Monday, December 31, 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 from the Father. The Beatitudes in Matthew 5 show us that we are 'happy' (blessed) when we commit our entire life to Him. This is the kind of happiness that does not require outside circumstances to happen. If you are searching for happiness and keep getting duped by the enemy with false & empty promises, please join me in trying something different. The Fathers way is so much more rewarding and fulfilling. Make 2013 a year of change for you in your life. Celebrate Recovery is an amazing tool to help you find that happiness in your life. Happy New Year friend! Rodney Holmstrom

Sunday, December 30, 2012

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 that promise in His Word. Recognizing this loneliness can be such a healthy first step toward healing. Then as His child, I must reject the enemies call to stay in isolation. Why? Because when I stay in my muck, all by myself, then that loneliness turns into fear and only gets worse. God is teaching me that it is when I feel lonely that I need to seek Him first, then get myself in community and courageously reach out to others with honesty & transparency of where I am am emotionally. Just because someone may have hurt me in a past relationship, doesn't mean I should not seek new accountability brothers and sisters today and in the future. It takes time, but I must keep seeking some trustworthy people in my life and over time, with lots of prayer & saturation in His Word, with healthy interaction & accountability with our brothers and sisters, we will change. Remember, "He will never leave nor forsake you." Heb 13:5 If you are lonely and finding yourself hiding from the world, take those steps to get out of your cave. God has big plans for you and we will never know what they are if we don't take that step toward Him to find out. Have a blessed Sunday! Rodney Holmstrom

Saturday, December 29, 2012

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 work to examine your life so that together we can remove the character defects and replace them with truth? It won't be easy but very much worth it. Will you trust Me to heal your heart to be able to forgive those that have wronged you so terribly? Will you trust Me to give you the courage to seek forgiveness and make amends to those you have hurt. Will you receive My grace into your life fully? Will you respond to My call, wherever & however I see fit to have you serve other hurting & lost people in My Kingdom? I know in my life there were times I struggled answering those questions with a 'yes' and it took me off the path of the Fathers purpose and direction for my life. By answering 'no', I remain in my muck, hopelessness, selfishness, and dysfunction. But by answering 'yes' then He can and will renew, replant, restore, & rebuild my life into a path of hopefulness, selflessness, and truth. This week you and I will be faced with trials, temptations, & struggles that will beg for our 'yes' response. Those questions from the enemy need a resounding 'No'. Answering the Fathers questions with a 'YES' instead will be so much more rewarding no matter how appealing the enemy may be making his case. How will you answer the Father's questions today? Yes...or No? Have a great Saturday. Rodney Holmstrom

Friday, December 28, 2012

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 privilege and honor of being on Christ's team as one of His children, as a believer, I should not take that for granted and just sit back and coast into the finish line. "In the same way, faith by itself, if it is not accompanied by action, is dead."James 2:17 As believers, we have already been given the gift of salvation & we already know how this 'season' or story will end for us cause we know the end of the story. One day we will cross that finish line into the arms of our Savior for eternity. However, the Father desires for me to keep growing in my relationship with Him, serving others that don't know Him and living for Him daily. All our struggles, all our pain and obstacles we face as we strive for the finish line will be no more once we finish this race. Each day I must ask myself the question, "what needs to be thrown off today that is hindering me from running well for the Kingdom?" "Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles, and let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us."Hebrews 12:1 The Father is cheering you on right now. Don't give up. Keep fighting. Can you imagine the reunion at the finish line? It won't be easy, but it will most definitely be worth it. Rodney Holmstrom

Thursday, December 27, 2012

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 believed and received Him as my Savior. Love, joy, peace, joy & everlasting life. From hopelessness to hopefulness. From lost to now found. The next steps I must take is to view each day as a new gift of life. “The Lord is my shepherd so I lack nothing" Psalm 23:1 This year, when we put the Christmas lights up, let's give Him a gift back. Let's allow the light now living inside of us to shine so bright, that people ask where that bright light comes from and how it shines so bright. “[God,] may all rejoice who take refuge in you. May they shout for joy a long time" Psalm 5:11 Is there anything in our life that may be causing the light to not shine as bright as before? Let's take action to deal with the junk so we can experience the gift we have been given. It is never too late to start over in our life. Never forget that you were put on this earth for a big purpose. Have a great Thursday. Rodney Holmstrom

Monday, December 24, 2012

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, she endured. She knew the bigger plan and that plan was to be obedient to God & bring light into a very dark world thru her giving birth to the Savior. Christ entered this world not in a palace of royalty, but at a lowly place and met us right where we are. Too often in my life I begin to question God as to why things are the way they are. "Why, God? Really God?! This is what you give me today?!" Helen Keller once said, “Although the world is full of suffering, it is also full of the overcoming of it." This morning I am reminded that sometimes it doesn't make sense what I am going thru but that there is a bigger plan in play here. God will work all things for His good and glory. Lord give me the courage and strength to endure life's battles and struggles even when it hurts and doesn't make a whole lot of sense to me. Thank God that He sent His Son to this world to give us strength and endurance to face life's struggles as an overcomer. Take some time to thank Him for meeting us where we are and loving us, stink and all. What makes the Christmas story so special is that He didn't stay in that smelly manger, but walked this earth in ministry, then died for our junk and then rose. What an awesome gift! "Fear not... for it is your Father's good pleasure to give you the kingdom."Luke 12.32 Merry Christmas Eve friends! Rodney Holmstrom

Sunday, December 23, 2012

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 him I need help then what I am really saying is, "I don't have it all together and I am weak"  I am grateful that I know how to reach out when I am hurting or need help. Pride used to get in the way. Reaching out can keep me from a world of additional messiness. Imagine if I tried to fix my car in my own. Yikes! It would have only created more problems. I am grateful this morning to admit I am a life long learner, that yes, I am weak, don't have it all together and yes, I need not only Christ in my life, but also the wonderful blessings of wise brothers and sisters He has placed in my path.  God sends godly men and women into our life to be his hands and feet. I am learning to receive this as a blessing. “You are my God. My future is in your hands" Ps 31:14-15  Have a great day! Rodney Holmstrom

Saturday, December 22, 2012

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 say He won. He reached down and whispered to me too. He said, "Rodney, Rodney, you are no longer identified as those things you have believed for too long. Your new name is forgiven & loved child of the King." What is your name today? Or are you still identifying your self by your hurt, addictions, junk, or struggles? Maybe it's time to quit wrestling with Him and rest in His arms so He can speak to you. His Son died so that you and I would be given a new name in Him. Someone once said, “The best & most beautiful things in life cannot be seen, not touched, but are felt in the heart." When we quit wrestling Him and rest in His mighty arms, it is then that we can feel and hear in our heart His sweet, loving, yet very powerful voice say, I love you & and here is your new name, your new identity. What a beautiful thing to witness. "The  Lord  is my rock, my fortress and my deliverer; my God is my rock, in whom I take refuge.  He is my shield and the horn of my salvation, my stronghold."Psalms 18:2 If He can give me a new name, he can most certainly give you one. I am a grateful believer who still struggles with life.  Have a wonderful Saturday! Rodney Holmstrom

Friday, December 21, 2012

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 the Fathers truth and promises that can keep us from playing His music in this thing called life. I am reminded this morning that there will be days that are a bit tougher to hear His hope, but I must keep pounding the keys until I hear what I know is truth.  How will I know it when I hear it? Because I have heard it before. I have tasted it and it is good. Sometimes when I get down and discouraged, I may even have to get down on my knees and press my ear to the floor searching for vibrations my loving Father is so desperately trying to get me to hear. I must do it so I can cut thru the enemies lies. I am learning thru this process of growth that I need to trust my ear when I hear it. Can you hear Him this morning? He is trying to speak to you too. "In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world. Jn 16:33 His message is of hope and freedom. Don't forget what is true. If you are hearing something else, then that is not Him.  Keep pounding those notes, one note at a time friend. Rodney Holmstrom

Thursday, December 20, 2012

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 from darkness the prisoners...comforts all who mourn, provides for those who grieve...crown of beauty instead of ashes, the oil of gladness  instead of mourning,  and a garment of praise  instead of a spirit of despair..." Wow! I love how God's truth can bring hope and light on our life. In that moment the Lord reminded me that He was with me in my pain & that it is ok to grieve, but to grieve with hope.  I am reminded that no matter what we may be going thru, as His children, we have hope. Right now the Father is planting hope in you and I as we seek Him. He is rebuilding the ruins in our life that may have come from generations of messiness; restoring places long devastated. The times of pain are inevitable, but misery really is optional in our life and what we do with the pain is crucial. Instead of running to the old ways of coping, isolation, self medicating, wallowing in hurt, etc, let's run to the Father and rest on His promises. Today, let's not settle for misery, but take a risk and seek happiness & joy in the arms of the Father. Rodney Holmstrom

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

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 don't we? Grace is giving us a gift that we don't deserve. It is the Father saying, "no matter what you have done, I will wipe it away." No matter what stuff we have, we always have the gift of life, mercy and grace from the Father. No one can take that away from us. Let these words sink in today  "I am God's child!" “The Spirit himself testifies with our spirit that we are Gods children." Romans 8:16 Nice gift huh?! Who will you go share your gift with today? Rodney Holmstrom

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

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 advertisement and/or temptation. Each time, like a mother warning her child not to hit his head on the corner table, the Holy Spirit is warning me, "Don't do it son! I know how this will end." Each time I am faced with a choice. Either take the bait and live with the side effects (consequences) or ask for strength to fight the temptation and grow in my faith and strength having resisted it. Let's be honest, sin is fun. If it wasn't, there wouldn't be a pull. What's not fun is what the sin fails to show us on the back end, the consequences.  Warning: You may catch a disease, the brutal hangover, loss of job, damaging my brain, messy divorce, saying and doing things I regret to close friends and wounds toward my kids, spouse or loved ones; Warping my mind in how I view women and my spouse, end up in jail, tearing my family apart, a drifting away from my relationship with the Father, etc, etc. Sounds like a blast doesn't it? Not. Today, I am reminded that I am a life long learner that is weak without the Father. Someone once said, “Some of life's best lessons are learned at the worst times."  Even though the advertisement from the enemy can look so enticing, it really isn't worth the nasty and damaging consequences.  Today I am encouraged to listen to the great wisdom in the words of James: "Submit to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you. Draw near to God and He will draw near to you..."James 4:7-8a With each temptation we fight thru, we will be stronger for the next. But don't go at it alone. Have a blessed day friend. Rodney Holmstrom

Monday, December 17, 2012

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

Sunday, December 16, 2012

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 eyes and trust in Him, utilize the community of brothers and sisters in Christ that God has blessed you with, call on His name and He will renew your life with joy. He will turn ashes into beauty and restore your HOPE. “He heals the brokenhearted and binds up their wounds." Psalm 147:3 “Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you. 1 Peter 5:7 "The name of the Lord  is  a strong tower; The righteous run to it and are safe." Prov18:10 Keep running to Him and seeking Him friend. He has big plans for you.  Love you friend. Have a blessed day! Rodney Holmstrom

Saturday, December 15, 2012

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 reminded yet again this morning that the Father cares about everything that concerns you, that grieves your heart & that makes you and I weep at times so don't be afraid talk to Him about anything and everything. The Light can shine even in the midst of darkness and evil. This evil is an example of the very reason God sent His son in the form of a baby to ultimately endure such pain Himself on the cross. A word of encouragement as you face pain, from Nick Vijicic, "Keep moving ahead because action creates momentum, which in turn creates unanticipated opportunities." We live in a dark world of evil but as followers of Christ, we can grieve, but with hope because of our trust and faith in Him. “Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the author & perfecter of our faith, who for the joy set before him endured the cross." Heb 12:2 We pray for the families of this horrific tragedy. Hug your friends, family and kids tightly today, but don't forget to let the Father hold you too. May our hearts grieve in the same way for those that don't know the love, hope and freedom from Christ as their Savior. Rodney Holmstrom

Friday, December 14, 2012

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 circumstances. I signed up for a step study that night and that was the start of something awesome and beautiful for me.  Painful yes, but I was already in so much pain.  Jesus became real to me and the CR stepstudy showed me unconditional acceptance and grace. I will always call this CR family here the first 'safe' family I ever had." Wow! I hope you will consider coming tonight to Fellowship at 6:00pm and starting this journey yourself. Change is possible! Fear thou not; for I [am] with thee: be not dismayed; for I [am] thy God: I will strengthen thee; yea, I will help thee; yea, I will uphold thee with the right hand of my righteousness." Is 41:10 Rodney Holmstrom

Thursday, December 13, 2012

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 about not doing the things I know have to. Quiet time, praying with my wife and family, serving, going to my meetings, exercise, church etc. I know in my life I 'never' had trouble making time for my character defects, bitterness, resentments, worry, anxiety, fears and even addictive behaviors. I am learning that I have to spend as much time on my recovery as I did on that destructive junk. Wow! That's a lot of time. :) I thank God for tools like CR that can help us get out of the lifetime rut of making excuses for why things are as bad as thy are and start making new, holy, & better choices to get healthy.  Let's not allow the enemy to fill our heart with a 'victim' excuse mentality any longer. Instead, let's believe we are 'victors' in Christ that we can do ALL things thru Him. No more excuses, no more unnecessary busyness, no more wasted time on our dysfunction. Instead focused efforts to move toward healing in my life thru wise action. Is there anything in your life that you know you need to deal with but the excuses keep getting in the way? “I will lift up mine eyes unto the hills, from whence cometh my help. My help cometh from the Lord which made heaven and earth."Ps 121:1,2 Have a blessed 'no excuse' day friend. Rodney Holmstrom

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

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 and incapable of doing it on my own. It is about surrendering to the Father letting Him cleanse my heart and mind daily and then allowing the overflow of what He is doing in me serve others for His good. The difference now is that I know I will make mistakes but that is why I need Christ in my life. No matter how hard I try, I am incapable of cleansing myself. Each and every day I have to take my 'dirty laundry' to the Father and let Him do the cleaning.  I am grateful that He not only washes me clean with the blood of the Lamb, but He then uses the dirt from my past to help others take their laundry to the Master Dry Cleaner. “He was crushed for our iniquities; the punishment that brought us peace was upon him, & by his wounds we are healed." Isa 53:5 Today, is laundry day, but in a good way. :)  Let's take our dirty socks to the Father so we can live out the purpose He has for both of us. Have a wonderful day! Rodney Holmstrom

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

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 circumstances. So as we stood to sing our first song imagine my confusion when halfway through the song the woman next to me switched places with her husband. I was shocked! What had I done? I thought I was being a very good worship neighbor. What would cause her to move? Was my singing that bad? In my attempt not too be overpowering in smell had I forgotten my deodorant? I was ready to conduct a pit check immediately. Before I let my sideways thinking get so spiraled out of control that it became a tornado, I paused. One think I have learned in recovery is that is does not matter what other people think of me and it truly is none of my business. If this woman had an issue with me, especially over something I didn’t intentionally due, well, it was hers to work with not mine. I also have learned that taking care of me is crucial. I decided to not be offended by her seat switching and give her credit for taking care of her needs whatever they may be. Slowing down before I fell into an old habit of guilty assumption thinking made some things clear to me. First of all, I’m making progress. I was able to engage in the rest of the worship service and not worry about anyone else. And secondly, by pausing my thinking I was able to observe that the row in front of where we were seated had also shifted due to late comers. My now former neighbor was originally standing behind another woman allowing her to see the screen, a man a good half torso taller was now standing in front of her and she wasn’t able to see the words at all. By switching seats with her husband she really was taking care of herself, just like I did. Daphne

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 for our life?  The two leaders of this group are extremely valuable. Why? Because yes, they led men to experience truth in Christ, making disciples thru the CR material. Yes, they provided a platform for accountability unlike no other. And true & real relationships for a lifetime!  But the big splash for the Kingdom is the 'multiplication' that has developed thru these men and their leadership. I am reignited in my vision to create a culture that challenges me to ask more often, "who will you share this same material with after you have finished" A word of encouragement to our future group facilitators: “If you think you are too small to be effective, you have never been in the dark with a mosquito." Betty Reese CR: Biblical Truth, Accountability with a balance of truth and grace, real  Relationships for a lifetime and MULTIPLICATION to take what the Lord has done in us and sharing it with other hurting people.Yeah God!!! You may just be our next 'mosquito' in a very dark world. Maybe our next CR group facilitator. Awesome!! God never wastes a hurt. Have a great day! Rodney Holmstrom

Monday, December 10, 2012

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 my Father smiling and saying, "ok, now let's get to work in healing you and ultimately using those stains from your past." “Come now, let us reason together,” says the Lord. “Though your sins are like scarlet,  they shall be as white as snow;  though they are red as crimson,  they shall be like wool."Is1:18 Don't listen to the enemy that feeds us with lies littered with denial and justification for continuing to live with our unresolved junk.  “You are advised to remember: the devil is a liar." C. S. Lewis  God can and will bring healing to your stains. No more short cuts. Just give them to Him. The blessing is that He won't allow them to be wasted. Together we "get to" use them for His glory.  It will take some work, but oh is it worth it! Have a great day friend. Rodney Holmstrom

Sunday, December 9, 2012

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 are keeping connected with accountability partners,  making our meetings, saturating our self with positive relationships, spending quality time with God, & maintaining our established boundaries with family members. Our Father is calling to us in our stress and pain: “Come to me, all you who are weary & burdened, & I will give you rest." Matthew 11:28 Which fruit of the spirit can I grow in this week? Let's change our language to "these holidays are tough, but the Lord is teaching me so much! I am growing thru this storm. Praise God!" Have a great Sunday! Rodney Holmstrom

Saturday, December 8, 2012

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 take hold. Sails weren't designed to be used that way and neither are we. I realized in my life that if I was to have the full blessing of the Holy Spirit & begin experiencing life, I had to acknowledge those "rips" in my sails and turn them over to God. Once I did this, the Lord restored and rebuilt my sails and the Holy Spirit (wind) was and is able to guide me thru life much more effectively.  Now, there is a daily maintenance plan to repair some holes that pop up and I need Him to keep my sails functional, but what a blessing to be able to do this with the help of the Father. How are your sails this morning? Have you tried overlooking the "rips" in your sail? Still trying to figure out why there is no movement in your life? Take it from a guy with a history of mangled sails, it is so much better to stop and acknowledge those rips.  Allow Him to restore your sails starting right now so that you can experience life the way He intended for you. “The Spirit gives life; the flesh counts for nothing. The words I have spoken to you; they are full of the Spirit & life." John 6:63  Have a great day! Rodney Holmstrom

Friday, December 7, 2012

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, “You can forget what hurt you in the past, just never forget what it taught you." Are you hurting this morning? Please know that you are His beloved child & He loves you dearly. Christ is leading you thru this pain and will heal your wounds. All we have to do is surrender to Him saying, "I am tired of doing this on my own." Then we can begin the process of allowing Him to change us. No matter what you are in the middle of; no matter what poor choices you may have made; No matter the struggles or hurts that have been done to you, He still loves you and desires to comfort, protect and guide you out of your mess & pain. A word of encouragement: “What we are is God's gift to us.  What we become is our gift to God." Eleanor Powell He created you, and He can rebuild, restore and renew your heart and life. “Every house is built by someone, but God is the builder of everything." Hebrews 3:4 Maybe it's time to grab that life line. Come see us at CR! Have a blessed day friend. Rodney Holmstrom

Thursday, December 6, 2012

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 morning. A heart that has the ability to see things as a gift, to love and an appreciation for what the Lord paints in my life now. I am grateful for the vision to see value in even the smallest things in my life now. That wasn't always the case.  A word of encouragement, “In this life we cannot always do great things. But we can do small things with great love."Mother Teresa Let's face today with a heightened awareness of the smallest gifts given to us. Let's face them with the greatest of love and watch how blessed we become. “In your relationships with one another, have the same attitude of mind Christ Jesus had" Philippians 2:5 Have a great day! Rodney Holmstrom

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

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 myself available to welcome them home if and when they are ready to deal with the consequences of their choices just like I had to in my life. God is teaching me though, that I have to establish a line of boundaries. I cannot become so consumed in another's recovery that I hurt my own. Codependency can be an enemy that can create unhealthy situations if I am not careful. I am grateful for my own accountability to keep loving those that might fall around me, but to not fall with them if they do themselves. "Multiplication" is essential in our recovery journey. What the Lord has done in my life has to be shared with another. We just need to be on guard as we do it. God bless any of you that have ever invested in a messy situation in someone's life. Keep multiplying what has been done in you. Remember though, keep those boundaries up so we keep you on the road no matter what happens to them. Keep praying for those who fall and welcome them with open arms when they seek help, wanting their recovery as much or more than you want their recovery. You are making a difference. "Brothers, if someone is caught in a sin, you who are spiritual should restore him gently. But watch yourself, or you also may be tempted. Gal 6:1  Have a great day. Rodney Holmstrom

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

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? I saw a little girl light up, looking into her daddy's eyes and say, "it's ok daddy, I forgive you" wow! The gift of doing the right thing and blessing as we teach our kids thru our example. CR has equipped me to show and "be" His living message, not just "speak" it. Someone once said, "You can't turn back the clock. But you can wind it up again." I love how CR has taught me to quit focusing on looking back on what "I should have or could have done" and now start moving forward with what "I can do to change it with Christ's help. I cant change the past, but I can grow & learn for a better future. This morning I am grateful for daily inventories, a new chance daily to clean my side of the street. I am grateful for the Father who gives me a new clock that winds up every day as I run to Him. Each day is a chance to say "Father, what on my side of the street needs to be cleaned?" “Teach me, and I will be quiet; show me where I have been wrong. -Job 6:24” Thanks for letting me share. Rodney Holmstrom

Monday, December 3, 2012

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 choice. I am learning that if I stay connected to God and listen to His Word, those choices will become much clearer. Someone once said, “Character is both developed and revealed by test, and all of life is a test." Today is a new test for all of us. With each test, or temptation to respond the wrong way, what choice will you make? Let's make a choice that brings true life and a building of our character. And remember, someone is always watching, listening and seeing what you and I do. Many will mimic what you and I do. Is it something we would like to see duplicated? Food for thought. “Whatever is true, whatever is noble, right, pure, lovely, admirable, excellent or praiseworthy - think of such things." Phil 4:8 Have a great day! Rodney Holmstrom

Sunday, December 2, 2012

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". Today, I am praising God that I am struggling well from past stones that have hit me. I can think of those who threw some big stones at me and not feel my blood pressure rise. Will I ever forget? Of course not. But can I forgive and move on? Only with help from Christ and some incredible friends around me. There is hope to heal from those wounds. Because He has helped me with yesterday's stone wounds and stone throwers, I can be confident that He will help me with today's as well as tomorrows. One day at a time. “May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.." Have a great day! Rodney Holmstrom

Saturday, December 1, 2012

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, we can always shout praises to our King cause we know He is leading us thru it. And what a treat to know that He has placed some pretty great people to walk thru it with us.  Worship is something special when we express gratitude thru our hearts and song. It's our chance to tell Him how much we love Him and need Him as our Father. There is an old saying,  “The grasshopper which is always near its mother eats the best food." In CR, when we come together, I feel like one blessed grasshopper that is eating incredibly well. A spiritual food that only the Father can give me. What a gift to be able to eat a feast of greatness in the company of wonderful forever family each week. “I will praise God's name in song & glorify Him w/thanksgiving. Ps 69:30  Rodney Holmstrom