Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Amends: No if's or But's

When I was a young teenager I worked as a closer at a fast food restaurant and most nights would get home around 1AM.
One night after work a buddy of mine and me decided to go hang out for a couple hours after work, but I didn't call my mom to tell her.
We lived in a pretty rough part of town in Phoenix, AZ, so you can imagine how my mom felt sitting at home waiting on her son to come home.

When I got home at 3AM or so, she was literally vomiting from worry.
I remember how horrible I felt but the little boy in me wanted to justify my actions with "if" or "but".

As an adult I sometimes still find that little boy trying to climb back out when I hurt people.
When we make amends to those we have hurt, it is tempting to say things like, "I'm sorry if hurt you 'but', I had a long day at work and wanted to play."
Or, "'If' I hurt you and worried you, then I am sorry." (Of course I hurt her)

CR has taught me how to get rid of the "if's" and "but's" and make healthy amends that don't justify my actions.
I am learning that with great humility I must admit the hurt & accept responsibility, apologize and then ask for forgiveness. No excuses, no justifications.
Even if they choose to not forgive me, my part must remain the same.

"I know I worried you by not calling you and I am sorry. I should have called you and for that I am sorry. I ask for your forgiveness.

God is teaching me to take my mistakes and learn from them so as to not keep repeating the same thing. I was selfish that day and needed to think of how my choices affect others. When I learn these things and apply them to my life, I start living the promises of recovery.

"I will restore the years the locusts have eaten." Joel 2:25

How has making proper amends grown you?

Rodney Holmstrom

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

The Body Is Weak


The body is weak...
Isn't that the truth?! Too often in life we begin feeling like "I have never been in a better spot than I am right now. If anyone can handle temptation, it is me." We can begin developing that old god complex that says, "I got this" and start doing things that we know good and well can and will most likely lead to other unhealthy things.
There is an old ancient proverb that reads,
“If you rattle a snake, you should be prepared to be bitten by it."

It is easy to say, "God why did you let me fall into this temptation?" But if I don't seek Him before I jump into the thorn bush, it is my choice that got me there. 

I, unfortunately, have plenty of thorn bush scars from poor choices throughout the years. The key I am learning is how do we become more proactive in life instead of reactive to every thorn bush that comes along?

"Watch and pray so that you will not fall into temptation. The spirit is willing, but the body is weak." Mark 14:38

Watch- be on guard & alert, and pray- seek Me. 
I think God in a way is saying, help Me help you. By seeking Him daily, doing an inventory, it not only heals my old scars, keeps my heart from relapse but also gives me an attitude of gratitude for what I 'have' instead of wanting what I do not have.

But I must not get complacent. It is a new day with new challenges, & more thorn bushes will be in my path.
Let's seek Him today.

Rodney Holmstrom

Sunday, February 24, 2013

Page Two

"And now you know the rest of the story..." Can you imagine what it would be like if our story was, "I was a liar, deceiver, thief, cheat, & addict...Thanks for letting me share." Imagine if it ended right there? Remember Paul Harvey, the famous radio personality? He would always finish a page of his commentary, and say, “Page 2!” If you remember him, you can hear his voice rise when he would say the number! When we turn our lives and wills over to Jesus’ care and control – Jesus says, “Page 2!” It’s not the end of the story – no matter how badly we’ve blown it. If we are still alive and breathing, there is always a fresh start – a new page & chapter to the unfinished book by His amazing grace, mercy and love. The next chapter of our story starts today. Our choices that we make, starting right now can help turn our life around. How do we do this? Because "in all things we are more than conquerors through Him who loved us." Rom 8:37 How is your story changing for the better? Rodney Holmstrom

Friday, February 22, 2013

Getting To The Other Side

I opened my eyes this morning and if you're reading this so did you. Praise God! If you're like me, there is probably something that needs to be addressed. Every day is about not only celebrating victories but also being proactive and taking action on yesterday's shortcomings. Why? So that my struggles from yesterday don't gain roots and affect my tomorrow. The "new" me has learned about an important principle. Principle 7 is a step of daily action in evaluating the good and the bad from a daily inventory and then 'promptly' admitting it. Taking action in this principle keeps the 'new' me from going back to the 'old' me. When I deal with my stuff daily, own it, and keep my side of the street clean, it keeps my 'stumbles' from becoming hard 'falls'. In the great words of the one and only Dr Seuss, “I have heard there are troubles of more than one kind. Some come from ahead and some come from behind. But I've bought a big bat. I'm all ready you see. Now my troubles are going to have troubles with me!” This is Principle 7 in a nut shell isn't it?! "Christ said, 'Let us go over to the other side', not to the middle of the lake to be drowned." Daniel Crawford This principle gives me oars to take me where God wants me to go, instead of sinking in my unresolved struggles. How has doing a daily inventory been beneficial for you in your walk? Rodney Holmstrom

Thursday, February 21, 2013

Wisdom Passed Down

This morning I met with two leaders of Fellowship for coffee. I am grateful to have men in my life that are smarter & more gifted as well as men of character. I am reminded this morning of how much I still have to learn in this life and my walk. There is an old proverb that reads. "From the word of an elder is derived a bone." Thanking God this morning for elders and men of wisdom that throw me a bone of their wisdom from God. God has blessed me with men who are both younger and older & from all walks of life. Do you have someone you go to for counsel here on earth? If you don't, please find someone. We all need wise people in our life. “The glory of young men is their strength: and the beauty of old men is the grey head." Proverbs 20:29 #humbled #blessed #lifelonglearner Rodney Holmstrom

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Jesus Has Our Back

A couple days ago I threw my back out. I was amazed at how quickly I became immobile. My back is a pretty key part of my body. Funny thing is that when my back is healthy I don't think about it. I find myself taking it for granted. When I hurt my back, it made me value it that much more. I may have taken it for granted before, but now a few days later I find my back feeling better and guess what? I have a new respect & appreciation for my back. I find myself doing this same thing with the Father too. Sometimes I can become complacent in my walk with the Father. Sometimes when all is going well I can forget He is there and take Him for granted. When I go through tough and painful times, it makes me recognize and realize even more how much I need the Father. I don't like going through tough times but I do know this; when I do go through the tough times, I have a heightened awareness & appreciation for my walk with the Father. With each trial that comes, He strengthens me as a man but also in my relationship with Him. "The eyes of The Lord range throughout the earth to strengthen those whose hearts are fully committed to Him." 2 Chronicles 16:9 Each time a trial comes I have learned more and more that I must slow down, get alone with Him, commit my heart fully to him as I plug into His great power. Each time this takes place, I find myself enjoying incredible growth in my faith and walk. Are you in the middle of a trial right now? Remember, praise Him in the good times because He wants to be a part of our good days. Praise Him in the bad times too. Why? Cause He is the One leading us through our trials. Rodney Holmstrom

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Searching for Debris

"Finish your outdoor work and get your fields ready; after that, build your house." Proverbs 24:27 I was reading this verse this morning and thought about how this is moral inventory at its core. Before we can build or rebuild the house of our life, we have to prepare the fields and remove any debris that might affect the pouring of the foundation. In our life there is plenty of debris that needs to be searched for and removed so that there is a level ground prepared. The Lord begins removing the things that we identified and replaces it with a strong concrete foundation that is His truth. The only way to build a strong sturdy house is thru the foundation of a strong base. So, don't be afraid of preparing the field friend. Moral inventory can be scary and a lot of work but keep the vision of what an incredible house He will build from your faithfulness and efforts to seek Him thru this process. Rodney Holmstrom

Sunday, February 17, 2013

Still Playing a Victim?

It is so easy to play the role of a victim isn't it? That's exactly what the enemy would like us to do. The victim is the one who gets shot in the leg by a sniper and just sits there talking about how bad the situation is for themselves. Instead of taking care of the wound, as victims we focus all our attention on the sniper. "I can't believe he shot me! How dare he hurt me like he did." Meanwhile our wound gets more and more infected and begins affecting the rest of our body. In recovery we learn we can't do anything about the sniper and must start focusing on what we can control. We learn to move from being a 'victim' to living as a 'victor'. God teaches us how to prevent the wound done to us from completely overcoming us. He teaches us how to stop letting the 'snipers' in our life to continue hurting us. It's amazing how God changes our perspective when we start taking action in allowing Him to heal the wounds in our life. When we take the focus off the one who hurt us and start focusing on the One who can heal us, we learn to start living the promises of recovery. God begins to heal and strengthen us. "Fear not, for I am with you; be not dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you, yes, I will help you, I will uphold you with My righteous right hand." Isaiah 41:10 How is Jesus strengthening and helping you deal with the wounds in your life? It's not too late to start the healing process. Rodney Holmstrom

Friday, February 15, 2013

My Thinking Is Not Correct

Yesterday for Valentine's Day I bought my daughter a large bag of M&M's and a Dr Pepper, wrote her a note letting her know how special she is to me & placed it in her room. What I didn't realize was that I left my 'car keys' on my "15 year old newly driving daughter's" desk when I went in to take her candy to her room. She came back in the living room with a funny look on her face. One hand holding her pink bag of candy and Dr Pepper. The other hand...yep...my car keys. Then she said, "For a minute I got excited cause I thought got a car." What she was thinking was not correct...Lol In recovery it is easy to 'think' and 'believe' the wrong things isn't it? The only way the enemy can control me is when I choose to believe his lies. Sometimes the enemy will feed us with lies that say, "you are who you've always been and you will never change." We can mistakenly become convinced that this is as good as it is going to get. But in truth & recovery we learn that God has the power to change our mind and bring great victory for us. "Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old is gone, the new has come!" 2 Cor 5:17 We are no longer who we once were. He is changing us! Surrendering to Him changes our thinking & brings sweet victory with new life! Rodney Holmstrom

Thursday, February 14, 2013

Come and Taste and See

One of the things I despise is sitting in a job interview. The first thing they want to see is a resume and then it is a conversation of me trying to prove I am what that piece of paper says I am. At times my relationship with Christ is the same way. Sometimes I catch myself looking at God as a "what can He do for me" mentality. "Are You good Lord? Prove it!" "Taste and see that the Lord is good. Oh, the joys of those who take refuge in him!" Ps34:8 This message from the psalmist is not a, "hey check out my résumé and see if you buy in to who I am" no, it's a special invitation to us to say, "you are not going to believe how good this is. You gotta try it! Please give it a try, you won't regret it." I am grateful today that my wife's first love is not me or even our kids, but the Father. I am grateful that she is ok with my first love not being her or our kids, but rather the Father. It is only because we have 'tasted and seen' Him and continue to 'taste and see' that we are able to love each other the way Christ intended. How do I know He is good? I am a living resume of His goodness. I don't deserve to be here but in His grace, I live as a child of the King. Have you tasted and seen? You gotta try this. You will love it! Happy Valentine's Day to my sweet wife.", Carol Rodney Holmstrom

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Strengthening Us Through Storms

"Grain must be ground to make bread." Isaiah 28:28 If you look up the ecological term, "Secondary Succession" you will see this defined as "a process started by an event, (e.g. Forest fire, hurricane, streams may have been polluted and perhaps even land has been flooded). Many of us have experienced or are in the middle of experiencing some kind of tough 'event'. Are you experiencing a tough season right now? Are you feeling like God is absent in your pain. Maybe your thinking, "Can he really help me? Will he really come to my rescue? Will this misery in my life ever subside? Will I ever have hope again? Why is this happening? Some of the most difficult times in my life have proven to be some of my biggest growing times in my faith. "The strongest trees are found not in the thick shelter of the forest, but out in the open, where winds from every direction beat down upon them." E.A. Kilbourne Brother or sister, whatever you are going thru, please know that God will never abandon or forsake you. He will use this pain to grow you and strengthen you. Instead of asking "why Lord?" Let's ask "what can I learn thru this tough event, storm, flood, or pollution in my life Lord?" "The Lord is a refuge for the oppressed, a stronghold in times of trouble. Those who know Your name will trust in You, for You, Lord, have never forsaken those who seek You." Psalms 9:9-10 Keep seeking and trusting Him friend. What 'secondary succession' has happened in your life? How has God fulfilled His promises in you? Rodney Holmstrom

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Why Look At My Past?

I was visiting with a friend recently and they asked, "if God's Word says, "Brothers, I do not consider myself yet to have taken hold of it. But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead" Philippians 3:13 Then why do we take time to bring up our past and focus on it?" Great and valid question. The purpose of doing a moral inventory is not so we can wallow in it but to identify things from our past that may be holding us back. "Test me, O Lord , and try me, examine my heart and my mind" Psalms 26:2 "Let us examine our ways and test them, and let us return to the Lord." Lam3:40 "Throw off everything that hinders.." Heb 12:1 This process is about helping us learn where we have stuffed some unresolved stuff, face it, heal from it and allow our future to be different. When I bury my head in the sand and try to act like nothing happened in my past, then it lingers and becomes my future. Paul is telling us, that he doesn't have it all figured out but he is moving forward. Paul had to face the fact that he was once a Saul and did horrific things. God did some amazing things in his life as a new creature, with a new life and purpose. Moral inventory is hard, but so worth it. If you are in the middle of this right now, stick with it and keep pressing forward. This process is not about living in the past but moving forward to a better future as we "return to The Lord". Rodney Holmstrom

Monday, February 11, 2013

"Nail It"

I used to shingle houses with my step father as a young kid. Any time a shingle was straight and looked good on the house, the phrase we would use was, "nail it!" How are you doing today? Have you messed up or gone down a wrong path? Relapsed, isolated, withdrawn from healthy relationships? The same enemy that was convincing you that the wrong choice would be 'ok', is the same one telling you that you can never go back to the Father. Don't listen to those lies. “I am making everything new! Write this down, for these words are trustworthy and true."Rev 21:5 His Word says write it down, book it, it's fact, "Nail it!" Just like the song goes, "every moment is a second chance of starting over again." Are you finding yourself in a tough spot thru poor choices, dry spiritually, or just wandering lost these days? The best thing you can do is start today new by seeking Him. We don't have to have it all figured out, just take a step toward Him in obedience. He makes all things new and desires to make you new too. All you have to do is surrender. That, my friend, looks good, nail it! Rodney Holmstrom

Sunday, February 10, 2013

POW ER LESS

The other day at CR one of our brothers was doing a teaching on Powerless. As he spoke about each of the letters in the acrostic he placed a big cardboard box with each of the individual letters of the acrostic written on them onto the stage. As I was looking at these boxes spelling out the acrostic, I noticed how the letters break down. POW- when we try to live under our own power, we are in essence a Prisoner Of War and a slave to our junk. ER- when we don't allow God to lead us in our life and recovery, then we live in a constant state of emergency, remaining in an emotional and dysfunctional Emergency Room. LESS- I now know that when I recognize that I am not God in my life, and put 'less' of me and 'more' of Him, that is when the good foundation for life change begins to take shape. He not only has the power to help us recover, He cares, He is willing, He is more than able, and the best part...we matter to Him. "I will give him...the land he set his feet on, because he followed the LORD wholeheartedly." Duet 1:36 If you are living as a POW or in the ER hoping time will heal those wounds on your own, remember, less of me, more of Him. We are POWERLESS and in our weakness, we are STRONG! Rodney Holmstrom Home Run the movie: Due out April 19th Nationwide

Friday, February 8, 2013

He Loves You Too Much...

Many years ago our family had a dog named Angel. She was a sweetheart and we loved her so much, to say the least. One thing that was frustrating though was that as a beagle, she had a nose for trying to get out of our yard all the time. One day, it proved to be very harmful as she got hit by a car. She was badly wounded and was lying in a ditch on the side of the road. Have you ever tried helping a wounded dog? It usually isn't pretty as they will growl, bark and even snap at you. Why would I, as her owner have any desire to help her when she was being so hard hearted toward me? Because I loved her. In my life there have been times I was the one lying in the gutter from my junk, a wounded mess, broken, and hurting from my own wandering from 'home'. God found me in the gutter & was the one pursuing me, to heal, restore and change me and yet, I had a heart of stone that would not allow Him near me. Why would He still want anything to do with me?? Pastor John said it well, "God loved me too much to leave me the way I was." Not only did Christ forgive me for being so cold toward Him, barking at Him in my arrogance and pride & for snapping at Him, He also changed me. "I will give you a new heart & a new spirit; I will remove your heart of stone & give you a heart of flesh." Ez 36:26 Christ had bigger plans for me than to have me lie in a gutter, licking my own wounds. He had a plan to get me back on my feet and never gave up on me. Yes, He gave me a new heart & spirit. Just like He never gave up on me, He won't give up on you. He loves you too much to leave you where you are. We have something to celebrate today don't we? How has God changed your heart? Rodney, "the beagle" Holmstrom

Thursday, February 7, 2013

Establishing A Beachhead

"A decision followed by a process. In the 3rd choice; 'Letting Go', we are asked to make a choice, followed by a decision. This is a process of beginning to move forward. Phase 1: Softening up- saying, "yes, I need something beyond myself... softening up my pride, fears, worries, & doubts." After that, we establish a beachhead. (A defended position on a beach taken from the enemy by landing forces, from which an attack can be launched) When we make this choice 3, God establishes a beachhead in our life. Complete change isn't instantaneous, but a process...this means that God has a presence in our life. For the rest of our life he will be setting us free from all our hurts, habits, and hang-ups." LHC As I was reading that today I was struck with how this same process works with the enemy. He sweeps in and softens us up with seemingly minor things. An inappropriate glance here or there, a few seemingly harmless flirtatious acts. Maybe a couple texts back and forth with an old flame. "Just one drink" or "I don't need anyone in my life." "I can do this alone." The truth is, the enemy has the same game plan doesn't he? He will try to steal our thoughts, time and energy for his purpose. Once he has softened things up.... Then, he goes in for the kill with a goal to destroy. In the same way, he establishes a beachhead. Does he take over right away? No, but with his persistence, he will attempt to establish a beachhead. The question is, which one will I allow to establish a beachhead in my mind, heart and life? I choose The One, Jesus Christ. “Freedom is what we have—Christ has set us free! Stand, then, as free people..." Gal 5:1 How has God established a beachhead in your life? How is He changing you today as a result? Rodney Holmstrom

Tuesday, February 5, 2013

Are You In A Battle?

Last night I heard an interview of the quarterback for the winning team of the Super Bowl. He was talking about how much the win meant to him and his team. He said, "what made the win so special was knowing and reflecting on what we had overcome thought the year." I was thinking about how true this is in my life, especially my marriage. Together we have been thru some pretty tough times and even on the brink of divorce at one point in our marriage. I am grateful today that God not only got us thru those tough times but is now using it to make us even stronger. Neither one of us would want to relive those circumstances but today we are grateful that we did experience those times because it makes our relationship so much richer, stronger and healthier today. We now look back and take heart for what He has done in our life. Because He helped us then, we can feel confident that He will help is thru today's and tomorrow's battles. If you are in the middle of a battle today, hang in there. God will use today's trials to strengthen you in your faith and character. He will never leave you not abandon you in your storm. "He who stands firm to the end will be saved." Matt 24:13 Keep running friend! Rodney Holmstrom

Monday, February 4, 2013

Those Pesking Smoke Alarm Warnings

A friend of mine was telling me about a smoke alarm that was beeping near his offices. It needed a new battery. He said he went over to ask the folks if he could help them by changing it. He said, "I hear an occasional beeping in your area." Their response: "Oh yeah, that has been going off for about a week but we have just tuned it out." Makes me think about how easy it is in life for warning signs to be ignored. It starts as a annoying beep that can drive us crazy but the longer we live with it, the more we conform to it. Sometimes those beeps are the Holy Spirits way of saying, "something is not right. You need to take care of this problem." If I don't listen to His instruction, I won't be prepared for if and when the fire actually comes. “I will instruct you & teach you in the way you should go; I will counsel you & watch over you." Ps 32:8 Reminded this morning that I need to listen for his voice and instruction. Also, I need not become complacent to the warning beeps in my life. Those beeps can save me from a future catastrophic event. Time to change the battery? Rodney Holmstrom

Sunday, February 3, 2013

Groundhog Day Revisted

Happy belated Groundhog Day! Can you imagine living the same day over and over again? Most of us can relate to that very thing can't we? I know I can. Imagine yourself getting ready to walk around the corner. Each time you walked around the corner you were faced with a guy holding a baseball bat. This guy is waiting to take a swing at you and makes contact every time. I was the guy who kept walking around the corner. It didn't matter how many times I got hit, I believed the lie that somehow 'this time' he would miss me. And yet, it kept happening over and over again. Talk about insanity! In my recovery, I realized the path I was taking was not working and it was time for change. My pain had to become greater than my fear for change. I finally got tired of the bloody noses & emotional bruises inflicted on myself from my poor choices. I had to come to grips with the truth that no matter how hard "I" tried, change wasn't going to happen until I changed my course & allowed Christ to fight for me. We don't have to relive this day over and over again. Pain may be inevitable our my life, but staying in our misery is our choice. “I sought the Lord, & He answered me, & delivered me from all my fears. Look to Him & be radiant." Psalm 34:4-5 Please share with me how Christ showed you a better path in your life. Home Run the movie coming April 19th to a theater near you! Rodney Holmstrom

Saturday, February 2, 2013

Buried with Christ, Raised To Walk in Newness

What an unbelievable picture of newness, life change, and hope. We invited our 50- plus students into worship last night to join us as we baptized one of their brothers. One of our student for the Landing gave us permission to share this incredible picture of a new day in his life. A few weeks ago he received Christ during one of our Landing (CR for Students) meetings. Today, he shows the world what has already happened in his beautiful heart. The neat thing is just one year ago, I had the privilege of baptizing the man who is baptizing the student in these photos. Wow! "Find out for yourself how good the Lord is. Happy are those who find safety with him." Psalms 34:8 So proud of both these men for making a choice to live for Christ. This is why we do what we do. If you are hurting and feeling misplaced in life, please join us and begin this journey toward freedom in your life. #celebraterecovery Have a great day friend!

Friday, February 1, 2013

No More Chains

My family used to be in the bad business of making chains. As I grew up, my family from past generations, handed it down to me to carry on the 'family business'. This isn't a business that anyone wants or needs to be a part of though. I look back on my family history and I see a long chain of resentment and bitterness that was being built. Each of us had a part in building a link in our family chain and it seemed to go on for miles and miles. My link to the chain came from bitterness toward my step fathers abuse. What I am learning thru CR is that I can't dwell on the abuse, the wrongs done to me. Instead, I need to focus on what blessings I do have right now. Otherwise, I will just keep the dysfunctional chain going in my life. Because of this distraction toward my past, I was incapable of building new healthy relationships with those that are important to me in the present. I can't control what happened in my past, nor is it my fault. However, I am responsible for how I allow it to affect my present and my future. Keeping my focus on the Father is the only way this change is possible. "He will wipe away the tears from everyone's eyes and take away the disgrace his people have suffered throughout the world. The Lord himself has spoken!" Isaiah 25:8 I am so glad to say that Christ is breaking the chains from my past. I guess you can say, the 'old family business' has been sold and God has given me a new call in life. Christ paid a heavy price so that I don't have to carry those heavy chains any longer. Praise God! How has Christ broken the chains from your bitter past, to give you freedom? Rodney Holmstrom