Tag Archives: Blessed

“How can it get any Worse? / Better?”

Written on Sunday, March 7, 2015

This morning at NewLifeChurch, Alamo, CA, I sat in the Teen Challenge Corner!
N.L.C. Loves Teen Challenge!!During the Friendship Break I had a conversation with Kenny.

I’ve been watching the changes happen in this young man for the past few months. I’ve watched him turn the corner. I’ve seen as he’s had a Divine focal point shift from RECOVERY of the PAST to a new DISCOVERY of what is on the HORIZON for him!

He related Saturday’s experience as he was going door-to-door as part of the Teen Challenge Program. The stated purpose of going door-to-door is fund-raising, but that was not the Only Reason he was there.

He had an opportunity to pray for an elderly man recovering from cancer and then another man who’d had a heart attack and answered the door with his wife.

The elderly man stood in astonishment as Kenny prayed. The couple had tears in their eyes as Kenny finished his prayer. What touched me this morning was the excitement I saw in Kenny as he’s coming to realize God has a Purpose for him.

I mentioned Pastor Doug’s message from a few months ago in which he said that God works FOR us and IN us, and then THROUGH us.

https://itunes.apple.com/us/podcast/new-life-podcast/id309386201?mt=2&i=326403149

I’ve listened to other men from T.C. as they tell me with astonishment in their voices: “God is answering EVERY Prayer for me.” I call it their “honeymoon time” with God. It’s like God is proving to them that it “It really is just that simple” – He loves us! And He wants us to know it!

As Pastor Doug was coming to the platform and people were quieting down once again, I told Kenny that “He ain’t seen nothin’ yet.” I told him it keeps getting better and better. I told him about the prayer I wrote in my journal a few months ago: “Lord, NEVER let me lose the amazement of what You’re doing in my life.” (He hasn’t) I told him it just keeps getting better.

Kenny said one of the things that finally brought him to Teen Challenge was this question: “How in the world can my life get any worse than it already is?” But it did, it was – getting worse and worse. Something or someone had to change! So – here he is!! Smack Dab in the middle of where God wants him!

Every time I see Kenny, he’s more excited than the time before. Today he told me he’s staying at TC as an intern – another 6 months of change and growth. And becoming The Man God wants him to be.

I have good news for U, Kenny, U’re already God’s Man! Just keep unwrapping him! And Celebrate the Discoveries!!

And I am certain that God, who began the good work within you,
will continue His work until it is finally finished
on the day when Christ Jesus returns
.
Philippians‬ ‭1‬:‭6‬ NLT

Happiness & Joy

Which comes 1st?
Can we have one without the other?

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HAPPINESS
comes from good happenings in our life.

JOY
comes from recognizing God’s Process in our life.

JOY
can(will!) sustain us – NO MATTER what’s happening around us

If U’re old enough(like me) U’ll remember the song – “Love”n Marriage… Go together like a horse’n carriage… U can’t have one without the other…” (Frank Sinatra)

It IS possible to have happiness without joy, joy without happiness.
I’ve certainly been known to confuse one for the other.

In the U.S.A., we have the constitutional “right to pursue happiness”. However, there’s no guarantee of finding it. Joy wasn’t even mentioned.

I’ve been attending Celebrate Recovery for almost 6 years. The common practice is to introduce ourselves: “Hi, my name is ‘Jim’. I’m a GRATEFUL believer in Jesus who struggles with…. ________ fillintheblank. Some Monday nights, it was easy to say “I’m grateful” Other nights, those words seemed to get stuck someplace beneath my tonsils. I finally began to realize I was measuring my gratefulness by my happiness. I was measuring my happiness by the good/bad happenings in my life.

NewsFlash: It wasn’t the good/nice things in my life that brought me to CR. It was the painful things. The out-of-control things. In CR language, it was the hurts, habits and gangups. Oops, that’s s’pose to be hangups! But actually, come to think of it, it was when the painful things outweighed the “blessings” that I looked for help. So yeah, I guess it did “gangup” on me.

It took me a long time to begin to recognize that the dark place was a gift. It took me longer to be grateful for the pain. It took even longer to acknowledge that God was using those things that had been ganging up on me to change me.

It’s been a PROCESS! A Process that has brought me more JOY than I knew existed.

I was pursuing happiness (I had a guaranteed legal right to do that) but what I discovered was JOY! I had the cart B4 the horse, or I had my carriage hitched to a goat,

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or I was just pulling a broken wheel through the dirt, round’n round in circles.

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Whatever, it was a mess.

I finally picked up the pieces of my mess and surrendered. Today, I gladly declare: I AM a GRATEFUL believer in Jesus. My life is not the mess it was. I am in Process – and will be as long as I live on this planet.

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Now, the Q becomes: …If(since) I’m blessed, and grateful for it,
how can I in turn share that blessing with Others?