I heard a message yesterday from our own Robert "Smooth" Colbert during Smooth Talk, at which he spoke of who to say thank you to during this holiday week. He mentioned that in making his list he left off the God who has given us everything even though he often thanked him as usual on a daily basis.
Truth be told there are days where all of us forget to say thank you to Him. It is a cliche to say it but we take Him for granted just as we often do the generosity of others toward us. As I get older and closer to joining Him in heaven it has become easier for me to not only thank Him daily but to remember everyone who has joined us on this ATB journey.
We pray for you, we are thankful for your love, prayers and support and we never forget where we came from. But it is clear that God has orchestrated our path, compelled you to be a part of us, and taken what we have and multiplied it to help so many others. The stepping stones to success are built on faith in the process and faith in those who fuel the progress.
So we say today on Thanksgiving eve, Thanks for the Giving, you are a blessing, a treasure to us and a gift from God. And to Him who brings it all into the storehouse of His will for us, thanks for the ultimate giving of redemption that Jesus has provided, and the mercy and grace that comes from knowing Him.
All of that is our Thanksgiving feast!
This blog title is one of great debate in the recovery community. First of all, anytime you give up a drug of choice that is destroying your life - bravo! That being said, there is a game called Domino's that has an effect on those words Clean & Sober.
Sobriety is the state of being sober which means according to Webster's not affected by alcohol; not being drunk. It also offers another definition of being temperate. But when we define Clean & Sober it comes out in today's street definition as the initial step into sobriety (clean), while sobriety only happens when a person begins to fully embrace their sober life (sober) and work on the underlying issues that fuel addiction.
Here's where the Domino's come in. If you line them up on their ends (the domino's) and push one forward they all fall. So it is in today's world of extreme drugs and bombardment of alcohol ads. You are either clean & sober or you are not. One needs to be free of all mind altering substances (including energy drinks and vape store legal but harmful drugs) or the Domino's will eventually fall & cause a relapse. It starts with one.
Doesn't happen 100% of the time, but I would say after seeing all those who return from a relapse - maybe 95%. Are you willing to take that 5% chance and possibly die from an overdose, or do you want to learn how to live sober?
We have the Steps to work, meetings to attend but we also have a blueprint for success in Romans 12:2:
Do not be conformed to the pattern of this world (the pressures to be like everyone else. those tempting ads, chasing the next high), but be transformed by the renewing of your mind so that you may prove what is the good, pleasing and perfect will of God".
His will for sure is for us to think clearly, be strong and courageous, and to not be controlled by ANY mind altering substance. And the way to do it is to stay connected to Him in any and all circumstances so that we may feel the real presence of God that is the most natural high one could ever have.
That's why they call Him the Most High, nothing else can replace Him!
Tell me, what was the first thing you thought of when you saw the title of this blog? Me too, but looks and those thoughts can be deceiving in so many ways. Please, read on.....
When we think about the intricacies of God's creation on earth, the astonishing sights, wonders and amazing variety of people, animals, birds, insects and seasons - we must admit we have no way to figure out everything about God. We can certainly not create him in our image because our image is so limited while his is unending and unfathomable. Do you agree? Then say God is God and I am not.
That question leads us to these three things to think about:
1. Am I locked up as to what I believe about God?
2. Is my heart locked up to receive love and grace and to forgive myself and others?
3. Is my mind locked up to a solution to my problems?
Tough questions but God is more than able to assist in answering them all with you. You see, nothing can lock him up, and he certainly doesn't want his children to be. He demonstrated it in John Chapter 20 after his resurrection.
His Apostles didn't believe he was back from the dead, they were afraid so they locked the doors in verse 19 for fear of the Jewish radicals. Despite the door being locked Jesus came and stood among them, And he said "Peace be with you". How did he get in? Remember nothing is impossible for God.
Then in verses 24-26 he needs to prove to a doubting Thomas that he has in fact risen. Most of us focus on him showing the hands with the nail holes in them, but it also says, Though the doors were locked, Jesus came and stood among them and said, peace be with you.
There is no such thing as a heart he cannot penetrate, a situation he cannot help us conquer and certainly no theories that can change these amazing facts- he made us, he loves us and he wants nothing to get in the way between him and us.
May peace be with you my friend as you read his words, not mine, and understand he never wants us to be locked up!
Years ago I had a dream about a building that God would provide for our recovery ministry. Some thought I was crazy, but one other person came up to me and said she also had a dream about a building. I took that as confirmation from God. When I met with the staff at the church I was attending to discuss ATB the preacher remarked "Well we just ought to buy you a building". Another confirmation.
Several years later we celebrate our 5th anniversary of being in that building as our own non-profit.
We read in the scriptures of God speaking to others in a dream, and we have heard so many times of people like MLK saying they had a dream, but we know for sure that dreams come true if the Dream Weaver is involved. It might be as simple as the dream job or the dream spouse or house, or possibly the dream vacation (Oh God how I long for the beach).
But there are spiritually related dreams that are crystal clear and intentional to fulfill God's purpose. You can tell by how they turn out, and they usually have little to do with the person who had the dream. Here's how ATB started and what has come about:
I had virtually no money and no building when we started in October of 2018 - but I had a dream.
I had next to no furnishings when we moved into our building in 2019 - but I had a dream.
We had maybe three meetings committed to us then - but I had a dream!
The money came in from everywhere, from private donors, corporations, grants from folks at Walton EMC, Scott Hudgens Family Foundation, 12Stone Church, Campus Church, Imlay Foundation, Wal-Mart, Community Foundation for Northeast Georgia, Waffle House, Georgia Power and income from our meetings and building use. Over a million dollars has been donated, and over 120,000 people have come through our doors since that dream of a building came true.
The chairs which used to be few and foldup are now padded and numerous. 170 people have been baptized and though we are not a church people think we are. When they walk through our doors, come to our celebrations and meetings they don't see Glenn or Jen, they see Jesus, that's what we are ultimately all about.
The Dream Weaver leaves no doubt as to to how that dream comes true!
I suppose that if Jesus were to set up an office here on earth and have a marquee sign out front it would read "Welcome Sinners". Constantly, and to the point of always making the religious leaders of the day mad, he would hang out with what was considered to be despicable characters.
I know, because I was one of those, and he came and hung out with me on a daily basis. No, not that old, but when I was at my worst point God met me where I was, not where he was, and completely transformed my life. That may be one of the things that make him so approachable - he is down to earth in the way he calls us, He sits with us, talks to us, hangs out with us and clearly demonstrates patience with us.
When we invite him into our homes. and into our battered lives, his mere presence creates an atmosphere of peace and love. The hatred, self-deprecation, shame and all those other things that hold us back seem to fall away when he comes near. But he won't join us unless we invite him to.
In Luke 19 he deals with the corrupt tax collector Zacchaeus by inviting himself over to his house to stay. In Verse 7 the people are all angry and say "He has gone to be the guest of a sinner". Zacchaeus being unfazed invited him over and became a changed man forever.
How many times has God tapped you on the shoulder, or appeared when you least expected him to try to get your attention? For some of us it has been a life long struggle to invite him in because we feel like he belongs with those religious folks who actually keep the rules, not us who are rebellious and "unqualified".
I found out something very important. He calls the so called "unqualified" to be qualified through him and then uses us to attract the folks who were just like we were into his family as well.
His sign is always on, always flashing "Welcome Sinners"!
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 email@example.com.