Thursday, August 30, 2012

Welcome to the Human Race

Do you struggle with something?  We all struggle with something - it's part of being human.  There is no one who has it all together, only God has it all together.  And so when we admit that we are broken we actually find ourselves in a very good place because we can (finally!) accept that we are in need of a Savior.  At Celebrate Recovery at Hydesville Church we not only talk about a 'Higher Power,' we know He has a name:  Jesus Christ.  Jesus enables us to break through the things that bring us down and gives us hope for the future that is based on truth.  Do you stuggle?  That's o.k., hope is on the way.  Place the trust for your future in the One who knows the future.  "For we do not have a high priest who cannot sympathize with our weaknesses, but One who hs been tempted in all things as we are, yet without sin.  Therefore let us draw near with confidence to the throne of grace, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need."  Hebrews 4:15-16
Celebrate Recovery meets at 6 PM on Friday nights at the Hydesville Church campus.  Dinner is $4.  The large group time (free) starts at 6:30 PM.

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Do You Struggle?

"Do you ever eat or drink more calories than your body needs? Do you ever feel you ought to exercise but don't? Do you ever know the right thing to do but don't do it? Do you ever know something is wrong but you do it anyway? If you answered yes to any of the questions above, you'll know without a doubt that you are a citizen of the human race." - Rick Warren

Welcome to Celebrate Recovery at Hydesville Church - 6 PM Fridays.

Saturday, August 25, 2012

Today is the Day

"Is this a special day?" she asked in her four-year old innocence?  It had been a rather ordinary Saturday, really.  A later breakfast following a late night evening of Celebrate Recovery gave Saturday a relaxed atmosphere.   There was the normal mix of tinkering with over due projects around the house, some cleaning and picking up in-between occasional hugs and impromptu silly songs, and  enjoying the bounties of a north coast back yard: blackberries and lemon cukes.  While Papa attended to some fix it projects I took her for a walk/ride in the red wood wagon that my Dad had given her mother when she was a child.  We stopped and observed simple pretty things in our neighborhood.  It was a day of just taking time, and that's why it felt like pure luxury.

"This is the day the LORD has made; let us rejoice and be glad in it."  Psalm 118:24 (NIV)

It's easy to get caught up in the rush rush of life, and I do it often.  Yet days like this give such perspective and meaning to the rhythm of life.  "Is this a special day?"  "Why, yes it is my dear, just because we are together."  

Monday, August 20, 2012

God Gives the Love, We Give the Hug

Pain is going to happen.  Sometimes it is something we bring upon ourselves, and sometimes it seems totally random.  We were at the wrong place and seemingly the wrong time or we are impacted by some disease that doesn't run in our family, but here is shows up or a wide variety of other equally hard things.  In the wrestling to make sense of suffering we search for purpose.  The following Scripture gives us a glimmer of hope as we wade through a difficult time:

"All praise to God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ.  God is our merciful Father and the source of all comfort.  He comforts us in all our troubles so that we can comfort others.  When they are troubled, we will be able to give them the same comfort God has given us.  For the more we suffer for Christ, the more God will shower us with His comfort through Christ.  Even when we are weighed down with troubles it is for your comfort and salvation!  For when we ourselves are comforted, we will certainly comfort you.  Then you can patiently endure the same things we suffer.  We are confident that as you share in our sufferings, you will also share in the comfort God gives us."    II Corinthians 1:3-7 (NLT)

If we receive pain with a trust that indeed God loves us and will still use this in a positive way in our lives (eventually!) then we can begin to see the silver lining to the black clouds.  This knowledge doesn't make the pain go away necessarily, but that knowledge gives purpose to our pain so that we might endure, become stronger spiritually, learn life lessons and perhaps help someone else in a significant way. In fact, the compassion gained through pain and suffering can save somebody's life.

Sometimes it is just a kind word or gesture - birthed from personal pain - that prompts us to offer compassion just when someone needs it most.  That comfort we receive from God - that promise that our pain is not random, but in God's great sovereignty, somehow purposeful - is the very comfort we can pass on to others.  Others receive God's comfort with human hands and hearts wrapped around it.  God gives the love, we give the hug.

"You can trust the Man that died for you."  - Streams in the Desert    

Sunday, August 19, 2012

In Praise of My Older Friends

Some incredibly dear people to me have reached a beautiful-mellow stage of their 'vintage' years.  As I think of them I realize that they are at their most incredible stage of life.  The height of wisdom and unselfish love, that is free of the insecurities and mental battles of wills and egos that us younger folks grapple with, is strong and pure.  They have such a laser sharp conviction of their thoughts and purpose.  This doesn't happen with everyone of course.  But for those who have a solid faith in God as their time-tested default mechanism these later years are the sweetest.  Their faith has been tested by going through the furnace of affliction, troubles, loss of family and friends, physical difficulty and sickness.  Oh, how I don't want to waste a moment of this precious and valuable time of being in their presence - whenever possible.  The cloudy notions of what is important and what is not in our younger and middle years are made indelibly clear when the clock ticks faster and faster.  Things come into focus and the precious stuff I get to listen to - I want to walk around with a tape recorder!!!  There is no amount of money or possessions that can surpass these treasures.  Their words of encouragement mean the world to me.  So this day I honor my time-tested dear family and friends in my heart and hold their wise words and actions close to me.  Thank you Lord for the life lessons you have taught me through these dear souls.  

Thursday, August 2, 2012

Friday night, August 10th at 6:30-7:30 PM there is a free concert featuring Alex Walker and Jennifer Dietz.  This concert is presented by the Celebrate Recovery at Hydesville Church.  The location is at the corner of Highway 36 and Rohnerville Road in Hydesville.

Celebrate Recovery is all about seeking God's healing for life's hurts, habits and hang ups.  Everyone struggles with something.  This is an honest place where confidentiality is highly valued and where one can be real about addressing the things in life that trip us up.  Hope is for real.  This concert gives one an opportunity to check Celebrate Recovery out.  Come Home to God.  It's time!   

Just Give Me Jesus

I had the opportunity to listen to Anne Graham Lotz once in San Diego.  She calls her gatherings 'Just Give Me Jesus.'  Among all of the things that can consume our time and thinking, Anne reminds us, get back to Jesus.  Remember what this is all about....Just give me Jesus.  Anne is the daughter of Billy and Ruth Graham and an amazing Bible teacher.  Here is a link to her website which has free resources for devotional Bible study.