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Showing posts from 2012

Empty Promises to His Promises

Have you seen these photos on Facebook that ask you to do something? I saw one that had sharks in a lobby and it said, "click on photo, hit like, type the number 2, then watch what happens" Guess what? Nothing happened. DOH! What is remarkable it to see the several other thousand people that did the same thing. Isn't that so much like what the enemy does with you and so in our life? We are given empty promises of hope and satisfaction only to be disappointed with nothing but emptiness. So often I would look for happiness is so many things thinking, "this is it! This is the thing that will bring me happiness. A new car, new clothes, house, even a relationship." Yeah for a while that thirst will be satisfied but in the end apart from Christ, the result is emptiness. I love how Rick Warren puts it, “What happens outwardly in your life is not as important as what happens inside you." Thru CR I have learned even more that true 'happiness' comes fro…

Overcoming Loneliness

Have you ever been in a room full of people at a gathering and still felt overwhelmed with loneliness? Sounds like an oxymoron, but it does happen. I know there were times in my life I was struggling with depression and loneliness, and to be in a room full of people seemed like the loneliest place in the world. "I have become a stranger to my brothers..."Ps 69:8 Isn't it interesting how clever the enemy can be in taking advantage of our unresolved past hurt that ultimately lead us to pulling away from the community we were designed to be around. God did not intend for us to be alone. I have learned thru my own process and life recovery journey that when I am feeling lonely, I must never forget that the Father is always there with me. "So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand."Isaiah 41:10 If you are struggling with loneliness, never forget th…

Answering Him Correctly: Life Change

"Yes or no?" Remember in grade school when we would pass the note back and forth, "do you like me? Check yes or no" We started early in life with the Yes or No questions didn't we? How about, "would you like fries with that sir?" "Do you want to go ahead and get that filling put in your tooth today?" Life is full of so many choices isn't it? Some of those questions can be much bigger & in fact steer our life down either the right or a disastrous path. Thru the 8 CR principles the Father asks us these questions that if 'Yes' is not our response, it prevents us from moving forward in the healthy path of recovery. The Father asks us some life changing questions: Will you believe and receive Me as your God and stop playing god in your own life? Will you finally believe that you matter to Me? Will you trust that I have the power to help you thru ANY and ALL things? Will you turn your life over to Me? Will you do the necessary…

Winning And Finishing Strong!

I am a pretty big sports fan. Of course my desire is for my team to win the championship every year. Not a very big wish huh? I was thinking this morning, what if when the season started they just automatically said, "Rodney, without even starting the season your team won. They are the new champions of their league." That excitement might last about 3 seconds and then I would be asking questions like, what?! how? They didn't do anything?! Holding the trophy in the end without the journey doesn't quite mean the same does it? You see what makes crossing the finish line sweet is not just to be given the trophy but the understanding and satisfaction of the work that went into the process and journey. We immediately begin thinking of the stories of the process to get where we are. You will hear things like, "we had some rough spots that challenged us, but with God's help we persevered and kept fighting." I am reminded that while I have been given the privi…

Box It Up Boys...

So that's it? It's over?! Yesterday we took down our Christmas decorations at our house. As they were coming down I couldn't help but think, wow, as fast as it got here, it was over just as fast. What if when the lights and decorations went down each year, so did our hope. What if with the decor, we just boxed up our hope, love, peace, & joy and shoved them into the attic for another 330 plus days. I am grateful that my relationship with Christ doesn't have to be that way. The celebration of life can & should be a 365 process. I have to make this my choice though. All those lights & decor represented a party being held in honor of the birth of the King. Now, days after the big birthday celebration, we get a chance to live the life that He brought to us as a gift at His own party. I am reminded that the celebration is not just in the birthday party itself, but in how we honor Him with the gifts given to us at the party. Those gifts came to me when I be…

Why Is It So Smelly God?!

What did it really look like? We see pictures of Jesus' birth and it always seems to be so clean, neat, and tidy. Joseph and Mary always look so well groomed and perfect.  If you ever been in a labor room at a hospital, you know it is nothing like that at all. Now add on top of that how much worse the conditions were for Mary. Can you imagine what Mary was thinking while in that smelly, urine & manure infested stable? Makes me wonder if she didn't have a slight hint of questioning this. "Really God?! This is all we could arrange as I give birth to the Messiah?!" "How about a clean bed, or a pillow would be wonderful. Not to mention this odor is making me gag. Would it be too much to get some clean sheets!?" :) Or how about Joseph, "no, don't get anything on my tunic...uh, nevermind." lol She & Joseph probably didn't think those things but I bet I probably would have. Who knows what she was thinking. One thing is for sure though,…

Can You Help Me Fix This?

"So what wrong with the car?" said the tow truck driver when he picked me up on the side of the road.  Me, "Well, it seems to be a malfunction of the radiator hose connecting and firing from the exhaust fumes causing the belts to fall of their spools and therefore creating overheating in the engine particles, causing an overflow of the radiator.....us yeah, I have no clue."  Turns out it was the water pump and my father and brother in law knew exactly how to fix that. Grateful to them for doing that. When it comes to cars, I have no clue at all.  God has shown me in my life that it is ok not to have the answers to everything.  Someone once said, “To know what you know and to know what you don't know, that is real wisdom."  God has and is growing me to be ok with reaching out to others that 'do' have the wisdom in areas of my life.  This is one of those disciplines that can be so hard sometimes can't it? If I call my brother in Christ and tell…

Your Given, New Name

Where were you when God whispered to you? I was thinking about Jacob this morning and how he wrestled so much with God. Jacob was one messed up guy. In fact he was a liar, deceiver, a thief that was wandering thru life with that identity. Imagine how beautiful it was the day Jacob finally quit wrestling with God and accepted Him as his leader. And then, in the quiet, alone time with the loving Father, God reaches down and with great tenderness, strength & love, the Father whispers, "Jacob. Jacob, you're no longer going to be identified as Jacob. I have given you a new name." You can just sense a warm smile from the Father a He continued in sharing this news. Your new name will now be Israel." Wow! What a scene. Well, that probably only happens in the scriptures I guess huh? Actually no. My name used to be shame, guilt, liar, thief, pride, selfish, failure, afraid, fearful, runner, perfectionist, and more. Yeah, I too wrestled with the King, but I am happy to …

Listening For The Right Notes

In the film, 'Mr. Holland's Opus'. Mr Holland was describing how Beethoven wrote his classical music pieces. He explained to the class, "Beethoven sawed the legs off his piano so he could lay the body flat on the ground.  Then he would lie down on the ground next to the piano with his ear pressed to the floor. He would pound the keys with his fingers in order to hear his music thru the vibrations of the music thru the floor."  The student then replied, "Mr Holland, if he couldn't hear, how would he even know what the notes were? Like, if he never heard a "C", how would he know that's what he wanted to play." Mr. Holland then responds,  "Well, Beethoven wasn't born deaf." Ever have those days where you feel like your pounding out the notes in your life and having trouble hearing Him? Life can be discouraging and disappointing sometimes can't it? Sometimes, like yesterday for me, the enemy can attempt to block out t…

Misery versus Hope

I was driving home the other day and heard a song. Nothing unusual about that, but this particular song happened to be the same song I was listening to the last time I saw my mom conscience in 2009. The tears began to flow and my heart began to ache, missing my mom. The old me was trained to stuff it and don't let anyone know what I was feeling. Sounds crazy but the misery in my past could become its own drug and addiction. Have you ever just felt like staying miserable was a more attractive option? For me, yes, sounds absurd but true. Reminds me of a quote, “Most people would rather be certain they're miserable, than risk being happy."  The renewed Rodney was able to go a different direction & share with my wife and bring my pain into the light. The new Rodney was able to run to the Father for strength. I was reminded of Isaiah 61:1-4.  Some key words of hope that jump out for me;  "He binds up the broken hearted, proclaims freedom for the captives, release f…

What Did You Get?

"What did you get?" Those are the words we generally hear from one another the day after Christmas. Then we have a blast sharing the surprises and wonderful gifts we were given.  As a kid, I used to get so excited and could hardly wait to get with my friends and tell then what I got. Today, I was just thinking about what an incredible gift I have already been given. I have rich relationships, family, and most of all I am loved by the King. Sitting here this morning I am thankful that the Lord not only likes me but He truly loves me. How? I'm not sure because I am one crazy fella.  Reminds me of a quote from 'A Bug's Life', "You're weird, but I like you."  lol. I am glad the Lord looks past my flaws and loves me for who I am. It has been said that kindness is loving people more than they deserve. That's exactly where you and I sit today. If we replace the word 'kindness' with 'grace', we have much to be thankful for today…

Holy Spirit: "Watch Out Sweet Child"

Have you ever been told by a wise person, "don't do it" and did it anyway? Yeah so have I and I regret it. Some time back me and my family were watching tv and a commercial came on for some kind of medicine. My daughter just started giggling at the end when this man talking 100 miles per hour started rattling off possible side effects. His question was something like, do you have acne problems? Try our medicine.... "Warning! May cause constipation, dizziness, increased sweating, lightheadedness, damage your kidney, liver, heart, loss of appetite, nausea, vomiting, weakness, driving places you don't remember, bleeding in you ears and loss of your finger nails....and more" Wow! Sign me up!!! (Ok so I threw in a couple extras there. Lol) This got me to thinking about how my choices in life take on a similar path. There are things that on the surface look like something great and worth while, but I fail to listen to the warning at the end of the enemies adve…

Too Much Conflict?

The Holidays can bring lots of craziness can't they? This is a time that we may spend more time with family than any other time of the year and with that can bring some conflicts as we are all dysfunctional in many ways. :) I am reminded this morning that peace is NOT the absence of conflict, but rather the presence of Righteousness that is a person in Jesus Christ.  Don't forget to invite Him into your conflicts, stress and anxiety this week as conflict is inevitable in this broken world. I heard someone say this week that if we find ourselves getting annoyed by more and more people around us, it may mean that we have less and less of Him in our daily routine. "I pray the Lord, who gives peace, will always bless you with peace. May the Lord be with all of you too." 1 Thes. 3:16   Have a great day! Rodney Holmstrom

Are You Struggling?

Waking up this morning preparing for a morning of Christmas worship at Fellowship. Thinking about how much I was reminded of the hope we have in Christ as our Savior in being a part of last night's services. I cling to the hope I have in Christ. While talking about hope, someone once said "Sometimes that's all you have when you have nothing else. If you have it, you have everything.” Are you feeling hopeless these days? Have you lost sight of what has been given to us? Have you forgotten that The Father desires to lead you thru your valley and struggles. You don't have to do this alone. Author Bryant Wright in his book "Right from the Heart" wrote, “If you choose to trust God, He can bring good out of the darkest, most dismal of circumstances." I know some of us are struggling thru these holiday's and so I just want to speak to you right now. Please hear me carefully, You. Are. Loved. by. the. King! The Great I Am! Never forget that. Keep your …

Hurt People, Hurt People

Hurt people, hurt people. We hear this in our life. We experience it in painful ways. Sometimes we even see it happen to others and it breaks our heart. The Conn. shootings are a grotesque display of true evil that brings such heartbreak and pain to so many. I got home last night around 11pm and for the first time began watching the coverage of this and my mind just could not comprehend such evil. Such heartbreak for these families. Such a blow to the community of family, neighbors, friends & teachers. How do we deal with this kind of deep pain? How do we see any kind of hope in a tragedy such as this? There is an old proverb that reads, "However long the moon disappears, someday it must shine again."  The thought that entered my mind was how anyone could endure this kind of pain apart from Christ. As you and I face hurt done to us by other hurting people in a very dark world, Jesus Christ is our only source of comfort and light to show us thru such pain. I am remin…

What Did The Newcomer Say?

I recently asked my leaders to be on the look out for our guest of honor coming (first time visitor) tonight to CR. I asked them the next night, "What did they say?" Here is what one of my leaders sent back with their permission for me to share: "April 2006...I was that newcomer and all those statements ring true for me!  I cried the entire service and thought I was the most 'insano' person there.  I was realizing I didn't have the power to pull myself up by my bootstraps out of depression and rampant OCD.  I was filled with fear.  The thought of entrusting myself to someone else was terrifying to me cause I was so afraid the emotional abandonment I'd felt from my parents would come back upon me.  I'd tried to convince myself I didn't need anyone else...I was self-sufficient.   Now my exhausting perfectionism and drivenness had caught up with me when I realized nothing I was so feverishly doing was actually changing my family and my circumstanc…

From Excuses To Action

"I just don't have time for this. I really think I am fine. I have a lot going on in my life right now. I just couldn't commit to something so big right now. At least I'm not as bad as those other guys. I'm just too tired. I work a lot of hours." Have you ever gotten caught up in the web of excuses, justifying the continuation of your current path. I know I have and it can really get in the way of my progress in my life. Someone once said, I believe George Washington Carver, “Ninety-nine percent of the failures comes from people who have the habit of making excuses." Excuses are the enemies way of keeping us stuck where we are, all the while laughing at us cause he has me right where he wants us.  One of the things that one of my mentors, Mickey Rapier said to me years ago was that if the devil doesn't make you bad, he will make you busy. This is so true. Sometimes in my life I am a pro at filling up my schedule and then it makes me feel better abo…

Laundry Day

I was watching, "Santa Claus is Coming To Town." last night, yeah, I know, I am a sucker for those old childhood classics. One of the scenes in the show has a young Kris Kringle talking with some young kids at a washing station where they were cleaning socks. As Kris approached him he asked them what they were doing. Their response, "we are washing socks....we are judged based on how much work we get done and how clean our socks are." hmm So often in my life I believed that this is how life was. As long as I worked hard at being good, acted right and did good things in a "perfect" way then I was ok and was on the right track. Today I know that that is the wrong thinking. This is what got the Pharisees in trouble.  Have you ever been those kids at the well? Trying so hard to fit in while attempting to scrub our stains and junk from the past away on our own? I sure have and it was exhausting. Today I am grateful that I now understand that I am imperfect…

Seat Switcher

My husband and I were running just a tad late to worship the other morning. Not so late that we would miss the message or even most of the singing. We walked in during the announcements. I prefer getting there before kickoff but hey, it was be a tad late or not go at all. Basically, I’m trying to paint the picture that most everyone was already settled in their seats and engaged when we tried to enter in an unobtrusive way. Our intent was not to disturb anyone. We scooted past the man on the end of the row and sat in the two seats next to him. On my left was my husband; on my right was another couple. I did my best to slip in and settle without distracting the woman I was seated next to. I didn’t even wear any fragranced body care products. I’ve been the one who has had to breathe in someone else’s favorite scent and wound up either coughing through worship or sneezing way my through. So bottom line, I thought I was being the epitome of subtle as much as I was able to be under the …

Mosquito In A Dark World

Multiplication! That was the word that jumped out in a big way last night at a dinner I was attending. Last night I met some men for dinner and fellowship as we celebrated the 'completion' of a CR step group and the 'beginning' of the rest of their life. What an incredible blessing it was to hear these men talk about where they were a year ago and where they sit now. I saw a picture of many men that were now grounded in Christ, leading their families, and living in freedom from a host of things that kept them apart from our Creator. In this CR group, they found truth, accountability, & relationship unlike anything they had ever experienced. But the most exciting thing for me to see was a desire for multiplication.  Three new men's CR step groups will be starting for men coming out of this one group. Wow!!! These men caught the vision. Yes we must heal and grow from our hurts, but if we are not multiplying ourselves, are we really following Christ's plan f…

Do You See The Stains?

I can remember when I was younger I worked for my music teacher, Mr Taylor, around his rental properties. He would often give me jobs with yard work, painting, cleaning etc. One of the things I despise is painting. Especially when painting over a wall that is similar in color but different enough that you can see the difference in coloring.  Sometimes Mr, Taylor would come thru to check my work and notice that it hadn't been completed quite the way it should be. I seemed to always look for short cuts.  He would graciously ask, "do you see those spots and steaks there Rodney?" After a while of acting like they weren't there, I would eventually give in and finish the job. My life can be like this in some ways. For a long time I knew the stains were there, but just couldn't bring myself to acknowledge them. The Lord, in His gracious way would say, "Rodney, do you see those stains in your life?" When I finally did admit they were there, I could just see …

Holiday Stress: Growing Fruit

Often during this time of year we can see some increased levels of stress. I know in my life if I don't deal with this stress in a healthy way, it can lead to unhealthy choices, poor reactions, and even isolation from those things that keep me on track. Our language can become, "I hate the holidays! I am just ready for this to be over!" But, what if we changed our attitude and thinking on this? What if we said, "Lord, these Holidays are tough & stressful but I want to use this hurt for Your glory." I was challenging some friends recently with using the fruits of the Spirit in Galatians 5 as an action plan.  Could it be our plan these next few weeks to look at growing & strengthening our love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self control as we face the challenges before us? What if we looked at these tough holidays as an opportunity to grow in the Lord. As you know though, we can't do this alone. Make sure we a…

Rips In My Sails

Call me silly but one of my favorites is the movie "Tommy Boy". Don't judge me...:) Of course there are many funny and silly scenes, but a scene that you might not think of, that has good meaning, is the scene where Tommy is sitting in his sail boat with no wind. Then he says, "hey dad, I sure could use some help down here. Could you give me a little wind to get my boat moving? And of course, the wind picked up and his sail boat begins moving with breeze. How often have I asked that question from the Father, "Lord, how about a little help" and still felt like I wasn't moving anywhere.  Looking back on my life I have noticed that the problem was that I was trying to sail thru life with ripped sails. No wonder my life seemed to be at a stand still. No wonder I felt so lifeless. Isn't it interesting how we can convince ourself that our "rips" in our sails aren't that bad? And yet, still scratch our head wondering why the sail won't…

Change Is Possible

Words that are oxygen to my soul: "I was struggling in hopelessness but now have hope." "God is changing me." "I could not have made it thru this storm without Christ & the tools of CR." "I have a new family for life now." "I feel like I can be the real me when I walk thru those doors of CR." "I have learned so much about myself, and for the first time I like what I see." "I am now the spouse I know I was called to be." "My relationship with my kids is now growing healthy!"  "I was so desperate and at the end of my rope, but God threw me a lifeline thru CR....and I finally grabbed it!" There is nothing sweeter than seeing life change up close and personal. None of us are "fixed" but one thing is for sure, growth & change is possible and is happening in so many lives. He has brought me out of the junk and taught me some incredible lessons thru those hurts. It has been said, “Yo…

What Takes Your Breath Away?

I was walking out to my truck last night to leave the office and there it was. I saw a sky that looked like a painting of brilliant colors. I was struck to stand there and just take it in. What an amazingly creative God we serve. Thinking this morning how easy it is to overlook His beauty in those things around me. Reminded this morning that it is important to slow down to stop and "live" in the moment. Reminds me of the quote someone said, "Life isn't measured by the breathes we take but the moments that take our breath away.” What takes your breath away? A few for me; hearing my kids laugh, seeing my family pray, sing and laugh together, listening to brothers and sisters share victories in their life.  Listening to our CR congregation sing songs of worship from their heart. Or how about that moment when you see the turning point in a friend that leads them to finally take action toward healing and freedom in their life. I am grateful for a changed heart this mo…

Establishing Safe Boundaries

Have you ever had a friend that has relapsed or fallen off the cliff so hard that it feels like a piece of you went with them? If you have been around long enough, the answer is probably yes. I think of the old proverb, "When you shoot a zebra in the black stripe, the white dies too; shoot it in the white and the black dies too." Many of us have had friends die spiritually or even physically in recovery and that is so hard isn't it? One of the things that was the hardest adjustment for me early on in this process was establishing a balance between being "involved" in someone's recovery vs. "living" their recovery. Sometimes we have close friends and family we care about in our life fall, end up in prison, run from their family or faith, make choices that destroy their life, even die due to their addictions or choices.  Truth be told, we are effected by this cause we are human and can't help that. I have learned that all I can do is make mysel…

Turning Back vs. Winding Up

Ever had those moments you wish you could take back? I can remember years ago when my daughter was pretty young, one day I was working in my office at home. My daughter came in to show me something. I was trying to work and I snapped at her saying, "Taylor, you know that when dad is working, you are not supposed to interrupt." Immediately I knew I was taking my frustrations out on her and responded in the wrong way. To make matters worse, I noticed she was holding a picture that she had drawn for me. (yeah I know, I am a jerk) :) You know what is so neat about this story though? In years past I would have just sat and thought about how bad a parent I am, not doing anything. Now, in this situation, I am going to her to address the situation and make a much needed amends. I walked into her room and got down to her level and said,"sweetheart, when dad did this, it was not the right thing to talk to you that way. Dad wants to ask for your forgiveness." You know what…

What Did She Say?!

Last night my wife and daughter went to the store. While in there they overheard a Hispanic mom talking to her child. Taylor has been taking Spanish in school so she knew what she said.  She turned to my wife and said, "hey, I know what that means." Pretty neat that she is learning a new language. Then right after that she passed a couple ladies in the next aisle. They were obviously angry with someone cause they were making it known to everyone thru their conversation. It was one of those vocabulary's that was full of colorful profanity. By the time they passed my wife and daughter, they said, "he is such a *******!"  My daughter, with a straight face turns to my wife and says, "And.....I know what that means too." lol.  I am learning that in life, we will "hear" what others have to say, (sometimes pretty colorful) but that I need "listen" to God. Sometimes you and I will be faced with situations that will force us to make a ch…

Surviving the "Stone Throwers"

There I was, in full uniform feeling good about the last play that I just finished, and BAM! Out of thin air, I was leveled by a very large lineman from the other team. Isn't it funny how we can remember the weirdest things? I do remember that day in High school playing football. The guy was huge and he hit me very hard! I think I am still seeing stars. :) Unfortunately there are things in our life that leave much bigger reminders, wounds and scars aren't there? Sometimes there are stones thrown at us in our life that are thrown right at our heart. It can seem like an impossible thing to heal from cant it? It has been said, “The one who throws the stone forgets; the one who is hit remembers forever.”  I am learning thru CR that some things we will never forget, but that I CAN heal from them. CR taught me that the stone throwers from my past have their own baggage and that my holding onto the pain and stuffing it only hurts me. It does nothing to hurt the stone "thrower&q…

Just Me and Him

Have you ever been in a room with someone and no matter how many people that are around, it feels like it is just you and this one special person? Last night I had the privilege of leading worship in CR and wow, what a great treat for me. It was as close to heaven as I think I will see on earth. There was a point I got caught up in the worship & looked up and realized, "wow, there are several hundred people worshiping our Father with me right now. :) But that's the special thing about CR worship isn't? When we come together to worship, we become one unit, one family, one being that is worshiping our King. Everyone is looking at the Savior and it is just each of us and the King.  It is a blessing though when we realize that worshiping corporately is one of the few gifts we can do together, at the very same time. There is something special about seeing hungry people come to a place of dependence and trust, worship our Father. No matter what is going on in our life, …

Tap The Starter A Few Times

Last night I came out to start my truck & the engine wouldn't even turn over.  I had a choice, sit there and hope that it eventually got going or make the call to someone that could help. Seems so obvious doesn't it? So we called a mechanic and he said that it sounded like the starter. He said "take a hammer and crawl under the truck and hit it a couple times and then try. Once you get it started just drive it directly to the shop." Sure enough, that's exactly what happened and it is now in the garage being worked on. I was thinking about this in relation to our recovery. Sometimes, especially during the holidays it can be tough to get jump started to do the things we know we need to be doing. Time with God, making it to meetings, church, fellowship with other believers etc. In recovery making that phone call to a friend to be honest is so important. Even more important is to follow their instructions. Sometimes in my relationships, I have to be the one in…

Mtn Dew or Sprite, Sir?

Have you ever ordered a mountain dew and the waiter says, " no, but we do have sprite" lol Not. The. Same. Thing. :) Here is a new one for you. I went to football game last week and was thirsty so I went to the concession stand. I asked the lady at the counter, "do you have any diet coke or Pepsi?" Her response, "no, but we do have water..." Cricket, cricket, cricket.... It's funny how we can try to substitute things with other things that don't even one close.  In my life there are things that I try to do the same thing with when it comes to my relationship with Christ. As ridiculous as it is to try to replace Mtn Dew with Sprite, it is even more ridiculous to try and replace Christ with other stuff. The Lord says "seek me, try allowing Me to fill you up and satisfy your soul" And yet, I can become that waiter behind the counter trying to convince myself that "something else" is a nice similar option.  Often in my life I bel…

Go Ahead, Open Your Gift!

One of my struggles around Christmas time is that when I buy a present for my wife I can't wait to give it to her. Open it now! I will literally wrap it and then set it under the tree and minutes later I am asking Carol, "do you want to go ahead and open it?" lol, it drives her crazy sometimes. But she smiles and says something like, "just a few more days" It is fun to give gifts to someone isn't it? But you know the greatest gifts we can give are those that don't cost a dime. You know those gifts when someone gives a hug when you really needed it. A word of encouragement in the midst of difficult times. A commitment to pray for you during a struggle. A helping hand when you needed help with your yard. Or something as simple as a smile as you pass by. I have found that serving is such a big part of my maintaining and sustaining growth in my life and recovery.  Author Cami Walker once said “When you give with an open heart, you receive the profound gi…

From Excuses to Action

"Well at least I'm not as bad as he is." Ever thought those thoughts? I not only thought it myself but hear it over and over again from new friends coming into the ministry of CR. The other thing I hear often is "you mean this could take up to a year to walk thru?" It can be scary thinking about making that kind of commitment can't it? But then when I stop and think about how much time I spent on being a dysfunctional mess, a year seems like a drop in a bucket comparatively.  The enemy likes to use both of those thoughts to keep us from moving forward. Keeping my attention on others' issues rather than my own, or becoming consumed with how crazy the process is toward healing in my life.  I love what author Chitoka Webb says in one of her books, “When you’re on a mission you don’t get all bent out of shape about the process."  If my mission is a better life, relationships, peace and hope in my life, why not go all in? Why wouldn't I do whatev…

When Is That Water Break?

Years ago I played football in high school and one of the dreaded things ever was "two a days". We would do these in the heat of the summer before school started back again.  Talk about getting your tail worked off.  That's saying a lot considering I was a pretty scrawny fella with not much tail to start with. :) I can remember how tough it was where I literally felt like I would rather have all my teeth pulled than continue.  And man was I thirsty. I longed for those water breaks like it was liquid heaven in my mouth. Those water breaks were a big part of helping me get thru the next spell of work. Have you ever been in those seasons of life where it feels like the water break is never coming?  It can be disheartening at times can't it? Jeremiah 17:7-8 has become one of my life verses: “But blessed is the man who trusts in the Lord, whose confidence is in him.  He will be like a tree planted by the water that sends out its roots by the stream.  It does not fear wh…

Bag phones to iPhones

I remember when cell phones first came out how excited I was to get one. It was one of the those big and bulky bag phones. Talk about a pain lugging that thing around. My phone bill was stinking expensive too cause of roaming charges. It's funny to see how we went from this huge bag phones and gradually the size of the phone became smaller and smaller. It got to a point that the size of the phones were so tiny you could hold one in a closed fist at one point. Smaller phones became the "thing" now. Now they have started to go the other way again, "now with a bigger screen" iPhones, iPads, now mini iPads are out.  Big to small, small to big. Change, change, change. So funny to see how things change over the years.  I am so glad that thru the years though things, surroundings, even people change in tastes and such, but one thing remains the same always, God. I am reminded his morning that He was, is and will always be the great I AM.  I am grateful this morning…

Have You Hit Your Wall?

I have a friend that ran a marathon and he said it was one of the most difficult things he ever did. He said that there is a point in the race where your mind begins to start telling you, "it's time to stop. You can't go on." in marathons I believe they call this the "wall". The great runners are able to push thru that wall and keep running. Thomas Edison once said,  “Many of life's failures are people who did not realize how close they were to success when they gave up." In recovery (life), we all are in a marathon of our own aren't we? We are faced with our own "wall". When I hit the "walls" in my life that say, "you can't go any further Rodney", it is then that I know I need to push even harder. The difference now though is I know I can't do it alone. If you ask runners about how they get thru that wall, they will tell you training & the people along the sides of the street are a big part of it.  &…

Dad, Let's Make Cookies Together

Sometime ago my wife was gone and my daughter decided she wanted to make cookies. So I told her I would help her. There was a momentary pause in Taylor's reaction, but then she went along with my suggestion. Turns out we had all the ingredients except for one thing, flour. "No problem Taylor, we have wheat flour, let's just use that" I told her. Her response, "but dad I don't think that's right."  We proceeded with my plan.... Later the cookies came out of the oven fully baked. I remember this moment as if it were yesterday. I took a bite of our masterpiece cookies and then.....immediately ran to the garbage disposal to spit it out. Talk about disgusting. There is an old proverb that reads, “Taking water from the same well doesn't make all the wives' gravy taste good." I learned that day to appreciate other peoples gifts and to know the limits on my own. My wife and daughter have requested that I not attempt to cook any longer. No su…

Leap For Joy!

This morning I am simply blessed. Sitting here thinking of the incredible army of family the Lord has surrounded me with. If you are reading this, you are one of those people I am thankful for to have in my life.  I am grateful that God does not waste a hurt in our life and that He chooses to use our wounds from our past for His glory. Someone once said, "Gratitude applies a softening salve of peace directly to the callousness caused by life" Wow! Thank You Lord for Your healing ointment that You applied to my wounds. “The Lord is my strength & shield; my heart trusts in Him & I am helped. My heart leaps for joy" Ps 28:7  This morning, leap for joy cause you are loved by the King. Have a blessed day today friend. Rodney Holmstrom

Bobbing For Apples: Disgusting

There are some things in life that I question. Like, why was asparagus created? It is a vile weed that smells just as bad as it tastes. Or how about the game "bobbing for apples"? Really? Is this really necessary?  I can still remember as a little kid being so grossed out seeing the multitude of kids before me open their mouth and plunge into the pool of bacteria. "Ok Rodney, your turn..." "Uh...I don't like apples..." No thank you, I think I will pass in this one. Something else that baffles me is how much I listen to the enemy. I mean really, nothing he has to say is productive. "Cmon Rodney, doesn't that apple look juicy lying in that clear water?" Liar! Adam and Eve learned how convincing he can be as well and it didn't turn out too well for them OR us. There is an old proverb that reads, "If you dance with the devil you can't change him but he will change you." I am reminded this morning that if I bob for apples…

You Can't Hurt Me Anymore

"You can't hurt me anymore! I am free! I’m let out of prison! No longer am I going to be controlled by the treatment of some person." If you have ever lived in a life experiencing poor treatment from an individual, then you know what I am talking about. What freedom to finally get to the point where we can set some healthy boundaries and be ok with it. To be able to say, I am not going to allow that person to hurt me any longer. But what if that "person" you are trying to stop being controlled & mistreated by is ourself? What if the very person I am running from is myself! Sometimes in my life, the very person I was being mistreated by...was myself. What does that look like? Believing lies from the enemy of my self worth. Believing that my identity was in my addictions, hurts or past. Or trying to control my own life and live life on my own terms, or abusing my mind and body with unhealthy things. It is then that I feel like a wounded prisoner in my own s…

Holidays Tough For You?

Are the Holidays tough for you? I know for some they can be very difficult.  One of the temptations we can fall back when things get tough is to isolate. Everything inside of us might be saying that is the best solution, but we must not follow that lie. When I isolate in my pain, then the light begins to fade. This wrong choice can lead to making additional wrong choices.  However, when I choose to make healthy choices such as getting myself to stay in community even when I don't "feel" like it, making meetings, calling my accountability team, & spending time with God daily, that's when the light starts getting brighter. So if we know that we tend to isolate by our very nature, why not be proactive this holiday season?  When the weather man says, "folks, there is a hurricane moving in, you need to take precautions", the right thing to do is to take precautions. The wrong choice would be to wait for the storm to hit and then react. Let's make a cho…

The Gift Of My Son, Jason

We almost lost him. My son was almost born at such a premature age that the doctors were extremely concerned that he would not even live if born. He held off a few more weeks & we were blessed with God bringing him into this world as a healthy and active little boy. There was a day that me and my son and daughter would play football in our living room. Yeah, I have a patient wife. :) Anyway, we would line up, Jason and Taylor against me. I would have to get on my knees so that I could match their height. Man, what fun it was as Jason would try running around me, tackling him and falling to the ground.  Such giggles from both of them as they huddled up to make a play to try and beat dad on our narrow and short football field of our house. We laughed so hard during those times and had so much fun. Man where do the years go? I cant even think about tackling him now. He's too big. I cannot imagine what my life would be like without my kids. But a great blessing to be able to lau…

Who Is Your Ananias?

Who is your Ananias?  I was reading in Act 9 today and was struck with gratitude & disbelief for what Ananias did for Paul, then Saul. It is amazing to think about how Saul, as despised & opposed Paul was as a murderer & persecutor, Ananias obeyed the Lord's command to go to this blind and broken, messed up Paul. This would be similar today in that if Jesus tapped me on the shoulder to go to Bin Laden. What?! Are you kidding Lord?! And yet, in my life, I am no different than Paul. I was blind, lost and so far away from God it wasn't even funny. And yet, I was given a gift from God in sending me my Ananias. He gave me someone that didn't look at my exterior and make a judgement, but instead obeyed God and shared His truth and hope of the gospel with me. What if, like Ananias, that someone didn't invest in me?  What inspires me the most about this story in Acts, is that Ananias is not this well shaped, polished leader, craving the spotlight. He is just an…

I Am Starving!

"Dad, I'm still hungry" If you have kids, then you have heard these words. I was thinking about how when my son was going thru his growth spurts as a kid and how much he could eat. He would literally get up from the dinner table, rinse his plate, walk into the living room and say, "dad, can I get something to eat? I'm still hungry." Talk about a pricey grocery bill. :) I am learning that this is the way we are designed in our walk as Christians too. The Father has created us to hunger and thirst. The question is, what am I hungering and thirsting for?  Jesus made me a promise when He said, "Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness,for they will be filled."Matt5:6  Only the Father can fill that deep hunger in my heart.  Someone once said, “You can not tell a hungry child that you gave him food yesterday."  In the same way, I am learning that I cannot tell my hungry spirit that I ate yesterday. I have to go to the Father dai…

Not Enough Fish Crackers

As my kids get older I am reminded more and more how powerless I am. Sometimes I wish that all life's problems could be solved with a box of fish crackers and a juicy juice like it would when they were little, but that's just not how life works. I am learning that in life, as I mature and grow, life's problems around me can too.  I am truly powerless over my life. What does that mean? It means that I recognize that I need a power much greater than myself to deal with the craziness in this life. The truth is, if I try to fix it myself, it will just become a tangled mess. I love what author Randy Pausch says, “No matter how bad things are.  You can always make them worse." Man, isn't that so true. When I try to grab life by the horns and "fix" it myself, apart from Christ leading the way, things will just go from bad to worse.  There are not enough fish crackers and juices in the world to deal with all the darkness and problems we face. But, the good ne…

I Don't Have Time For This

"I want to change, but...." Early in my marriage I was a struggling and hurting guy still dealing with junk from my past. The effect; pain for my wife and misery for myself.  When facing the idea of change, my question was always, "how long is this going to take?" Fair question? Sure. Wrong question? In my opinion, yes. It is so easy to put timetables and schedules to everything we do. I have learned however, that change may not happen on my time table but God's timing is perfect. Surrendering to His time table is a great starting point. I used to say verbally that I wanted to change but in reality my actions said otherwise. Ralph Waldo Emerson said it well, “What you do speaks so loud that I cannot hear what you say."  Maybe the question is not "how long is this going to take" but rather, "How bad does it have to get?" or "Are you ready for peace and freedom in your life? Are you willing to do whatever it takes?" May our …

That Light Is So Bright!

Years ago, my family and I went to visit some cool caves in North Arkansas. We spent several hours inside these dark caves and had become very adjusted to the lack of light inside the caves. After our visit was over, I remember what it felt like on our eyes walking from the compete darkness into the bright light. Wow! It hurt our eyes so much. It felt like we could hardly move due to lack of visibility. It took a while to get adjusted to the brightness. In life this can be the same type of process. We can get so adjusted to the life we live in the dark. Then, if we decide to take steps out of the cave, it feels like the worst thing we could have ever done. Pastor Rick Warren said it well, “The Truth will set you free, but first it may make you miserable!"  When we bring our junk into the light, at first it can seem like a bad idea.  Remember this though, the light may seem too bright to bear in the beginning but, once you get adjusted to this new way and renewed life, life is …

Don't Look Into The Camera

In the movie Home Run I had a small part, "walking man down the street #78" The director gave me clear instructions, "ok when you get to the corner, you will see the camera to your right pointing at you next to the cop car. Whatever you do, don't look at the camera" I prepared for my big moment, walked with such grace down the street holding a newspaper (that is harder than it sounds) got to the corner and bam! There was that camera staring me in the face. It was as if it was saying "look at me! Look what I can do!"  The director, "and cut! Sir, remember no matter what, don't look at the camera..." (for some reason I didn't make the final edit of the film...:) ) In my life I have learned that the minute I set my mind on "not" doing something, that is when the enemy will try to pull me in that very direction. Paul paints this picture well in Romans 7:15 "I do not understand what I do. For what I want to do I do not d…

Catch Me Daddy

"It's ok son, I will catch you." One of my favorite games to play with my kids when they were small was standing them on the washer and dryer in our house. Then I would step back and tell them to jump into my arms to let me catch them.  The first few times they were always a little worried that I wouldn't catch them. Once we did it a few times though they became so confident that I would catch them. "Daddy catch me!" would be the sweet words coming out of their mouth. As a dad, what a joy to hold them in my arms after their step of faith and trust. I was thinking about this in reading in Duet 33:27 this morning. "Underneath are the everlasting arms." I am reminded that in life no matter how tough things may get in my life, Christ is always there as my Daddy.  I am resting in the blessing that the Father has mighty arms willing and ready to catch me at a moments notice. He never leaves nor forsakes me. All I have to do is call out to Him, "…

Quenching A Thirst

Are you thirsty this morning? I am reminded this morning that so many things around me falsely cause me to believe they can quench my thirst. Only one thing can ever quench my thirst, Jesus. "With thee is the fountain of life." Ps 36:9 As His children we have a place at the fountain head. That fountain head is our sweet Father.  I know from experience that there is no place safer than when my head is buried in the chest of my Father. Only He can quench that thirst deep inside of my soul. We would love to have you visit our forever family. Come and drink Him in tonight at CR. Rodney Holmstrom

Shattered Dreams

Have you ever had shattered dreams? Perhaps your life just didn't turn out the way you envisioned it, leaving you disappointed. The reasons could be due to poor choices you and I made or others made on our behalf. One of the most compelling scenes in the movie Apollo 13 is when the three astronauts have figured out they aren't going to be able to land on the moon. They are all looking at the moon with awe and inspiration thinking "wow, we were so close." Then Lovell turns to his crew, Swigert and Haise, and says, "gentlemen, what are your intentions?.... I want to go home." Wow, you can just see a refocus and shift in their motives. It's nice to think about what it would be like if.... But now it's time to face our new mission we have been given. The good news is that God has a special plan for you and I. God can and will take shattered dreams and make new blessed realities for us as we keep running to Him. Sometimes we need people in our life t…

Grant Me The Serenity

This morning I am a grateful believer who accepts the things I cannot change, prays for the courage to change the things I can, and one who seeks His wisdom to know the difference.  Grateful today that His hope does not disappoint.   As a believer, I am grateful that I know how the story ends.  “Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever."Hebrews 13:8 Isn't that a nice reminder? Breathe your Father in today. Have a blessed day. Rodney Holmstrom

Think About the Shot Going In Son

I can remember when my son was just a little boy playing basketball out front in our driveway. We worked for hours at a time on his shot, dribbling, lay-ups, boxing out, free throws etc. We had a blast and would usually play out there until dark with the flood lights on. One of the things we used to talk about was not thinking about making mistakes. If he thought about missing shots, turnovers etc, then guess what? He would miss shots and make turnovers. The same thing is true in my life as well. If I focus on the mistakes & problems in my life then that is what will overcome me. Sometimes people ask me "why do we do a step 4 (moral inventory) in CR?"  They usually add, "I am not focusing on my past, I am moving forward." The truth is, we don't want people to focus on the past either. But in order to focus on a "healthy future" we have to acknowledge past and address it. Why? So that it doesn't become my future too. Someone once said, “If …

You Were Born To Stand Out

Growing up as a kid, we moved around a lot. I can remember when me and my younger brother would start yet another school together in a new state. It would usually be mid year and everyone had established their circle of friends. Talk about tough! Walking into the school cafeteria was like walking into a crowded room with a spot light on us. We wanted so badly to fit in and more often than not it just didn't happen. Funny how we go thru life wanting so badly to fit in. Because of this, I would try to change who I really am to gain acceptance.  God is teaching me thru CR though that I don't need to fit in because He has created me to stand out as His unique creation. This got me to thinking about our first time visitors on Friday Nights. I am sure they feel like the spot light is shining on them too. The difference though, is we are expecting you and are so glad you are here. We want you to be who you are and not who you have tried to be to fit in any longer. The next time yo…

Activate: Secret Shield

Activate Secret Shield! Isn't it funny that we get in our cars and drive down the road believing it is some kind of imaginary shield. Some, I think, believe their car structure and windows keep them from the world seeing anything inside their car. Case and point: I was driving to an appointment and there was a guy in his car digging into his nose as if no one else in the world could see him. I think he touched hid brain. It was cracking me up.  Ok, so I know a little gross to start off your morning. This got me to thinking though about how we approach life with this imaginary shield sometimes.  There was a time I believed that my mask was shielding me from anyone knowing who the real me was. Or even what was going on in my heart. The funny thing is, just like in our car, we may believe we are shielded from anyone knowing or seeing what is really going on behind our shield. The truth is though, people know and see it, they may just be afraid to tell us. They see the cracks in ou…

Catching My Second Wind

I was reminded yet again last night thru listening to a Sponsee's testimony, that when we have humility and a teachable spirit, God can do amazing things with us. I was reminded yet again thru another man's story that the Father will give us the strength to keep fighting. Often times in my life I have wanted to give up thinking that I just couldn't go any further. I am learning thru CR and some great men the Father has put in my life thru the years, not to give into those temptations to quit. I want to keep running and getting stronger. I want to keep a teachable spirit toward my Father and brothers He has placed in my life. It has been said, "Most people never run far enough on their first wind to find out they've got a second."  I hope that I can keep a teachable spirit, to hear truth from my brothers, and Father. I hope that as I continue to run this race, I keep running and have the courage and strength of Joshua to persevere.  I want to run long enou…

I Can't Dance...and that's ok

Sometimes when I lead worship, I have been known to tap my foot to the beat. Dancing? Well some might define it as dancing. But, don't let that fool you, I cant dance ever since I got off the dance tour is 88'. :) My wife once said, "honey I love you, but you can't dance."  What I love is that with my wife, kids, & forever family it doesn't matter if I can dance or not, they will love me anyway. Sometimes that dancing comes in the form of my flaws in my personality, actions, character defects, etc. Who is that friend for you? You know the ones that you feel like you can say or do anything and they still love you. I was thinking this morning about how grateful I am for those here on earth.  Even more so, I am grateful for that kind of relationship I have from Christ that loves me with my bad dancing and all too; Even more. He cares for me even if I don't have it all together and make mistakes; say the wrong thing, whatever it is I am struggling with…