Posts tagged Recovery
This is great. In a few ways. It’s clever and funny. But it’s real. It’s real great. This is one of the reasons that I’m proud to call MPT my friend. I mean, we’re not bff’s or anything, but I did have coffee with him once. And I kick his ass at Words With Friends once every 32 games. Enjoy!
The following is an email that one of my friends sent me the other day. It wasn’t written to be read or discussed publicly, but once I finished it, I knew it had to be. I told him that I would publish it anonymously.
Church people often struggle to understand the “de-churched”. Even though the “de-churched” make up a significant part of today’s Church, they are often overlooked and have their entire faith questioned. You can’t deny it happens. But, is it right? Read what my friend has to say…..
wow, it’s every where and no one can or wants to see it, or is in complete denial, it works well with most humans in the community of faith, woe unto us who see the reality of homelessness, mental health issues, drug and alcohol abuse, pornography; issues of morality at one time were real social issues of great importance to the church and people of faith, proving people do change with the times, even people who go to church, pretty much 100 percent of all the stuff Jesus did or said on the aforementioned subjects was so clear it’s blinding, although they do have some damn fine and impressive debt free facilities and do give gas cards in lieu of not giving contributions for needed actions that will help people. Pretty simple things that save peoples lives. What’s a life going for these days on the open market? Churches are in my less than sane opinion and worldly view personal experience a religious world created system of theistic beliefs, bureaucracies run by people locked inside a psychological mind set of a world that exist mostly within the four walls of the buildings, or humongous campuses built with cash as Earthly altars to God, of course God is money, so it makes sense. God by the way told me He could care less about your balance sheets or donations being down year to year, that’s an excuse. I respect some people want to stay tucked away from the scary world full of “those people” so they run to the suburbs and buy a ton of Glocks, then they give money to over seas missions and such, they do give money to St. Francis House, which is good though I don’t know how much or what it is for, I don’t know much these days except that people that run churches who identify with Christ have developed a bad vision problem. This may be a real chance to open up some of our local churches for the homeless, being you can count me soon to be there, all I know is to keep on fighting cause it is all black and white knowing God is own your side. Which can be Hell if he actually is not, my internet being on is a miracle. May God bless your work and continue blessing you Aaron. Always question authority. Unless it gets you fired from your paying job or you are independently wealthy. Go ahead anyway, the worse thing that can happen is always the ones that you think never will. Or is it just the other way around?
I’d love to know your thoughts…..if you dare!!! Leave a comment and let’s talk!
I’ve had writer’s block for so long now that I’m doubting I should ever try again. But I will. I will try again. I will fail again. And I will try again.
I will follow this raging and often confusing heart of mine. What difference does it make?
It makes all the difference. Some things are not an option. Some things are. It’s really that simple. Does that make it easy? No.
But it is that simple.
Stopping who you are is not an option. Faking it is for many, but not for me.
Being someone else is not an option. Trying to be is for many, but not for me.
Whatever God is doing with this irrational heart of mine, I still won’t change directions. For this is life. It’s good. It’s bad. Regardless, it is.
How much difference does it make? Ever wonder? I do.
If you have been to my blog more than about 2 times, you already know that I have a Pearl Jam obsession. Well, maybe not an obsession.
Every single day my spirit is revived or deprived of life, due to some song. Every single day there is a song that speaks what I cannot.
This one has played on my iPhone probably 50 times in the last 72 hours. I hope you can find yourself somewhere in it too….
“Escape is never the safest path” – Pearl Jam, Dissident
More often than not, the fight is not our problem. Sometimes even the loss of the fight is not our problem.
Sometimes our propensity to escapism is our biggest enemy, and we may not even realize it.
Running is stupid. Yep, you read that right. I said running is stupid. I’m sorry if you an ultra-fit marathon freak who runs for lunch.
I don’t run. But, I’ve always been a runner. Instead of training for the Little Rock marathon, I’m actually learning how to not run. I want to be the best dang non-runner around.
Most of my life was spent running. Running from things. Escaping.
I will quickly pull off anything I can to avoid things that I perceive to be potentially unsafe, dangerous, or that may go against my plan and desires. I will fight, to avoid a fight.
Lies, passive-aggressive behavior, avoidance, denial, neglect….
Drinking, drugs, gambling, sex…..excess…
I would run, and fight twice as hard to avoid facing and resolving a much simpler dilemma. Doesn’t work. The run is typically more damaging than the initial fight would have been. The run takes me so far from where I want to be. The run removes me from everything that I actually need in that time.
It’s so often easier to screw up everything around us in an attempt to deter ourselves from what we have deemed unapproachable. We like to run. Divorce. Drugs. Prostitutes. Porn. Vodka. Tunica. Overtime. Friends. Family. Fishing.
The run kills us. The run kills our families. The run kills our everything. The run is a killer. But we run anyway. The run brings isolation. But we run anyway. Have you ever really gotten to know someone or grown closer to them while you were out on a run? Likely, no. Most people either run alone, or they have others around them but there just isn’t a lot of interaction going on. Mostly burning and sweating in the silence of isolation.
My run was meth. Oh, I’ve ran a lot of different ways…..but that was always my “go-to” run.
Drugs, just like most runs, actually compound the need to run. More conflict = more running.
More running = more problems = more running.
See, I told you running was stupid.
When I’m teaching on recovery and what it takes to completely and successfully step away from addictions, this is one of the biggest things I have to stress. Quit running. Quite simply, running can no longer be an option. Whatever you ran to, you don’t run to anymore. But even that is not enough. You have to determine to NEVER run to ANYTHING.
Escape is never the safest path. Nor is it the smartest, wisest, or even easiest. Rarely does it pay off.
Conflict can be embraced. It’s not a %&*#ing bad word. It’s not. The *#@?ing run should be a bad word. The run is a life sucking &!%#$(*!
We have to learn to fight well. Yes, that can be done. Jesus taught some of the best fighting techniques. We like to think He is some sissy little hippie who would never dare instigate a potential burst of violence. Wrong. You can’t read the gospels of Jesus Christ and not see that He is a walking time-bomb. He is a conflict driven badass. He is a warrior.
Some of the worst conflicts of my life, be it addiction or even my faith, have proven to be some of the most amazing things that I’ve experienced.
Conflict. What man intends for evil, God will ultimately use for good. Don’t be a runner. Running sucks.
Make up your mind that running is simply not an option, and watch what happens in your relationships, your career, in your checking account, and most notably in the way that you love/respect/feel about yourself.
Escape is NEVER the safest path.
(This post was first written for, and used by, Eikon Church in a series they were doing on confrontation)
It’s my belief that far too often, in recovery communities, we enfeeble the truth of Christ’s gospel.
Often, I hear people say that they do believe that God can do mind-blowing work in the life of a person…..even a person with an addiction. But the moment we move into talking about Christ eradicating a person of their addiction, He somehow becomes powerless. Just as they claim to be, over said addiction.
But look at this, from Romans 1:18,19:
“But God shows his anger from heaven against all sinful, wicked people who suppress the truth by their wickedness. They know the truth about God because he has made it obvious to them.”
This is probably the last thing that any of us want said about us. That we “suppress” the truth about God. How would you like to be the person known for that? No thanks.
Christ made it clear what His purpose, intentions, and desires were. He stated boldly that he came to set the captives free. What part of any of His words excludes people with addictions?!?! None of them!
To be honest, I think the better part of Christ’s gospel was directed at people who are bound and held back by addictions. Yet many Christians will even shout loudly that God’s will is actually for people to have those addictions!
To be even more honest, if that were true, I would have zero desire to follow Jesus to this God. If that were true, I really don’t think I would want anything to do with this God.
We must stop suppressing the truth of Christ’s gospel. Look just a few verses prior to that last one, and see what Romans 1:16,17 say about Christ’s Good News:
For I am not ashamed of this Good News about Christ. It is the power of God at work, saving everyone who believes—the Jew first and also the Gentile. This Good News tells us how God makes us right in his sight. This is accomplished from start to finish by faith. As the Scriptures say, “It is through faith that a righteous person has life.”
We cannot be ashamed of the gospel of Christ. This Good News is that nobody HAS to remain the same way they were when they first bumped into Christ. We either believe it, or we don’t. Let’s be honest, and not suppress the truth of the gospel. Christ did His thing, to change our lives.
I’ve waited a while for someone to step up and put this one out there. Ever since the days of the Purpose Driven Life.
Most (if not all) of us are compelled to find our “calling” or purpose for being here. We search tirelessly.
Max went much further with that basic concept and actually shows in this book how we are all meant to be making a difference in the lives of people. But not just any people. ALL people. Everyone.
We all mess this one up so much. I’m one of the worst. We want to label people and either write them off or pass them by. If you want some purpose and some direction in your life, start meeting the unmet needs of others no matter what you may think is the reasoning behind the need. Wow, that’s Jesus. That’s why we love Jesus. Because that’s how He loves us.
This book was written for all of us, and needs to be read and re-read by all of us.
Max came out swinging for the fence in this one!
It’s out today!! Buy it and let’s all go for this!!
Who the heck would ever take a roadtrip by themselves? Not me. No way. No how.
Whether it’s business (mandatory) or personal (recreational), there are dozens of reasons that road-trips are just not meant to be a solo performance!
This is probably the only recovery principle that is universally accepted. Don’t go it alone!!
Though Paul was nowhere near addressing “recovery” in Romans 1:11-12, he clearly shows the importance of face-to-face interaction with other believers and like-minded individuals.
“For I long to visit you so I can bring you some spiritual gift that will help you grow strong in the Lord. When we get together, I want to encourage you in your faith, but I also want to be encouraged by yours.”
He longs for it. As do we all.
Many times people assume that because I write about aspects of “Christian recovery” that I believe need to be reevaluated, that I think that there is no need for any kind of recovery efforts. This is simply not true.
You need support. You encouragement. You need entertainment. You need a shoulder sometimes. You need some seriously real friends, because sometimes you are gonna need someone to get in your face and put you in check. I know I do. I have to have that daily!
Road trips are a group effort. Only weirdos and serial killers drive around alone! :)
The road to recovery is a lonely and desolate place sometimes. Don’t think for a minute that you will survive out there on your own. God made you, and He made it clear that you were not created for isolation.
There was this thing that people did called Sunday School. It was a magical land of puppets and felt boards where little kiddies would all gather to learn about “God”.
Some body’s mom who was 43 times the age of the kiddies would come in to teach the kiddies how to be good little Christian boys and girls. The lucky kiddies all met in the same room. The not so lucky kiddies had to separate. Boys in one room, girls in another!!
Oh, screw this! I’m not a fiction writer!
If you ever had the privilege to go to Sunday School then you probably remember learning very early about the Roman Road to Salvation. I know, I know. Not all Sunday School was that bad. And if you still do Sunday School, please do it well because you are like the Native Americans of Christianity.
So the Roman Road to Salvation, just in case you are un-Sunday Schooled, was a breakdown of Bible verses that lead you down the path to salvation. It’s Bible verses pulled and regrouped to form a path, mostly out of Romans. Duh. Hence the name.
Unarguably outdated in today’s “modern” Church, the Roman Road has been all but forgotten by most.
The sad part is that Romans is brilliant. OK, the Bible is brilliant, but Romans speaks so clearly to addictions, strongholds, and even what real “Christian” recovery should look like.
It speaks of power. The power of God. The power of sin. The power we have been given. The power that lives within us.
It speaks of life. How to live it. How to control it. Where to obtain it.
It speaks of freedom. Freedom from the law. Freedom from bondage. Freedom from sin. Freedom found only in Jesus.
Romans basically lays out a perfect “road” if you will to recovery. I mean real recovery. True recovery. The kind of recovery that doesn’t take the remainder of your life. The kind of recovery that you’re only going to get from Jesus, and the only kind that Jesus ever really offered.
Over the next few days, weeks, years, crap I don’t know……
I want to blog some quick thoughts that come from Romans. Simple. Concise. True.
I hope you will subscribe, or come back to read and COMMENT to contribute to these discussions.
Jesus makes me laugh all through the scriptures. He makes me laugh because He sets people up and breaks out a left-hook, not because He set out to be a comedian.
One of His favorite set-ups is finding out what a person really believes about Him, and how much they actually believe Him. Not just in Him.
You’ve likely read/heard it: “Who do you say that I am?”
That’s a BIG question coming from the likes of Jesus. It’s big because Jesus was very clear, all the time, about who He was claiming to be. He clearly declared that He was in fact God.
He wanted to know if His people were buying into it or not. I think He wants to know if we buy into it or not.
But do we? Do we really?
There are a lot of people out there who will say that they “believe in God”, or “believe in Jesus” or what have you. The trouble comes when we start talking about believing what He has said. How can we claim to believe in Him, if we negate what He has said? There is no way to justify claiming to believe that Jesus is God, but discredit His very words! That makes no stinkin’ sense!
The more I write, speak, teach about the correlation between Jesus and addictions, the more people will outright argue with things that Jesus Himself clearly stated. How can this be? How can we be “Christians” or “Christ followers” if we are going to argue His very words?!?!
If we don’t buy what He has clearly said regarding our freedom and the fact that HE HAS GIVEN US power over sin and strongholds, then just who do we really say that He is??
It wasn’t enough to just follow Jesus around then, it’s not enough now. We either believe what He has clearly communicated to us, or we don’t.
I don’t have all the answers. I know, you’re shocked, right?
But as Christians we are supposed to be following the only one who does have them all. Why, then, do we allow our minds, hearts, people, churches, and doctrine to be infiltrated with things that are absolutely contradictory to what He says?
You probably know where I’m going. It’s just…..where I go….
Sometimes I just have to clarify some of it though and that’s what I’m wanting to do here. You see, I fight a battle. I’ve pretty much come to realize that no matter the cost, my life is about this battle. It’s the battle for absolute freedom from addictions.
Why a battle? Well, because the Church is accepting secular ideals about addictions that contradict Jesus. Christians are selling the notion that addictions never fully go away. And other Christians are buying it. More critical is the fact that most new Christians who are battling addiction are buying it by the truckload.
I’ve posted many posts on here that show the conflict between secular recovery ideals and the very teachings of Jesus. The two simply do not mesh. This post isn’t so detailed in showing the conflict. It’s just a post that says, “Hey! We need to re-examine this thing called recovery that we’re doing in our churches”. It scares me how much the Church and “trustworthy” well known pastors are taking this stuff in and dishing it out like candy corn at a church hayride on Halloween.
For one who is battling addictions, the point of beginning a recovery journey is probably the most critical of that journey and if people are not getting a solid foundation of Jesus and His teachings on these matters then we may as well just invite them over for some crack and vodka.
Screw “cool”. Screw PC. Screw addictions. If it takes being labeled a super hyper-charismatic radical freakshow to put people with addictions before the power of the Lord Jesus Christ, then that’s what it’s going to take. I won’t give up.
He set me free, and I’ll not shut up.
One of the greatest Christian cliche’s that I’ve ever heard is this:
“Jesus got up and got out, so that you can get up and get out”.
It’s time we remember that.
This post is going to be somewhat of a finger-painting. Reason being that I’m going to give you a quick update/apology and then I’m going to get into the post. Contain your excitement.
I’ve been mad and bitter, and I’m sorry. I’m sorry to my friends and my family. I’ve been bitter with God and it quickly sucked the life out of me. Thanks to a swift kick in the spiritual groin from Charlie Loften last week, I’m stepping out of my pitty party and getting my crap together.
Bobby Hamilton at NLC once said that bitterness is like drinking poison, and then waiting for the other person to die. I finally understand how true that is.
So let’s move forward and not let this junk continue.
One of the things that Charlie really got in my face about was basic. He simply said, “Do you believe that Jesus is the answer that everyone needs? That He alone is the hope that people need?”
In that simplicity I found something much more complex. We (me) spend entirely too much time dwelling on what Jesus was. We look at Jesus as if He existed at one point, and we want to know what He was like then.
We talk about Jesus as if He never got up from His death-bed. No wonder our faith is so weak at times. No wonder the Christian recovery community is buying into the BS that tells them they are going to have to deal with their addictions for the rest of their lives.
If Jesus was, then we have nothing. What is critical for us to figure out is what Jesus is.
The more we preach, teach, write, or view Jesus from the perspective of what He was, the further we are removing ourselves and others from actually understanding who He is and what He is doing, and can do in our very lives.
I feel like I’ve been taken back to Christian Kindergarten with this. But, what a revelation it’s been for me.
I don’t want to spend my time chasing what Jesus was, because if He was then He isn’t.
You wouldn’t go spend your money on Enron stock today would you?
I want to spend my time chasing what Jesus is, because that’s what He was and will be….