I do not know who wrote this, but it is truly inspiring. It has been read repeatedly by people in recovery. I pray that it inspires you the way it has inspired me.
God in His wisdom selected this group of men and women to be purveyors of His goodness. In selecting them through whom to bring about this phenomenon He went not to the proud, the mighty, the famous or the brilliant. He went instead to the humble, to the sick, to the unfortunate. He went right to the drunkard, the so-called weakling of the world. Well might He have said the following words to us:
"Unto your weak and feeble hands I have entrusted a power beyond estimate. To you has been given that which has been denied the most learned of your fellows. Not to scientists or statesmen, not to wives or mothers, not even to my priests or ministers have I given this gift of healing other alcoholics which I entrust to you."
"It must be used unselfishly; it carries with it grave responsibility. No day can be too long; no demands upon your time can be too urgent; no case can be too pitiful; no task too hard; no effort too great. It must be used with tolerance for I have restricted its application to no race, no creed, and no denomination. Personal criticism you must expect; lack of appreciation will be common; ridicule will be your lot; your motives will be misjudged. You must be prepared for adversity, for what men call adversity is the ladder you must use to ascend the rungs toward spiritual perfection, and remember, in the exercise of this power I shall not exact from you beyond your capabilities."
"You are not selected because of exceptional talents, and be careful always, if success attends your efforts not to ascribe to personal superiority that to which you can lay claim only by virtue of my gift. If I had wanted learned men to accomplish this mission, this power would have been entrusted to the physician and scientist. If I had wanted eloquent men, there would have been many anxious for the assignment, for talk is the easiest used of all talents with which I have endowed mankind. If I had wanted scholarly men, the world is filled with better qualified men than you who would be available. You were selected because you have been the outcasts of the world and your long experience as drunkards has made or should make you humbly alert to the cries of distress that come from the lonely hearts of alcoholics everywhere."
"Keep ever in mind the admission you made on the day of your profession in AA -- namely that you are powerless and that it was only with your willingness to turn your life and will unto my keeping that relief came to you." -Anonymous
Grace & Peace my beloved friends.
Pastor Jeremy E.
A few thoughts on how to live a good life:
•Wander through life with wide-eyed wonder. Treat it like an adventure.
•Keep your heart open, don’t close it off to others.
•Keep your soul clean.
•Make sure your words bring life to others.
•Leave others feeling good about being around you.
•Read the Bible everyday.
•Make choices that align with your values.
•Be sure to dream.
•Surround yourself with other dreamers.
•Don’t hold grudges.
•Forgive yourself and others (even if they don’t deserve it).
•Don’t seek the approval of others, only God can meet that need.
•Don’t settle for what is convenient, take risks.
•Wisdom is more important than knowledge.
•Use your influence to help others.
•You are not that special, you can be replaced.
•Cut off anyone and anything that interferes with the above mentioned advice.
I know how difficult it can be to preach the authentic Gospel of Christ when fellow Christians are doing the most damage to the credibility of the Gospel Message with all of their finger pointing. How did get to the point of reducing our faith a list of rules that need to be obeyed (with the threat of Hell looming over us)? This is classic Pharisee behavior. Paul encountered this amongst his own apostolic peers in the early church in Galatia (think about the Judaizers in Galatians 2). It can be very discouraging.
Don’t sweat it. Don’t get discouraged. People build ministries purely devoted to chronic accusation and finger pointing. They attract and reproduce the type of believers they are. Yes, they’re annoying, but they’re God’s people to. Show them the grace that none of us deserve! Ministries rise and fall every day. We either learn our lessons on spiritual leadership or we don’t. Keep preaching the message of God’s grace. I guarantee it will be a break though for people with ears to hear.
We’ll never get rid of grumpy legalist's, but we can definitely out last them. They’ll eventually burn out while we’ll still be shining brightly with Gospel of Christ Jesus!
It’s ironic that people will preach like a bully and pound that pulpit demanding people obey old mosaic laws they don’t understand and cannot keep themselves. It’s an issue of spiritual immaturity, that’s all. I’m convinced that grace will abound to them in greater measure. Just be patient, and maybe keep your distance! You can retaliate with prayer and forgiveness. Believe me, it works.
These verses of scripture encourage me greatly:
“Now the decisive conclusion is this: in Christ, every bit of condemning evidence against us is cancelled.” [Romans 8:1]
“Unbelief is such a predictable set-up where that which is highly esteemed by faith, seems scandalous and offensive to the self-righteous mind. Since there is no ground left for boasting, grace offends the typical ‘law of works-mentality.’ They are the ones who refuse to see the reference to their original identity revealed and redeemed in Christ.” [I Peter 2:8]
“Temptations and contradictions come in different shapes, sizes, and intervals; their intention is always to suck you into their energy field. However, my brothers, your joy in who you know you are leads you out triumphantly every time. Here is the secret: joy is not something you have to fake, it is the fruit of what your faith knows to be true about you! You know that the proof of your faith results in persuasion that remains constant in contradiction.” [James 1:2-3]
Be encouraged my beloved friends! If God is for you, who can stand against you!
Pastor Jeremy E.
Today I celebrated 23 years of sobriety. It wasn’t with much flare or fanfare. There were no parades and celebrations. Just another day of hard work in the yard, and a major plumbing emergency. Life goes on.
I did receive my 23 year medallion at my local gathering of recovering inebriates. I consider them to be my “home-group.” They are my family, perhaps a bit more functional.
Many kind words were shared about what my recovery meant to each of them. I got a little teary eyed.
They were very kind. It’s still hard for me to receive compliments. I wonder if it’s pride or residual shame? Maybe it’s not important? It’s hard for me to believe that I no longer drink like a drunken pirate. I was never what you’d call a “gentleman drinker.”
I’m certainly grateful that my experience has helped a few people in their recovery. We get to keep recovering because we are encouraged to continuously help those who are still struggling. To keep it, you’ve got to give it away. That’s been my saving grace.
We reminded one another that the most important person in the room is the newcomer. There were a few new people. I got called an old timer for the very first time today. That’s humbling, but I needed to hear it. I was honored to hear it. There are no accidents, just godly coincidences. I was told coincidences are God’s way of staying anonymous.
Someone asked me what I’ve learned since walking this 12 Step path to freedom. That’s a good question. I’ve been reflecting on this question most of the day.
This is what’s been most important too me. On Page 85 in the A.A. Big Book it says, “We’re not cured of our alcoholism, what we really have is a daily reprieve contingent on the maintenance of our spiritual condition.” This means that when I take time to connect and reflect on my relationship with God, I am granted a reprieve from whatever troubles me. I become the beneficiary of a spontaneous remission of symptoms.
Here Is My Program of Spiritual Maintenance
It’s pretty simple for me, this is what I do to be a useful human being.
1. I connect with God daily through meditation (listening) and prayer (talking) to God.
2. I take an inventory.
3. If I’ve wronged anyone, I make amends.
That keeps me busy.
I’ve learned many things from those who went before me. Most importantly, I was told to give people the dignity to discover what I’ve uncovered in my recovery. I don’t give it away. I was told to let the newcomer find their own answers. There was wisdom in allowing them to have their own experiences. It’s the only way most of us learn. It has served me well.
I am grateful for another day of living by God’s grace. I am thankful that I am sober. I glad I have my family, friends, and loved ones.
I am thankful to be a tool used by God. After all, God knows what a tool I can be.
Much love to you my beloved friends.
Pastor Jeremy E.
Why do we lie to ourselves - have you ever asked yourself that question?
I think lying is as natural to a human being as breathing. It's what we do. I might be pointing fingers just a little bit. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not saying I’ve never lied. I think I lie to myself about a lot of things.
The fact is I’ve lied and been lied to. It’s the modus operandi of humanity. I've even seen a Ted Talk on the subject.
Lying is the opposite of telling the truth. Lying can be overt, or more subtle. It’s a clever distortion of the facts. For some, it's a survival tactic. We excuse it, dismiss it, and our culture even encourages it. I'm not saying that it's right, I'm just pointing out reality.
Lies are believable because they are wrapped up in a thin veneer of truth. A little investigation usually reveals a suspect statement to be a lie. People used to put more effort into lying, now even that’s become a lazy thing.
The very first lie can be traced back to Genesis. Adam and Eve believed a lie. They accepted a distorted view of God presented to them by the Serpent. Whether you consider the story to be myth, fact, or fantasy isn’t my concern. It illustrates a point. We lie to ourselves and to one another. We believe the lies we propagate and circulate on social media. Why?
It doesn’t feel good to be lied to. I’m grateful for grace, but I’m also pretty tired of being lied to. Lies are malicious. I’ve seen them destroy a persons reputation. Ask yourself this, how often do you clarify the facts after hearing some juicy gossip?
We’ve all done it, but lying helps no one. Speaking the truth is always the best policy, even if it hurts the ears of the hearer. This is a hard gut check. Examine yourself, are you wrapped up in telling lies and believing lies? Ideals are important, honesty is at the top of the list for me.
I'm inspired by the Life of Christ. I love what Jesus said, “I am the Way, the Truth, and the Life” in John 14:6. Another verse I love comes from Proverbs 26:7, “faithful are the wounds of a friend.” I see a bigtime need to be around people who speak the truth and don’t tell me what they think I want to hear.
Honesty, is honestly the best policy. Truth doesn’t have to justify itself or rationalize its own existence. Lies require endless amounts of explanation. That should be the first clue that we are lying.
Lord, help us learn the art of telling the truth so that we may prosper. In Jesus name, Amen.
Pastor Jeremy E.
(Unedited & Unfiltered)
Is God in control? What is it that He is exactly controlling? Is He meticulously micromanaging all the minutia of the universe? People have been arguing this for centuries.
How do you describe the tension between free will and the hard determinism of western theological tradition? Is there a coherent argument?
I was recently listening to John Lennox debate Richard Dawkins on the subject and he says, “no!”
If God is control, some would say He isn’t exercising His Power in a coherent way. If it’s true that He isn’t in control, then the omni-attributes of God are essentially false and this conversation is a waste of time.
How does one make sense of all this? I choose to live by faith. Faith transcends the limits of logic and hopes against all hope. Faith is epistemic certainty (that’s what I propose). I know I’ve reduced the subject to a crass level representation, so please show me grace.
Doubt can feed faith, if we serve it up that way. Perhaps this is what the mystics knew? So much of what the mystics knew by faith eludes the academics, because it doesn’t add up. Not that theology has ever been philosophically coherent itself (in my opinion), until Jesus put a new face on God.
Jesus is pure theology. His faith in the Father’s plan gives me strength to believe in desperate circumstances. God can do anything, which encourages me. I believe. I’m thankful God supplies the faith He demands.
I know that people say that God is in control to assuage their grief and comfort themselves during moments of emotional duress. I get that. But I prefer to think that God is with us in our pain. I believe He walks with us to the very borders of our pain, and then helps us to cross over into the land healing and hope. There is a big difference between what God causes what God allows.
God never lost control, but I don’t think He’s been micromanaging the cosmos either. I’m grateful that He loves us and takes interest in our lives. I don’t pretend to understand the nuances of pain, suffering, and salvation. But I do know His Love and grace. That’ll do it for me.
I just have a lot a lot of pain in my life right now.
Oxford Professor John Lennox famously said this, “He who has a ‘why’ to live can bear almost any ‘how.’” I live because I love. I support my loved ones because they live. My why isn’t contingent on the how. Faith isn’t what we know, it’s who we know. I know Jesus.
I choose to trust and rest my faith in Him.
Thank you for your prayers.
Pastor Jeremy E.
I’ve preached sermons on it.
I’ve lived with it.
I’ve suffered without it.
Today I am writing about it.
Jesus spoke about hope in His 3 years of ministry. I’ve studied it in scripture with the deepest level of intention.
I don’t know if I completely understand it.
Here are a few of my favorite verses on it - 1 Peter 1:3; Romans 5:2-5; 2 Corinthians 4:16-18; Romans 8:24-25; Romans 12:12; Romans 15:4; Romans 15:13; Hebrews 11:1; Titus 1:1-2; Proverbs 24:14; Psalm 10:17.
Faith and hope have guided my life. But I must be honest with myself, I’m being honest with you too. Weariness pushes back hard against the hope within me. Maybe it’s anxiety. Maybe it’s fear. Part of me accepts how I feel, but another part of me has to fight back by staying hopeful and fueled by faith. Sometimes I fake it to mask my pain.
I know I am not alone. Christ is with me.
I apologize, but I have to be deliberately vague about the details out of respect for my loved ones. So I ask you to pray.
Pray for peace. Pray for grace. Pray for wisdom. Pray for patience. Pray for healing. Pray for faith.
We all need more of it.
Pastor Jeremy E.
I started my day with this verse...
“This is how we fit into God’s picture: Christ is the measure of our portion, we are in him, invented and defined in him. God’s blueprint intention is on exhibition in us. Everything he accomplishes is inspired by the energy and intent of his affection.” Ephesians 1:11
Invented and defined in Him stands out to me. I was asking myself if God invented and designed my suffering to accomplish some noble spiritual feat in me. I don’t know. I don’t always feel very noble, nor do I feel very spiritual.
A part of me feels like my wife and I should be exempt from any further suffering. Enough is enough.
My feelings don’t dictate or direct my reality though. So I don’t place much trust in them.
Honestly, sometimes I am angry at God. Maybe He feels the same way about me? I trust His love for me more than anything though. I don’t stay stuck for long. I can’t afford to.
I constantly wonder why we suffer? What’s to gain? Why does my wife have to suffer the way she does? What’s the friggin point of it all?
I’ve heard the piety and holiness talk about suffering from other people. It’s causes weariness within me. I cannot stand a pretentious piety that acts better than it really is. I like honesty, because honestly, life is messy.
Understanding the “why” of a situation doesn’t really do much to help you figure out the “what’s next” part of God’s plan. No matter how exhausted I get by the ups and downs of living/loving someone with challenging health, God always shows me grace.
The scripture I’ve referenced above is one that recalibrate’s my thinking when I am walking through a crisis. God is accomplishing something in our lives through all of this. That is what I choose to believe.
I’m thinker, and a highly contemplative person. I can easily get lost in the matrix of my own thoughts. When I read a portion of God’s Word I am able narrow my focus and be less obsessed about what might go wrong. There is already so much that is going right.
That is all I have to say for now. Thank you for keeping my family in prayer.
Pastor Jeremy E.
The Dusty Disciples