Wednesday, December 2, 2020

Don't be afraid to say no

Hi everyone, 

What happens when someone you love, someone you want to please or maybe even someone whose anger or frustration you fear, wants you to do something that you do not want to do? I do not mean the kind of need or desire that will call for sacrifice, effort or even discomfort from us, that we don’t “want to do,” but is something we still choose to do out of love, duty or the desire to help. That is life-giving and good. Great relationships, families, friendships and businesses are only built when people can get beyond their own self-centeredness and sacrifice for the greater good and others.

The situations I am talking about are the ones where you truly do not want to perform that particular gift of time or energy. It is not something you truly want to give. It is a request to which your real, heartfelt answer, is “no.” What happens inside? Where is the fear coming from, and why is it there? 

When we’re operating out of fear, it keeps our world small. We don’t feel free to experience life as we were created. At the same time, when we’re afraid to say no, and we open our world up to everyone, we allow less fruitful things to come on to our property and take over. 

Let’s talk more about that in my new conversation on addressing fear. 

Until next time … 

Cheers, 

Henry 

 

Friday, November 13, 2020

Be Still

 

Be Still
By Andy Petry, National Landing Director, November 9, 2020


"Be still and know that [He is] God..." Psalm 46:10


"You must ruthlessly eliminate hurry from your life. Hurry is the great enemy of the spiritual life."

A man named Dallas Willard once said that to a friend of his that found himself in the midst of a crazy season of life. His friend was exhausted, and in the midst of the unknown, the chaos, and the many responsibilities that were on his plate, his soul was shriveling up. Can you relate? I know I can.

Living a hurried life drains us and distracts us from what God is doing right in front of us. And living hurried has much more to do with the condition of my heart than how full my calendar is. Seeking to live without hurry does not necessarily mean that we don't have a full schedule, it means that we allow ourselves to be present, we understand our boundaries, and we live with a deep dependence on God in the midst of the moment. Kind of like living one day at a time, enjoying one moment at a time...

Maybe, like me, you've noticed an excessive amount of hurry in your life these days. This week, we have a chance to come before our Heavenly Father and rest in Him. We have a chance to "Be still and know that [He is] God..." (Psalm 46:10)  And by doing so, we invite others to do the same.

Wednesday, November 11, 2020

Facing Distress

 

Facing Distress
By Rodney Holmstrom


Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice! Let your gentleness be evident to all. The Lord is near. Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.

And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things. Whatever you have learned or received or heard from me, or seen in me—put it into practice. And the God of peace will be with you.” Philippians 4:4-9
 

What an incredible model Paul gives us in Philippians 4:4-9 in how to deal with distress in our lives.

Some key takeaways for me:

1. Gratitude must always be our lead foot regardless.

2. In thanksgiving and gratitude we present any and all worries to the Father.

3. Then...we will be able to focus on what is true and noble. But we must make a conscious effort to focus on things praiseworthy and noble throughout the day.

 

Here are some great promises of God to think on that are noble, praiseworthy and lovely. These are just some of the promises of God for you and me.

 

Philippians 4:19

Jeremiah 29:11

2 Peter 1:4

Isaiah 41:10

2 Corinthians 1:20

Romans 8:28

John 3:16

1 John 1:9

Psalm 37:4

Joshua 23:14

Philippians 4:6-9

Isaiah 43:2

 

Have a great day forever family!

Thursday, October 1, 2020

Prey to our past

 

Prey to Our Past
By Rodney Holmstrom, National Field Director, September 28, 2020


“For God has not given us a spirit of fear and timidity, but of power, love and self-discipline.” 2 Timothy 1:7

Have you ever stopped to think about how the ocean photographers survive such difficult waters with such diverse creatures surrounding them? It’s even more astonishing how they swim with some of the biggest underwater creatures like sharks and stay alive.

 
A National Geographic photographer who primarily films Great White Sharks was asked in an interview one time if he was ever afraid of being eaten by the sharks while trying to film them. His response? He said, ‘I swim toward the sharks. Shark prey doesn’t swim toward them but away from them. They know by their actions if they are prey or not.’


I was thinking about all the stuff you and I walk into this room of CR with each week. Perhaps we have lived with shame, fear and even self-doubt and it literally has eaten us alive through a good portion of our life.


What I love about Celebrate Recovery is that it teaches us that running isn’t the answer. CR teaches us to swim toward the shame, fear and self-doubt. To challenge some of those old distorted core beliefs about who we thought we were in our dysfunction or addictions changes everything.

 
CR teaches us that we don’t have to run from our hurts, hang-ups or habits any longer. And the best part is that we don’t have to do it alone.


When we quit running, face the problem, and then move toward it, we no longer have to look for false substitutes to numb or escape our pain any longer. God begins to use the pain to make us stronger as we face it one day and one moment at a time.


What are you running from these days? You no longer have to be prey to your destructive past. With the help of God and others we can move toward a beautiful future in Christ.
 

Let’s pause, acknowledge what we are running from, and turn and face it together with God’s help.

It’s time to stop living as prey and start living free in Christ. His way is better.

8 Principals Video

 Maybe today you need quick refresher of the 8 principals to keep in your mind throughout your day. If so, check out this short video of the 8 principals and their biblical comparison.



If print is more your thing, check out our blog post: https://www.crtulsa.com/p/8-principles-based-on-beatitudes.html

Tuesday, September 15, 2020

Anger in Conflict

By Rodney Holmstrom, National Field Director, September 14, 2020

"In your anger do not sin: Do not let the sun go down while you are still angry."
Ephesians 4:26 NIV

If you have been in ministry long enough, you have faced conflict.  If you haven't then you won't last will you? Sometimes in those conflicts we can allow anger, annoyance, feeling crossed, and even ill-tempered.

Ephesians 4:26 NIV says..."In your anger do not sin: Do not let the sun go down while you are still angry."

My prayer to our Heavenly Father this week is that none of us allow the conflicts we face to turn into anger, ill-tempered hearts, annoyance or anything else that takes us off mission. My prayer is that as we organize our pain, honor it, invite it in, process it, and share with God and a trusted fellow brother or sister in Christ.

As we work through these frustrations with the people and situations that make us angry, may we seek the Father to give us a sense of calm and contentment.

Monday, September 14, 2020

Action, Lesson 6

 Celebrate Recovery is recording the lessons and posting them on the Official CR Facebook page for us to enjoy during this pandemic. Below is lesson 6, Action from Jeni Baker



Monday, September 7, 2020

Turn, Lesson 5

 Celebrate Recovery is recording the lessons and posting them on the Official CR Facebook page for us to enjoy during this pandemic. Below is lesson 5, TURN from Johnny Baker



Tuesday, September 1, 2020

Sanity, Lesson 4

Celebrate Recovery is recording the lessons and posting them on the Official CR Facebook page for us to enjoy during this pandemic. Below is lesson 4, SANITY from Johnny & Jenni Baker



Wednesday, August 26, 2020

Hope, Lesson 3

 Celebrate Recovery is recording the lessons and posting them on the Official CR Facebook page for us to enjoy during this pandemic. Below is lesson 3, HOPE from Johnny Baker





Thursday, August 20, 2020

Powerless, Lesson 2

Celebrate Recovery is recording the lessons and posting them on the Official CR Facebook page for us to enjoy during this pandemic. Below is lesson 2, Powerless from Johnny & Jenni Baker

Monday, August 17, 2020

Denial, Lesson 1

 Celebrate Recovery is recording the lessons and posting them on the Official CR Facebook page for us to enjoy during this pandemic. Below is lesson 1, Denial from Johnny Baker.





Finding Purpose

 

Finding My Purpose
By Rodney Holmstrom, National Field Director

 

Are you struggling with your purpose?

A simple verse with powerful words... "You have been made holy in Christ Jesus." 1 Corinthians 1:2 

Sometimes I can get wrapped up in my own to-do list that I forget why I am even here. Ever do that yourself? I must never forget that God's purpose is to bring glory to Himself. And if that is His purpose, why did He create me and you? Yes, to bring glory to Himself. He made us holy in Him and we are called for a special purpose. You know what? He wants us to be the hands and feet, the mouth and ears, the men and women to share the Glory of God...all to bring glory to Him!

 

So, if you are facing some tough stuff this week, remember, it is in the suffering that we can praise God even then, because we are here to bring glory to a powerful God. I don't know about you, but that seems to change my outlook on how I face my day.

A couple questions to reflect on: When people see me today, do they see God's glory in and through me?

Do they thirst for what I have?

Does my life reflect a mission, a purpose that is to bring Him glory?

 

Go out in your mission today and make your mission His mission. All for His glory, friends. Love you all!

Saturday, August 8, 2020

This one word is all you have to say

 

 

 

No. 

It's a complete sentence. 

Do you ever feel as though your "no" requires an explanation? Have you ever had to justify why you're saying no?

How people in our lives respond to our no, our boundaries, tells us a lot about how safe the relationship is.


For instance, say your mother-in-law wants to invite you over for dinner, but you really don't feel like going. What's your response? 

A.) "No, thank you. We're going to stay in tonight."

B.) "No, thank you. We're going to stay in tonight because I have laundry to do, help the kids with homework, get them in the bath, take the dog for a walk and .... and ..." 

Which one is feels true to how you would like to respond in a similar situation? 

Let's continue this conversation here.

Until next time ...

Cheers, 

Henry 

Thursday, August 6, 2020

Prayer Changes Us

"Prayer Changes US"
By Carol Holmstrom, National Communications Director


And when you pray, do not be like the hypocrites, for they love to pray standing in the synagogues and on the street corners to be seen by others. Truly I tell you, they have received their reward in full. But when you pray, go into your room, close the door and pray to your Father, who is unseen. Then your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you. And when you pray, do not keep on babbling like pagans, for they think they will be heard because of their many words. Do not be like them, for your Father knows what you need before you ask him.  Matthew 6:5-8

Have you ever been in a place where you just didn't know what to pray, much less how to pray?
Maybe you've asked these questions:
  • Does God really hear me?
  • Does He really care what I'm going through?
  • Does He really want to hear me talk about this again?
 
I think if we're honest, we'll all been there. I know there have been many times in my own life when I felt like I was talking to the ceiling. Are my prayers really making a difference?
Here's the good news friends. We don't have to have fancy prayers, we can talk to God like he's our Daddy. He doesn't care how we pray. He is listening. He wants to hear from us today. He wants us to listen. He wants us to hear from Him today. 

Prayer changes things. Prayer changes us.
 
"If prayer depends on how I pray, I'm sunk. But if the power of prayer depends on the One who hears the prayer, and if the One who hears the prayer is my Daddy, then I have hope." - Max Lucado

Monday, August 3, 2020

Life Is Not Fair

"Life is Not Fair"
By Mac and Mary Owen, CR National Director and Training Coach


"I have told you all this so that you may have peace in me. Here on earth you will have many trials and sorrows. But take heart, because I have overcome the world." John 16:33 NLT

Recently, while at a ballgame in the extreme Louisiana summer heat, our youngest grandson's face was beet red while playing.  Rex was obviously hot, tired and thirsty.  We noticed him standing beside a little girl who had a large cold Icee. The look on Rex's face said it all, "This is not fair. Why does she have one and I don't?"

This reminds us, even as adults, how much we are all alike. We want life to be fair. Ever since that other kid got an Icee and we didn't - and they wouldn't share...we've all been saying the same words, "That's not fair!"

Whoever told us life is going to be fair?  God surely didn't.  He didn't say, "If you have many kinds of troubles."  He said, "You will have many kinds of troubles." Troubles are part of the package so don't be surprised. You've turned your life over to God but life will not always be easy. In fact, evil will turn up the heat.  

Fortunately for us today, Celebrate Recovery gives us the tools we need to work through the problems and struggles that come our way. It points us back to God's Word. We are not only able to exist, but we can have a victorious abundant life - even amid trials.

In Celebrate Recovery one of the greatest benefits we discover is a fellowship of like-minded overcoming victorious believers in Jesus Christ. We've come to know that we don't have to do life alone anymore. We have Forever Family to walk with us on the road to recovery. 

Thursday, July 30, 2020

Live By Faith

"Live by Faith"
By Carol Holmstrom, National Communications Director

"Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen. For by it the men of old gained approval. By faith we understand that the worlds were prepared by the word of God, so that what is seen was not made out of things which are visible." Hebrews 11:1-3 NASB

I saw this quote recently: "Faith is not just an action of your brain; it's an investment of your life."
Faith is the deep-seated belief that God exists and that should radically change the way we live. But Biblical faith is unnatural for us. It goes against our human logic and culture to believe in something greater than our self. For me, pride can easily take over and convince me that I'm my own God. The need to control my circumstances runs deep.

Celebrate Recovery has given me the tools to recognize those places where my pride wants to take over and control, and God's faithfulness has shown me without a doubt that He does exist, that I do matter to Him, and that only He has the power to help me recover. While I have a responsibility to my actions and my words, I don't have to control the things out of my control and I don't have to have all the answers to the "Why?" questions. I only have to get out of His way and let Him be God. When I do that, I am living my life as though I believe God exists. I am living by faith.

It's exhausting trying to control my own universe. I think I'll let God do that.

How about you?

Monday, July 27, 2020

Hardwired to Live For God

Hardwired to Live for God
By Carol Holmstrom, National Communications Director


I read a quote recently that said, "God is the environment in which we live."
Every morning when we rise, we can't help but bump into God. We look outside and see the trees, the birds, the flowers, the sunrise... These things were created, not by human hands, but by a Creator. The reality of God is everywhere around us. We would have to work hard to deny God's existence because it is everywhere we look. The psalmist writes, "The heavens declare the glory of God, and the sky above declares his handiwork. Day after day pours out speech, and night to night reveals knowledge. There is no speech, nor are there words, whose voice is not heard." Psalms 19:1-3

We are hardwired to live for God. Everything we do and every decision we make is in some way done in reference to God and what we believe about Him. For me, this realization brings a weight to it, but it also brings great comfort and freedom. Surely the God who created the expanse of the universe can handle whatever comes up for me in my small world. His perfect creation around me is enough to put my trust in Him. He continues to be faithful as I seek out that relationship with Him on a daily basis.

Saturday, July 25, 2020

He Works Through Our Praise

He Works Through Our Praise
By Rodney Holmstrom, National Field Director


Again, the devil took him to a very high mountain and showed him all the kingdoms of the world and their splendor. “All this I will give you,” he said, “if you will bow down and worship me.” Mark 4:8-9
I was struck rereading this familiar passage in Matthew 4 this morning. This is the passage where Jesus is tempted multiple times by the deceiver.
Here we have Jesus, the author of goodness, beauty and truth being tempted by Satan with what he tries to sell as much better.
Satan says, “You can have all of this if you will just worship me.”
I don’t know why that struck me as funny, but think about it. Isn’t that just like the enemy in his deceiving ways? Jesus already had all He ever needed from God and the enemy still tried to convince Him in His struggles that it wasn’t enough, and that he had something better for Jesus.
What was Jesus’ response?
“Away from me, Satan! For it is written: ‘Worship the Lord your God, and serve him only.’” (v.10)
Jesus’ response to the temptation was to worship God.

This reminds me of the old song, by Michael O’Brien “Crown Him”
“When you’re up against the struggles that shatters all your dreams
And your hopes have been cruelly crushed by Satan’s manifested schemes.
And you feel the urge within you, to submit to earthly fears,
Praise the Lord, He can work through those who praise Him.
Praise the Lord, for our God inhabits praise.
Praise the Lord, for the chains that seem to bind you.
Serve only to remind you
They drop powerless behind you
When you praise Him.”

The enemy may be trying to offer you something that promises to be better than what God has to offer.
Don’t forget that what the enemy is offering you can’t even come close to what Jesus offers you.
Let’s make our response today be to praise Jesus, the only One who can satisfy our every need.
Praise God in your struggles. He can work through those who praise Him.

Thursday, July 23, 2020

Daily Inventory

Have you ever kept a daily inventory before? I know for me it allows me to see progress and areas where I may be back sliding when I'm not directly noticing either way. Let me give an example. Say I kept working out in the garden day after day, from sun up to sun down. Now I'm a glasses wearer so working out in the yard gets my lenses pretty filthy. But I usually can't tell til I stop and notice. But say I'm getting up the next day to go outside and I grab my glasses and throw them on. Now I don't take them off til later in the evening after it's dark and I'm tired so I'm already squinting and not noticing if they are dirty or not. But after several days without me noticing my lenses have gotten FILTHY. It isn't until I stop mid day one day for lunch and notice my glasses need a cleaning, an adjustment...to help me see clearly now. That's similar to why keeping a daily inventory can be so beneficial. Keeping track along the way helps us reflect throughout the week, then be able to look back and notice patterns and celebrate the victories and pray consistently over the areas we need to surrender. If you've never kept a daily inventory, might I suggest this little pocket sized journal. It's a great start.

Daily Inventory Can Help Keep us on Track
This small, pocket-sized notebook was designed to make that process easier. Carry this notebook in your pocket, purse, backpack, or leave it on the nightstand. The goal is to carve out a few minutes every day to answer the seven key questions provided for you. By doing so, you will ensure that you stay aware of any patterns or issues that need attention. You will also be able to see how you are growing in recovery and what you should CELEBRATE!

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Wednesday, July 22, 2020

Feeling alone right now? Let’s talk



Hi everyone, 

From the moment we are born, a “chip” inside each of us starts searching for a connection to the right network, one that will provide us with the energy and information to go beyond our present ability, experience, and performance. And this searching, this needing a connection, is not optional for any of us. It is hardwired and always on, even when we don’t know it and even when we don’t even desire it. As long as you are alive, your heart and mind and soul will be searching for a connection. 

Over the past few months, many of us may have felt disconnected or even isolated from others.  I’m going to talk to you about how to get connected to the right people and to stay out of the depths of loneliness and isolation.

And you may also find this helpful to you as well: Identify the safe people you can connect with.

Until next time … 
Cheers, 
Henry

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