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."

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

The Prisoner

Have you ever been a prisoner?
Have you ever been held captive?
Have you ever been enslaved?
Have you ever wanted freedom so bad you could taste it?

Hi, my name is David, and I’m a prisoner.

I’ve been a prisoner for a long time…living inside these walls made of bars of steel and stone.

There’s a window…it’s small…but it’s a window.
It lets me see the outside…where I could be…where I could have been all along. But…I’m a prisoner. It’s who I am. It’s who I’ll always be.

Oh, yeah, there’s a door. It’s made of those same steel bars.
It hangs there on the hinges. Hard, cold metal. Unforgiving.

And the lock. It can’t be picked. It just can’t be! I’ve tried to get out on my own. It takes that key…that annoying key that for years has rattled in my ears.
All the time I’ve been here…every time that abusive guard stuck it in the lock - and the mechanism would click, I’d get that sense of “freedom”. It was the sound of freedom. I could just taste it – only to be disappointed after an hour of pretend freedom behind the fences of the yard – only to be disappointed as the guard – a tyrant, that guy – would lead me back to my cell and lock the door behind me…laughing and mocking me as he’d walk away.

Ironically, it was a Friday when it all changed. Well, sort of changed. Inmates down the corridor were hollering at the guard…yelling their usual taunts. And they were screaming obscenities at a new guy. You know when a new guy is coming in because of those initial cat calls and insults. It’s painfully routine.

The guard approached my cell door. And, this new guy was with him. I thought…oh, great, a cellmate. No thanks. I’m a loner. I’m o.k. by myself. Stick him in with the guy next door.

But, they just stood there at my cell door…the guard and this guy. This new dude. He was kinda normal looking. Not really a rough and tough looking sort. Nothing that would have naturally drawn you to him. Kinda simple looking actually. A little homely. Intriguing at the same time. I couldn’t quite figure him out.
It was all a bit weird…almost like I knew him or he knew me …or something. Like I was in slow motion…but only a couple of seconds past before the man gave me that most startling message: You’re free. I looked at him with a blank stare, and he said it again...You’re free. I could tell that slave-driver of a guard wasn’t excited about it. But, he handed the keys over to this mystery man who proceeded to unlock the door. Then, he opened it and looked me square in the eye and repeated himself. “You’re free.” "How?” I asked. What happened? I don’t get it.

The guard pointed his thumb to the guy and grumbled, “It’s his doing…definitely not mine. I’d keep you here ‘til you rotted if it was up to me. I’d just as soon see you robbed blind, tortured, and killed…if it was up to me.”

“What do you mean, free?” I asked the stranger.

The guard chimed back in, “You’re free knucklehead. This nut paid your bail, your fines, your penalty…along with everyone else’s in this nuthouse. You can go.”

The simple man – the mystery man – looked at me and smiled. Then the two of them moved on to the next cell…making the same announcement from one cell to the next.

I sat on my bunk in disbelief and just listened as the two of them moved from cell to cell…floor to floor…telling the same story.

I could hear guys yelling…grabbing their stuff and running down the corridors…headed outside. OUTSIDE! Somebody said that the gates to the whole prison were standing wide open outside. I jumped to the window to see if I was in a dream. But…it was true. I could see ‘em running out. “I’m free!” they’d yell. “I’m outta here!”

They didn’t deserve to be outside! I knew I didn’t and I knew there were lots more like me and worse. Free? No way! They don’t deserve it, and I don’t either.
I stuck to my guns that day.

I stayed on that bunk…determined not to move. Determined to be what I was…a prisoner…determined to be who I am…a prisoner. It’s who I am…It’s who I’ll always be. I got myself into this mess and I’ll keep myself in it.

And, I have. I’ve stayed. Yeah, the door is still hanging there on the hinges. And, yeah, it’s still open. It’s been that way for three years now. They still feed me and they gave me a t.v. to keep me occupied. I just live through the people in the little box. It’s a meager existence. I wouldn’t call it a “life.” But I’m used to it. So, I’m not leaving. Freedom can’t be mine. It just can’t be…because I’m a prisoner.

Have you ever felt like this guy? Galatians 5:1 says, "It is for freedom that Christ has set us free. Stand firm, then, and do not let yourselves be burdened again by a yoke of slavery." What doorway of freedom has Christ given to you that you have been hesitant to walk through? What is the cage that you are ready to walk out of today?