Celebrate Recovery® at CRBC

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Celebrate Recovery Testimony

Caveat:  This testimony intentionally in no way constitutes a detailed confession, based on the following Biblical command: 

It is good neither to eat flesh, nor to drink wine, nor any thing whereby thy brother stumbleth, or is offended, or is made weakRomans 14:21

Jesus Christ is Lord of my life and I struggle with anger, lust, severe agitation, and chronic pain. 

I’ve struggled with those things since I was a child, and I gave my life to Christ when I was eleven, although I haven’t lived it for Him nearly as well as I should have and occasionally have lived it against His will.  I was called to the ministry as a child and spent most of the last 30 years ignoring that call out of a combination of fear and disbelief that God wanted to use me for anything.  Since I was saved, rarely did a day pass without me reading my Bible or praying, but there have been many days when I felt alone or ineffectual in my praying, and I certainly haven’t been as effective for God’s kingdom as I should.  There have been too many days recently where I haven’t read my Bible or prayed as much as I should, either.

I don’t feel like being here tonight.  I don’t feel like being here many nights.  But, I’m here by God’s grace.  And by your love.  Without y’all, I’d go find somewhere to be alone.  The pain and agitation that fill most of my days have reached a point where I largely want to be alone, left alone, and remain alone.  The mental effort required to remain civil, behave like a Christian, and honor the Lord is an astonishing amount of effort after approximately twenty-four years of steadily mounting pain.  That’s approximately 295 months, or just over 8800 days, or just under a quarter of a million hours.  Don’t do the math, because I rounded. 
I don’t believe my pain is unique, and I’m certainly not the human in the most pain or in pain the longest.  It’s just my pain, and I’m so very tired of it. But, the Lord has seen fit to allow me to be here again, so I’m going to share.

Before coming to Celebrate Recovery, I had no fellowship with other Christian men outside casual relationships; I certainly had no strong spiritual fellowship with other Christian men with whom I felt comfortable sharing in a way that anyone who regularly attends Celebrate Recovery recognizes as meaningful.  Frankly, I never previously believed in accountability partners because I saw no need to create a new label for something the Bible already tells us we’re to do with our trusted Christian brothers. 

I believe in the principle of accountability but never found anyone with whom to practice it effectively -  Biblically - prior to coming to Celebrate Recovery.  And, the normal activities for which accountability partners are usually most effective, I am blessed at accomplishing without a partner.  I needed a sponsor – I didn’t know it – and I found one at Celebrate Recovery.  We don’t share the same struggle, but I can certainly relate in my struggle to the types of temptations he can relate to in his, and he certainly has a peace and effectiveness for Christ that has eluded me.  I grew up in a Southern Baptist Church where many, some, I couldn’t tell you the number, of men committed adultery with the wives of other men in the church, and the wives of men outside the church.  Many of them attended the same parties as my parents, and I went to school with their children. 

Many of those men were pillars of our community and church; one of them was my father, although I believe he never committed adultery with the wife of someone in our congregation.  His affairs, though, and those of other men in my family, were taught to me as object lessons from an early age.  I saw and heard churchgoing men demean and objectify women constantly. 

I swore to myself – and forgot to ask God’s protection – that I would never betray my wife – or Him – as the other men in my family had.  Then, as now, the following verse has special meaning for me; I knew and know it to be true, and more than once have forgotten the power of its meaning:
Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, walketh about, seeking whom he may devour:  1 Peter 5:8

I have suffered spiritual attack for many years.  I can sense the presence of evil very often in the darkest hours of the night, and I am not a man prone to flights of fancy or baseless fear.  At those times, I have often sensed a malevolent presence next to me, and it is only dispelled by intense prayer for spiritual protection.  These presences are visited upon my wife and son, as well.
I’m sure the circumstances of my struggle are very typical of anyone with similar struggles, but I sometimes feel the temptation so strongly that it’s as if a power outside me drives the temptation, including the palpable sense of peace and pleasure that begins to build in mere anticipation of allowing lust to build or the anger to flow.  I would spend hours finding different sources of pornography for the sheer variety of it – television, Internet, adult bookstores.  I never searched for pornography at work, I never left work to find it.  But, at home in the evenings or on my day off, it would consume hours of my time, hours that should have been spent with God and my family.  When I was finished looking for it, I was never satisfied – not surprising, but it was still compelling at the time.  Look harder, look over here, you just haven’t found what will make you happy, yet.  I never heard the words, but I felt them.

            All that time, from when I first heard the call to ministry and ignored it to when I came to Celebrate Recovery in August of 2005, my relationship with God was far less intimate, less rich, than it should have been because I was keeping God pushed away despite daily confession to Him and prayers for healing.  I hadn’t realized that He had already given me the power to resist temptation; I had but to exercise it.  And, my attitude toward others isn’t worth discussing.  I said I suffer from anger and lust.  I also suffer a component part of rage that manifests as an intense lack of patience and tolerance for inconvenience, and most inconvenience can conveniently be blamed – most of the time erroneously – on others.  That intolerance was nearly always present, and always near the surface, before I came to Celebrate Recovery.  Again, God had given me the power to overcome it, but I was waiting for Him to take it away rather than giving it up myself.
I came to the end of my rope, or as George often quotes, realized God was all I needed when God was all I had.  I realized that when I confessed to my wife – that wonderful gift from God of a spirit truly complementary to mine - that I had committed adultery many years before and she modeled God’s forgiveness and grace in a way that would have made not coming to Celebrate Recovery an ongoing betrayal.  She didn’t ask me to come, didn’t yell at me, didn’t call me names, didn’t do anything but tell me we would get through it together with God’s help.  And we have.

For many years, God had impressed upon me the call to start a sexual recovery ministry, and like the earlier call, I found myriad excuses for delay.  One night while I was helping repair the CRBC trailers in 2005, the Holy Spirit poked me with one of the tools we weren’t using and asked why I didn’t talk to George about my desire to start a ministry and about Celebrate Recovery. 

I started in reverse order, and when George told me Celebrate Recovery is for anyone, including people with sexual addictions, I said I figured God didn’t need me to start such a ministry here.  George’s answer was clearly God-given: “Wait a few months and pray about it; I’m planning to start a separate men’s sexual addiction group when there are enough people and when we begin the new year.” 
I sorely needed those few months to better understand what God wanted from me and to gain a better understanding of how Celebrate Recovery operates.  And, I suspect, for George to have the opportunity to determine whether I was a nut.  As he now knows, I am, but I’m not dangerous…usually.

Defilement of the temple of the Holy Spirit is no trivial matter.  It alienates one from fellowship with God, Who cannot allow sin into His presence.  Keeping accounts short is prudent advice, but daily asking forgiveness for the same sin, committed the same way, with the same selfish motivations, is entirely another matter.  We are told in 1 Corinthians 6:18-19, Flee fornication. Every sin that a man doeth is without the body; but he that committeth fornication sinneth against his own body.  What?  Know ye not that your body is the temple of the Holy Ghost which is in you, which ye have of God, and ye are not your own?

We are also told in Ephesians 4:30a, Grieve not the Holy Spirit of God…
Continually grieving the Holy Spirit and defiling His temple is a grave insult to His person and it weakens the voice of conscience, and I have defiled several temples of the Holy Spirit.  We are told in II Timothy 2:15, Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth.


I found that continually grieving the Holy Spirit impaired my ability to divide the word of truth when I heard it and when I read it, and my ability to interpret Scripture stopped developing.  Portions of God’s Word remained obscure for decades; many still do, but I believe many remain unclear due to my lack of spiritual discipline for over two decades.

Since I have been coming to Celebrate Recovery, my relationship with Christ has grown:  I still suffer great temptation to lust and to let anger flow through me like a torrent, but Christ’s ability to bear the load far exceeds my own, and yielding the load to Him enriches my walk, makes it easier to yield the load on successive occasions, and demonstrates faith.  I’ve completed several step studies, I have a long way to go, but I see benefits manifested in my own thinking and how I respond when I recall events from the past that would have enraged me previously.  Step studies contain specific, detailed steps on how to conduct certain aspects of recovery that I have often wondered about but didn’t know how to approach.  I also know some will seem impossibly difficult because I will be unable to find the people I harmed.  I know; I’ve tried.  God’s will makes a way.

He also has made remarkable changes in how I perceive and respond to other people.  I still get angry, I still get frustrated, and I still quite easily see how many problems lie clearly at the feet of other people.  I now see how many problems also lie clearly at my feet, and I am beginning to be able to relate to others without casting blame or becoming infuriated by confusing their need for help with inexcusable incompetence. 

I also have begun to recognize clearly that God’s gifts to me are manifold, and to share them with others, not hold them up as tools of ridicule when others need my help.  I can listen to others talk about their problems, I can pray with and for them, and I can feel compassion for their pain.

I have been blessed to be the founding leader of our sexual issues small groups, a step study leader, and CR’s training coach.  The Lord has given me opportunities to serve as a missions committee member, a prayer team member for the pastors, the worship services, and the church, a children’s Sunday School teacher, and a Deacon.  I am continually amazed at the things the Lord finds for me to do, and the fact that he gifts me with the ability to perform them.  But, most of all, I am amazed at the privilege of watching the Lord work.

For the present, the spiritual attacks have also stopped, and I pray continually that God keeps a hedge of protection around my family and those of all of His children.  My walk with Christ has become deeper, although it has a long, long way to go, and I feel my prayers are received by God.  For several years, I have again been able to discern the direction of the Holy Spirit in my life, guiding, illuminating, and correcting.

I would say to newcomers that the first of the two hardest parts is over.  You’ve come to a meeting where you probably felt you would be the only person in the world with your problem, your pain.  You may not have wanted to come; your presence might be the product of an ultimatum from a loved one.  Or, you may be here of your own free will as an act of conscience or desperation.  Regardless, you are here.  If you already believe in Christ’s saving power and recognize you are powerless to prevent or control sin on your own, then all of the hardest parts are over.  If you have yet to recognize that you are ultimately powerless to control your sinful nature, that is the second hardest part because you are denying Christ’s saving power.  Sometimes, not everyone here has received the Lord, and not everyone will, but we earnestly pray that all who come will be saved; after all, this is a Christ-centered recovery group and we recognize that without Christ’s saving power, we are lost.

For those of us who have been coming a while, congratulations.  Coming is a huge commitment and a commendable one.  Keep doing it.  But, if you’re beginning to feel like your recovery isn’t moving forward, make sure of some things:  first, make sure you’re serious about getting better and not just coming to be here;

Second, make sure you’re keeping accounts short.  Allowing owed amends to build up again is a guaranteed way to fall into bad habits.

And third, if the first two are taken care of, check and see if God is calling you to serve.  Make sure your prayer time has answer time.  God usually won’t scream an answer at you as you rush off after praying.  Stop and listen.  He may be telling you it’s time to be a CR greeter, or an accountability partner, or a sponsor if you’ve finished a step study, or perhaps He’s telling you to serve in other capacities in the church but outside CR, such as a greeter in the sanctuary, or a Sunday School teacher or assistant, or a member of the choir.  Stop and listen.  God has jobs for all of His children, and none of them are “Sit around and wait for Christ’s return.” 

If you’re looking for service areas in CR, talk to one of the leaders. We'll find plenty for you to do.  Or talk to one of us about service areas in the church.  But start with your sponsor, because they’re usually the best-positioned in CR to help you decide if it’s time to add service to your recovery.

Thanks for letting me share.


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Last updated 4/14/11