Grace

GRACE:   

Tonight’s lesson is all about GRACE: 

  1. Comes out of Principle #6 and Step #9

    1. Principle #6: 
      “Evaluate all my relationships.  Offer forgiveness to those who have hurt me and make amends for harm I’ve done to others, except when to do so would harm them or others.”

    2. Step #9:

“Make direct amends to such people whenever possible, except when to do so         would injure them or others.”

  1.  Tonight:  Conclude Principle #6

    1. We’ve talked about how to evaluate all our relationships,

    2. How to offer “Forgiveness (In our recent lesson on Forgiveness – 5 Keys to Forgiveness cards) we learned the Godly process of Forgiveness.

    3. How to “Make Amends”

    4. CLEARLY:  these are the examples set for us by JC

      1. As we draw closer to Him it should be a NATURAL DESIRE to want to model His teachings and His ways.

      2. We should want to be MORE  LIKE  HIM

      3. If  we are EVER going to get this principle and practice it we MUST learn to model his GRACE above all else..     BUT  HOW ??????

         

  2. Begin w/ your thoughts @ Grace:   ASK:  How do you define it?

    1. (Brainstorming here)

    2. Looking for “gift”,  “enough – sufficient”,  can’t be bought – earned,

      1. Where does Grace come from?

      2. Is Grace “one way” – God to us?

    3. GRACE  IS  SUPPOSED  TO  CHANGE  US !!!

    4. GRACE IS A GIFT !

 

  1. You may or may not remember that the KEY VERSES for CR are found in II Cor. 12: 9-10  (with emphasis) :

    1. “But he said to me,  My grace is enough for you.  When you are weak, my power is made perfect in you.  So I am very happy to brag about my weaknesses.   Christ’s power can live in me.  For this reason I am happy when I have weaknesses, insults, hard times, sufferings, and all kinds of troubles for Christ.  Because when I am weak, then I am truly strong.”  

      1. You can see that CR is built on ; and centered in Christ’s Grace for each one of us. 
         

  2. Take out your handout:   Look at tonight’s acrostic:  G R A C E

    1. The “G” in grace is GOD’S Gift

      1. ASK:   Can you buy your own gift?  (if do, not a gift any more)

        1. Def: of “gift”:  “something that is given voluntarily without compensation – a present”

      2. You can not do ANYTHING to get God’s gift.

      3. So – When you offer – OR – (give as a gift) your process of making amends for when you hurt someone OR  Forgive and expect NOTHING  back – Well  that’s a gift from you to those you’ve hurt,  or those who have hurt you.

      4. Romans 3:24 sets this up for us:  “All need to be made right with God by his grace, which is s free gift.   All need to be made free from sin through JC.”

      5. I Peter 1:13 drives the point even deeper:  “Prepare your minds for service and have self-control.  All your hope should be for the gift of grace that will be yours when JC is shown to you.”

      6. Do you see the point here?   -  God does not ask you to be perfect.   He knows you can not be perfect in this world

        1. So – Thank God for his merciful GRACE and Love for you.

        2. Strive to be as close to a likeness of Him as you can be.

        3. AND  He will give you strength to make Amends and offer “F” that Principle # 6 speaks about.

        4. OK Now -   How do we receive God’s gift of grace?

 

 

    1. That’s the “R” in our acrostic:  “RECEIVE”

      1. RECEIVED  “ONLY” BY  OUR FAITH

      2. Only by professing our Faith in JC as Lord &Savior can we experience His grace and eternal life

        1. Support for this comes from Ephesians 2:8-9 “  For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith – and this not from yourselves, it is the gift of God – not by works, so that no one can boast.”

        2. Philippians 3:9 is another  supporting verse:  “No longer counting on being saved by being good enough or by obeying God’s laws, abut by trusting Christ to save me; for God’s way of making us right with himself depends on faith – counting on Christ alone.”

      3. You and I tend to be more interested in what we do.  God is more interested in who we are.

      4. REMEMBER   Your walk needs to match your talk.    Others see our actions – most notably of course is when we forgive others (apply Grace)

 

    1. Next letter in our acrostic is “A”   We are ACCEPTED by God’s love.

      1. Probably one of the most difficult things for CR folks to accept is that in the midst of our sinning, and addictive behavior – God still loves us – He’s crazy about us.

      2. Romans 5:8  “God demonstrates his own love for us in this:  While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.”

      3. Do you see how this frees us to love others in their fallen state?  

        1. We CAN forgive others!  & we MUST forgive others! If we ever hope to be free ourselves.

        2. Colossians 3:13 makes the point here:  “Be gentle and ready to forgive; never hold grudges, Remember, the Lord forgave you, so you must forgive others.”

      4. If you are like most CR folks, you sometimes think that you don’t deserve God’s love – or His Grace.

        1. Good news is:  He accepts you in spite of yourself.  He sees all your failures and loves you anyway.  In other words:  On your worst day…

 

    1. Ok, let’s move on to the next letter: “C”   CHRIST paid the price

      1. Jesus died on cross so that all our sins, all our wrongs, are forgiven.

      2. He Paid the price – IN FULL – All Of It !!

        1. WHY?   ASK them “Why did God do this?”

          1. Answer:  loves us & is lonely for us

          2. Are you OK with being away from someone you love dearly?   Don’t you try to be near them whenever you can?

          3. Well, that not unlike God.  He wants us to be with him in eternity so he paid price

 

    1. Last letter in Grace is “E”  God’s grace is an EVERLASTING gift.

      1. Once you accept JC as savior & Lord, God’s gift of Grace is FOREVER. 

      2. Philippians 1:6 says:  “And I am sure that God who began the good work within you will keep right on helping you grow in his grace until his task within you is finally finished on that day when Jesus Christ returns.”

      3. II Thessalonians 2:6 makes it even clearer:  “  May our Lord Jesus Christ himself and God our Father encourage you and strengthen you in every good thing you do and say.  God loves you, and through his GRACE he gave you good hope and encouragement that continues FOREVER.”
         

  1. I’m going to Close the lesson with three things:  First a scripture verse that maybe you should all adopt as your own “Life Verse”. 

    1. First the Life Verse:  Found in I Peter 2: 9-10

      1. “For you have been chosen by God himself – you are a priest of the King, you are holy and pure, you are God’s very own – all this so that you may show to others how God called you out of the darkness into his wonderful light.  Once you were less than nothing; now you are God’s own.  Once you knew very little of God’s kindness; now your very life has been changed by it.” 

    2. Second: Some “Thoughts On Grace”  (handout) 

    3. Third & finally, a VIDEO of the Hymn:  Amazing Grace. 

  1. Close with Prayer

  2. Dismiss to Open Share Groups

    1. Newcomers to room 302 with Ron Blough

Forgiveness

 

Lesson # 17:  FORGIVENESS

Forgiveness is a 5 step process:

Step 1:  “I was wrong – period”  (no comma)

Step 2:  “I don’t ever want to hurt you this way again.”

Step 3:  “These are the steps I am taking to keep from ever hurting you this way again.”
                (you can hold me accountable for these steps.)

Step 4:  Now you can say:  “I’m sorry”

Step 5:  “Will you forgive me?”

 

  1. Open with Slide on Forgiveness 5  steps (read it and come back to it later.)(OR  hand out 5 Keys cards  OR put it in the handout brochure for the night)

  2. Tonight’s Lesson is about Forgiveness.

    1. Comes out of Principle #6:

      1. “Evaluate all my relationships.  Offer forgiveness to those who have hurt me and make amends  for harm I’ve done to others…”

    2. Also relates to Steps #8 & #9:

      1. “8:  Make a list of all persons we have harmed and become willing to make amends to them all.”

      2. “9:  Make direct amends to such people whenever possible…”

  3. Now, last time we  talked about “Amends”, so I don’t have to repeat that lesson, BUT wanted to remind you that:

    1. AMENDS lesson dealt with 2 things:

        1. You considering Receiving “Forgiveness” for hurt we have caused others 

        2. AND Offering “Forgiveness ” to those who have hurt us.

    2. To do this we need to continue to evaluate all of our relationships in light of this issue of “Forgiveness”

  4. Tonight:  Talk about a FORCE that can Block, Stall, or even Destroy your recovery: 

    1. That is:  Your inability to ACCEPT and OFFER “Forgiveness”.

  5. Now then:  Most people agree that “Forgiveness is a wonderful/beautiful thing – right?

    1. Yes ,  that is until we have to “Forgive” someone who has hurt/offended us

  6. Do you know the significance of Sunday, August 2nd?  

    1.  It’s International Forgiveness Day

    2. Listen to what some famous (or infamous) people have to say about “F”:

       

      1. “F” means giving up all hope for a better past.”   Lilly Tomlin

      2. “F” does not change the past, but it does enlarge the future.   Paul Bose

      3. You will know that “F” has begun when you recall those who hurt you and feel the power to wish them well.”  Lewis B. Smedes

      4. The weak can never “F”.  “F”ness is the attribute of the strong.    Gandhi

      5. To err is human to “F” is divine.  Alexander Pope

      6. He who cannot “F” breaks the bridge over which he himself must pass.  Anon.

      7. “A true friend is one who knows his own faults well enough to forgive us ours.”     (Anon.)

      8. “F” is the fragrance the violet sheds on the heel that crushes it.   Mark Twain

         

  7. We have all noticed  a lot of Jokes @ “F”. 

    1. But “F” is not something those of us in Recovery take lightly – Why is that?   B/C “F” is God’s prescription for the broken hearted.

    2. No matter how great the offense or abuses of our life story – along the path of healing lies “F”.

  8. OK, Everyone in this room knows that at the base (or root) of any compulsive or addictive behavior is PAIN – usually Buried Pain. 

    1. We also learned weeks ago that  pretending that the Pain isn’t there (or that it doesn’t bother you any more) will not solve your problems. 

      1. Jeremiah 6:14 reminds us:

        1. “You can’t heal a wound by saying it’s not there!”

    2. Honestly facing your past  AND Forgiving yourself & those who have hurt you is the only LASTING solution. 

    3. “F” Breaks the cycle.  

      1. It doesn’t settle all the questions of blame, justice, or fairness,  BUT it allows for healing.

 

 

  1. Tonight look at 3 kinds of “F”:

    1. 1st & most important :  “F” which is Extended from God to US. 

      1. HUGE Question here:   HAVE  YOU  ACCEPTED  GOD’S  “F” ? (pause for effect)

        1. Have you accepted Jesus’ work on the cross?

          1. By his death on the cross ALL our sins were “F”, paid in full.

        2. If you have not, then you are willfully hanging on to something that will ultimately kill you.

      2. JC exclaimed on cross:  DONE !!!  It is finished.    He wasn’t speaking (as some believe) about his life or his work here on earth. 

        1. He was talking about the penalty of sin for all mankind.  That it was over – DONE, finished.

      3. AND  how are our sins Forgiven?    Simply – through our faith in Him.

      4. John Baker said:   “if God wasn’t willing to forgive sin, heaven would be empty.

    2. 2nd kind of “F” is :   “F” which is extended from US to OTHERS.

      1. Another huge question:   “HAVE YOU FORGIVEN OTHERS WHO HAVE HURT YOU?”

      2. This is more of a process in our lives than the 1st type of “F” which is extended from God.

      3. Your WILL enters the picture here.   

        1. You Must let go of the pain of the past in order to be truly free.

      4. Indeed – “F” is all about “Letting Go” (either direction)

        1. Remember playing Tug Of War as a kid?

          1. As long as people on both sides were “tugging” you have a war. 

          2. You let go of your end of rope when you “F” others.

          3. No matter how hard they may tug on their end, if you released your end, the war is over  -  finished.   

          4. BUT,  as long as you hang onto that rope (un-forgiveness) you are  a prisoner of war.

      5. Think for a moment here:   Who is your anger ( or your un-forgiveness) hurting most?   It’s you.

        1. “F” allows you to become fully freed from your anger.

           

           

           

      6. Bible lot to say @ “F”:

        1. Rom 12:17   “Do not repay anyone evil for evil.  Be careful to do what is right in the eyes of everybody.  If it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone.”

          1. Causing an injury puts you below your enemy

          2. Avenging an injury makes you even with him.

          3. “F”  the one who injured you sets you above him.  MORE IMP.  “F” sets you free!!!

      7. By the way:  While we are on this 2nd type of “F” (forgiving others ) you may recall your list of  “Others To Forgive”.    Well, you may have forgotten about someone you may need to forgive:  God !  Yes, God.

        1. ASK:  Have you ever known someone who is angry w/God? ??   Have YOU ever been angry w/Him?     IF so, you need to remember a few things:

          1. First:  God’s very nature is marked by perfect holiness

          2. Then, remember that God is perfect in Love, Mercy, Grace

          3. AND finally, remember that He loves you so much that He gave you a free will.

            1. He didn’t want puppets

            2. He wants our love for him to be by our choice

          4. Harm that others did to you was a result of their free choice – not God’s will.

          5. Bottom line:  Understanding the idea of free will shows you that anger toward God is misplaced anger.

          6. I Peter 5:10 puts this in perspective for us:

            1. “…after you have borne these sufferings a very little while, the God of all grace, who has called you to share in his eternal splendor through Christ, will himself make you whole and secure and strong.”

 

  1. If you have been victim of sexual abuse, physical abuse, childhood neglect, or spousal abuse – I am truly sorry for your pain.   I hurt with you.
    1. NOW, this may be difficult for some of you, but you will not find the peace and freedom from those who have hurt you until you FORGIVE them.

      REMEMBER:  Forgiving them in no way excuses what they have done, BUT it will release you from the power they have over you.

      Someone once asked me:   “What do you do if a person does not accept our forgiveness?”  They might say:   “I didn’t ask for your forgiveness so I don’t need it…”    Well then all you can say is that regardless of whether or not they feel they need it or nor, you needed to do this for yourself – so that you could be rid of the bondage of un-forgiveness.   It’s less about them and more about you and your health.

       

    2. Third/final type of “F” is the need to FORGIVE  OURSELVES:

      1. Another HUGE question here:   HAVE YOU FORGIVEN YOURSELF?

        1. For a lot of people forgiving others, even God, and accepting God’s “F” may be EASIER than forgiving yourself.    You may feel that your past is too much to forgive.  (remember the cross each year in CR at Easter)

        2. OK,  This is what God wants to do w/darkness in your past:

          1. He says:  “Come, let’s talk this over!  Says the Lord;  no matter how deep the stain of your sins, I can take it out and make you as clean as freshly fallen snow.  Even if you are stained as red as crimson, I can make you white as wool!  If you will only let me help you.”    Isaiah 1: 18-19

          2. No matter how unlovable or worthless you may feel, God loves you!  On your worst day He’s crazy about you !     HOW YOU FEEL ABOUT YOURSELF does NOT change His love for you one bit !!!

 

  1. I have a question for you:  If God Himself can forgive you w/ultimate price of that Forgiveness being to sacrifice His own Son – How can you sit there and withhold Forgiveness from yourself  ???
    1. Forgiving yourself (NOT assigning blame to someone else) so you are off the hook.

      1. SIMPLY:  it is your acknowledgment that you are human like everyone else  AND that you are at the point in your recovery where you are able and ready to give yourself greater respect.

    2. It’s important to know that the first name on your List of those to whom you need to make AMENDS should be God  AND second should be yours.  WHY”???

      1. Answer found in Matt. 22:36-40:   Jesus asks the question here:

        1. “Which is the most important command…?   Jesus replied,  “Love the Lord your God with all your heart, soul, and mind.  This is the first and greatest commandment.  The second most important is similar: Love your neighbor as much as you love yourself.” (this is not a bad thing !)

        2. DO you see it?  If we equate LOVE w/Forgiveness than it makes sense. 

      2. So, How can you love or forgive your neighbor, if you can’t love or forgive yourself? 

        1. People pick up on this too.   They notice if you don’t forgive yourself -  it makes them suspicious of whether you can truly forgive them.

    3. OK,  Next week:  We are going to work on the LIST of people you need to make AMENDS to.

    4. I agree w/Baker on this:  We MUST forgive ourselves before we can forgive others.    “F” is too big an issue to let it apply in one situation and not another. 

  

  1. NOW,  as you take the necessary steps of “F” we’ve outlined here tonight;  you will see that you are gradually letting go of Guilt – Shame. 
    1. You can accept that you may still fall down, but with your Savior’s help you can get up, brush yourself off, and try again.

    2. You can agree with God that you and God are working on you – together.

    3. You can admit that you are not perfect

    4. We can all say:  “I forgive myself because God has already forgiven me, and with His help, I can forgive others.”   (OK,, SAY IT WITH ME THIS TIME – ON SCREEN)

      1. When you forgive yourself you don’t change the past, but you sure do change the future.

         

             

         

Amends

AMENDS  Lesson 16:  

  1. Tonight’s lesson is about Making  Amends

    1. Based on Principle #6

      1. Evaluate all my relationships.  Offer forgiveness to those who have hurt me and make amends for harm I’ve done to others, except when to do so would harm them or others.

    2. AND  Step # 8

      1. Make a list of all persons we have harmed and become willing to make amends to them all.

  2. You’ve heard me talk about the dangers of  “Isolation” in your recovery – danger sign leads to relapse

    1. Well,   Making Amends is the beginning of “the end of isolation” from others and from God

    2. Another way to say it is:  “Forgive me, as I learn to forgive others” !!

  3. Going to spend a good deal of time on this over next few weeks b/c so important.

 

OK,  To start off tonight – open up for some feedback from you. 

  1. Would anyone be willing to share how you have worked on Principle #6?    Specifically -  tell me what happened when you EITHER

    1. forgave someone who harmed you   OR 

    2. where you attempted to make amends for harm you did others

       

  2. SEGUE:   Forgiveness and making  Amends are powerful allies  on your road to recovery.

  3. Tonight going to see how to do the repair work on our relationships  AND  why it is so important.

 

 

  1. OK,  first things first:    by making Amends, you bring people back into your life that you may need there.  

    1. Now obviously there are some people you don’t want back in your life because they are harmful people (vexations to the spirit)  Not talking about those people.

    2. I’m talking about people who matter and who have potential to help you heal.

  2. Still, some of us BALK at making amends.

    1. May say:  “If God has  forgiven me – isn’t that enough?”   OR

    2. “Why should I drag up the past with all that nastiness and junk?”   OR

    3. “Making Amends doesn’t sound “NATURAL””

    4. WELL:  the answer to those objections is simple:

      1. Making amends is NOT so much about your PAST  as it is about your FUTURE. 

      2. Before you can have the healthy relationships you desire, 

        1. Need to clean house –

        2. Clean out guilt & shame & pain that caused many of your past relationships to fail .

    5. NOW – When you did your inventories,  you were asked to “Make a list” of persons we have harmed AND become WILLING to make amends.   “Willing” is operative word here.   

      1. Next week we will talk about actually going out and “FORGIVING” the people on your list that you need to forgive.

      2. But you can see from step #8 that you are only asked to BE WILLING

      3. LUKE 6:31 is our reference here:   It asks us in Luke to treat others the way we want to be treated ourselves.

        1. For some of you – very difficult – maybe deep hurts – abuse – etc.

        2. Sometimes people respond to this step by saying:  “Never !!”   “I will never forgive him or her for >>>>>”

        3. I fully understand these feelings – been there myself -  BUT,  these violations or painful wounds are also the root of dysfunction that brings many into the recovery program.

      4. For now;  if you are a person who has been abused physically/sexually  - listen to how CR  “RE-WORDS” Step 8

        1. “Make a list of all persons who have harmed us and become willing to seek God’s help in forgiving our perpetrators, as well as forgiving ourselves.  Realize we’ve also harmed others, and become willing to make amends to them.”

        2. Next week we will look closely at a tried and true method for seeking forgiveness and granting it.

  3. OK, now:  Let’s move on to the second part of Principle #6:  “make amends for harm I’ve done to others, except when to do so would harm them or others.”

    1. Matthew 5: 23-24 puts it all in perspective for us: 

      1. “Therefore, if you are offering your gift at the altar and there remember that your brother has something against you, leave your gift there in front of the altar.  First go and be reconciled to your brother; then come and offer your gift.”

        1. This is a CALL  TO  ACTION in scripture

        2. God is calling us to “go back to the garden” (that is our life),  and pull out the dead weeds – dead weeds of our past broken relationships.

          1. WHY?  So we can clear the way for our new relationships to be planted and nurtured in healthy soil.

          2. THAT is why principle 6 is so important:

  4.    On your handout on right side is YOUR  Amends  List. 

    1. Take the time in your groups tonight to begin filling in this list. Do this BEFORE you come back to the Café time.

    2. Be open to God prompting you to add to this list when he brings someone to your heart.

    3. Remember:   all you are doing at this point is writing them down. 

  5. OK,  then,  on left side of your handout is tonight’s acrostic on AMENDS

  6. “A” in Amends stands for   ADMIT

    1. Admit what?  The “Hurt”  &  “Harm” !!

    2. We learned in principle #4 how important it is to OPEN UP to God and to others.

      1. Your feelings been bottled up far, far too long

      2. Resulted in messing up your relationships with others & God

    3. Yes, we need to face the (hurts, resentments, wrongs) others have caused in our lives  AND  those that YOU HAVE CAUSED to OTHERS.

    4. Holding on to resentments forms a BLOCKADE in your recovery  ALSO  Blocks God’s forgiveness in your life

      1. Luke 6:37 shows us:  “Do not judge others, and God will not judge you;  do not condemn others, and God will not condemn you;  Forgive others, and God will forgive you.”

  7.   “M” in AMENDS stands for :  “MAKE”  the list

    1. A while back we did the INVENTORY.   You can use this to help you with your list tonight.

    2. SPECIAL NOTE:  

      1. When writing down your list – don’t worry about the “how to’s” in actually making your Amends to these people. 

        1. Don’t ask questions like:  “How can I ever forgive my brother for what he did? “   OR   “How can I ever ask my Father for forgiveness?”

        2. Go ahead – put the person on your list anyway.  AND remember Luke 6:31  “treat others the way you want them to treat you.”

          1. NOTE:  it does NOT say: “treat others the way you want to be treated in general”   NO, it says “…the way you want THEM (be specific here) (expand on this:   Put “Father”, “Wife”, “Boss”, etc.) to treat you…”

  8. ALRIGHT NOW,   the “E” in AMENDS stands for  “ENCOURAGE one another”

    1. Someone said:  “encouragement is oxygen for the soul”

    2. So, before you go off to make amends OR ask forgiveness,   MEET with your Sponsor or Accountability Partner – someone you can trust to encourage you in this process. 

      1. ASK  them to help you check your MOTIVES for doing this.

      2. Hebrews 10:24 says: 

        1. And let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds.” 

        2. If you are asked to encourage – do so.  Be honored.

 

  1. The “N” in AMENDS  is the reason for making the amends in the first place -  stands for “NOT  for them”

    1. Need to remember when you approach someone to make amends:  Need to do it with HUMILITY & CARING.    Don’t go into it EXPECTING something back.

    2. You are making your amends – not for a reward, but for freedom from your Hurts, habits, and hang-ups.

    3. God loves us generously – even on our worst day – so we can try to do likewise

      1. Did you know that you can get addicted to BITTERNESS – RESENTMENT _ ANGER (me) – HATRED -  REVENGE ????????

      2. A life addicted to these things will kill you as surely as drugs or alcohol

      3. Will ALSO produce Depression, despair and discouragement in your life.

      4. An unforgiving heart will cause you more pain and misery & destruction than it will ever cause the person who hurt you.

  2. Let’s move on to the letter “D” in AMENDS.  Stands for  “DO it at the right time”

    1. This principle not only requires courage & willingness – also requires a careful sense of timing.

    2. Ecclesiastes 3:1 says:  “There is a right time for everything.”

      1. There is time to LET things happen  AND a time to MAKE things happen

      2. SO;   BEFORE you make amends,  PRAY about it.   Ask Jesus for His guidance AND His perfect timing.  

        1. You will know it when it comes.   Feel like holy ground.

    3. Principle 6 also says at the end:  “…except when to do so would harm others…”

      1. (ASK:  Can you think of examples where you could do harm by offering forgiveness and making amends?)

      2. Philippians 2:4 is our guide here:  “Each of you should look not only to your own interests, but also to the interests of others.”

      3. Don’t wait until you “FEEL” like making amends  OR offering your forgiveness.

 

 

 

  1. OK  -  last letter is  “S” sands for  START living the promises of recovery .

    1. Promise is one of   TRUE  FREEDOM    & PEACE of mind & heart   -   you will find that SERENITY we pray about each week. 

      1. The result of that is: realizing God’s purpose for our lives that we may have long since lost sight of.

      2. God promises in Joel 2:25   “I will repay you for the years the locusts have eaten.”

 

 

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Victory

VICTORY,  Lesson # 15:

  1. Tonight’s lesson based on Principle 5 and Steps 6 & 7

    1. Principle 5:  “Voluntarily submit to every change God wants to make in my life and humbly ask Him to remove my character defects.”

    2. Step 6“I am entirely ready to have God remove all these defects of character.”

    3. Step 7:  “I humbly ask Him to remove all my shortcomings.”

       

  2. Tonight going to attempt to answer questionHow can I have VICTORY over my character defects?

  3. START with Word of God:  READ  James 1 (all of it)

  4. Get right into tonight’s acrostic :  VICTORY  (take out your handout)

  5. First letter “V” stands for VOLUNTARILY submit to every change God wants you to make in your life and humbly ask Him to remove your shortcomings.

    1. In Romans 12:1-2 it says we are to make an offering of our very selves to God:  “Offer yourselves as a living sacrifice to God, dedicated to his service and pleasing to him… Let God transform you inwardly by a complete change of your mind…”

    2. Once you accepted Jesus as Lord & Savior you made one of the most important decisions of your life – turning your life over to God’s will.  

      1. Then you began to work on YOU.

      2. You made that INVENTORY

      3. You then came clean by admitting and confessing to yourself, to God and to another person all of your sins

        1. NOW for most of us that was the first time – perhaps – in our lives that we were able to take off the muddy glasses of DENIAL and finally look at ourselves with a clean & clear focus.

    1. Last week we saw that we were finally READY to have God remove all the defects of Character.

      1. You are at that place in your recovery where you say:   “I don’t want to live this way any more.   I want to get rid of my HHH.   But HOW do I do that?????”

      2. Good News:    You DON’T do it!!!

        1. Step 6 does not read:  “I am entirely ready to remove all of my defects of character.”     NO,  It says:  “I am entirely ready to have GOD remove all my defects of character.”

    2. OK, then, so how do you go about allowing God to do just that???

  6. START by going to the next letter in the acrostic – The letter “I”  which stands for: “IDENTIFY”.

    1. You will IDENTIFY which character defects you want God to work on first.

      1. Remember last week we learned that He/God is not going to make you work on everything all at once.  He may even wait a long time to work on some of the more minor things.  BUT  Has to start somewhere.

    2. SO:  Go back to your Inventory you filled out a while back:

      1. Look at the part where you filled in your Wrongs, shortcoming, and sins that you wrote down.

      2. As you look at these again, remember that “Falling down isn’t what makes you a failure – it’s staying down that makes you a failure.”

      3. God doesn’t just want you to admit your wrongs – No, He wants to make us right!!

        1. He wants to give us a future and a hope

        2. He doesn’t want to just forgive us – He wants to CHANGE us. 

    1. SO,  Ask God to first remove those Character Defects that are causing the most pain

      1. BE  SPECIFIC 

        1. Remember last week when we identified what some of those might be

          1. Poor self image / self hatred

          2. Lying to self – others

          3. Always making excuses for yourself / trying to justify your sin

          4. Selfishness / ego centric

          5. Self pity

          6. Playing games

          7. Controlling

          8. Lazy

          9. Resentment / un-forgiveness

          10. Etc.

        2. Proverbs 16:9 helps us here:  “ In his heart a man plans his course, but the Lord determines his steps.”   Awesome !

  7. OK,  let’s move on to next letter in acrostic:   “C”   which stands for CHANGE your mind.

    1. II Corinthians 5:17 tells us that when you become a Christian, you are a new creation – a brand new person inside. The old nature is gone. 

      1. ASK:  Do you ever feel like that doesn’t describe you?  That you still have plenty of the “old person” left inside.  OR worse – that the “old nature” is in fact NOT gone but rather very much present and alive and living in and through you? 

      2. WELL,   those changes that are going to take place WILL BE the result of a TEAM EFFORT!

        1. Your responsibility is to take the initiative (action) to follow God’s direction for change

        2. God then comes in and does His part by transforming you (changing you) by the renewing of your mind. 

      3. Let’s look at Romans 12:2 for more direction here:  “Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind.  Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is – his good, pleasing and perfect will.”

        1. Clear?   OR  Clear as mud? 

    1. We need to let God pull them out by the roots – often hurts, but results are worth it.   We need to let Him “transform our minds

      1. Remember the God’s Chisel video here.

    2. Just changing our behavior is like just mowing down the weeds in our garden. Instead of plucking them out by the roots. 

    3. God wants to change more than just our behavior – He wants to change the way we THINK (“…by the renewing of our minds” as Romans says)

      1. OK then, God says “…by the renewing of our minds, But, HOW do we renew our minds? (The answer in a moment,#7 below.)

    4. OK, to “Transform” something means to change its condition, its nature, its function, and its identity. 

      1. ASK:  How do you think YOU do this?

  8. OK, to answer the “HOW?” question we need to look at the next letter “T” in our VICTORY acrostic = TURN

    1. We need to TURN our character defects over to Jesus

    2. Relying on your own willpower has blocked your recovery

    3. Your past efforts to change your HHH have been unsuccessful

    4. BUT    James 4:10 tells us :  “…if you humble yourselves before the Lord he will lift you up…”:

      1. This idea of humility is not a Bad Word.

      2. Doesn’t mean you are weak

      3. Baker quote:  “Humility is like underwear – we should have it but shouldn’t let it show.”

      4. Humility is seeing ourselves as God sees us

    5. You can’t proceed in your recovery until you turn your defects of character over to Jesus.  

      1. Let go  -  Let God 

  9. The next letter is “O”   ONE day at a time

    1. Idea here is to be REASONABLE in your expectations for change

      1. Didn’t develop your Character Defects overnight, so don’t expect instant change.

      2. Recovery happens One Day At A Time

      3. Jesus provides our guidance here:   In Matthew 6:34  he said:  “So don’t be anxious about tomorrow, God will take care of your tomorrow too.  Live one day at a time.”

      4. When you start to regret past OR fear the future remember Exodus 3:14: where God tells us that His name is  “I  Am.”

        1. Good illustration to read:   unknown author (taken from a sermon):  “God tells me that when I live in the past with its mistakes and regrets, life is hard.  I can take God back there to heal me, to forgive me, to forgive my sins.  But God does not say, “My name is “I was.””  God says, “My name is “I am.”” When I try to live in the future, with its unknown problems and fears, life is hard.  I know God will be with me when that day comes.  But God does not say “My name is “I will be.””  He says,  “My name is “I am.””  When I live in today, this moment, one day at a time, life is not hard.  God says,  “I am here.”  “Come to me, all of you who are tired from carrying heavy loads, and I will give you rest.” 

  10. Let’s look at the letter “R” in VICTORY.  Stands for RECOVERY is a process.  One day at a time AFTER one day at a time.

    1. Once you asked God to remove your character defects you began a journey.

    2. That journey WILL lead you to new freedom from your past.

    3. Don’t look for perfection, INSTEAD, rejoice in steady progress.

      1. A good term here is to seek:  “patient improvement”

    4. Hear these words of encouragement from Word of God found in Philippians 1:6:

      1. And I am sure that God who began a good work within you will keep right on helping you grow in his grace until his task within you is finally finished on that day when Jesus Christ returns.”

  11. The last letter in victory is “Y”   Stands for YOU.   YOU must choose to change.

    1. Not your mother/father, spouse, but YOU.   Even God won’t do it for you.  You have to CHOOSE.

      1. You must voluntarily submit to every change God wants you to make in your life.

      2. All you need to do is to humbly ask him .  He is waiting to do it.

    2. James 4:6-8  sets this up for you:  “God gives strength to the humble… so give yourselves humbly to God.  Resist the devil and he will flee from you.  And when you draw close to God, God will draw close to you.”

NOTE:  Satan will hang around you if your falter in your resistance !) so don’t hesitate to RESIST – get to it

 

PRAYER: 

                “Dear God, show us your will in working through our shortcomings.
                Help us not to resist the changes that you have planned for us.
                We need you to direct our steps
                Help us stay in “today”, and not get dragged back in the past or lost in the fear of the future
                We ask you to give  us the power and the wisdom to make the very best we can out of today.
                In Jesus name we pray, Amen

 

Ready

 

READY:

 

  1. Tonight’s  lesson based on Principle 5 & Step 6:

    1. Principle 5:  “I voluntarily submit to every change God wants to make in my life and ask Him to remove my character defects.

    2. Step 6:  “I am entirely READY to have God remove all these defects of character.”

  2. Congratulations !!!

    1. IF  You’ve made it to this point it means you’ve been working through all the steps and principles so far:  ASK:  Do you know what it means to “work” the steps?

        1. “The steps only work when you work the steps!”

      1. Admitted you have a problem

      2. Admitted you are powerless over it on your own

      3. Come to believe that God could & will help you

      4. Seek Him and turn your life & will over to His care & control

      5. (more recently) Wrote a “Spiritual Inventory” & shared that with God and another person

    2. Whew!   Lot of work

      1. May be thinking:   “this is tough – time for a breather, rest” – Right?   WELL, think again !!!

  3. In most “recovery programs”  this step (# 6) is referred to as the step that “Separates the men from the boys”! 

    1. ADD:  Whatever the female equivalent is?   (Women form girls?) 

    2. SO  TONIGHT    going to answer the question:  

      1. “WHAT DOES IT MEAN TO BE ENTIRELY READY ? “

  4. Ok,   Lets look at Principle 5 again (on your handout)  and see why this might separate the Men from boys (women from girls)

    1. “Voluntarily submit to every change God wants to make in my life and humbly ask Him to remove my character defects.”

 

 

    1. OK, then,  ASK:  What parts of this are so difficult?

      1. Is it the “voluntary” piece?

      2. Or the “Submit” idea?

      3. Maybe it’s the realization that if you DO ask God to “remove” character defects – He will actually do it.

    2. ANSWER is in “Step 6” where it says “WE  ARE  READY”  to submit.   ARE  YOU  READY?    DO  YOU  FEEL  READY ???

  1. Alright Now .   Let’s be honest here.   ASK:  Wouldn’t you be willing to have some of your “Character Defects”  just GO AWAY?    I know I would !   

    1. Been working on some my entire adult life.

    2. Some just hang in there don’t they? – very hard to give up  (PAUSE   FOR  EFFECT)  Stare at them.  (I SAID:  Repeat “some…”)

    3. I can tell from the blank looks on your faces that you have no idea what I’m talking about – DO  YOU?

    4. When I say “Character Defects”   I am NOT talking about your HHH or your Addiction.    I’m talking about the character defects that GO ALONG with it. OR  that may have been at least partly responsible for your vulnerability in the first place.

    5. ASK:   anyone brave enough to guess what I’m talking about here??    What kind of Character Defects could I possibly be referring to?

      1. BRAINSTORM here:

      2. Some of us are getting a little uncomfortable now.  Starting to realize why this gets difficult here.

  2. OK,  Let me be a bit more transparent

    1. My Anger issues were (are) never simply in isolation. 

    2. They are not triggered out of thin air

    3. SAME is true for the alcoholic or the co-dependent, or the one struggling with release from a great pain.

      1. For all of us there comes a time of CLARITY – right?

      2. For Some – it’s when we hit bottom – say we are ready to stop the destructive patterns

 

BUT,  are we truly ready at that point? 

  1. SURE, we want drinking, pain, anger to stop,   BUT   are we ready to ALSO:
    1. Stop being narcissistic and self absorbed

    2. Stop being selfish & Lazy

    3. Stop the arrogance & control

    4. Stop the self pity party

    5. Stop manipulating people around us

    6. Stop playing games w/ourselves

    7. Let go of resentments

    8. Stop lying

    9. You see – these are the Character Defects that were (at least in part)  responsible for setting me up for my fall. 

      1. Like weeds – keep rising up and choking off any sincere efforts to change / heal.  These defects have roots.

    10. We’ve formed these defects for years – it’s the “STUFF” we carry around like baggage that weighs us down

      1. Tonight,   going to see that You & God – together – are going after this “STUFF” – together.     ALL  of it!  Because it’s this “STUFF” that results in our brokenness and feeling like we can’t go on – that we don’t have the strength to let God reshape us and finally rid us of our Character Defects.

 

            Segue: ASK:  How many of us have ever felt that we’ve messed up so many times that God wouldn’t possibly Forgive/ Accept / Love,  us?    Do you remember from the Video  we watched a few weeks ago  (God’s Chisel,)  that Tommy was finally READY?   

ARE YOU READY ???

    1. First letter “R” stands for Release control

      1. God is courteous & patient.   He will wait for you – till you are “Ready”  to give Him control

      2. Notice that the Step 6 here says that you are “Entirely Ready” to release control… OF  EVERY AREA OF YOUR LIFE.

        1. He won’t force himself on you – he won’t come in and clean up an area UNLESS you are willing to ask Him in.

      3. Psalm 143:10 sets this idea:  “Help me to do your will, for you are my God.  Lead me in good paths, for your Spirit is good.”

    2. The “E” stands for:  EASY does it.   

      1. These Steps & Principles are not “quick fixes”    Must allow time for God to do His work in you.

      2. Remember !!  The idea here is NOT JUST to get you to stop doing wrong / to stop sinning.

        1. The sin is only the symptom of the character defect.

          1. Let Me Explain:  the Sin is like the weed in a garden – it will keep reappearing unless it is pulled out by the root.

            1. The Root:  is the actual character defect that CAUSES the sin.

            2. In case of alcoholic:  The Act of Sin is abusing the alcohol,  while the defect of character may be something like:

              1. Poor self-image or even “self-loathing”

              2. OR  Bent toward fulfilling selfish desire / hedonism

              3. OR  Deceitful  habits  of  covering up some truth about ourselves,  or a Lying Spirit.

              4. Etc.  Remember Tommy in Video?

        2. So, what are we to do?   WE GO  AFTER  THE  DEFECT !!!   Not the sin.

          1. That takes Time – But God WILL do it.  He promised !  in Psalm 37:5   “Commit everything you do to the Lord.  Trust him to help you do it and he will…”
             

            1.  Next Letter is “A” :   ACCEPT  the change:

              1. OK,  Seeing the need for change   &  allowing the change to occur are two different things.

              2. The space between these two things can be enormous  AND filled w/Fear

              3. WE must be READY to accept God’s help during that transition from seeing the need & allowing the change.

                1. Bible is clear on this:  I Peter 1:13  “So then, have your minds READY for action.  Keep alert and set your hope completely on the blessing  which will be given you when Jesus Christ is revealed.  Be obedient to God, and do not allow your lives to be shaped by those desire you had when you were still ignorant.”  ASK:  “Are You Still Ignorant ???”

              4. Remember:  all the steps you have taken so far on your journey of recovery have been building up to the “Ultimate Surrender”  found in tonight’s principle.

              5. James 4:10 states:  “Humble yourselves before the Lord, and he will lift you up…”

                1. AHH -  Humility !!

                  1. You are going to see this subject of “Humility” over and over again. 

                    1. It’s all through the “12 Steps”

                    2. The subject of “humility” or being humble etc. is mentioned 72 times in scripture.  This is important to God because it is completely necessary in order for “True Repentance” to be believed.

                      1. Like a 3 legged stool..

                        1. Humility, Brokenness, Repentance

                        2. Without all 3 the stool will not stand, cannot hold us up..

            2. Moving on to next letter:  “D”:  DO  REPLACE your character defects

              1. OK,  you know that for some of you – you have been spending years building up your HHH – addictions.  (actually your character defects).

                1. When God helps you by removing one; you MUST replace it (character defect) with something positive in your life  OR the likelihood is that you will fall back into the HHH / sin.

                  1. Replace it w/ CR Program meetings, Church attendance/involvement, volunteering, Toy Share,  Spiritual Disciplines, etc.

                  2. REMEMBER:  “…can’t get rid of old habit…”

                  3. Listen to Matthew 12:43 – 42 here:  “When an evil spirit goes out of a person, it travels over dry country looking for a place to rest.  If it can’t find one, it says to itself, “I will go back to my house.” So it goes back and finds the house empty,…then it goes out and brings along seven other spirits even worse than itself, and they come to live there.”

                    1. Wow.   Sobering thought isn’t it?

                  4. You’ve heard me say that one of the character defects for me as a result of my abuse was a devastated self-esteem. 

                    1. I looked for self esteem in drugs, alcohol, trying to “fit in”, and when those didn’t work my self esteem took a nose dive.   I then turned to Anger (which was in reality my true expression of my insecurities AND as a way to drown out my pain.)

                    2. It wasn’t until I found relief through counseling and recovery that my life started to come back together. 

                    3. TO  THIS  DAY.  If I do not constantly work at REPLACING my character defects with positive substitutes – I can easily fall back to my old ways.

            3. Last Letter is “Y”   YIELD to the growth.

              1. What is the opposite of “Yielding to the growth”?    

                    1. ANSWER:  Self Doubt, Refusing Growth, Stagnation

                1. Self Doubt breeds poor self image.

                  1. What will a poor self image tell you? 

                    1. ANSWER:  You are not worthy of becoming the person God intends for you to become.

                  2. Don’t believe it.   Lie from pit of hell.    YIELD to the growth.  It is the HS work in you.

              2. I John 3:9  sets this in stone:  “The person who has been born into God’s family does not make a practice of sinning, because now God’s life is in him;  so he can’t keep on sinning., for this new life has been born into him and now controls him – he has been born again.”

                 

  1. QUESTION IS:  Are you entirely ready to voluntarily submit to any and all changes God wants to make in your life? – to literally allow HIM to get rid of the “STUFF” you’ve been carrying around

    1. If you are, then read the verses found in last weeks handout;  and pray the following prayer:

      1. “Dear God,  thank you for taking me this far in my recovery journey.

      2. Now I pray for your help in making me entirely ready to change all my character defects.

      3. Give me strength to face the truth of who I am including my faults which I turn over to you.

      4. Help me to ACCEPT all the changes that you want to make in me. 

      5. Help me be the person that you want me to be .  In Jesus’ name;;     Amen

         

  2.  

    1.  

Admit

ADMIT         C.R. lesson #13

  • OK,  tonight’s lesson based on Principle 4 & Step 5:

    1. Principle 4“Openly examine and confess my faults to myself, to God, and to someone I trust.”

    2. Step 5:  “Admit to God, to ourselves, and to another human being the exact nature of my wrongs.”

      • Which of course is taken from James 5:16:  “Therefore confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed.”

  • You remember Last Week we started this idea with the lesson on “CONFESSION” .  Confession & Admission go hand in hand.  Tonight we will expand on what we started in our previous lesson.

  • ASK:   Can anyone tell me what Romans 6:23 says ???   (Answer:  “Wages of sin is death – but gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.”)

    1. ASK:  What does that mean to you?

      • Answer:   If you work hard for sin your whole life, then your reward will surely be DEATH.  But life God’s way is REAL LIFE, and pension is eternal life BUT only through JC.

    2. OK, let’s play w/this “wages” metaphor a bit:

      • So – there is a “wage” or “earning” for SIN in our lives.

        • Well it’s also NOT JUST a cut & dried where (X) sin = (Y) wage.   NO, there is almost always a Tax on your investment as well as a change in the rate.  

          • You see- the devil is like a “loan shark”   He keeps raising the stakes.  Until you are trapped beyond your ability to ever repay.

        • BY THE WAY:  (aside)  If the wages of sin is death, shouldn’t you quit before payday?

  • Let’s get serious here:    POINT of Romans 6:23 here  (in relation to our lesson on Admitting our sins to one another)  is this:   There is a consequence for our Sins  AND  we keep those “sins” a secret whenever possible.

    1. To use the “wage metaphor”  we keep the “sin earnings” UNREPORTED.   And the consequences eventually catch up with us.

    2. The more secrets we keep – the more the Loan Shark has over our heads.

 

  • So   “Why  Do  I  Have  To  ADMIT  My  Wrongs to another??”

    1. Because:  Keeping those sins secret all our lives TAKES A TOLL on us.

      • The Toll =  Loss of self-respect / energy / bondage to old codependent habits.

      • ADMITTING those secrets – out loud  -  strips them of the power they have over us.  Just speaking them will dilute their power.

    2. STILL – we are afraid to reveal our secrets to another person – even someone we trust.   ASK:   WHY?

      • (let them brainstorm on this)

      • Answer:  Betrayal  /  harm – used against us / rejected / ostracized / avoided / hated / never trusted again / etc.

  • OK,  Tonight I want you to hear TRUTH.    I want you to know what you really have to lose by admitting your wrongs:   (take out your bulletins)

    1. First, We lose our sense of isolation.  

      • Remember the story about the little girl in the well?    When you admit your wrongs to another person you invite someone down in that well – right alongside of you.   

      • The result is that feeling of isolation begins to vanish

    2. Second,  We will begin to lose our unwillingness to forgive.  

      • WOW, that’s a mouthful.   When people accept and forgive us, we start to see that we can forgive others.   (The Lord’s Prayer)

    3. Third,  We will lose our inflated, false pride. 

      • AS we see and accept who we are, we begin to gain true humility, which involves seeing ourselves as we really are and seeing God as He really is.

    4. Fourth & Final,  We will lose our sense of Denial. 

      • It’s easy to see that being TRUTHFUL with another person will tear away at our denial.

      • Results in us feeling clean and honest.

 

  • OK, those were the 4 “things you have to “LOSE” when you admit your wrongs to another person.     NOW,  lets look at 3 “Things you have to GAIN”.

 

 

  1. We gain the HEALING that the Bible promises.  

    1. Look at James 5:16 again:  “Confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be HEALED.”

    2. Obvious key word = “Healed”

    3. NOTICE it does NOT say:  “Confess your sins to one another and you will be “forgiven”.

      1. No, God already Forgave you when you confessed your sins to HIM. 

      2. HE says:  You will begin the “Healing Process” when you confess your sins to another.  WOW!!   Powerful promise!

  2. OK, the 2nd thing we “gain” is FREEDOM.

    1. Our secrets have kept us in CHAINS  -  bound  -  frozen, unable to move forward in any of our relationships – with God OR others.

    2. Admitting our sins “Snaps” those chains so God can get about His business of Healing

      1. Psalm 107:13-14   “They cried to the Lord in their troubles, and he rescued them!  He led them from the darkness and the shadow of death and “SNAPPED” their chains. “

    3. Word of Caution (However)   Unconfessed Sin will Fester.  In Psalm 32:3-4  David tells us what happened to him when he tried to hide his sins:  “When I did not confess my sins, I was worn out from crying all day long…My strength was completely drained.”  

      1. Openness is to wholeness (or being healthy)  AS  Secrets are to sickness.

      2. Remember that the only sin God can NOT forgive is the one you don’t confess.

  3. Now – the 3rd thing we gain from admitting your wrongs to another is:  You gain SUPPORT.

    1. Think about it – when someone else sees your inventory they are more likely to support you

      1. They can keep you focused  & provide feedback.

      2. When denial creeps in and you do the unhealthy “self talk”,  that’s when you need someone whom you have confided in to challenge you with the TRUTH

    2. But most of all – the value of just having someone listen to you and hear what you have to say is priceless. 

ALRIGHT NOW:    HOW DO YOU CHOOSE SOMEONE TO TELL YOUR SECRETS TO???

  • Unlike little Jessica in the well – you get to CHOOSE the person who comes down in your well with you.

  • So choose well. 

    • Don’t want someone to say:  “ You did WHAT ?”    or  “You shouldn’t have done that you know…”

    • You are not looking for a Judge or a Jury

      • We already talked about the Verdict:  Romans 3:23 says “all have sinned and you have been found “not guilty” by virtue of association with JC.   In  1st John 1:9  “If we confess our sins , he is faithful and just and will forgive our sins and purify us…”

  • OK, so what you need is a good “Listener”

    • Better if they are a growing Christian

    • Better if they are familiar with 12 steps or 8 principles.  (If not – make them familiar)

  • Same sex – that you trust and respect

  • Can be your Sponsor OR Accountability Partner  (You do have one don’t you?) 

    • If they are a person who has had similar experiences it can result in healthy  exchange.

  • Set an appointment with the person – without interruptions

    • No phones, no kids,

    • Give it plenty of time. 

ACTUAL GUIDELINES FOR YOUR MEETING (where you will begin to ADMIT):

  1. Start w/Prayer

    1. Pray for courage / humility / honesty (complete honesty) /

  2. Read the scripture verses (provided  in Bulletin insert)

  3. Keep your sharing balanced between  -  weaknesses  & Strengths!

  4. End in Prayer.  Thank God for the tools He has given you  AND for the complete FORGIVENESS found in Christ.

VIDEO:   Skit Guys:  “Completely” by Among The Thirsty  (on you tube also)  3.5 minutes

  1. PRAY:   Dismiss to groups:  Newcomers to room with:__________________

Confess

LESSON  12:   CONFESS  (revised 10/17)    (Really should show “God’s Chisel” before this lesson )

OK:  Just finished our Spiritual Inventories  where you took account of how you may have mistreated your mind, body, family, church, etc.   The POINT of the Spiritual Inventory is to once & for all time - take account of the things that are wrong in you – with you – for you.   BUT also what is GOOD in your – strengths / victories.

  1. This Lesson is Based on Principle 4 & Step 5:

    1. Principle 4:  “Openly examine and confess my faults to myself, to God, and to someone I trust.”

    2. Step 5“Admit to God, to myself, and to another human being the exact nature of my wrongs.”

  2. ASK:  I have told the story of “Jessica McClure” here in the past.   It fits so well with this lesson that it really should always be a part of this lesson.

    1. Jessica, at the time, was an18 month old girl   /  Texas  /  fell into abandoned well-pipe hole quite few years back

    2. 400 people took part in her rescue

    3. Took 2 ½ days to get her out

    4. Remember they played back tape of rescuers hearing her cries for help / anguish / frustration / pain.

    5. In order to rescue little Jessica the rescuers decided quickly on 2 phases of the rescue:

        1. Phase 1:   Get someone down there next to her – ASAP

        2. Phase 2:   Actually extracting her from the well

    6.  ASK:  Why do you think Phase 1 was so important? – to get someone down there ASAP?

      1. Later, after being interviewed, Rescuers said:  “They were Driven by knowledge that people tend to do and think strange things when they are trapped alone in a dark scary place for long periods of time.”

      2. They get “disoriented”  &  fears get blown out of proportion

      3. Minds play tricks on them

      4. AND, sometimes they start to do “self-destructive” things.

      5. AND,  sometimes they just “give up”

 

 

    1. ASK:    Does any of this sound familiar to any of you?

      1. Jessica McClure’s rescuers knew they needed to get someone down there to be with her ASAP

      2. Only then – could they turn their attention on how they were going to get her out of the well. 

      3. The plan worked for Jessica – she was saved and is now a happy healthy young woman.

  1. SO -   How does this story relate to Step 5? :  “Admit to God, to yourself, and to another human being the exact nature of your wrongs.”  ?

    1. Well, - When you admit to God, yourself & Another - your wrongs  -  you are basically admitting that :

      1. you are “Out Of Control”

      2. that you need help w/ your problems

      3. that you can’t live your life the way you used to live it

      4. that your old ways just don’t work anymore.

    2. To make matters worse:  You realize that the issue you are struggling with (HHH) is really being DRIVEN by a whole set of “Character Defects”.

    3. SO  What are you to do?   Well, God wants to “Chisel Away” at those character defects.  (remember the God’s Chisel video by skit guys?)

      1. He wants to Free you of the bondage of those defects in your life.

      2. Good news is :  “You’ve already started letting Him / by: 

        1. Admitting your problems / sins

        2. Making an “Inventory” of the problems / sins

          1. Literally LISTING them, Admitting them, OWNING them – Letting God “CHISEL” THEM OUT OF YOU.

          2. Basically – taking responsibility for the “Big 7 Deadly Sins”

            1. ASK:  Can you list them?

            2. Pride – anger – envy – lust – greed – gluttony – sloth

          3. ASK:  Do you know why there are “7”?

            1. NOT because #7 is perfect number in scripture – no

            2. The #7 in Hebrew means: “To Be Complete”

              1. From Solomon in  Proverbs 6:16-19

              2. SO, IF you have all 7 of the “Deadly Sins”, then you are “completely” or totally sinful.

 

    1. OK,  If you have been honest these past few months  AND  you HONESTLY did your inventory – you might be feeling like you are trapped at bottom of a big dark well.

      1. Like our example with the little girl (Jessica) in the well,  you can get disoriented – frightened, discouraged.

      2. You might be asking yourself tonight:  “Why did I ever take this recovery journey in the first place?”    You might be wanting to Bail Out as some others have already done when it got too uncomfortable.

        1. I know some of you are thinking things like:

          1. “I am royally messed up and I don’t think anything can straighten me out”

          2. OR “If anyone ever found out what is really going on in my head, they wouldn’t have anything to do with me.”

          3. OR “ This is too hard to stay committed to this program.  I am just going to go back to pretending that everything is OK, and just let time work all this out.”

        2. IT’S  AT  THIS  CRITICAL  JUNCTURE in the process that we need to get another human being to come alongside of us as soon as possible. 

        3. AS God is “Chiseling Away” at your HHH & the surrounding “junk” – you need to get someone along side of you so you do NOT slip back into denial

        4. We are at the point (right now in this program) where you need to come clean by telling another human being the truth about who you really are.     But How?

Take out your bulletin and we will begin to see through the acrostic:  CONFESS

OK,   Let’s get started:

  1. C in confess is “CONFESS”  OR  “Come Clean” - what else? 

    1. God wants us to come clean and admit that wrong is wrong,   that we are guilty as charged.  We need to “own up” or God cannot begin to Chisel away at these issues.

    2. Once “confessed”:

      1. Shame is OVER

      2. Truth (& it’s healing power) take over

 

    1. Proverbs 28:13 says:  “He who conceals his sins does not prosper, but whoever confesses and renounces them finds mercy.”

      1. Point:  Confession is necessary for fellowship w/God.   Sin creates a barrier before God, but Confession removes that barrier & restores fellowship with God.

         

  1. O in confess is “OBEY” God’s directions: (remember that principle #4 sums up HOW to OBEY)

    1. Basically – “Confession” means we agree w/God regarding our sins.   

    2. He can try and try to “chisel” away at our sins, but unless we agree w/Him, we are not on the same page.

    3. (OK, First) Romans 14:12“…everyone will have to give an account of himself to God.”

    4. Then this is HOW to obey:   James 5:16  brings it on home:  “Confess your sins TO EACH OTHER and pray for each other so that you may be healed.”

 

  1. N – next letter is N:   Means:  NO  MORE  GUILT !!!

    1. You need to toss out your “Rear View Mirror” way of looking at your life.

    2. There’s NO point in second guessing yourself OR others.

    3. Romans 8:1 says:  “There is no condemnation now for those who live in union with Christ Jesus.”

      1. Verdict is in:  “ALL HAVE SINNED”   BUT  God declares us “Not Guilty!!” by reason of no accusation in Christ.

 

  1. So that’s the “C,O,N” of confess.  -  The “con” is over   NOW we need to ‘FESS” up & we will have 4 positive changes in our lives.

 

 

 

 

 

  1. F – in confess stands for:  “FACE the truth”    .

    1. It’s been said:   “Man occasionally stumbles over the truth in his life.”  Most of time he will pick himself up and continue on.”

      1. Recovery does NOT work like that.

      2. Recovery REQUIRES / DEMANDS honesty in order to be effective.

      3. Jesus said:   “I am the light of the world.  Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.”  John 8:12

      4. Have you ever noticed that people who always seem to speak the truth seem to always be “at ease” with themselves and everyone else around them.?   Well, that’s the next positive change that comes from confession:

        1. People who are not honest are NOT at ease with themselves, and they open themselves up to every arrow the enemy shoots – even physical issues CAN come from a lack of being “at ease”.  This is where the word:  Disease comes from:  Dis – ease.!

        2. Dishonesty / Lying requires a perfect memory which no one has.

          1. Honesty (speaking the truth) never has that pressure.

          2. Even exaggeration requires a perfect memory

        3. Eventually it makes us sick !  -  which eases us into the next letter in our acrostic:

 

  1. E – Confession eases the pain.

    1. “we are only as sick as our secrets!”   Whew!

    2. When we share our deepest secrets, we begin to divide the pain from the shame. 

    3. A healthy self worth begins to surface

    4. Listen: “pain is inevitable for all of us, but Misery is optional.”

      1. Psalm 32:3-5 says“there was a time when I wouldn’t admit what a sinner I was.  But my dishonesty made me miserable and filled my days with frustration…My strength evaporated like water on a sunny day until I finally admitted all my sins to you and stopped trying to hide them.  I said to myself, I will confess them to the Lord.  And you forgave me!  All my guilt is gone.”

 

 

  1. S – The first S in Confess reminds us that we can now STOP the blame game.

    1. Been said :  “people who can smile when something goes wrong probably just thought of somebody they can blame it on.”

    2. Truth:  We can’t find peace if we continue to blame ourselves OR others. 

      1. Our secrets only isolate us from each other.

    3. In Matthew 7:3  Jesus drives the point home:  “…why do you look at the speck of sawdust in your brother’s eye and fail to see the plank in your own…  Take the plank out of your own eye first – only then will you be able to see clearly enough to be helpful with others.”

  2. S – Finally, the last letter – S – stands for:  START

    1. Start accepting God’s forgiveness.

    2. Start letting him Chisel out of you the lies and affects of sin on your life.

    3. Start allowing his unconditional love to flow over you.

    4. 1st John 1:9 puts it all in perspective:  “…if we confess our sins, he will forgive our sins, because we can trust God to do what is right.  He will (chisel away) all the impacts of the sin and cleanse us from all the wrongs we have committed.”

 

 

Writing Our Spiritual Inventory

Lesson # 10

 

Based on Principle 4:  Openly examine and confess my faults to myself, to God, and to someone I trust.  “Happy are the pure in heart.”  Matthew 5:8

Step 4:  We made a searching and fearless honest inventory of ourselves.   “Let us examine our ways and test them, and let us return to the Lord.”  Lamentations 3:40

 

INTRODUCTION:

Tonight we begin the first of two lessons in which we will actually start to write out our Spiritual Inventory using the “Spiritual Evaluation” that founders of Celebrate Recovery developed for this step.

Principle 4 begins the process of coming clean, where you“openly examine and confess your faults to yourself, to God, and to another person you trust.”

Most of us don’t like to look within ourselves – to take note of the things that are bad or need work.  It’s like looking in a mirror – don’t like what looks back sometimes.   BUT  remember what we talked about last time in Lesson 9:  You need to keep your evaluation, your “inventory”, balanced.   Needs to include both the good and the bad within you.   

OK, let’s look at what a Spiritual Inventory, (or Evaluation) is all about :

God’s Word tells us,  “Search me, O God, and know my heart; test my thoughts.  Point out anything you find in me that makes you sad, and lead me along the path of everlasting life…” 
 
Psalm 139: 23-24tlb.

ASK:  Can you define:  “Character” ?     (brainstorm here)

                  Do you know everyone has 3 different “characters” ?

1.     The character we Exhibit (show on the outside)

2.     The character we Think We Have.

3.     The character we Truly Have.

 

No doubt each one has good qualities and bad. 

·       Tonight we are going to look at some of the bad, some of our character shortcomings and sins that can block us from receiving all the joy that God has intended.  

·       So, tonight we are also going to work on 4 areas of our character;   and next week we will work on 4 more.    The POINT of this lesson is to help you get started on your actual inventory as you search your heart and are completely honest as you write them out. !!

OK, in your handout:

  Part 1 for tonight:  OUR RELATIONSHIPS WITH OTHERS:    

                  In Matthew 6: 12-14Jesus tells us to pray:   “Forgive us our sins, just as we have forgiven those who have sinned against us.  Don’t bring us into temptation, but deliver us from the Evil One.”    Sound familiar? 

                  Ask yourself the following questions regarding your relationships with others:   (ACTUALLY START FILLING IN ON SHEETS – YOU CAN FINE TUNE IT LATER, BUT START PUTTING THE TRUTH DOWN ON PAPER.)

NOTE:  The following people that you name here came from your worksheets in column 1.

1.    Who has hurt you?

a.     Go as far back as necessary.  Does not need to be directly related to your HHH.

2.    Against whom have you been “holding a grudge?”

a.     It doesn’t take a doctor to tell you that it is better to remove a grudge than to nurse it.   No matter how long you nurse a grudge, it won’t get better.  “Grudges are for those who insist they are owed something….”  Chris Jami.     Writing the grudge down on your inventory is the first step in getting rid of it.

3.    Against whom are you still seeking revenge?

a.     Did you know that seeking revenge is like biting a dog just because the dog bit you?  It really doesn’t help you or the dog.   “The best revenge is to be unlike him who performed the injury.” Marcus Aurelius;          “Not forgiving is like drinking Rat Poison then waiting for the Rat to die.”

4.    Are you Jealous of someone?

a.     In Song of Songs 8:6 ,  jealousy is said to be:  “as unyielding as the grave.   It burns like blazing fire!”

5.    Have you tried to justify your bad attitude by saying it is “their fault” – “someone else’s fault”?

a.     When you search for someone to blame, it is better for you to look in the mirror rather than through binoculars.   Hosea 4:4 tells us:  “Don’t point your finger at someone else and try to pass the blame.”   When you point the finger at someone else there is always 3 more pointing back at you.

NOTE:  The following people that you name here came from your worksheets in column 5.

6.    Whom have YOU hurt?

a.     How did you hurt them?

b.     Indicate whether it was intentional or not intentional.  

                                               i.     It is amazing that the TONGUE being a wet place slippeth often !      It is only about 4 inches long yet it can destroy a man 6 feet tall.

                                             ii.     That’s why James 1:26 tells us:  “…keep a tight rein on our tongues.”

END PART   1

 

OK,  Part 2: Let’s look at what’s important to YOU:   YOURPRIORITIESIN YOURLIFE:

                  We do what is important to us.  Others see our “priorities” by our actions, not our words. 

“Your walk talks and your talk talks, but your walktalks louder than your talk talks.”   

   Personally, I would rather see a sermon than hear one any day.

                  So,  What ARE the priorities in your life?

                                    Matthew 6:33 tells us what will happen if we make God our #1 priority:  “He will give back to you if you give him first place in your life and live as he wants you to.”

1.    OK, #1 here:  After making the decision to turn your life and your will over to God, in what areas of your life are you still not putting God first?

a.     What closet are you not letting him enter and clean out?

b.     What “thing” in your life do you procrastinate to deal with that is just bugging the heck out of you? 

                                               i.     We all have them – those areas that we know are wrong for us OR unhealthy in some way.

2.    What in your past is interfering with you doing God’s Will today?

a.     For example:  Is your ambition driven by serving God or is it driven by envy?  Greed ?,  Lust for affirmation or recognition?

b.     For Example:  Are your PLEASURES found in “the world”?

                                               i.     Proverbs 21:17 warns us:  “He who loves pleasure will become poor.”

                                             ii.     While Psalm 16:11 promises what happens when our pleasure is found “in The Lord” :

1.     “You will teach me how to live a holy life.  Being with you will fill me with joy, at your right hand I will find pleasure forever.”

3.    What have been your priorities in your job?; Your Friendships?; Your Personal Goals?

a.     Need to ask yourself:  Are my priorities in any of these areas self-centered OR self-serving?

                                               i.     “When we put God first, all other things fall into their proper place OR drop out of our lives altogether.  Our love of the Lord will govern the claims for our affections, the demands for our time, the interests we pursue, and the order of our Priorities.”  (Ezra Benson)

                                             ii.     “We don’t drift in good directions.  We discipline and prioritize ourselves there.”   (Andy Stanley)

4.    Who was affected by the Priorities you set?  

a.     Did you lose any friends when you made your HHH a priority?  (Not working on it, but the HHH itself)

b.     Did your relationships with any family members suffer as a result of feeding your HHH and making it the #1 thing in your life?

5.    NOW,   What was GOOD about your priorities?

a.     There had to be some good here.   Write about it.

 

Now, Part 3:   This next area of your Spiritual Inventory is where you examine your attitudes.

YOURATTITUDE:

            Ephesians 4:31 starts us off here:  “Get rid of all bitterness, (misplaced) passion, and anger.  No more shouting or insults.  No more hateful feelings of any sort.”

1.    Do you always try to have an “attitude of gratitude”  ORdo you find yourself always complaining about your circumstances?

a.     Scripture encourages us to be “thankful” every time we come to prayer, but this should (and could) spill over into every area of our lives. 

b.     Many people over the years have crossed my path as a Pastor who have been mostly negative and critical in their spirits.  They seem to end up with more problems and physical issues and generally have few friends.   Most people just don’t like being around them.    (This goes for people who also have no depth to their souls, but we will hold that for now.  )

                                               i.     Cloud hanging over their heads

                                             ii.     EGR’s

2.    Do you have a CRITICALSPIRIT?

a.     Remember the stages of Relapse? 

                                               i.     Starts with Critical Spirit – leads to Isolation – leads to Relapse

b.     If you find yourself changes from an optimist to developing a critical spirit then something else is going on in your life. 

                                               i.     Fear is overcoming you.

                                             ii.     Road ahead looks too difficult

1.     “Losers Limp”   HS Track Coach

3.    In what areas of your life are you Ungrateful?

a.     We really can’t (and shouldn’t) be grateful for the bad things in our lives,  but we can at least be thankful for the things we have escaped – right? 

                                               i.     God always seems to provide a way out of destructive options in our lives.

1.     Sometimes we “dodge the bullet” fired at us, but other times we CHOOSE to take the right path.

a.     I Corinthians 15:57 says it best:  “But thanks be to God!  He gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.”

4.    Have you gotten angry, resulting in you blowing up at people?

a.     Could do a whole lesson on anger, but remember this one principle:  “Blowing up at people OR venting our anger is almost always an expression of our own insecurities about something in life.”

                                               i.     May or may not be related to issue we are blowing up about.

                                             ii.     Also more related to our FEARS and not the alleged “offense”.

5.    Have you been SARCASTIC?

a.     Did you know that sarcasm can be a form of “Verbal Abuse”?

b.     Root words that form word: “sarcasm” are TORNFLESH.

 

6.    What in your past is STILL causing you Fear or Anxiety?

a.     Remember that your fear imprisons you;  your faith liberates you. 

b.     Fear paralyzes; faith empowers!

c.     Fear disheartens;  faith encourages!

d.     Fear sickens;  faith heals!

e.     FAITH in Jesus Christ will allow you to face your past fears, and with faith you can be free of fear’s chains. 

                                               i.     I John 4:18 says:  “There is no fear in love.  But perfect love drives out fear, because fear has to do with punishment.  The one who fears is NOT made perfect in love.”

Now then,  the LAST area we are going to talk about tonight is your INTEGRITY:

YOURINTEGRITY:

1.    In what past dealings (work, private, etc.) were you dishonest?

a.     Do you know what I mean here?  Anyone confused by the question?

b.     “An honest person alters his ideas to fit the truth.  While a dishonest person alters the truth to fit his ideas.”

c.     Did you cheat at school, games?

d.     Did you falsify records to the IRS?

e.     Remember that a partial truth is as much a lie as telling a falsehood.

                                               i.     Truth, whole truth, nothing but the truth.

2.    Have you stolen things?    (ASIDE:  I told you that your inventory was not going to be easy.)

a.     May be something physical – an item, money, prescription drugs, etc.

b.     May be credit for something you didn’t do. 

                                               i.     Can be majoras in a work related thingOR minor like taking credit for a kindness you didn’t perform.

3.    Have you exaggerated yourself to makeyourself look better?

a.     OK, this is a tough one – because a LOT of people exaggerate. 

b.     Did you know there are NO degrees of “honest”?   Either you are or you are NOT!!!

c.     ASK:  Why do you think people “exaggerate”?

                                               i.     To look better, to appear more clever, to put themselves in better light with others.

                                             ii.     BUT the underlying MOTIVE is alwaysINSECURITY!!!!

4.    Have you pretended to live one way in front of your Christian friends and another way at home or at work?

a.     Are you a “Sunday Christian”  OR a “Seven-day – full time follower of Jesus Christ?”

b.     Do you try to practice the 8 Principles of CR all week or just on Mondays?   Do you “Work” the 12 steps?

 

 

WRAP-UP:

·       Well, that’s enough work for one week – whew! 

o   Next week we will dig in to Part II of our Spiritual Inventory.

§  We will explore our “Old Way” of thinking;

§  We will look at how we have treated (or mistreated) God’s temple – our bodies;

§  How we did nor did NOT walk by faith in the past;

§  And, our important past relationships with our family & the Church.

·       As you work on your Spiritual Inventories, remember these two things:

o   First, in Isaiah 1:18 God says:  “No matter how deep the stain of your sins, I can take it out and make you as clean as freshly fallen snow.”

o   Second, - and we can’t say this enough – KEEP YOUR INVENTORY BALANCED ! 

§  List the positive new relationships that you have,

§  List the areas of your life that you have been able to turn over to God;

§  How your attitude has improved since you started recovery;

§  And the ways you have been able to step out of denial into God’s truth.