Thursday, June 27, 2013

My Name is Jamie... (July Newsletter Article from Grace Church LaCenter)


"My name is Jamie; I'm a firm believer in Jesus Christ, and I struggle with being a control freak, OCD tendencies, and major trust issues."

The first time I stood up front and said that, I admit, I felt like an idiot.  When I thought about all of the people who had decided to come that night, and when I thought about the real problems they were dealing with, I felt almost silly for saying that I was at Celebrate Recovery because I don't know how to delegate, because I straighten up every throw rug I walk across, and because I basically refuse to let people get too close.

When I started thinking about what to reflect on in this article, five words kept coming to mind.  Maybe God was speaking, and this time I listened, but over and over again I heard, "hurts…habits…and hang ups."  So, this month, I would like to take a few minutes and talk about one arm of Grace's ministry and mission: Celebrate Recovery. 

When people hear those two words, Celebrate Recovery, most folks think only of alcohol or drug addiction.  While it's true that Celebrate Recovery helps those who struggle with addictions, it's not only for those with addictions. 

Each week Celebrate Recovery helps folks all across the nation who are dealing with addictions; divorce; job loss; eating disorders; co-dependency; neglect; abandonment; anger issues; loss of a parent, spouse, or child; terminal illnesses; feelings of being a victim; guilt; unforgiveness; depression, hopelessness; low self-esteem; suicidal thoughts; and the list goes on and on. 

The program itself is based on several things, one being the Alcoholics Anonymous format, which is a basic twelve step recovery program, but also on the Sermon on the Mount.  The 8 principals are taken from the beatitudes.  For the founders of Celebrate Recovery, claiming a higher power wasn’t enough, and as a result we don't hide the fact that our higher power is Christ.

Celebrate Recovery was born at Saddleback Church in Orange County, California.  It started with just 43 people nearly 20 years ago, and since then, 8500 people have found healing from their hurts, habits, and hang ups through the ministry of Celebrate Recovery.  It is now Saddleback Church's largest outreach ministry. 

I say that to say this: times are changing and in many places the church isn't.  It's time that churches all across our connection remember who we have been sent to serve.  What I love about Celebrate Recovery is that the folks we minister with on Thursday night are not polished and perfect.  They are literally diamonds in the rough, just waiting for someone to give them the chance to shine as the gems God intended them to be.

You may be thinking, "Jamie, that sounds nice, but that kind of stuff is for someone else.  Not for me."  To which I'd reply, "We're all a little messed up.  It's just a matter of realizing how messed up we are, and are we willing to admit it yet." 

So, if you'd like to see God at work, changing lives, slip out here Thursday nights at 7:00 and hear Christ say to you, "My grace is enough."