Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Spinach in my teeth

Do you have someone in your life willing to tell you even the tough stuff? Someone that you have given permission to tell you about your blind spots?
Someone that will point out the spinach in your teeth?


Author Wayne Goodall reminds me in my reading to look for the following things when looking for a mentor:
Find someone in that...
Their message is worth remembering
Their life is worth living
Their faith is worth imitating

Note: Rememeber your sponsor is human and will let you down, they are human. Check out the video on Sponsor and Accountability Partners




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

Monday, March 28, 2011

A GRACE THAT IS ENOUGH

So there I was, sitting in CR Worship this past Friday night, just minding my own business worshipping God when the Holy Spirit interrupted me and asked me about the words I was singing. The song at that moment was Your Grace is Enough and at that moment in the song, we were singing the first chorus:
Your grace is enough,
Your grace is enough,
Your grace is enough for me!

Years ago when I was in my early twenties, I was first starting out in ministry I had the fortunate experience to spend some quality time with a worship leader named Bob Fitts talking about the nature of worship. Like our own David Attebery, Bob has the gift to lead folks to the very throne room of God, and allow their hearts to be prepared to what God has to say. Bob made a statement about worship that has stuck with some 20+ years now. He said that worship is either declaration or adoration. Declaration is the testimony of who God is; or what His character is like; or about His nature; or about what He has done; its focus is on God and making him famous and known. Adoration is an expression of our emotions towards God; it is our focused response to the declaration of who God is. I took Bob’s words to heart and over the years, my attitude in worship normally has become one of these two expressions, declaration of God or adoration to God.

So back to Friday night, I responded to what I felt was the Holy Spirit’s prompting and began to think about the words I was singing. My first thought was I am just singing this song, which is not a good thing; my second thought was to ask is this song a song of declaration or a song of adoration. Now to be honest, as wonderful as this song is to most people, it is not one of my favorites. Perhaps it is the rhythm or the style but really, that is a personal preference and has nothing to do with the value of this great song. So that being said, I have never bothered to take Bob’s words and apply them to this particular song.

What I did in the next few moments was to look at the truth of the song, “…Your grace is enough…” we sang. “Wow, this is a declaration of the nature of God,” I thought. How have I missed that? Probably because I have let personal preference get in the way of worship, at least with this song I had. Forgetting the lesson I had learned years ago that worship isn’t about music, style or the notes, it is about God and that He is worthy of my declaration and of my adoration whether there is music or not, whether I like the tune or not. Oh, I know that having an affinity for the songs that we sing is helpful for me to enter into an attitude of worship. Ultimately, though, it is unimportant when compared to what the focus of worship is to be; it is not about what “warm fuzzies” I get, it is about the declaration and adoration of the King.

So back again to Friday night “…Your grace is enough…” a declaration of God’s nature! What followed for me was conviction, conviction that this is a declaration that I have never really made. That this is a declaration I need to speak out. That my spirit needs to hear my flesh make this declaration to itself or perhaps it is my flesh that needs to hear my spirit make this declaration to itself. Either way, I was beginning to understand that it was important for my recovery that these four words need to become a part of my meditations and worship of God, which the Holy Spirit wants to work at in the transforming of my mind. His grace is enough! This truth is something that my soul needs to hear daily, to combat the lies I have bought into that I could never be a person God would delight in.

“…Your grace is enough for me…” what an amazing God we serve, by the time we reached this point of the first chorus, the Holy Spirit had challenged, convicted and begun a change in my way of thinking about His grace, about the His very nature. I spent the rest of that song focusing on the thought that His grace is enough. What followed in the next 36 hours was God using the rest of worship, the testimony shared that night along with my own devotion, the worship and the message from the Saturday night service I attend to re-enforce the truth that “His grace is enough.” And as He has done so I find myself in an expression of adoration about this declaration of the truth of His nature. God using my past to affect my present to change my future.

I am convinced now more than ever that Christ is calling me to a level of freedom in Him that I have never known; this morning it is occurring to me that, the path to that freedom starts here; and the first step is the understanding that His grace is enough. Paul puts it this way in Romans:
Here it is in a nutshell: Just as one person did it wrong and got us in all this trouble with sin and death, another person did it right and got us out of it. But more than just getting us out of trouble, he got us into life! One man said no to God and put many people in the wrong; one man said yes to God and put many in the right.
All that passing laws against sin did was produce more lawbreakers. But sin didn't, and doesn't, have a chance in competition with the aggressive forgiveness we call grace. When it's sin versus grace, grace wins hands down. All sin can do is threaten us with death, and that's the end of it. Grace, because God is putting everything together again through the Messiah, invites us into life—a life that goes on and on and on, world without end. – Romans 5:19-21 (The Message)

Father, I want to know and experience this grace of yours. Help me to get out of the way of myself so that I can find what you have had for me all along. In Christ’s name, Amen.

Tim, CR Encourager Coach, CR NW Arkansas Fellowship. For more information on CR contact Rodney at 479-659-3679 or roholmstrom@fellowshipnwa.org

Monday, March 21, 2011

CELEBRATE RECOVERY RAP

This is a fantastic video by one of our sister CR's here locally. St. James Missionary Baptist Church




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

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Life Preserver



Ever felt like you were helpless when seeing a friend drowing in dysfunction adn yet they won't grab ontot he tool you are throwing to them? What do we do when they won't grab onto the Life Preserver?






For more information about how to get into a CR near you. Contact Rodney at 479-659-3679 roholmstrom@fellowshipnwa.org

Monday, March 14, 2011

The Different Kinds of "help me"

The Different Kinds of "help me"
Sometimes "Help me!" is really "help me keep doing what I'm doing, even though it's really not working for me anymore." (I guess that would be classified as enabling, if you buy into that one).
Sometimes "Help me!" is "help me keep doing what I'm doing, because it's about to work, but I've run out of time/resources." I guess to do that would actually be helping.

Sometimes "Help me!" is "I don't want to have to do anything to make a change or come up with an answer -- plus if you do it all I can blame you if I don't like it or it doesn't work out."
And sometimes it's "I don't know what to do to make a change, please show me."

I know I'm painting with a pretty broad brush here -- it's just struck me lately how sometimes the best way I can help someone -- as a friend, family member or sponsor -- is to stop and consider which of the above might be going on.
- From my favorite AA blogger Mr. Sponsorpants
Alison Kerr

For information about Celebrate Recovery contact Rodney at 479-409-9747 or roholmstrom@fellowshipnwa.org

Sunday, March 6, 2011

The Trap of Entitlement


The Trap of Entitlement
…There were others who were tortured, refusing to be released so that they might gain an even better resurrection. Some faced jeers and flogging, and even chains and imprisonment. They were put to death by stoning; they were sawed in two; they were killed by the sword. They went about in sheepskins and goatskins, destitute, persecuted and mistreated— the world was not worthy of them. They wandered in deserts and mountains, living in caves and in holes in the ground. - Hebrews 11:35-38 (NIV)
“I've worked much harder, been jailed more often, beaten up more times than I can count, and at death's door time after time. I've been flogged five times with the Jews' thirty-nine lashes, beaten by Roman rods three times, pummeled with rocks once. I've been shipwrecked three times, and immersed in the open sea for a night and a day. In hard traveling year in and year out, I've had to ford rivers, fend off robbers, struggle with friends, struggle with foes. I've been at risk in the city, at risk in the country, endangered by desert sun and sea storm, and betrayed by those I thought were my brothers. I've known drudgery and hard labor, many a long and lonely night without sleep, many a missed meal, blasted by the cold, naked to the weather.
And that's not the half of it, when you throw in the daily pressures and anxieties of all the churches. When someone gets to the end of his rope, I feel the desperation in my bones. When someone is duped into sin, an angry fire burns in my gut.” -Paul in 2 Cor. 11:23-29 (the Message)
I find it disturbing when I find myself in a place where I begin to feel entitled as a follower of Christ. What I mean is that I begin to feel I “deserve or earned” certain rights, privileges or ways of being treated by others and, at times, even by God Himself, just because I am a follower of Christ and sometimes even as a citizen of the United States America. It is a place where I begin to feel that somebody owes me something. I find that when I am in this place or state of mind I usually end up on the road to resentment and that is a very dangerous place to be.
Recently I have been looking at the life of King David. Can you imagine if the leaders of the country came to you and said, “You have been picked to be our next leader”? This is what happened to David. David was the youngest of Jesse’s sons. Even some scholars think he may have even been an illegitimate son of Jesse. He was sent by his father to tend sheep, a lonely, thankless job, one that was certainly on the low end of the social scale of the day. One day he was called from the fields and was anointed to be King of Israel by Samuel the Prophet. Eugene Edwards writes that he was then promoted from being a shepherd to a busboy for his older brothers in the army. Later he kills a giant, an enemy of the people of Israel, when no one else had the guts to meet the giant’s challenge, not even the current King.
So, now, here is David, anointed to be King and he has just killed one of the greatest enemies of his country. He is then invited by the current King, Saul, to join him in the royal palace and is soon to find himself facing the business end of the spears that are being thrown at him by Saul. David finds himself soon running away and living in caves like an animal. Not only that, but now he finds himself hunted by Saul. On the run, his very life threatened and living like an animal, is this the way you think he would be spending his life as the oil ran down his head when he was anointed to be king, the way the life should be for the “man after God’s own heart”? I can’t imagine it was. If it were I, I would be thinking of all the great things I could do as the king, nothing like this.
Now David didn’t like this and he did make that known to God (read the Psalms). However, you never hear the voice of entitlement coming from him. David does eventually become King of Israel, but not by his own hand, he allows God to put him on the thrown. Later, once he is king, his own son rises up against him and again David could have felt entitled to keep his kingdom, but instead he leaves. His attitude is that the kingdom belongs to God and if he wants me on the throne then He will keep me there. David could have felt entitled, but he didn’t.
Later in the New Testament, we read about the Apostle Paul, another man that had an opportunity to feel entitled. Yet when we read what his life was like in the Book of 2nd Corinthians (quoted above), it does seem like it was one of entitlement. In fact the other Apostles, Peter, James, Andrew were all martyred and the Apostle who wasn’t martyred was imprisoned for life. These men changed the world, as we know it; they turned it on its ear. Yet when we read about their lives, like David, they weren’t lives of entitlement.
So, if the examples of David, Paul, Peter and the others, to say nothing about the life of Jesus Himself, are not ones of entitlement, why would I even begin to allow myself to consider that I am entitled to anything more? Because I follow Christ, because I live in the USA? Could I be anymore arrogant?
No, at best, I stand on the shoulders of those gone before me. If for some reason I am not called to pay the same price that they did, then it is only by God’s grace and mercy on my life, not because I deserve or have earned anything.
I stated earlier that entitlement leads to the road of resentment. Resentment will do nothing but destroy my walk with God. An attitude of entitlement is steps on that road. The problem is that an attitude of entitlement is so subtle; I often don’t see it until some damage has been done. So how do I keep myself from it? I must respond in the opposite spirit, I must respond to life with gratitude.

On your feet now—applaud God! Bring a gift of laughter, sing yourselves into his presence. Know this: God is God, and God, God. He made us; we didn't make him. We're his people, his well-tended sheep. Enter with the password: "Thank you!" Make yourselves at home, talking praise. Thank him. Worship him. For God is sheer beauty, all-generous in love, loyal always and ever. – Psalm 100 (The Message)
Do you see what we've got? An unshakable kingdom! And do you see how thankful we must be? Not only thankful, but brimming with worship, deeply reverent before God. – Hebrews 12:28 (The Message)
Okay, I think it is time once again for me to look at my gratitude list.

Tim, E Coach for Celebrate Recovery NW AR Fellowship Bible


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