Over­com­ing life’s hurts

The Covington News - - Religion - GABRIEL KHOULI gkhouli@cov­news.com

One thing the world seems un­likely to ever run out of is bro­ken peo­ple. And as long as they ex­ist, there will be a need for Cel­e­brate Re­cov­ery, the Chris­tian an­swer to the 12-step pro­gram.

The Chris­tian-based ad­dic­tion re­cov­ery pro­gram, cre­ated by pas­tors John Baker and Rick War­ren of the pop­u­lar Sad­dle­back Church, uses the eight beat­i­tudes (“Happy are the…”) to help peo­ple get over life’s “hurts, habits and hang-ups.”

New­ton County has two lo­cal pro­grams, in­clud­ing the county’s orig­i­nal pro­gram at Eastridge Community Church, which meets Thurs­day nights, and a newly started up pro­gram at Liv­ing Way Wor­ship Cen­ter, which meets on Mon­day nights.

Sad­dle­back founded the pro­gram in the early 1990s out of a de­sire to help peo­ple over­come spir­i­tual stum­bling blocks.

“Most peo­ple are fa­mil­iar with the clas­sic 12-step pro­gram of Al­co­holics Anony­mous and other groups. While un­doubt­edly many lives have been helped through the 12 steps, I’ve al­ways been un­com­fort­able with that pro­gram’s vague­ness about the na­ture of God, the sav­ing power of Je­sus Christ, and the min­istry of the Holy Spirit,” War­ren said on the Cel­e­brate Re­cov­ery web­site.

The pro­gram is used to­day to help peo­ple who have prob­lems with al­co­hol, anger, co-de­pen­dency, drugs, eat­ing habits, pornog­ra­phy and sex, among other prob­lems.

Eastridge Community Church opened the first lo­cal pro­gram in 2001 and the pro­gram has been there ever since.

Other lo­cal churches have oc­ca­sion­ally hosted pro­grams of their own, but the vol­un­teer-in­tense na­ture of the mis­sion has made it dif­fi­cult to sus­tain.

The Liv­ing Way pro­gram is ac­tu­ally an ex­ist­ing pro­gram that moved from First Bap­tist Church, which de­cided the pro­gram was no longer an ideal fit, said or­ga­nizer Ter­rell Wing­field.

Cel­e­brate Re­cov­ery re­volves around two core ac­tiv­i­ties.

The first are the reg­u­lar Cel­e­brate Re­cov­ery meet­ings, which are open to ev­ery­one and any­one. At both Eastridge on Thursdays and Liv­ing Way on Mon­days, Cel­e­brate Re­cov­ery meet­ings be­gin with a meal at 6 p.m., a large church-like wor­ship ser­vice at 7 p.m., small group dis­cus­sion ses­sions at 8 p.m. and then a more ca­sual fel­low­ship pe­riod at 9 p.m.

The meet­ings ro­tate ev­ery other week be­tween a spir­i­tual lessons and per­sonal tes­ti­monies from re­cov­ered ad­dicts.

The sec­ond core ac­tiv­ity is called a step study. This in­tense nine-month or longer pro­gram works at­ten­dees through four work­books de­vel­oped by pas­tor John Baker. At­ten­dees meet ev­ery week af­ter com­plet­ing a les­son and share their an­swers in a small group set­ting.

Liv­ing Way cur­rently has one men’s and one women’s step study in progress. Wing­field said the women’s step study will be wrapping up soon and the next study is expected to start in mid-Oc­to­ber. Eastridge also has step stud­ies in progress.

Both churches also have teen-based ver­sions of the pro­gram.

Though Wing­field had an al­co­holic fa­ther and strug- gled with anger, con­trol and de­pen­dency is­sues him­self, he didn’t be­come in­volved with Cel­e­brate Re­cov­ery un­til he saw prob­lems de­velop in his, at the time, 14-yearold daugh­ter.

“I live with an al­co­holic fa­ther and it came back to me with my own chil­dren and shook me up and mo­ti­vated me,” Wing­field said Wed­nes­day. “And when I saw CR (Cel­e­brate Re­cov­ery) at Eastridge, I said this is what I want to do the rest of my life.

“A lot of teens have my prob­lems; my heart is re­ally in work­ing with the teens,” he said. “I see my daugh­ter so many times when I’m help­ing other peo­ple.”

Wing­field hopes that the pro­gram not only helps fix bro­ken fam­i­lies, but also pre­vents the cy­cle that those fam­i­lies cre­ate.

“Since I’ve been in it, I’ve found out that so many peo­ple strug­gle with pornog­ra­phy and that so many peo­ple have been sex­u­ally abused,” Wing­field said. “I’m shocked at the num­ber of men who were sex­u­ally abused. I al­ways thought women were the ones be­ing abused and they are, but a lot of the men who turned to drugs and al­co­hol were sex­u­ally abused as chil­dren.”

To learn more about the Liv­ing Way pro­gram, call Wing­field and his wife and fel­low leader Donna, at (770) 787-7611 or email them at bear7611@char­ter.net.

To learn more about Eastridge’s pro­gram, call (770) 786 2048 and hit ext. 250 for Cel­e­brate Re­cov­ery Pas­tor Brad Rut­ledge or ext. 233 for Di­rec­tor Re­nee Rut­ledge.

Psalm 15:1-4 (Com­mon English


I’m on the moun­tain this week. Lit­er­ally. It’s been great be­ing in the North Carolina moun­tains. Get­ting to­gether with other clergy in a think tank kind of gath­er­ing where we share ideas, learn, and wor­ship God to­gether has been in­spir­ing. This week, my clergy friends and I have laughed and cried to­gether. I re­ally feel as if I’ve been on the moun­tain of the Lord, and in some ways, it will be hard to come home.

Part of the ex­pe­ri­ence of be­ing here this week has been to wor­ship God. As we have learned more about dif­fer­ent ways to wor­ship, dif­fer­ent ways to pray, and dif­fer­ent ways to lis­ten to God speak through God’s word, we have had time for self-ex­am­i­na­tion — time to re­order our pri­or­i­ties, and time to re­flect on what we need to change in our lives to be more like Je­sus.

The Psalmist tells us what kind of per­son we must be to stay on God’s moun­tain. We must be pure in heart, ac­tion, at­ti­tude and in­tent. We must do no harm to oth­ers by what we say or do. We must honor the Lord in our ac­tions and our at­ti­tudes — in ev­ery­thing we think, say and do.

Those are the re­quire­ments for stay­ing on the moun­tain, ac­cord­ing to the Psalmist, but they are also the re­sults of stay­ing on God’s holy moun­tain, stay­ing in the pres­ence of God. When we al­low God to pen­e­trate our hearts as we live in God’s pres­ence, we find that our ac­tions and at­ti­tudes are more holy. When we al­low the Holy Spirit to guide our lives, we find that our de­sires change, and we do no harm be­cause Je­sus would do no harm. We find that we serve oth­ers be­cause our Lord served oth­ers.

We have much to do when we reach the bot­tom of the moun­tain. How are you learn­ing and grow­ing in your faith ev­ery day? How are you liv­ing in God’s pres­ence ev­ery day?

Rev. Jan McCoy is the as­so­ciate pas­tor of Cov­ing­ton First United Methodist Church in down­town Cov­ing­ton. She may be reached at jan.mccoy@ngumc.net.

Sub­mit­ted photo

Ter­rell Wing­field, Mike Ar­rick, Rod­ney Mims and Kim Cook, lead­ers of the Cel­e­brate Re­cov­ery min­istry team at Liv­ing Way Wor­ship Cen­ter visit Sad­dle­back Church in Cal­i­for­nia.

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