Recovery

How We Grow

A few months ago, our Celebrate Recovery program celebrated 5 years at Bayside Adventure. Even in the midst of several church transitions, this forever family stayed faithful to the call and commission, God placed in their hearts.

The road to recovery, is not an easy journey. But for those who stay the course, it’s a rewarding one. That’s why they say in recovery, “don’t give up before the miracle.”

As I have observed the miracles of healed marriages, restored joy, victory over substance abuse and families changed, I have noticed a few characteristics that are necessary for working a successful recovery program. Spiritual transformation is not about trying harder, but about training wisely. God calls us to come as we are, but there are some key things that we need in order for us to effectively grow in Christ. Here they are…

Courage

In order for us to grow in Christ, to be transformed, and be successful in life, we must have courage to meet the demands of reality. This ultimately means coming to a point in our life and admitting that “we are powerless” over our sin and compulsive behaviors. It takes courage to express weakness. But admitting that we have problems, doubts, fears, insecurities, and trouble, is the first step to healing.

I remember my first Celebrate Recovery step study. We were 6 months into the journey, when one of our members, finally found the courage to admit that he had been lying to the group the whole time about his sobriety date. Crippled by fear, not wanting to lose his leadership role in our program, nor disappoint his wife, he lived a lie and was gripped by shame and guilt. But finding the courage to be truthful, brought greater healing in his life, as he came to experience the love and grace of God. The acceptance and love of the group ultimately gave him greater freedom months later, when he courageously turned himself into the authorities, who had a warrant out for his arrest. Again, in this situation, God honored his courage by giving him favor with the judge who just assigned him to community service, rather than time in jail.

Courage to stand for truth, to speak up for others, or to share our faith with a not yet follower of Jesus, allow our faith muscles to grow. And as our faith grows, we find greater courage to say or do the right thing, for the right reasons.

Commitment

I believe that many of the problems in our society are due to a lack of commitment. A lack of commitment to our beliefs, a lack of commitment to our families, a lack of commitment to our friends, a lack of commitment to our churches, etc. We live in a world where we fear commitment. We don’t make commitments, or we wait until the last minute to commit, because we fear that we just might miss out on another opportunity. Or we fail to follow through on our commitments because it’s too hard, or too painful.

In observing those who received the miracle, their lives were marked by commitment to being truth tellers, to working hard, to reliving some painful moments and not giving in before they received the miracle. That takes dedication, discipline and determination. It takes commitment. Nothing is ever easy in life. As they say, no pain, no gain.

Community

Life is better together. The success of recovery programs and why God has called us into connection with each other, is because two are better than one. The success of any recovery program is in community. As people come alongside us, guide us, encourage us, speak truth to us and to use their stories to inspire us, we find hope.

I often hear in recovery circles, “I thought I was the only one experiencing this.” That’s a lonely place to be. The reality is, we are all sojourners in need of hope and healing. Remember this, “all of us have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God” (Romans 3:23). And therefore, none of us are perfect.

So often we come to God in our brokenness and need for God, but once we trust him as our Lord and Savior, it’s like the struggle disappears. Not so, my friend. We live in a broken world, and we need the community of fellow believers to spur us on to love and good deeds. For it’s in community, we find connection, we find acceptance and we find hope.

Christ

For the Christ follower this is obvious, and some may argue that I should have put this down as the first characteristic. But I put it down at the bottom of the list, because I believe Jesus is the foundation for all things. Without Christ, without the forgiveness He offers, without the Church He established, our world would lack meaning and purpose.

You see, we were created by God, to live in community with each other, for the express purpose of knowing Him and making Him known. And without Him, we would not know the grace we need to be courageous, the power He gives us to follow through on our commitments, or the beauty of biblical community to offer us hope.

Jesus is the cornerstone. And as the cornerstone, our lives need to be built on Him. As we build our lives on Him, He promises to grow and mature us into His likeness, until that day in which we will be fully complete in Him.

Celebrating 5 Years of Celebrate Recovery at Bayside Adventure

It all started when a group of people wanted to start a recovery program at Adventure Church. We prayed, met faithfully and began our journey by courageously sharing our stories on a piece of cardboard in our church services one late summer weekend of 2013. Met enthusiastically with the support of the church, this crew officially launched Celebrate Recovery at Bayside Adventure in September of 2013.

Within the first year, our forever family launched a few step studies and truly experienced what it meant to live beyond ourselves. In late December of 2013, we hosted a Recovery Round Up and ended this 24-hour conference with a New Year’s Eve celebration! That would be followed by hosting the regional Celebrate Recovery One Day Seminar, which brought over 1000 leaders to Adventure to be equipped and inspired by the Celebrate Recovery National Team. By the second year, we graduated our second round of step studies and hosted another regional One Day Seminar.

Over the years, we’ve had some amazing guests, including Lisa Daggs and Hosanna Poetry, as well as heard from speakers like Mac and Mary Owen, as well as many of our pastoral team members, whose support has been so encouraging. We have been blessed in many ways, and as we look back over the years, we most importantly remember the stories of those who found hope and healing in the message of Jesus. Stories of healed marriages, stories of sobriety, stories of forgiveness, and stories of redemption. To date, our program has graduated over 80 people from step studies, which is a one-year program of intensively working through the 12 Steps and 8 Recovery Principles.

Over the years, we have come together as a team of amazing dedicated people, all with the same purpose, to exalt Jesus and help others. During these years we have seen tragedy and triumph. We have shed tears and praised God in pure joy.  We have loved people where they are and have made friendships that last a lifetime.  We have touched people silently and their stories have inspired and changed our lives.

Through all the highs and lows of this ministry, we find ourselves relying on God even more and never quitting before the miracle. For it is in the journey, not the destination, that we find willing hearts to help others in the trenches of life. And we faithfully celebrate that every Sunday night!

We are very blessed to have had some amazing leaders and volunteers over the years, and we want to thank you for being a part of the miracle. We could not have done it without an amazing church and supportive staff. We have never felt like “Those People” in our Adventure home. And we’re looking forward to what the next five years holds!

To God be the glory!

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