When we go to a movie it us usually because we want to be entertained. The choices are many from adventure to comedy to love stories to mystery and even horror. No matter what we choose there are two elements of the script, Drama and Hope.
The question I pose today is which one would someone else describe us as? Great to see both in the movies but in reality we would love a lot less drama and much more hope. Drama drains us, hope encourages us. Drama brings chaos if it lingers, hope brings joy when fulfilled. Both drama and hope are inevitable but how we act, how we portray ourselves is a choice.
Today I read these words in Romans 15:13...."May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit". Exactly what that translates to is so well described in my Life Recovery Bible commentary that I will reprint it word for word.
God not only wants to fill us, but he wants us to be so full of him that we overflow with his hope and joy. Then the redeeming effects of our faith and our recovery will naturally spread to our families, friends, workplaces and the community at large.
We are the script writers of our own movie, we choose to follow what we follow be it drama or hope. But, if we follow that God of hope there will be many scintillating sequels to our story and it will provide a record audience in heaven that we help send there.
Punch my ticket Lord!
Several years ago at Campus Church in Norcross we began Celebrations through our recovery ministry in partnership with the youth ministry, the Warriors For Christ and others who would sing, speak or offer testimony. We ate, we sang, we worshipped and we mixed in several things that would relate to those who joined us.
At one event almost 400 folks joined us in Celebration, it was amazing and something we carried over to the beginning stages of ATB in a classroom on the second floor of the Church building and in the youth center. I remember one night having two former ladies who were openers for the Backstreet Boys sing the song No Scrubs then offering up a message that "God Don't Want No Scrubs". The message got across.
Then in the early years of having our own building that tradition was carried on by some amazing Friday nights where Good Landing Recovery and Trey Lewis would come and preach as well as Jeff Lyle, Billy Humphrey and others. Then the Pandemic hit and as GLR moved their meeting to their own facility for their Recovery Church, we were able to resume something similar on an occasional Monday night but nothing permanent also due to some COVID concerns.
But now, we are so happy to resume with our new celebration title of Xcelerate on June 27th (details on the News page on this website). As we introduce this we know it will evolve somewhat in how we do it but we know it will be inclusive, amazing and encouraging to all who come.
As we honor God, we also give props to the courageous men and women who have decided to change their lives through addiction recovery. In so doing the way we know that works is when those changed lives include a life long walk with Jesus. As we take those Steps to recovery we also take steps closer to Him and Xcelerate is designed to do just that.
Check out the News page for details, Facebook for announcements and most of all, come join us!
I remember feeling it. It was in High School at the Father & Son banquet. One of my friends dad's had invited me to go along with he and his son. That was a blessing, but my father was absent, he and my mom had divorced when I was 6 months old, and I felt a void as a young man for the first time.
Then my first girlfriend's mom broke us up because she said I wasn't good enough for her, and I felt it again. When I came back from Viet Nam they spit on us at the LA airport calling us killers, not heroes, then I felt it again. A stinging void that something was missing. Then I found an answer, alcohol and drugs and man that filled my void for many years except for one thing. I had to have more and more as time passed by because that void kept opening up wider and wider in between my high's.
Pretty much everything that transpired in my 20's and early 30's was a void. I shut people out I escaped problems and pain and I was not present for my own family. I became the one who voided out everyone else in my destructive path. I became The Void.
Then I met a Jewish carpenter who experienced that same void in his own unique way. He was mocked by others, even spit on and in a way separated from his own Father on a cross for a time. If anyone knew how I felt it was him. He knew the pain within me, he knew the hurt that helped widen that void, he understood what it would take to fill that void with something that was unavoidable.
It was the everlasting love of God, the incredible lengths of forgiveness, the amazing grace extended that was so unmerited that began to fill my void when I met him. It is so filling that it cannot help but overflow into the lives of others and from others to others. It is the answer to every void that anyone else would have for any other reason.
Maybe you too have felt it, maybe even feeling it now. I feel your pain, I understand, but He understands even better. He is the unavoidable answer right before us all to any question of why am I feeling this way?
We just cannot fill that void without him.
What is involved in becoming a leader? There are so many great leadership training courses that it is hard to choose the right one. In my case it was a matter of "on the job" training" through my experiences as an athlete, Marine, Sales Manager, Used Car Manager, CEO and leader in most of the projects that I have been involved in during my life. And then, there was the following.
The following involves being able to come under the training of another leader and learn the obvious do's and don'ts. In Viet Nam we had multiple Lieutenants lead us and only one was a true leader, the rest were just appointed the rank. One of them almost got us all killed. In sports, I will always remember Coach Capes, a former offensive lineman and very large man who without pads on would take us on in blocking and tackling drills. He certainly led by example, and we were undefeated because of his mentality.
But where I learned the true qualities of leadership were from Jesus. He said this: Anyone who wants to be first must be the very last, and servant of all. He said this in leadership training for his twelve Apostles to provide them a formula to lead. Servant leadership gets more out of people than any other form of it because it is not just a short term hype or intimidating folks to follow.
As we were growing the recovery ministry at North Atlanta Church many years ago, I would prepare a topic for the meeting, get the donuts (even then they were "live"), drive the van to pick up the folks and drop them off, clean up and oh I forgot - I would make the coffee too. It grew and grew and grew and during it other folks volunteered to do those other things until all I had left to do was prepare a topic.
Funny, 32 years later we are still doing the same thing and it is still working. North Atlanta's ministry is still going, we are still growing, and as long as I lead I will remember these elegant words from the Apostle Paul (who spent a quick 3 days in God's leadership training) in the Book of Galatians:
Am I now trying to win the approval of human beings or of God? Or am I trying to please people? If I were still trying to please people, I would not be a servant of Christ.
It is never about the leader, it's always about who the leader is following. And when we follow Christ as a leadership example, that is as a servant of Him and mankind, it all keeps going, and it all keeps growing, and we ever decrease in stature as He increases in our message.
Follow The Leader? You know we will and as always the donuts remain "live"!
P.S. Just this morning one of our folks called and said he was now an assistant manager at Dunkin Donuts and will bring the donuts free on Mondays. If it's about Him it always works!
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.