Fellowship & Networking

Listen and Encourage

A word fitly spoken is like apples of gold in pictures of silver. Heaviness in the heart of man maketh it stoop: but a good word maketh it glad. Hope deferred maketh the heart sick: but when the desire cometh, it is a tree of life. A man hath joy by the answer of his mouth: and a word spoken in due season, how good is it! Proverbs 25:11, 12: 25, 13:12, 15:23, King James Version

Something very exciting and wonderful happened to me last night and I felt like I was going to explode with happiness but there was nobody around that I could share it with so I lost some of the joy and excitement that I was feeling. It was like someone had taken a pin and pricked a balloon and some of the air went out of the balloon.

While it is important that we listen to people when they are hurting, I believe it is just as important, if not more important to listen to them when they are excited. If we stay on the mountain tops of happiness, excitement and joy, we will spend far less time down in the valleys of despair, hopelessness, depression and discouragement.

Don't let anyone tell you that it is impossible to stay on the mountain tops because that is a lie straight from the pits of hell! Yes, we will have times of discouragement, loneliness and despair due to difficult circumstances, heartaches, criticism, ridicule, scorn and sarcasm. However if Jesus lives in our hearts, He will be faithful to once again refresh our hearts with His understanding, joy, unconditional love, happiness, mercy, grace and kindness. Indeed, Jesus is able to keep us on the mountain tops.

Two years ago, I received an email from a pastor who was very discouraged and hurting. He told me "I preach my heart out and nobody says "Amen," smiles or laughs at the humorous points in my sermons." He said that he had been the pastor at this church for five years and no one had ever invited him and his wife to dinner. The pastor told me "I love God and it is my desire to serve Him, but I am human and sometimes I get very discouraged. Would you please pray for me?" How my heart went out to Him!

Do I Need a Sponsor?Premium Content

Sponsors are not mandatory components of recovery programs, but I do recommend the acquisition of a sponsor during the first few months of your recovery.

When I finally became disgusted with my feeble attempts at recovery on my own, I decided to get a sponsor. I didn't just go up to the first male member and ask him to be my sponsor. I had to ask several members if they were available for sponsorship. Sometimes, if you are a newcomer, a member will volunteer to be your sponsor if you ask if they are available. But be prepared to ask more than two or three people to be your sponsor. You may even have to change your meeting location to find a sponsor, especially if your home group is small.

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How Can You Help Someone Who Needs You?

How can you help someone who needs you?

A while back I was asked to do a workshop for folks who are working in difficult areas of ministries. Since I’m a wheelchair user, I was supposed to offer a seated perspective of things people have done that have been helpful and some that haven’t.

At the start of a new year I thought the list might be useful. These are some ideas. Hopefully you’ll help me with something I’ve missed.

Show up. I seem to always need help at inconvenient times, and I’m grateful for friends who show up even when they’d rather be somewhere else. There’s a difference between Signing Up And Showing Up.

It’s easy to say, “Call me if there’s anything I can do.” It’s hard to ask for help. The real heroes are the folks who show up.

What If Christmas Isn’t Merry?


What pops into your mind when you think of Christmas?

Colored lights, tinsel, festive decorations? Familiar music, parties, family gatherings? Joy, the promise of a Savior, God with us?

How about death, loss, and grief? That’s probably not what you expected.

Christmas is a time for glad tidings of great joy, but we also must be sensitive to those for whom the holiday invokes painful memories and highlights difficult circumstances. This isn’t the cheeriest of holiday greetings. I hope you’ll forgive me for reminding us that we’re likely to encounter folks that can’t quite share our holly-jolly spirit.

Parable of a SponsorPremium Content

A member of the program of recovery, who previously had been attending meetings regularly, stopped going. After a few weeks, her sponsor decided to visit her. It was a chilly evening and the sponsor found the sponsee at home alone, sitting before a blazing fire.

Guessing the reason for her sponsor's visit, the sponsee welcomed her, led her to a big chair near the fireplace and waited. Her sponsor made herself comfortable but said nothing.

In the grave silence, she contemplated the play of the flames around the burning logs. After some minutes, the sponsor took the fire tongs, carefully picked up a brightly burning ember and placed it to one side of the hearth all alone. Then she sat back in her chair, still silent. The sponsee watched all this in quiet fascination.

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Finding a Church to Support Your Recovery Premium Content

Because recovery is a spiritual journey, it will result in spiritual changes as well as emotional and physical ones. That is one reason, among many, why having a supportive faith community during recovery can be crucially important. In addition to the resources of a therapist and/or a support group, having a safe community of people with whom to worship and learn can be a big help.

Finding such a community may not, unfortunately, be easy. It is not difficult to find congregations with a performance orientation and a spirituality rooted in shame. That is not always the case, however, and it's well worth the effort to find a congregation that is at least sympathetic to recovery. There are, of course, no perfect churches out there - just as there are no perfect support groups, perfect therapists or perfect programs. So, give careful thought to what you really need from a church during this time in your life. If you have a supportive group and a therapist, you may not need a congregation to have recovery programming. It may be more important to have a place where you can experience grace-based worship and teaching.

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Asking for Support: Getting the Help You Need - Part 1Premium Content

by Dale & Juanita Ryan
See: Part 2 | Part 3

The God of the Bible is a God who saves and heals. The Bible is clear about this: He will deliver the needy who cry out, he will rescue them from oppression and violence. Psalm 72: 12,14) When we see our need, acknowledge our inability to save ourselves, and cry out, God delivers us. God rescues us from oppression and violence. Whether it is the oppression and violence of our compulsions and addictions or the oppression and violence of abuse and neglect, God delivers us and heals us. God is powerful enough and loving enough to deliver us from all of the oppression and violence we face.

This is the good news proclaimed in Scripture. And it is the basis for our hope on the recovery journey. We cannot save ourselves. Or heal ourselves. But God can. And God will.

Sound simple? It turns out to be anything but simple. There are several reasons for this. First, we find it hard to believe that God is

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When Your Church Disappoints You

Recently someone commented, “Church causes more problems than it solves.”

It’s not a new notion. Churches have had issues since they were established more than two thousand years ago. Many of Paul’s letters specifically address some dysfunctional church activity.

The basic problem with church is it consists of people, and we tend to be fairly messed up. Church would be a great place if it weren’t for all those people.

I’ll bet Jesus had a similar thought. This world would be a cool place if it weren’t for all these messed-up people.

Do I Need a Sponsor if I am in a Residential Program?Premium Content

Do people in residential recovery programs need "sponsors" in the support groups in which they participate?

Most support groups encourage recovering people to find a sponsor. "Mentorship” is a solid Biblical concept. The relationship between Paul, the seasoned veteran apostle, and Timothy, the young, gifted, upstart preacher is an excellent example.

Still, it is best to delay the process of finding a sponsor until the residential program participant is nearing graduation. While still in the program, the staff serves essentially as the "sponsor". Having an outside sponsor too early in the program can actually be counterproductive, especially if the sponsor gives guidance that is at odds with what the program's staff. It can also place the staff in a difficult situation in regard to confidentiality.

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