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Showing posts from November, 2012

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…

Liver, With Ketchup...Is Still Liver

I hate Liver! I know some of you like it, and I'm trying real hard right now not to judge you. :) I can remember as a kid coming home from school and smelling a distinct smell. A smell that left me with instant gag reflux. The house would even have a distinct haze from the smoke rising from the slab of this inedible, vile meat. Yes, you guessed it, it was liver night at our household. My mom loved liver and onions and me and my brothers hated it. I would try everything to get it down my pipe line as quickly as possible. Water, extra ketchup and yes, even the dog helped out under the table occasionally. It didn't matter how much I tried to doctor it up, it was still liver and it was bad! In my life there have been times that I have tried to do this with my sin in my life. I know it is wrong but would do everything I could to cover it up.  My hope was that it would make it more attractive and appealing. There is an old proverb that reads, “No matter how long a log stays in the…