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Showing posts from September, 2012

Modern Day Miracles

Every once in a while we are given a gift of witnessing miracles. Last night I was given this gift. A dear brother in Christ called me and asked me to come to his CR graduation service. Let's just say, I was blessed in huge ways from what I witnessed. With his permission allow me to share. A year ago this man walked into my office, broken, at his wits end, with his heart full of despair. He was full of anger & coping with a host of substances and other unhealthy things destroying his mind and hardening his heart. He was ready to abandon ship on his wife & family.  By the grace of God, thru surrender, he agreed to get into CR and in fact finished a step study.  Last night I saw a completely different man. A man experiencing life change, now 11 months sober. Last night he picked up his 12 step coin and with a quietness in the room, I witnessed this broken man, with tears in his eyes expressing his love to his wife sitting 10 feet away. You could hear a pin drop in the room. …

I Am Redeemed

"Seems like all I could see was the struggle. Haunted by ghosts that lived in my past....wondering how long is this gonna last" Big Daddy Weave Last night at CR I had the privilege of singing these lyrics from the song "Redeemed".  As I was learning and practicing it during the week, I was taken back at how much this is my testimony. I too was once bound in shackles of all my failures that kept me running from true change. There is an old proverb that reads, “You can out-distance that which is running after you, but not what is running inside you." Wow! For so long I was running from pain, abuse done to me, & poor choices I made that hurt others. I was living in a pool of shame and regret. But God so graciously lifted my head to say "Child, I am not done with you yet".  Today He is saying the same thing and now I have a Higher Power to turn to for growth from life's struggles.  Thru CR I know now more than ever that I don't have to make…

Fallen Trees

"Look out! It's coming down!!" When I was a very young boy one of my step fathers used to cut wood for the wood stove we had to keep warm. We always looked for dead trees where all the leaves had vanished. Sometimes when he was working on a tree, it would take a while for it to finally get the saw all the way thru the tree. But, when he finally got thru it, it was like this work of force as the tree started slowly falling with all it's weight to the ground.  The interesting thing was that in the forest it always hit other trees as it was coming down. Other tree limbs on other trees would get knocked off as it fell. I was thinking about this picture this AM and how in life, one of the most devastating things to watch is a man or woman falling. The sad thing is that for every one that falls, 10 or more are caught in the path. Those people get damaged as they see and experience these loved ones fall to the ground.  If we are to get our city, state, nation, or world on…

Does Anyone Know This Man?

"I feel sick to my stomach". That was my feeling after witnessing one of the most horrific scenes as a young teenager. The power of sin over ones life can be selfish, life threatening and divisive.  There was a married couple that had bought some drugs off of the guy I was staying with in Phoenix AZ. It was common for people to consume the drugs in his bathroom afterward. In this situation the husband overdosed and the wife panicked coming out of the bathroom screaming. "My husband needs help!" Someone called 911 and in minutes and ambulance was on its way. There was a problem though, the apartment was full of illegal drugs and no one wanted to get into trouble. So, two guys dragged this man outside several doors down onto the sidewalk. When the paramedics arrived, they began giving this man care and asked the large crowd surrounding them, "Is anyone related to this man?" and that is when I witnessed incredible divisiveness, selfishness and heartache all…

Recalculating....

I am pretty challenged when it comes to sense of direction when traveling. Yesterday I was driving to the DFW Airport to fly back home. I had my GPS though and felt confident as I started my journey home.  What I discovered was all the construction going on all thru the city highway caused some great difficulties.  GPS kept telling me to turn but the were big barriers of concrete blocking me from getting there. Every time this happened, I heard the words, "recalculating" and I got frustrated. I was fearful that I might miss my flight and not make it home. I got to thinking about how my life an walk with Christ is the ultimate GPS. God is giving me the way to go but the enemy keeps throwing road blocks to keep me from getting there. The great thing though is the Father doesn't let a silly obstacle get in the way.  I used to allow the obstacles in my life to get me discouraged and just give up. This gives the enemy great joy when I let struggles get me down and keep me f…

Choices: How Will This Affect Me?

“Bad is never good until worse happens." That has some truth to it doesn't it? I can remember when me and one of my younger brothers were living in a new place yet again as the "new kids". It was always awkward being the new kids in school over and over again trying to make new friends. This particular school was extra tough cause there were two bullies that harassed me and my brother pretty bad. Everywhere we went they were pressing their thumb down on us to squash our morale and self esteem. The bus rides home from school were tough too, even worse at times. One day after a tough day, we got off the bus at our stop and the two bullies were sitting in the back window. With my brother at my side, I got real brave and....well, stupid, and decided it would be smart to flip these guys off. Yea, with great authority I pointed my 2 middle fingers with the ugly facial expressions to go with it. (don't judge me) Lol, what in the world  was I thinking?  Don't get m…

I Can't Want This More Than You

"Please take this life preserver friend, you are drowning." Have you ever had a situation where the person you are wanting to help just isn't ready?  I can remember when I was living in Phoenix AZ by myself as a young teenager and a youth pastor from a local church came by to see me. He said that he knew I was hurting & not-living in good conditions, nor a very healthy life. He offered to allow me to come live with he and his wife.  What a generous offer from some incredible people. But, I turned him down as I was just not ready for change. Someone once said "If it is important enough to you, you will find a way. If it is not, you will find an excuse.” I had plenty of excuses for why I should stay in my misery. I had to feel the heat of pain more than my fear of change before I would do anything to change.  Today, when I am on the other end of this scenario, it is heartbreaking when people we love and care about reject the help we want to give. However, God has…

Mask: I Don't Need Your Help

"I don't need your help or answers. I have all the answers for everyone else's problems or issues." Ever pulled that mask out of the closet to put on?  Yet another life killing mask of denial the enemy uses to keep us handcuffed to our painful past, making it our miserable present. "I am right and everyone else is wrong" or "others need to learn from me. I have little need to be taught." I too have worn this mask in my life and it can be just as miserable as the other masks we can wear. When we wear this mask we look so perfect in our own eyes on the outside, yet we are screaming on the inside for help. We need help so badly but because we don't see this mask we are wearing, those around us are afraid to tell us we are wearing a mask.  When we wear this mask, we keep people at a distance because those around us are too intimidated to tell us about our mask, let alone that it's cracking.  Thru CR I am learning to surround myself with peo…

Which Mask Do You Wear?

"Here, try this mask on. It will make life so much better" Man, the enemy can be such a deceiver. He has so many different kinds of masks of denial for us to try in his closet of darkness, doesn't he? I can remember being at a point in my life when I "knew" I had stuff I needed to work on. But, I didn't want to interrupt my current life and so I would ask for things to come "alongside" and just add to my current, messed up life. When no significant change happened, this only left me asking, "why isn't this working, maybe God doesn't love me, maybe I deserve this." The truth is though, I didn't need something to cram into my current life process but rather something to "replace" my current life. Thru CR I am learning that I needed to let the old life, the old me, die completely, and let Him in to take over. Then the new life begins. A Marathon has to begin with a single step. The only way to run with perseverance, is…

He Loves You Just Because

"He accepts you at your worst, And He is hoping for the best; Jesus loves you! He will never ever leave you, and He will never ever forsake, Jesus loves you! He is proud of who you are, and hope in who you'll become, He's not like us, He loves you just because. Broken hearted, do you want your healing? Oh trust again, there is love in His right hand." What a beautiful reminder for us this morning. I was listening to this song sung by M.W. Smith and got overwhelmed with the reminder that He does loves me. Hard to believe as messed up and as many mistakes I have made in my life. Hard to believe cause I didn't trust Him or others He put in my life for so long. The last line of that song says, "trust again" why? Cause there is love in His right hand. I don't know what you are battling right now, but please hear these words, Jesus loves you for who you are and hopes for who you'll become if you will just surrender and allow Him to mold you as the Mas…

Sarcasm:The Tearing Of The Flesh

"A man who correctly guesses a woman's age may be smart, but he's not very bright."-Lucille Ball. Lol Ever been in those situations where you say something and as soon as it leaves your mouth, you wish you could take it back. Sarcasm is one of those for me. I grew up with sarcasm being a normal part of our home. It was the bullet in our guns that was needed to stay alive in the every day battle. Man, could I keep up with the best of them. It seemed as long as my sarcasm was followed by a "I'm just kidding." then it must be ok...right? I am learning especially thru CR that sarcasm is a lethal weapon that leaves some pretty severe wounds. Sarcasm defined actually means, the tearing of the flesh. Ouch!  I am learning, (stubbornly) that the good feeling of getting my jab in verbally is only temporary and seeing the affect of my words leaves me feeling terrible. I am learning that it is much more rewarding to hold my tongue in self control.  There is the old…

"Codependency Brings A Snare

"Please don't say your sorry, you have nothing to be sorry about." ...."oh ok, I'm sorry" Aw codependency a tough one huh? I have struggled with  codependency thru the years and it can be an energy zapper when out of control. “If your happiness depends on what somebody else does, I guess you do have a problem." Richard Bach. Sometimes we can get so consumed with worrying about what others think of us can't we? Why? It doesn't work for us does it? When I care more about being "loved" rather than being "loving" or stay consumed with what others think of me, then I know I am in trouble? Gods Word gives us some pretty good direction on codependency in Prov 29:25 "The fear of human opinion disables; trusting in God protects you from that." One version says that fear of man can bring a snare. Codependency is a snare that will only bring us down, but trust in God, yes, then we will be lifted up with life. I am learning th…

Make The Next Right Choice

What temptation have you been battling? "I've had two pieces already but I want just one more piece of cake. If I could just go back to having a couple at dinner with friends like the old days, life would be grand again. Its just a few pics on a web site, whose it gonna hurt? What's a few dollars from the cash drawer at work going to matter? The company makes lots of money anyway. Man I want to give that person a piece of my mind and really tear into them." If you are breathing, you have battled temptation. One of the most difficult situations to get thru is in those moments where the enemy attempts to woo us into this false life that in his words will "make us so much smarter and feel so much better."  What he fails to let us know is how giving into temptations can make us feel afterward, the extra pounds, hangover, jail, loss or destruction of family and/or even life.  I have made an incredible amount of lousy decisions in my lifetime and without my accou…

What If I Leave This Island?

“Fear can keep us up all night long, but faith makes one fine pillow." unknown. Isn't that the truth? Remember the scene in the movie Castaway with Tom Hanks, where he is finally leaving the island that brought so much pain? He gets so emotional cause even though it was miserable on that island, it was comfortable. The enemy can be so ruthless in feeding you and I lies that say, "What will life really be like if I do make some changes? I may be miserable but at least it is familiar." or "Is it really worth the risk of letting go of that old life on my island of dysfunction?" Those fears can not only keep us restless and sleepless, they can keep us from living. “Don't be afraid your life will end; be afraid that it will never begin."Grace Hansen. CR not only carries us away on waves of His grace to a better life, but thru Christ, delivers us to a life of hope, freedom and living again. Fear is the enemies way of keeping us in our muck. If you are s…

What Are You Laughing At?

What are you laughing at? Ever had those times where you laugh so hard your belly hurts and you don't even know why? I was recalling this morning, years ago when my kids were younger, me and my family were driving & my kids were sitting in the back seat. They began laughing so hard with uncontrollable laughter. As I listened to them, I couldn't help but laugh and then my wife began laughing. We all were laughing so hard we almost had to pull over. It was like dominoes reacting to the other one close to it.  What was I laughing at? Not sure but seeing my kids happy and enjoying life brought joy to my heart. Too often in life we look for good reasons to laugh. "if it's funny, well then maybe I will laugh." Author Dave stone once said, “Laughter & joy shouldn't be a guest in your house; they should be a permanent residents in your everyday life." I am so grateful for a family that isn't afraid to laugh. I truly believe we must take our journey w…

Building Bridges

I was sitting in a coffee shop the other day and some friends came up and asked me about CR and how it was going. As soon as they walked off the guy sitting next to me says, "excuse me, I over heard u talking about CR, what is your name?" I told him and he went on to tell me, "ok this is all coming together." you see his dad called me sometime back cause he had a man he was trying to get help for. I remembered his name and his big heart. He then told me that his dad died recently after a bad accident. As he was telling me about his funeral I was blown away. There were about 1500 or so people there that ranged from top level executives in suits to guys that had just gotten out of prison. This man had a heart for everyone and if they needed help he was there. He told me that his dad lived with so much joy in his heart. What a beautiful picture of a man serving for Christ & of what we get when we serve others. “It is better to build bridges than walls."Africa…

Worship In The Storm

Are you crazy? These people are too happy! Is this for real? Why in the world would I want to sing praises when my life is such a mess? Ever had those sentences in your vocabulary? Of course you have cause you are human.  Often when a newcomer visits with me about CR they will have those thoughts and frustrations. The fact is that worship is such an incredible part of our recovery process. When we worship, we are saying, "thank You for loving me even when I am unlovable, broken and lost in life." "Lord, I dedicate myself to You, believing that You are returning that dedication back to me as Your beloved child." I have said to newcomers, if you need to cry, cry. Laugh, laugh, shout in praise, shout, sit in silent meditation, rest, this is a safe place to do what you need to in worship.  Just make it between you and God and as we praise His name together, in unison, the joy will come. Joy does not always mean looking happy and smiling ear to ear. Joy, is a contentmen…

Who Is In Control?

How's that control thing working out for you? Have you ever been in a situation where you became overwhelmed cause you realized that all along you were never in control. Yesterday the Holy Spirit hit me between the eyes showing me yet another thing to work on for me. (the list keeps growing. :) )  I realized that there are still attempts from me to control some aspects of my life. It was the HS saying, "Rodney, failure is a part of life to grow you, and Oh Rodney, my son, you are not in control, I AM."  I was reminded yet again that the Lord loves me exactly the way I am and my place with Him and not because of what I do. "God loves each of us as if there were only one of us."St. Augustine In fact He loves me enough that He wants to lead "me". Hmmm, imagine that. He desires for me to follow Him and not get out ahead of Him. Sometimes I can jump too far out ahead and say, "c'mon God, I got something good going on over here." Rather than, …

Sharpening Each Other

Who are they? You know the ones you look forward to sitting with even if they do tell you some challenging things. We all need those people don't we? One of the most enjoyable things I get to experience as a CR regional leader is having monthly conference calls with the 30 State Reps in TX AR, OK, KS, and LA. The conversations are always rich and so real. Last night I walked away so encouraged and much wiser having rubbed shoulders with these great men and women of God. An old proverb states, “A single conversation across the table with a wise man is worth a month's study of books." Last night I experienced this sitting across the table on this call. We are so blessed to have such amazing men and women who sacrifice their time, and give their talents in huge ways across the U.S. for Christ in CR. The truth is, we need each other as brothers and sisters. We need to hear truth and grace balanced as we walk down this road. What a blessing to be sharpened and then get to shar…

This Is Taking Too Long

This is taking way too long!! What is it going to take to finally heal? What do I need to do to start seeing change in my life? I don't know about you but when I want something done, sometimes I can be so impatient. Come on already! Sometimes we can look at recovery as a drive thru can't we? "Yes, I will take the life change meal, super size that! Also a large drink of healed wounds, hold the side of defects, and hurry, I got things to do!" But that is not how it works is it? It would be nice with some of the painful stuff so many,maybe even you are walking around with today. Alcoholism, drugs, broken relationships, abuse, divorce,sexual &physical abuse, workaholism, anger, fear of failure, shame, doubt, death, sickness,& family disorders, all painful stuff. Even the ones that come from decent backgrounds have pain they are working thru. I was reading some stuff on dealing with life's junk from Robert McGee and he said, "put yourself in an environmen…

But, The Front Yard Looks Great...

I am not hurting anyone, so what's the big deal? Have you ever lived in the world of denial bliss? Boy I sure have! Recently when I let my dogs in from the back yard, they came in wet and dirty all the way up to their belly, tracking mud everywhere. I thought, what in the world have they been into?! Then I realized, I had been putting off mowing my back yard. I hadn't even been back there to look at it in a while. I guess I just believed in my mind, "it can't be that bad." After all, who would ever know? We have a fenced in backyard. The truth is, it was so bad I couldn't even use the mower at first. I had to weed eat it down first. I had to work 3times harder because of my denial and putting it off. My choice to not do what I needed to do, live in denial that it wasn't that bad, and let the problem grow, left others feeling the bad results.  In recovery, when I make the choice to NOT do what I need to do, it not only makes life hard on me and harder to …

Never Question The Heart of a Volunteer

One of my favorite quotes in Pearl Harbor is when the Captain is looking over his soldiers serving and says, "you know why we are going to win this battle? Cause of those men. Never question the heart of a volunteer." Eph 5:16 says “…Make the most of every chance you get. These are desperate times!” CR volunteers are doing just that.   Without our leaders in CR we would be in big trouble walking into battle. There has to be men and women who show courage with a willingness to make the most of every chance they are given. In desperate times, we need these dedicated leaders to point others to freedom in Christ. I am so grateful to every single person in our ministry. Every person has incredible value to our ministry. John Maxwell once said, "You've got to love your people more then your position". I absolutely love our people!! I want to publicly praise my team for all they do and all that they are as blessings to our hurting community. Can't wait to spend so…

To Trust Again

"I am afraid to trust again". Ever said or thought that before? Yeah, I have too. I used to be stuck in fear believing that it was better to not allow people into my life cause they might hurt me. That's exactly where the enemy wants to keep me. The truth is though, the reward and benefits of having people in my life to feel love and experience life with, far out weigh the risk of them letting me down. The difference now is that I have to put my trust in God first and completely. Then as that relationship builds, I have learned that I can trust Him with the people He puts in my life. An old chinese proverb reads. "You cannot refuse to eat just because there is a chance of being choked." Fellowship with other believers is like food for our soul. I have learned thru CR that people will let me down, that's just the way life is. The difference now is that my happiness is not based on what others think or do to me; but rather in what my relationship with God is.…

Free Indeed!

What does it mean to have freedom? I used to think it meant that I could do whatever I wanted at any time. The truth is, when I was living that life, I was not free at all. I was actually a slave to a life that left me empty and searching."Freedom consists not in doing what we like, but in having the right to do what we ought."Pope John Paul II. In just a few days, eight of our fearless leaders here in our home CR, will travel to Russia with issues ranging from alcoholism, pornography addiction, same sex attraction, codependency, control issues, anger and rage, passivity, broken marriages, living in fear and more. This group will be presenting CR to pastors and jail/rehab center directors in Moscow. Are you kidding me?! How big is God that He would take a group of messed up people like you and I and say, "hey guys, see that stain in your past? Well, I am going to take this new freedom and victory I have given you and use it for my glory." As I met with this team fo…

I Hate Long Car Rides

One of the things I am not real good about on traveling vacation trips is the driving in a car part. I just want to be there already. Perhaps I am ADD but sometimes I don't enjoy the ride. I am usually looking ahead to what we will do once we arrive. But you know what, when we look back on our entire vacation, guess what always comes up as part of the good memories? You guess it, the time in the car, laughs and stories. It is a part of the blessing for us as a family. Someone once said, "People see God every day, they just don't recognize him." This is true for so many and has been for me too. I know I am guilty of going full speed ahead on stuff sometimes and can forget to stop and experience what Christ is doing. I am learning, (slowly) that part of the blessing is walking with Him on the journey. It's not just about getting to my final destination. One day we will all celebrate in glorification, fully healed, in heaven, but today He has me on a journey to that…

Flexing Those Spiritual Muscles

One of the things about working out is the fear of how incredibly soar I will be the next several days afterward. But if you ask anyone who works out and exercises regularly they will tell you "yes, I am soar for a few days but then my muscles get stronger as I stick with it." That principle applies in our recovery too doesn't it? We are working some muscles in our mind and heart that have not been worked in a long time, if ever. The more I stick with it, the stronger I get in my faith and walk. CR teaches me that Christ has a plan for my life and though it will be painful for a while, the fruit from a changed mind and heart are so worth it. Just ask my wife. :)  I must never give up on what God has called me to do. I know from personal experience that the end result is so worth the pain. I love the old Greek Proverb, "A heart that loves is always young." Staying in my junk robs me of not only His love but also the ability to love well. Christ uses CR to start …

Accuse and Excuse Mode= No Change

Getting out of the "accuse" mode can be tough huh? "It's your fault that I am the way I am." "If you hadn't hurt me the way you did, I wouldn't be so messed up today." "if I had better parents, "if I was brought up in a Christian home I wouldn't have made so many poor choices" If, if, if...Any of those sound familiar? For me I had my own bag if accuses too. The fact is that as long as I lived in this frame of mind or attitude, life change was never to be.  I used to say, "yeah but you don't know what I grew up with..." accuse, accuse, accuse. Which in turn became,  excuse, excuse, excuse. "Ninety-nine percent of the failures comes from people who have the habit of making excuses." I really thought because of my past hurts I was excused from taking responsibility. Let me be clear, I am not responsible for hurt or abuse done to me. Not guilty! However, CR is teaching me that I am to own my part in how I…

It's Ok To Take Off The Mask

Which mask have you worn? There's the "I have it all together", "I don't ever struggle with life", "Me and my wife never argue", "I am the perfect dad", "I rarely make mistakes", "I don't judge others", and on and on. I used to wear masks in fear&worry of anyone seeing me as less than a perfect person. Why? Lie: "Cause no one could possible love 'me', if they knew who I really am." The trouble with masks is they give a false perception of who we are as a person. Then people begin loving "the mask" & not me. My heart never feels the love, cause they love the 'make believe' mask. If I am unable to 'receive' love, then I cannot 'give' it. It's been said, "The greatest way to live with honor in this world is to be what we pretend to be."  I am so grateful the Lord has CR to learn how to take off the mask so we experience His love and others. CR …

Is Their Soul Worth It?

Have you ever been inside a prison? There is a distinct smell that is unlike no other. Then there is the place much worse in smell and appearance, they call it "the hole". A place that is a padded room in isolation for those that have been an extra burden to the guards or have threatened or attempted to harm themselves. We have some brothers in our ministry that have been going inside our jails to share CR. I am so grateful for them and their utilizing CR to a group of men in jail. Change was beginning to take place in this one individual, we'll call "Joe" and they were encouraged. Then one week they came back, and "Joe" was gone. He was in "the hole" because he had gone off on the guards and had tried to take his life multiple times. Our CR brother, we'll call "Tim" was given permission to walk down into this isolated smelly area to see him. What he witnessed was a very broken man, sitting in a chair in the corner, very angry,…