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!

The 2017 Blessing!

At The Shoulder on Wednesday, December 28, 2016, I was prompted by the Holy Spirit to pronounce a blessing upon the men for the New Year!

The Lord says this…all the previous trouble you have known in your life is only prelude to the coming productivity you will realize in the future!

You stand at a fork in the road leading to your permanent recovery. One direction is marked Blaming Others; the other, Taking Responsibility. The choice of direction is yours alone. God gave you this choice. Choose wisely!

Remain vigilant and sober. Do not grow weary in well doing for in due season you will reap if you do not faint. There is reward in all your labor. Sow daily, sow faithfully and your harvest will come.

Blessed is the man whom the Lord finds so doing when He comes. You are the ones who stay engaged when He is obviously present or when He is not yet seen. It is in you to do the work!

Some wait for God; but He has already come. Others are busy and careless and presumptuous, never asking, “if the Lord wills…” Even unprofitable servants work for the night is coming. They are not lazy. All their work is dedicated to the Lord, from the least, seemingly unimportant task to the greatest.

2017 is the beginning of a potential harvest time in your life if you continue on the path of Taking Responsibility. This is not Easy Street! It is not the so-called fast-track. It will require diligence in details, undistracted devotion to the Lord and hard work, but the motivation of the Lord will accomplish this in and through you over time. You will become a resource, not a needy dependent. You will become the lender rather than the borrower. God will make you a wellspring of provision. Do not settle for second best!

Do not forget from whence you came. It will serve you in the future. You will become an example of all that God can do when a man chooses wisely. Broad is the way that leads to destruction and many men and nations follow that popular path. But you have chosen the narrow path even as Jesus Himself did. The Lord Himself will sustain you by His word. And the latter end will be better than the former, even compared to your best days from the past.

You are recovering, not your former life as you knew it, but rather the life God always intended for you.

Eye has not seen, nor ear heard, neither has it entered your heart, the things God has prepared for those who love Him and those who are called according to His purpose.’ The best is yet to be!

Dove Foundation coming soon...

As partial fulfillment of God’s calling, we agreed to an additional teaching time for the Graduate Class at the Wings of Life known as the Dove Foundation. About 30+ people who have graduated from the primary program at the Wings have committed to one year intensive discipleship training and Bible Study. Pray for this new step. More later on this development going forward in 2017. Below, Dr. Tim Smith addresses the class.

The 25th Year Anniversary of Discovery Family Ministries

We chose to celebrate God’s Faithfulness at the 25th Year Anniversary Dinner on October 13th. We have been reminded in this season that it was His voice that wooed us to Himself at the beginning. May we never forget this!   

Pastor Brandon Sanders gave a succinct, yet poignant testimony. He represents the dividends of your investment through DFM. He also represents the fruit of our partnership with the Wings of Life and Pastor Chris Patrick. Naturally destined for destruction, he responded to God’s voice and now follows a new path with eternal purpose! Currently, he is serving on staff at Powerhouse Church in Katy, TX under the leadership of G. F. Watkins. 

 

 

Danielle Cumbus, a genuine spiritual daughter to Linda and me, stepped out of a culture of slavery to addiction and incarceration to minister with us now at the Home of Grace for Women directed by Mrs. Doris Littleton. She and her husband Neal are also the fruit of your investment through DFM.

 

 

Chad Browning is my natural and spiritual son and faithful servant of the Lord. He now provides leadership for small group leaders at CornerstoneChurch, Nashville, TN.

About 100 joined us for our 25th Year Anniversary of DFM. Now you can enjoy these testimonies and a brief message from me about how DFM started and continues to change lives for good!

Write here...

Write here...

Linda and I want to send you a DVD of excerpts from the 25th Anniversary Dinner. For your generous year-end financial gift to support the ongoing work of DFM, a copy will be sent to you immediately!

Continue to pray for DFM! Linda and I are thankful for your friendship and support. We are praying for you! We look forward to walking together into the New Year hearing and following His voice!

Recovery’s Voice

No, it is not my voice that needs to be heard.

We hear speeches, monologues, opinion editorials, sermons, lectures, tweets and Facebook rants ad nauseam. People push and shove, shout and madly march to be seen and heard. It has reached an alarming pitch. We all want to be heard. What does all this craving to “find our voice” really mean?

Could this widespread discontent finally resolve into peace and productivity or are we destined to violently erupt into social upheaval? Interestingly, the same behavior we witness on the news is consistent with the behavior of my alcoholic, drug addicted and incarcerated friends. We keep trying to educate and legislate the source of the problem out of people, but do we have the courage to admit that this approach is not working?  

The Bible says...

From the sacred Scriptures, I hear the voice of God. Far from the rush, in the hush of my quiet place, I hear the Spirit whisper, “This is My word for you and those who will hear it…” “This is what the Lord says!” KJV has it, “Thus saith the Lord!”  How I long to hear His voice and to know what is on His mind in times like these. 

Often, He speaks comforting words. At other times, not-so-much. For example,

 Thus says the Lord:
“Stand by the roads, and look,
and ask for the ancient paths,
where the good way is; and walk in it,
and find rest for your souls.
But they said, ‘We will not walk in it.’

Jeremiah 6:16 ESV

November Emphases

During the month of November, Discovery Family Ministries dedicates its attention to prayer and meditation. Below are a few who recently participated in our Path to Serenity emphasis and Ministering Out of the Overflow of the Spirit Seminar. 

During this special time, we pause to reflect and listen to the still small voice of God. Like the calming sound of many waters, Jesus whispers, “Follow Me.” In this I am hearing Him say, “Follow My voice as opposed to other beckoning voices. Follow Me beyond the traditions of men. Follow Me through your valleys. Follow Me even if others relapse into worldly ways!”

For people like us, it is critical to pause, to recalibrate our efforts, to review and renew the mission and most importantly to reconnect with the voice of Him Who called us out of the darkness of addiction and destruction to walk in newness of life. After returning to the Lord, His voice said to us in 1992, “Go where I send you and speak what I tell you.” Isaiah 6 For these last 25 years, we have done so.

David Wilkerson spoke with a prophetic voice. He heard God’s voice for a select population, but his message turned out to be a prophetic word for the nation. What I am hearing and trying to communicate with your support is atypical to the traditional approach to recovery. America does not have an addiction problem; we have a moral, spiritual problem! Our only hope to reverse the demoralizing drift in our country is to hear God’s voice once again. This is personal. It cannot come to us second hand. It will not come down the line from institutional headquarters. God’s voice is available to each one of us and hearing His voice leads us together into the unity of the Spirit. 

Thank each of you for continuing to be part of our journey. Your prayers and support result in thousands being positively affected and radically changed for the glory of God! We pray that you will hear His voice during this Christmas time as never before! We remember, He is the Word made flesh in Jesus Christ. John 1:14

Join us in January, 2017 as we commit ourselves to periods of prayer and fasting. The mission is yet before us…

Recovery GRIT

Now would be a good time to recalibrate our thinking about recovery. It goes deeper than you think, takes more effort than you imagine and the process lasts longer than you plan. To move from failure to success takes changing our mindset. I applaud those who have the grit to endure. Ironically, these individuals do not need my applause to get motivated. They are self-starters.

Underneath repeated failure we discover a fixed mindset. Underneath success a growth mindset. Gritty people, who pass from failure to success, have discovered the satisfaction of learning from their challenge. Failure becomes a launching pad!

Paul the Apostle said in Ephesians 4:23 …be renewed in the spirit of your mind.

What that means to me is a changing of the atmosphere around your thoughts. It means growing new mental habits by meditating upon better things. As we get in sync with God’s will and surrender to the Holy Spirit, our mental state becomes healthier, brighter and more productive. Subsequently our behavior is empowered for good works.

This view is antithetical to the way most people think. Perhaps this is the reason Isaiah prophesied, For My thoughts are not your thoughts, nor are your ways My ways, says the Lord. Perhaps this is the reason Paul admonishes us to Set your mind on things above, not on things on the earth.

Caleb

Remember how Caleb distinguished himself among the other spies who reported on the Promised Land? How was he so different?

(Numbers 14:24 NLT) But my servant Caleb has a different attitude than the others have. He has remained loyal to me, so I will bring him into the land he explored. His descendants will possess their full share of that land.

Another translation renders it… But my servant Caleb thinks differently and follows me completely. So I will bring him into the land he has already seen, and his children will own that land. NCV

Even though the success rate among alcoholics and drug addicts remains unacceptably low, we believe God is beginning to show us hidden ingredients that can change those dismal statistics.

I have a hope that we can get to the root causes of addiction and reverse this generational curse that has been visited upon America! I listened to a Ted Talk entitled, “Transcending Addiction; Redefining Recovery.” It did not emanate from a Biblical worldview, but I liked the title. I am forever looking beyond the immediate maintenance mentality to embrace an upward vision.

More than Talent or Genetics

Almost 50 years ago a friend of mine sarcastically said to me, “Gary, I have always admired you! You have never let the lack of talent or common sense stand in your way!” I said. “Thank you???”

Hidden in that sarcasm was an element of truth. Successful recovery is not based on special talent or even intellect. It is NOT ultimately determined by genetics. At any point, the person who decides to break out of the pack can do so. But it takes grit! The kind of grit Caleb expressed and demonstrated.

Since 1992 DFM has promoted forward thinking. We encourage a growth mindset rather than a fixed mindset. This new way of thinking asks, “What can I become by God’s grace?” The old way of thinking states, “I am what I have always been.” One is a pioneering spirit, the other is a settler’s mentality. One is prophetic, the other is institutional. 

Earlier this year I became aware of these two opposing mindsets through listening to and reading Dr. Angela Duckworth’s book, Grit. I also, read Mindset by Dr. Carol Dweck. These authors identified a hidden ingredient that can make a profound difference in recovery of all kinds. With proper discernment, regular coaching and a will to work hard, our woeful statistics in recovery can improve. But it will take grit and a new mindset!

Much of our standard recovery is based on a fixed mindset. Sure, a few Calebs break through here and there to achieve stunning success, but we are believing God for a more sweeping victory!

Because of their lack of confidence in God’s promise and the grit to obey, the Children of Israel relapsed for another 40 years of wandering in the Wilderness of Sin. Most were left there as “bleached bones.” An entire generation was lost because of a lack of grit! It cost time and lives. It did not have to be so.

Helpless to Hopeful

Did you notice the line in the graphic above, “Learned Helplessness?”

For many years I ministered among the street people in Mobile and at Mobile Metro Jail. I felt sorry for these unfortunate souls. Then it hit me, “my friends could change if they would change! They can’t change because they won’t change!” Their negative consequences were not temporary circumstances. Most were repeat offenders and the same street people I saw year in and year out over the decades! They had learned “helplessness” as a way of life!

Because God had allowed me to come out of from under my own self-imposed sentence as a failure, a “once-an-alcoholic-always-an-alcoholic” type of thinking, I sincerely believed it was possible for anyone to learn hopefulness! I believed if they had learned helplessness, they could learn hopefulness! I still believe that!! They needed a prophetic voice! They needed a persistent role model, not human sympathy!

Caleb saw what could be, except for the majorities’ negative voices of fear and unbelief. They represented a slavery mentality that was systemic. They saw themselves as grasshoppers. So, the majority thinking prevailed and Israel went back out and relapsed.

A New Belief System

Changing one’s mindset and thinking differently is more fundamental than just finishing another recovery program. I went through three of these myself. Getting and staying sober is part of the program, but training others in this new belief system aka mindset represents a quantum leap for an otherwise repetitious lifestyle. We need successful people who model grit that reaches beyond mere maintenance.

Further reading for those who have a mind to…

Romans 12:1-2 The Message

So here’s what I want you to do, God helping you: Take your everyday, ordinary life—your sleeping, eating, going-to-work, and walking-around life—and place it before God as an offering. Embracing what God does for you is the best thing you can do for him. Don’t become so well-adjusted to your culture that you fit into it without even thinking. Instead, fix your attention on God. You’ll be changed from the inside out. Readily recognize what he wants from you, and quickly respond to it. Unlike the culture around you, always dragging you down to its level of immaturity, God brings the best out of you, develops well-formed maturity in you.

DFM promotes this type of “gritty” recovery mindset.

I am asking for your feedback on this topic. Send an email or write me a letter and share how your journey reflects grit or perhaps how you need to find some yourself!

Thank you for standing with us through your prayers and support!