Monday, March 29, 2010

Sound of Silence

Do you ever just get tired of hearing all the noise? If you go somewhere to eat, there are televisions stationed in different areas or some type of music playing plus the noise of all the people talking and laughing. Some stores have loud and obnoxious music playing. My grand daughter loves it. We happened to be in a store one time that was playing that loud and obnoxious music. My grand daughter started dancing and she said, “ come on MeMe, dance.“ There was a couple behind me who heard what she had said, and they said, “ yeah MeMe, dance.” What they did not realize was, I could hardly wait to get out of there. Ecclesiastes 4:6 --better one handful of tranquility -- yeah!!
That thought came to my mind in a strange way just last week. Psalm 46:10 -- Be still and know that I am God. I was at work and we were getting ready to get together for a conference call to explain a new program that was being implemented in our office. My lips were extremely dry and I took a few minutes to put some lip gloss on before the meeting. I ran it over my lips, and pressed my lips back and forth to smooth it out. It felt like glue and it did not want to smooth out very well. I thought to myself that I needed to buy a new tube because this one was getting old. I went to put the top back on the tube and much to my surprise, I had picked up the glue stick that I keep on my desk and had put that on my lips. The lip gloss was setting right beside my glue stick. I picked up the wrong one!!! I thought to myself, “ Lord is this what you mean when you say, be still and know that I am God?”
God wants to speak to you in the silence of your heart. Are you letting the noisiness of your day cut into the time that He wants you to spend in silence before Him? You do not have to neglect the necessities of life to be silent before God. Five or ten minutes can refresh you and empower you to tackle what needs to be done with more grace. You can drive to and from work or do your errands with the radio off. Create small moments of silence through out your day, and you will discover that you do not need to sit in a majestic cathedral to enjoy the sweetness of peace and quiet. Setting aside this quiet time for prayer and meditation, you will discover the good that God has for those who seek Him. Try it and see if you do not feel refreshed and rested. Your body needs that time of quiet also. Constant noise can also weigh you down mentally. Silence allows your body to relax from the daily stress and distractions. Parents of small children sometimes feel like they can’t have those times. If you can’t seem to find the time, when the children are in bed, the dog has finally found the right place to lay down, mediate in silence of the darkness in room in your bed. Be creative -- if you want to bad enough, you will be able to find that place. Seek God in the silent fragrance of a garden of flowers. Enjoy the majestic silence of the trees, or just sitting on the patio in your yard.
God wants to re-new your spirit -- I think silence is a required nutrient for the spirit. Allow the silence to wrap around you like a soft protective cover -- giving you room to breathe, time to think and space for your spirit to expand.
Father: our minds are running at a very fast pace most of the time. We long for those moments of silence. Quietness and stillness of the soul. Divine silence-- a time to listen and to just let you fill our minds taking advantage of those little times in the business of the day. Father show us how we can be creative in creating these short times through out the day. Give us times of spiritual and mental refreshment throughout the day. We love you Father and are thankful for all that you give us and all that you do for us. Amen.
As you walk on your journey called life this week -- take the time to draw closer to God and rest your spirit by finding little spots in your day to just be silent. Have a great week.
Janice CR FBC- Encourager Coach - TEAM.

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

In the fox hole

Re:Frame Briefing for March 24, 2010
3 Questions to Ask Yourself Today
From Bob Maddocks in Rogers, Arkansas
My favorite Bible Story is from Luke. This is the story of when Jesus was teaching in a man's house and the entire house is full of people, so full that no one else can get inside. A paralytic outside desperately wants to be healed, so somehow 4 other guys are convinced to pick him up and carry him to the house. I find this part of the story interesting since my mental image of a paralytic is someone who probably leads an isolated life. When they arrive at the house, there is no way to get in, the house is full. So they climb up on the roof, somehow remove part of the roof w/o falling in; then lowering the man down w/o dropping him from 8 feet up. When Jesus saw their faith - he says - "Friend you sins are forgiven"
I often ask myself 3 questions,
• If I am the guy on the mat – do I know 4 guys who would carry me?
• If one of my brothers ask for help – am I willing to help?
• If one of my brothers cuts a hole in my roof, what is my reaction?

To really be in a fox hole with another man you need to understand that as long as you keep Jesus in the center of your relationships you will be able to answer these questions.

Love Well – Serve Large – Bless The World!
From: reframingmanhood.com

Monday, March 22, 2010

Oh my aching pride

Have you ever at one point in your life, ever have an “aha moment?” An “aha moment” is a certain time something is made very clear to you. It could be something that you have been thinking about and did not understand or it could be something new that just became a reality. Ask, Seek, Knock--Matt. 7:7. I don’t know about you, but sometimes I just don’t get it. There is that something- something not right, but I can’t put my finger on it. If I knew what it was I could take care of it -I just didn’t get it.
Pride-- have you ever experienced it? It has many ways of disguising itself. Me, prideful? I just couldn’t see it in me. Pride-one of the seven deadly sins, selfish, leads to downfalls, judgment, looking down on others, selfish with what we have, and forcing our solutions on other’s problems? When God presents you with something like that, what do you do? Look up all the verses you can on pride to get a clear picture of it? Pride leads to shame, it starts arguments and it can ruin friendships. It leads to punishment and destruction. I keeps you from finding Christ. Pride is not a gift from God. I thought about ” How do I respond when someone confronts me about some sin I am guilty of?” “Am I on the defense, do I try to blame someone else? Am I making excuses.” “ I asked myself where am I being prideful--I just can’t see it.” Over and over again I read and prayed and just couldn’t see it or get it.” Pride - it kept coming up in my thoughts --”Where am I being prideful?” At the end of the day, I usually take the time to go over my day for a little self examination to show me the wrong things I did, things that I could do better and if there was anything that I needed to mop up or ask for forgiveness for, and to keep it balanced-the things that I did well. So far, nothing about pride. Pride leads to disobedience. It is unloving and unforgiving, selfish, hmmm, I still was not getting it.
I had forgotten about it for a moment. It was about noon at work and I did not have much to do and it was Friday. I wanted to go home. I went to my boss and hemmed hawed around, “ do you have anything you need me to do? I can do this or that. She looked at me and said, rather seriously “ It is okay to ask for what you want without going around in a circle. If you want to go home just say, I want to go home.” I was taken back by her direct statement to me. Being too tenderhearted, I felt the tears begin to well up in my eyes and I
said thank you filled out my slip and went to clock out. On my way out is when I had the “aha moment.” It was that still small voice -- “ You have let your pride stand in the way of asking me for some of the things that you have needed. You have been hem hawing around with me. Just come out and ask. Well, the dam of tears burst. I went out to my car and just sat--asking for forgiveness, and pouring my heart out to the Lord, relinquishing my pride and asking Him for exactly what I needed. Finally, relief, comfort, grace and peace washed over me. I could not meet my needs, I did not even know my needs. Releasing my pride opened the doors for Him to show me.
What is it you are struggling with? Have you ever had an “aha moment?” Keep taking it to God, keep self examining yourself, and keep praying, When the time is right, God will show you things about yourself that you are unable to see. Lift up your heart and thank Him for His love, desire to show you things about yourself you do not realize--and those special moments.
Father, thank you that you care about every detail in our lives. You love us enough to show us things about ourselves that we sometimes can not see. I thank you that whatever way you chose to show us --that your way is perfect. I also thank your for your perfect timing. Whatever thing it is that you are trying to get us to see, keep our eyes open and our hearts receptive to you. Amen.
As you walk on your journey called life -take full advantage of all your “ aha moments” and then thank God for giving them to you. Janice - CR FBC Rogers Encourager Coach-Team

What does an effective Dad look like?

10 Commandments for Effective Fathers
Based on Ephesians 6:4


1. Spend time with your children

2. Let your children know often that you love them just the way they are

3. Discipline your children when they need it

4. Pray with and for your children, regularly

5. Always be honest with your children

6. Love your children’s mother

7. Take time to listen to your children

8. Encourage your children often

9. Celebrate your children’s achievements

10. be flexible with your children

Friday, March 19, 2010

Why have Small Group Guidelines??????

Group Guidelines and Why's

Guideline #1: Keep your sharing focused on your own thoughts and feelings. Please limit your sharing to 3-5 minutes.
Definition of Focusing on Others: Concentrating on others needs and problems. Analyzing their motives and behavior. Asking questions of others. Telling stories about what he/she did.
Negative Results: Helps us avoid our own issues. Makes us observers, not participants. Puts a safe (and lonely) distance between ourselves and others.
Goal: To help us focus on our self and where we are in our own recovery. Keeps us out of Denial. Use I or me statements in sharing. Not You, them or we.
Guideline #2: There is no cross talk please:
Definition: When two people engage in a conversation while someone is speaking. Other examples: laughing when someone shares, talking about someone else’s sharing within your time. Or giving a tissue box or embracing someone in the meeting during share time. (Tears are a part of the healing process). Interrupting people, asking questions. Please no NON CR Literature/books in meetings
• Negative Results: Members fear that they won't be able to finish sharing, that their ideas are not valued, or that they won't get a chance to speak.
• Goals: Listen respectfully to what others choose to share. Each person is free to express feelings without interruption.
• Note: If someone’s sharing touches your heart and prompts an idea, you can express what has been brought to your mind without acknowledging someone else’s sharing.
Guideline #3: We are here to support one another. We will not attempt to "fix" one another.
Negative Results: We are not in a place where we can give advice even if we are professionals. This group is designed to allow free open talk without being analyzed and given feedback from the group.
• Goals: Keeps the focus on ourselves. Share personal needs, feelings, ideas and problems. Also allows the Holy Spirit to do His work.



Guideline #4: Anonymity and Confidentiality are basic requirements. What’s shared in the group must stay in the group. The only exception is when someone threatens to injure themselves or others.
Definition of Breaking guideline: Telling outsiders what was said or done in group. Gossip disguised as a prayer request. Acknowledging someone on the street as knowing them from Recovery meetings.
Negative Results: Violates trust and safety. Makes members afraid to share risky material.
Goal: Celebrate Recovery is a safe place.
Guideline #5: Offensive language has no place in a Christ-centered recovery group.
Definition of Guideline: Using any foul language. This also includes sharing that may be too graphic. If at any time someone starts to get too graphic in their sharing, please simply raise your hand. If you are sharing when this happens, simply rephrase your sharing.
Goal: to keep this a safe place of respect and not cause one of our brothers or sister’s to stumble with our sharing.
Suggestion: If something is on your mind that you know if too graphic, save that for your sponsor or strong accountability partner to share that with.

If you have ever been in a group where the guidelines were enforced and then go to one where they are not, you really appreciate why they are there.
Keeps the groups safe and the healing rolling!!!

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Every Day is a Gift

"If you want others to be happy, practice compassion. If you want to be happy, practice compassion."
-The Dalai Lama
What does "True Abundance" mean to you?
According to Wikipedia, the definition of abundance is "the opposite of scarcity." I believe true abundance is not measured by what you have; rather, it is measured by what you give.
In our culture, it seems that most people are caught up in their "need for greed." Perhaps this is why so many people struggle to find their happiness, and why over 25% of the people in our country suffer from anxiety. We live in a culture where we are taught to judge a person based on what they have, rather than on who they are and what they contribute to society.
I was very fortunate to have met a professor that changed my whole way of thinking. I was one of those people with a, "What's in it for me" attitude when I started his class. By the end of the semester though, my philosophy and my attitude had changed. Forever! This is what I learned:
"You can have anything you want in life, if you will just help enough other people get what they want."
-Zig Ziglar
I challenge you to focus on this philosophy for an entire month! Here are some action steps that will help you stay focused on this incredible gift:
ACTION STEPS
Gratitude. Every night before you go to sleep, recite aloud at least ten things for which you are grateful.
Forgive. Let go of the past. Forgive those who have hurt or angered you. Stop carrying this poison around with you every day.
Love. Be sure to tell those people in your life who mean so much to you that you love them and appreciate them.
Donate. Go through your closets. Anything you haven't worn or used in the past year, box it or bag it and take it to a place where those who are less fortunate will benefit from your donation. Get your children involved!
Praise. Make time to praise. Look for and recognize the good in others.

by Barry Gottlieb

Monday, March 15, 2010

Laughter is the best medicine

“Laughter” -- the audible expression of the appearance of happiness , an inward feeling of joy or humor. I don’t know about you, but I love to laugh. I am one of these people that when I find something humorous and I start to laugh I can’t stop. I have been made to sit out in the hall in a college class because of something I saw another classmate do in an Anatomy and Physiology Lab I took, and yes, to my shame, some places where laughter would not be appropriate. Not laughing at the situation, but at things that just struck me as funny. Don’t judge me -- Sarah laughed and the Lord heard her!
I have two sisters and it never fails that when we get together and go somewhere, it always happens. One thing that comes to mind is, going to Branson to see the Christmas lights at Silver Dollar City. While browsing in a gift shop, there were some strange looking fur covered cats. Don’t ask me why I thought they were so funny, but I started laughing. My sister came over, got a glimpse of them, and she started laughing. My other sister then saw what we were laughing at, and she began to laugh. The funny thing was, my younger sister never really laughs. She makes long “tee-hee’s” and no “ha-ha-ha’s.” People were looking at us like we had lost our minds. But, the funny thing was, they began to laugh as they watched us laughing. Some of them came over to us, asking us, “ what was so funny?” How could I explain it? Laughter is infectious. I was talking with some ladies and I told them that according to my birth certificate, I feel like I am living somewhere between estrogen and death. That’s all it took. We all laughed and agreed it was more like somewhere between menopause and large print. The smallest thing can just set it off. Do you take yourself so serious, that you cannot see the humor in the small things?
God made us and created us. He gave us the gift of laughter-- that marvelous, anti-aging, stress reducer, autoimmune system booster. Do you know that ten minutes of laughter is as beneficial as a thirty minute cardio-workout? You can feel it in your face, your sides may ache, and if you notice, a calmness after the laughter ends. It also sometimes leaves you with some very fond memories.
God found humor and allowed people to write about it. I think that He gave us laughter and humor to see how we really are. Here are a few examples: Deut. 28:35 - “ Damaged Knees Hinders Prayer.” Judges 6:31 - “Idol Protected by those He Protects.” Judges 9 - “ Trees Seek King.” II Sam. 20 - “ Grabbed by the Beard.” Esther 1:22 - “ Henpecked Husbands Illegal.” Job 39:13-17 - “ Short on Smarts.” Psalm 137:3 - “Humor Demanded from Captives.” Prov. 18:13 - “ Answer before Listening.” Eccles. 10:20 - “ Tattle Tale Birds.” Ezek. 21:21 - “ Liver Consultation.” II Corn. 11:11 - “ Enduring a Little Foolishness.” Learn to laugh, enjoy the gift -- God made laughter.
Father: Sometimes we are just too, serious. We cannot find humor in anything. We sometimes think, that being so somber is the only way we are to be. You created us for relationships. With that, friendships, sharing of joys and sorrows, and yes even laughter. Thank you for this precious gift. We ask you that there may be many times that are filled with laughter that help us walk on this journey called life. Amen.
As you begin this week, it is ok to have something that is contagious and won’t affect people in a harmful way -- the gift of laughter. I hope that the spread of it is far reaching.
Have a “laughable” week.
Janice - CR FBC E-Team Coach

Friday, March 12, 2010

Purity before marriage

As a man I will guard her purity before marriage by...
1. Living an authentic Christian life in all my
relationships, rather than just to impress her.
2. Learning all I can about her life, rather than just
enough to get what I want.
3. Treating her like a sister or daughter, not a wife.
4. Standing between her virtue and all outside threats.
5. Affirming her character, not her sex appeal.
6. Speaking words of blessing, rather than coercion
and pressure.
7. Recognizing she is under God's protection rather
than my ownership.
8. Spending our time together in public rather than in privacy.
9. Refusing to take advantage of unexpected
opportunities.
10. Serving as her redeemer, not her predator.
11. Doing nothing that would embarrass her if it were known.
12. Following the God-established path to sexual
intimacy.

Remember, marriage is for better for worse for keeps.
From Bob and Cheryl Moeller "marriage Minutes"

Monday, March 8, 2010

The Value of Hopelessness..

I was having a conversation with a CR brother several weeks ago that made a statement that he had read that “recovery doesn’t begin until a person has hit bottom or as some might call it ‘rock-bottom.’” At first I was taken a-back by this, didn’t really want to believe that a person, actually that I would have would to be this desperate for recovery to begin in my life. However, as I sat there and thought this through, I saw the wisdom, especially as I looked back at my own recovery.

I began to see that August of 2006 I hit bottom when something significant happened, I lost all hope. I lost all hope that “I” could get myself out of the mess I had made. I lost all hope that “I” could make myself stop my compulsive sexually addicted behaviors. I lost all hope that “I” could make the pain go away. I was hopeless. I recall in that time, that I thought about praying that God would do whatever it takes to get me out of the destructive cycle I had created for myself. I say it that way, because to be quite honest I was afraid of what He might have to do – so I know I never really prayed it, but I thought about praying it. Within a week I had been busted by my supervisor at work and my recovery journey had begun. (Note to self: I guess God answers prayers we only think about praying too.)

The value of the hopeless state I was in allowed for the opportunity for me to place my hope in someone far more powerful than myself – my Higher Power, Jesus Christ. It wasn’t until I was empty of all hope in a “false-savior”, myself, that I was able to put my hope in the true Savior, my Higher Power, Jesus Christ. So I had to hit “rock-bottom” or I had become hopeless for my recovery to begin and the hope in my Higher Power keeps me in recovery.

I realized I learned this lesson again in May of 2009. Earlier that year my dad was in the hospital three different times in relation to his alcoholism, including open heart surgery. By April my Adult Child of an Alcoholic issues were in full bloom. Eventually the pain and anger and the insanity I felt was more than I could stand – I reached out to an accountability partner who met with me and heard me and then made the statement to me that “the son is not responsible for the father,” and in that moment I saw the truth and lost all hope that “I” could “fix” my dad. I saw my own powerlessness in a situation that this was beyond me. It was not my job to fix him anyway, my job was to fulfill the 5th Commandment and love and honor my dad, not fix him. In that moment, I forgave my dad, asked God to forgive me and released my dad to God and I finally found the place to begin my recovery for ACA issues. (I am not sure if it is related or not, but within a month of that time, my dad stopped drinking and has been sober every since. He is not in recovery – yet, but he has stopped drinking.) Again, hitting bottom brought about a hopelessness that leads to hope in the one who can effect changes in my life and that hope keeps my in the journey of my recovery in this issue.

I realized that I learned this lesson once again this last week. The morning of March 1st, I was setting at my desk at work feeling horrible physically. The previous weekend I had felt lethargic and fatigued, by Monday I was worse. I could feel the blood pressure rising in my head. I was having trouble breathing - like the air I was breathing was like being in a stale or stuffy room.

I have known for years that my weight was a problem (a look in the mirror made that obvious) and I knew that most likely I had High Blood Pressure (HBP). However, I never wanted to go to the doctor, all they would do is tell me what I already know, I am overweight and I need to lose weight. I cannot tell you the number of diets I have started, all have failed. If I didn’t go to the doctor then I could not be told that I have to lose weight and that I have HBP. If they don’t tell me then I don’t have it – right? Denial is such an insidious thing. Honestly, I had for the last several months been feeling the need to do something, but again each attempt was in my own power, hope in my own ability. That morning I sat there and said to myself, get your head out of the sand (actually I mentioned a certain part of my anatomy), you are in denial and you need help.

By the afternoon on Monday I was in the ER at Mercy Hospital and the nurse was telling me that my blood pressure was 220/144. (I later found out that this is what is considered Stroke range) The scary thing was that at that time I was feeling better than I had earlier in the morning – I wonder what my blood pressure was then? I was given an injection of some HBP medication and then was left alone in a strange room, lying on a bed and connected to wires. I said, “God I am not enough. If this is the time You are going to take me then I understand, if not, I need You to get me through this because I can’t do it. Nor can I do what needs to be done without Your help.” I hit bottom, I was hopeless, I put my hope in Jesus Christ and my recovery began. My experience has taught me that as I work the Steps and Principles towards this issue, have accountability partners, attend meetings and more importantly as I keep my hope in my Higher Power, then I will see a miracle. It will be hard and it will test me I am sure, but it will also bring about healing that I need desperately.

The value of hopelessness is this: Every time I put my hope in my own abilities to fix my hurts, habits and hang-ups, every time I try to be my own savior I end up causing more pain, to myself and those around me, I create insanity and destruction. However, when I come to the place when I am emptied of all hope in myself and become hopeless, hitting rock bottom, then I am able to find hope in Christ Jesus, then I begin my recovery finding healing, health and reality. Hope in anything but Jesus for my recovery will only bring death. Peter’s words in John 6:68 seem so appropriate here “Lord, there is no one else that we can go to! Your words give eternal life.”

I guess another word for all this is Surrender. The physical act of surrender is the putting up of my hands, showing that my hands are empty of anything. The act of surrendering to Jesus is the letting go of the “false saviors” and the hope in my own abilities to stop the pain and insanity. Only then are my hands empty and only then can I reach out and take the hand of the True Savior and the hands of those He places in my life to support me. For me this is what it means to pick up a Blue Chip. This is when recovery begins.

The value of hopelessness for me is that it is the only way to find genuine hope, hope in Christ Jesus.

A word of thanks to all of you that took time to pray for me and my family, your visits and your words of encouragement this past week have meant so much. I often felt and continue to feel the comfort of the Holy Spirit in all of this. Thank you!!

GBC NW Arkansas Male Encourager Coach- Tim

Take it to the Lord in prayer

Hebrews 4:14-16: Now that we know we have Jesus the Great High Priest, with ready access to God -- let’s not let it slip through our fingers. We do not have a priest who is out of touch with reality. He’s been through weakness and testing, experienced it all --all but sin. So let’s walk right up to Him and get what He is so ready to give. Take the mercy, accept the help. ( The Message )
When the big things happen in our life, like death, disaster, disease touch your life it seems like it is easier to take these things to God and depend upon Him and to know that He is with us and will never forsake or leave us. What about the smaller things that happen in your life -- the things that you think are to small to take to God? A lost dog, a flat tire, grouchy bosses, small fights, toothaches, a dented fender, just the simple things of life. Really -- do you think these things matter to God? Listen, He has a whole universe to run. He has stars to take care of, planets to maintain, heaven and earth to take care of, world events to manage, famine, wars, disasters, so many things to watch over and take care of. Big deal, so I have a toothache or a small worry, right? Who do we think that we are? Do you have times when you are reluctant to go to Jesus with the small needs and concerns in your life? Why? How does it feel during the times that you have carried your burdens alone? Jesus is just as concerned with the small things in our lives as He is the big things. He is our Daddy and He loves us. We are Co-Heirs with Christ. We are eternal -- like the angels. We have crowns that will last forever. We are Holy Priests--Cherished Possessions. We were chosen before the creation o f the world. We are destined to be a Holy People to the Lord our God. Greater than that, we are His children--not anyone’s children. We are called, “ The Children of God.” We are His and He is our Daddy. Don’t shake your head and say “ not me -- Billy Graham and Mother Teresa -- those are His children.” Yes, they are His children also, but if you are a believer and have that personal relationship with God, then you too, are a child of the Most High God.
He considers our weaknesses, and knows every detail about us. Some things we don’t even know ourselves. He upholds us by His great power, He is faithful. He knows our infirmities, failures, and every time we have a problem or hurt or need help. We are the ones who place importance on what to bring to the feet of the Lord and what not to. God thinks that everything is important when it comes to His children. Talk to Him and tell Him - He won’t think it is too small or silly. It I worth talking about to Him. He understands everything. How do you feel when you have given Him the big things in your life? Why not give Him the small things. ( Surrendering all things to Him ) We can always come before the Throne with anything. Our Father wants to hear every detail of our life -- especially the small things. While living here on earth, He cried out to His Daddy about the events and things going on in His life. So, let me ask you, “ what small insignificant things are you not taking to the Lord? Why are you holding them back?” Stop holding back -- if it matters to you, it really matters to Jesus.
Loving Father: you know everything about us. There is nothing that we can hide or hold back from you. I think that it breaks Your heart as you watch us agonize over even the smallest things. Because of our pride, we don’t think some things are important enough to bring to you. What needless pain and suffering- because we do not bring it all to you. Teach us to be totally open and honest with You--not for your benefit, but for ours. Thank you our sweet, sweet Father. Amen.
As you walk on this journey of life this week, tell God every little thing that is bothering you-- it is important to Him and matters. Have a blessed week. Janice CR FBC NW Arkansas Encourager Coach-Team

Thursday, March 4, 2010

Why do we introduce ourselves?

One of the things that might confuse a newcomer coming into this great ministry is the way we introduce our self and do so every time we meet in a Step Group and/or Open discussion group. The question that often comes up is; “Why in the world would we have to introduce our self every time we come together? I mean, we all know each other don’t we? We all know what the other is struggling with right? So why should I have to state my main issue I am dealing with?
These are all logical questions and I think the below content from Tina at Saddleback might help shed some light on this.
As you may already know, in our small groups we ask our Leaders to introduce themselves with this statement: “Hi my name is _______; I am a believer who struggles with________.” We ask our leaders to keep it short; to stick to one or two primary areas of recovery. We ask them not to state a host of recovery issues and character defects, etc… especially because we do not run recovery specific groups for character defects. For example, one may never experience a full year’s sobriety from something like pride or fear.
With that standard, we would never qualify to lead an Open Share or Step group for pride or fear! Lastly, long CR introductions lose its impact. Your significant area of recovery gets buried and participants are not likely to “recall” what area of recovery you struggle with.
Each Leader has an opportunity to share about all their areas of recovery and character defects in their small groups and certainly when they share their testimonies. It is important that our Leaders set the example for our participants. Although we cannot control how participants introduce themselves, each participant should state their area of recovery at least once. If they don't, other group members will feel awkward and unsafe to express their own. At the very least, a newcomer may say, “Hi my name is _____, and I’m exploring this area of recovery.”
So why do we introduce ourselves to begin with? We asked this question of the CR National Training Coach Tina at Saddleback. This was her response: “As I was writing this blog, Pastor John Baker walked by my desk, so I asked him, “John, why do we introduce ourselves in this way?” He said, “If I ever forget my struggles, and the pain and destruction they caused, I am more prone to repeat them. It humbles me. It helps me remember what Christ has done for me.” So we introduce ourselves as believers because our identity is in Jesus Christ and not in our struggle or hurt. Isn’t that good news?! That is a huge paradigm shift for many newcomers coming into this ministry.
We identify our struggles so that we don’t repeat them, and to offer hope to those struggling with the same issues. Our introductions bring us closer together as a group by establishing accountability and strengthening our fellowship.
We cannot control the way participants introduce themselves. As a leader of the group, it’s really up to him/her if they want to re-introduce themselves. Some leaders do every time at their own discretion. Some leaders were originally programmed this way and believe it really helps the newcomer remember their name. However, if someone in your group chooses not to do the full introduction every time then we need to be ok with that as leaders.

Tina- CR National Training Coach
Rodney- CR NWA State Representative Arkansas

Monday, March 1, 2010

Determined?

I was recently watching our small grandson play his Nintendo game. He had received a new game and had not yet mastered the techniques of playing it yet. I watched as he would start the game and then would lose. He kept trying and trying. I went over and sat down beside him and asked him how he was doing. He said, “ Meme- you can’t get the skills if you don’t do the drills.” There actually was a lot of wisdom in that little statement. Are we that determined? It made me think--how many times I would have rather given up lately instead of keep on trying. What happens when you get frustrated? What happens when you try so hard to be good and stay on the right path, yet you seem to stumble and lose heart--ask yourself what is the use? What about when you see yourself making the same mistakes over and over again? I think being determined is the ability to make a difficult decision and accomplish what needs to be accomplished regardless of the resistance that you may encounter. It is the ability to set ourselves toward all of our pursuits and not allow ourselves to get discouraged or distracted. Psalm 33:15, 119:29-30, II Tim.4:7-8.
Paul is always a good example of determination. He set his heart on running the good race. He said,” I have fought the good fight and I have finished the race and I have kept the faith. Do you remember feeling weak, discouraged and powerless, wanting to give up and most of the time giving up, defeated and hopeless? How determined were you during these times? How easy it was to lose sight of God’s provision, help, mercy, grace and being there with us and for us during these times? Determination and courage go hand in hand. Courage is taking a stand and not being afraid. It comes from God--understanding that we are weak and He is strong and we are able to do all things through Him --He who strengthens us. Courage has to come from God, because men will fail you, hurt you and forsake you, and as we have learned they sometimes even leave us. Then on the opposite side of that coin is determination. It is having a trembling heart that is afraid yet it is set on being determined to continue to try no matter what. It is facing disaster and hurt, digging in when the mess seems hopeless. How about being afraid, and the consequences that fear has had on your life. It is falling down, getting up and still no matter how difficult, pressing on. One more day without a drink, one more day not being afraid, one more minute struggling not to take your eyes of Jesus, one more minute of not thinking of yourself as unworthy and not lovable and so on. How determined are you to press on? How determined are you to live the life that God has for you? How determined are you to continue to travel this journey called life and live as a “new creation” of God? Determination is keeping on sometimes when we don’t see immediate results, yet we continue to depend on God. Determination is persevering when going through trials knowing that God is control over all things. How determined are you to walk with the One who loves you the most? How determined are you to continue to grow in your personal relationship with God? How determined are you to pursue a life of righteousness? How determined are you to let The Most High God pour out His love and blessings on you and over you? You can’t get the skills if you don’t do the drills.
Father: make us a determined people. Make us like Paul. Help us to stay determined to keep our eyes on you. Give us courage and the eyes of faith to see you and the strength to take your hand and to go on no matter what the situation is. When we face the bumps in the road give us the strength and the determination to get up and keep pressing on. Thank you Father for strong arms, your precious love for us and help so that we can press on and overcome. We love and adore you. Amen.
As you walk this journey of life -- how determined are you to do the drills so you can get the skills? Have a blessed week. Janice - CR FBC NW E-Team