Sunday, March 31, 2013

He Is Risen!


"Death: Noun; "the act of dying the end of life; the total and permanent cessation of all the vital functions of an organism."
Not anymore!
"Rise: Verb; 'to get up from a lying, sitting, or kneeling posture; assume an upright position."

Oh yes He did! Christ defeated death!
"He is not here; He has risen!" Luke 24:6a
Just as Christ died, our old self has died. Just as he was buried, the old us is buried. And just as He has risen, we are raised to walk in newness of life.

Because of what He did, we now live as men and women of action. We now live with life.
These three days changed everything. When we believe & receive Him, it moves us from a sentence of death to a risen eternal life with Him forever in the next.
Because of His resurrection we have been given a rare beauty of new life.
What a great & hopeful reminder that because He lives, we are alive in Christ. A beautiful free gift.

Albert Einstein once said, "Life is like riding a bicycle. To keep your balance you must keep moving" 
Keep moving with our risen Lord Forever Family! He's alive and as a result, so are we! Rise up this morning because we have been given a life of hope, new life, & purpose.
Living is moving toward life change & fulfilling the wonderful purpose He has for you. Rising and living is not quitting before your miracle happens.

Alleluia! Alleluia! Praise the One, risen Son of God!!!!!
We have much to be thankful for today.
What can you say this morning in gratitude for our Savior?


Rodney Holmstrom

Friday, March 29, 2013

Even Disowning Him: PAID IN FULL

Peter took a moral inventory that day...

"Immediately a rooster crowed. Then Peter remembered the words Jesus had spoken: 'Before the rooster crows, you will disown me three times.' And he went outside and wept bitterly." Matt 26:75

How many times have I disowned the Father when things got tough, messy, or unbearable in my life. How many times do I mess things up playing God with my life only to get myself in a bigger mess.
And yet, knowing all these things, Jesus, remaining who He was (fully God) became sin, who knew no sin that we might become His righteousness. Our Savior walked that long and treacherous road with the weight of our sin, in humiliation, pain, and mockery to become obedient to death. 
This giver of life, gave us new and vibrant life & grace, something we do not deserve. He gave us mercy, which is 'not' giving us what we deserve. Every item on our inventory is wiped out, Paid in Full!

"But He was pierced for our transgressions, He was crushed for our iniquities; the punishment that brought us peace was on him, and by His wounds we are healed." Isaiah 53:5

If you are in pain or struggling this Good Friday, remember change is coming. By His wounds we are healed.  It's Friday, but Sunday's coming. 
We have a lot to be thankful for today. 
Today we remember Good Friday.

Rodney

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

3D Films: Not Always A Good Thing


I remember when I was young, Jaws 3D, the movie came out. It was really a pretty bad movie in my opinion.
It is pretty incredible though how the images and the scenes jump out into your lap right there in the theater. The images become so real, you actually feel what is being seen.

In life and recovery we can become familiar with another kind of 3D movie playing out in our life. Depression, Despair, and Discouragement.
Where do these 3D's come from? A life characterized by bitterness, anger and resentment.
In the same way, the harms done to us can jump right into our life and become a part of us in a way that slowly begins to shrivel & cripple our soul. 

The problem with this kind of movie playing out in our life is that the movie never ends & it isn't fictional. It is real and very destructive. As long as we keep playing the same film roll (betrayal) over and over in our mind, we remain in the midst of a bad 3D life.

The only way for us to get rid of these bad 3D flaws, is to let go of the 
pain from our past from harms done to us. It doesn't happen over night but walking thru the process of CR gives us the tools to stop the horrific saga that is playing out in our life. 

"Before faith came, we were held prisoners...., locked up until faith should be revealed." Gal 3:23

We are no longer prisoner's. Why would we allow those who have hurt us to make us a prisoner again? Letting go is the key to allowing us to walk out of this bad film playing out in our life.
We can't change the bad things that have happened to us in our life. But we can change how we allow it to continue to effect us.

Are you stuck in a bad 3D film right now?

Rodney Holmstrom

Monday, March 25, 2013

The Aftermath of Skunk Spray


Ever had one of those situations where you think maybe you should have thought a decision through a little better before acting on it?

I hope I am remembering this story correctly but years ago my brother-in-law was having issues with skunks out on his land in the country. They kept going under their house and causing all kinds of havoc.

He decided a good solution would be to put some poison & eggs under the house so it would get rid of them once and for all.
The only problem with this plan was it worked. :) They died alright, but under their house. The added issue was when a skunk dies it usually leaves a little gift behind, a nice final farewell spray. 
So now, he had to crawl under there to go get the dead skunks out from under his house in the midst of a cloud of unbearable smell. Their entire home had this lovely odor for an extended period.

Sometimes the choices me make can have some big consequences. They can sometimes leave some big messes that effect not only us but those close to us.
The hope is that if and when we start heading down a path that is wrong, we listen to the Holy Spirit's nudges and respond with action.

"So I say, let the Holy Spirit guide your lives. Then you won’t be doing what your sinful nature craves." Gal 5:16
If you are dealing with the aftermath of some poor choices, run into his arms and He will guide you thru this. The consequences may take a while to work thru but the Father will help grow you thru it. The hope is that we learn from our past mistakes and prevent future messes.
Seek Him daily and allow Him to guide each step you take. His way is always better.
Have a great day.


Rodney

Sunday, March 24, 2013

One is Enough


"Our CR ministry is just too small!" Ever speak those words? 
My daughter recently took a mission trip with our church.
She and a few other students were walking thru the neighborhoods looking for people to pray for.
They rang several door bells and no one answered their door.
Time was up & the students were pretty frustrated and feeling like they hadn't accomplished anything. 

On the way back they began praying "Lord, please show us an open door to someone that can use some prayer."
They got back to the van to wait on the other students to return & guess what was open in the house right next to the van? An open garage door with a door open to a home. They walked up to the house and a lady walked out who looked distraught. She said, one of her husband's students recently died and he was really struggling. 
They began to pray for this woman and she just wept while they prayed. She was so blessed. So proud  of my daughter.

In ministry we are always looking for newcomers to walk thru the door so we can grow our ministry. This is important.
However, we must never discount the value of 'one'. If one person steps thru your door this week, don't miss it looking for something "bigger" and lose sight of His plan He has put before you.

Take some time to pray for His direction and open doors to reach more people, and then be ready to take care of whoever He sends you, no matter what the qty. 
"So we have not stopped praying for you since we first heard about you. We ask God to give you complete knowledge of his will and to give you spiritual wisdom and understanding." Col 1:9

Even if only one person walks thru the door, it's enough. Love them well.

Rodney Holmstrom

Saturday, March 23, 2013

Experiencing His Love


Great word from David at our CR.
“A man who only opposes the sin in his heart for fear of shame among men or of eternal punishment from God would practice the sin if there was no punishment attending it.  How does this differ from living in the practice of the sin?! 
Those who belong to Christ, and are obedient to the Word of God, have…
(1) the death of Christ (for their sin),
(2) the love of God,
(3) the detestable nature of sin,
(4) the preciousness of communion with God, and
(5) a deep-rooted hatred of sin as sin
to oppose to all the workings of lust in their hearts.” John Owen 
 
Which of these five things do I not appreciate? 
Which do I take for granted?
Which do I believe to not be true for me?
 
In my recovery walk with God, I confess – I have failed to appreciate Jesus’ death on my behalf and His amazing love in spite of my ungratefulness – failed to appreciate that while I was yet a sinner, He died for my sin so that I could experience Abba’s love.  I have failed to believe that God loves me 24-7.  I’ve believed the lies of the enemy that say that I have to earn my Father’s love, when His word says the absolute opposite.  I have believed the deception that certain sins aren’t nearly as detestable to God as others – not taking into account that any sin of any “size” and “shape” nailed my Savior to the cross.  I have forfeited the pleasure of communion with my Lord for communion with everything under the sun imaginable that seemed more interesting at the time.  And, I have failed to truly hate sin for what it really is – the highest form of rebellion against a holy, loving, merciful, gracious Lord.
 
The love of God for me
prompted the death of Christ for me
so that I can have precious communion with the Trinity,
illuminating the detestable nature of sin in me
and fertilizing my hatred for it in my life. 
That’s amazing.  That’s salvation.
 
Thank you, Lord.
David, CR Asst ministry Leader

Friday, March 22, 2013

Hold On, Spring Is Coming


Think for a moment of a tree's leaves in the fall? They are beautiful especially in  the south where I live.
The only thing bad about it is they eventually fall off the tree leaving the tree bare. There is always a lot of clean up to take place after the fall of the leaves.
In life there are times of incredible beauty and things seem to be going along on all cylinders. Life is beautiful! Then something breaks and/or we experience the effects of "The Fall". It can be messy with lots of clean up.
This is followed by a tough season of winter in our life and it can seem like an eternity in this season of difficult times. 

The hope is that Spring is just around the corner and we must hold on cause new beginnings and change are coming as we surrender to Him daily. He can and will turn fallen leaves and coldness into beautiful new buds of fruit.
It is the season of fallen leaves and cold valley's that must happen to appreciate His new life of spring. The fruit that comes out of a tough season of trusting Him tastes sweet.

We are either in the middle of a hard season, coming out of one, or getting ready to go into one. 
No matter what season you are in keep your faith and trust in Him.

"Earth's fairest flowers grow not on sunny plain, but where some cast upheaval tore in twain
The smiling land. After the whirlwind's devastating blast, and molten lava, fire and ashes fall, God's still small voice breathes healing over all.
And angels tend God's plants when night falls still, and the Beloved passing by the way, will gather lilies at the break of day." J.H.D.

Remember, true peace in our trials is the invitation & presence of our Creator in our heart & struggle. 

"Sorrowful, yet always rejoicing." 2 Cor 6:10
What season do you find yourself in today?

Rodney Holmstrom

Thursday, March 21, 2013

Tough Day: Strength Provided


Have you ever had one of those days where it just felt like everything stacked up against you? Conflicts, relationships in turmoil, decisions being made that you can't control, pain, hurt, burdens, disappointment, let downs, and more.
 If you are breathing you probably have.
Yesterday was one of those days for me and I found myself kind of in a funk.
I woke up today and read this verse:
“I have the strength to face all conditions by the power that Christ gives me." Phil 4:13

I am so glad for new days aren't you? New beginnings to take new air in and start a brand new day.
I am grateful for friends that pray for and with me. I am grateful for a bride that is not afraid to pray with me. I am grateful for the Father who gives me strength in my troubles.

If you are going through a tough time, remember, you have the strength to face your battles through the power the Father gives you.

Have a blessed day!

Rodney Holmstrom

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

The Process Brings Beauty


Why are these people so happy? How can you say you are recovering from something like abuse, anger, relationship issues, & more and still have happiness? 
Every week I am so grateful to see a room full of people at Celebrate Recovery who have amazing beauty with an outpouring of joy.
“We delight in the beauty of the butterfly, but rarely admit the changes it has gone through to achieve that beauty." Maya Angelou 

It is the growth and change that has taken place through the process that makes "those" people so beautiful and happy.
When someone brings their struggles, pain and junk to the Father and are finally ready to place it at His feet, there is an incredible peace that comes over us.
It is then that life begins to happen. There is nothing more beautiful then someone coming to the point of surrender and letting go of whatever they have been carrying. That can only bring a celebration within our heart.

Yes, I love to see the butterfly on the other side of the struggle, but I also delight greatly in the caterpillar just starting the process. It's not an easy process but oh so worth it!

If you are reading this, you are His beloved child and He delights in you. He can and will transform you. 

“Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind." Romans 12:2

Rodney

Sunday, March 17, 2013

No More Hiding


You wanna know something that really annoys me? Holes in my socks! Lol
Seriously, this past week I went thru an entire day with a hole in my sock right at my big toe. It was driving me crazy!!
The thing of it was that no one else around me could see it or knew that hole was there. My shoes covered it up. I certainly didn't tell anyone.
That being said, I knew it was there and it was driving me crazy.
At the end of the day I had one of two choices, deal with the sock and throw it out or keep the socks in my life and just learn to deal with it.

In recovery I can do the same thing with unresolved sin. I can act like its not there and keep it hidden from the world. Meanwhile I am screaming on the inside acting like everything is alright.
Or...I can deal with it.
As I learn to trust God & gain a better understanding of who He is, that ultimately leads to my repenting and confessing the hidden sin in my life.
The result? New and beautiful life.

“If we confess our sins, he is faithful & just & will forgive us our sins & purify us from all unrighteousness." 1 John 1:9

The enemy will convince us to keep the sin in our life worse than a bad pair of socks. 
Christ has something so much better.

Rodney Holmstrom 

Friday, March 15, 2013

A Picture Worth Experiencing


One of our forever family members in CR was fighting for his life and in the hospital.

I walked into the hospital and turned to my right, immediately I saw two CR forever family sisters drinking coffee. They had just been to the room for several hours and were taking a break before going back in.
I took the elevator up to the floor where the 24 year old young man was lying in bed fighting for his life. I opened the door to walk in and again saw a room with more CR forever family. A couple praying and visiting in the corner. I saw CR family everywhere!
I began talking to the parents of this young man, now 4 days into his battle, still in a coma. The step dad, exhausted, with big tears in his eyes, said with incredible gratitude in his heart, "I don't know where we would be without our CR family; the cards, prayers, visits, meals, encouragement and love."
Unfortunately, they lost their son a few days later & they are grieving in this tough loss but not alone. As their family, we grieve with this sweet family.

What a picture of the family of God coming together to hold each other in a tough crisis. 
“The Lord has heard the sound of my weeping." Psalm 6:8 

What I witnessed that day is something that happens across the globe thru CR everyday. The Lord hears our weeping in our pain and responds by sending his angels, I like to call them an army of 'Jesus in the flesh', to stand by us in our struggles.

This morning I am grateful for my CR forever family across the world that makes this ministry more than just a bunch of meetings and gatherings but a church family to walk with in our victories and our pain. 
If you don't have a family, please know that you do have one awaiting you here at CR.

In CR I see a loving body of people "serving others as Jesus did" John 13:14-15 
...and I am grateful!
How has your CR family been there for you in your pain?

Come see us tonight

Rodney Holmstrom

Thursday, March 14, 2013

Smiling...Cause It Happened


Well, another year in the books. I have a little more body mass, little less hair, a lot more aches, and many mistakes I've learned from. 41 years gone. :)
To quote the wise Dr Seuss: "Don't cry because it's over. Smile because it happened." 

I am grateful and smiling big not only because it happened, but because it happened with some of the most incredible people in the world. If you are reading this, you are one of those people and I am grateful to have you in my life.
One of my greatest gifts is to not only have life another day but to have it with so many incredible people starting with my sweet bride Carol and kids Jason and Taylor.
Someone once said, "The tragedy of life is not that it ends so soon, but that we wait so long to begin it." 

It took me a while to get started truly living but I am grateful today for second chances. 
It's never too late to start living friend. 

If you are one of those friends hurting today, one great Birthday present for me would be to see you make a choice and get into CR to start your process of living. Life is too short to live in misery.
 Thank you all for all the sweet Birthday wishes.

“With all my heart I praise the LORD! I will never forget how kind he has been." Psalm 103

Rodney Holmstrom

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Dad, I'm Hungry


"Dad, I'm hungry." It struck me this morning that there is not one person alive and breathing today that can't relate to that statement.
Whether you have been a believer for 5 minutes or 50 years, each of us woke up today hungry. Of course we are hungry for food but we are hungry spiritually as well.

The question is not whether we will be hungry, but what will we fill that hunger with?

Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they will be filled. Mt 5:6

We are designed to hunger and thirst but sometimes we choose spiritual junk food and it only distorts the mind and spirit. 
Today I want to hunger and thirst for Righteousness, that is a Person in Jesus Christ, be filled with Him and yet still crave more of Him.
Are you hungry? Take it to the Father, He will satisfy your cravings.

Rodney Holmstrom

Sunday, March 10, 2013

Trusting His Plan


I'm sorry, you want me to do what?!

"March around the city for six days, on the seventh day march while the priests blow their horns, then, when you hear a long blast, have everyone give a loud shout; then the wall will collapse." Joshua 6:3-5
Really?!

Sometimes what we have been asked to do in recovery can seem absurd and may not line up with 'our' idea of how we would deal with the walls that have been built up around us. 
Trust God, stop isolating, find accountability partners, a sponsor, attend step groups, take and share moral inventories, be rigorously honest, stay in His Word, journal, pray, serve others and more. 

Early in the process it can seem too much to bear, but if we will trust God to lead us and submit to His authority, change can and will happen.

When Christ asks you to march for Him with His great purpose, sound the horns of a new hopeful direction and then shout praises of gratitude to Him, trust Him and follow his guidance one step at a time. He will be faithful to remove those walls in His timing.

Following His plan is the only way I have found to experience true peace and joy in my life. He not only has the power, He desires to help us remove the walls of dysfunction between us & those close to us and the Father.

Rodney Holmstrom

Friday, March 8, 2013

Examining the Slips


Have you ever been walking along and then before you realize it, a trip, slip, bam, you hit the ground. 
The first thing I do us look to see if anyone saw me. Lol

There is an old proverb that reads,
“Do not look where you fell, but where you slipped."

It is easy to become consumed in our life with the actual 'fall' that happens cause it tends to bring the most damage.
However, I am learning that examining the process (slips) leading up to the fall can be even more valuable.
If I can understand how I ended up where I am, then I have a better chance of preventing a future fall.

Sometimes slips in life are good cause they prevent a fall.
If you find yourself slipping, pay attention. Those slips will be invaluable in teaching us to be on guard as we continue our walk.
“Be on your guard; stand firm in the faith; be men of courage; be strong." 1Corinthians 16:1

If you have fallen don't be discouraged. Get back up on your feet and take another step. Just don't try to go at it alone. God is with you and will lead you in your every step. 

Have a great day!

Rodney Holmstrom

Wednesday, March 6, 2013

Imagine Life Without Him


When is the last time you stopped and thought about how your life would be without having received Christ into your heart?
I did yesterday and I was humbled yet overwhelmed with gratitude.
I can honestly say that I am not sure that I would even be alive without Him.

I am grateful that "In Him I have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of sins, in accordance with the riches of God's grace that He lavished on me with all wisdom and understanding." Eph 1:7-8

Lavish- verb 
1. to expend or give in great amounts or without limit: to lavish gifts on a person.

Take a moment and think, just try to imagine what your life would be without Him in your life today.

Very sobering and frightening to imagine for me.
Very humbling that He would ("lavish") give in such great amounts, His incredible gift of life.

Gratitude is all that can flow from this old heart this morning.

How about you?
Rodney Holmstrom

Tuesday, March 5, 2013

Who and What Will I Worship in My Pain?


“A leopard is chasing us and do you ask me: 'is it a male or female?'" Lol

Some of us are being chased by some pretty tough situations, struggles, pain and suffering right now.
Those times can feel overwhelming for sure cant they?
One of the things that I have learned thru my own suffering thru the years is though painful, it can be pretty valuable for me as well.
I know for me the reality and lessons learned in the midst of pain was me understanding what my heart is truly worshipping. 
It is easy sometimes in the midst of my pain, to see my worship geared toward being "set free from my pain" instead of toward the "One who can set me free".

When my worship is on the process I become overwhelmed and tend to want to give up. When my worship is toward the Great Deliverer, I am able to walk thru those valleys with greater strength. 

Worship Him today especially in the pain. He will walk with you thru this trial.

“You will turn back to me and ask for help, and I will answer your prayers." Jer 29:12
Rodney Holmstrom