Tuesday, November 20, 2018

Death Swallowed Up


Hey Partners and friends,

I answered the phone, and what I heard next was incredible. The voice on the line said I am Scott, you don’t know me and I have never been to your church or CR. But I want to let you know how Believers Church CR has impacted my life.

He went on to say his younger brother Jon struggled with alcohol addiction most of his life. Jon was able to break free from the addiction to the point that he began preaching and pastoring churches. But as his church began having problems, Jon relapsed. And as the scripture indicates if a person goes back to the very thing that was destroying them it will be much worse than before. It was worse than before, he lost everything and he died from his addiction at the age of thirty five.

Before Jon passed however, he started attending Celebrate Recovery at Believers church. He would call Scott every Tuesday night after CR and all he wanted to talk about was Jesus. Jon hated what he had done to his life but the Lord through Celebrate Recovery showed him what life could be like living in recovery with Christ. He found so much joy in his Savior again and would say, “These CR people are truly what Christ wants the church to look like and how God wants the church to live out their faith. These believers are true believers and love me just the way I am. You need to check it out.”

Scott did check out Celebrate Recovery after the death of his brother, finding healing and freedom from his own hurts, habits and hang-ups. God radically changed Scott’s life because of the seed that his brother Jon had planted concerning the love and mercy of Christ through the people of CR.

Here is the victory; Scott has gone on to establish and lead CR ministries in two cities in Oklahoma. He has seen many lives recover from all kinds of debilitating issues. He is serving the Lord in Celebrate Recovery to see the radical transformation of countless people. His brother Jon planted the seed before he died and it continues to bring a beautiful harvest from beyond the grave, fulfilling the scripture;

      “So when this corruptible shall have put on incorruption, and this mortal shall have put on immortality, then shall be brought to pass the saying that is written, Death is swallowed up in victory. O death, where is thy sting? O grave, where is thy victory?” 1 Cor 15:54-55

Thank you so much for praying and supporting this ministry, it brings forth fruit everlasting.

Celebrating Recovery,

Jim & Pam

Sunday, November 11, 2018

ALIVE?


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

Sunday, July 1, 2018

The Antidote


Celebrate Recovery
                                       Changing Lives All Over the World!
Hey Partners and Friends,
I was sitting in cafĂ© Celebrate having dinner before our main meeting sometime ago when a friend sat down and began to talk about CR. He asked an interesting question. He said “Do you think we have too many CR’S in Tulsa?” Currently there are several CR’S in the metro area, one almost every night of the week. What do you think? Is that too many? Personally I think it is awesome! Regardless of someone’s schedule they can go to a CR somewhere in town virtually any night of the week! Hurts habits and hang-ups plague people everyday of the week, so why not have the antidote available everyday.  Active CR’S are continually preparing to make room for more people, people who simply struggle with the common stresses of life, maybe just a mundane life wasting away, or desperate hurting people. It doesn’t matter, we ALL have issues. CR is not only a safe place, but truly a place where people can find the antidote for the things that are poisoning their lives.
The definition of antidote is “a remedy to counteract the effects of poison. Something that relieves, prevents, or counteracts.”

As my wife puts it, “We are not running out of hurting people in our world.” Think about it. There are hundreds of bars, clubs, casinos, massage parlors, and crack houses in our town. People stream in and out of these places every day. And there are literally thousands of people in their own homes captured, tied to their computers, like a noose around their neck getting tighter and tighter, blinded by pornography! It doesn’t really matter what the issue is that is stealing, killing and destroying lives, booze, bars, sex, dope, gambling, porn. What difference does it make, you are just as robbed, just as dead, just as ruined, just as destroyed, just as imprisoned.
What does make a difference is what can give you life and set you free. What does matter is how do I find the antidote for the thing that is killing me. It doesn’t have to be something external, it could be any hurt habit or hang-up. It could be pride that has you bound, self-pity, jealousy, hatred, lust, envy, loneliness, whatever. Jesus said, “I came to give you life and life more abundantly.” Celebrate Recovery is helping people connect with our Higher Power in a way that enables them to truly live the life Jesus came to make possible. I’d say we need more CR’S not fewer, and I don’t think we could hold the crowds, if people really knew healing is available, anyone can be set FREE.
God’s love never stops!
Jim & Pam

Friday, June 1, 2018

Friends




Hey Partners & Friends,



I do not use the above terms partners and friends loosely or flippantly. This ministry has crystallized the meaning of these words. Not only in my personal understanding of them but in the reality of what they are, in life, particularly this Christian life.

In these letters I have attempted to share a bit about what we call our Celebrate Recovery “BIG” meeting. All the various things that occur and how they are going. Which by-the-way is awesome! But there is much more involved in CR ministry than just the “BIG” meeting.

  

This month I want to share with you an aspect of CR that is every bit as important if not more so than the main meeting night. Pam and I both receive multiple phone calls each week inquiring about CR. They range from a simple inquiry for a friend, to a desperate plea for help. Many are calls from people who find themselves in utterly hopeless situations, some are calls from people who simply sense somewhere inside that there is more life to be had than they are living. Whatever the circumstance we receive these calls as being prompted by the Lord. We believe it is God working in people both to will and to act according to his purpose. Phil 2:13 (CEV) God is working in you to make you willing and able to obey him. (NLT)For God is working in you, giving you the desire and the power to do what pleases him.

The cry for help from the heart of mankind is put there by the Lord.

We encourage everyone who calls to come to the main meeting on Tuesday night. God is doing some radical stuff in the lives of those who seek Him. But many times we arrange a personal one on one meeting with them as well, not just to get better acquainted but to share with them our story of God’s magnificent grace. It is a very precious thing to sit across the table from a person, and to be a part, as God begins to ignite hope and healing in their lives. We begin to become partners and friends on this road we call recovery. Celebrate Recovery actively engages and demonstrates the scriptural truth found in

Eccl 4:9 You are better off to have a friend or a partner than to be all alone,,, If you fall, your friend can help you up. But if you fall without having a friend nearby, you are really in trouble.



These are the types of friends with whom you can be real, take off the mask and can share the truth of your life, friends you can trust. This is a critical part of recovery. CR builds these kinds of relationships.

Most importantly we begin to understand that even though God is the master of the universe, the King of all kings, the Lord of lords, He wants to be our friend! Imagine having God as your friend!

I want you to know we consider you our friends and partners in this ministry. Your prayers and support are a tremendous help! We are better because of you! It is an honor to have you as a friend and partner on this journey!



May hope shine bright in your life!

Jim & Pam

Tuesday, May 8, 2018

Land of the Free


Hey Partners & Friends,



It’s magnificent to live in a free land, or at least it should be. There are multitudes of us however who live here, in the land of the free and the home of the brave, yet do not know any sense of freedom at all. Oh we have the same rights of freedom but are none-the-less prisoners, confined in some sort of repetitive destructive behavior that is literally holding us captive. Imagine that, living in a free land but still a slave bound by the chains of addiction or locked in a dungeon of depression, self-loathing, anger, or fear. Some feel that’s just the way it is and accept it. Others simply give up, hopeless, destined to doom.



At Celebrate Recovery something happens that helps break through the bondage. Something that ignites hope, tangible visible hope. Hope that does not disappoint!

Isa. 49:23 those who hope in me will not be disappointed 



Rom 5:5 And this hope will not lead to disappointment. For we know how dearly God loves us, because he has given us the Holy Spirit to fill our hearts with his love.



A hope for freedom that many times has been long dead. Freedom is displayed week after week at CR through people who are actually experiencing it. Freedom is contagious! It really is.

The desire to be free comes from God. He created us to be free. It is awesome to see the chip ceremony at CR. When someone finds 30-60-90 days of freedom from a life long plague of failure. It not only fuels the flame for more, which now they know can happen, but it encourages and inspires others. Just to see someone else make it, is thrilling, inspiring, contagious. People begin to think, hey if those folks can make it, maybe I can too!

   

Celebrate Recovery effectively encourages people to take that step of faith and to keep fighting the good fight of faith. There is victory, there is success, and there is FREEDOM! At CR, week after week people celebrate during the chip ceremony that they have been clean and sober, or FREE from whatever their issue! This is incredibly inspiring to those who have not yet experienced such freedom. People admitting they have some issues that have bound them up but now are living free one day at a time! Freedom is for everyone, whosoever. Jesus already paid for it and He has promised He will do for you what you have not been able to do for yourself. Jesus Christ the higher power can set you free.

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

Freedom truly is contagious, your prayers and support help spread the epidemic! Thank you.



Be free indeed!

Jim & Pam

Wednesday, April 4, 2018

Blast from the Past


                                      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!



Text Box: We’ve all been hurt, we’ve all hurt others, and we all need recovery! We’ve all been hurt, we‘ve all hurt others and we all need recovery!


Jim & Pam

Monday, February 5, 2018

Time to Recover


Hey Family and Friends,



It’s almost inconceivable to me that we are already in the second month of the New Year! What’s that old line, “time waits for no man?”

God has graciously put another year in front of us. I found an interesting scripture concerning time.

Isaiah 14:3-6 Says “When God has given you time to recover from the abuse and trouble and harsh servitude that you had to endure, you can amuse yourselves by taking up this satire, a taunt against the king of Babylon: Can you believe it? The tyrant is gone!
   The tyranny is over!!!!!



The NT puts it like this; (Rom 6:12-14) “you must not give sin a vote in the way you conduct your lives. Don't give it the time of day. Don't even run little errands that are connected with that old way of life. Throw yourselves wholeheartedly and full-time—into God's way of doing things. Sin can't tell you how to live. After all, you're not living under that old tyranny any longer. You're living in the freedom of God!” 2018 is the time to recover!

Celebrate Recovery is helping people break free from the tyranny of their hurts, habits and hang-ups. It isn’t a quick fix, it is a journey and it takes some time.


I’m sure you have seen kids bowling lanes- you know where they have bumpers so the ball never goes into the gutter. Awesome! Not only do these bumpers keep the ball out of the gutter, they keep it headed toward the target- the goal- the destination. In this lane you are certain to stay out of the gutter AND, you are guaranteed to knock some pins down! Working the program at Celebrate Recovery helps build those bumpers along side our lives, which keep us out of the gutter and moving toward freedom in Jesus Christ.
 

Currently there are about 50 people, just at Believers Church Celebrate Recovery, involved in Step Studies, and an average of 50 that come on Tuesday night. I want you to know that your support and prayers are making a difference. A significant difference! New people are coming to Celebrate Recovery every week. Many come in desperate situations, they are finding hope.


Pam and I do a multitude of things in Celebrate Recovery. We facilitate 12 step groups, oversee the ministry of CR, act as sponsors and accountability partners, and participate every Tuesday evening in the large meeting. It’s a very busy ministry with a lot of rewards.

We feel very privileged to be apart of so many people’s lives and watch them as they walk the “road to recovery,” and we couldn’t do it without you!


If you want to see the fruit that you’re producing through CR or want to rid yourself of some of the old tyranny of the hurts, habits, and hang ups in your life, come join us on a Tuesday night and I believe you will be blessed.


All because of Jesus our Higher Power!

Jim & Pam