Oberlin Covenant Church Report

Linda and I were honored to stay in the home of Pastor William and Toni Currie in Pineville, LA. He provides oversight to several home churches that gather twice a month. We are thankful for their hospitality and generosity of spirit that made our stay relaxing. In such an atmosphere, the freedom of the Spirit reigns.

Because of work and family connections, Oberlin Covenant Church sees a potential harvest among those who have been addicted. They plan to launch an initiative to reach these souls for the Kingdom of God using the Beyond Recovery workbook. (available through our website www.discoveryfamilyministries.com)

Testimony of LaTonya Jones

Beneath her beautiful smiling face lies a history of childhood challenges ranging from sickle cell anemia to sexual abuse. LaTonya opted to end several pregnancies starting at age 16.

Her parents were never around and her extended family was dysfunctional except for her Aunt Mary whose husband was a Pastor. Through their influence, LaTonya first encountered the Kingdom of God.

But the unworthiness deep in her soul led to her marriage to an abusive man. At age 20 she ran away and joined the Army. She was deployed to Saudi Arabia to serve in the Gulf War.

After the war, she was unable to cope and drank heavily. During that time, painfully, her only child Jade drowned. She was charged with involuntary manslaughter and dishonorably discharged from the Army. 

During a brighter, yet short-lived period in Dallas, she gave birth to a son and a daughter. This ended with a series of negative experiences including a third marriage to a suicidal addict and losing custody of her two children.

Finding herself without income she returned to alcohol. She resorted to living in abandoned houses where a woman shot at her, but the gun misfired. She was taken to Mobile Metro Jail on a felony 3 for living in an abandoned house.

It was there that Ms. Carrie Jones prayed over her to receive the Holy Spirit and “bonded her out.” Within the year, she was drinking again. On August 13, 2016, she was living in a tree house on Government Blvd. planning on stabbing a man who had stolen her bicycle. She followed the man and found herself at the Wings of Life where she experienced God’s “other plan.” She met Sister Inez who brought her into the program where I met her.

LaTonya always sits on the front row in our Grad Class on Tuesday nights drinking in the Word of God. Often, I have prayed for her on Thursday evenings after our larger, open service. 

Now God is working mightily in her life. Her fractured family is being restored and she testifies, “I am no longer a useless alcoholic. I am a daughter, sister and mother. Most of all, I am a servant of the Most High God!”

Beware of OBSCURANTISM! 

Before reaching Rome, the Apostle Paul had given his story of conversion and defended his calling to carry the message of Jesus beyond Judaism to the world, five times. Religious Jews had two problems with this: First, they rejected Jesus as their Messiah and secondly, they mistakenly believed God would and could work only through them. 

Just like his Lord, Paul faced jealous Jews who trumped up false charges and wanted him dead! (Acts 22-28)

Religion often produces what my college professor called, “obscurantism.” By definition that means, a practice of withholding knowledge from the general public. Intentionally darkening the light of truth.

Abolishing Systemic Codependency  

The ultimate goal of recovery is to empower individuals to become self-reliant and personally productive. Becoming resourceful givers rather than dependent takers is at the core of our recovery. 

On Memorial Day, I heard again the famous clip by President John F. Kennedy, And so, my fellow Americans, ask not what your country can do for you -- ask what you can do for your country. Brilliant!

Being in debt is a form of slavery. The Apostle Paul said flatly, Owe no one anything, except to love only. Romans 13:8

Feeling sorry about slavery and trying to assess blame is only human. Creating a freedom plan and rigorously committing ourselves to it, changes our circumstances and the mentality associated with it. Someone else cannot substitute our taking responsibility for making the hard decisions. They can model it, but they cannot do it for us.

Helping others is part of our calling as Christians. However, we need to use discernment and wisdom before doling out resources indiscriminately.

There are two books I read that speak to this issue. Dead Aid - Why Aid is Not Working and How There is a Better Way for Africa (2009) by Economist Dambisa Moyo from Zambia and Toxic Charity - How Churches and Charities Hurt Those They Help (2011) by Robert D. Lufton. Brace yourself for a challenge to American co-dependency!

What does all this have to do with addiction in America? Everything! Addiction is a form of slavery that leads to poverty. Those who allow the impoverished addicted person to become dependent on them will eventually experience financial slavery themselves. Additionally, this mentality perpetuates the very condition of addiction we want to eliminate. It is a vicious cycle, but it can be broken if we all are willing and courageous. 

The remedy for addiction is…

1. Recognizing our God-given potential and opportunity

2. Refusing to blame others

3. Taking responsibility and ownership for ourselves

4. Making the hard decisions above the way we currently feel.

Anything less is a repetition of the same failed system that reflects a $442 billion annual expense among Americans with a meager 3 to 5% return in terms of permanent recovery.

Partnering with DFM brings a message of liberty to the captives. It is an initial step you can take in changing mentalities, thereby abolishing addiction. DFM provides answers from the inside out, from the bottom to the top. Thank You for volunteering your support to get this message out where it is needed most!

The Abolition of Addiction

All of us need help sometimes. Humbling ourselves to receive that help comes especially hard for some of us. As a broken man, I was enslaved to alcohol and the moral failure that always goes with it. In effect, I had sold my soul like the Prodigal. But by God’s grace and taking personal responsibility, I was set free! Praise God!!

Typical of most recovering addicts, I went to treatment, regularly attended support groups and was accountable to a sponsor. I remained tightly involved in the recovery movement and considered becoming a counselor, even earning a Master of Arts Degree in Clinical Christian Counseling in 1998. 

After gathering a Board of Directors in 1999, Discovery Group, Inc. was organized. We even opened a Discovery Thrift Store the same year. Quite typical!

I wrote a book in 2005 on the 12 Steps called, Beyond Recovery, Into a Life of Peace and Productivity. At that time, it seemed a unique idea to me, but this was also typical. Since then I have seen dozens of books on the same topic.

I think writing the book was valuable. It has benefitted many others. Mostly, it was cathartic for me. Overcoming the trauma of family, career and financial loss became fertile ground for growing yet another recovery ministry.

For the last 25 years Discovery has partnered with treatment and rehab centers to provide a forward-thinking perspective on recovery. We remain very thankful for these relationships. 

Through my own experience, I have observed that addiction recovery programs are designed to get us through a bad time, to offer liberation from addictions. They provide needed help for a season. But they were never intended to become a permanent way of life!

At some point an individual seizes the opportunity, takes the initiative and becomes a producer. We throw off our old identity of enslavement and its mentality and we enter our role as Children of God!

Part of our recovery is not only the liberation from our primary dependencies like drugs, alcohol and habitual behaviors, but also embracing the freedom from dependencies upon temporary programs. Healthy programs are like good parents who rear their children then launch them out like arrows. Psalm 127:4 This understanding is put forth in our current NEXT STEP Seminar.

“Setting Captives Free!” is the motto of many Christian recovery programs. It fits!

The first message Jesus spoke at synagogue was taken from Isaiah 61:1 The Spirit of the Lord is upon Me because the Lord has anointed Me to… proclaim liberty to the captives…

Jesus, the Son of God, would humble Himself to become a slave that He might pioneer a new way of living beyond slavery. Philippians 2:8 NLT

When Jesus ascended on high, He led in taking captivity captive. Ephesians 4:8

He sent the empowering Holy Spirit so that we could live abundant and free!

Where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is liberty. 2 Corinthians 3:17

Now He sends us out to proclaim this truth to others. Acts 1:8

 

Testimony from Catherine

My name is Catherine and I am a transformed alcoholic addict! At 64 years old, I have spent approximately 45 years now struggling with this generational curse.

I have known God all my life, but I was that one lamb that Jesus always had to come after.

Finally, I surrendered. God was not finished with me. In October, 2016 when I came to the Home of Grace, (one of the most profoundly spiritual places I have ever been, truly hallowed ground), He began pruning me.

This program offers many classes like anger management, boundaries, coping skills and parenting. There is an abundance of spiritual mentors here. During one such class I met Gary and Linda Browning.

Gary brings the Gospels to life in a way that connects with each of us and makes us feel as if we were there on those hillsides with Jesus.

The Home of Grace is the Savior’s Place as Mrs. Littleton sings and indeed this is true!

More than Bible stories, those of us who come here are learning a new way of life, if we are willing to receive it. I graduate soon. I am praying that I take what I have learned into the world and share the message. 

The 2017 Next Step Seminar

The calling of Discovery Family Ministries is to get the slum out of people, not just getting people out of the slum. This is a tall order! It requires that all of us take the recovery process to another level. The 2017 NEXT STEP SEMINAR does that! 

Has the Recovery Culture become branded? Is it another institution? Are we maintaining sobriety without going on to mission?

God is calling on us to collaborate in getting in front of the problem of addiction and dependency. Going forward we cannot afford to blindly depend upon institutions to provide all our personal answers. They are accessible to each of us, if we are willing to listen, learn and engage.

DFM has promoted successful recovery to others for over 25 years. Now we seek to replicate in others what has worked for us personally.

 We invite you, all of you, to participate in a 2017 NEXT STEP SEMINAR. Please do not just send “those who are addicted.” This seminar is for everyone, especially if you suspect yourself to be “co-dependent.” 

 The four sessions will cover the following topics:

1. Personal Empowerment which means recognizing who God called you to be and getting in step with the Spirit. It is manifested by passion and purpose.
2. Finding Your Prophetic Voice which means seeing and hearing something ahead of its time and speaking out of that place rather than mindlessly speaking the usual “company line” or being religiously or politically correct.
3. Restoring Confidence which is another word for “faith.” It is the assurance that God is working in you. It is doing life without mixture. It is knowing and living through your true identity as God’s child.
4.   Walking in Discernment which means distinguishing between what is true and false, permanent or temporary. It is that divine quality given to disciples of the Lord that prevents us from being deceived by Satan or the world system. Surprisingly, our religion may be part of that world system.

See Venues below where you can participate. Call or write if you desire to host a Next Step Seminar in your area. rgbdcc@msn.com 

• February 4th    8 AM to Noon at Christ Anglican Church
                3275 Halls Mill Rd, Mobile, AL 36606
                Contact Rev. Ken Aycock at (251) 476-7790 RSVP

February 25th  8 AM to Noon at Abundant Life Church
                1000 Woodridge Place, Mt. Juliet, TN 37122
                Contact Pastor Larry Grainger at (615) 754-7035
 

 

JR and the Judge!

A month ago I saw these pics on Facebook. They captivated my attention. I know JR from the Wings of Life and asked him if I could use them in our Ministry Letter.

JR Carr is part of the growing population of young men who are taking responsibility in their lives. JR was facing 20 years in prison. He fell upon the mercy of the court. Recently at a men’s prayer meeting, he met and prayed for Judge Lockett who had mercifully allowed him to go to the Wings of Life. Glory to God!