This blog will serve as an opportunity for CR encouragement, shared changed life stories, resources and mini-testimonies.

Monday, April 25, 2011

Progress Not Perfection


"3 Steps Forward 2 Steps Back"

My entire life I’ve heard the phrase “Three steps forward, two steps back.” This phrase is rarely used as a declaration of achievement. Most of the time that I have used it is has been an admission of failure. I have not made as much progress in a particular area of my life that I had hoped…I took three steps forward and two steps back. I have said this phrase ashamed, disappointed and defeated.

I heard someone the other day say this phrase and it caused me to think through the “two steps back” moments of my life. Would I love to always take three steps forward? Absolutely! Would I love to achieve perfection in every area of my life? Yes! But what God has taught me is that life is more about my journey of transformation than my ability to be perfect (or pretend to be perfect).

Here are a few things “two steps back” has provided:
  • Perspective: there are times that I only appreciate the three steps I have taken forward after I realize I’ve taken two steps back. I am often so consumed by moving forward it isn’t until I fail that I stop and see how far God has brought me.
  • Humility: why is it that success can cause me to think how great I am but failure can cause me to realize how great God is? There are times that my two steps back in life, marriage, parenting or ministry has allowed me to realize that there is a God, and I am not Him.
  • My Need for Grace: I grew up thinking grace was an event. The receiving of God’s grace was what occurred at the moment of salvation. What I’ve realized in the two steps back moments in life is that I need God’s grace every single day. It is what not only saves me, but sustains me.
  • Determination to Take 3 More Steps: I want the failures in my life not to define me but to help me. I want to learn and grow and become more of the person God has created me to be, and often that comes through failure. Taking two steps back allows me to see how important taking three more steps forward will be. It provides me fuel to continue on the journey to become more like Christ.
God isn’t interested in you being perfect. He wants you to be teachable.  He wants to transform you. Often that process of transformation looks like “three steps forward, then two steps back.” Don’t be discouraged. Be determined. Learn the things God has for you in the two steps so you can take three more steps.

Remember three minus two is still progress.

If you have any questions regarding Celebrate Recovery, please click on the Contact Us link above for our contact information.

Friday, April 15, 2011

Being Still in the Storms

When Maizy, my chihuahua mix, is afraid or over-anxious and I go to her, she wiggles and pants and licks and demands that I pet her, hold her, or more. 
Tonight, during the storm, she was quiet and not whining when I let her out, but she immediately got that glazed look and frantically panted and wiggled and scratched my legs to get up.  I put my hands on her chest and back with deep pressure and said “Be still”.  
Immediately I thought of the scripture, “Be still and know that I am God” and had instant realization that many times when I go to God I am all panicky and insistent, thinking that I know what I need and why doesn’t He just do it now.  
I see that when Maizy is all excited and frantic she is not even taking advantage of my presence. 
When she becomes still, she can feel me beside her and be calm and rest in the fact that she knows I am there.  
It is the same thing for me and God.  If I get all panicky and worried, or insistent, I don’t realize the fullness of His presence, but if I really do be STILL in my spirit, then knowing that He is God is all the comfort I need to rest my soul during the storms of life. 
Missy - NLC-Heber Springs CR Ministry Leader

If you have any questions regarding Celebrate Recovery, please click on the Contact Us link above for our contact information.

Saturday, April 9, 2011

Shocked by My Own Advice

By Lysa TerKeurst (Proverbs 31 Ministries)
“Enter through the narrow gate. For wide is the gate
and broad is the road that leads to destruction, and
many enter through it. But small is the gate and narrow
the road that leads to life, and only a few find it.”
Matthew 7:13-14 (NIV)
The choice is mine. If I want to be a sold out somebody for God, I have to break away from the everybody crowd.

Today’s key verses are not easy for a girl who wanted nothing more growing up than to fit in. Don’t cause waves. Don’t stand out. Don’t stand up. Don’t rock the boat of norm in anyway. Just go with the flow in the same direction as everyone else.

But somewhere along my Christian journey, going with the flow started to bother me.

Verses like the one above in Matthew 7 and Romans 12:2, “Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind,” started to mess with my status quo existence.

Conformed or transformed? The choice is mine. If I want to be a sold out somebody for God, I have to break away from the everybody crowd.

This is a message I shared with my son one day when he came to me scared. He admitted things had gone a little too far with his girlfriend and wanted help processing what to do. They hadn’t crossed every line but enough that he knew they were headed in a dangerous direction.

We sat on the back deck and processed the situation together. We read a list of empowering Scripture verses seeking to filter every part of this situation through God’s truth. In the end, he and his girlfriend came to the realization they needed to break up. It’s really hard to put things in reverse after certain lines have been crossed.

I walked back into the house after that conversation with two things running through my brain. I was thrilled my son came to me to talk about such a sensitive issue. What an honor to breathe Truth into his physical struggle.

But, I was also feeling a little panicked at the realities of parenting older teenagers. And that feeling led me straight to the pantry, convinced I needed some chocolate. I deserved some chips! As I loaded my arms full of treats, I was suddenly struck by a gut wrenching question. How can I expect my son to apply
Truth to his area of physical struggle but refuse to apply it to my area of physical struggle?

Ouch. I was shocked by my own advice.

If I wanted to model what it looks like to live out truth in my physical struggles, I would have to break up with unhealthy choices. God made me to consume food, but food was never supposed to consume me.

Making healthy choices with my food would have to be part of my breaking away. I would have to distance myself from my distraction if I wanted to become truly transformed.

What’s your distraction? What’s the one way you can start to break away from the everybody crowd?
The everybody crowd says, “if it feels good it is good.” The everybody crowd says, “don’t deny yourself… that’s so old school.” The everybody crowd says, “everybody’s living it up – so should you.”

Conformed or transformed? The choice is ours. If we want to be a sold out somebody for God, we have to break away from the everybody crowd.
Dear Lord, I want and need to live apart from the everybody crowd. Free me of my distractions. Remove my insecurities. Help me to follow You with my whole heart. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.
Application Steps:
The choice is ours. If we want to be a sold out somebody for God, we have to break away from the everybody crowd. Look at your life and honestly determine if there is any area where you need to break away from the crowd.

Am I living as conformed or transformed?

Do I have any distractions right now that are keeping me from being a sold out somebody for God?
What is one way I can start to break away from the everybody crowd?

Power Verses:
Matthew 6:33, “But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well.” (NIV)

1 Peter 5:8, “Be self-controlled and alert. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour.” (NIV)

If you have any questions regarding Celebrate Recovery, click on the Contact Us link at the top of the page.

Friday, April 8, 2011

Withheld Truth

"Withheld Truth" by Justin Davis @

Why is it so easy to hide? Why is it so easy to only share part of the truth?

This past week, I had the opportunity to continue our 5 Things Series, you can watch/listen to the entire message HERE. In the message I talked about  3 people to whom we have to speak truth:

1. Tell the truth to yourself.
The greatest of all deception is self-deception.
Writer Mike Novak says: “Our capacity for self-deception has no known limits.” The prophet Obadiah in the Old Testament says it like this: “The pride of your heart has deceived you.”
For years, I deceived myself about my insecurities; about my pride; about my addictions and lust issues. I deceived myself to believe I was closer to God than I really was. When I believe the lies I tell myself, I am in a very dangerous place. We don’t have the capacity to speak to truth to anyone if we lie to ourselves.

2. Tell Your Spouse the Truth.
God has created us to know and to be known. I counsel with husband and wife all the time. I will say something like, “Have you told your wife that?” “Have you shared that with your husband?” Most of the time their response is “Are you crazy? I could never tell my husband that.” “My wife could never know that about me.” Withholding truth breaks intimacy. So my question to you today is…Is there something that you hope your spouse never knows about you? If the answer to that question is “yes” you have limited your capacity to experience intimacy in your marriage.

3. Tell God the Truth.
Neal Plantinga writes this: I go hours, days, weeks at a time never really thinking about Him; never really turning my heart and will over to Him; never seriously attend to Him; never bring Him sustained focus.  The thought that I am entangled more and more in the sin that brought Jesus to the cross, that thought becomes bearable and then routine. Eventually, I find God doesn’t seem very real. I find myself not praying all that much.  The less I pray, the less real God seems. I forget God. I forget sin.

How do we forget to tell God about the struggles we have? What we think is that by not being honest with God we are actually saving ourselves from pain and hurt. We are avoiding pain, in the short term.  But what we forfeit by not being honest with God is the healing of our heart.

Maybe you feel distance in your marriage but it has nothing to do with your marriage…it has to do with this healing that God longs to bring, when you are willing be honest with him and allow him into all parts of your heart.

Who do you have the hardest time telling the WHOLE truth to?

If you have any questions about Celebrate Recovery, click on the Contact Us link above for contact information.

Thursday, April 7, 2011

Shifting Our Values

 Written by Justin Davis at

gearshift-knob There is no doubt I have made a lot of mistakes in life and marriage. Most of them are written about on this blog. One of the biggest mistakes I have made as I have tried to follow Christ and as I have tried to grow as a husband and father is trying to change my behavior without changing my heart.

There have been times in my life that I knew our marriage was in trouble…so I said I would try harder.

There have been times that I knew I wasn’t as close to God as I should be…so I said I would try harder.

There have been times that I knew I wasn’t giving my kids the very best I could…so I said I would try harder.

Trying harder doesn’t work.

So often, especially as Christians, we look for behavior modification to improve our walk with God, our marriages and our relationships, but what we have tragically overlooked is our need for heart transformation.

Being a better husband doesn’t require a change of behavior…it requires a change of heart.
Being a better father doesn’t require a change of behavior…it requires a change of heart.
Being a better disciple of Christ doesn’t require a change of behavior…it requires a change of heart.

In order for me to change how I act, I need to change what I care about. What I care about the most drives my behavior. So here are three value-shifts that I am trying to make in my own life believing they will impact who I am as a husband, parent and friend.

1. Value truth-telling more than image building.
I am working really hard to care more about telling you the truth about me than what you think about me.  What if I was as committed to sharing truth as I was building my reputation? God is constantly reminding me that he doesn’t care how I look to others; He just wants me to be honest.

2. Value transparency more than accountability.
I have written about this before, but I have a personal belief that accountability is a Christian crutch. I think accountability is useless. We use it to make ourselves look more spiritual than we really are. Accountability is only as valuable as the transparency we offer in the context of that accountability. We don’t have to be transparent with everyone, but we should be transparent with someone.

3. Value intimacy more than the absence of conflict.
God has designed us for intimacy…the word intimacy means “to be fully known.” But being fully known is risky….being fully known is vulnerable. So often in my life I value pain avoidance more than being fully known. So I sacrifice intimacy with God, with my wife or with a good friend in favor of avoiding conflict. I want to learn to see conflict as God’s way of building intimacy in my life.

Which of these values resonates most in your heart?

If you have any questions regarding Celebrate Recovery, click on the Contact Us link at the top of the page.

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Hidden Potential

"Hidden Potential" by Tracie Miles @

“Therefore, if anyone is in Christ,
the new creation has come:
the old has gone, the new is here!”
2 Corinthians 5:17 (NIV)

Christ sees your value and hidden potential. Do you?

I was challenged by this thought recently after putting my son to bed.
Every night, I receive the same request when I tuck him in. He looks at me with big, blue eyes, pokes his bottom lip out for sentimental effect, and asks for a bedtime story. Last night was no exception. As usual, I skimmed the contents of his room. Searching for an item that might plant a story idea in my head, I noticed his gray sock monkey.

Instantly, my thoughts started weaving a tale about an old gray piece of cloth that lived on a shelf in a fabric store for many years. The story easily unfolded in my imagination as my little man sat wide-eyed, intently listening to the details.

When the story ended, I kissed my son goodnight and immediately felt a gentle whisper in my spirit reminding me of the truth held in today’s key verse. “You were once just like that little, old piece of fabric, but God transformed you into a new creation, too.”

You see, I started the bedtime story by explaining how this dull, gray piece of fabric would sit quietly on the shelf each day, desperately longing for someone to notice him. From his place on the dusty shelf, he had a bird’s eye view of all the beautiful fabrics that held so much more potential.

He admired the fabrics of vibrant orange and pink polka dots that would one day be transformed into frilly toddler dresses; the fabrics with elegant stripes that would make fine draperies for beautiful homes; the fabrics with tassels and shimmering coins dangling from their edges; and the myriad of fun fabrics, adorned
with colorful cartoon characters.

But he was just a boring old piece of gray fabric.

Nothing special. Nothing elegant. Nothing valuable. Old. Outdated. Worthless.

Certainly nothing worthy of being transformed into anything new and wonderful.

One spring day, a frail elderly woman wandered into the store. The gray piece of fabric could tell she was a seamstress by the wrinkled tape measure around her neck and the rusty thimble on her finger.

As she meandered around the store, continually brushing wisps of white hair from her face, she seemed to be searching for something special. Suddenly, her eyes fell upon the little piece of gray fabric tucked shyly away in the corner.

He dared to think that maybe, just maybe, she would see potential in him.

As the woman drew closer, his heart began to race. She gently picked him up and headed towards the cash register, adding buttons, fabric scraps, and thread to her hands along the way.

When the seamstress returned home, she diligently set about her task. Gradually she transformed the piece of old gray fabric into an adorable new sock monkey, to be loved and cherished by her grandchildren. He made a difference in the hearts of children for many generations.

The little piece of gray fabric, who thought he had no purpose, was transformed into something new in the hands of the seamstress. Although he felt worthless at one time, she looked beyond what he was; beyond his old life as a scrap of fabric. She saw him as something new, and helped him discover his value and hidden potential.

After telling my son this story, God gently reminded me how I once felt much like that old piece of gray fabric sitting on the shelf. Ashamed, overlooked, unimportant, and paling in comparison to others. I didn’t see how anything about me or my past — any of the old stuff — could be valuable. I felt like a scrap of leftover material.

I believe God helped my imagination soar that night while sitting on the edge of my child’s bed. He helped me remember that I have been transformed by Him, and although I spent most of life not seeing my hidden potential, He always had a plan and a purpose for me.

Just like that little piece of gray fabric, which was transformed from something old into something new, we are new creations in Christ.

Remember, Christ sees your value and hidden potential. And He wants to help you see it, too.
Dear Lord, help me remember that I became a new creation when I accepted You as my Savior, and that my value is in You and You alone. Thank You for Your promise of having a plan and a purpose just for me. Help me to embrace the plans You have for me. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.
Romans 5:8, “But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.” (NIV)
Jeremiah 29:11, “‘For I know the plans I have for you,’ declares the LORD, ‘plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.’” (NIV)

As I read the above devotional, I thought about those of us who are in Celebrate Recovery and how at the beginning of recovery we felt worthless.  I listen to many people's changed lives stories and see how God transformed their lives through this ministry.  I am honored to be a part!

Alison - Ministry Leader

If you have any questions about Celebrate Recovery, click on the Contact Us link above for contact information.

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Be Different

Be different - from Lysa TerKeurst from

I am a magnet for strange.


Yesterday, I was outside with my three dogs soaking up the sunshine.  After being in snowy Pennsylvania this weekend, I needed the warmth of the Carolinas to soak deeply into my bones.  Southern girls don’t do snow in April.

(p.s. People near Pittsburgh have cold weather but warm hearts.  I was moved deeply by watching what Jesus did during our time there. A big hello to my friends in Grove City!)

Anyhow, back to the sunshine and dogs.  You know we got a new puppy named “Willow” for Christmas.  Well, Champ and Chelsea aren’t sure of what to think of precious, little 3 pound, Willow.

She annoys them.  In every way. 

So, I thought it would be a good investment for the dog relations in our home to be with them outside and help them all feel the love.  I sat on the ground and loved on each dog. 
They enveloped me in a flurry of wet kisses, fur, and stinky dog breath.  I was having a ball.  And they were all getting along.  Bliss. 

Until… Willow came and sat on my lap.  Claiming the prized location of closeness with me, I don’t think she realized the signal she was sending.  Champ suddenly backed up and growled.  His tail stopped wagging.  He was not happy.

“Oh Champ,” I reassured, “Willow is a baby- be nice.”

More growling.

“No sir!  Champ, be nice.  Come here and I’ll show you I can love on you while Willow sits in my lap,” I reassured while rubbing behind his ears.

He seemed to be happy then and turned and licked my cheek.


But then out of the blue he walked behind me, peeked around my left side to look straight at Willow, lifted his leg, and drenched me in tee-tee!

What in the world!?

I googled it.

Some say Champ was marking his territory.  “That’s MY mama!”

And his strong expression of MINE was a stark reminder to me, how disgusting a heart bent on “self” can be.

SELFishness… ME… MINE…

Several years ago, God challenged me to never look at an opportunity I was given as something just for me.  I am to always think two things… 

1.  Thank you God for entrusting this opportunity to me.  I know it is a gift from you.

2.  How can I use this opportunity to also bless someone else?  The journey will be more rewarding if it’s not all about me.

Do these things come naturally?  Not at first.  Not in a ‘me first’, Mine! Mine! Tee tee on others kind of world.

But we aren’t called to live according to the norm, doing what comes naturally.
We are called to rise above.  Be set apart.  Be different.  Be pure in every way.

“Everyone who has this hope in him purifies himself, just as he is pure.”  (1 John 3:3)

How can we apply this to our lives today?  Right in the midst of what we’re doing today, how can we graciously and purely represent Christ as we RE-Present Him everywhere we go?

Good stuff to ponder as I wash my smelly outfit from yesterday. 

If you have questions regarding Celebrate Recovery, please click on the contact us link at the top of the page.