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