Some may remember the sitcom about Archie Bunker and family, some may not have ever heard of it, and for you let's just say Archie was rather opinionated and rude. If you are from an unusual family ,you may have someone like him in yours, someone who sticks out from others as rather odd.
The Bible is full of examples of folks in the family and heritage of God who were a mess. Noah, David, Abraham, they all had multiple dysfunction within their bloodlines and they too paralleled the oddity of Archie. But from them came some of the greatest leaders, wisest people and most productive citizens. Regardless of what they all did, they were still all in the family.
I received a text from someone who related to how great it was last Sunday to visit with our ATB family. To have that kind of impact on someone means we are doing what 1st century Christians set out to do. They continued to meet, break bread together and talk about their messiah. As they had needs they gave to each other. And if you can imagine what kind of a diverse group they had, there must have been a few problems that they needed to talk about and look for solutions with spiritual guidance.
Most importantly, I don't recall them turning away anyone. There must have been nothing but love and acceptance although in their culture, as in ours, there were differences among them. But they were not centered on their own needs, they were centered on having the mind of Christ.
We are nothing special at ATB, except that we are centered on that same mind of Christ. And that means that as culturally, ethnically and spiritually diverse as we are, we are all about one thing...healing through the power on the Lord and then telling everyone else who will listen about how that happened. We mirror family through and through because just as God shows us, we never give up on anyone, even if they are heading down the wrong road again and again and again.
We truly are all in the family, in the family of God just as those 1st century folks were. If you are a little dysfunctional and quirky, you just might come join us, people who are just like you, you will never be rejected, only loved on and on and on.
That is the mind of Christ!
One of the things that I cherish is a hand made western Arizona looking rug thing that my Mom weaved in her last years on earth. It hangs on my wall, reminds me of her and always brings a warm feeling to my heart. It represents also what she passed on to me, which is a strong sense of family and fellowship with other people, especially people in need. She was like that, always reaching out to others.
Remember that game show Let's Make A Deal? Always there was a choice as to which door your best deal was behind, and the adventure was always fun to watch, especially if the contestant picked the actual best deal. Wouldn't it be great if life offered us the same? What would our best deal be like?
If we look at it, the process of addiction does have access to those three doors, although they are much more serious choices. However, there is one door that offers the adventure of a lifetime, and is filled with prizes that will definitely satisfy our needs. But choosing that door is often the last choice and a preliminary roller coaster ride is what we take to get there. Are you ready?
Door #1 has hidden behind it the use of alcohol and drugs to medicate our feelings or find an escape from the reality of life. It is called Chemical Addiction. It terrorizes families, destroys friendships and wreaks havoc on our health and self-esteem. But it is a familiar door where we find temporary comfort, and if we let it, it can become a locked up door in more ways than one.
Door #2 is a door that is often hidden in the lives of church attendees, so-called normal families and in high rollers lifestyles. It is the medication of emotional pain and high stress living through less obvious methods like work, sex,food, relationships, prescription drugs, etc. It is called Process Addiction. Less obvious and harder to detect than Door #1, but a rampant choice none the less. This one has a termite effect on life, it slowly eats away at the heart and soul and is usually justified by the phrase "this is what I need to do to get by, but I can quit any time I choose."
Door #3 is one that contains the best prizes of this world behind it, it is filled with freedom. It's popular phrase is ".....then you will know the truth and the truth will set you free". It is a door that opens wide to an all access of love, peace, joy and happiness. It opens to a world of incredible relationships, confidence, self esteem of the highest magnitude, and it is a door that never closes because it is unlocked by grace. It has gifts that keep on giving every day.
To be honest there is no logical explanation why it took so long for me to choose Door #3. How about you?
In the "Open House" meeting on July 27th in our ATB class, and in our new series we will announce this Sunday for the month of August, we will talk about the keys to unlocking that door to freedom. It will be informational, uplifting and possibly life changing. And it will always be pointing toward a relationship with He that holds the keys to choosing the right door.
Everyone is invited to join us on this brief but spectacular journey, details to follow.
In His Love, Glenn
I remember how discouraged I was though few people really knew what was on my heart. It was a 3 year period for me of lower income, and decreased business, so much so that I had to have a little help from my friends to make it by and to survive. It sent me into debt, but we never missed a beat in ministry or in ministering to others. Thanks to many new blessings, I am in the process of paying it all back.
For all of us there is a time when we feel like we are wandering in the desert, it seems there is no light at the end of the tunnel, and life seems to be passing us by. Maybe we created that atmosphere, maybe we didn't, but it always either grows us closer to God or drives a wedge between us because we feel slighted and forgotten by Him.
For me it was the former, I drew closer, but not without some complaining in private moments with the Lord. But what I did find in those moments of darkness was the value that others placed on me in how they were willing to help get me through. It made me realize how much we need each other, and how God created us to have honest, vulnerable relationships that require taking off that mask we often wear.
In ATB, we practice having no masks by talking about reality. The good, bad and ugly are often on the table. Some like it, many don't because it requires a level of honesty they cannot get to. Folks in Churches feel threatened by those who actually talk about their sins even though that is what the Bible not only tells us, but commands us to do. Somehow we think the phrase "everything is great" makes us look better.
What is important about surrounding ourselves with "go to" people we can be real with, is that they are there for us, they don't run away when things get tough and greasy. There are 4 or 5 people to me who I would go to the end of the earth for because they have demonstrated not only belief in me, but have shown me God in the flesh. Several of them are reading this blog right now.
My point, others spurring us on makes us want to spur others on. And when we do, we are following God's plan to bring out the best in each other. If I get by with a little help from my friends, I create other opportunities when I am blessed to pass on that incredibly uplifting faith to another human being. And, it feels so awesome to see the process continuing to develop life long relationships that are real.
To some, this blog title is just an old Beatles song. To me it is what helped me to get where I am today. To you wonderful people who did, I will never forget, and I will always pass it on in your honor as well as His!
Anyone captivated by this current Soccer World Cup and the US success knows this phrase, it is the 2014 slogan that has inspired millions of fans. It began as a cheer 15 years ago led by a male cheerleader at the U.S. Naval Academy and has evolved into a passionate mantra that rivals that of any other nation participating in the Cup.
The key word in this phrase to me is "we".
This indicates that it takes more than one person to win, it takes the team (or individual), the fans and some inspiration to have the will to win. It has worked as a phrase for all those years for many, and now is forever embedded in US Soccer history.
What's even more personal is if we take this into our spiritual life. You can look at it this way for those of us who were at one time very lost and without purpose. The "I" who made all the mistakes, chose all the wrong directions, came to the end of him or herself, has now become "We" because of what happened on the cross.
When we walk with the Lord, we now believe we will win. It says so in the Bible. Even if today you are experiencing some form of loss, it may be just a temporary battle, but you are about to win the war. As always, battle creates pain and suffering, but victory is so sweet, and results in such gain. Oh how sweet it is when we realize that we rode into the winners circle on the shoulders of God Almighty!
Yes indeed, "I Believe That We Will Win" should be our daily affirmation because we are more than conquerors over addiction, pain and suffering, we are members of the elite dream team in the eyes of the Lord. Our goal every day should be to reflect the image of a winner because defeat is only a temporary step to an ultimate victory.
Yes, the US lost yeserday. but did you notice how they played in the last few minutes? They came from behind, narrowly missing winning the match, scaring the Belgians with a never say die attitude. And now suddenly this country is now Soccer nuts.
Just imagine how we could change the world if we carried that same "I Believe We Will Win" attitude into spreading the message of hope and recovery into our community and families? Maybe that's how the apostles felt after receiving the Holy Spirit and power?
Do you believe? If you do, God can do some awesome and amazing things through you!
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.