Thursday, December 29, 2011

The Afterglow of 2011??

What has 2011 looked like for you? What would 2012 look like if you were seeking Christ and dealing with your hurts, habits and hang-ups from the past?
"I will remember the deeds of the Lord; yes, I will remember Your miracles of long ago." Psalm 77:11 Song by Brian Doerkson "Song of the Bride
Isaish 30:15 reads
"This is what the Sovereign Lord, the Holy One of Israel, says;
"In repentance and rest is your salvation,
In quietness and trust is your
strength,"
Maybe this year is THE life changing year for you and your relationships, to change the way you are dealing and feeling about your life. Maybe the goal of 2012 is to allow God to guide us and direct our every step. He has the ability, is willing, and able and very much desires with His great care to walk with us through our life's hurts habits and hang-ups.
No matter what you are going through or holding onto from the past or present, His Word brings hope and strength with a promise,
Isaiah 1:18 "Come now, let us reason together, says the Lord. Though your sins are like scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though theya re red like crimson, they shall be like wool."Let's make 2012 a genuine Happy New Year in Christ free from our junk in life. As we lift our eyes to Him He brings us great freedom. If youa re tired, hurting and struggling, there is only one solution and that is Jesus Christ.
Celebrate Recovery is a great tool to point us back to Christ and experience the freedom that His Word speaks of.
Rodney

For more information about Celebrate Recovery contact Rodney at 479-659-3679 or roholmstrom@fellowshipnwa.org

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

12 Days Of CR Christmas


One of our great leader Monica rewrote the lyrics to this old Christmas song to tie into the 12 steps. We had a lot of fun singing it and love that it keeps the focus on the 12 steps thru Christmas. Great job Monica!
On the first day of Christmas, my Savior gave to me, the notion it’s
not about me;
On the second day of Christmas, my Savior gave to me, my sanity, and the
notion it’s not about me.
On the third day of Christmas, my Savior gave to me, the will to be
faithful, my sanity, and the notion it’s not about me.
On the fourth day of Christmas, my Savior gave to me, my inventory, will
to be faithful, my sanity, and the notion it’s not about me.
On the fifth day of Christmas, my Savior gave to me, the chance to come
clean! my Inventory, faithfulness, my sanity, and the notion it’s not
about me
On the sixth day of Christmas, my Savior gave to me, desire to be humble,
the chance to come clean! my Inventory, faithfulness, my sanity, and the
notion it’s not about me.
On the seventh day of Christmas, my Savior gave to me, freedom from
shortcomings, desire to be humble, the chance to come clean! my Inventory,
faithfulness, my sanity, and the notion it’s not about me.
On the eight day of Christmas, my Savior gave to me, list of those hurt by
me, freedom from shortcomings, desire to be humble, the chance to come
clean! my Inventory, faithfulness, my sanity, and the notion it’s not
about me.
On the ninth day of Christmas, my Savior gave to me, my apologies, a list
of those hurt by me, freedom from shortcomings, desire to be humble, the
chance to come clean! my Inventory, faithfulness, my sanity, and the notion
it’s not about me.
On the tenth day of Christmas, my Savior gave to me, daily inventory, my
apologies, a list of those hurt by me, freedom from shortcomings, desire
to be humble, the chance to come clean! my Inventory, faithfulness, my
sanity, and the notion it’s not about me.
On the eleventh day of Christmas, my Savior gave to me, His word living in
me, daily inventory, my apologies, a list of those hurt by me, freedom
from shortcomings, desire to be humble, the chance to come clean!
my Inventory, faithfulness, my sanity, and the notion that it’s not about me.
On the twelfth day of Christmas, my Savior gave to me, His message to
carry, His word living in me, daily inventory, my apologies, a list of
those hurt by me, freedom from shortcomings, desire to be humble, the
chance to come clean! my Inventory, faithfulness, my sanity, and the notion it’s not about me.

If you would like some info about Celebrate Recovery contact Rodney at 479-659-3679 or roholmstrom@fellowshipnwa.org

Monday, December 19, 2011

Holiday Blues

How has your 2011 ended up? This time of year can tend to be a time of reflection on the good and the bad from the year we just experienced.
I know personally I have good anniversaries from my marriage in another year with my wife. But, there are things that are pretty tough too huh? This year I saw another anniversary from my mother's passing in 2009. Oh how I miss her at times and it is hard not having her here.
Are you struggling this season with the lsos of a loved one?
Maybe a job situation is frustrating? Having trouble finding work and the bills are piling up?
Maybe you are picking up the pieces from debris lying around due to poor choices you may have made.
Maybe you are just struggling with life on life's terms. Hopefully this video will bring you some encouragement.


Remember, because you have a heart that hurts to well, you have a heart that loves so well. Most importantly, you are loved even more by our Father.

If you are ready to go to work on dealing with whatever it is you are struggling with remember we are here as your brothers and sisters. We are ready to point you to Christ and His healing power.

I want to encourage you to find a CR near you and experience His love thru CR. If you do not know Christ as your savior, I want to encourage you to talk with your pastor or email or call me and I am happy to assist you in this as well.
You are loved. Hope to see you soon!

-Rodney Holmstrom

For more information about Celebrate Recovery contact Rodney at 479-659-3679 or roholmstrom@fellowhsipnwa.org

Friday, December 16, 2011

Have You Lost the Wonder?

When is the last time you were caught up in wonder? When is the last time you were overwhelmed with an exciting surprise?
As a kid I would get so excited when Christmas drew near. I could hardly sleep, let alone think about anything else due to my curiosity and excitement for what Christmas morning would bring.
Can you remember what that was like? It seems like 50 years ago for me. 
Wasn’t that so much fun? As a dad it was especially fun when my kids were little to see the excitement on their faces as they stared at the Christmas tree decorations and wondered what gifts they would be receiving.
As much fun as that is for us, those bursts of excitement are only temporary aren’t they? I mean I can remember some presents I received as a kid being the coolest thing ever, but then a couple weeks later, they had lost their shine to them. What started out as the best thing ever now had become just another thing cluttering up my toy box. I can remember how excited I was when I got an Atari with Pac Man, Donkey Kong (even though it only had three levels that played over and over), and of course Space Invaders, for Christmas. It was the coolest thing ever. Eventually though, it became obsolete and I lost interest.
In my life I have seen this pattern continue even into adulthood. If I only had that new house, or car, or latest technology, then I would be happy. If I only had the new clothes more money, or expensive furniture for the house, that would make me happy right? Not exactly. It was like trying to put a large puzzle together and not having all the pieces together to finish it. I hate that don’t you? In fact, just like it was as little kid the things I thought would fill a void in my life and bring me happiness were only temporary highs for me. I even used drugs and alcohol as a way to fill the void of loneliness, fear and anxiety in my life. That not only didn’t work, it created even more damage in my life.
I am learning thru my relationship with Jesus Christ that there is nothing in this world that can fill the void of loneliness, fear, anxiety, hopelessness, etc. Only Jesus Christ can fully and completely fill that void in my life. I have so much more joy in my life when I am seeking Him and not the things of the past that didn’t even come close to filling the void in my heart. When I seek him, every day can be a day of joy, wonder and hope. When I seek him it makes me a better dad, husband, and leader in life.
I Chronicles 16:12 reads “…remember the wonders He has done…” In the Message version verses 9-12 read,
“Thank GOD! Call out his Name!
Tell the whole world who he is and what he's done!
Sing to him! Play songs for him!
Broadcast all his wonders!
Revel in his holy Name,
GOD-seekers, be jubilant!
Study GOD and his strength,
seek his presence day and night;
Remember all the wonders he performed,
the miracles and judgments that came out of his mouth.”

What if this Christmas became the start of all of us waking up each and every day with the same wonder of that of a child on Christmas morning? The thing that I need to remember is that Christmas is a big part of the story. Had Christ not been born He never would have grown to a man to pay the ultimate sacrifice for me. A baby born for a purpose to live a life on earth, feel the pains we feel and ultimately pay a big price and sacrifice for me. How can we possibly have consistent wonder daily let alone on Christmas as an adult? I must focus on the Cross and what He did for me. I Chron says, “Study God and His strength, seek His presence day and night.”
Wow, you mean if I study Him thru His Word and seek His presence day and night, I too can experience His wonder?
As you approach this Christmas season and going into the New Year, keep a child like faith and approach each day with wonder and hunger. Allow Him to surprise you with His love, wisdom and faithfulness. He will knock your socks off with His big love and hope. Surprise as defined in Webster’s dictionary: to strike or experience a sudden feeling of wonder or astonishment as though unexpected. Look up at Him, your Father and see His bigness.Are you astonished by His love and wonder today? If not, my encouragement to you friend is to study Him and seek Him. I promise He has the strength, willingness, and ability to fill any and all voids in your life. He has the power and desire to give us happiness no matter what we have or what we may be going through.
Thank Him today for the surprises and wonders He has done in your life. He is worthy to be praised.

Is 9:6-7 "For to us a child is born, to us a son is given, and the government will be on His shoulders. And He will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace. Of the increase of His government and peace there will be no end. He will reign on David's throne and over his kingdom, establishing and upholding it with justice and righteousness from that time on and forever. The zeal of the Lord Almighty will accomplish this."

Merry Christmas friend! May this next year truly be a Christ filled “Christ Happy” New Year.

Come see us Friday Night! We would love to point you to the One full of wonder, hope, love and surprise.
Rodney Holmstrom

For information about Celebrate Recovery contact Rodney at 479-659-3679 or roholmstrom@fellowshipnwa.org

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Insanity: Doing the same thing over and over...

There was a time in my life when I was wrapped up in myself. Pride was my biggest enemy and lead to so much junk in my life. Because of my pride and unwillingness to surrender I would find myself doing the same ugly things in my life. Lying, manipulating situations, and always trying to white knuckle my way through life. The old ugly thinking that told me if I reached out to a brother when I am struggling then I was weak and not worthy to be called a man. My life was made up of reproducing or duplicating the unhealthy things that lead to destruction or emptiness. Duplication by its very definition is to do or perform an act again repeatedly. In recovery I learned that this is called insanity, to do the same thing over and over again expecting different results.Paul puts it like this in Romans 7:15 “I do not understand what I do. For what I want to do I do not do, but what I hate I do.”
When I have tried to control things on my own by white knuckling my way through my hurts, habits and hang-ups, it only lead to getting in deeper and deeper into my dysfunction.
But….here is the good news, when I surrender to Christ, that is when I am able to change the patterns that lead to more hurt and dysfunction in my past.
I am learning thru CR that this surrender thing has to be daily. For me to lift my head from my pillow and say “Lord, You are God and I am not. Help me today to follow Your will and not my own.” I have to learn to follow His direction and not Rodney’s.
The hope I find is in my old ways, I duplicated many, many ugly things that were lifeless, with no hope. But, Christ duplicates things too. Only He duplicates things that are GOOD and Holy.
He repeats wonderful acts of kindness in my life. I just had to remove the lies, junk and hurt from my past to be able to see clearly for the first time what those acts were.
Now that He has cleared my thoughts and mind from the past junk, I can now see His goodness, His wonderful repeated acts of kindness in my life. I can see HE IS GOOD.
Today and every day I must stand in awe of His deeds and give Him praise. To keep my perspective about Him and not me.“….I stand in awe of Your deeds, Lord. Repeat them in our day…” Habakkuk 3:2 NIV
My prayer today is that the Father help me see and marvel at His great and wonderful repeated acts of kindness in my life and to know that He has a plan even when things are going badly. To listen to the wisdom of those who have gone before me. To reach out to the brothers that God has placed in my life and know that it does not mean I am weak. By reaching out to others I am wise and using the tools He has given me. To know that He will lead me through each and every trial if I will just surrender to His will daily and allow Him to be God in my life. To run away from things that make me think I am in control or I can do this on my own. I am so grateful to His blessings on Celebrate Recovery to help us thru life’s mess. He turns our messes into His message! Thank You for Your faithfulness in my life Father."I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness, but will have the light of life." John 8:12

Rodney Holmstrom

For information about Celebrate Recovery contact Rodney at 479-659-3679 or roholmstrom@fellowshipnwa.org

Sunday, December 4, 2011

My Recovery Journey to Ephesus – Continued

My Recovery Journey to Ephesus – Part 1:7-10
As I wrote before, recently, I was challenged to spend time in the Book of Ephesians. So, this time as I read through it, I thought I would keep a journal of sorts on My Recovery Journey to Ephesus
Eph 1:7-10
Because of the sacrifice of the Messiah, his blood poured out on the altar of the Cross, we're a free people—free of penalties and punishments chalked up by all our misdeeds. And not just barely free, either. Abundantly free! He thought of everything, provided for everything we could possibly need, letting us in on the plans he took such delight in making. He set it all out before us in Christ, a long-range plan in which everything would be brought together and summed up in him, everything in deepest heaven, everything on planet earth.
Theology is a word we often shy away from. It is big and often represents thoughts that are beyond my understanding. A simple definition would be “the study of the nature of God,” or as one of professors in bible college put, “to think God’s thoughts after Him.” All that still sounds a bit much for me to handle I have to admit. But Theology is important, our personal theology, what we think about God, defines how we live our lives. And I have come to understand that there are two types of theology, there is the theology I say I believe, then there is what I call my “practical theology” this is the theology that is actually seen and lived out in my life. At first one thinks these are the same, but the longer I looked in the mirror I see there is a difference. For example I have for years told people that I believe that God loves me, however, that was a mask, the truth was that I really believed that God tolerated me and was waiting for me to blow it so He could “crack my skull,” how could He love a screw up like me was what I really thought. A lie that I bought into, one that surely effected how lived – my “practical theology.”
One of the lies I had bought into was the thinking that my salvation was an afterthought of God, that it was a “Plan B.” This was certainly nothing I was taught in church or Bible College, the source of this lie I am not completely sure of, most likely the father of lies himself, but my own insecurities and my own fears of failure seemed to perpetuate it. I wonder now how many years I read over these verse and either took them for granted, just never paid attention to them and/or let them slip by without any kind of impact on my life. It is clear from these verses my salvation was not a Plan B and when I stop and look at it logically the truth of that bears out.
If God is all knowing as I believe He is, if God created time and space as I believe He did, then that means He knew about me before I was created, that means that He exists outside of time and is able to see my life from beginning to end at once. In fact it means that He sees all of creation from beginning to end all at once. God is not contained in my linear timeline, He exist beyond it and interacts with it, but not contained by it. This being said, when He decided to speak creation into existence He was not surprised by the Fall of Adam, He knew it would happen. He fully knew that He would have to come to Earth in the form of a man, Jesus Christ, and sacrifice Himself for man to have the relationship with Him that He desired to have. Even before He spoke creation into existence, He knew Jesus would have to come and die. Jesus coming to earth as babe, His life, His death on the cross, His resurrection and eventually His second coming was the plan all along. It wasn’t as if God had to come up with a make shift plan because what He had desired was thwarted, no it was the plan all along!
What really excites me about these verses is when it says “we're a free people—free of penalties and punishments chalked up by all our misdeeds. And not just barely free, either. Abundantly free!” Abundantly free, abundantly free. This speaks against one of those lies I bought into, I had thought I had barely made it, “barely free,” but I am starting to understand that the grace and love of God is so big, so massive that being set free by God is not a “barely” thing, it is an abundant thing. His love, His grace, His mercy, His peace, His freedom is overflowing, more than enough, it is abundant. And to be honest I am not sure what that means. I know this though, it is not something I can measure, it is something I have to experience.
About two and half years ago, I was sitting at our CR Celebration Service and felt impressed by the Holy Spirit to just stop signing and sit quietly while all of those around me were worshipping. As I sat there meditating on God, I felt as if He was saying to me, “Tim, the God you are worshipping is not who I am.” I felt that what He was saying to me was that I have misunderstood His nature, that there are characteristics of who He is that I just do not know nor do I understand.
It is like standing on the beach and looking at the ocean, beautiful yes, amazing for sure, but by standing on the beach do I know the ocean? I certainly can see it and how big it is, I can hear it moving, I can taste a bit of it in the air and, if I allow myself, my toes might even know its temperature when I get close enough to let a wave touch them. But, do I know the ocean from just standing on the shore?
I may know “about” the ocean from what I can observe from the safety of the shore, but I don’t know the ocean and its power until get out into it and experience it, until my body feels the force of the swells and waves. I don’t know the ocean until the temperature surrounds all of my body not just my toes. From the shore I can know about the ocean, but until I get into it, I cannot “know” it. This is the challenge I felt God was saying to me two and half years ago, “Tim, get to know me. Get intimate with me. I am not who you think I am.”
So here is to learning how to body surf with God.
Tim, Assimilation Coach CR Fellowship Bible
For information about Celebrate Recovery contact Rodney at 479-659-3679 or roholmstrom@fellowshipnwa.org

Friday, December 2, 2011

What Is Your Defense?

Imagine a man standing in a courtroom getting ready to face the Judge for some hideous wrongs he committed in his life.
The courtroom is full tension as the prosecution prepares to present his case against the accused. Imagine the man being accused, full of guilt and shame for his wrongs with no real hope of coming out of this alive.You see, the prosecutor, the accuser, is seeking and even demanding the death penalty for the accused. The accused is feeling full of despair and even condemned in his spirit. The prosecution is even so bold to laugh out loud in the courtroom as he sees and knows the outcome is in his favor for the death penalty. How bold can he be? Has he no class or dignity?
The man being accused is now growing even more anxious cause at this very moment he doesn’t even have an attorney. That right, he is facing this trial and Judge alone and now the picture looks even grimmer.
At that moment, in walks a man. Some people in the courtroom are now whispering, “I heard about this guy, he’s good.” Some say he is even considered one of the greatest attorney’s in the universe. Really?! C’mon, the universe? No one is that good.
As he entered, he walked right over to where the accused was sitting and sat right down next him. The accused man is stunned. He asks the question, “Are you representing me?” The attorney smiles with a warm expression and replies, “yes sir, but only if you will accept me.” The man replies, “Yes, I accept you!” His attorney goes onto say, “Do you admit that you have done wrong in your life and accept me as your advocate? Do you believe in Me?” Yes, YES, YES, the accused replies.
About that time the bailiff calls out in the courtroom, “All Rise!!” Everyone stands in honor of the Judge. Just then the judge makes eye contact with the accused man, and then his attorney. Now the judge is even smiling. What is the world is going on here?
The Judge asks the defense attorney, “are you representing this man?” “yes Your honor”, replies the attorney. Then the judge asks the accused, “what is it that you are here for son?”
“I have committed very wrong things in my life Your honor. I am completely ashamed of what I have done and feel some much guilt and condemnation for all I have done. I am ready to surrender my life in humility. I realize that justice requires I burn for my mistakes” replies the accused.
Then the judge says something that stuns the courtroom. He says, “son, you cannot be tried for something that is no longer on the docket. Your case has been wiped off the docket and therefore you are free.” “Wait a minute!!!!” shouts the accuser. He goes on saying, “I demand the death penalty for this hideous man full of sin, shame and disgrace! He is nothing and deserves the wrath of judgment, to burn for what he has done. I will NOT Tolerate this.”
The Judge smiles again and says, “there is not a thing you can do counselor. That man is being represented by a fine man who has already paid the price for the accused.”
Just then, the attorney for the accused leans over and whispers in his defendant’s ear to say, “that guy is my Father.” The accused begins to think to himself, “Wait a minute...could this be? This attorney representing me is the judges own son?!” What are the odds of that? He is stunned.
The Judge continues in his dialogue toward the accuser, “You see Satan, the attorney for the accused is my own Son and He in fact is the best defense attorney in the universe, he is his advocate and is pleading this man’s case for him. His attorney, Jesus Christ, is not only his defender, but his atoning sacrifice that he made for the accused and his sins. This makes it possible for him to stand before me, the Judge, as his mediator.
Why? Because Jesus Christ, my son and defense attorney for this man has already suffered the penalty in his place. My Son has already paid the death penalty for this man’s sin thru his own death on the Cross, burial, resurrection and ascension. He satisfied the wrath of justice that this man deserves because he is now a part of Him. His attorney, my son, Jesus Christ satisfied the requirement and removed this man’s sin the moment he accepted my Son and repented of his sins. When the accused are united with my Son, they are then safe from all harm. “
From the words of John: “My dear children, I write this to you so that you will not sin. But if anybody does sin, we have an advocate with the Father—Jesus Christ, the Righteous One. 2 He is the atoning sacrifice for our sins, and not only for ours but also for the sins of the whole world.” 1 John 2:1-2 The judge then pauses and directs the following statement to the accused, “ Based on this new information, the gift of mercy, not giving you what you deserve, and the gift of grace, a gift given to you that do not deserve, by my Son, Jesus Christ, I am declaring you NOT GUILTY! You are free.” “There is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus.” (Rom 8:1) This case is now dismissed. The accuser leaves the courtroom in disgust knowing there is not a thing he can do about it.
The accused turns and gives his attorney a big hug and says, “thank you so much for all you have done. I don’t know how I can ever repay you for this.”
Jesus looks the man in the eye and says, “this was a free gift to you and a way to my Father. But please know that it was not free. Rather it was paid with a very high cost, My life. There is nothing good or bad that you can do that will change my love for you. You cannot earn your way into heaven or my love. I love you just as you are my son. However, as you have now accepted me, and your heart has changed, free from guilt, shame and condemnation now that you are one of my beloved children, now walk in the light. You ask me, “what can I do?” Focus on me. Allow me into your life and allow me to have a relationship with you daily. Allow me to grow you and change you by removing the character defect you discover in yourself as we walk together. Allow me to transform you and guide you in this tough world you live in. The only hope you will ever find is in Me. I will help you stay on track but you have to listen to Me as your mentor. I will change you through My Word and the Holy Spirit being alive and active in your life. I help you deal with life’s hurts, habits and hang-ups in your life. I will comfort you when life’s disappointments come your way. Put your faith in me. Lie at my feet daily and listen to my voice as the Good shepherd. You are one of my sheep now and I know every single thing about you from you past, present and even into your future. I am your Father, Comforter, Protector, Refuge and Strength in the storm. He is an ever present help in time of need.
"I sought the LORD, and he answered me;
he delivered me from all my fears.
5 Those who look to him are radiant;
their faces are never covered with shame.
6 This poor man called, and the LORD heard him;
he saved him out of all his troubles.
7 The angel of the LORD encamps around those who fear him,
and he delivers them.
8 Taste and see that the LORD is good;
blessed is the one who takes refuge in him.
9 Fear the LORD, you his holy people,
for those who fear him lack nothing.
10 The lions may grow weak and hungry,
but those who seek the LORD lack no good thing.
11 Come, my children, listen to me;
I will teach you the fear of the LORD.
12 Whoever of you loves life
and desires to see many good days,
13 keep your tongue from evil
and your lips from telling lies.
14 Turn from evil and do good;
seek peace and pursue it.
15 The eyes of the LORD are on the righteous,
and his ears are attentive to their cry;
16 but the face of the LORD is against those who do evil,
to blot out their name from the earth.
17 The righteous cry out, and the LORD hears them;
he delivers them from all their troubles.
18 The LORD is close to the brokenhearted
and saves those who are crushed in spirit." Ps 34:4-18
Jesus goes on to say, “Most importantly, go share this Good News with others so that they may receive what you have been given.”Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the son and of the Holy Spirit. Matthew 28:19
Though we will face consequences here on earth for our actions and choices it is good to know that our Father wipes them out because of what He did on the Cross for us. We are NOT GUILTY. I was that man standing accused in my life and am ow a free man because of Christ. CR helps me now to deal with my character defects so that I can grow in my relationship with Him.

I hope this brought you some encouragement today friend.
Rodney Holmstrom. For information about Celebrate Recovery contact Rodney at 479-659-3679 or roholmstrom@fellowshipnwa.org

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Tell Me About Your Day Son

As a dad, one of the greatest gifts I have is to visit with my kids after their day. Sometimes, there are upsetting things that took place in their day and of course as a dad, I want and need to hear those things as well. Hearing the good things in a day are fun and replenishing to hear as well. The reason for this is because they are family and I desire that conversation, that relationship with them. Last night at around 11:45pm was one of those experiences. My son got home from his college basketball game that he played in Joplin. I was not able to attend but my wife Carol went on our behalf. Unfortunately they ended up losing by 3 points in this game.
While it was heartbreaking for him to lose this game that they felt they should have won easily, it was good for me as his dad to hear what he was experiencing play by play throughout the game. As his dad it was so neat to just hear what he was a feeling when this happened or how funny it was when that happened etc. The neat thing to witness was my wife getting in on the conversation as well.
They were talking about how the ref missed a call that was obvious, or how Jason missed a lay-up because he lost the ball out of his hands. Or how the last second shot didn’t fall for them to take it into overtime. All the highs and the lows were all being shared and experienced together with me as they recalled all that had happened.
Interestingly enough, we have two people that both experienced the game but they were talking to each other, laughing about funny moments, or grieving the tough ones and as a dad I got to sit back and soak it up.
It hit me as I hugged my son and he went off to bed how special it was to have that moment with him. To hug him and tell him how proud of him I am and that tomorrow is a new day. I turned the light off and lie there in my bed thinking about the conversation. A light bulb went off in my head as I lie there that this is what my Father, Jesus Christ desires from me. He wants to know about my day. Why? He loves and cares about me enough to listen. Even though He already knows what I experienced and in fact already knows when I was sad today, when I felt exhilaration after a great victory, or when I was struggling to hold my tongue in a dispute from my flesh taking over. Yes, He already knows and yet still wants to hear from us. I realized that He wants more than just a list of things I need for my day. He wants more than a general, “be with us this day…”
He wants to know and hear about what I think and feel this day. He wants a relationship with me. Yes, the Father even wants to hug me and tell me how proud He is of me and encourage me to keep on fighting and persevering especially in the difficult times. Jesus is the greatest listener we will ever meet.In Celebrate Recovery we learn that in order to maintain the momentum in our recovery we must reserve a daily time with God for self examination, Bible reading, and prayer in order to know God and His will for my life and to gain the power to follow His will. As stated in principle 7 of CR. He is wiser than we could ever imagine so why wouldn’t we go to Him for those daily interactions?
By taking the time to share our day with Him and then write it out in a journal, I am allowing Him the opportunity to share with me where I can and need to grow. I am allowing Him the opportunity to comfort me, care for me and allow me the chance to feel His love in a relationship rather than a vending machine as I can easily fall into in my time with Him.
By doing this daily I can take time to reflect as the Holy Spirit speaks to me thru His Word on how He can change me today. To look at my physical, emotional, relational and spiritual health as a believer. By writing out my thoughts I can look for patterns and grow from them so I can become a better man, husband and dad to my kids, and one that more clearly hears the Good Shepherds voice as one of His sheep. “Let’s take a good look at the way we’re living and reorder our lives under God.” Lamentations 3:40 MSG. Then in James 4:10, “Humble yourselves before the Lord, and He will lift you up.”
When I look up at my Father, He lifts me up from whatever I am facing and celebrates with me with whatever I am celebrating.
When I have my eyes on Him, then true joy full of hope fills my heart.
“Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer.” Romans 12:12 NIV
May the Lord inspire us today to be joyful with faith, love and hope. To allow Him into every part of our day because He desires that with you and I so very much.

For information about Celebrate Recovery contact Rodney at 479-659-3679 or roholmstrom@fellowshipnwa.org

Monday, November 28, 2011

My Recovery Journey to Ephesus

As I wrote before, recently, I was challenged to spend time in the Book of Ephesians. So, this time as I read through it, I thought I would keep a journal of sorts on My Recovery Journey to Ephesus
Eph 1:3-6
“How blessed is God! And what a blessing he is! He's the Father of our Master, Jesus Christ, and takes us to the high places of blessing in him. Long before he laid down earth's foundations, he had us in mind, had settled on us as the focus of his love, to be made whole and holy by his love. Long, long ago he decided to adopt us into his family through Jesus Christ. (What pleasure he took in planning this!) He wanted us to enter into the celebration of his lavish gift-giving by the hand of his beloved Son.”
I am sitting here reading these three verses stunned, awed, & humbled. Not even sure what I should write. I have no words that speak to what I feel inside. I want to break into singing but no song does it justice. This is one of those times that the Bible talks about when my spirit, my soul, my heart is groaning for me. I feel the yearning, the urging to bring God praise, yet my mind cannot find the words to express what is in my heart. More than thankfulness, more than gratitude, there is something else there that gives me pause, that brings me to tears. Lines from various worship songs flash through my head, none fit. How frustrating to not have the words, and yet, how marvelous to know something so much bigger than I can describe.
“Long before he laid the earth’s foundations, he had [me] in mind…” I read this and the thing that comes to my mind is that I am not important to God, but I am valuable to Him; we are not important to God, but we are valuable to Him. Meaning that He does not need us, but He wants us. He does not need me, but He wants me, “warts and all” as they say.
He was aware of my screw ups as He began the creation process. As He spoke and there was light, as created the heavens and the earth and all the living creatures and as breathed life into Adam, He knew then of what my screw ups would be. What kind of God is this, that will put together creation; that will provide for His creation a way of redemption while even knowing that the ones He does this for will fail Him, will screw up? What kind of God has me in mind when He does this? It is obvious that I am not important to Him; He does not need me to accomplish what He desires to accomplish. If He can work His will through Balaam’s donkey, then He surely can accomplish what He needs done without me. My skills and talents are not important to Him; I bring nothing of use to the table. YET!! He counts me as valuable?!
Who is this God that has no use for me, yet has decided that I was valuable to Him?
Who is this God that loved me before I even knew about Him?
Who is this God that wants to see me made whole, no matter what it cost Him?
Who is this God that by His love, now sees me as holy?
Who is this God that pursues after me?
Who is this God that takes my very failures and turns them for His good?
Who is this God, this Creator of all that there is, that would look through time and space and then set His affection on me?
It makes no sense!! And yet, I know that it is true, as surely as I breathe, I know it is true. Stunned, awed, humbled.
Tim, Fellowship CR Assimilation Coach

For information about Celebrate Recovery contact Rodney at 479-659-3679 or roholmstrom@fellowhsipnwa.org

Friday, November 25, 2011

Full of Life or Lifeless?

What is your life like these days? Does it reflect one full of life and hope or is it reflecting more of hopelessness and a lifeless picture.
Last year I had the chance to go to the country of Jordan with a small group of brothers and sisters to do a Life’s Healing Choices conference. While we were there we took some time to go visit the Dead Sea.
The Dead Sea is this body of water that is made up with so much salt that nothing can survive in it. It is exactly what it says, “dead”. A couple times we got the water in our eyes and the salt was so strong from the minerals that it burned our eyes. Amazingly it is true what they say; you cannot sink in the Dead Sea. We jumped in the water and immediately floated to the top. It was the most bizarre feeling to know you could not sink.
Recently I was reading in Ezekiel 47, where a river is mentioned, also mentioned in Revelation 22, God refers to this river that is associated with the Garden of Eden in Chapter 2 river.
When I think about the Garden of Eden, I think of good, pure, and life. This river God refers to in Ezekiel and Revelation symbolizes life from God. This river is gentle safe and deep river, expanding more and more as it flows. We learn that this river will flow into the Dead Sea and freshen the Dead Sea’s water so that it can support life. Wow! Think about that for a second. If God can take a sea like the Dead Sea, that is lifeless and give it life, He most definitely can do that for us can’t He?
If our life is feeling lifeless or hopeless right now, we can find hope in knowing that God’s power can transform us the same way he will the Dead Sea and give us life. He can give us a life full of HOPE. Jesus said in Mark 1:15, “Turn from your sins and act on this glorious news!”
No matter how empty, lifeless or corrupt our life may be, He will flow His living water through us and give us LIFE and life more abundantly.
Even when I feel too messed up and beyond help and hope; His power can heal and restore me. The bottom line, I cannot sink in my junk and won’t when I turn to Him and His power to control my life. This will reflect His blessings that flow from His throne. “He frees the prisoners….; He lifts the burdens from those bent down beneath their loads.” Ps 146:7-8
If He can bring life to this messed up man, that was full of dysfunction and messiness, He can most definitely do this for you. He promises us in John 10:10, “My purpose is to give life in all its fullness.”
Isn’t that good news!? His purpose is to give you and I life in all its fullness.
Come visit us at CR tonight! We would love to have you join us.

For information about Celebrate Recovery contact Rodney at 479-659-3679 or roholmstrom@fellowhsipnwa.org

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

You Have HOPE!


Sometimes the Holidays can be so tough. It can be a time when we feel like we are very alone and that while everyone else is enjoying family, we are by our self with no one to talk to.
The enemy is so bad about preying on that weakness and the wound that may be exposed in us.
The truth is though; none of us has to be alone. Even if we don’t have family at home, we do have family in recovery. Celebrate Recovery is a safe place to stand alongside others and walk thru tough seasons.
Even if the Holidays are tough on us, we always have hope because we have a new family that God has placed in our life.
We have hope! Max Lucado defined Hope as “a zany unpredictable dependence on God” Are you feeling like there is no hope? That is a lie my friend. You and I do have hope thru our faith, love and hope in Christ. Hope gives us that feeling that what is wanted in our life actually can be had and that it will turn out for the best in our life. Christ will knock our socks off as He surprises us with His hope when we seek Him.
My prayer for each of us is that we will reach out to the group that is a gift of people He has put in our life. We can reach out to them thru the tough times such as holidays and valleys we may be walking thru.
But if you don’t have people around you in your life, know that you do now. Find a CR family near you and attend a meeting or multiple meetings if that is possible. They are your family and are waiting to embrace you, hug your neck, and let you know you are loved. They are waiting to cheer you on as you take steps toward freedom and true happiness no matter what your circumstances in life.
“Be strong and take heart, all who hope in the Lord.” Psalm 31:24 NIV. You are loved my friend!
We have a group of people, fellow strugglers in life waiting for you. We are not perfect, but we do know the Perfect One and are ready to share His hope with you.
Blessed are those who seek Him.
We hope to see you this Holiday Season at CR. God is good all the time and all the time, God is good. Quit listening to those lies and come hear His Good News!

For more information about Celebrate Recovery, contact Rodney at 479-659-3679 or roholmstrom@fellowshipnwa.org

My Recovery Journey to Ephesus – Part 1:1

Recently, I was challenged to spend time in the Book of Ephesians. So, this time as I read through it, I thought I would keep a journal of sorts on My Recovery Journey to Ephesus. I will be using The Message version of the Bible unless otherwise noted, I do not intend this to be a commentary on the book, just some notes as to what God is teaching me.
Eph. 1:1
I, Paul, am under God's plan as an apostle, a special agent of Christ Jesus, writing to you faithful believers in Ephesus.
Since coming into recovery, I have started to notice, how, Paul and the other writers of the Bible that God used introduced themselves.
In Celebrate Recovery, we introduce ourselves by saying something like: “I am a grateful believer, who struggles with ______, my name is _____.” Our introductions are important in recovery, they are not just things we say, but they have a purpose for us. They keep us out of denial about our hurts, habits and hang-ups. By speaking them out and exposing them to the light, the power they once had over us begins to break. We are only as “sick as our secrets” they say, so by my introducing myself with a statement of my struggle, is just another nail in the coffin of the thing(s) that have kept me in bondage for so many years. More importantly, our introductions also remind us of who and whose we are in Christ. Statements like, I am a “grateful believer” or “grateful follower” or “grateful disciple” all remind me of the fact that though I struggle, I have experienced God’s grace, though I struggle, I was chosen by Him before the creation of the world, though I struggle, I am love and accepted by the Father. My introduction in recovery keeps me humble, keeps me honest and keeps me reminded of the hope I now have in Jesus Christ my Higher Power.
So, in Paul’s introduction he states first that “I…am under God’s plan…” Years ago, prior to recovery, when I read Paul’s introductions I would always think, “Gee Paul, a little arrogant aren’t we?” I always thought he was a little full of himself. However, as I read this now, I don’t think that he is trying to brag, at least not in himself.
Prior to his “recovery,” Paul went after followers of Christ, he hunted them down, he had them killed. Like me, he had a dark past, a past he would like to forget, but cannot. However, Paul also understands that, through Christ, God has forgiven him for his acts. I now think that this introduction is not Paul bragging about himself or his station, but Paul submitting to God. I think if I were to hear him say this, I would hear humility in his voice. I now can actually see him with tears in his eyes as he writes these words.
I think my struggle with Paul’s introductions prior to my recovery is because of a religious spirit or, what might be called, having a “religious mind set” or attitude. The best expression of this mind set is what some have called a “holier than thou” attitude. Ironically, this attitude held sway over me for so long because of the secret sin that I had allowed into my life, my own guilt and shame kept feeding it. I see this in Paul’s life as well, prior to his recovery.
It is interesting to me, how the one writer I found so distasteful in the Bible prior to recovery, is the one I seem to find myself increasingly identifying with the most now. I would have never admitted that before recovery. Funny, how when I surrender my struggles to God, and allow Him to continually touch my life with His grace, my view of things changes. No not changes, but more of paradigm shifts really.
So, here is Paul, submitted to God’s plan to be “an apostle, a special agent of Jesus Christ.” I looked up the word apostle; it is an ancient Greek word, and it literally means “one who is sent away.” However, the word was used to describe someone who was sent away with a purpose, like an ambassador or emissary. Again this kind of language in the past used to cause me to think of Paul as bragging, but now, I hear him giving God glory. I hear saying, “Look, I was so messed up, but God has decided to love and use me anyway.” His introduction is not about how great of person Paul is, but it about how much grace God has. The truth is that what I once thought was arrogance, I know see as humility, because of recovery.
What does this mean to me? My struggle, my sin has often left me wondering, how or why would God ever consider loving me, let alone using me? The answer is simple for me, it is not about me; it is about Him, Jesus. My struggle and my sin is not the determining factor in God’s decision to love me. The determining factor, really the only factor, is that God just decided that is what He wanted to do. I really have nothing to do with it one-way or the other when it all comes down to it. In the end, my only part is whether or not I will accept the gift He is offering.


Tim, Fellowship CR Assimilation Coach

For informationa bout Celebrate Recovery contact Rodney at 479-659-3679 or roholmstrom@fellowhsipnwa.org

Monday, November 21, 2011

How Do You Really Feel?

Are you having a bad day? Does it feel like the world is coming down on you and you can hardly breathe? In these moments, the last thing I want to do is rejoice to the Lord. My mood may be down, or perhaps a tough situation is completely out of hand and out of my control. Or maybe my guilt or sorrow is overwhelming me and I just don’t have anything to rejoice about.
I know when my mom was really sick several years ago, I had some rough days in watching her struggle so much with her illness. I still have days of struggles even after she has died and gone to be with the Lord.
She has been gone 2 1/2 years and still last night one of those moments hit. I was going thru some old pictures and saw my sweet mom's picture. All the emotions came rushing back. Oh, how I miss my mom and felt sorrow in my soul for that. However, as I talk that out, I am reminded of so many blessed days with her and my heart is filled with so much joy knowing she is with the Lord in heaven now.

In reading the Psalms this morning I am reminded that I have a lot in common with the Psalmist. The encouragement for me in what I see is that they always told God how they really felt. They didn’t look for “fake” joy or “act” happy. If they were hurting or scared or whatever, they told Him how it was. No matter how bad things got, they were always honest with God. What is cool though is that as they talked it out with God, they always ended up ending the prayer with praise.

When I don’t feel like rejoicing, I know that I can and should tell God how I truly feel.
The beauty is that He ends up giving me a reason to rejoice.
God has given me this day to live and serve Him. CR has taught me this is in a big way.
Even though I can't talk to my mom on the phone or hug her or even sing to her as she used to love for me to do over the phone, I can still have joy. I have learned thru CR to embrace my feelings I am experiencing and feel what I need to feel instead of stuffing it and acting like it isn’t there. That is only a recipe for disaster when I do that.
I can know that because the Lord gave me a heart that hurts so well, I know He gave me a heart that loves so well. Even bigger, He loves me that much more.
Ps 118:24 “This is the day the Lord has made. I will rejoice and be glad in it.” Be glad in it today my friend. Tell God how you feel today. He is big enough to handle it. Rejoice and be glad in what He has given us today.
Rodney, Nat’l Assimilation Coach


If you would like more information about Celebrate Recovery, contact Rodney at 479-659-3679 or roholmstrom@fellowshipnwa.org

Friday, November 4, 2011

Tunnel Vision

One time I was working from home in my office, on a summer day. The kids were out of school. I was preparing for something for the CR ministry and my daughter decided to come in and interrupt me. Now, you must know that there are rules when I work from home and one of those is that dad cannot be bugged when he is working from home. My daughter was pretty young at the time and she opened my office door and said "daddy!"
My first reaction was to snap at her and tell her that she knew the rules on coming into my office while dad was working. She went back to her room. I alter realized that she was trying to show me a cute little picture she drew for me. Ouch! I know, terrible dad huh?! 
Sometimes in my life I can develop tunnel vision and not even see what is right in front of me.
You see, in my mind I had "ministry" on my mind and didn’t stop to realize that ministry was happening right in front of my eyes with my own daughter. I had to make amends to my sweet little girl at the time for snapping at her.
This was a good reminder the Lord gave me to understand that I must stay out of my tunnel vision mode. Sometimes we can get so wrapped up with doing work that we lose sight of the great opportunities He places right before our eyes. I bet if you stopped and thought about it you might realize some people God put in your path like he has mine, that I have missed and opportunity to minister to even today.
I remember when we were talking about who we would invite to the 8 Year anniversary for our CR here locally, we asked our folks to take a little business card invitation to hand out to someone. After attempting to give one lady a few cards to hand out, she responded to me saying, "Sorry, I don't know anyone I could invite. I don't have any friends."
Interesting how we can fall into that frame of mind when we think about who can use this ministry huh?
I mean, stop and think about who you came across today in your everyday life. You interacted with people at the coffee shop when you got coffee this morning, maybe someone at the school when dropping off your kids. Maybe over breakfast at the local restaurant a waitress or hostess that seated you. Maybe someone at the quick stop you got gas from? What about the grocery store clerk when you stopped to pick up some milk? A co-worker? Or even, someone you sat next to in church or community group? The point is, if we really stop and think about it, so many people God puts in our life could use the tool of CR and we might have missed the opportunity to tell the them about it.
"but, they don't look like they need recovery" Yes, but neither did we. We are good at wearing masks and some people look like they have it all together but are in fact screaming and even drowning in their own life. It could be by us sharing about the hope in Christ and CR as a tool to deal with life's hurts, habits and hang-ups could even save their marriage, job, or even life.
“Let us give thanks to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the merciful Father, the God from whom all help comes! He helps us in all our troubles, so that we are able to help others who have all kinds of troubles, using the same help that we ourselves have received from God.” 2 Cor 1:3-4
God is painting a new picture in you and a part of staying on track is carrying out His message to others. If we are not careful, we will have our blinders on and miss the ministry happening right in front of us. We may miss the opportunity to share His good news. The next time you are around someone, keep your eyes open and remember principle 8: Yield myself to God to be used to bring this Good News to others, both by my example and by my words.
But….remember, it has to start with our own family. This is our first and most important ministry to focus on. Imagine the impact you can have on people if you take advantage of the opportunities placed right in front of you.

For information about Celebrate Recovery, contact Rodney at 479-659-3679 or roholmstrom@fellowshipnwa.org

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Signs of possible relapse

Relapse is a process rather than an event. A group of behaviors, attitudes, feelings, and thoughts develop first. Then these lead to an action – acting out the addiction. One may fall into relapse over a period of hours, days, weeks, and even months. Warning signals to alert you to a possible relapse include:

• Feeling uneasy, afraid, and anxious about staying clean and sober. This begins to increase and serenity decreases.

• Ignoring feelings of fear and anxiety and refusing to talk about them with others.

• Having a low tolerance for frustration.

• Becoming defiant, so that rebelliousness begins to replace what has been love and acceptance. Anger becomes one’s ruling emotion.

• The “ISM” (I-Self-Me) attitude grows. Self-centered behavior begins to rule one’s attitudes and feelings.

• Increasing dishonesty, whereby small lies begin to surface and deceptive thinking again takes over.

• Increased isolation and withdrawal characterized by missing group meetings and withdrawing from friends, family, and other support.

• Exhibiting a critical, judgmental attitude – a behavior which often is a process of projection – and the person in recovery feels shame and guilt for his or her negative behaviors.

• Lack of self-confidence shown by putting down oneself, overwhelming feeling of failure, a tendency to set up oneself for failure.

• Overconfidence demonstrated by statements such as, “I’ll never do that again,” or by simply believing that one is the “exception” to all rules about recovery.

Taken from "Conquering Chemical Dependency" by McGee & McCleskey

Thursday, October 6, 2011

Heart of a Sponsor

As a woman in recovery myself and a fellow struggler in life, I am so touched that God would allow me the experience of being able to sponsor other hurting woman. He teaches me through it and grows me in my own recovery. I love to sponsor women. I see them often caught like the bird by the cat. I Peter 5:8 says “Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour.”
These women are often hidden in the closet of fear and shame. My role is to, through prayer and relationships go into the closet with them and help them get out.
Often, no, always I need to put them on the heart of God so they can hear His heart beat. How do I do that? By praying for them, listening, sharing from my own hurts, building relationship's of trust and giving them God's word.
Jesus said in John 6:63b “The words that I have spoken unto you are spirit and are life”.
I try to make sure and remember as I share my experience, strength and hope, that it is life I am giving to them through Jesus’ work in me. This is about me sharing how God has brought me to healing in a certain area.
God uses these relationships and breathes the breath of life on them that is often an on-going journey. We must not give up before we see the miracle happen in another person’s life.
It is interesting that the number “two” is always a covenant in the word of God.

Recently, I found a bird struggling and fighting for its life. I realized I needed to do what I could to save its life. I had to blow two times on the little bird's face before life finally took hold. In many ways, the picture of a sponsor and sponsee is the same. It may take some months before a person can open their eyes of denial and see the truth but we must keep pressing forward toward healing.
If we have been faithful to our God and to the person He has put in our life, there is a good chance the paralyzed state they have lived in will be gradually broken off of them and sometimes seemingly miraculously things happen thru the journey of recovery.
They will be able to move out of their broken place as we walk with them. In my experience, I have seen that in order to place them on the heart of God we must know God's heart. I must keep myself in the word, close to Him, listening for His whispers.
Thru working step 10, I must keep my side of the street constantly clean. I must be accountable to my own accountability partners and connecting with my sponsor regularly.
These are imperative requirements for a sponsor. We must always remember the broken ones put in our path are often like the little bird and our heart and the heart of God is to eventually release them so they can fly with the Holy Spirit into a future of good and not evil.
The very plans of the Lord. A future and a hope. A good plan. (Jeremiah 29:11)
I love to see my sponsee walk into the plan of God for their lives and pass it down to others who will one day fly like Eagles when they are healed.
This is an amazing place and gift God has placed a sponsor. A place of humility, faithfulness, gentleness , truth and submission to the heart of God. Selah.

Sherrie, a sponsor and a member of our CR prayer team.

For more information about Celebrate Recovery contact Rodney Holmstrom at roholmstrom@fellowshipnwa.org or 479-659-3679

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Step Group Beauty






Do you see the beauty? The picture on the left, showing a Doe with her two Fawn's was not the actual picture I saw and took with my iphone this morning. Actually, the one on the right is the photo I took. What's wrong? Are you not seeing the beauty? Well, I do. Why? Because I was there and experienced it.


This mornning I was driving in for my 1 of 2 last meeting times with my CR Step Group brothers as we wrap up a year process of walking thru the 8 principles based on the Beatitudes.


I came down my hill in Springdale AR, across the bridge where a large open field on my left had this picture standing before me. I was taken back by the beauty in these animals and stopped my truck in the middle of the road to gaze at their beauty. Sitting in the middle of the road, (yes in the middle of the road. There isnt much traffic out at 4:30am) about 30 yards from my truck were standing these deer, a doe and her two fawns. I was mesmerized as I sat their with my windows rolled down on this cool morning.


The street light shining on the street corner allowed me the gift of seeing these creatures taking a break from their morning feast.


I realized that this was such a good sight, that I should take a picture so I could share it with my brothers and sisters. So I took out my phone to get a picture and they never moved a muscle. I was so excited! This was going to be the perfect picture right? I snapped the picture of beauty with a click and a flash, it was captured for life what I was seeing with my own two eyes.


Then....I looked at the photo. Yes, the photo above on the right. As you can see, it just didnt do it justice. To you it may be a messy black, and fuzzy picture that does anything but show beauty. But to me, it is beauty.


How is this possible? Because I experienced this beauty for myslef.


As I drove away to go to my step group I was taken back as I thought of the journey this past 12 months has been with my Step Group brothers.


God took a messy group of men, myself included, and turned ashes into beauty.


Now, if you were to ask these guys about their journey thru the 8 principles with 15 men this past year plus, they would have many things to tell you about it. "Life changing, renewed, hopeful, new healthy relationships, taking responsibility for their life for the first time, more time with God, a richer quiet time (let alone quiet time at all), becoming better dads, husbands, brothers, friends, servants for Christ."


All that would sound great, but to some it would still seem distant.


You see, the thing is, we have seen, tasted and experienced these things together and just like my morning deer experience, I can only help you understand how good and how blessed we are as a result of being there and living it. But, the only way to really understand it would be to have an encounter for yourself. The neat thing about it is that we all encounter this process in different ways. We grow at a different pace. We all walk away with a different take away because God is talking to us and meeting us where we are. Growing us in His timing as we seek Him.


To some, when we say this expereince was life changing it is good to hear and makes us feel good as we imagine what a picture of beauty from ashes can look like. But, until you live it and experience it, you won't ever really know what I am talking about.


Don't get me wrong, we are commanded to and should be a blessing to others thru sharing our story, investing in others, letting others know where we have been so that we can expericnce continued growth and provide hope for others. But, until people take that step, they won't ever fully undertand what we are talking about.


The only way to fully experience that blessing is to become a part of what God is doing. To emerse ourself in the process of renewing our mind so that we will be able to test and approve what His good and perfect will is for us in our life. (Rom 12:1-2)




Psalm 30:1-3 "I will exalt you, O Lord, for you lifted me out of the depths and did not let my enemies gloat over me. O Lord my God, I called to you for help and you healed me. O Lord, you brought me up from the grave, you spared me from going down into the pit"




Have you been putting off getting into CR and a CR step group? Is fear keeping you from experiencing His full blessings? Are you allowing the fear of the unknown, failure, past hurt, denial in the present or fear of the future to hold you back from seeing His beauty? Don't let the enemy fill your head with lies. I have personally seen the picture of beauty and if He can restore a wretched man like me, I know He can you too.


Find a CR near you and get plugged in. If you don't have a CR, ask your Pastor about starting one. We need to spend as much time on our recovery as we have our dysfunction, struggles, hang-ups, resentment or addiction and stop and gaze at the beauty He will create one right in front of our eyes. He wants to make a new photo of beauty in you, but you just have to surrender.




God bless you.


Rodney Holmstrom




For more information about Celebrate Recovery near you OR how to start a CR in your church, contact Rodney at 479-659-3679 or roholmstrom@fellowshipnwa.org or go to http://www.celebraterecovery.com/ to sign up for a ONE Day National Training.


Wednesday, September 14, 2011

You Make Beautiful Things"





Well, try to imagine this picture.....Rodney Jogging. :) Yeah I know, kind of a pardigm shift for sure isn't it? But seriously, I wasn't only jogging, but jogging with my daughter Taylor. We took off thru the neighborhood on a beautiful spring-like day. A nice break from the hot days we have been seeing around here in Arkansas. Taylor had her ipod playing some Mandissa music and just singing with great animation as we moved thru the neighborhood. I had my own ipod and was listening to a new song I had just been introduced to a few week prior.


Have you ever been in a situation where you don't expect a worship moment to happen and then, out of the blue, comes the blindsided blessing? Well, that moment happened to me in this very situation. As I looked over at my daughter, I was watching her and listening to the words to this new song I was learning for an upcoming worship service I was to lead for CR. The name of the song was "Beautiful things" by Gungor (look on youtube)

Here are the lyrics I was listening to as I watched my 14 year old precious daughter run along side me thru our neighborhood.

"All this pain, I wonder if I'll ever find my way

I wonder if my life could really change at all

All this earth, could all that is lost ever be found

Could a garden come up from this ground at all"

I began to think about what God had pulled me thru as a messed up young man that was chasing happiness in "things" or "people" rather than God Himself. I remember what it felt like early in my life and how I truly believed that God could not and would not restore anything in my life and that I would always be in a dysfunctinal mud puddle. As I listened to those lyrics I remembered how I once believed those words, "I wonder if I'll ever find my way" was my destiny.

Could God really sprout a garden of hope and fruit from this old hardened heart, that was full of hate, resentment, defeat and brokenness?

I continued thru my jog when, I heard the chorus and second verse to this song continue....

"You make beautiful things, You make beautiful things out of the dust

You make beautiful things, You make beautiful things out of us"

"All around, hope is springing up from this old ground

Out of chaos life is being found, in You"

Wow! Wow! Wow! This is where the worship moment thru the neighborhoods of Springdale, Arkansas happened. As I looked at my daughter, I was struck with incredible gratitude for what God had done in my life. For the new life He first gave in me in my heart and my life. For restoring this broken, old hardened heart young man into a heart full of Christ. I found myself grateful that He did not ever give up on me but, instead truly desired to have a relationship with me. He rescued me becasue He delighted in me! (2 Sam 22:20)

As I watched my daughter sing her song to her own ipod, I was struck with incredible gratitude for God giving me a second chance with my marriage. For bringing my wife and I back together so that we could start a new day together. I found myself grateful for the growth He has done in me and for giving me a daughter that would not have been here had my heart not changed. I am grateful that I have the gift of running this race of life with a great family and as the Psalm 37 reads, "God is my refuge, and strength and ever present help in time of need."

I realized in that very moment that had surrender not happened in my life some 18 years ago, I would not be able to stand next to this young lady, Ms Taylor, my daughter. I would not be able to have an influence over her or my son, Jason. I would not be able to hold my wife at the end of the day and lead her and my kids as the spiritual leader called me to be in our home.

What an awesome gift. What an awesome priviledge and responsibility. Not easy, but rewarding! He truly does make beautiful things out of the dust. He never wastes a hurt and can use me from my weaknesses!

He took this broken man, from the ashes and made a beautiful thing out of my life. I am amazed that He chose to give me a second chance and to give me a brand new day in life.

Father thank You that "You make me new, You are making me new!!" Thank you that you are not looking for perfection but for growth. Thank You for renewing my mind and for giving me a new beautiful family. I know without my surrender to You, I cannot enjoy those beautiful blessings You desire to give me. Thank You!

Please know that no matter who you are or what you may have done in your past, nothing good or bad done by you can affect or change the way He feels about you. He is a God of second, third, fourth, fifth....etc.,chances and wants to meet you at the door as you return home to Him.

We would love to have you come visit us at CR this Friday Night. Or find one in your area. This is a safe place and all are welcome as we point you to Christ the Healer, Comforter, Refuge and Strength in your time of need. He has a better way for you in your life.


See you at CR friend!
For more information about Celebrate Recovery, contact Rodney at 479-659-3679 or roholmstrom@fellowhsipnwa.org

Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Double Dipping




What is Double Dipping? One of my biggest pet peeves when dining out or with friends in an eating setting is when they dip their chip into the salsa or cheese dip, take a bite, and then dip it back in the dip again. {gag}



I am pretty picky about my food and this really gross' me out. Some people make fun of me at my expense about this issue I have, but I really get grossed out when this happens and will even refrain from eating any more chips if I witness this repulsive act. lol

But that is not the kind of double dipping I am referring to. "Double Dipping" in a CR Open Discussion Group setting is when a particular person shares more than one time in a certain small group setting.

Why is this not allowed in the Open Discussion Groups? What if the group is small? Doesn't it improve the small group to allow multiple sharing?

All great questions! Here are a couple of reasons why we should not allow this in our Open Discussion groups

1. Double Dipping can cause opportunities for people to try to "fix" others after listening to their sharing. Sometimes without even realizing it we think "oh, I know what I can share that will lead "them" down the right path" and so we share and it is all directed toward one person. Now, one can make an argument that people could do that anyway. True, and hopefully our well trained leaders will nip this quickly, but the chances increase when people go a second time.

2. Our small group guideline is "Keep our sharing to 3-5 minutes not "3-5 minutes, 2 or 3 times". There is a reason we have 3-5 minutes on each person's sharing. It teaches us to get our thoughts organized and not ramble. This is an important component in recovery. When we know we have 3-5 minutes we will give it some thought before we speak and speak to the point more precisely.

3. Sharing only one time will allow everyone the opportunity to share that chooses to.


Granted, in some of our small groups there will possibly only be 3-4 people in the group. That is ok. The best thing you can do as a group is shut down the group early and go to Solid Rock and continue your conversation there.

-Some people think it's crazy for us to have a guideline like this or think it is silly to have others like, we cannot hand a tissue to someone else when they are crying. (I thought that was the craziest thing I ever heard when I first came in until I found out "why" we do that. We don't want to interrupt the sharing of anyone. Handing a tissue does just that. Or, to only use I or me statements. Then I learned that when someone says for example, "we all want this..." I know now that I really don't want you or anyone else speaking for me. How do you know what I want or need? :)

The truth is, there are actually very good reasons behind these guidelines and 20 plus years experience that has lead us to use these guidelines. They may seem crazy and not necessary, but the truth is, they actually do work.

One of the things I have said and continue to say in trainings with our great CR leaders is we don't expect everyone to agree with everything we do in CR. The thing we do ask though is that you please respect them. I have to trust those that went before me in this great ministry and know that if the guideline is there, it is there for a good reason and for my safety and recovery.


We want this 3-5 minutes to be yours to share to your liking as long as the guidelines are being upheld.

a. maybe a victory or struggle from this past week

b. Maybe you choose to share from the focus question presented

c. Maybe there is something in the Problem and Solution Sheet that spoke

to you

d. Maybe there is something that the Holy Spirit Spoke to your heart

about during the teaching or testimony that night.

Bottom line, whatever you want to share on is fine just make sure you do it within your time frame allotted.

So....the next time you go into an open discussion group during your regular meeting night and your leader asks you to not share again, you will know that they are not being mean or picking on you but rather, doing their part in keeping the group safe and productive. This is to ultimately set the table for you to experience God's healing and freedom all in the setting of a safe group.

As always, thank you for honoring these guidelines and for being right where God has you. You are blessing so many by your presence not to mention bringing continued healing to yourself each time you share.

Just like the song says. Greater Things Are Still To Come In This City" Greater things are still to come in this "meeting"...

Have a blessed day


Happy "one" sharing....:)



For more information about CR contact Rodney Holmstrom,


NW Arkansas State Rep

National Assimilation Coach

Monday, August 8, 2011

Why go to CR Small groups?

I am sending today's blog from beautiful Southern California on Laguna Beach. Our first day was a cool 77 degrees. I hope when my Arkansas friends see this they won't hate me.:) I know it is a steaming hot day back home.



I woke up yesterday with an image of how much the Father loves us and remembers that nothing can separate me from His love. Romans 8:35-39 (One of our Stinkin' Thinkin' memory verses) is such a great encouragement to remind me that nothing can separate me from His love. It got me to thinking about how we respond to His love. How do I respond to His love and truth and apply, process and share what He has given me? Do I keep it for myself or do I share, in my case, in the small group with other men? A good reason for me to share what God speaks to me in the CR large group is that it will have a much better chance of sticking with me. It will also bring continued healing to my recovery.



The big thing though for me to remember is that it is NOT just for me. When I share my story, past or present, it brings hope to others. God never wastes a hurt and can use our story even while we are in the middle of it to bring HOPE to others.



There is amazing healing that takes place in the context of our CR small groups. Whether it is in Open Discussion groups as a way to share how God is growing me through the week. Or, how He is speaking to me in the CR Worship/Teaching/Testimony time, prior to the group. Or how He is speaking to me through my taking the time to do my homework and sharing it in my step study group. When I miss Open Discussion groups on our main meeting night and/or the Step Study group during the week, I am robbing myself of many blessings and continued learning and growing in my relationship with Him. Take the opportunity to be involved in the small groups of CR. You will be blessed!!



For more information about our CR small groups or about Celebrate Recovery as a whole, contact Rodney at 479-659-3679 or roholmstrom@fellowshipnwa.org





Monday, July 25, 2011

Life crazy right now?

Does life have you feeling crazy? Feeling like the burdens of job searches, out of control debt, relationships in turmoil, out of control addictions? No matter how crazy life may be right now, there is always hope. Jesus is willing, able, He cares, and is ready to lead you through any and all things you are battling right now. Celebrate Recovery is a great way to experience His comfort, strength and direction in our life.





If you would like to experience His love with people that know exactly what you are going through, come join us at Celebrate Recovery. You are not alone in your battles, your struggles, or your burdens you are carrying. My prayer over you is Psalm 20, May this be your answer as you seek Him more closely. Come visit us soon. Bring someone with you.


For more information about Celebrate Recovery contact me at roholmstrom@fellowshipnwa.org or 479-659-3679


Rodney Holmstrom

Arkansas State Rep/National Assimilation Coach

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Don't Stop Now!

Imagine with me if you will that we are back in high school. Now imagine that you are on the football team or the volleyball team, or maybe you are in the band or in FFA, or maybe you are on the debate team or in the choir. Now imagine the long hard months of preparation that you would put into any of these activities in order to play the game or perform. A lot of time sacrificed and in some case some sweat and tears could happen, but a lot of hard work and preparation have gone into getting yourself ready for that upcoming game or performance.



Now imagine with me that the day arrives when you are to walk onto that stage, court, field and you say to yourcoach, “You know, I worked hard to get to this place, I think I will just stop here.” Can you imagine the look on your coach’s face? We worked so hard to be ready to play or perform and now at that moment we stop! In addition, our reason for stopping is just as bizarre because of all the hard work we did to get here! I can imagine the coach just looking in disbelief with all that prep work and time sacrificed and now at the pay off, we just stop and say, “I’m done.” It would be like a member of a football team making it to the Super Bowl or a soccer player making it to the World Cup or an athlete making to the Olympics and then deciding not to play. We would all say that that person is just crazy - all that hard work and pain to get to the Super Bowl and now they decide to stop and not go any further They must be out of their mind!” In fact, this seems so far-fetched that it is hard to imagine that someone would do something like that, isn’t it? Is it really that far-fetched?






Okay, let me changed the scenario on you a bit. Now imagine that you or I are in a Step Study, we have worked hard through Principles 1, 2, 3 & 4 and through the corresponding Steps 1, 2, 3, 4 & 5. A lot of time and hard work have gone into coming out of denial, stepping out of the insanity, embracing the hope that our Higher Power Jesus does desire and will work in our lives, turning our lives and wills over to Him, working through the inventory and then confessing it to ourselves, to God and to someone we trust. Tears were cried, some sleepless nights were spent, pain was encountered and faced, fears dealt with and a lot of time in prayer spent getting us to this point. And now we say, “I am done. You know I put a lot of hard work to get here, so I think I will just stop.”



Now is not the time to stop. All the hard work I did in Principles 1-4 and Steps 1-5, was preparation work for the healing, growth and freedom Jesus desires to see in me. The reality is I am just now ready to move forward in my recovery when I am at this point. There is no doubt it took a lot of hard work to get to this point and that is a point of celebration and giving God praise and glory for what has happened, but I am not done. Yet the truth is that hard work was just the preparation needed so I could step onto that field. Almost every athlete or performer will tell you that the preparation work is always hard, often times harder than the game or performance itself. Nevertheless, they will also tell you that without that preparation work, they would in no way be in shape or ready for the game or performance. Likewise, Principles 1-4 are the hard work needed to be completed to get me in shape or ready. So now is not the time to stop.



The struggle is that, because it took so much hard work, my natural tendency is to want to stop. I have to remind myself that making it to Principle 4 and Step 5 is not the goal. The goal is recovery, healing, growth and freedom. I must remember that the rest of the Principles and Steps need to be worked and – yes - it will be hard work as I move through them as well, perhaps not the same, but hard work nonetheless. No, now is not the time to stop, now is the time to get READY, now is the time to press onto VICTORY, now is the time for me to take the field, now is the time for me to play in my Super Bowl.

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Double Vision

Seeing straight today? Anything blurring your vision? Anything keeping your focus off of Christ? It's a challenge to keep our eye on the world around us (in a normal, constructive way) and to keep another fixed on Jesus. But, we can do it. We simply must choose to refocus.

Take a look at this passage from Luke 11:33-36: No one after lighting a lamp puts it in a cellar or crypt or under a bushel measure, but on a lampstand, that those who are coming in may see the light. Your eye is the lamp of your body; when your eye (your conscience) is sound and fulfilling its office, your whole body is full of light; but when it is not sound and is not fulfilling its office, your body is full of darkness. Be careful, therefore, that the light that is in you is not darkness. If then your entire body is illuminated, having no part dark, it will be wholly bright [with light], as when a lamp with its bright rays gives you light. [Amplified Bible (AMP)]

Wow! Crazy isn't it that we can even think that the darkness in our life is somehow LIGHT!?! We can be so easily deceived that it all gets backward in our head. And, the way we begin to think affects how we feel. And how we feel affects how we act. In no time, we find ourselves in a heap of trouble all because we got our eyes off the true Light of life.


So, take some time to refocus. Fill your heart and mind with the Light of the Truth of God's Word. Make His perspective the lense you view life through. It will change you and bring healing in the process of recovery. Think about Jesus' words from John 8: 12: "...I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness, but will have the light of life."