Archives For Ministry

These articles are written to encourage and equip you and your people to serve others by meeting needs in love.

Topics include: leadership, preaching, vision, SHAPE, building ministry teams, developing leaders, becoming Purpose Driven, mental health, kids, students, etc.

By Bob Newby, West Region Director for Celebrate Recovery

Our small group is reading through the book of Daniel. There are some very profound lessons for those of us in recovery. I want to highlight one for us to consider. 

Nebuchadnezzar was a mighty, wealthy, influential, and gifted man. He built Babylon into the greatest empire of his day. From the world’s perspective, he had it all. He built the world’s most powerful military for aggression, protection, and influence. He had access to all the resources to create whatever he wanted. It would seem at first glance that if he wrote a book about leadership, it would have been a best seller. In 600 B.C., he would have been the “Man of the Year” for Time Magazine.

That is why it is so shocking that this amazing king of kings and Man of the Year winner would be homeless, isolated, eating grass, with fingernails like the claws of a bird and unkempt hair like the feathers of a bird—only twelve months later.

Here is how that happened:

King Nebuchadnezzar had…

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Godly Habits

By Rick Warren

Practice these things. Devote your life to them so that everyone can see your progress.

1 Timothy 4:15 (GW)

God’s truth will set you free, but it may make you miserable at first. For instance, when you think about facing your weaknesses with honesty, fear can keep you in a prison of denial.

But when you allow God to shine the light of his truth on your faults and failures, you’ll be set free from the old habits and patterns that have held you in bondage. You’ll finally be free to replace your old way of doing things with God’s way of doing things.

How can you find this kind of freedom? It begins with understanding how much God loves you. He is already aware of all your weaknesses and mistakes, and he is actively working to help you change. It won’t happen overnight. The truth is, even though you were given a brand-new nature at the moment of conversion, you still have old habits and patterns that need to be replaced. Doing that takes time.

You may wonder if it’s really possible to be free from your habits, hurts,…

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Nothing Surprises God

By Rick Warren

“Your eyes saw my unformed body; all the days ordained for me were written in your book before one of them came to be.”

Psalm 139:16 (NIV) 

God can see past, present, and future—all at once. 

This part of God’s character is something we can’t fully understand, for God is not like us. However, we can take great comfort in God because he knows everything that has ever happened and will happen. 

You trust a doctor with your health because that person has great knowledge. Greater still, you can confidently trust God because his knowledge is perfect. 

The future will surprise you because things don’t always work out as planned—but God is never caught off guard. He is never baffled or bewildered by anything that happens. He is above it all! 

The next time you face a crisis, you may find yourself asking, “What’s happening—where is God?” The truth is, God is constantly aware of everything. He’s with you now, and he knows what’s coming around the corner. When times are difficult, he is…

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By Charlie

I’m a follower of Christ in recovery from alcoholism, codependency, lust, and the lingering effects of racial trauma. My name is Charlie.

Situations or people did not make me an alcoholic or codependent. However, they made me nervous, uneasy, and desirous of comfort. My thinking led me to believe I had some power over people, places, and things. I believed a drink or a relationship would provide the needed ease and comfort.

I grew up in a wonderful East Coast University city surrounded by supportive family and friends. I was never in need. I maintained relationships with a host of diverse friends from high school and college. Though my city was relatively ok, surrounding cities were not always as welcoming. In school, I was taught the Bill of Rights. My experience had me questioning that document. Coupled with the usual concerns of youth, acne, dances, crushes, and homework, I was getting uncomfortable and confused. From the murder of Emmett Till in 1955, the 16th St Baptist Church bombing, Martin Luther King Jr.’s assassination, Bloody Sunday, and the murder of Fred Hampton in 1969—I’ve been confused for a long time. As Fannie Lou…

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By Cheryl Luke, National Director of Cultural Communities

So, after Abram had lived ten years in the land of Canaan, Sarai, Abram’s wife, took Hagar the Egyptian, her servant, and gave her to Abram her husband as a wife.

Genesis 16:3 (ESV)

Hagar was a woman with no voice. An Egyptian captive, pregnant with another woman’s child. Powerless to control her environment, and rather than submitting to Sarai, she chose to run away to escape her mistreatment. While wandering in the desert, in utter distress, Hagar had an unexpected encounter with God that would alter her thinking and change the trajectory of her life.

“She gave this name to the LORD who spoke to her: ‘You are the God who sees me,’ for she said, ‘I have now seen the One who sees me’” (Genesis 16:13 NIV).

The Lord saw her! A writer for notes, “God saw Hagar in her faults, she despised Sarah.” “God saw her frustrations.” He knew she was powerless and abused, and “he saw her fear.” He found her wandering, alone, in the wilderness, with nowhere to go.

To say Hagar felt lonely, afraid, and…

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The Path Back to God

By Rick Warren

“When you get serious about finding me and want it more than anything else, I’ll make sure you won’t be disappointed.”

Jeremiah 29:13 (The Message)

When you’ve drifted away from God, how do you get back to him? What does it look like to “get serious about finding” God again? 

Be honest with yourself because nothing is going to change until you admit that things aren’t working as they should. Finding God requires your full commitment—half measures won’t work here! You will need to want it “more than anything else.” 

God wants to be first in your life; if you are distant from him, something else has taken the number one spot in your heart. You will need to do some significant soul-searching to discover what has taken God’s place. Then you need to confess your sins to God. He loves you unconditionally, just as you are! But you need to ask for his forgiveness for the things you’ve done that have taken you away from him. 

Once you’ve said yes to Jesus, you’ll never lose your relationship with him. However, when God isn’t…

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By Dickie Everman

No discipline seems pleasant at the time, but painful. Later on, however, it produces a harvest of righteousness and peace for those who have been trained by it.

Hebrews 12:11 (NIV)

As I read this verse, it reminds me of when my wife and I had taken one of my daughters and three of our grandchildren up to see the Ark Encounter in northern Kentucky. We spent one day at the Ark, which was amazing, but that’s another story.

The next day we took the grandchildren shopping for school clothes. I am not sure how this always happens, but we were in a clothing store, and Bennie, who is four, and Abagail, who is seven, found the table with closeout toys. I told them we were there to buy school clothes, not toys.

To make a long story short, I gave in and bought the toys. Bennie had picked out the Star Wars ship, the Millennium Falcon. I decided to go ahead and pay for it, so that I could take him to the car and the girls could continue shopping. He was so excited to open the toy to…

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By Mary Jane

I’m a grateful believer in Jesus who struggles with life hurts and low self-confidence. My name is Mary Jane.

My childhood memories consist of a typical loving home, rules and regulations, attending church activities regularly, and being the youngest of four daughters. When I started school, I was told I had a speech defect. I was held back to repeat the 2nd grade while my friends went on to the next grade. I was left behind feeling stupid. I often felt out of place because of this. If that wasn’t bad enough, I knocked my permanent front teeth out in the 3rd grade, which also affected my confidence. As a child, I never remember anyone saying anything negative to me, but in my mind, I thought I was not as good as others.

As an adult, I got married, divorced, married a second time, and started a family. When I went to work outside of my home, I thought I had to dedicate my life to being successful, to be a “somebody” so people would like me, and I could show everyone I was as good as others.

A job offer came…

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By Sheila Knudson, Northeast Regional Director 

Recently while reading Gordon MacDonald’s book, Rebuilding Your Broken World, I came across this statement: “The granting of restorative grace is among the greatest and most unique gifts one Christian can give another.”

I just sat there pondering on what a powerful statement that was! Restorative grace . . . a term I had never heard of or even thought about before. MacDonald goes on to say that there were two chapters he could not write in his story if he had not received this one unique gift. One that he could not give himself but instead received from others in his circle. That gift was restorative grace, and its objective was to rebuild his once broken personal world.

I thought back to my own personal broken world and my journey of restoration. I thought about how God, other Christians, as well as my Celebrate Recovery Family gave me the gift of restorative grace. I realized I, too, could not give myself this gift—the gift that has totally changed my life and its trajectory. Yet, that gift, restorative grace, continues to provide me with life, hope, peace,…

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By Theresa

Proverbs 14:1 says, “A wise woman builds her home, but a foolish woman tears it down with her own hands” (NLT).

For the first 18 years of my marriage, I tried to build a home for my husband and our three children. However, the only tools I had were defective. They were damaged by trauma, resentment, and shame. Added to this combination was a drinking problem . . . one that began in my early teenage years. With a toolbox like this, our home was a set-up for disaster.

I’ve heard it said, “sin will take you places you never thought you’d go and keep you there longer than you ever wanted to stay.” Since the sin of adultery is part of my story, I can add to that quotation, “the ripple effect of sin reaches farther than the eye can see or the heart can know.”

My sinful choice concluded with me leaving our home and family just three weeks short of our 20th anniversary. Over the next two years, my drinking spiraled out of control until, one night, I determined that the only plausible plan was to end my life. But…

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God Loves You Anyway

By Rick Warren

“ knows what we are made of; he remembers that we are dust.”

Psalm 103:14 (GNT)

Your failures don’t surprise God. He expects them. He knows what we’re made of—because he created us. God won’t stop loving us when we mess up. 

The central message of the Bible is this: God doesn’t love you because of who you are or what you’ve done but because of who he is and what he has done. 

God made you. He loves you. It’s settled! You can’t make God love you more. You can’t make him love you less. He loves you just as much on your bad days as he does on your good days. His love is not based on your performance. 

The Bible has a word for this. It’s called grace—and it’s absolutely amazing. When you understand God’s grace, you can relax about your failures and have the confidence to take more risks. You may have come to God multiple times for forgiveness on the same issue. Maybe you’re not sure you deserve his love and grace. And you’re convinced that God has…

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By Joe

Dear Suicidal Me:

If you’re reading this, you’re not in a good place. The track repeating in your head is full of lies. You have value and worth. You are loved.

You probably don’t believe me, and that’s ok too. Remember what Christ said about you and know he would have paid the ultimate price for you even if you were the only sinner in the world. He has a plan for you. These thoughts are coming because YOUR plan for you isn’t working.

The depression is deep right now, and you’re not going to be rationalized out of it. I know it’s hard to reach out. Not everyone knows how to help you, but some do. Maybe someone will say something that isn’t helpful. They are saying it because they care. Forgive them and find someone who will listen and let you hurt. You don’t need a fixer, but deep down, you know you need a friend and how to find them.

I know these thoughts keep coming, and you know how to stay safe, but you need to know you are not rational. If you think you can make a rational decision…

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