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Saturday, September 30, 2017

An Outline of How the 12 Steps of CR Build One Upon Another


Abbreviated Twelve Steps

STEP  1.      Admitted our powerlessness
STEP  2.      Believed in a God who can and will
STEP  3.      Surrendered our recovery to God
STEP  4.      Examined ourselves and wrote down our faults
STEP  5.      Confessed our faults to God and someone else
STEP  6.      Prepared ourselves for God to remove all our defects
STEP  7.      Asked God to remove our defects
STEP  8.      Listed those we had harmed and those who harmed us
STEP  9.      Amends were made and forgiveness offered
STEP 10.     Continued working Steps 4 thru 9
STEP 11.     Consciously sought God’s daily will for our lives
STEP 12.     Applied the Steps every day and shared with others


Admitted Our Powerlessness

STEP 1. We admitted we were powerless over our addictions and compulsive behaviors, that our lives were unmanageable.
“For I know that good itself does not dwell in me, that is, in my sinful nature. For I have the desire to do what is good, but cannot carry it out.”  Romans 7:18

      We reached the end our ropes
      We hit rock bottom
      We ran out of options and resources
      We had nowhere else to go
      We gave up on any thoughts of fixing ourselves


Believed in a God who can and will

STEP 2. We came to believe that a power greater than ourselves could restore us to sanity.
“For it is God who works in you to will and to act in order to fulfill His good purpose.”  Philippians 2:13
  • We turned, or returned, to belief in a Higher Power
  • We came to believe regardless our hurts, our habits and hang-ups – that God is substantially bigger
  • We came to believe not only that God can; but that He wants to and He will restore us to sanity
Surrendered our recovery to God

STEP 3. We made a decision to turn our lives and our will over to the care of God.
“Therefore, I urge you brothers and sisters, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy
and pleasing to God - this is your true and proper worship.”  Romans 12:1

      We surrendered our doubts and fears
      We surrendered our pride
      Opened our hands to release our hurts, habits and hang-ups to God
      We took a leap of faith, trusting that He will save us
  
Examined ourselves and wrote down our faults

STEP 4. We made a searching and fearless moral inventory of ourselves.
“Let us examine our ways and test them, and let us return to the LORD.” Lamentations 3:4


We admitted to ourselves our fears, our failures, our flaws, our foibles and our feelings
We wrote out a brief history from childhood to present, 
         detailing “who, what, when, why and how”
We read through what we wrote, and owned it
And edited what we wrote, prepared to share it

Confessed our faults to God and someone else

STEP 5. We admitted to God, ourselves, and another human being the exact nature of our wrongs.
“Therefore confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed.” James 5:16

  By writing out our inventory, we confessed to ourselves, all the bad and the good of our pasts
  We became honest with ourselves, and now could be honest with God, confessing what He already knew
  We decided to stop hiding, let go our secrets, and trust someone enough to tell our real story to them

Prepared ourselves for God to remove all our defects

STEP 6. We were entirely ready to have God remove all these defects of character.
“Humble yourselves before the Lord and he will lift you up.” James 4:10

      This, too, was a leap of faith: Trusting the blood of Christ is enough to purify & cleanse us of our sins
      This, too, was a surrendering of self pride
      This was a time for complete honesty with ourselves and with God

Asked God to remove our defects

STEP 7. Humbly asked Him to remove our shortcomings.
“If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and purify us
from all unrighteousness.”  1 JOHN 1:9

      Those things we held tight, grasped in our fists, we let go of and let God take them away
      And once they are gone, we leave them that way

Listed those we had harmed/those who harmed us

STEP 8. We made a list of all persons we had harmed and became willing to make amends to them all.
“Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.” Luke 6:31

      Using our inventory, we write down the names of people who have hurt us
      We acknowledge those to whom we have done the same thing, those whom we have harmed
      Choose to humble ourselves, eat crow when necessary and offer forgiveness whenever possible

Amends were made and forgiveness offered

STEP 9. We made direct amends to such people whenever possible, except when to do so would injure them or others.
“Therefore if you are offering your gift at the altar and there remember that your
brother or sister has something against you, leave your gift there in front of the
altar. First go and be reconciled to them; then come and offer your gift.”
Matthew 5:23-24

      We scheduled face to face meetings or made phone calls or wrote letters apologizing for our actions and seeking reconciliation
      We likewise made efforts to connect with and offer forgiveness to those who had hurt us
      And we left the rest to God

Continued working Steps 4 through 9

STEP 10. We continued to take personal inventory and when we were wrong, promptly admitted it.
“So if you think you are standing firm, be careful that you don’t fall!”
1 Corinthians 10:12

      With a new attitude, and determined to maintain our sobriety, we made a habit of catching ourselves before we fall (by relying upon God’s strength), admitting when we have fallen, being honest about our failings and continuing to humbly seek forgiveness and reconciliation

Consciously sought God’s daily will for our lives

STEP 11. We sought through prayer and meditation to improve our conscious contact with God, praying only for knowledge of His will for us and power to carry that out.
“Let the message of Christ dwell among you richly.” Colossians 3:16

      We became part of a faith community (church)
      We committed time every day to hear God’s word and pray to Him for wisdom and direction
      We surrounded ourselves with other, like-minded believers who would pray with us, encourage us and keep us accountable

Applied the Steps every day and shared with others

STEP 12. 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.
Brothers and sisters, if someone is caught in a sin, you who live by the spirit
should restore that person gently. But watch yourselves, or you also may be
tempted.”  Galatians 6:1

          We became “evangelists” of recovery, inviting others within our personal circles to find the same hope, healing and release from the bondage of their hurts, habits and hang-ups as we had
          Having found a program that works, we continued to work the program, enjoying its benefits in our day-to-day lives






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Wednesday, June 28, 2017

1,463 days

As of Friday, June 30th 2017, as a group, we've been Celebrating Recovery in Cherokee Village, AR for one thousand, four hundred and sixty-three days. We've met close to 209 Fridays and we've gone through our 25 official lessons 3 full cycles. Beginning July 7th we start again at Lesson 1.

So that's a long time. It's a huge milestone. And it's a true blessing from God, without Whom we could never have made it this far. 

If you don't know, Celebrate Recovery is a Christ-centered, Bible-grounded, pastor-who-was-once-an-addict-founded 12 Step group aimed at leading people to recovery from any and all of life's hurts, habits and hang-ups. 

We all have something in our lives that enslaves us, keeps us down, threatens our reasonable happiness*. We've had people in our group struggling with drug and alcohol addictions, guilt, shame, low self-esteem, depression, co-dependency, isolation, self-mutilation, anxiety, eating disorders, bitterness, anger, rage, perfectionism, people-pleasing, unforgiveness, lying, victims of assault, rape, child abuse... I'm sure you get the point. We all have something over which we are powerless (Step 1), that robs us of our sanity (Step 2) and can be healed, over time, by handing it over to the only One with power to heal our inner, psychological, spiritual wounds and character defects (Step 3). 

Speaking for myself*, being in CR both as a participant and as a leader, has transformed me, freed me from my bitterness, my self-destructive behaviors, my suicidal obsessions, my self-hatred, my sexual addictions, and my hurts as an incest survivor. It's God...it's Jesus Christ, Who lifts me up and sets me on solid ground. It's the Holy Spirit who works in me from the inside out, transforming me into the man God created me to be. It's my Father in heaven, who accepts me just the way I am; but loves me too much to leave me just the way I am.

To all who are reading this message, I want to invite you to celebrate with us: both right now, this week, June 30th 2017 as we celebrate 4 years in the Village...and every Friday and any other small groups that might meet during the week. And if you don't live in Sharp County Arkansas, you can locate a CR close to you by going to this page

CR saves lives, not because it's anything magical; but because the Principles and Steps direct us back to our Maker, Savior, Comforter - Father, Teacher, Presence - God Almighty: Father, Son and Holy Spirit. Give us a chance. You won't regret it.

Gary Zanow
Ministry Leader
Celebrate Recovery Cherokee Village
Cherokee Village, AR - USA





Taking as He did, this sinful world as it is,
not as I would have it;
Trusting that He will make all things right if I surrender to His will; 
That I may be reasonably happy in this life 
and supremely happy with Him forever in the next.
The Serenity Prayer


Step 1: We admitted we were powerless over our addictions and compulsive behaviors, that our lives were unmanageable.


Step 2: We came to believe that a power greater than ourselves could restore us to sanity.



Step 3: We made a decision to turn our lives and our will over to the care of God.

Friday, April 14, 2017

Good Friday 2017

It's Good Friday again. It's the day we remember the suffering and death of Jesus Christ. Suffering for our sins. Suffering in our place. Isaiah prophesied 700 years before Christ was born:
Surely he took up our pain and bore our suffering, yet we considered him punished by God, stricken by him, and afflicted. 
But he was pierced for our transgressions, he was crushed for our iniquities; the punishment that brought us peace was on him, and by his wounds we are healed. We all, like sheep, have gone astray, each of us has turned to our own way; and the Lord has laid on him the iniquity of us all.  Isaiah 53:4-6
and 1000 years (yes, one thousand!) before Jesus was crucified, King David of Israel wrote:

My God, my God, why have you forsaken me? Why are you so far from saving me, so far from my cries of anguish? Ps 22:1

But I am a worm and not a man, scorned by everyone, despised by the people. All who see me mock me; they hurl insults, shaking their heads. “He trusts in the Lord,” they say,  “let the Lord rescue him. Let him deliver him, since he delights in him.” Ps 22:6-8
Dogs surround me, a pack of villains encircles me;  they pierce[e] my hands and my feet. All my bones are on display; people stare and gloat over me. They divide my clothes among them and cast lots for my garment. Ps 22:16-18
Jesus' first words He spoke hanging from the cross:
"My God, my God, why have You forsaken me?" Matthew 15:34
The crowd at the foot of the cross, and one of the criminals crucified next to Him, ridiculed Him:
"He saved others,” they said, “but he can’t save himself! He’s the king of Israel! Let him come down now from the cross, and we will believe in him. He trusts in God. Let God rescue him!" Matthew 27:42

His hands and feet were pierced with nails, his head with a crown of thorns. His bones out of joint, and the soldiers divided up his clothes and gambled for his robe. 

Jesus is the Christ, the Messiah, the Son of the Living God, God Himself in the flesh, tempted in all ways as us, yet without sin, suffered in ways we know - we've been there, and suffered even more so in ways we can barely imagine, 'cuz He suffered to the point of death, dying for us, for me and you, for all peoples.
"Greater love has no one than this: to lay down one’s life for one’s friends." John 15:13
It's Good Friday again. Let's think on Him, our Higher Power, our Savior, our Redeemer, our God. And let's open our hearts to allow Him to wash us, to forgive us, to transform us, to lead us out of the muck in which we've gotten ourselves stuck and move forward, as children of God.





Friday, October 28, 2016

Dig This Analogy!



What does it mean that Jesus has taken our sins upon Himself? The prophet Isaiah wrote 700 years before Jesus was even born:
Surely he took up our pain
    and bore our suffering,
yet we considered him punished by God,
    stricken by him, and afflicted.
 But he was pierced for our transgressions,
    he was crushed for our iniquities;
the punishment that brought us peace was on him,
    and by his wounds we are healed.
 We all, like sheep, have gone astray,
    each of us has turned to our own way;
and the Lord has laid on him
    the iniquity of us all.
Behold the love of God for us. For God so loved the world that He sent His only begotten Son, Jesus Christ, that whoever believes in Him will not perish; but will have eternal life. John 3:16

Friday, July 1, 2016

We've Come this Far...!

July 8th, 2016 Celebrate Recovery Cherokee Village is celebrating our 3 year anniversary! Our first meeting in the Village was on June 28, 2013 at First Baptist Church Cherokee Village. 3 years ago. Wow! 



And here we are, 3 years later, still working, still progressing, together as a group in each of our individual recoveries. We have seen firsthand our friends, our spiritual family members, living in freedom from meth, alcohol, heroin, food addiction, debilitating depression, unhealthy co-dependent behavior, anger, rage, the devastating and lasting effects of illnesses like cancer and the ongoing pain of surviving abuse, tragedy, trauma.

IN...JESUS...CHRIST we find hope, strength, peace, joy, courage, serenity and wisdom to face each day, each morning, each moment, day-by-day, morning-by-morning, moment-by-moment. In recovery, we face each day problems which have not all magically been resolved, hurts which have not all of a sudden suddenly disappeared, or the grief so deep within us. But in Christ, we wake every morning to God's steadfast, stubborn, always-pursuing-us love, His ever and for always never-ending fresh and renewed mercy, in which we find that serenity and courage to persevere through the worst, and when all is said and done, to still stand at the end of the day.

Sometimes we fall. It happens. But God's Word tells us when a righteous person (made righteous by God's love received in us by faith)...when a righteous person falls, they get up again. 7 times. Only 7 times? No. Always. If Jesus told Peter to forgive his neighbor's sins 70 x 7...how much more does our Father in heaven, who is perfect, forgive us our sins? Yeah...if you can imagine it...THAT much! 

We walk by faith. Some of us at CR Cherokee Village have been in this program from the beginning - all 3 years! We walk by faith. We walk in fellowship with others who walk by faith. We find comfort and support from others just like us, regardless of our different addictions, compulsive behaviors, hurts, habits, hang-ups...we are comforted by those who have been comforted as Paul wrote in 2 Corinthians 1:3-7
May the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ be blessed! He is the compassionate Father and God of all comfort. He’s the one who comforts us in all our trouble so that we can comfort other people who are in every kind of trouble. We offer the same comfort that we ourselves received from God. That is because we receive so much comfort through Christ in the same way that we share so many of Christ’s sufferings. So if we have trouble, it is to bring you comfort and salvation. If we are comforted, it is to bring you comfort from the experience of endurance while you go through the same sufferings that we also suffer. Our hope for you is certain, because we know that as you are partners in suffering, so also you are partners in comfort.
In Christ alone, we work, we move forward, we grow, we get better! as we continue in the program. I've said before, will say again even when everyone is tired of hearing me say it: Celebrate Recovery works. I give personal witness to that. But it is not magic. It is not some secret, hidden, until only recently magical formula for recovery. It's not. It is a tool. It is a Biblical tool. It is a theologically sound, Christ-centered tool. It works because Jesus is the heart of our rescue, our redemption, our hope and sure foundation. The program works when we embrace by faith JESUS for who He is, even if we're just starting to get to know Him, He accepts us where we're at but loves us to much to just leave us where we're at. 

I am excited about Celebrate Recovery, I again testify that IT WORKS, I have personally seen lives changed through this program but in the end it's all in and through Jesus, who has revealed to us the love of the Father and opens our hearts to receive all the power we need in the Holy Spirit to live one victory at a time (it doesn't all happen overnight), each day, no matter what happened yesterday, waking each morning another chance by God's grace, by God's love for us, by God's unwillingness to give up on us, even when we've given up on Him.

3 years! I pray we go on for another 3 years, another 10 years, another ??? until Jesus Christ Himself returns or we as individuals meet Him above when our time here comes to an end.

In Recovery in Christ,


Gary Zanow
Celebrate Recovery Cherokee Village Ministry Leader
Cherokee Village UMC Recovery Minister