Monday, May 31, 2021

Faith Is Everything

 

Faith is Everything
By Rodney Holmstrom, National Field Director

“So we are always of good courage. We know hat while we are at home in the body we are away from the Lord, for we walk by faith, not by sight.” 2 Cor 5:6-7 ESV

Why hasn’t it happened yet?  Why can’t I see the change or the thing I’ve been praying for?  Is anything really changing or happening?

One of the greatest expressions and evidence of the fruits God is growing in us is our ability to rest in Him even when we can’t or haven’t seen what we are praying for or longing for come to fruition yet. 

Walking with courage being grounded in our faith shows that even though we can’t see that breakthrough in our recovery as we’d like; we haven’t experienced the restoration in that relationship; or maybe we are still waiting to receive something we have been praying for to make life better. We know through our faith that God is in it and working.

God, I know You are working even if I can’t feel it, touch it or see it. Thank You Father.

“So we are always of good courage. We know that while we are at home in the body we are away from the Lord, for we walk by faith, not by sight.” 2 Corinthians 5:6-7 ESV

What are you holding to today in faith that God is working even though you can’t see it?

Tuesday, May 25, 2021

But What If You Did

 

But What If You Did?

By Celebrate Recovery

Man Walking

By Roger Stanton, Nation Assimilation Coach

A year ago, my wife and I were faced with an incredible opportunity to move our family from the Pacific Northwest to Hawaii. We were met with a decision that pitted the life we loved against what may be an even better life for our family. In the end, we decided against the move, but we have spent the last year in quarantine, wondering what life would have been like if we did go.

Abram, along with his wife and nephew, faced a similar situation at the end of Genesis 11. While he and his family had set out for the Promised Land of Canaan, the Bible says they settled in Harran. And then Genesis 12:1 happened:

“The Lord had said to Abram, ‘Go from your country, your people and your father’s household to the land I will show you. I will make you into a great nation, and I will bless you; I will make your name great, and you will be a blessing. I will bless those who bless you, and whoever curses you I will curse; and all peoples on earth will be blessed through you.’ So Abram went, as the Lord had told him.’”

Recently, I was asked why I thought God chose Abram as a father of our faith. To me, the answer is in verse 4, “So Abram went.” Abram was willing to leave his settled life and chase after God’s promise. Once he took that action step, God was able to hold up His end of the Covenant.

I’m not ready to say that staying in Washington was me missing my opportunity for the Stanton Promised Land. However, I know that I often choose inaction because the action seems too hard. This is what delayed me from finding Christ’s freedom through Celebrate Recovery.

On August 18, 2009 I asked myself, “But what if you did?” On that day, I took action and started my Celebrate Recovery journey. With Christ’s help and a whole lot of meetings, I continue to experience the Promised Land of blessing right here in the Pacific Northwest. I am seeing that Romans 8:28 proves to be true as Christ is my King and my relationships with my wife and kids grow more fruitful every day.

“And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.” – Romans 8:28

What if you did?

Tuesday, May 18, 2021

Trust God To Provide

 

Trust God to Provide

By Rick Warren

Man's Hand Releasing Sand

 

“Since he did not spare even his own Son for us but gave him up for us all, won’t he also surely give us everything else?”

Romans 8:32 (TLB)

The major cause of stress in your life is worry. You worry because you wonder if you will have what you need when you need it.

If you want a cure for stress, you need to learn to turn to God to meet your needs.

Some people find their security in their job. But when they lose their job, they lose their peace of mind. Others put their security in their marriage. But when their spouse dies or they go through a divorce, they ask, “Who am I? What is my identity?” Or maybe they put their security in their money. But when the money’s gone, they lose their sense of self-worth.

Why would you put your security in anything that can be taken from you? You can lose your job, your health, your reputation, your spouse, and even your mind. But you cannot lose your relationship with Christ.

When you put your security in that promise, you can trust God to meet all your needs.

If God loved you enough to send Jesus Christ to die on the cross, don’t you think he loves you enough to take care of every other need in your life? Yes, of course he does!

God is going to provide. He’s going to take care of you. That’s a promise. Instead of stressing out, look to him to meet all your needs.

Saturday, May 15, 2021

Testimony: From Hopeless to Hope Dealer

 

Testimony: From Hopeless to Hope Dealer

By Celebrate Recovery

Broken Chains from https://www.brokenchainsjc.com/

By Jeff

I grew up as the youngest of 4 children. My mother and father worked full time, leaving my sisters to take care of me most of the time. As I look back, I can see where eating became my way of comforting the lack of attention from my parents. It was easier to give me something to eat than to be bothered with me. I became overweight as a result and spent much of my adolescence as the “fat kid.” Others made fun of me, and I had a hard time fitting in.

At 13 years old, I smoked marijuana for the first time and drank alcohol. Soon I fitted in with the “cool kids.” By age 15, I began lifting weights and boxing. I decided that I would never be picked on again. Getting high and fighting became normal for me as a teenager.

After graduating high school, I joined the Army. I bought a motorcycle for cheap transportation to work. I learned that drinking and fighting were all I wanted to do during my off-hours. Soon I was shot in the leg in a bar fight. This took me off my feet for a while, and I again put on weight. During my time off, I began hanging out at a biker bar. I soon realized the biker gangs accepted almost anyone. In fact, as a violent drug and alcohol abuser, I not only found a place to fit in, but I soon became a leader. I went AWOL from the Army, received a dishonorable discharge, and spent the next 15 years as a motorcycle gang leader.

For years I was a functioning addict and alcoholic. Shortly after my big sister died in 2001, I tried crack cocaine which spiraled me completely out of control. Three years later, after putting my parents into bankruptcy, abandoning my daughter, and dropping out of treatment twice, I became homeless.

I was homeless for three years, in and out of jail. In 2006 I was arrested over 30 times. I ate out of dumpsters, slept in the crawl spaces under houses, and on cold nights I would walk all night because I thought if I stayed still, I would freeze.

On March 1, 2007, I was arrested for the last time. After a month in jail, I had what we call in recovery a moment of clarity. The truth is I didn’t want to quit getting high, but I did want to quit going to jail. I realized the only way to stay out of jail was to stop getting high.

I reached out to the only person I knew in Nashville that did not get high, Doc Ray Elder. Doc was a biker preacher that I had met in the bar several years earlier. He was happy to hear from me and invited me to church.

April 15, 2007, I walked into church for the first time. Long hair, t-shirt, blue jeans …. I was waiting for the judgment, but it never came. These people were nice to me; they loved on me. In fact, they loved me right back that next Sunday. April 22, 2007, I had a life-changing experience as I asked Jesus Christ to be the Lord of my life. That day something changed in me, but everything didn’t change. I still struggled with more bad behavior than I have time to list.

Three weeks later, I was invited to a Celebrate Recovery meeting at another church. I remember telling them that Jesus had delivered me from my addiction and I didn’t need a recovery program. Reluctantly I agreed to go.

That first night at Celebrate Recovery, I was amazed. I remember how freeing it was to attend a share group; to be able to be honest about myself without shame or embarrassment. I realized I didn’t have to be perfect to be a Christian which allowed me to be honest with others about my faults and failures.

As I plugged into the 12 Steps and 8 Principles of Celebrate Recovery, I uncovered the roots of my problems that I didn’t even realize were there. God cleaned me up from the inside out, and I began to live out the principles Jesus gave us to have a happy life.

Today, I am celebrating 14 years of sobriety from drugs and alcohol one day at a time. God has restored broken relationships with every one of my family members, including my daughter. I have a wonderful Christian wife with a new family that loves me. I own a successful remodeling company, and I’m an ordained pastor.

After serving as a Celebrate Recovery North Central State Rep for seven years, I founded the Broken Chains Jesus Christ organization. We are a fellowship of bikers and motorcycle enthusiasts who have found hope and healing in Jesus Christ through Celebrate Recovery’s ministry, helping others realize that change is possible. In the last four years, I’ve ridden my motorcycle over 80,000 miles.  Sharing the hope I’ve found with people I might never meet in church, at gas pumps, hotel desks, convenient store checkouts, motorcycle shops, and more.  God is not only using me to reach these folks, but Broken Chains has grown into an army of Hope Dealers. We have over 4,000 members in every state in the United States and at least 12 countries worldwide. God is using us to let people outside of the church know about the hope and healing we’ve found inside the church in Jesus Christ at Celebrate Recovery.

The enemy came to steal, kill, and destroy God’s purpose in my life. He was successful for 44 years. But when I plugged into the process of recovery, the process of discipleship that I found in Celebrate Recovery, I got my hands on the tools Jesus brought so that I “might” have life and have it to the full. I’ve learned that salvation is free, but freedom here on earth cost everything. I’ve given God everything, and Jesus has given me the full life I spent 44 years looking for.  Thanks for letting me share!

Tuesday, May 11, 2021

Celebrating The Changes

 

Celebrating the Changes
By Rodney Holmstrom, National Field Director

April 19, 2021

"Do not conform to the pattern of this world,  but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will.”
Romans 12:2 NIV

 

Why are these people so happy? How can you say you are recovering from something like abuse, anger, relationship issues and more yet still have happiness? Every week I am so grateful to see a room full of people at Celebrate Recovery who have amazing beauty with an outpouring of joy.

“We delight in the beauty of the butterfly, but rarely admit the changes it has gone through to achieve that beauty." Maya Angelou
 
It is the growth and change that has taken place through the process that makes "those" people so beautiful and happy. When someone brings his/her struggles, pain and junk to the Father and is finally ready to place it at His feet, there is an incredible peace that comes over that person. That is when life begins to happen. There is nothing more beautiful than someone coming to the point of surrender and letting go of whatever they have been carrying. That can only bring a celebration within the heart.
 
Yes, I love to see the butterfly on the other side of the struggle, but I also delight greatly in the caterpillar just starting the process. It's not an easy process but oh so worth it!
If you are reading this, you are His beloved child, and He delights in you. He can and will transform you.

Tuesday, May 4, 2021

What's His Name?

 

What's His Name?
By Rodney Holmstrom
National Field Director
May 4, 2021

 


If you declare with your mouth, 'Jesus is Lord,' and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. 10 For it is with your heart that you believe and are justified, and it is with your mouth that you profess your faith and are saved.” Romans 10:9-10

Don’t you hate it when you see someone you know and you just can’t bring yourself to remember their name? This is such a helpless place. It takes courage to just finally say, “I’m so sorry. I completely forgot your name. Could you tell me again?”
 
Someone who will never forget our name is our loving and compassionate Father. He knows us better than anyone we will ever meet. I was reflecting on this a couple days ago and was struck with the power that is in a name. Even more, the power in His name, JESUS. When we reflect on His name, we can experience a place of feeling more valued, loved and seen.
 
Scriptures remind us that when we confess His name with our lips, there is power. By His power, lives get changed! Darkness can’t survive in the light of His name. Let’s rest in the power of His name that reveals a different aspect of who He is.
 
Take a moment and breath in His name, God, Yahweh, Abba, Father, Adonai, JESUS, the Christ, the Alpha, the Omega, the Beginning and the End, the Messiah, the Savior of the World, my risen Lord!
 
Now with each inhale we can take in who He is with confidence. With each exhale we can breathe out any and all things we may be holding on to today. Confess whatever may be hindering you from walking with Him today. Remember, because of who He is, we can walk in confidence and strength of who we are in Him.
 
Walk in His forgiveness and grace today.