We just finished our 13th, or maybe 14th, Recovery Workshop. I do very little at these. I open the door. I usually remember to put on coffee. I open and close with prayer. Otherwise I only add the very occasional observation as my friend who has much more authority on the subject shares his hard-won wisdom. The key to becoming sober and recovering or discovering a new life, that is both worth living and useful, is a spiritual awakening and a new spiritual walk. Each workshop begins with greater numbers than we see by the end. Not everyone is ready and open to this experience, but the ones who are begin a journey of wonderful transformation.
I write all this to say that I believe it is time I took a bigger role in fostering this transformation. I will be starting a phase 2 series. There are issues that led people to turn to substances as a solution. Theses substances turned out not to be an adequate solution and now that our friends realise this, they become open to spiritual help. During their career of abusing they may also (probably have) experienced additional trauma. All of this leaves wounds that need healing and past behaviours that need recognition and repentance.
I plan to offer an opportunity to “Break Free”. We will do this through a wholesome look at truth, for substance abuse is a disease of misperceptions and delusions. We will examine scriptures that tell us about our Creator God and about who we are, in Christ. I will teach about God’s power to forgive and free us. I will share scriptures of deliverance from those things we have opened ourselves to, in the past. We will pray for forgiveness and freedom and we will declare it for ourselves and others in the group.
I share this because deciding to do something is not the same as doing it! The Epistle of James teaches that action (being a doer) is where faith is really lived out. I do not have dates or even a venue for this, but in the New Year I will be putting on our first “Breaking Free” workshop. I’ll keep you up to date. I believe this will require a good deal of prayer cover; St. Paul says it well “There is a door open for effective service but there are many adversaries.” (1Cor. 16:9)
This last week I spoke at Christ Church in Pennfield. Lately I have read a lot about dismal Church growth prospects, but this church is growing significantly. I do not think it is about programing, but it is more like what was said of the Early Church as quoted by Tertullian, “See how they love one another”. The affection and acceptance in this little country church are entirely evident. Laughter peals early and often. These are, I believe key ingredients to growth. They do not come from a video series, or even a teaching series. It comes through hearts that are open to the gentle work of the Holy Spirit, people who are obedient to the Spirit of Love’s prompting. It is no small thing to be in the presence of such love! I look forward to returning again.
Things are moving ahead on our Threshold House Project. I have been knocking on doors of potential partners in this. Jesus advises “Knock and keep on knocking”. This requires patience. December is not the time for meeting with busy people in the religious world, but the New year will provide lots of opportunity. Please pray that this project meets with favour.