As part of the process of change, I will identify and record everyone I have harmed and through prayer become willing to make restitution to them
My name is Archie, and I am a recovered alcoholic. Recovered through the grace of God and the power of the Holy Spirit moving in and through my life on a daily basis.
Acts 3:19-26 “Now it’s time to change your ways! Turn to face God so he can wipe away your sins, pour out showers of blessing to refresh you, and send you the Messiah he prepared for you, namely, Jesus. For the time being, he must remain out of sight in heaven until everything is restored to order again just the way God, through the preaching of his holy prophets of old, said it would be. Moses, for instance, said, ‘Your God will raise up for you a prophet just like me from your family. Listen to every word he speaks to you. Every last living soul who refuses to listen to that prophet will be wiped out from the people.’ “All the prophets from Samuel on down said the same thing, said most emphatically that these days would come. These prophets, along with the covenant God made with your ancestors, are your family tree. God’s covenant word to Abraham provides the text: ‘By your offspring, all the families of the earth will be blessed.’ But you are first in line: God, having raised up his Son, sent him to bless you as you turn, one by one, from your evil ways.”
Today’s reading is taken from the message. Over the years I have been involved in churches I have had people telling me “the message is not a version of the Bible.” So before I share what God has given me to share tonight I want to say “without the message I would not be here!” When I first came to a decision in my life in 1989 if I wanted to get serious about changing my life I had to get to know – about God and His way of living. At that time, I was given a copy of the message New Testament with Psalms and Proverbs and they became my lifeline. At the time I read a Proverb a day and a chapter of the New Testament. And it changed my life.
It says in the Bible in Romans 12:2 Don’t become so well-adjusted to your culture that you fit into it without even thinking. Instead, fix your attention on God. You’ll be changed from the inside out. Readily recognize what he wants from you, and quickly respond to it. Unlike the culture around you, always dragging you down to its level of immaturity, God brings the best out of you, develops well-formed maturity in you. For me that verse was life-changing. All I ever wanted in my life was to fit in. I never felt like I did and if I am honest a lot of the time now, I still feel like that.
Tonight, I want to begin by sharing the preamble of Living Life Recovery, given to me in 2005 when God challenged me about what I was doing with people with addictions and how was I going to get involved?
Living Life Recovery is a safe place where people can come, share, and investigate the realities of God’s promises for themselves.
We believe that as we investigate God’s promises for our lives and practice the ‘Spiritual Principles of Recovery’ as outlined in ‘God’s Word we will find the strength and freedom we need to live productive and peaceful lives.
We welcome anyone who has a sincere desire to change their lives. To rise above the pain and turmoil caused by dependencies and compulsive behaviours their own lives or the lives of a loved one or friend.
We are here to worship God and to share our experience, strength, and hope with each other. The support of other members, daily prayer, and reading of ‘The Bible’ prepares us to experience total serenity in Christ no matter what our outward circumstances may be.
Attendance at 12 Step groups and establishing an accountability relationship with a trusted more experienced member is strongly encouraged.
We are dedicated to the principles of anonymity and confidentiality. Nothing shared in our ‘Group Discussions’ will leave the group in any form.
Gossip and bad language have no place in a ‘Christian Recovery Ministry’ and will not be tolerated
I have been running my website http://LivingLifeRecovery.com since 2008 with a view to reaching people with addictions and sharing my faith with them in hope that they might get a glimpse of what God has in store for them and want to pursue it. The website I try to keep it twelve steps centred as I believe strongly that the steps are a great tool that God wants to use to influence the lives of people with addictions. I also believe that if the entire church would learn and adapt the twelve steps to their daily living the people in them would live a better version of what the Bible is talking about than they do now. Another reason I like the message is that I have found through my own experience of reading and studying it the language used is easy to understand and it speaks more in day-to-day vocabulary than some of the other versions.
I have been tempted over the years to move away from the message because I don’t feel people in churches take you seriously in your faith when you are not using a Bible they approve of.
Anyway back to today’s scripture.
In Acts Chapters 2 and 3 in his speeches, I think Peter gives us good examples of adapting God’s message to your audience. On speaking to the Jews gathered in Jerusalem to celebrate Pentecost he relied heavily on quotes from the Old Testament. If you read those two chapters, you will realize that his words were so effective 3,000 people were converted.
That in itself made me think “how can I best use my own experience, strength, and hope to reach the people God places in my sphere of influence?” I am not a preacher, I am not a teacher, nor am I particularly gifted in sharing the Bible with other people. What I do have I believe is the experience of walking daily with the Holy Spirit and via Him learning to trust and obey God in my life. When I first started blogging my wife asked me the question “What are you going to talk about, that people want to listen to.” A few years ago, she said to me “you better right some of this stuff down, so it is not lost.”
The difference in my life and in my recovery is my daily walk with the Holy Spirit. This week I wanted to talk about something totally different that than I am. But the Holy Spirit prompted me to speak about this. So here goes: What I would like to do is take these verses, break them down and expand on what the Holy Spirit and I discussed as I lay awake in bed on Wednesday night.
Acts 3:19-20 say “Now it’s time to change your ways! Turn to face God so he can wipe away your sins, pour out showers of blessing to refresh you, and send you the Messiah he prepared for you, namely, Jesus.
IT IS NOW TIME TO REPENT
Acts 2:38 Peter said, “Change your life. Turn to God and be baptized, each of you, in the name of Jesus Christ, so your sins are forgiven. Receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.
- Repentance is necessary for relationship with God.
- Repentance is our only hope of receiving God’s mercy.
- Repentance open the way to a new life with God.
- Repentance allows us to receive God’s forgiveness.
IT IS TIME TO FACE UP TO WHAT GOD HAS DONE FOR US
Hebrews 9:28 Christ’s death was …. a one-time event, but it was a sacrifice that took care of sins forever. And so, when he next appears, the outcome for those eager to greet him is, precisely, salvation.
- Salvation means we are forgiven by grace through faith.
- Salvation means our guilt is gone – the slate is clear.
- Jesus promised that if we believe in Him, we will receive salvation.
IT IS TIME TO RECEIVE JESUS AS OUR ONE TRUE HIGHER POWER
- Jesus is all powerful.
- Jesus gives life.
- Jesus is the Highest Authority.
Acts 3:21-22 For the time being he [Jesus} must remain out of sight in heaven until everything is restored to order again just the way God, through the preaching of his holy prophets of old, said it would be. Moses, for instance, said, ‘Your God will raise up for you a prophet just like me from your family. Listen to every word he speaks to you.
The Way of God
- God guides us.
- God works everything in our lives out for His plan.
- God directs every event in our lives.
IT IS TIME TO LISTEN TO GOD
- Listening to God helps us to grow and mature spiritually.
- Listening to God keeps us on the right track.
- Listening to God helps us to make the right decisions for our lives.
Acts 3:24-26 “All the prophets from Samuel on down said the same thing, said most emphatically that these days would come. These prophets, along with the covenant God made with your ancestors, are your family tree. God’s covenant word to Abraham provides the text: ‘By your offspring, all the families of the earth will be blessed.’ But you are first in line: God, having raised up his Son, sent him to bless you as you turn, one by one, from your evil ways.”
- There is no such thing as coincidences.
- We are all part of the family of God.
- It begins with me.
- Blessings from God come with changed life.
Step eight is about relationships. It is about establishing and maintaining a friendship with God, through the Holy Spirit.
- True friendships are bonded in loyalty and commitment.
Proverbs 17:17 Friends love through all kinds of weather, and families stick together in all kinds of trouble.
- Friendships are destroyed when boundaries are violated.
- Everybody wants friends, but we are not all willing to invest in relationships.
- Everyone goes through times when relationships are strained. Examine the cause of the strains.
- God is your constant friend. He will never leave you and as a bonus He will help you to do whatever it is you need to do to complete the eighth step.