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    Fellowship Events

    First of all I would like to share with you our National Celebrate Recovery TEAM Facebook pages:

    CR Training Coach -

    CR Encourager Coach -

    CR Assimilation Coach -

    CR Ministry Leader -

    If you are a part of a CR TEAM, please come join us!  I asked one of our E Coaches, Rose Simpson, if she would compile a list of the Fellowship Events that have been posted on Encouragement Central over the past year.  So here's a sampling of what you can glean from the page!

    CR Fellowship Events & Ideas

    • End of Summer Picnics, “CR in the Park” with a jumping house for the kids, horseshoes, face painting, softball game, & of course hamburgers & hot dogs on the grill, etc.
    • Cookouts, church or elsewhere
    • Potlucks
    • Fiesta Friday’s
    • Holiday Celebrations like Thanksgiving, Christmas, New Year’s Eve, etc.
    • Super Bowl party with the idea of testimony half time
    • Game nights- monthly, quarterly; wii, board
    • Movie nights
    • Field trips to other CR’s
    • Bowling nights
    • Roller skating nights
    • Skits done by CR for the surrounding churches
    • People Bingo
    • CR Family Campout at a Christian Campground
    • Zip line
    • Beach/Lake party
    • Ladies night out
    • Joint men’s/women’s retreats with the church
    • Ladies jewelry swap
    • Chili cook-off competitions
    • Honor our kitchen staff, give them the month off and do potluck. So the first sun in august, we cook slow roasted meat and have a really good Picnic, but all kitchen staff are served at the table, given corsages, we serve them that night. Then we do minute to win it games, I even download the blueprint's that NBC uses, and we do music with them, like fight of the bumblebee. It's a ton of fun!
    • Christian Comedian followed by a fellowship finger food.
    • CR music groups/concerts
    • “Minute to Win It” game night – See Mary Owen’s FB photo album

    • Kickball game
    • Go to apple farm and do a corn maze, a hay ride, and pick pumpkins. Then go to a leader's house to carve our pumpkins, eat Smores, play games, and have a bonfire.
    • Fundraiser and outreach events like  10k’s and handing out CR stickered water bottles
    • “Stuff It All In” game

    Someone asked for more details on this fun game you can play at your leader's meeting called, "Stuff It All In".

    Buy a cheap plastic shower liner to throw away ($2), have a table with 2 empty 2-liter bottles sitting on top, 1 brown paper lunch sack for each person with a food item, something different in each sack like banana, 2 raw eggs, soft peach, Twinkie, Oreos, sliced cheese, orange, bell pepper, jumbo marshmallows, tomato. For example if you have 20 people, have 10 sacks with 1 different food in each sack, then 10 more sacks for the other team with the same combination. (Will need Wet-Ones on hand for afterwards.)

    Instructions: Divide into 2 teams. Each person grabs a sack. Have a relay race. Each person on team much stuff their item inside the 2 liter bottle. Winning team gets all their items in the bottle first.

    Point: How hard is it to cram everything in we need to do? Things get messy. We need time to rest & rejuvenate. Another point could be, when we try to do everything ourselves, it gets frustrating & chaotic at times. Looking to God for strength & wisdom, a team working together, & having volunteers to share the responsibilities brings more order to our lives. Or another way you could go is, "What feelings am I stuffing down & not addressing?" It won't be hidden for long because what goes in the heart comes out of the mouth eventually. We need to empty ourselves so God can fill us up.

    You could go take any of these thoughts or another you may think of to make an object lesson out of this fun game.

    Pictures of the South Central region State Reps playing this game in Forney, TX in one of my FB photo albums. We had so much fun! Winning team gets all their items in the bottle first.

    See pictures & details here:


    **More ideas compiled from E Central Facebook Page


    Because of Him,

    Mary ~ Natl. E Coach for women



    Childlike Wonder

    When we take our grandchildren on "Cousin Camp" vacation, we plan activities for different days.  One of the activities is a nature walk where we go through the woods to find treasures that we discover laying around.

    Childlike's a beautiful thing to watch as they notice things we as adults normally rush by...collecting different kinds of leaves, picking up rocks examining each one, digging for worms & squealing with delight when they see one wiggling...& the list goes on.

    I was helping one of our grandsons build a snowman recently & watching him make tunnels through the snow, catching snowflakes in his mouth, throwing snow at Mamie (me) & was amazed at how it looked in my hair.  Then he exclaimed, "Let's build a snowman!" Then it came time for the finishing touches.  There weren't any branches around for Frosty's arms except for the new tree they planted in their front yard...the only tree in their front yard. 

    I carefully broke off 2 tiny sticks for Frosty's arms.  Solomon was so proud of our creation with his raisin eyes & a pickle for his nose.  Next day our daughter called me & said, "Guess what Solomon did?  He broke off the whole tree to make bigger arms for Frosty! The wonder of a can't help but smile!

    And when I think about this childlike wonder & what makes me's not only the memories of my children & now the experiences with my grandchildren...but also the children God sends us in recovery.  Grown men & women who are experiencing new things for the first time, emotions that have been frozen for years, relationships being restored, being able to laugh for just the simplest of things or for no reason at all...just having fun with others in recovery....childlike wonder!

    King David praises God in Psalm 8 for God's awesome creation.  Vs. 2 says, "Nursing infants gurgle choruses about you; toddlers shout the songs that drown out enemy talk, & silence atheist babble." Did you get that? The praise of children drowns out the enemy! So how important is my praise in spiritual warfare to drown out the lies of the evil one?!

    Satan's best attack is to have discouragement come knocking at our door to pull us away from time with our God & allow doubt to move in.  We need to slow down & take time to praise God, take a child out in nature & watch how they respond to God's creation, watch a new child in recovery praise God in worship.  I love to journal the wonderful things He has done.  When we continually praise Him for the hope we have...the enemy is defeated!

    Childlike wonder...I am reminded of the child that was born for us...the baby that changed everything!  Isa. 9:2,6-7 (MSG),

    "The people who walked in darkness have seen a great light. For those who lived in a land of deep shadows---light! sunbursts of light!  For a child has been born for us!"

    Share a story of wonder you have experienced with a child or somebody new in recovery.

    What steps do you take when discouragement comes knocking at your door?

    Mary~National Encourager Coach


    Taking the Bait?

    Being leaders in Celebrate Recovery, we are going to offend somebody unintentionally & be offended by somebody else at times.  What should you do when you get offended?

    Rick Renner has an interesting article in "Sparkling Gems" on how we should act when we are offended. One scholar translated Luke 17:1, "It is simply unthinkable that you would allow yourself to dream that you could live this life without an opportunity to become offended."

    The Greek word for offense is skandalon from which we get the word scandal. This is a powerful picture!  Skandalon originally described the small piece of wood that was used to keep the door of an animal trap propped open.  A piece of food was placed inside the trap to lure the animal inside.  When the animal entered the trap and accidentally bumped the skandalon, or the small piece of wood, the skandalon collapsed, causing the trap door to slam shut & the animal to be caught inside with no way to escape.  We've had raccoons sneak into our henhouse & kill our chickens.  So we know all too well the skandalon!  It works like a charm.

    In Luke 17:1, Jesus used the word skandalon to warn us about events that happen in life with the potential to trip us up. Sometimes Satan baits us with something---drawing us into a trap in which he knows we'll be offended.  When we bump into a moment of offense, the trap slams down shut---and like an animal that is trapped in a cage and can't get out, we suddenly find ourselves caught in a miserable situation, trapped in negative emotions!

    An offense usually occurs when you see, hear, or experience a behavior that is so different from what you expected that it causes you to be shaken in your soul.  You may be so stunned by this failed expectation that you get distracted and lose your footing emotionally.  Your shock turns into disappointment, then turns into offense.  We've all experienced it, because people come from different backgrounds, wake up in bad moods, have a bad day at work, may not feel physically well and the list goes on.

    We must strive to communicate with people in a way they can understand what we are trying to say.  You will be surprised how many times they don't get it, what you are saying or meant to say.  People hear things through the filter of a host of hurts, hang-ups, & habits they've lived & their interpretation of our actions and words may be different from our original intention.

    As leaders in CR, we are held to a higher standard to bring healing and restoration whenever misunderstanding and offense occurs.  If you learn that you have offended someone else, go to them immediately and take the mature path and ask for forgiveness.  Don't get defensive, just apologize and move forward.  The devil doesn't like anything better than to cause strife between people. It's a great scheme of his to stifle service in CR by distracting us with offenses. 

    It is more important to be a peacemaker than to prove who is right or wrong.  Let's be leaders working towards healing and restoration in our lives and the people God places in our paths!

    Because of Him,



    Are You A Wind Blocker or Wind Walker?

    We talk at the Summit about a huge WAVE in Celebrate Recovery.  Did you know that it is a scientific fact that 26 waves a minute come to shore over & over? They never stop!

    To have a wave though, there has to be a wind behind it.  And CR's wave's wind is the Holy Spirit!  There is a revival going on in America & it is a huge wave of people who are ministers of reconciliation!  People who are passionate about sharing the hope that is only found in Jesus Christ.  And that is you, Encourager Coaches, along with the rest of our CR Forever Family!

    We may be from different cities all over the U.S. and the world. But you know what?  We, as believers in Jesus Christ, will live in the same hometown, God's hometown, Zion! But we are on a journey right now.  We are missionaries for Jesus Christ spreading the word of hope to bring another hurting soul into God's family until Jesus returns!

    Ps. 87 says, "The word's getting out on Zion:  Men & women right and left born again through Jesus Christ!  God registers your name in His book:  This one, this one, and this one---born again, right here!"  We are a people belonging to God. We are brothers and sisters in a huge Forever  Family headed to Zion!

    At times there will be discouragement along the way…they are Wind Blockers.  People who are negative, grumblers, living in denial, don't get the big picture.  They don't see what we see!  

    Here's who we you are...we are Wind Walkers!  We are sold out to the Lord & serve with all our hearts, souls, minds, & with all our strength.

    So with arms strong, minds open, & hearts soft we ride the WAVE in anticipation of what God is going to do through us in this 20th year Anniversary of Celebrate Recovery!

    Mary ~ National E Coach


    Jars of Love - July 14, 2011

    "You keep track of all my sorrows. You have collected all my tears in your bottle.  You have recorded each one in your book. (Ps. 56:8 NLT)

    The story of Mary anointing Jesus' feet at the supper at Mary & Martha's house will be forever etched in the Lamb's Book of Life! (John 12)  Mary must have been crushed by the disciples' cutting words saying she wasted the costly perfume.  But love is NEVER wasted in the kingdom of God.  No price is ever too high.  Love does not count the cost of the gift but rather the value of the recipient!

    It took only a few moments for Mary to anoint Jesus and wipe His feet with her hair, but the aroma of that precious act still lingers and inspires us today.  Love was the basis of both gifts:  her gift of love and Jesus' gift of life.  Mary's gift touched the heart of the Son of God.  His gift would touch the hearts of sinners.

    Amazing, isn't it?  Mary, who only saw Jesus sporadically, had better insight into His mission than the disciples who had been with Him day and night for three years.  What was the difference? Their posture!  Mary could always be found sitting at the feet of Jesus.  The ambitious disciples were too busy eating at the banquet tables, jostling over positions, criticizing others, and nurturing visions of glory as cabinet members in the kingdom.

    When one surveys history, one event stands on the highest peak. There the holy seeds of eternity fell upon earth's sod, watered with the blood of our precious Savior. There upon the candelabra of the cross, God's gift of love to the world hung before the eyes of the universe anointing us with the aroma of forgiveness and healing.  And yes, Mary, your precious gift of love inspires us to open our "jars of love" and anoint the hurting and fallen for which our Savior gave His life.

    Today, let's speak a word of love and make a gift of love to a struggling soul.  Jesus said even a cup of cold water in His name would not go unnoticed but bring a blessing. (Matt. 10:42)

    Open your jars of love today through Celebrate Recovery!

    Written by my dad, Alton Howard, who joined that great cloud of witnesses cheering us on until Jesus returns.

    mary ~ National Encourager Coach for women

     aka Daughter of the King