Monday night as we honored the incredible 10 year journey of sobriety for Willie Mae, we spoke about how catch phrases stick in our minds. Most advertisers know that there has to be a take away line that reminds the consumer of their product. Remember these?
Where's The Beef
Fly The Friendly Skies
How Do You Spell Relief
This Bud's For You
You Deserve A Break Today
And we could go on and on. Another fact for those of us with ADHD, addiction and multiple attention problems is that you better catch us hard and fast with words to have them stick. You could also say that reading and memorizing scripture can be hard to remember especially in a crisis, but if we can remember just a few words:
The Lord Is My Shepherd.....
Love Never Fails....
Christ Is Risen....
Feed My Sheep.....
Two Are Better Than One.....
Pick your own -they will pop up when you need them or when you see something that triggers the phrase. In the early days of the recovery ministry we took a few words from a Don McLaughlin sermon and turned them into an incredible movement of God. You Can Make It.......there were songs, signs and shouts of it everywhere as it became a call to recovery through the great healer Jesus Christ.
Now, in honor of Willie Mae we have a new one for those of us who are still trying to get one hour, one day, one year clean and sober, and also those others who are struggling with some form of sin that is in danger of becoming addictive. These words come from that Hall & Oates song with the catchy beat:
I Can't Go For That.
Very simply it is a very loose translation of Jesus words, "Go and sin no more.....". Some of us who have been upside down may forget that scripture but we can remember that song, those words.
Take a listen to it when you get a chance, write it on a card and put it in your wallet, and remember that the Lord used another version of those words to dismiss the devil when he was tempted, "Away from me Satan!", and shortly later the devil left him and the angels rallied around his side.
Pick your words to remember, away from me Satan, go and sin no more or whatever is easy for you. For me the words keep pounding over and over in my head, and I pray they will stay there.
I Can't Go For That. It will remind me whose advertising slogan I need to pay attention to!
Change- Man that is a tough word to speak. At times it is so scary that we stutter when we say it with a fear that comes from the unknown, not being sure of what is next. Change means different, when you wake up tomorrow there will be a new adventure to go on, a new challenge to face, a new way to do things, our routines may be shot, sometimes good changes, but often difficult ones.
Like retiring from your job, changing locations, getting married and going into full time ministry. That's massive, and for the last few weeks that this has become reality there were days when I was a little freaky. Though I am ready now, it took some time to pray through it to adjust.
Once Jesus asked the rich young ruler to change, he did not. He asked his apostles to change, they did. He mentioned to the Jewish leaders that they should change the way they thought toward God, they didn't. God told Abraham to change his location, he did, Moses to change his calling, he did. He told a generation of followers he was the way to change, some did, most did not.
What made the decision different? The one's who did had their mind on God, the ones who didn't had their mind on this world we live in. Every day we wake up there is a possibility of change, and truth is, if we are not seeking to find the will of God in every day, we won't change. How many times have we all wanted to change, but we couldn't change that habit, that channel or that mindset? Quite frankly, we are hooked on what we have, not what God has.
Change, my friends, is so much easier when we know it is God inspiring the change. But if our focus is on what we have, how much money we are making and how big our houses are, the only change we make is toward making that better and bigger.
When we know God is in the change, the fear gradually slips away. After a few prayers and a cup of coffee, we begin to understand that all of life is about change, we can never stay the same. Think not? Try to wake up tomorrow and stop your aging, those lines in your face identify change. Try going to the movie which costs $11.50 hand them a $20 bill and not ask for change. Everybody freaks out when something is different, not knowing the outcome of change.
Change is everywhere and in everything and if you don't like it I understand, but if you don't change you will lead a very boring self centered life, and God will never be your reason to change, it will all be about you.
I know this change. Used to be all about me, used to be all about what I could get. Now, as I progress on that path toward the end of my earthly life, every day I wish to look less like Glenn, and a lot more like Him.
That requires a whole lot of Change.
Last night in a conversation with a good friend, this classic Bob Seger song was brought up as a definite parallel to those who struggle with addiction. It seems we have always been trying to go Against The Wind!
That can be a very bad thing or in some cases result in a good thing. First scenario, those who use and abuse it are usually feeling like they are on the outside looking in, mostly fighting an uphill battle to gain self esteem, status or approval. Real life seems to be an outside element of where they are which is usually a fantasy land they created to cope. And when they try to fit in they usually are runnin' against that wind.
For the purpose of this writing that wind is the right way people believe you should go, it is also the right way God thinks you should go. Now if it is the wind of God blowing in our faces, we should turn around and let it take us to a new level of life where we ride on the wings of eagles soaring with the wind and above the fray of ordinary life. We are free to be us, breaking the chains of whatever binds us, and following into the footsteps of a Spirit filled life.
That life leads us in many directions! Some of which requires a massive dose of faith rather than a massive dose of alcohol to give us courage.
That brings me back to the wind of people blowing in our faces. We love people because for sure the Lord said the greatest commandments were to "love the lord thy God with all your heart and all your soul, and all of thy mind. And, thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself". We hear that, we truly want to do that, but nowhere in there does it say we always have to listen to our neighbor's advice.
Too many times in life we let the opinion of others get in the way of following that wind of God that propels us. Someone once said, "Those people that say you can't do it need to stay out of the way of the people that are doing it". Not meant to be a mean or depriving statement, only a reminder that nothing is impossible with God. Everything can be impossible if we always listen to others.
Simply examine which wind is blowing in our faces, and then choose that which can take us where we have never been before.
You know I really love Daphne, AL. The people, the climate, the beaches close by, the lack of congestion, and oh yes, there is this great opportunity I have had for 4 years to be a part of a wonderful automotive organization. That being said, I rendered my notice today to retire from here and the car business effective May 1st.
I got a call from God, and he said he wants me to come home to the ATL, for a couple of reasons, one of which I will share in this blog.
I have been given the opportunity to be supported in full time ministry of my choosing, and of course I accepted. This would include helping with Across The Bridge at Campus Church as well as any other recovery ministry that wants help and allowing me just to follow the path He puts me on in other directions, including exploring a new church, The Church of the Lost and Found.
Sound crazy, you bet, I just love it when God changes directions for me in a heartbeat. I love these folks at Eastern Shore Toyota and Hyundai, we have served together well and forged incredible friendships, but He has spoken and I will not turn back. I am Coming Home in May.
But this is really not about me, it is about the many great men and women who have come before who have paved the way to serve. We are the hands and feet of a merciful God and when He allows us more time to talk about Him it is a distinct privilege. But I cannot hide my excitement about the ability to free lance to wherever the journey goes, and the opportunity to serve others who are lost.
See you soon and let's hear it ATL, Rise Up! In more ways than one.
Glenn is an ex-Marine Viet Nam vet who is also a recovering alcoholic, clean and sober for 30 years. He has been involved in start up and ongoing recovery ministry at North Atlanta Church and Campus for the last two decades. He has a passion for outreach and to spread the message that the answer to lasting and fulfilling recovery from addiction is in a relationship with Jesus Christ. He and the ATB team are available to assist in your questions or needs on an individual basis and will do so maintaining complete confidentiality. You may e-mail him at firstname.lastname@example.org.