men have experienced Christ coming into their lives in a new and fresh way.

Amazing Grace to you and yours,

Jim & Pam