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Celebrate Recovery | Orchard Christian Fellowship

Maintaining Momentum

Celebrate Recovery! Pt. 6—Maintaining Momentum
Ecclesiastes 4:9-12

 

Accept ACCOUNTABILITY

Humans are designed to find connection in community. However, the community can either be supportively healthy and constructive or supportively unhealthy and destructive. God made the church to be a place where Christian community helps and holds people accountable with their challenges (Acts 2:44, 45; 1 Cor. 12:27). Through discipleship, believers focus on holiness and self-control. Accountability is built into living (Gen. 2:16, 17; 3:17; Gal. 6:1, 2; Heb. 13:17). While we can chose whether to be accountable, we don’t get to choose the consequences when we fail to heed accountability (1 Cor. 5:10, 11). Pride keeps accountability from happening. Like combat, defeat and death happen in isolation. Stop denial, stop blame-shifting—accept responsibility, accept accountability. While the heart has hope, the flesh needs help (Matt. 26:41). Be with people on the same mission as you (Amos 3:3)!

 

Build BELIEF

God desires change and provides His power, presence, and plan to help (Eph. 3:20, 21). Believers continually work to build themselves up with the right habits of prayer, people, and places to gain knowledge of God’s will for them. God will be faithful to complete the work He began in a believer’s life as they strive to maintain the momentum of God’s work (Phil. 1:6; 2:12). Believe that God is working to glorify Himself in your life—even if the path is difficult nothing is impossible with Him!

 

Combat COMPLACENCY

Relapse is not inevitable, only invitable. We invite relapse when we get lazy and find ourselves complacent, then isolated, then tempted, and then without help, we fall, breaking ourselves and hurting those we love. Complacency is not treating an issue with the seriousness it deserves. Complacency leads to compromise which leads to catastrophe. Believers are to occupy their minds with the word of God and their time with work for God to have peace from God (Phil. 4:8, 9). Tell the message to others so you can be an encouragement and resource to them. Fruit not eaten is wasted, a message not shared is powerless (Rom. 10:14, 15). Don’t rest on past victories, push on to new vistas (Phil. 3:12-14)!
 

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Developing Healthy Relationships

Celebrate Recovery! Pt. 5—Developing Healthy Relationships
Ephesians 4:25-32

 

RECOGNIZE your relationships

Everyone is born with an innate desire to have things their way—especially in the area of relationships. Paul tells the Ephesians, most of whom came out of pagan backgrounds that encouraged deceit, to get rid of all falsehood (Gr. pseudos, ‘to be false/lying’) and focus on being truthful and having integrity. This means not using people or the situation for your benefit at the expense of the truth. As God is truth, so His children must be people of truth (John 17:17). One of the sinful ways humans view relationships is the need to control. Relationship control is seen through anger outbursts, fear, emotional manipulation, passive-aggressive behaviors, bribery, or withholding good or loving interactions. Your relationships should reflect the glory of God’s goodness, not the glory of your greed (Col. 3:2)!

 

REPAIR your relationships

God designed humanity to forgive and be forgiven. By God’s mercy He allows people to repair dysfunctional relationships and clear their conscience through forgiveness. Believers are not to allow issues to go unresolved, even overnight, so the devil can create resentment, bitterness, and hatred. Believers get to choose what rules their heart—anger of self or peace of Christ (Col. 3:15). Forgiveness must be given as many times as it is legitimately, repentedly asked for. As believers have been forgiven an infinite amount by God, they are to be able to forgive a finite amount with men (Matt. 6:14, 15; 18:21, 22, 35). You will know you are repairing relationships when you can think of the person without malice and pray for their blessing (Matt. 5:44). Seek out those you have hurt and humbly make amends as you can (Luke 19:8).

 

REINFORCE your relationships

Believers are to use their relational energy to reinforce rather than ravage their relationships (1 Thess. 5:11). Christian relationships are not based on what can be gotten, but given. The trinity of Christian healthy relationships—“Thank you”, “Forgive me”, “I love/appreciate you”. Believers are to deal a new way from a new heart to have new relationships. New actions=new results! Christians give without expectation knowing God gives His grace!᠆᠆᠆᠆᠆᠆᠆᠆᠆᠆᠆᠆᠆᠆᠆᠆᠆᠆᠆᠆᠆᠆᠆᠆᠆᠆᠆᠆᠆᠆᠆᠆᠆᠆᠆᠆᠆᠆᠆᠆᠆᠆᠆᠆᠆᠆᠆᠆

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Transforming My Character

Celebrate Recovery! Pt. 4—Transforming My Character
Romans 12:1-13

 

The old character was FORMED

Humans were originally designed with no physical or spiritual defects. Once sin entered the world, people became un-ideal and the result was brokenness in all facets of life (Gen. 3). Since birth, all people are born with physical, mental, emotional, relational, and spiritual tendencies inherited from their parents. Biologically, each parent gave 23 chromosomes to each person giving them their physical and behavioral traits. Sociologically, each person grew up in an environment which influenced their thinking and behavior. Theologically, every person is born with an autopilot to selfishness and sin and uses biological and sociological realities to encourage or excuse their choices (Rom. 3:23). Regardless of bio or social makeup, everyone is responsible for the choices that come from their character (Matt. 12:33-37).

 

A new character must be BORN

As humans are helpless to shed the drive to choose from the deficiencies of their character, God offers help and hope through the miraculous work of the Holy Spirit in people’s hearts. While many good things are passed down from parents and environment, people cannot be freed from the rebellion in their heart without Jesus (John 8:36). The ‘heart’, or location of moral choices that forms our character, cannot be changed long-term through willpower alone, but must be reborn (John 3:3; 2 Cor. 5:17). A new heart makes a new character that makes new choices that makes a new life!

 

The new character is being TRANSFORMED

When we are given a new heart, our bodies are to be living sacrifices that choose the hard new way over the easy old way. As weaknesses and habits have taken years to develop, so we must establish routines that cultivate godliness and servanthood (Phil. 4:8). Addictions are a short-circuit way to dealing with character flaws. Character is built on doing good, not feeling good! Instead of conforming to the old way, we are to choose the transforming power of God, so our character is strengthened to do God’s will. As we grow, we focus on progress not perfection. Then, we choose company that help, not hinder, our walk with God. Good character is not developed in bad company (Prov. 13:20; 1 Cor. 15:33)!

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Coming Clean

Celebrate Recovery! Pt. 3—Coming Clean
Psalm 32

 

We are built for a PURE heart

Humanity is designed by God to have a relationship with Him. God’s original intent was that people co-exist with Him in an authentic, unhindered state that promoted open, honest, and pure heart-felt interaction (Gen. 2). Even after sin entered the world—damaging humanity’s unobstructed connection to God—people still longed for a real, heart-felt attachment to Him. Without God’s intervention, people are unable to have a pure heart, though we long for it even if we have never experienced it ourselves. It is this restless desire of our hearts that exposes the original relationship with God He intended. Happiness comes from the heart—and there is no true happiness without purity of heart!

 

We are sabotaged by a GUILTY heart

When believers sin they not only affect their relationship with God, but others and themselves as well. It is this transgression (Heb. peshah, ‘revolt/rebellion’) of God’s ideal that brings accompanying guilt into the heart. Like a cancer, unconfessed sin produces guilt that destroys our confidence in our relationship with God and others (Eph. 4:29-31). Prolonged spiritual guilt can lead to broken relationships, broken spirits, broken lives, and broken bodies. Guilt is the anchor that keeps us living in the past and drowns out the joy God wants to create in our hearts (2 Cor. 5:17).

 

We are transformed by a CLEAN heart   

Once we acknowledge our sin to God and don’t hide or cover it, God can begin to clean our heart and transform us (Ps. 51:10). As God already knows what’s in our ‘life-closet’, by not dealing with our baggage, we only damage ourselves. Guilt cannot change the past any more than worry can change the future. Jesus offers a return to a purity of heart when we take responsibility and don’t rationalize but recognize, repent, and are restored (Matt. 5:8)! Once the heart is made right before God, what the hands have done must be made right before men. We are called to take a personal moral inventory of our wrongs and make restitution as we can (Luke 19:8, 9; James 5:16). Once we have been forgiven by God, we ask forgiveness of others and forgive ourselves, knowing He has removed our guilt and sin completely (Ps. 103:12; 1 John 1:9)!

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Letting Go

Celebrate Recovery! Pt. 2—Letting Go
Matt. 11:25-30

 

God is CALLING you

From the beginning, humanity was God’s focus as His highest and greatest creation (Gen. 2). Through His love for people and in His sovereignty, God calls people to come to Jesus and change their lives (John 3:16; Acts 2:38, 39). This invitation is for people to stop their pride and lay down their hurts, habits, hang-ups and anxieties (Ps. 55:22; 1 Pet. 5:7). Through it all, God calls!
You must choose to MOVE

Because of human dysfunction, life has burdens no one can carry—so God offers to help in salvation and sanctification (2 Cor. 6:1, 2). Instead of self-motivation or self-medication, people are called to self-mortification. People don’t get to choose if God exists—only if God matters. Choose to move toward Jesus!

 

You must LEARN a new life

Addictions are a way of dealing with pain in life without God. Pain is non-moral, but how it is dealt with can be immoral. Most people will not see the light until they feel the heat—often delivered through pain. God often allows pain that either brings return or retreat from Him. We end up hating our pain, hating the way we cope, and hating ourselves. But instead of turning to God or godly-influences for help, we turn to God-substitutes and un-godly people because they support our prideful need to control our lives rather than submit to God. People left to their own strength are often are too weak to overcome the cycle of addiction—action→guilt→anger→fear→depression→despair→action. Guilt is God’s gift of conscience, our response to guilt is anger of not acting differently, then fear that we might never change, then depression in feeling sorry for ourselves, then despair leading to actions creating guilt again (Rom. 7:15). Addiction is a non-essential, on-going habit that interferes with your relationship with God and others. Addictions of all kinds (religion, relational chaos, spending, eating, drugs, sex, co-dependency, fantasy-books/games, computer, TV, over-working, gambling, smoking, alcohol, social media, etc.) must be admitted, confronted, and dealt with (Heb. 12:1, 2). This cycle must be broken and replaced with the rest and relief found in Jesus. A new love of God brings a new way of life!

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Admitting Need

Celebrate Recovery!—Admitting Need
Rom. 7:14-25

 

There is a GOD

God is the never created, eternal, all-powerful, righteous, loving Being who created all things and upholds them by His power (Gen. 1:1; Col. 1:16, 17). As He is the Supreme Being and Author of life and Law, He has a right to run the universe as He sees fit.

 

I am not HIM

Angels, humans, animals, and all other living things are creations of the Creator. All these are created, not eternal, not all-powerful, and not consistently righteous or loving (Acts 17:24, 25).

 

I want to PLAY God

The desire to play God and control our lives started with the first humans (Gen. 3). Adam and Eve willfully rebelled and instead of their decisions improving their happiness and freedom, it brought shame and slavery. Humans want the center of the universe to be them. But because that is not our place or ‘lane’, it leads to fear as we don’t know what to do, frustration in not being able to perfectly control our lives or others, fatigue as we spend energy in a useless way, and failure as we see what we want to be good, crash and fall.

 

Our problem—we have a sin NATURE

Just like parenting, problems arise because of a battle of wills. We are born with a need to control and the arrogance and pride to continue even when what we do doesn’t work (Eph. 2:3). We must learn humility, which is the reality we don’t control life. The problem is, many people believe in God by profession, but then live their lives as atheists in practice. ‘Someone’ calls all the shots in people’s lives, and people get to choose who sits on the throne of their hearts—self or God. Jesus is Lord of all or not lord at all!

 

God’s solution—Admit our need and POWERLESNESS

God asks us to repent from our sin, admit our need of Jesus, and get help from Him and others (Acts 2:38). We must admit we are powerless to change the past, control other people, and cope with our hurts, habits, and hang-ups! You will get somewhere on your own, but it won’t be far, it won’t be forward, and it won’t be fruitful. You can’t change the fruit until you change the root!

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