Friday, December 29, 2017

Un-stuck


Staying STUCK in 2018?

At Celebrate Recovery we use acrostics to enhance some of our lessons. I made one up for 2018. STUCK!

Sometimes we are just plain stuck. It happens to all of us. The good news is we can learn how to get un-stuck and how to avoid it in the future. 2018 can be a year of breaking free, Thank God!

There is a reason we find ourselves stuck in that same old rut. If we don’t discover the reason why, we may be there for a very long time. It’s miserable, we could die there. The acrostic S T U C K can help us get away from our “circular thinking” where we spin, and spin and spin some more, the same old issues, same old answers, same thoughts and ideas that do not work. That brings us to the acrostic.

S tubborn, sometimes we even brag about being stubborn. “When I make up my mind there is NO changing it.” That can be dangerous. Being stubborn is just another word for being full of pride, hardheadedness, an arrogant “know it all.” I’m going to do it my way. The Bible says “God resists the proud but gives grace to the humble.” Ja. 4:6. And “Pride precedes a disaster, and an arrogant attitude precedes a fall.” Pro 16:18. So how far do you think you are going to go if God is resisting you? Hmmm?

 The S could also stand for STUPID.  We can make the same stupid choices over and over again and it can ruin our lives. Pro 19:3 msg “People ruin their lives buy their own stupidity,,,” God happens to be in the business of fixing stupidity.

T eachable, we must learn, especially form our mistakes. Pro 14:6 amp “A scoffer seeks wisdom in vain [for his very attitude blinds and deafens him to it], but knowledge is easy to him who [being teachable] understands.”

U nconditional, God just flat loves you, unconditionally. He created you, has a plan for you and it is a good plan. He gave His son for you! What does God require from us? Unconditional surrender, hold nothing back, no qualifiers, no exceptions, no stipulations, no conditions.

C rap, how many of us have felt like this? I’m done, I can’t do it anymore, I’ve had enough, I want out of this cesspool? Apostle Paul said it this way, Compared to the high privilege of knowing Christ Jesus as my Master, firsthand, everything I once thought I had going for me is insignificant—dog dung.” Phil 3:8 msg.

The C could stand for CONTROL as well. Control is an issue in everyone’s life. It can look like manipulation, intimidation, pity, anger, abuse, deceit, lies, accusations, all of which can be used to try to control. The bible says we have all gone our own way, done our own thing. How’s that workin for you? So, do we want to continue or maybe consider letting go and let God?

K eep, “Keep on asking, and you will receive what you ask for. Keep on seeking, and you will find. Keep on knocking, and the door will be opened to you.” Mt. 7:7 nlt So keep coming back, back to God, back to God’s truth, God’s WORD, back to church, back to CR, back to godly people.

“if the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed.” Jn 8;36

 Thank you so much for your continued prayers and support. It is helping many get un-stuck.

2018 Blessings,                                                                                                                                                                               Jim & Pam

Tuesday, December 5, 2017

Stupidity


Hey Partners & Friends,



Sometimes I’d like to blame the boss, my parents, circumstances, God, the devil, somebody! Who or what do you blame? The truth is “People ruin their lives by their own stupidity!” At least that’s what the Bible says. (PRO 19:3 MSG)  Now that’s a revelation!  Surely our problems aren’t due to our own stupidity, are they? Yep, as a matter of fact many of them are, not all of course but many.  

This is an aspect of recovery that Celebrate Recovery addresses. How many of us have experienced God’s miraculous grace and intervention in our lives only to shoot ourselves in the foot. We have enough to deal with, the devil, people and this fallen world, to continually sabotage ourselves. We have habitual thinking patterns, behaviors and cycles that literally drive us right back into the thing that is eating our lunch. Stupidity!   



Celebrate Recovery approaches the above dilemma head on. The bible tells us how to get past our own stupidity. “Let us examine our ways and test them, and let us return to the Lord.” Lam 3:40 If we really do this the CR way, Step 4. We make a searching and fearless moral or (honest) inventory of ourselves. We look at ourselves, no one else. We are the ones who are screwing up our lives by doing the same things over and over again! It’s time to stop it! How do we do it? What are we looking for anyway, what are we examining. We literally take an inventory of our lives, the good, the bad, the ugly. Examining our ways, like looking at them under a magnifying glass or a microscope. Digging into our own lives, searching, looking for everything we can find, like a treasure hunter. Some of the things we find have significant value, they are treasures, treasures that bring richness into our lives. Freedom from repeating the cycles of the past!



Jesus said “The kingdom of heaven is like treasure hidden in a field,,,” MT 13:44



We must look for it, and the good stuff isn’t just laying on the top of the ground. We desperately need to examine our ways like a person in search of a treasure. This is how the bible puts it,

“Cry out for insight, and ask for understanding. Search for them as you would for silver,
seek them like hidden treasures.” Pro 2:3-4

The Message says it like this,

“Tune your ears to the world of Wisdom; set your heart on a life of Understanding.
That's right—if you make Insight your priority, and won't take no for an answer,
Searching for it like a prospector panning for gold, like an adventurer on a treasure hunt,
Believe me, before you know it Fear-of-God will be yours; you'll have come upon the Knowledge of God.”

Sounds like a promise that if we examine and test our ways, search the fields of our lives we are guaranteed to find treasure beyond our dreams.


Wisdom, understanding, insight to you all!

Jim & Pam

Thursday, November 2, 2017

EVERYDAY?


Hey Partners & Friends,

Here is an interesting question to think about. What do you do every day? Think about it.                             
As for myself I brush my teeth, shave, take a shower, get dressed, coffee (I’ve got to have coffee) eat a small breakfast, an egg and a couple slices of bacon or a breakfast bar. After these rituals, habits, necessities whatever you want to call them, my days become very diverse in terms of activities, sometimes the day blows totally up, sometimes they are fun, and/or exciting, sometimes they can be kind of a drag, like when I have to mow, I hate to mow. Anyway here’s the point. The things I do every day are the things that should prepare me for whatever that day has in store.

One thing I forgot to mention that I am committed to do every day, is described in Celebrate Recovery Principle 7.

“Reserve a daily time with God for self-examination, Bible reading and prayer in order to know God and His will for my life and to gain the power to follow His will.”

The emphasis on the word “daily”. Needless to say this is more important than all the rest of those things put together. I mean really, how important is it to meet with God compared to anything else on my schedule? I get to know God better, examine my life and identify areas where I may be off track with His will, read His Word and pray so I can know His will for me and actually gain the power to follow His will.

Notice the different parts of this daily reservation with God. Almost all Christian based organizations advocate a daily quiet time of prayer and bible reading which is a vital discipline for maturing in the Lord. But at CR we deliberately add a time for self-examination. A time where we intentionally look for areas where we may be off base somehow. Possibly holding on to some resentment toward someone. Perhaps we have offended or hurt someone else. We look for areas where we may be in denial, justifying destructive behavior and sin.

It’s basically Step 10 of the 12 Steps “We continue to take personal inventory and when we are wrong promptly admit it.” This addition of self-examination to prayer and bible reading is incredibly productive. It is a huge help in preventing relapse. Scripture advocates the practice of self-examination, 

“So if you thinking you are standing firm, be careful that you do not fall.” 1 Cor. 10:12

Keep your accounts with God and others short and live life to the full!

Celebrating Recovery Every Day,                                                                                                           Jim & Pam                                                                                                                                                     

Monday, August 28, 2017

WEAPONS


Hey Partners & Friends

If I ask you to think about the need for weapons, what would come to mind? Guns, knives, bombs, grenades, any number of things that can be used to empower to defend to fight or even to wage war. A weapon increases the strength and power of the one who possesses it if they know how to use it effectively. Some weapons are extremely powerful, devastating, able to demolish or destroy anything in its path. The atomic bomb for example caused destruction like no other weapon ever used by mankind. The end result of its use however, was that it brought about the end of the war, and ultimately it brought peace.                                                         

Sometimes in life people use weapons to defend or protect themselves, to defeat an enemy and end the conflict.

What kind of weapons come to mind when considering the Kingdom of God? Of course we think of the familiar passage in the Bible that talks about the belt of truth, the breastplate of righteousness, feet shod with the gospel of peace, the shield of faith, the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit.  Along with these there is another weapon that can bring an end to the wars that rage in our hearts and minds.

“For though we live in the world, we do not wage war as the world does.  The weapons we fight with are not the weapons of the world. On the contrary, they have divine power to demolish strongholds.  We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ.” 2Cor 10:3-5 NIV

I want to suggest that forgiveness is one of the most aggressive, devastatingly powerful weapons you have in your arsenal. It empowers you to overcome evil. We don’t usually think of forgiveness in terms of a weapon of our warfare. But it can destroy strongholds in our life, like resentment, anger, rage, jealousy, envy, strife, and bring peace.  Eph. 4:31-32 says, “Get rid of all bitterness, rage and anger, brawling and slander, along with every form of malice.  Be kind and compassionate to one another (and how do we do that?) forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you. The weapon of forgiveness changed the world when Christ cried out from the cross, “Father forgive them for they know not what they do.”

CR Principle # 6. “Evaluate all my relationships. Offer forgiveness to those who have hurt me and make amends for the harm I’ve done to others, except when to do so would harm them or others.”

“Happy are the merciful.” Mt.5:7 “Happy are the peacemakers.” Mt 5:9

At Celebrate Recovery we are learning how to use this formidable weapon of forgiveness in a way that brings the peace that passes understanding and freedom beyond measure. It’s a mighty weapon for pulling down strongholds. God has forgiven us, we must forgive others.

Peace,

Jim & Pam

Friday, July 28, 2017

Changed Lives


Hey Partners and Friends,



WOW! CR Sunday year # 11 at Believers Church was outstanding! We are so blessed to have a church that has a heart for people who struggle, and is not ashamed of being associated with those who struggle to be free in Jesus. Believer’s Church champions us enough to give us the entire Sunday service once a year. I do not know of any other church that honors people in recovery to that extent. We are truly thankful for our church staff and the body of believers where we serve.

This year we had four wonderful testimonies; a husband who struggled with a porn addiction, suicidal depression, anger and is dealing with ptsd.

His wife overcoming the pain of betrayal, embarrassment, shame and the sense of not being good enough.

A young lady whose life was filled with depression, self-hate, regret, guilt and shame.

And a young man full of anger who saw himself and others of no value.

Each of these people have connected with Jesus through the CR process in a way that has brought about dramatic transformation in their lives. The husband has been set free and has facilitated a CR step study and sponsored others into full recovery. His wife has experienced freedom from her hurt, anger, shame and realizes she is good enough. Her testimony says Jesus saved her husband’s life and their marriage.

The young lady has exchanged depression for compassion finding life and value in Jesus Christ. And the young man has not only discovered a totally transformed life but has a new name as well. In his mid-twenties he has allowed his step father, who loved him unconditionally through all his years of rebellion, to adopt him, giving him both a new life and a new name.  

After the testimonies I shared a short message on the importance of what we allow our minds to think about. Right now I’m thinking about how thankful I am to be a part of such a life giving ministry. And my heart is filled with gratitude for you partnering with us through your prayers and support.

I would encourage you to take a few minutes to listen to the CR service yourself so you can hear these testimonies  first hand. To do so just go to our page BCTulsa.com, click Resources, click Sermon podcast, and click CR Sunday. Or click the link below 👇🏽

Click here to listen to CR Sunday #11

Celebrating Recovery, Thank You!

Jim & Pam

Thursday, June 29, 2017

Self Boundary: Put Down the Phone......

By Greg Bowler

Challenge We spend a growing number of hours glued to our phones, which is reducing our brain power.
Solution Create healthy boundaries around your behavior with your phone. Treat it like a tool. Leave it somewhere else in your house or office when you’re not using it.
People love their phones. Walk into just about any public space where people are gathered, and you’ll likely be unsurprised to find that a sizable number of those people are staring at a phone. According to a report by comScore, a media analysis organization, the average American adult spends 2 hours and 51 minutes on their smartphone per day. That adds up to a lot of time every year. The math is frightening.
Studies have shown that smartphones do a lot of harm. From making young people’s lives subjectively worse, to distracting parents of children to the point that those children throw tantrums, our behaviors with smartphones are creating big problems.
Phones can be great -- they connect us to the world, they provide entertainment, directions, keep us organized, and, with the right apps, can maybe even assist our productivity. We can choose how we use our phones, but most of us are bad at managing these choices.
In perhaps the most damning indictment of smartphones yet, research from the University of Texas at Austin suggests that the mere presence of a smartphone has the potential to diminish your cognitive capacity. That’s right, simply being near your phone could be making you dumb.
800 participants of a study were assessed on the basis of their performance at a series of cognitive tasks. While performing a given task, study participants were instructed to either keep their phone face down on the desk, in a bag or pocket, or in another room. The study participants who had their phones in a different room vastly outperformed subjects whose phones were either in their bag or pocket, or visible on a desk.
The study suggests that the impact of smartphones on the brain’s ability to function goes beyond merely being distracted by notifications, texts or emails. In the experiment, subjects could not see the screens of their phones at all. The results suggest that, unconsciously, the brain allocates a certain amount of available space for considering how it will use the phone when the phone returns.
Whether the phone was on or off did not change the results of the experiments. Simply keeping the phone nearby was enough to diminish performance.
As we become more and more attached to our phones, it is important to consider the effects they have on our performance and our relationships. If you want to give your performance a boost, consider treating your phone more like what it is -- a phone, and less like a personal stimulation device, to be gazed at with every fleeting second of available time. And if you really want a boost, consider creating a geographical boundary between yourself and your phone. Leave it in another room.
https://drcloud.com/article/Self_Boundary_Put_Down_the_Phone?src=newsletter&utm_source=Newsletter&utm_campaign=f5ddc71973-EMAIL_CAMPAIGN_2017_06_28&utm_medium=email&utm_term=0_d68895e32e-f5ddc71973-11287873&mc_cid=f5ddc71973&mc_eid=f4e4700917

Tuesday, June 27, 2017

CRACKED UP


Cracked. Cracked eggs are no good, cracked windows, a cracked tooth, cracked skull. In today’s society a cracked phone screen is an absolute catastrophe. Cracked mirrors give us a warped image, and a cracked foundation can be the demise of an entire structure. Cracks give way to all sorts of chaos, a cracked egg can make you sick, cracked windows and mirrors give us a distorted view of reality. A cracked tooth, decays and a cracked skull hurts if it doesn’t kill you. A cracked phone screen, well just forget about it, and a cracked foundation screws everything up.

Have you ever noticed that a weed can find the tiniest crack in the sidewalk? It’s truly amazing, miles of concrete and a weed will find its way into the smallest crack, take root and grow.
So we pull the weed out, but if we don’t get the root its back in a matter of a day or two. So we dig it out by the root, now we think we are good. No not quite yet we are better but we can’t stop there. Because unless we do something in addition to pulling the weed out by the root it will be back and usually more weeds with it.

We have got to fill the crack! Fill it completely and fill it with something that is weed resistant, solid, strong, no cracks.

That’s the way sin is in our lives. If we are not diligent in our walk with Christ, sin will find that crack take root and seize us.

 “When an impure spirit comes out of a person, it goes through arid places seeking rest and does not find it. Then it says, ‘I will return to the house I left.’ When it arrives, it finds the house unoccupied, swept clean and put in order. Then it goes and takes with it seven other spirits more wicked than itself, and they go in and live there. And the final condition of that person is worse than the first.” Mt. 12:43-45



At Celebrate Recovery we find the tools through working the eight principles Christ taught on the Sermon on the Mount to fill in the cracks in our lives and build upon the solid rock of our salvation, the foundation Jesus Christ.



Matt. 7:24 “Anyone who listens to my teaching and follows it is wise, like a person who builds a house on solid rock.”



“God’s love is meteoric, his loyalty astronomic, His purpose titanic, his verdicts oceanic. Yet in his largeness nothing gets lost; Not a man, not a mouse, slips through the cracks.” Psm. 36:5-6 MSG.



Thanks for helping the people of CR to fill in the cracks!

Jim & Pam

Saturday, May 27, 2017

The Shot


Hey Partners & Friends,

An excellent golfer once told me about his favorite shot in the game of golf. I was expecting him to say something like my favorite shot is the drive, or the chip shot or even the putt. Surprisingly it was not any of those, what he said was intriguing. He said his favorite shot in golf is the recovery shot! Think about that. Everyone finds themselves in a bad place occasionally. No one ever hits every shot perfectly, everyone duffs, shanks, or screws up a shot once in awhile, some of us do it quite frequently, and then there are those of us whose whole game is a disaster.

But what do we do when one or all these things happen? What choices do we have? We can quit, through our clubs in the lake, we can cuss and fuss, stomp and gripe. We can get mad get sad and continue to play bad OR we can go to our ball (if we can find it:) and do our very best to hit the next shot well. We can, to the best of our ability do the next right thing no matter how bad our past shots have been. The Recovery Shot!

It’s the same in the only game that matters-life. We may have had a really bad start. We may feel as though we have made a total mess of things and maybe we have. So what. No one does this perfectly, everyone has screwed up repeatedly, made mistakes, disobeyed God, hurt other people, sinned, all of us have. Just like in golf we don’t hit every shot well. And just like in golf we have a choice to make. What will we do next, quit? Oh poor me I just cant do it, throw our lives in the lake of hopelessness and give up. Or maybe we will get mad, throw caution to the wind cussing and fussing, compounding the problem with more bad behavior making it ten times worse on ourselves and others.

We do have another choice-“the recovery shot” if we get sick of doing it wrong we can change how we are approaching the game. Address the ball the right way. Address your life the right way. Recognize we have been doing it wrong and stop hacking at life. It’s called repentance. Seek help from people who have made some good recovery shots and are now playing well. Living one day at a time enjoying one moment at a time, playing the best they can till we get to the 19th hole. It is also essential to listen and follow the instructions of someone who knows how to do it well, in the game of life that would be Jesus Christ, He is the only one who has ever done it perfectly and He has made a way for us. Celebrate Recovery is a group of people who have learned that no situation is beyond help, with Jesus Christ there is always a way out of the trap. Life is kind of like golf, no one plays a perfect game. Everyone must learn how to hit a recovery shot.

Celebrating Recovery,
Jim & Pam

Friday, May 5, 2017

awkwardness....

In the next few weeks, I teach on the Celebrate Recovery Lessons addressing creating a personal inventory of ones issues on Tuesday nights at Believers Church.  Asking my hearers to reflect, document and then make eventual amends with one-self, God and others is awkward.  We generally have spent a life time denying, rationalizing, blaming self-God-others, and searching for ways to anesthetize our shame, guilt and conscience.  So I approach these coming weeks with an awareness, I make people feel awkward.   



Yeah, I know that sounds negative but I have come to cherish the role.  I love to challenge the notion that we have to needlessly, endlessly hide from ourselves, God and others, living life in the shadows of who we really are.   Over the last 30 years in my Wednesday  morning Bible study, I can recall multiple times I have shared my inner struggles with my non-CR brothers, only to see them stuff another donut in their mouths so they wouldn’t  have to share.  Vulnerability for guys is generally seen as weakness, and we all know we cannot have any of that.  The problem for me is the Holy Spirit keeps egging me on….maybe it’s the Spiritual Gift of fortitude (courage), or maybe I am just simply obnoxious….  Some people are fools for Christ, some of us…. maybe we’re just obnoxious for Christ.

I encourage you to consider finding freedom in fully submitting to Jesus Christ for His redemption, and journey to growing into the real you.  I believe we are all broken and will not be healthy, whole & complete until we are with Christ, so this journey will last the rest of your life.  I believe with all my heart that it is worth the work.  Jesus is the key, and while this world offers many counterfeits, pursue your Creator.

Having struggled to reconcile my hurts and issues over a lifetime with dead family members has been, and is, daunting.  Not impossible, but very difficult.  That’s a key driver to me to always urge my hearers to address their issues (hurts, habits & addictions…mental health issues….et cetera) with the living.  I have observed healings, great senses of relief and releases of unbearable burdens when people forgive, make amends, and clarify longstanding misunderstandings.  You have to want it badly enough to submit to the pain of the process, but it is the true added value to a life well lived I want you all to experience.

If you ever….ever, have questions about the decision points, the journey, the cost, and the peace with God for which you search, contact me……..


Blessings, Brother Rob 

Tuesday, May 2, 2017

Survival Kit

My head is still spinning and our hearts are full. What an amazing 50th Anniversary Celebration we enjoyed couldn't have dreamed of a better way to celebrate our anniversary than with friends and family over five decades of loving. We shared a small party favor at our party that I forgot to explain the significance of, so here goes, I think you will enjoy this.


 
Hey Partners & Friends,

Its summertime “and the living is easy, fish are jumping and the cotton is high.” Does that even come close to describing your life right now? I truly hope you are having an enjoyable summer. Sometimes we just need to take a break, relax, enjoy life, have some fun and a few laughs. God wants us to enjoy Him, and Jesus came so we could have and live the abundant life, life to the full! I don’t have to mention there is plenty of pain, heartache, trouble and tragedy in our world, just read the paper, or turn on the news. So I want to take this opportunity to say hey, we deal with all this garbage enough! There is plenty of tragedy to go around many times over. We deal with this stuff on a daily basis at Celebrate Recovery and have had our share in our own lives, so have most of you. Therefore I want to make a proposal DO SOMETHING THAT MAKES YOU LAUGH, and laugh a lot! What do you do for fun? I think we should develop a survival kit – things we do for fun. If we don’t, life can get pretty heavy and we can find ourselves in a pit. I believe it is imperative that people, especially folks in recovery or dealing with people in recovery take time off to chill, relax and laugh.

I want to share some of the things that Pam and I have in our Survival Kit.




1.BIG RED WAX LIPS (one pair each)

Directions; Go to a public place, (we go to Branson) don your red lips and just do what you would normally do, stroll around, window shop, sit on a park bench, go to a restaurant, people watch. Try to do it as inconspicuously as possible. This is hilarious and at the end of the day you can chew your red lips, they are delicious. 

2. FART WHISTLE (at least one)

Directions; It is critically important that you remove your red lips so you will not be suspect! It is also critically important that you practice various fart whistle techniques, you certainly do not want to sound like a duck. I have found the short sputter or the long slow flopper works best, however this takes practice and the novice should start with just the spurrrrt. Again go to a public place, preferably somewhat confined, like a elevator, a crowded shop, a trolley, train or bus at Branson is ideal. Lots of old folks you can blame it on. Also you must conceal the fart whistle slyly in the palm of your hand and then nonchalantly rest your head on hand to operate. One of our best responses, on a crowded tram at Silver Dollar City a couple of seconds after the effective operation of the fart whistle (short sputter method) a gentleman the row in front of us turned and broke the awkward silence by saying “It happens.” This brings me to the next essential ingredient, two friends. Who with my wife were cracking up and totally blowing my cover! Sometimes we laugh so hard we actually do fart, without the whistle.         

3. TWO GOOFY FRIENDS (who have the guts to go with you). This is by far the main ingredient without which life can get really heavy and become a drag.  The joy of real friends is a treasure, people who know your stuff and still love you, you can be real sound effects and all! We are blessed with many. Laughter does good like a medicine. Pro 17:22

I hope this at least brought a smile to your face and encouraged you to go have some fun, enjoy life, laugh.

Thanks for being our friends in this ministry.

Jim & Pam

Monday, April 10, 2017

The Serenity Prayer Author....upcoming documentary

(PHOTO: PHILIPPE HALSMAN/MAGNUM)  
American theologian Reinhold Niebuhr (1982-1971).
A documentary film about the influential American theologian Reinhold Niebuhr, who is credited with coining the "Serenity Prayer," will be nationally broadcast on PBS.
Titled "An American Conscience: The Reinhold Niebuhr Story," the film has been airing on various PBS stations, with a national broadcast on PBS's World Channel scheduled for Easter.
The film was directed and produced by Martin Doblmeier, the filmmaker behind other faith-centered documentaries like "Bonhoeffer" (2003) and "The Adventists" (2010).
In an interview with The Christian Post, Doblmeier explained that his interest in Niebuhr went back to his days in college and has only increased with time.
"Over the 30-plus films I have made on religion, faith and spirituality, I always look for stories that bring together a perspective and understanding of how to live in the real world guided by one's faith beliefs," said Doblmeier."
"Niebuhr did exactly that over decades and did it with such clarity and integrity that his writings have sustained now across several generations."
Doblmeier described Niebuhr as "a brilliant theologian" who during the mid-20th century "emerged as a moral conscience — an American conscience — because people understood and appreciated his perspectives."
"I hope the audience will see in Niebuhr a model of how a person of faith can be actively engaged in the social and political world around them," continued Doblmeier.
"What we can take from Niebuhr is a better understanding of our own failings — how we are all the product of 'original sin,' how true humility in our personal interactions and even national policies are lost, and finally how we need to be realistic about the structures of government we create."
Born in 1892, Niebuhr was a noted theologian and writer who while often leaning progressive in his politics, nevertheless was known to be a critic of liberal theology.
His influence on American culture led him to grace the front cover of Time magazine's 25th anniversary edition in 1948. He died in 1971. 
Niebuhr is generally credited with creating the famous "Serenity Prayer," which is typically rendered "God, grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, the courage to change the things I can, and the wisdom to know the difference."
For "An American Conscience," Doblmeier interviewed theologians, historians, and also notable figures like former President Jimmy Carter and socialist academic Cornel West.
The film has already been screened in 25 cities across the United States, including last week at the Newseum in Washington, D.C.
Doblmeier told CP that the "response has been terrific and most often the venues are filled," which he attributed to the modern relevance of Niebuhr's work.
"The questions Niebuhr raised in his time — how our human nature reveals both possibilities and limitations, how we use and abuse power, the role and potentials for democracy — are all themes that seem in the forefront for many Americans today and Niebuhr is an insightful companion for those kinds of reflections," noted Doblmeier.
"Often those voices are skilled enough to weave together not just theology but history, human understandings and a perspective we often lack in our popular discourse on the critical issues facing our nation. There are Niebuhrs out there today who can do that and we should not ignore their voices."
http://www.christianpost.com/news/american-theologian-reinhold-niebuhr-wrote-serenity-prayer-pbs-documentary-179832/


Saturday, April 1, 2017

What now?


What am I going to do now?

At CR we have what I believe is a pretty good answer to this question. Admittedly it is a generic answer, but it works, and it works in all situations, all circumstances and it works all the time. It really doesn’t matter what is going on in your life whether things are rolling really well or perhaps everything is a mess. The answer to the question is the same, it never changes. It’s a simple answer but that is not to say it is an easy answer, it can be very hard to do. And not to over simplify, even though it is a simple answer it certainly can be challenging to execute.

Let me explain, maybe things are wonderful in your life right now, your family, finances, health, job, church, relationships, attitude everything is going great. What are you going to do now? Or, on the other hand possibly part of your life is a mess, maybe even a mess you created and things are a total wreak, seemingly beyond repair. Maybe your whole life is screwed up. This kind of fiasco doesn’t fix easily. It’s not a just “give it to Jesus” type of fix. Of course, we give it to Jesus, but what does that look like?   Usually there are some things that come along with that “give it to Jesus stuff.” In fact there are certain things that we can do as we give our mess to the Lord. I’m not saying you have to figure it all out at once. Just pray and ask the Lord what can I do now? The answer probably will not be a laundry list of complicated actions you need to take.



I am going to share with you one tenet of CR that works in every single situation with everyone.

Trust me it works, if you are riding high Paul says continue, if you have fallen on your face the bible says get up.

Here’s the answer, “Do the NEXT RIGHT thing.” That’s it, nothing else works and this works every time. 



It’s so obvious it’s easy to miss, overlook, or devalue the power of just doing "the next right thing" and then the next right thing, the next and the next. It works if you work it! (Which is another power packed truth we learn in CR).    



“Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up.” Gal 6:9 NIV



Thank you so much for your prayers and support!



Jim & Pam

                                     

Monday, March 20, 2017

It's Still Happening

Here is a blast from the past from Believers Church CR.

                                      CELEBRATE RECOVERY

                                                                                                                            

Dear Family & Friends in Christ,

Celebrate Recovery was over the top last night, except for the goofball trying to handle
the video screen (ME),,, we really need some quality help. Never-the-less the worship was awesome and the testimony for the evening was a fabulous story of God’s unlimited love and ability to heal the deepest of wounds and set people free from the ugliest of addictions. Earlier in the evening I began making mental excuses for what I thought was going to be a smaller crowd. I thought; well it’s a very busy time of year, the holiday season etc, but as I got caught up in worship two things happened, the Spirit of the Lord settled on the meeting and the next thing I knew the place was full!   
Pastor Roger nudged me saying “you are going to have to start putting out more chairs bro.” One new lady had just moved to Tulsa from Alaska. She saw Celebrate Recovery on the marquee out front and basically said, “People from Alaska need recovery too!”

The testimony was delivered in a calm and easy manner and it was truly riveting. It overflowed with the awareness that nothing is too hard for our God. Two lives forever changed by our only Higher Power, Jesus Christ and a marriage recovered. Only God is able to take such unbearable heartache and grievous failure and turn it around, heal the wounded and set the captive free. This is what I see happening in the ministry that you and I are privileged to be a part of, THANK YOU! The Bible describes it like this;

Isaiah 58:9-12 (MSG)

If you get rid of unfair practices,
   quit blaming victims,
   quit gossiping about other people's sins,
If you are generous with the hungry
   and start giving yourselves to the down-and-out,
Your lives will begin to glow in the darkness,
   your shadowed lives will be bathed in sunlight.
I will always show you where to go.
   I'll give you a full life in the emptiest of places
   firm muscles, strong bones.
You'll be like a well-watered garden,
   a gurgling spring that never runs dry.
You'll use the old rubble of past lives to build anew,
   rebuild the foundations from out of your past.
You'll be known as those who can fix anything,
   restore old ruins, rebuild and renovate,
   make the community livable again.


May the Light of Christ shine in and through your life!

 Jim & Pam

Thursday, March 16, 2017

How to Avoid Codependency When You Help Someone in Need

Challenge Codependency occurs when we don’t have an accurate awareness of our boundaries and behaviors, and we allow someone else’s needs to control and take over our lives.
Solution You may be inclined to jump in and “save the world.” But there are better things you can do for that individual that will improve their quality of life and spare you from the toxicity of a codependent relationship.
By Dr. Henry Cloud (drcloud.com)
“I’ve been in an accident,” Bethany whimpered. Her voice was filled with pain-staking fear. “I’m ok, but can you come get me?”
I assumed she meant the hospital. She was sitting in jail.
My blurry, tired eyes adjusted to the harsh glow of my cell phone as I looked at the time. If I left within the next few minutes, I’d have a head start on morning rush hour.
As I pulled up outside the Metro Detention Center, I saw Bethany waiting on the sidewalk for me. She stood there looking down at the ground with a defeated look on her face, perhaps still hungover. Her arms were crossed over her torso, clinched tight around her frame.
My door locks clicked. She got in my car, never lifting her head. Her disheveled hair draped over her eyes as if to hide her embarrassment. I didn’t even make it to the first traffic light before her face fell into her hands. Bethany let out deep sobs with diaphragmatic breaths. I offered a napkin from my center console.
“I hit a pole,” she quivered. “No one else was involved, but I think I have a drinking problem, and I honestly have no idea what to do right now.”
When you watch a friend or loved one struggle with pain in their life, your first response may be to do whatever it takes to ensure they don’t have to endure any more than they have to.
Why?
Although you care for that person, what you’re witnessing is uncomfortable for you, so you may be inclined to jump in and be the hero. But there are better things you can do for that individual that will improve their quality of life and spare you from the toxicity of a codependent relationship.
1. Show empathy
Though I had never been in Bethany’s situation, I knew what it was like to experience sadness. I was all too familiar with hurt, and I understood what it meant to feel shame. Bethany didn’t need me to tell her what she had done wrong. She knew, and if I spent time telling her what I think she should have done, it would have closed the door to trust.
2. Set and maintain boundaries
Bethany was in need of emotional support, and the circle of people she trusted was small. She was having trouble processing her feelings and was having anxiety over the legal consequences she’d have to endure. She called frequently, all hours of the night, and while I was at work.
After a few days, I had to let her know I couldn’t always answer the phone, so I sent her a text. “Hey, Bethany. I’m sorry you’re experiencing this right now. I can’t talk at the moment but let’s set aside a time later this week, and I’d be glad to listen to you.” It may have hurt her feelings, but it saved my sanity.
3. Remember it’s not your battle to fight
Bethany had lost her car, her job and her dignity. She was facing more jail time, and it was becoming increasingly difficult to watch her struggle. Part of me wanted to help her make everything go away, but I couldn’t step in and offer to pay her attorney or her court costs.
I knew that what was happening in her life was part of her journey, and if I disrupted the course, I would be denying her the lesson she was meant to learn. If Bethany was going to change, she would have to endure the consequences of her actions.
4. Realize you can’t change someone
I helped Bethany find several local AA meetings to attend and put her in touch with an outpatient recovery program, but I couldn’t make her go. It had to be her decision. Sometimes she went; sometimes she didn’t, and I couldn’t force her into making the choice I wanted for her.
5. Your feelings matter, too
Helping someone in need can leave you feeling exhausted, resentful, angry, hurt, sad or frustrated. Not only is it ok to have these feelings, but you need to be able to express them to the person you’re helping. Sometimes I had to tell Bethany, “You know, what you’re going through is really tough, but I’m feeling overwhelmed with helping you right now.”
When you feel compelled to help someone with a serious problem, whether it’s out of love or as a favor to a friend, it could breed a codependent relationship if you continuously sacrifice your needs for the benefit of someone else. There are myriad reasons why you may find yourself in such situations, but by having an awareness of your own habits and behaviors, you can avoid a potentially dysfunctional relationship.

Thursday, February 23, 2017

Celebrate Recovery Good News!


CELEBRTE RECOVERY GOOD NEWS!

CR @ Believers Church will be starting a new “Journey Begins” Men’s CR Step Study Group

 Sunday March 5TH  11:00 AM – 12:30.

ALSO We will be starting a “Journey Continues” Men’s Step Study  Sunday April 2nd  9:00AM-10:30AM.

This group is for men who have completed at least one previous Step Study.

Please contact Jim Wykoff 918-688-0552 for more information concerning either of these groups.

Let’s Celebrate Recovery together!

Wednesday, February 1, 2017

Big Issue


Hey Partners & Friends,


I have discovered an interesting issue while on this journey called Celebrate Recovery. In all our meetings we introduce ourselves by admitting our struggles and acknowledge the fact that even though we have some struggles our identity is in Jesus Christ. I have heard people admit to having struggles with virtually every issue under the sun. You name it and someone struggles with it, gambling, sex, alcohol, drugs, food, depression, porn, hoarding, same sex attraction, abuse, anger, betrayal, hate, pride, perfectionism, money, power, love, jealousy, grief, lust, codependency, enabling, the list goes on. Here is the point, of all the issues that people recognize as a struggle in their lives, few mention control, and the interesting thing is that to some degree control is an issue in virtually everyone’s life.

Control the weather, control the wind, control the boss, the neighbors, the kids, your spouse. Anyone having much luck with any of those?  I don’t think so. Never-the-less that does not stop us from exerting all our strength and effort toward controlling the circumstances surrounding our lives. In fact the more we invest in trying to control all this the more frustrated we become.

CR principle 1. Says, “Realize I am not God. I admit I am powerless to control,,,,,.if we stop right there it would be a huge revelation. But the principle does not stop there, it goes on to say “powerless to control MY tendency to do the wrong thing and that my life is unmanageable. The only person we even have a shot at gaining control over is ourselves, self-control. The Bible says,A person without self-control is like a city with broken-down walls.” Pro 25:28

   

When we say things like, 'That makes me so mad . . . so sad . . . feel so bad,' then we’re actually saying that circumstances control the way we feel. Yet, we do have a choice. We have the ability to make healing choices. We can choose to remain positive; we can choose to not let some circumstance 'make' us mad. The ability to control our reactions, to handle hurt without retaliating is called meekness. Jesus promised, "Blessed are the meek, for they will inherit the earth" (MT. 5:5.) Meek people control their reactions toward life and this gives them far more influence over a situation than if they simply react. If you are a meek person, you are no longer a victim. You control your choices. The best definition of meekness in the Bible is Proverbs 16:32: " It is better to win control over yourself than over whole cities"

Tit. 2:11-12  For the grace of God has appeared that offers salvation to all people. It teaches us to say “No” to ungodliness and worldly passions, and to live self-controlled, upright and godly lives in this present age.


During World War II, the noted psychiatrist Victor Frankl was a prisoner in the concentration camp at Auschwitz. He said, "They took my clothes, my wife, my kids, my wedding ring. I stood naked before the SS and I realized they can take everything in my life but they cannot take my freedom to choose how I will respond to them."
That is a freedom you will always have. How do I react? How do I choose to react to those people who hurt me?
Jesus says we will be blessed when we show self-control. You might be thinking, 'That leaves me out! I can't control my reactions! I can't get them under control!' The secret of controlling your reaction is letting God's Spirit fill your life moment-by-moment. He'll break all those bad habits, all those patterns of reacting, all those old ways of being negative, defensive--reacting in fear, in anger, in sarcasm. He can break all those old patterns in your life and fill your life with power, love, and self-control. 2 Tim 1:7. He is doing that very thing at Celebrate Recovery.


Some of us are stressed out by life, by circumstances, by relationships. What do we need more than anything else? We need to develop the quality of meekness; the quality of controlling our reactions by the Spirit God has placed in us.

Thank you so much for your continued prayers and support for this life giving ministry.

Jim & Pam