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Defeating the Goliaths in Your Life – Reflections on Principle 3 of Celebrate Recovery

By Bill Peters

Principle # 3 of Celebrate Recovery

Consciously choose to commit all my life and will to Christ’s care and control.   “Happy are the meek.” Matthew 5:5

David said to the Philistine, “You come against me with sword and spear and javelin, but I come against you in the name of the Lord Almighty, the God of the armies of Israel, whom you have defied. This day the Lord will deliver you into my hands, and I’ll strike you down and cut off your head. This very day I will give the carcasses of the Philistine army to the birds and the wild animals, and the whole world will know that there is a God in Israel. All those gathered here will know that it is not by sword or spear that the Lord saves; for the battle is the Lord’s, and he will give all of you into our hands.” 1 Samuel 17:45-47

Dad shared with me that during World War 2 that his 44th Recon Squadron encountered a lone German SS officer of the Third Reich whom they captured. This officer obviously felt that he was invincible being a part of Hitler’s elite fighting men who were known for their fierce loyalty to the Führer and to each other.  This particular officer was so bold that he had a habit of daily riding his motorcycle each afternoon across and into the American lines to visit a pretty little French girl.  Dad said that when they captured him that he was decked out with a copy of Mein Kampf in a silver case in a breast pocket next to his heart. This SS bible had been personally signed by Hitler. Obviously, this man thought he had strength from his leader and his SS designation, rank and by holding a copy of this book. Although this SS officer was sadly mistaken in his faith, I as a Christian know that I derive heavenly strength when I commit my life to Christ and put myself in His care and control.

Now, Goliaths like German SS officers can be scary; they’re every bully we have ever met. Some of my hurts, hangups and habits are real goliaths have taunted me many years. They employ cowardly ways; controlling with threats and false beliefs.  Anytime I am scared by bullies, give into an addiction, or stand around complaining about others then I have admitted that Goliath is bigger than God and His Word in my life. Every time I give into fear that I cannot do what God wants then I am dwelling on Goliath and not looking at Jesus. But, anytime I stand up to some threat and trust God and His Word to help against my personal hurts, plaguing addictions and hangups which cause fear, anger or lack of forgiveness, then my name may be David. So today, I choose again to consciously choose to commit all my life and will to Christ’s care and control.

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I’m Glad Dad Can Fix The Plow – Reflections on Principle 2 of Celebrate Recovery

by Bill Peters

 

Principle 2 of Celebrate Recovery

Earnestly believe that God exists, that I matter to Him and that He has the power to help me recover.

“Happy are those how mourn, for they shall be comforted.”

So he asked Jesse, “Are these all the sons you have?”“There is still the youngest,” Jesse answered. “He is tending the sheep.” Samuel said, “Send for him; we will not sit down until he arrives.” So he sent for him and had him brought in. He was glowing with health and had a fine appearance and handsome features. Then the Lord said, “Rise and anoint him; this is the one.” So Samuel took the horn of oil and anointed him in the presence of his brothers, and from that day on the Spirit of the Lord came powerfully upon David.      1 Samuel 16:11-13 (NIV)

Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed away; behold, all things have become new.  2 Corinthians 5:17 NKJV

 

I cannot fix my life when it is broke and only God can. Everyone can have Christ in his or her life and He has a plan for recovery if we will surrender our lives to Him. He makes all things new

I was plowing the new 30 acre field on the farm that Dad had just rented. The ground had laid fallow for over 25 years but Dad told me to take our big D-17 Allis Chalmers tractor with the four bottom plow and go and break the ground. All was going well until I hit a large boulder which was unseen as it laid below ground level. When the plow hit that boulder the tractor suddenly jerked out of control and the front wheels reared and then the plow snapped and broke. When Dad came home from work he found a son sitting by the parked tractor with his head in hands and dejected and not knowing what to do next. Dad said, let’s go son, I will help you recover and fix the plow and we will finish the job. I was sure glad that Dad was there to pick me up. He helped me get the plow fixed so I could finish the job. Every boy needs a dad like that. Everybody needs a God like that too!

Samuel mourned about King Saul’s ungodly approach and attitude in following God’s way. It was a blow to Samuel because Saul had been chosen as his replacement as the Israelites left the time of judges and arrived with their first king. But Saul did not have a whole heart for God and the Israelites were suffering. Samuel blamed himself, perhaps, thinking that he may have not have done everything that he could have to help Saul be a good king. But it was God who chose Saul initially and now it was God who now told Samuel that he had a new person in mind to become king.  The new king would be the youngest shepherd son of Jesse who lived near Bethlehem. God had a plan for recovery if Samuel would listen.

Every believer in Jesus Christ faces hurts from other people or has a hangup which may be an attitude of anger, unforgiveness or fear or has a serious habit or addiction or sin that he or she cannot break from no matter how hard they try. If one earnestly believes in Jesus Christ, knows that He cares, and has the power to overcome these issues, then the hope of recovery has a path to begin. Celebrate Recovery is a Christ-centered program to lead you to a path of wholeness and healing in our Lord and we all need Him. All things can become new in Christ.

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Denial Is Not a River in Egypt – Reflections on Principle 1 of Celebrate Recovery

by Bill Peters

Principle 1 of Celebrate Recovery –
Realize I’m not God: I admit that I am powerless to control my tendency to do the wrong thing and my life is unmanageable.
“Happy are those who know they are spiritually poor.” Matthew 5:3

Then Samuel said, Do you think all God wants are sacrifices — empty rituals just for show? He wants you to listen to him! Plain listening is the thing, not staging a lavish religious production. Not doing what God tells you is far worse than fooling around in the occult. Getting self-important around God is far worse than making deals with your dead ancestors. Because you said No to God’s command, he says No to your kingship.
1 Samuel 15:22-23

Denial is not a river in Egypt.
Mark Twain

Mark Twain was not confused about the Mississippi River nor the Denial River. Some folks, I know, live on the Denial River and it is not in Egypt. They live in a houseboat and I have lived with them for a time myself. On the Denial River, one cannot admit he or she has a hurt, a habit or a hangup that has captured their lives and keeps them from living full, free and happy in the Lord. Some have unforgiveness because of a broken relationship or because they have been abused as a child. Some have hidden anger that controls their life at times. Some need to make amends because they have wronged someone and hurt them deeply. Some want to control a husband or wife or an adult child by guilt or some other ploy. Some seem to have a problem managing money and they spend it when they don’t got it. Some have an addiction or issue with food. Then there are addicts of drugs, alcohol, and pornography. Everyone should know that there is no one perfect if they study God’s word as all fall short of God’s ways. But the problem is that we often fear admitting our hurt, habit or hangup to others and we lie and deny that it exists. Thus, one sin can become two if sin is denied.

King Saul had several flaws in his life that he would not admit. One hangup was that of anger fueled by jealousy of David and he tried to kill him. Another basic flaw, a hangup, a sin that festered beneath the surface, within his heart was plain disobedience to God and having things his way. It was prideful rebellion against God. Something exists like this in every man but for Saul he chose careless neglect of God’s word in his life. He had been commanded not to take any of the spoils of war from the Amalekites (1 Sam 15:3). But after a decisive victory, he let the Israelites keep the best of the livestock for themselves (1 Sam 15:9).

When the prophet Samuel confronted the king, Saul rationalized that he had kept the sheep and cattle to sacrifice to God. But this was sinful pride and lying, which had developed into defiance of God, even though he claimed to serve God. The remedy for rebellion is humility, openness and truthfulness in surrendering to God. Like Saul, I have found myself rationalizing away my sin at times. Only when I have come to my senses and admitted my weakness in sin, made a 180 degree turn, and acknowleged my need for God in my life can I begin recovery to a life of happiness and wholeness in Jesus.

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Facing the Truth Requires Honesty, Faith and Courage

by Bill Peters

Step 5: We admitted to God, to ourselves and another human being the exact nature of our wrongs. “Therefore confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed.”
James 5:16

Principle 4: Openly examine and confess my faults to myself, to God, and to someone I trust.
“Happy are the pure in heart” Matthew 5:8

 
When I get dressed to go out to an important event I know that I need to make sure of a few things. I need to make sure that I am appropriately dressed, that I have any information or materials that I need to take in my possession, and I need to review the directions to where I am going and the status of the car that I am driving. So I look in a mirror for one more check. Hair okay? Tie straight? Anything between my teeth? Then I check my pockets to see if I have my car keys, my wallet, and my cellphone. Finally, I walk out to the car and do a once over to see if I have any flat tires, that I have enough gas in the tank, and load the Garman gps with the address, as needed. If I see something that doesn’t look right, what do I do? I address the needed changes and get it right. That’s what I need to do when I am ready to face the truth about my life. I need to look at God’s mirror: his Word, the Bible. I need to face the truth I see and I need to address the changes required before I resume life’s activities.

Being a part of Celebrate Recovery, I have learned that when I face the truth of who I really am before God that I need three things for certain. I need the honesty, faith and courage that God gives me and which inspires me to move forward. So let’s look at these three things that we must have to face the truth about ourselves – honesty, faith and courage

1. Honesty: It has been said that “man occasionally stumbles over the truth, but most of the time he will pick himself up and continue on.” Recovery doesn’t work like that. Recovery requires honesty! Jesus said, “I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness, but will have the light of life” (John 8:12).

2. Faith: I must come to believe by faith that Jesus is the source of all truth. He is dependably correct in all matters. I must have faith in Him to the reality to which I must change and conform. In Celebrate Recovery we say that “one is only as sick as his or her secrets”. To address my secret ways which include past hurts, addictive habits and harmful hangups associated with sin, I need to have faith that God will help me discover the truth. “Show me your ways, O Lord, teach me your paths; guide me in your truth (Jesus) and teach me, for you are God my Savior, and my hope is in you all day long.” (Psalm 25:4-5)

3. Courage: Nobody respects a coward. We admire people who are courageous. In every movie that has a hero we admire, it is because of their courage. The bad guys nearly always turn out to be cowards. One can have courage to face the truth because of the Lord’s promise never to leave or forsake us. When the Lord commanded Joshua to be courageous, he said, “Be strong and courageous, for you shall cause this people to inherit the land that I swore to their fathers to give them.  Only be strong and very courageous, being careful to do according to all the law that Moses my servant commanded you. Do not turn from it to the right hand or to the left, that you may have good success wherever you go. (Joshua 1:6-7).

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Receiving The Blue Chip – Getting and Staying on the Road to Recovery at CR

by Bill Peters, Ministry Leader

Principle 1 of the Road to Recovery – Realize I’m not God: I admit that I am powerless to control my tendency to do the wrong thing and my life is unmanageable. (Step 1)
“Happy are those who know they are spiritually poor.” Matthew 5:3

Step 1 of the 12 Christ-centered steps – We admitted we were powerless over our addictions and compulsive behaviors, that our lives had become unmanageable.
“I know that nothing good lives in me, that is, in my sinful nature. For I have the desire to do what is good, but I cannot carry it out.” (Romans 7:18)

We are not a large Celebrate Recovery ministry at North Boulevard Church of Christ as we only began meeting about 16 months ago. By the prayerful support of our church leadership, we meet at the teen center called the “Filling Station” and have opportunity to fill many more seats. Our continual prayer is that more might recognize their need, then come and receive recovery healing and hope. Our focus is not be the largest celebrate recovery in number but to be God’s Celebrate Recovery in spirit, truth and love.  We want to be honest about our need for the Lord and we want to be a safe place for all to come to seek the Road to Recovery outlined in the Beatitudes of Christ and the twelve Christ-centered steps. We want all to face their hurts, habits and hangups and know they have brothers and sisters in Christ that will not “fix them” but will walk along side as they let God help them.

So how does one signify that they want to get on and stay on the “Road to Recovery”?  This is a question we try to answer each Monday night at our large group meeting from 7:00 to 8:00 pm.  To signify that one wants to get on the road and stay on the road we offer the “Blue Chip”. It is one of the most important chips we award at Celebrate Recovery at our “Sobriety Chip Celebration”.  It honors no particular sobriety date at all. It’s our most common token of recognition.  It should not be received lightly because it signifies a commitment to follow the plan of Christ to take control of one’s life. Taking a blue chip can signify any number of positive steps, including a commitment to tackle a new life issue, a return to recovery after a fall, a determination to do the right thing knowing a particular challenge is coming up, or our first admission that we need God to handle our hurts, habits or hang-ups. So here is a sample of the script that our leader might give and you might hear if you come to our meeting on Monday night as we begin “giving out the chips”.

“How to Give Away the Blue Chip at Celebrate Recovery”

One of the most important chips we award at our “Sobriety Chip Celebration” honors no particular sobriety date at all. It’s the blue chip, our most common token of recognition. Taking a blue chip can signify any number of positive steps, including a commitment to tackle a new life issue, a return to recovery after a fall, a determination to do the right thing knowing a particular challenge is coming up, or our first admission that we need God to handle our hurts, habits or hang-ups. So tonight we welcome all of you to celebrate recovery with us by examining your life to see your need to come and receive the blue chip.

First of all, if this is your first admission that you need God to handle your hurts, habits and hangups then please come up and obtain a blue chip. You could be a newcomer tonight or you may have been coming for awhile. It makes no difference. Do not be fearful to come as God has a plan for you to deal with your life issues and we want to acknowledge your faith and willingness to trust Him by joining us on the road to recovery.

Secondly, if you have been on the path of the road to recovery for awhile and you are recognizing that you have a new life issue that you want the Lord to help you to tackle, then please come up and obtain a blue chip. This could be something that you have recognized in your step study or as you have reviewed and updated your spiritual inventory. Please come so we can celebrate recovery with you as you face this new hurt, habit or hangup.

Thirdly, if you have an upcoming challenge in life which might endanger your recovery without the Lord’s help then please come and obtain a blue chip. This could be an encounter with someone in which you need to make amends or someone whom you need to forgive. This could be a situation which might draw you into temptation to relapse from your recovery. Please come and get a blue chip as we celebrate your willingness to admit your need to give it to Jesus Christ and His power and strength.

Fourthly, if you have had a fall from recovery,  we want you to come and admit your slip as a simple way of confession. By coming and receiving this blue chip indicates your desire to get back on the path of the Christ-centered road to recovery and the twelve steps. You should know that each of us slip from time to time and we want to celebrate recovery of God’s grace and power to help you back on the path of healing and hope. 

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How to Cross the Bitter Root Mountains of Despair

by Bill Peters

Principle 3- Consciously choose to commit all my life and will to Christ’s care and control.

“Blessed are the meek, for they will inherit the earth” Matthew 5:5

Deadly Crossing: The Bitterroots
August 25-October 07, 1805
Snow began to fall as the expedition set off for the Continental Divide. Game was scarce in the Rockies, and food supplies ran low. But finally the expedition reached the divide and passed over the other side, down into the Bitterroot Valley. There the Americans met a band of Flathead Indians and bought more horses for the journey across the Bitterroot Mountains. Crossing this range of the Rockies fully tested the expedition’s endurance. After 11 days in the Bitterroots, the horses were near starvation, the men—who resorted to eating three of the colts—not much better. Emerging from the mountains, they made contact with the Nez Perce and procured from them dried fish and roots. The captains then set up camp on the banks of the Clearwater River, a branch of the Snake River, itself a branch of the mighty Columbia. There they hollowed five dugouts. The Rockies were behind them, the Pacific in front. On October 7 they broke camp and started down the Clearwater. At last the expedition had a river’s current at its back. (excerpts of the chronicles of Lewis and Clark)

I love the mountains and valleys of Montana. My friends and family know that I have a fondness for the beautiful area that God has created and fashioned around Glacier National Park and the Bitterroot Mountains. The Bitterroot Mountains fascinate me because they are sometimes called the mountains of despair. There is a bit of history about the expedition that Lewis and Clark led and their struggles in crossing the Bitterroot Mountains in the early 1800s.  Their difficulties help me see my need for the Lord Jesus in the despair of life’s troublesome issues. It teaches me the importance of committing my life to Jesus Christ found in Principle 3 of Celebrate Recovery.

When a person’s life burdens become insurmountably heavy, and his or her personal struggles stop them in their path of life and they see nothing but a life of pain, disappointment and death, they may be ready to get help. A person may finally become willing to let someone else do the navigating and driving. Lewis and Clark were stuck trying to cross the Bitterroot Mountains of Montana including the peak called “El Capitan” in the early 1800’s. In their expedition across Montana they finally found help and support from native Indians who knew the land and offered them food.

Celebrate Recovery offers help to those crossing the bitter roots of life’s circumstances because of hurts, habits and hangups. It emphasizes the need for a spiritual commitment and friendship to Jesus Christ as the remedy that is needed. Jesus has the required and necessary support and the spiritual food that you and I need to cross the bitterroot mountains of life. There is no other way to climb over the “Capitan” of sin other than to know the “El Capitan” who is greater named Jesus Christ.

Many people do not understand that putting off the decision to accept Jesus Christ as their Higher Power, as their Lord and as their Savior, is really a choice to remain stuck in the mountains of despair. Until one has the will power to choose to accept God’s power through Jesus they will remain stuck.   Lasting recovery and healing just cannot happen without the Lord’s help. Isn’t it time you sought help through your bitter root mountains? Try coming on Monday night to North Boulevard Church of Christ and meet us in the Filling Station for Celebrate Recovery. You will find help and encouragement to commit your life to Jesus.

 El Capitan in the Bitterroot Mountains of Montana

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A New Idea – Come Let’s Settle This

by Bill Peters

Principle 4: Openly examine and confess my faults to God and to another person I trust.  “Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God.” Matthew 5:8

“Come now, let’s settle this,” says the Lord. “Though your sins are like scarlet, I will make them as white as snow. Though they are red like crimson, I will make them as white as wool.    Isaiah 1:18 (NLT)

If we freely admit that we have sinned, we find God utterly reliable and straightforward. He forgives our sin and makes us thoroughly clean from all that is evil.   1 John 1:9

“Therefore confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed.”   James 5:16

 

In the book of Isaiah, God confronted Israel about their sins. Isaiah was God’s chosen servant to announce to the people that it was time to clean house. The book of Isaiah reminds me much about cleaning the barn of manure when I was growing up and also what I have learned about taking a personal inventory and coming clean with God.

Our barn on the Indiana farm in the 1960s was the center of our farm as the central place for feed and grain stores, housing animals and storing our farm equipment. Because it was a central part of farm life on a daily basis it was important from time to time to make an assessment what was in the barn and what needed to be removed and what needed to be added. Dad would confront us boys, in particular, and instruct us that it was time to take an inventory of the barn and do a cleanup. We knew for certain, that this was going to take work and would not happen in one day. It was going to be a process of removing the cow and pig manure by loading up our New Idea manure spreader. I can honestly say there was a satisfaction as we loaded manure and spread it on the fields. Sometimes we would even find lost tools that had fallen into the stable and it was good to recognize there were blessings in disguise by hauling out the manure.

I have found that God has a way of confronting you and me at times when we need to take action in our lives about our sins. He says let’s examine and clean the slate in your life and let’s settle this so you can receive forgiveness and healing.  He says to me I want to clean you up so take a personal inventory and confront your sins.  He wants us to clean up our hearts and get things in order. He wants us to do a personal inventory for the benefit of confessing our hurts, habits, and hangups linked to our sin.

The goals of taking a personal spiritual inventory are (1) to form a closer relationship with our Higher Power, Jesus Christ, (2) to forgive ourselves and others for our past, and (3) to become spiritually healed. To be successful with each of these objectives, a course of action is required. Although this will require time, persistence and patience, we’ll ultimately be able to celebrate recovery and healing and experience a changed life full of hope and promise.

Most of us don’t like to look within ourselves for fear to face the bad news of what we will find inside. God challenges you and me to take a sincere look with Him by our side. When I first begun the cleanup process with an inventory I was scared to look but God gave me strength to do so by prayer and trusting in Him and His Word. I found not only hurts, habits and hangups which reflect sin in my life but I also found positive things that indicate that God has been working in my life all along. God always wants us to keep our examination and evaluation – our inventory – balanced.  It is critical that you and I are honest and that both good and the bad qualities are listed in our inventory process. I am thankful that I have learned about the inventory process in my life on the farm, in God’s Word and the ministry of Celebrate Recovery. It makes Godly sense to settle things with God and man the best I can while I live and breathe. It is God’s idea and it is not a new idea.

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Dull Blades and Foolish Men Need a Change

by Bill Peters

Using a dull ax requires great strength, so sharpen the blade. That’s the value of wisdom; it helps you succeed.  Ecclesiastes 10:10 (NLT)

Principle 1 of the Road to Recovery of CR: Realize I’m not God: I admit that I am powerless to control my tendency to do the wrong thing and my life is unmanageable.  “Happy are those who know they are spiritually poor.” Matthew 5:3

As a gift from Rose Marie and her brothers and sisters, I received their father’s axe that he used to cut wood. I can fondly recall Paul Scheidler’s workshop and his cutting stone where he sharpened that axe and I have observed him cutting wood effectively with that axe. Rose Marie’s dad was never one to go and cut and split firewood with a dull axe. He lived his life the same way by seeking to remain sharp and focused to loving God, loving His family, and living a disciplined life filled with goodness, kindness and truth.

Trying to do anything without the necessary skills or tools is like chopping wood with a dull ax. If your tool is dull, you should sharpen it to do a better job. Similarly, if you lack skills, you should sharpen them through training and practice. In each situation, sharpening the axe means recognizing where a problem exists, desiring to take the effort to change,  acquiring or honing the skills (or tools) to do the job better, and then going out and doing it. Like an axe my life needs to be sharpened because a dull axe cannot do life in the right way.

Too many times in my life I have used a dull axe to cut my path in living. The axe I have used has been poorly shaped and sharpened by using the world’s ways rather than God’s ways. I found that engaging in sinful addictive habits causes me to be dull.  Sin is the most damaging way to dull the axe of anyone’s life. By using that kind of axe I have caused myself and others harm and hurt.  I have found myself lost with my hangups. I have been ineffective in making my life useful to God or to anyone else.

The biggest enemy of progress is  denying one’s need for change to become like Jesus. To maximize results in my life I must surrender the old worldly and foolish ways to Christ. I have found my need to seek His path. With Christ my axe gets sharper each day. I have learned how to give my life to Jesus each day and allow Him to sharpen the axe. Sharpening has begun by engaging in His Word, prayer, a step study, and having accountability to others by being a part of Celebrate Recovery. I have found that God’s redeeming love through the giving of His Son, Jesus, on the cross to motivate me to a change. His willingness to accept me in love and His desire to save me has brought me new life. His wisdom has been effective in changing a dull boy’s life and sharpening my axe to do life His way for eternity.

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Choosing the Right Road Can Make All the Difference

by Bill Peters

Principle 3- Consciously choose to commit all my life and will to Christ’s care and control.

“Happy are the meek.” (Matthew 5:5)

“Enter through the narrow gate. For wide is the gate and broad is the road that leads to destruction, and many enter through it.” (Matthew 7:13)

Jesus begins His Sermon on the Mount with the Beatitudes that are a part of the eight principles of the Road to Recovery for Celebrate Recovery.  He closes the Sermon on the Mount with some warnings for me and you concerning the difference between living on the narrow recovery road versus traveling on a broad road in which we could be ladened down with the sinful issues in our lives.

The road to recovery has two distinguishing characteristics – one it  “leads to life”: and two it’s “narrow” and  only a few find it.  It is the way of Christ and it is not possible for me to travel by myself but it is  possible only with the Lord. It’s narrow in that it requires my acknowledgment of Jesus Christ as my Lord and Savior, acceptance of His teachings and for me to fully surrender my life to Christ’s care and control.  It is my acceptance of the third principle of Celebrate Recovery which is the fork in the road between me choosing the narrow road of healing with Celebrate Recovery versus continuing on a path of sadness, hurt and destruction of the broad way of the world.

Staying on the “broad” road, leads to a “wide” gate, to accept any number of worldly, philosophical, moral and ethical teachings as a rule of my life. If I follow this path I can live with a view to drink it up, sex it up, drug it up, gamble it up and spend it up. These are worldly habits and are bad habits with bad results.  These bad habits will never satisfy my longings. They help me medicate my feelings temporarily which includes a cycle of despair and regret. They are bad clothes to wear and  impossible to take off without the help of Jesus when they become addictions. Anger, fear, control of others, loneliness, dishonesty and doubt are in my luggage on this broad road. They never offer anything profitable and destroy my relationships with others. Past un-forgiveness to those who have hurt me and a hard-heart towards those I have hurt are two of my one hundred pound shoulder bags I carry down the broad road.  All of these things lead me to a destination of destruction.  This road is amazingly wide and accommodates me and all of my baggage and new stuff too. I can bring anything and everything with me. I won’t be crowded out!  I can find a lot of people there carrying their load of issues also.  The only thing I won’t find their is Jesus walking along side of me continuing and encouraging me to stay on the worldly road. The broad road is a bad choice in my view.

As a Ministry Leader of CR I am seeking and advocating all should choose the narrow road of Celebrate Recovery and the healing that  “leads to life”.  In choosing the narrow road, I off-load my hurts, habits and hangups to Jesus. I surrender them to get on the narrow path with Him. It becomes imperative that I pray for and accept the will of God daily.  It’s through His daily guidance of His Word and the breath of the Holy Spirit that I find my way on the narrow road.  It is about the eight principles and the twelve steps of CR. It is about time with my sponsor who has walked the road already and where I receive guidance.  My accountability partners offer to me constant accountability to stay on the narrow road. The regular Monday night Celebrate Recovery meetings offer me fellowship, worship to my Lord, useful testimonies and teaching and a place to confidentially and safely share about my progress on the narrow road. I find the step studies and periodic self inventory as benefits for keeping me on the path.  I am thankful today that Jesus is on the narrow road with me every hour and every day and I am thankful for choosing the narrow road of Celebrate Recovery.

Forks in the Road

Give Up Finger Pointing and Take Responsibility

by Bill Peters

Principle Six of the Road to Recovery: Evaluate all my relationships. Offer forgiveness to those who have hurt me and make amends for harm I’ve done to others, except when to do so would harm them or others (Steps Eight and Nine). 

“Blessed are the merciful.” (Matthew 5:7) “Blessed are the peacemakers.” (Matthew 5:9)

“Teacher, this woman has been caught in the act of adultery. Now in the Law Moses commanded us to stone such women. So what do you say?” This they said to test him, that they might have some charge to bring against him. Jesus bent down and wrote with his finger on the ground. And as they continued to ask him, he stood up and said to them, “Let him who is without sin among you be the first to throw a stone at her.” (John 8:4-7)

Ah, finger pointing. It is so easy to start doing and to keep up. No training is required. Experience comes quickly.  And  I have learned to point my fingers at many things in this life.  I have probably done it more than most, and I’m not bragging.  In fact, I am a reforming addict—addicted to finger pointing and trying to quit. Call it what you will—blaming, accusing, gossiping, condemning—I know what it is and finger-pointing is not good.  A family culture of finger pointing  can create a very difficult and impossible way to deal with problems.

Pointing fingers is easy – but I am reminded of the little exercise where you point your index finger and form your hand into the shape of a gun.  Your thumb is straight up as the hammer, your index finger is the barrel, and your other 3 fingers are the handle of the gun.  If you do this properly, what you’ll find is that one finger points forward but 3 fingers point backwards.   Its a great spiritual analogy of putting the blame on others.  When we point our finger at them – we have 3 fingers pointing back at us.   I have learned from Celebrate Recovery that the three fingers pointing back towards me are my own hurts, habits and hangups in life. Who is to blame for my situations and life’s ups and downs?   Sure, others play a part – but the reality is that I play an even larger part by how I react, how I respond, and how I carry any situation forward.

In a Celebrate Recovery step study, we examine ourselves for the issues that have caused us hurts, habits and hangups in life and develop a life inventory. We first focus on the three fingers that point back to us.  Yes, we look at who has harmed us and whom we have harmed but we intently look for our part in every situation – our words, our attitudes, and our reactions. We decide to no longer point fingers at others without looking truthfully at ourselves first. We prayerfully and wisely separate and confess our part out for each situation.  We also determine whom we need to forgive and whom we need to make amends to and develop a plan to do just that with our sponsor’s help.  Hands that once were busy as pointed fingers are now busy seeking to find other people’s fingers to clasp in love and friendship and healing.

finger-pointing