Thursday, January 31, 2013

Taking Care of Business

I remember when I was little there were times I would taunt those who opposed me. Especially if I was standing in my own front yard. Lol Why? Because I could run into my house if they came after me. If my mom were alerted to what was going on, she would say, "stop that" or "son, don't do that." Reminds me of the old proverb, “When the mice laughs at the cat, there is a hole nearby.” As a Christian it is easy to be full of confidence that the enemy can't harm me. Why? Cause God tells me he has already been defeated. I reminded this morning though that it is not wise for me to taunt my opponent during a battle or after a victory. Have you ever said, "Bring it on Satan!" Yikes! To quote Bob Newhart, "Stop it!" Lol Scriptures remind me that I am in a "wrestling match with principalities, powers and rulers of darkness." Eph 6:12 When I start thinking that I can take of the enemy on in my own strength, and forget that it is Christ's strength that wins the battle, that's when I am overcome with unbearable temptation, trials and great difficulties. That's when I fall on my face. I must be on guard at all times cause the enemy can attack whether I am living in God's will or not. I must never forget that it is Christ who has secured a victory against the enemy but as my coach used to say before a game, "don't give the opponent billboard material. Just go out on the field and take care of business." I don't believe there is a snake under every rock, but I will be on guard and be prepared for when those battles do hit me. Let's take care of our business today, never forgetting where our strength comes from, Jesus Christ. Have a great day! Rodney Holmstrom

Wednesday, January 30, 2013

All Bleeders Are Welcome

A life altering event happens. An invasion on your life takes place leaving you wounded and bleeding badly in the middle of the ocean. Where do you go now? You try to swim to the rest of the group and attach yourself to the rescue 'raft' but the group rejects you cause you are bleeding too badly and will attract sharks. The group drifts off to sleep and so you decide to try to swim over to the them again and you find one man still awake. He courageously tends to your bleeding wounds & welcomes you back to the group. This was the picture of one of the survivors stranded at sea after the 1945 Japanese torpedo invasion of the USS Indianapolis Ship. Unfortunately this picture is a familiar picture in many churches today too isn't it? We hear the language, "Keep the bleeders out so they don't affect the rest of the congregation. It's just not safe having them around the rest of us." And yet, thankfully, there are some courageous ones who step out and tend to the wounded and bleeding people. What I love about Celebrate Recovery is that it says with great boldness and courage, "If you're bleeding, come see us. No matter what hurt you are carrying, you are welcome here." Celebrate Recovery reminds us thru a living example that the Church is not a hotel for the healthy, but a hospital for the sick, wounded, bruised and bleeding. Above all things have fervent love for one another, for "love" will cover a multitude of sins." 1Peter 4:8 If you're bleeding, swim on over, grab the raft, and let us point you to the Rescuer, Jesus Christ. Rodney Holmstrom

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Is There A Front Moving In?

A 'front' by its very definition can "cause the weather to change dramatically because it occurs along the boundary between two air masses with different densities and temperatures." I was thinking about how my past false 'fronts' I put up around people did much of the same in my life. I could be whatever you wanted me to be as long as it made you and others happy. When I would try to be all things to all people, we call this people pleasing, it would cause nothing but storms in my life. In my own mind, I was the one trying to hold everything together to keep the family at peace even though it was never specifically asked of me to do so. Much like thunderstorms in the weather, my unhealthy 'fronts' and broken boundaries were all about making others happy at the expense of myself. This would cause my outlook on life to change dramatically leaving me hopeless and unsatisfied with who I was. I have learned especially thru CR that it is ok that I don't make everyone happy and in fact impossible. I am learning that when Christ said "love others as yourself", He didn't mean at the 'expense' of myself. "It is dangerous to be concerned with what others think of you, but if you trust the Lord , you are safe." Proverbs 29:25 GNB As a result of this transformation in my thinking, God is slowly calming the self initiated storms in my life. I am grateful to Christ and the lessons He is teaching me thru CR. If He can teach this old messed up dude, He can teach you too. Have a blessed day my friend! Rodney Holmstrom

Monday, January 28, 2013

Hanging Out On "Base"

A couple weeks ago I was playing with one of my friend's son. His son would come and poke me and then run to a table he called "base". Each time he would arrive at this safe place he would yell out "Base!" He knew I couldn't touch him when he was on base. As Christians we have a safe place to run to in times of trouble when we are being chased too, don't we? "God is our refuge and strength, an ever-present help in trouble." Psalms 46:1 The issue I am convicted of this morning is that there are times I wait to run to that 'base' only 'after' I am faced with opposition. It is easy for me to view Him as my Savior and Rescuer cause I can speak of many things He has pulled me out of. But, if I only view Him as my Savior and end it there, my reverence for Him will fade. He is also Lord of Lords and King of Kings who desires to have a relationship and interaction with me daily. He wants me to hang out at my resting place, my base, that is my Rock, that is Jesus Christ. I have found that if I do this consistently, it is much easier to find 'base' when the enemy comes hunting. Because there is an enemy that never 'rests', I must always 'rest' in the arms of the Almighty Father. Have a great Monday! Rodney Holmstrom

Sunday, January 27, 2013

La, La, La, I Can't Hear You

Have you ever had these thoughts? "I am having trouble feeling anymore" "I have no energy left" "I feel like I am at a stand still and not growing." "I find myself pulling away from healthy relationships" "I seem to be hiding from God" and "It just seems like the pain won't go away" All of these are statements I have made while sitting in my denial. I remember when I was a kid and didn't want to hear or face something, I would put my fingers in my ears and make noises to drown out the truth. "La, la, la, la, I can't hear you...." I wish I could say things changed as I grew into an adult but it was the same picture. I may not have put my fingers in my ears, but my actions showed the same little kid yelling out in my denial to the Father and those close to me, "la, la, la, la, I can't hear you! I don't have a problem!!" I am grateful today that because I have been able to face my denial, I can now feel again, I have more energy to put toward the right things, I am growing now more than ever, I am allowing people into my life, especially a relationship with God, and the pain from my past is going away. Because of Christ's restoration, I am now singing new lyrics in a new song. "O praise Him O praise him He is Holy He is Holy Oh la, la, la, la, la, la" (D. Crowder) “For you shall go out in joy, and be led back in peace."Isaiah 55:12 How has facing your denial helped lead you back in peace and joy in your life? Rodney Holmstrom

Saturday, January 26, 2013

The Wind Moves The Trees

How was your week? Have you been overwhelmed with that "one thing" that is keeping you up at night or feeling alone in trying to face it? Maybe you are doing what I have from time to time and that is think you are supposed to take care of this problem by yourself and it just isn't working. Very exhausting isn't it? Have you ever been in a forest and just stopped and listened? There is something incredibly powerful in hearing the trees move back and forth. It's almost as if they are dancing in unison as the wind guides them. There is an old proverb that reads: "A tree does not move unless there is wind." Just like those trees in the forest, I realize that I cannot move forward with life without my dependence on the wind in my life. That wind is the Holy Spirit. Sometimes my own need for control in crisis is what quenches the Spirit from guiding me in my life. I am realizing that when I let go of the reigns in my struggles and say, "Lord, even this is Yours, so please take it from me" then the pressure to do it by myself subsides. I am learning that my trust in Him and dependence on the Holy Spirit to guide me and move me thru good and bad times, not only focuses my faith but also deepens my commitment to the process. Humble yourselves, therefore, under God's mighty hand, that he may lift you up in due time. Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you." 1Peter 5:6-7 Hang in there friend. He has a plan for you in this struggle. Today, let's sit still, trust Him, and allow the Holy Spirit to guide us as we "delight in His presence" Ps 37:3 Let's dance in unison as the Spirit guides us. Have a great Saturday! Rodney Holmstrom

Friday, January 25, 2013

This Is My First Time Flying

This past week the National Team for CR spent a good chunk of time planning out the 2013 year. I am so excited!! Do you want to know what we talked about the most? If you guessed the newcomer, you are exactly right! I was traveling home yesterday from the meeting with my wife and one of the flight attendants on the plane was having what seemed to be a bad day. She was barking at people with "turn that phone off" or, "your seat needs to be upright sir", or "put your tray table up sir". Did she forget that these were her customers? She was doing her job, but was she doing it with compassion and grace? This got me to thinking about how I have gotten consumed with small group guidelines and checking off the list of the do's and don'ts. The truth is, just like the flight attendant in her role to keep her area safe, so is it mine as a leader in small groups. However, it hit me that it doesn't mean I shouldn't do it in love and show grace as I am doing it. People coming into our ministry are fragile, heartbroken, and hurting. I need to make sure I am mindful that God has sent them to us in Celebrate Recovery and as a small group leader, I must show love & grace as Christ did me in my brokenness. His Word reminds me this morning: "Be kindly affectionate to one another." Romans 12:10 "Love one another" Romans 13:8 "Pursue the things which make for peace and the things by which one may edify another." Romans 14:19 As we look to keep our groups 'safe' this week, let's remember, there will be people walking thru our doors saying, "this is my first time flying". Let's make sure their first flight is an attractive one so that they come back to continue their journey in CR. 2013: The Decade of the Newcomer. Signed, Another satisfied customer, Rodney Holmstrom

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Decade of the Newcomer: Looking In The Mirror

Years ago my my music teacher was telling me about an out of state teachers meeting he was late for in attending. He was running up the stairs and saw the group in front of him sitting at the conference table already congregating for the meeting. So he hurriedly ran toward the group not really noticing that there was a man walking toward him as well. But, with his eyes focused on the meetings he was late for, he ignored the man coming toward himself and kept his eyes on the meeting already in progress. And then bam! He ran right into this man, face to face, and exclaimed, "oh, excuse me!" No sooner did he get those words out of his mouth he realized, it was actually a mirror he was looking into and the meeting he was walking toward was actually behind him as opposed to in front of him. Yes, he was face to face with his own reflection, his own face and yes, apologizing to himself. Needless to say, in his embarrassment he turned around and left the meeting immediately. Too funny and yes, this is something that would happen to me. This got me to thinking about our newcomers that come to CR. More often than not, they feel like the guy running into the mirror and when they realize what they see, they don't like it and turn and run. Do you remember the first time you walked thru those doors? Talk about feeling like a stranger in a foreign country. Awkward, embarrassed, feeling like "I don't fit in". Leviticus 19:33 reads, "If a stranger dwell with you in your land, you shall not mistreat him." The newcomer walking into your ministry feels like a stranger in a different land, so how are we making them feel. Do they feel our affection, love, acceptance, kindness, hospitality? Or do you find yourself grouping into the familiar clicks of those you already know. After all, the newcomer looks like they don't want to be approached, right? I can promise you, even if they look like that, they are screaming for someone to show them love and acceptance. "We as Christians are to demonstrate impartiality in our individual lives...We must increase our exposure toward those who are different (or feel different) in order to engender feelings of similarity instead of separation." Sabrina D. This is the Decade of the Newcomer in CR. If someone walks into your church, or your CR, do they feel like a welcomed guest, or an alien in a foreign land? Challenging for me to think about and making sure they feel like part of our family being invited over for dinner. "If you really fulfill the royal law according to Scripture, "You shall love your neighbor as yourself", you do well; but if you show partiality, you commit sin, and are convicted by the law as transgressors." James 2:8-9 Let's keep our eyes open this week for that first time visitor, not to smother them, but to let them know we are so glad they are here. A life change testimony begins right now. Who will you invite to the table this week? Rodney Holmstrom

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

What Is The Prize To You?

So what is that 'prize' you are looking for? It's funny how, as we grow, our desires and perception of what is important changes too. It can go from, "I want to be rich, have all the nice clothes, biggest house, have everyone love me, etc" To now, "I am blessed to have a Father who loves me, a home, clothes on my back, a job, incredible real friends, and a family that calls me husband and dad." I love the quote, "Conquer your bad habits or they will conquer you." Rob Gilbert My past hurts did just that. they were conquering my mind and robbing me from seeing His blessing already all around me. I am so glad that the Father has given us Celebrate Recovery to help us deal with our past hurts, hang-ups, that can lead to bad habits? You see, as I began dealing with my junk, my thinking changed and I am much more grateful for what I have today vs. focusing on what I didn't have before. "I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus. All of us who are mature should take such a view of things. And if on some point you think differently, that too God will make clear to you." Philippians 3:14-15 Keep pressing toward the goal friend. Change is possible! What are you grateful for today? Rodney Holmstrom

Monday, January 21, 2013

Keep Breathing, Oxygen Is Flowing

Carol and I were flying to CA yesterday for a CR National planning Retreat. The flight attendant was explaining what to do in case of an accident. In describing the oxygen masks she said, "even though the oxygen is flowing the bag may not inflate." Wow! Isn't that the truth with life? Sometimes we may be going thru life, moving forward & changing and not even realize it. I have to remind myself that just because it doesn't 'feel' like I am breathing and changing, I am with the Fathers help. All I have to do is to keep seeking the Father. Someone once said, “Trying times are not the times to stop trying." I must never forget though, that there is only One that can give me my source of oxygen. We must never give up, even when you may be having a difficult times and the oxygen bag isn't inflating, keep breathing slow and and steady friend. Remember, we breathe today cause The Lord gave it to us. We stand free because of what He did for us. "Freedom is what we have—Christ has set us free! Stand, then, as free people, and do not allow yourselves to become slaves again" Gal 5:1 Remember, the oxygen is flowing even when we can't see it. With every breath we take today, may it be an exhale of thankfulness and gratitude in worship to our Lord. Keep seeking him today friend. Rodney Holmstrom

Saturday, January 19, 2013

I Am No Longer On Lease

Have you ever heard of the term "lease system"? I hadn't until recently. In prison systems there was a program called "lease system" and this is where prisoners were leased out to local businesses to work on bridges, construction, mining etc. They were responsible for feeding them, housing and discipling. This idea of leasing got me to thinking about myself and my own junk. In years past I was stuck in my denial and it did so much to keep me from so many blessings in my life. In essence, by living in denial and acting like the 'stuff' wasn't there, I was allowing this to master my life. I was allowing myself to go into the enemies 'lease system'. This lessor was feeding me and giving me housing alright but man was it the wrong and unhealthy stuff. 2 Peter 2:19 reads, "They promise them freedom, while they themselves are slaves of depravity–for a man is a slave to whatever has mastered him." When I bury my head in the sand and convince myself there is nothing wrong, it not only keeps me in my pain but also keeps me a slave 'on lease' to the enemy. A dead man walking.... Someone once said, “Many people—of all ages—are walking around alive, but that in no way does this mean they are truly living" This morning we don't have to be dead men and women walking. No more being slaves to our past, present or fears of our future. If you still trying to convince yourself that there is nothing wrong? Are you finding yourself on lease to an enemy that seeks to destroy your life? Let me encourage you to break that lease and run from that 'lessor' and into the arms of the Father who has bought you with the blood that was shed for us. Time to start building new bridges and roads toward life change as we follow the Father. Have a great Saturday! Rodney Holmstrom

Friday, January 18, 2013

What Am I Promoting?

In business I have learned that we have to have an objective, a vision & a mission & then a plan to execute it. A marketing team's job is to develop a plan that supports whatever the companies objectives are. I was thinking about this in the context of my life. If my mission is to live a life with truth, love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, etc, then my plan has to support that objective. The key I have learned though, is that having the right marketing manager is crucial. I call Him, The Master. There is nothing worse than having the wrong manager leading your mission. There have been times that I had the wrong one leading and it only worked against the objectives and mission in my life. The wrong marketing team promotes wrong thinking, ugly attitude, viewing unhealthy things, abusing my body, speaking lies, selfishness, worry, stress, anxiety, control, despair, negativity, fear, poor habits, over working, low self esteem, poor self image, false advertisement of who I am. None of those things help me obtain His plan for my life. Is my personal plan supporting Christ's objectives & plan or the enemies? In business when the marketing team goes against the objectives of the company, then changes have to happen. Maybe today it is time to call a 'board meeting' with God the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit and make some changes in your 'marketing plan'. "We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ." 2Cor 10:5 Maybe you are like me and need to make some 'personnel' changes and move toward healthier choices and plan for your life. #CR2013 #LifeHealingChoices #ChangeIsPossible #IAmChanging Rodney Holmstrom

Thursday, January 17, 2013

Improving My "I" Sight

I can remember being in Colorado on a camping vacation many years ago when the kids were pretty young. We were walking and I saw some Mtn goats on the side of some big rocks on the other side of the river and took a picture. To this day, we still can't distinguish the difference between the goats and rocks in the photo since the colors were causing the goats to be camouflaged amongst the rock. I know they are there but we just can't see them. Have you ever had eye problems? No, not 'eye' but rather 'I' problems? For a chunk of my life I found myself with 'I' problems that left me blind to seeing & experiencing His blessings and direction in my life. I was pretty sure I knew He was there but just couldn't see Him. Why? Cause I was focusing on the wrong thing....myself. Staying in my unresolved dysfunction, kept me selfish and blind to His plan for my life. Someone once said, "I pointed out to you the stars & the moon and all you saw was the tip of my finger.” I am so grateful that as I have started tackling my character defects, the Lord has improved my sight & focus. Less of me and more of Him is a good thing. “You will seek Me & find Me when you search for Me with all your heart." Jr 29:13 Today, I must again trust Him, & stop focusing on me, and turn my attention toward Him. He has great things to show me. Rodney Holmstrom

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

He Shouts In Our Pain

Many years ago I was asked to sing at a nursing home. Sounds real sweet, but hold off on making that judgement. I brought an old song, newer back then, called "Watch the Lamb". I had a cassette tape track I was using. I had the folks gathered around and they were listening intently and for the most part, enjoying the song. What I didn't realize at the time was that one of the ladies was sleeping as sometimes older people will do at the drop of a hat. :) There is a part of the song that goes from pretty soft, to loud abruptly. Well...when I got to the line that says, "You! Carry the cross....." sung in a very loud and dramatic tone....the lady dosing off about jumped out of her chair and probably very nearly had a heart attack. She probably thought she was dying, bless her heart. Ok, so in hindsight, probably not the best song choice. Lol Have you ever been going through the motions in your life and had kind of grown to become complacent? I was thinking about how my life has been like that at times. I will be going along and then Boom! I get my wake up call. That wake up call can come in the form of pain. I can get frustrated sometimes when a guy I am working with won't take the life preserver that I am offering him. Then I remember that it was hard for me in my own life to grab it too. I am reminded that it isn't when we see the light but when we feel the heat. CS Lewis once said, "Pain is God's megaphone to rouse a deaf world." I am learning that God wants so desperately to heal our ailing spirituality and unfortunately in my stubbornness it sometimes takes Him shouting at me in my pain, megaphone and all, saying, "You, Rodney, carry the cross." While I am not too thrilled with the pain I experience, I am grateful for what He teaches me thru the pain. Sometimes it feels like I could die. Whatever you may be going thru today, let's ask Him 'what' instead of 'why'. "Lord, what is it you are trying to teach me?" Never believe the lie that He has left you or doesn't care for you. "The everlasting God....neither faints nor is weary." Is 40:28 Remember, His strength is made perfect in weakness. Keep seeking Him. Keep straining forward and don't miss the lesson friend. Have a blessed day! Rodney Holmstrom

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

For Me or For Him?

I was watching a little bit of the show Duck Dynasty last night. One of the guys in the show, Willie, was trying to get his air conditioner fixed in the middle of a hot Louisiana. The frustration was that his repair man, known as mountain man, was pretty high maintenance, and was moving very slow in getting this fixed. Then, Willie, in the middle of this frustration says, "believe it or not, Mountain man is the best air conditioning man within 100 miles... He's also the ONLY air conditioning man within 100 miles..." Lol I was thinking about how it is easy in life to develop a mentality that "I am the only one within 100 miles that can do what I can do." Have you ever gotten prideful and thought, "they would be so messed up if I stopped doing _________!" The truth is, most of what I do can be done by anyone. God will get done what He needs done without me. (The exceptions? Husband & dad) Kind of humbling huh? The gift though, is that He chooses to allow me to be a part of His divine plan. The minute I start thinking I am the only one and the best one, then I have lost focus and my motives have now gone sour. Nothing worse than being under leadership that believes that they are Gods gift to you. :) If I didn't do what God has called me to do, I would be the one missing out on being blessed. When I serve with the right motives, I then see clearly that the ones I serve are God's gift to me. So, if I start developing a little pride and getting a little full of myself, I have to remind myself that He allows me to be a part of HIS plan. It really isn't about ME. "For you formed my inward parts; You covered my in my mother's womb. I will praise You, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made; marvelous are Your works." Ps 139:13-14 What a privilege to "get to" praise our Father as we follow His works by pointing others to freedom, love others as Christ loved, and wash the feet of His children. Where are you serving friend? Are your motives still correct? Rodney Holmstrom

Monday, January 14, 2013

Discouragement

Feeling discouraged today? Being the oldest brother of four son's, I had the distinct privilege and honor of being the one to pick on my younger brothers. It used to be my responsibility to wake my brothers up each morning and get them ready for school. I remember one 'evening' setting the clocks up and waking them up to get ready for school. They ate, took a shower, got dressed and waited by the front door for the bus to arrive. Then the final reveal, "guys, it's still night time. Go back to bed." Talk about discouraged....(don't you judge me) lol It's Monday, are you feeling discouraged? For some of us, it doesn't matter what day or time it is, we still feel this discouragement. We don't need a big brother to make us feel this way. Discouragement is so tough sometimes isn't it? It can leave us feeling sad, disheartened and even hopeless at times. I know there have been times where things were not going the way I thought they would. Maybe I made mistakes, got hurt, or have been let down by a boss, coworker, friend or loved one. This would sometimes affect my self confidence & overall hope as discouragement grew inside my heart. Sometimes, depending on what it was, I would even lose some confidence in God. Now, that is discouragement huh? What I have learned, and still need brothers to remind me about and hold me accountable to, is that when I start feeling discouraged, I need to make sure I am keeping things in perspective. Also, what can I write down in my journal that I am thankful for? "And let us not grow weary while doing good, for in due season we shall reap if we do not lose heart." Gal 6:9 Remember, God is a Father of second chances and in fact He will never give up on you. Don't be discouraged my friend. God will guide you in the right path. Just keep seeking Him and He will show you what needs to be done to bring about life change and bring you out of today's discouragement. Keep your eyes up and on Him today. Rodney Holmstrom

Sunday, January 13, 2013

Rodney, Your Zipper is Down!

"Something doesn't seem right here...did I forget something?" When I was in High School I will never forget having my big solo during a school choral concert. I had prepared, knew my song, walked out on that stage and sang it with all my might. Meanwhile, my friends were off stage waiting to greet me. Probably to give me some great words of encouragement for the song I just sang, I thought. Instead, as I walked off the stage, I was greeted with, "dude, your zipper is down!" DOH!! Well, at least it was ONLY in front of the ENTIRE school...;) Isn't that just like life. We prepare as best we can, get as much knowledge as we can to succeed, walk out onto the stage of life, and BAM! We realize that we have forgotten to get dressed. I am learning that I have to gird my waist with His truth. This is my foundation to counteract against the lies I hear daily. Put on my breastplate of righteousness. This protects all my vital organs, as soldier in battle, especially my heart. Oh, I can't forget my shoes of the gospel of peace. That peace only comes from God. Oh and my shield of faith. There are way too many darts flying my way that can destroy me. What about my helmet? Oh yeah, my mind is a precious thing to protect as the enemy will always try to fill it with doubt and garbage. Finally, my beautiful God given sword of the Sprit that is the Word of God. This helps me slay the enemy in big ways when He tries to feed me with lies. But I know better cause I have the truth. Warren Wiersbe once wrote, "A Christian life is not a playground, it's a battleground." Are you fully dressed? Is your zipper up? As you walk out on that stage of life today, make sure you have everything you need. 'Knowing' what you need to do is not enough. "Be self‑controlled and alert. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour." 1 Peter 5:8 God has our wardrobe waiting for us this morning. Have a great Sunday! Rodney Holmstrom

Saturday, January 12, 2013

False Talk: The Enemies Telemarketing

Do you ever find yourself talking negative about who you are and what you are capable of doing? I call that false talk. It's those seemingly small things that over time can become so real and seem like truth but in fact, they are just a bunch of lies from the enemy. "I will never amount to anything" "I am not a good leader" "Our marriage will never work" "I am not a good dad or mom" "I am different than anyone else, my issues can't heal" "I can never be a spiritual leader" "My mind is too far gone for change" "I am just too far into my dysfunction, addiction, or brokenness, I just don't see me getting better, changing or healing" I was sharing with a dear friend this past week about how the false talk we speak is so dangerous. I used to be so bad about this and what I found was the negative things I believe and speak can and will become my reality if I am not careful. I am learning that when I speak these lies, I am only becoming a tool for the enemy to carry out his plan to steal and kill my joy and rob me of Christ's purpose for my life. I heard one time that we as humans can't think about two things at once,so why not think of those that are a truth and not lies? So why not, "Take every thought captive." 2 Cor 10:5 "Think pure, noble and godly things." Phil 4:8 God shines light that bring goodness, but the enemy is always looking for people to join his picket line of stinkin thinkin' and false talk to keep us in the dark cave. Are you speaking these lies? Let's commit to stop being the enemies telemarketer of garbage and stamp out that kind of talk. Remember, Whatever gets my attention, gets me. "Have nothing to do with the fruitless deeds of darkness, but rather expose them."Eph 5:11 Today, lets expose the enemy for who he is & have no more fellowship with this darkness. Today, lets choose to dwell on the Father's truth and Christ's hope that brings LIFE. Have a great Saturday! Rodney Holmstrom

Friday, January 11, 2013

The Kitchen Trash Can

It was the fall of 2011; our faithful rectangular hunter green lidless kitchen trash can was beyond retirement. Not only had several places on the lip broken off, cracks were beginning to develop as well compromising the overall sturdiness of the receptacle. It had been a useful and reliant trash can. I bought it over a decade ago and was finally dealing with the fact that I had to let it go. So I mustered up the courage and funds and decided to invest both in a new garbage holder. I really did spend WAY too much time and energy shopping for the item needed. I wanted something without a lid, it had to fit under the kitchen sink and of course I didn’t want to spend too much money on something that no one would see. Time for a perspective check, yes, we’re talking about approximately a $20 expenditure on something that is going to last several years. Doing the math, I think it comes out to LESS than pennies a day. Yet, I still managed to obsess about it. FINALLY, I made a decision. I purchased and brought our new trash can home! I filled it with a fresh white liner. I opened the door on the left side of the cabinet under the sink, slide it in and immediately ran into resistance. I pulled out the can, pushed it in again. It pushed back. I finally bent down and assessed it was all the stuff under the sink blocking the way. I rearranged the cleaning supplies and again attempted to put the new can in place. It still didn’t slide in. What was the deal?!?! After a bit more investigation I came to realize the garbage disposal was hanging down so low that the new trash can wouldn’t fit in the same old spot. What to do, what to do. With all that I had already gone through in order to get the new can, I was at a loss. Then it dawned on me. What if I put the trash can under the other side of the sink? Yes, the right side. Oh ya, it slipped right into place. Issue handled. Or so I thought. You see, after a decade of the same old habit, trash can on the left, getting not only myself but every member of the family to switch was certainly a process. We each had to stop and think before we acted. The habit of tossing a wrapper or scraping a plate was no longer “normal” or routine. It had changed. It’s been over a year now and I think we’ve all adjusted and adapted to the new home for the new trash can. Just like we’re all adjusting to being in recovery. Old systems of hurts, habits and hang ups weren’t working for us any longer. To be honest they were a bunch of yucky smelly garbage in and of themselves to begin with. The new trash can is a tangible daily reminder that change can happen. It takes effort. It affects others and in all honesty, at first, can come with slip ups. Easy? Not necessarily. Worth it? More than any value could ever be assigned. Recovery, it’s not a bunch of garbage. It’s letting the garbage go. Daphne, Another Changed Life- Say Yes to serve in CR Team leader

Perfectionism Is A Killer

I was sharing with my wife last night how perfectionism can still rear its ugly head in my life from time to time. Sometimes when I am dealing with people I love in ministry and I want so badly for them to get on a better track, find healing from their hurts & addictions, not get a divorce, restore their family, or whatever it is, I can begin to take it on myself as 'my failure' if they choose not to receive the truth. The reality is all I can do is present the truth and then get out of the way. My value cannot and should not be based on how well they do in their life. In my flesh however, I still sometimes allow that darn perfectionism to kick in and carry the weight of the problem myself. I do believe it must be a healthy burden but am learning 'their' recovery can't become 'my' own recovery. Paul says in Galatians 3:3, "Are you so foolish (Rodney)? Having begun in the Spirit, are you now being made perfect by the flesh?" Ok, ok Paul, I hear you bro. Someone once said, "perfectionists need to find their worth not in what they do or how well they do it, but in being God's creation." Aren't you glad about that? I know I am! I am reminded yet again that I am not God. ;) God is teaching me that if my drive is to be perfect in all things, it will eventually ruin me and harm all my relationships. Grateful for another day of learning from the Father. “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ's power may rest on me." 2Cor 12:9 Thanks for allowing me to share part of my journey with you. Rodney Holmstrom

Thursday, January 10, 2013

"It's Just Rain Buddy!"

I woke up this morning to a pretty good & steady rain. My dog buddy, for whatever reason is afraid of rain. Maybe it's because it's associated with thunder and lightening so often in the past. At any rate, the sound of rain terrifies him. This morning he was at my bedside real early, moaning & whining with his paws up on the bed. He was completely stressed out. My first thought was, "buddy, lay down! It's just rain so quit stressing out boy." Then it hit me. How many times do I allow things that can seem so silly, to stress 'me' out? How many times do I take it on myself? Buddy was doing what was natural to him, he came to his daddy. He was asking me for comfort. I am reminded yet again, that when I feel anxiety for what is seemingly silly, I need to take all of them to the Father. I am so glad the Father's response is not like mine was to Buddy. His first response is NOT, "well Rodney, stop it! It's just rain." I am grateful that if it is big to me, then it's big to the Father. God, in His very nature is the fullest definition of peace. He is the God of peace (Phil 4:9). He is the Prince of Peace! (Isaiah 9:6). The Holy Spirit provides and produces this peace in us as we call upon Him and follow. (Gal 5:22). I read that "75-90% of all doctors visits are for stress related ailments & complaints" Wow! That was an eye opener for me! So, if you are feeling stressed, let's take this approach and always start with running to our Savior who can "give us a peace that surpasses all understanding". Let's do like Buddy, & start at the feet of our master. Let's run to our loving, compassionate, comforting Father, Jesus Christ. For He says to us in our stress, “Do not let your hearts be troubled. Trust in God; trust also in me."John 14:1 Have a great day! Rodney Holmstrom

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

Still Crucifying Yourself?

Ever tried running thru wet mud? I have and no matter how hard I try, I just can't keep a strong momentum. There are times in my life that out of nowhere I hit that mud. Where does some of that mud come from? It can sometimes come from dwelling on my failures from my past or even fears of the future. Someone once said, "Many of us crucify ourselves between two thieves--regret for the past and fear of the future." I am learning thru CR that those two things can be linked together. When I dwell on the past, it then becomes my future. If I don't like what happened in the past and crucify myself for past mistakes, then I certainly won't feel real confident about the future. You may be finding yourself losing momentum because you are running thru the mud of your past and fear of the future. "You will keep him in perfect peace, whose mind is stayed on You, because he trusts in You." Isaiah 26:3 The only way I can let go of the past and not make that ugly past my future, is by keeping my mind on the Father. Christ was crucified so that we wouldn't have to take those past mistakes and fears on ourselves. Let's trust Him to help us let go of our past hurts, today, in the present. Then, let's believe that if He can take care of yesterday, He most certainly can take care of today & tomorrow. Keep that momentum moving forward! Rodney Holmstrom

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

The Enemy Doesn't Take Days Off

Last night at halftime of the football game a reporter interviewed the Notre Dame coach asking him, "coach, your team is down by a bunch, what is your strategy coming into the second half?" His response in a joking way, "well, I guess we can hope Alabama doesn't come out in the second half." I was thinking this morning how too often that seems to be our strategy with life. When I make a choice to go out into my day without having put on the full armor of God, I am basically taking the strategy, "well, I guess I can just hope the enemy doesn't come out today." As nice as that would be, the enemy just doesn't take a days off does he? I have to be ready as he is constantly battling. God is more powerful and if I will go into battle with my armor on, then the a father will guide, protect, & steer my mind, body and soul. "My soul clings to You; Your right hand upholds me." Ps 63:8 Principle 7: "Reserve a daily time with God for self examination, Bible readings and prayer in order to know God and His will for my life and to gain the power to follow His will" Today, lets not just 'hope the enemy doesn't show up', let's be prepared and invite God into our daily battles so we can 'gain' His power to follow His will against the enemy. Have a great day! Rodney Holmstrom

Monday, January 7, 2013

Think Soberly

"Think soberly". As I think about that statement from Paul in Romans 12:3, I am reminded that this is the way I am to evaluate myself. There have been times in my life that I haven't done this with honesty and fairness. Have you ever been told something for so long in your life that it began to become your identity? As a kid, my step father would tell me I was stupid and that I was an idiot. These long periods of lies & negative feedback given to me had a huge effect on my life. I really began believing those things. The result? Low self esteem, a warped view of who I am, not being able to trust others, depression and more. What I have learned especially thru CR is that my value is not based on what others think of me but rather on God's love and purpose for me as His child. My value is on the huge price He paid to redeem me for eternity! I love what Archibald Hart once wrote, "God has each person's life in His hand; He created each person for a purpose. Every believer should stand tall with high self esteem by understanding who he or she is in Christ." God is teaching me that I have to see my value thru Him and what He did on the cross for me. To change my stinkin' thinkin' to right thinking, and trust Him thru this process. It took years of believing lies to create the low self esteem and it will take some time to reprogram my mind to his truth of who really I am. I am no where near where I used to be in my low self esteem and I thank God for that. I still have some growing to do too, and yes, I thank God for that too. "Are not two sparrows sold for a penny? Yet not one of them will fall to the ground apart from the will of your Father. And even the very hairs of your head are all numbered."Matt10:29-30 We are loved by the King! He has a special purpose for you. God has big plans for you and I and with His help and guidance, amazing things are possible! Let's receive that true identity today. Rodney Holmstrom

Saturday, January 5, 2013

Have You Met This Family?

Have you met this family? There is Mr. Jealousy and his sister, Ms. Envy. You may know them as they are the children of Mr and Mrs Anger. This family has many insecurities, and a bad habit of comparing themselves to others in a very unhealthy way. The son, Mr. Jealousy, has a great fear that things close to him will be taken from him at any moment. So he lives in this fear all the time and finds himself very critical of others. His sister, however, obsesses and finds herself full of resentment because in her mind, her neighbors are doing better than she is and she doesn't like it. Have you ever met this family? Maybe you are finding yourself a part of this hurting family right now? I know there have been times in my life where I was very much every one of those people. I was never satisfied with God's provision and in fact I was rebelling against God's will for my life. "If only I had more, what if I lose this, or that...." Talk about a wrong approach for life that is destructive and exhausting! So often in my life, my pride, low self esteem, dissatisfaction for His plan and blessings given to me, drove me to being miserable and even finding myself criticizing everyone that was in that path. This lead me to resentment, bitterness, & even depression. What the Lord is teaching me is that the root of this junk was pain and struggles from my past that were left unresolved. I am grateful for His growth He is doing in me to be real with myself and not look at the "things" around me but to learn to keep my eyes on Him. To not compare myself to others in an unhealthy way. To keep a list in my heart for what He "has" given me instead of what I "don't have". To quit being so critical of others in my life. I have enough if my own sin to worry about. I will never measure up to what the world asks of me, but I can be satisfied with who He is making me into as His child, and receiving what He has so richly blessed me with. “God remains in us and his love in us is made complete." 1John 4:12 I am grateful that while I am not where I need to be, God is changing me and replacing that family of jealousy, envy, resentment, bitterness with His new family that stems from His love. A love that truly casts out all those fears. Thank You Lord for what You have blessed us with. Help us today to keep our eyes on You. Have a blessed day! Rodney Holmstrom

Friday, January 4, 2013

Look up! Look up!

In the film Les Miserable we see a compelling scene, The prison guard, Javert says: "Now bring me prisoner 24601, your time is up and your parole's begun. You know what that means? The prisoner Valjean responds: "yes, it means I'm free." Javert, "No! It means you get your yellow ticket-of-leave; you are a thief" "Look down, look down You'll always be a slave Look down, look down You're standing in your grave" As I was watching this scene unfold I could not help but think about my life. When Christ came into my life, my identity went from a life of being a slave to junk & looking down in shame and pain, to a life of a new identity that didn't just give me a "ticket-of-leave" but a eternal life of true freedom. The enemy will try to lie to me and say I am still that old person, but Christ says otherwise. What a gift we have been given to not just have our salvation but also a new power in Him to face our life's struggles and pain. He died for me & paid my ransom, keeping me from the death sentence I was facing. In the words of Jean Valjean, "Freedom is mine The earth is still I feel the wind I breathe again" Isn't that good news to hear? We don't have to walk with our struggles alone anymore! We can be brought into spacious place and breathe like never before! “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 I am thankful for tools like Celebrate Recovery that point me to new LIFE in Christ & give me guidance to come out of slavery to my addictions, struggles and junk. He changed my name from shame, addict, worry wart, lost, etc, to His beloved & found son. Today, let's, Look up, look up You're now walking in His grace Look up, look up, He will give you better days! Come see us at Celebrate Recovery and step out of the grave and into His grace, mercy, and new exciting plan for your life. Rodney Holmstrom

Thursday, January 3, 2013

"You Need To Go Sit On The Pot"

If you have never seen Tim Hawkins comedy acts, you have got to check them out. Great family entertainment that will have you laughing. One that is especially humorous is talking about being little and our mom's unique solution to everything. Kid: "Mom, my leg hurts, my eyes are burning, my back is soar, I have a headache, or mom, my right shoulder hurts" Mom: "You need to go sit on the pot" lol Surely that will take care of all of life's problems, right? In life we can sometimes take this same approach when it comes to dealing with our life's struggles. Sometimes people's quick responses to other's hurting can be, "you need to pray and read your bible more" and then leave them to that alone. Now, while I believe those things are a huge part of the process, that alone doesn't always take care of the emotional scars from our hurts from our past. Sometimes God will remove stuff quickly, but sometimes it takes time. Telling someone that has emotional wounds, addictions, scars from abuse, hang-ups, etc, etc, just to "pray and read your bible more" can be deflating and harmful as a whole. This is more than, "I must not have enough faith, therefore, I am not healing." They might as well tell me to go sit on the pot. One thing is for sure, it takes me facing those issues and hitting them square on the nose. That's why I love CR. It allows me to work a process toward healing. As we work the principles of recovery, a huge part of this IS praying, & reading our bible, but also many other things that come with it. Accountability, learning to identify junk, sharing our hurts with someone (James 5:16), replacing defects with truth, etc, etc. If you are struggling with life, or know someone who is, please know that there are tools that have been formed directly from God's Word to help you or your friend heal. You don't have to, nor should you try to do it alone. Celebrate Recovery is an incredible tool that has lead now over 1Million people to steady growth, healing and life change. Change is possible! This biblical process takes us from our hurting and/or broken hearts, despair and heartache and leads us to a heart that sings a new song. “Above all else, guard your heart, for it is the wellspring of life." Proverbs 4:23 Maybe it's time to "get off the pot" and take action. :) Sorry, I couldn't resist... I am a warped man...Pray for me. :) Have a great day friends! Rodney Holmstrom

Wednesday, January 2, 2013

Still Running Into Walls?

Have you ever seen the show 'Dumbest Criminals' on tv? Some pretty humorous stuff on there. The ones I find most interesting is when the criminal tries to put a disguise on that doesn't even come close to really hiding himself. Sometimes a paper bag where the holes aren't cut out properly and he starts running into cabinets & walls. The funny thing is, he is so determined to keep going as he is that he never takes the bag off his head. No matter how many walls he runs into. Ouch! Makes me think about my life and the many masks I attempted to wear to disguise myself and my pain. I was the one looking silly, running into more walls in my life that only brought more pain. I just thank God there is not a video for the world to watch me in those painful denial soaked days. The thing of it is, when we wear those masks, people around us know we are but we convince ourself otherwise. While wearing my mask, I had to finally ask myself the question, "how many walls do you have to run into before you take the mask off Rodney?" Someone wise once said, “What is not started today is never finished tomorrow." I can't promise that the process will only take a day, but I can promise you that you will feel much better about yourself and your life if you 'start' today. This may take time, but in the end you will be so glad you made the choice to take off the mask. For me this is a daily check and balance to make sure the mask has not reappeared. Maybe it's time to stop running into walls. Don't allow the fear of tomorrow's unknown changes keep you running into walls with today's mask. Have a great 'mask free' day friend. Rodney Holmstrom #CelebrateRecovery2013

Tuesday, January 1, 2013

Mental Obsessions=Faith Killers

How many hours was it for you last year? You know, the amount of hours you spent worrying about something that hasn't happened? I know I spent way too much time last year worrying about things that were out of my control. You might be thinking, "don't tell me worry doesn't work, cause 99% of everything I worry about never happens." :) It has been said that worry is not an emotion, but a mental obsession. Oh how many hours I have wasted on my mental obsessions? What does it cause? Lack of sleep, irritability, strain on relationships, & feeling like my life can be out of control which ultimately leads to me being non productive. Worry can be such a time consuming obsession can't it? I am learning that worry is the direct opposite of faith and is fear in disguise. I am learning that while I don't have control over those things, "out of my control", I do have control over allowing myself to be mentally obsessed or not. As I approach this year, I want to do better about stopping and praying before the mental obsession becomes a big monster in my mind that pulls me toward fear & away from my faith in God. One way I have learned thru CR is to seek God daily, saturating my mind with His Word, thru prayer and turning those things causing me to worry, over to Him and then journal about it. I need to make sure I set balance and limits in my life as well so I don't overwhelm myself & then utilize the great people God has placed in my life. I need not worry or be fearful for anything I am facing in my life. "For God did not give us a spirit of timidity, but a spirit of power, of love and of self‑discipline." 2 Timothy 1:7 Maybe the worry is an indicator of something that needs to be dealt with in our life. Lets make 2013 a year of action and be proactive in tackling these concerns that can become 'mental obsessions'. I don't want timidity, but desire His power, love and self discipline toward better thinking in my life. God is in control and so I don't have to worry about it. Have a wonderful first day of this new beginning. Hope to see you at CR this year. Rodney Holmstrom