Last Thursday I attended a Celebrate Recovery (CR) meeting at a local church in Warsaw. I attended with my friend, Jason, who picked up a copy of Life’s Healing Choices (LHC) written by John Baker, founder of CR. I decided to download a Kindle version of the book and we put our heads together to determine how to best encourage one another in our reading and application. Part of the application process in LHC is the encouragement to Pray about it, Write about it, and Share it with someone. I have reached the end of chapter one and have prayed about it. I decided I would write out what I have learned in the blog, while Jason and I will discuss our own personal application together on Monday nights. This is the first of, prayerfully, many posts.
One of the first things I learned is the history of CR. CR was begun in Rick Warren‘s Saddleback Church. The ministry is described as a “…balanced approach to repentance and recovery, …one of the secrets of Saddleback’s amazing growth…” I immediately was drawn to the emphasis on repentance and recovery. Nothing is more biblical in our sanctification than this mindset! Warren describes how he found these principles of healing in Christ’s Sermon on the Mount. Again, love the fact that CR begins with Scripture – pointing us to Christ! Pastor Rick continues in the foreword to describe all mankind’s problem:
…I believe the Bible teaches that all of us have some form of addiction. Sin is addicting and “all have sinned”. That means we’ve all created ungodly and unhealthy methods for handling life…
Warren doesn’t leave the reader with an unsolved problem. He describes the goal of CR, “…to teach them – and you [the reader] – to make the healing choices that will help you become Christlike in character.” Getting to the point of healing happens when …we reach the end of our rope and give up on our self-sufficiency, [then] God can move into our lives with healing and growth.”
As I read this foreword, I didn’t discover any new material, but was reminded of the plight of all mankind, as well as, the healing and growth found only in Christ. This grace of Christ is extended to all men. The healing only comes to those who are at a point in their lives where they realize their desperate state and cling to Jesus Christ as the solution to all their problems.
Introduction: Finding FREEDOM from Your Hurts, Hang-ups, and Habits.
I will admit, I was not (?), am not (?), readily willing to admit that I have hurts, hang-ups and habits. Sure, I did ten years ago, but not now…right? Ah, my pride – I’m weary of admitting my sinful pride. Author, John Baker, writes in the introduction:
With God’s help in making eight healing choices, you are going to be able to put the pieces of world back together.
Baker then gives five ways that God has promised to help us find freedom from our hurts, hang-ups, and habits:
- If you are hurt, God says, “I will heal you”
- If you’re confused, God says, “I will lead you”
- If you feel helpless, God says, “I will help you”
- If you feel alone, God says, “I will comfort you”
- If you feel anxious and afraid, God says, “I will offer peace to you”
I enjoyed John Baker’s testimony in LHC as he describes his own personal addiction with alcohol and how God healed him from that. In 1991 Baker started Celebrate Recovery, and since then hundreds of thousands of people have benefited from this biblically based recovery program. Rick Warren, Baker’s pastor at Saddleback, took his congregation through a sermon series entitled, “Road to Recovery” a year after CR began in his church. In this series, Warren laid out the eight principles derived from the Sermon on the Mount that is the core of CR:
- Realize I’m not God. I admit that I am powerless to control my tendency to do the wrong thing and that my life is unmanageable.
- Earnestly believe that God exists, that I matter to Him, and that He has the power to help me recover.
- Consciously choose to commit all my life and will to Christ’s care and control.
- Openly examine and confess my faults to myself, to God, and to someone I trust.
- Voluntarily submit to every change God wants to make in my life and humbly ask Him to remove my character defects.
- 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 others.
- Reserve a daily time with God for self-examination, Bible reading, and prayer in order to know God and His will for my life and to gain the power to follow His will.
- Yield myself to God to be used to bring this Good News to others, both by my example and by my words.
Baker then wraps up the Introduction to LHC with these words, “…We’ll also emphasize spiritual commitment to Jesus Christ. Lasting recovery cannot happen without total surrender to Him. Everybody needs Jesus.”
As I finished the Introduction, I was wondering how this book would impact me personally. I soon found out as I read chapter one. My next post will describe my thoughts and gleaned insights from chapter one. This chapter begins with the first principle, Realize I’m not God.
Find a Celebrate Recovery Group near you.