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by ProfDave, ©2022

(Jan. 27, 2022) — The recovery support program in which I am involved is Celebrate Recovery, established 1981 and consistent world-wide.  For some, recovery may be unimaginable, let alone celebrating it, but I have seen it with my own eyes and experienced it myself.  I have been sharing the 12 Steps with you.  Here is the last one.

Step Twelve: Having had a spiritual experience as the result of these steps, we try to carry this message to others and to practice these principles in all our affairs.  Galatians 6:1: Brothers, if someone is caught in a sin, you who are spiritual should restore him gently.  But watch yourself, or you also may be tempted.

“Having had a spiritual experience as the result of these steps . . . .”  If you seriously and prayerfully – in a safe recovery group – take steps one through eleven something supernatural will happen.  You may still struggle – vulnerability will remain – but you will have the tools to struggle successfully, a new relationship with God and a band of brothers/sisters with whom to share your struggles and your victories.  For me, it came in Step One – when I came out of 60 years of denial.  Others may await their miracle until the very end when they realize they are not the same person they were when they started.  But something does happen.

Don’t stop before the miracle happens.  “Keep coming!  It works if you work it!  So work it, you’re worth it!”

“We try to carry this message to others.” to bring this Good News to others.  That’s what I just did.  I am just a beggar telling other beggars where to find bread.  If you discovered the cure for cancer, would you keep it to yourself?  We have experienced the supernatural in our inner selves.  Chains have been broken.  Addictions and compulsive behaviors we were powerless to change have been changed.  We celebrate impossible victories!  We’ve got to tell somebody!

It is time to celebrate recovery!  First, it is one more liberating step in the process.  No, we are not done yet, because spiritual and personal growth is a life-long process.  But spreading the good news and telling our story helps us see how far we have come and wipe away the last traces of our shame.  Giving a testimony in a meeting is a scary but liberating thing.

Second, we must give credit where credit is due.  Taking credit for what God has done in my life is a sure recipe for losing it.  I am not clean because of my iron resolve and sterling character.  The lack of all that is what got me into the mess in the first place.

Third, we want other strugglers to find hope and courage from our examples.  To say, “I don’t have to struggle alone, I don’t have to live with this albatross around my neck, there is a way to be free!”  There is no damage, no twistedness, no mutilation, no brokenness of soul and spirit that God cannot heal.  Attend Celebrate Recovery!  Meanwhile, I think I will go back to Step 1 with another problem area that I have been carrying around altogether too long.

The corresponding principle (Rick Warren) says, “Yield myself to God to be used to bring this Good News to others, both by my example and by my words.  Matthew 5:10:  Happy are those who are persecuted because they do what God requires.”

Yielding myself to God is the only way to Christian maturity.  I am clean, one day after another, by God’s work in me.  So now, I should let Him spread the Good News to others by my words and actions – or rather His words and actions through me.

Not sure I like Rick Warren’s choice of the verse to go along with this principle.  He wanted to stay with the Beatitudes, but Matthew 5:16 would have been better: “Let your light shine before men, that they may see your good deeds and praise your Father in heaven.”  Doing what God requires, speaking truth – even in love – and doing right carries the risk of provoking those who prefer foolishness or are devoted to wrong.  We do and say what God requires anyway.  That’s what Jesus-followers do.  And are blessed.  Going “into all the world and preach[ing] the Good News to all creation” (Mark 16:15) is the Great Commission, after all.  Christianity 101.  We pass it on. 

Testimony is not only a major part of the Celebrate Recovery program – 25 nights a year – but of the Christian life.  In the intimate setting of a gender specific small group, in confidential recovery meetings, in the fellowship of our faith community, in our families, in our workplaces and in the public square we share the good news of Jesus Christ and what He has done for us, the principles and the steps that have worked for us.  I do not mean to offend anyone, but I do not want to withhold critical information either.

David W. Heughins (“ProfDave”) is Adjunct Professor of History at Nazarene Bible College.  He holds a BA from Eastern Nazarene College and a PhD in history from the University of Minnesota.  He is the author of Holiness in 12 Steps (2020).  He is a Vietnam veteran and is retired, living with his daughter and three grandchildren in Connecticut.

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  1. I have been serving at Celebrate Recovery at Cedarpoint Church in Claremore, Oklahoma for several years and it is a wonderful program!!!!! There have been programs started in Catoosa, Inola, Pryor, Chelsea, and Vinita by people who attended the one at Cedarpoint and wanted to bring the program to their local church. It hurt our attendance as about half came from those towns but God has built ours back up in recent year or two. We average about 180 per week with a high of 278 the first Monday of March. We meet every Monday at 7 p m and it lasts an hour to an hour and 15 minutes. The first Monday of the month we have a home cooked meal provided by a family that has a catering business and the 3rd Monday the church provides pizza. I also, like Prof Dave, highly reccommend it and encourage anyone close to come and try it for yourself. I am the old guy at the door!!!!! God bless one and all