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    Thursday
    Sep172009

    Tools of Celebrate Recovery - Great Resources to Transform Lives!

    Tools are great, and having the right tool for a job makes all the difference! I’ve realized this at times when I have been wrenching on my car, bicycle, house, or plumbing. I’ve also seen this principle applied to golf (a bag full of the right clubs), gaming (THE right computer), iPhone (the right application), surfing (having a quiver full of the right boards), and recently in my own bicycling experience.

    Central Texas is currently under extreme drought conditions, and has been so for many months. Even with recent rains that have fallen, the weather experts are all telling us we are in a thirty inch deficit for the past two years. We are under water rationing that affects everything from keeping the yard to ordering water in restaurants.

    Last Friday, a rainy day, Paula and I took our moms out to dinner. In talking about the weather and recent rain, my mom made a comment “it was so nice and smelled so good, I was tempted to stand in the yard!”  Last Saturday morning it was still raining when I woke, and I thought “why not play in the rain!”

    It’s been a while since I’ve purposed a bicycle ride in the rain, but I planned to take an older bike I was not too concerned to expose to the water and the grime. I took off the platform pedals and put on clip-in pedals that matched some old cycling shoes, put on my brightest “day glow neon yellow” jersey and a clear plastic cycling rain jacket (pic on FB!). The right tools for the ride helped me enjoy a little 34 mile trek to neighboring Round Rock and back. I was not the only one to get out to enjoy the rain! In my trip out and back I saw many cyclists, runners, and walkers having fun in  the wet weather.

    When I started CR at my home church in Austin a little over 12 years ago, we did not have many resources or tools to assist the process of transforming lives. The leaders guide and the participant’s guides were bound with plastic binding, and had plenty of space to write in the margins. That was about it!

    We now have tools that will help you invest more time into helping people rather than look for resources to move them, or their children through the process of life change. If you are new to Celebrate Recovery, or have not recently had the opportunity to check these resources out, I encourage you to spend a little more time investigating this CR website.

    The Leaders Guide and Participant Guides are the core resource of running your recovery ministry. You’ll definitely need the Leaders Guide to plan for the start and growth of the ministry. The Participant Guides help you first train group leaders, then as help to church and community. Talk to your state rep about the process!

    If your Celebrate Recovery ministry has been up and running a while, you and your team will want to check out the material found in the Advanced Leadership Training kit. This is a tool that will help a great ministry excel!

    The Celebrate Recovery Bible and Life’s Healing Choices are approved resources that can be used to bring new illustrations to your lessons, and to sharing in your small group time. Newcomers to CR will find inspiration in stories of men, women, and couples whose lives have been transformed  through God’s word and eight healing choices we all need to make to be successful in life. 

    It is also important to note the fall campaign with Life’s Healing Choices that is just now underway at Saddleback Church and hundreds of churches across the country.  We believe the wave of Celebrate recovery will continue to grow as people are introduced to the help, strength, and hope available in Christ.

    A growing part of this ministry is taking principles of Celebrate Recovery to the next generation too! This summer Group Publishing introduced Celebration Station for kids. This is a wonderful 52 week curriculum following the lessons of Celebrate Recovery that mom and dad are going through. When you consider Life Hurts, God Heals used with many youth across the country, you see there is truly something for the entire family.

    The resources of Celebrate Recovery are tools that create transformed lives across the country and around the globe. 

    Celebrating Recovery – each day in Christ! - Jim

    Wednesday
    Sep162009

    Keep It Simple!

    “Keep it simple”, a phrase I heard repeatedly in the early days of my recovery. Even today, 21 years later, if I practice this my life goes much better.  The best way for me to keep it simple in my recovery is by having a good sponsor. 

    Just a few weeks ago my sponsor came up to me and said, “Mac, do you want to have a good life?” I responded, “Yes, of course!”  He said, “You need to become more obedient!”  Wow, I thought to myself, have I done something wrong?  He was looking at me without saying anything. Then finally he said, “We all do! Pass that along to those you sponsor.”

    The simplicity of his challenge is that I can always look for areas in my life where I can become more obedient. I Thessalonians 4:11-12 says, “Make it your ambition to lead a quiet life, to mind your own business and to work with your hands, just as we told you, so that your daily life may win the respect of outsiders and so that you will not be dependent on anybody.”

    That sounds like a pretty simple lifestyle, doesn’t it? So what then is our common goal?

    Winning the respect of outsiders by our daily living and making the most of every opportunity to share with others what has been given to us.  In other words, getting the word out!

    One way to get the word out is simply by using your cell phone. My personal phone says, “Hey this is Mac with Celebrate Recovery.  Leave your number and I’ll call you back.”

    You will be surprised at the people who will ask “What is Celebrate Recovery?” before they say what they called about. I got a call from a man the other day with that question.  After much talk about CR, I directed him to a group in his home town.  He was about to hang up then remembered we hadn’t talked about what he called for in the first place!

    Remember get the word out and keep it simple!

    Mac

    Sunday
    Sep062009

    Encouraging Others By Sharing Your Testimony

    Jim and I have a Couple’s Testimony that we have written and shared several times at local Celebrate Recovery meetings.  Every time we are able to tell our story, we are blessed beyond measure, remembering what God has done for us and in us over the years.

     

    As members of a local church, we attend a church home group on Wednesday evenings.  We meet in various homes and the group is lightly structured, a place to get to know fellow church members over a meal and some light sharing about a book we are reading or a short series of teachings or Bible study.

     

    A couple of months ago, our group leaders decided that we would all share our life maps.  If you don’t know what a life map is, it’s telling your life story.  You can create storyboards, show photos, or just share your life journey with the group.  We have listened to several life maps over the past couple of months and decided we would share our CR testimony. After all, why should we rewrite a presentation when we have already done the work of writing our testimony?????

     

    Last Wednesday evening was our appointed meeting to share.  Amazingly, every single person was there. We stayed on the script, kept our sharing limited to about 20 minutes, and did not dance around the issues of our life.  You could have heard a pin drop, the room was very quiet. At the end, we asked for questions and were able to discuss some of what we had shared.

     

    What a great way to advertise Celebrate Recovery! What a door of opportunity to share some truth with those who would not normally walk into a Celebrate Recovery meeting. What a great way to convey to those in our small group about our past and what God has done in our lives.

     

    Next week, we have an invitation from a local CR group to share our testimony!  Wherever God opens doors, we are willing to walk through them.  I encourage you to share your story tooSomeone out there needs to hear how God has worked in your life!

     

    Be blessed as you encourage others!

     

    Paula

    Saturday
    Sep052009

    CR introductions; how to introduce ourselves during large group and during small group:  

    Here at CR Saddleback, we ask our Leaders to introduce themselves with this statement: “Hi my name is _______; I am a believer who struggles with________.”  We ask our leaders to keep it short; to stick to one or two primary areas of recovery.  We ask them not to state a host of recovery issues and character defects, etc… especially because we do not run recovery specific groups for character defects.  Come to think of it, in this body, I don’t think I will ever gain a year of sobriety from “pride.”  With that standard, I would never qualify to lead a group for pride. J 

     

    Each Leader has an opportunity to share about all their areas of recovery and character defects in their small groups and certainly when they share their testimonies.  It is important that our Leaders set the example for our participants.  Although we cannot control how participants introduce themselves, each participant should state their area of recovery. If they don’t, other group members will feel awkward and unsafe to express their own.  At the very least, a newcomer may say, “Hi my name is _____, and I’m exploring this area of recovery.”

     

    So why do we introduce ourselves to begin with?  As I was writing this blog, Pastor John Baker walked by my desk, so I asked him, “John, why do we introduce ourselves in this way?”  He said, “If I ever forget my struggles, and the pain and destruction they caused, I am more prone to repeat them.  It humbles me.  It helps me remember what Christ has done for me.”

     

    So we introduce ourselves as believers because our identity is in Jesus Christ. We identify our struggles so that we don’t repeat them, and to offer hope to those struggling with the same issues.  Our introductions bring us closer together as a group by establishing accountability and strengthening our fellowship.

     

    See you soon,

    Tina Davis

     

    Thursday
    Sep032009

    Getting The Word Out By Going In!

    When we first started CR in 2004 at our local church, someone approached me and said, “We need to take this to our local prisons!” ~ translation ~ “Mac, when are YOU going to take this inside to prisoners?”  Well, not having major co-dependent issues in my own life and my hands full with a brand new CR, I was able to say, “We will take this inside, whenever God sends the right person.”

    I was thinking I’m off the hook…wrong! Every week it seemed someone would approach me and basically say the same thing, “When are we going to take this ministry inside?” Thankfully that day arrived 2 years ago when God placed on the heart of a man, John Grigson, whom I sponsor, that was exactly where he needed to serve.

    I went with John the first few times to help cast the vision for what CR could do. Out of that first meeting,  16 men signed up for Step Study. Doesn’t seem like a big start, does it?  Hold on…in case we forget we serve the God who took a couple of loaves of bread, a few fish, and made a buffet for thousands!

    From that original group that decided to join a Step Study, 14 men graduated and from there launched Monday night CR meetings at Richwood Correctional Center with over 100 men in attendance that first night!  They had Large group with the “CR Prison Praise Band”, teaching on Denial, then small groups.  That’s right, regular Celebrate Recovery.

    God showed up, showed out, and brought out the buffet!  He is doing more than we could ever have imagined. The prison officials saw such a change in these men they created a CR dorm.  Then they brought in 50 inmates from 5 other prisons in our state to be involved in Step Study. Then those inmates could take it back to the prisons they came from after completing Step Study.  They may become the first CRI missionaries!  Long story short, there are now 140 men in Step Study meeting during the week and have CR on Monday nights.  

    They just had their first 3 day seminar with Hector and Sherry Lozano last week.  Hector, our National Director for CRI, shared with inmates, volunteers, and prison staff on how working together we can not only impact this prison, but the rest of our state.

    So how is this impacting our CR and community? Already we have ex-inmates serving in different areas of our CR, with more to be released soon. I’m glad we didn’t miss out on this blessing! Mary and I gave our testimony to over 100 inmates this past Monday.  No, let me rephrase that, we gave it to over 100 of our brothers in Christ who are getting closer everyday to coming home and will get to serve in CR on the outside.

    Mac