Christ-Centered Recovery Saved My Life
By Roger Nix
Hi, my name is Roger Nix, and I’m a grateful believer in Jesus Christ. I’m celebrating recovery from sexual sin and from anger issues that have come from parenting a special needs child.
I have been in ministry all of my adult life. At 18, I felt a call into ministry. After four years of ministry preparation at Oral Roberts University, my wife and I were newly married and part of a team that helped launch an evangelistic ministry (which happens to be one of the producing entities of the film Home Run.) For the past 16 years I have been privileged to pastor a beautiful community in Tulsa, Oklahoma, called Believers Church.
But long before I ever heard God’s call into ministry, long before I ever was married or was involved in pastoring, I had an encounter when I was 10 years old that would nearly destroy my life and take everything I held precious and dear to me. One day my buddies and I decided to go dumpster-diving in hopes of finding buried treasure. What we found, however, was a pile of Playboy magazines. To a group of young boys who were just starting to get curious about girls, that was like saying, “Sic ’em!” to a dog. That moment opened a door in my life that would take the next 25 years to shut. I developed a bad case of sexual bulimia. I would binge on porn, and then out of guilt and shame I would purge and have periods of sobriety and health.
Fast-forward into my young adult years. My shame just drove me deeper into hiding, and my secret grew. I desperately wanted to get free. The more my secret struggle continued, the higher the stakes got. I had been so entrenched in a cycle of sin and shame for so long that I began to despair that I would disgrace not only myself but also my wife, my family, the ministry I was a part of, and, ultimately, God himself. I knew that I couldn’t go on like this anymore.
I joined my first 12-step group before Celebrate Recovery ever existed. Whatever faith and knowledge of God I had experienced up to that point, I realized that there had to be more. God showed me deeper levels of his love and grace that began to heal me and set me free. While my path toward freedom was a long and arduous one, I can tell you this: Jesus set me free. I am healed.
When I became a pastor 11 years ago, I knew that I wanted two things in our community. First, I wanted to see other people’s lives transformed and set free. Second, I wanted to see it happen through Christ-centered recovery. So when Celebrate Recovery came on the scene, I knew this was an answer to prayer. I also knew I needed a safe place for my ongoing recovery, so when the very first Celebrating Pastors in Recovery group was launched a few years later, I jumped in with other pastors from our city.
At first, walking through a 12-step group in a room full of other pastors can seem a little intimidating. We all wondered if we could really be vulnerable and trust our deepest secrets, hurts, and fears to other ministers across the city. To our surprise, we quickly experienced deep-spirited friendship and a vulnerability that allowed each of us to encounter healing and freedom. There’s no greater joy than to witness every person in the room meeting God in a new and life-changing way.
I have since had the joy and pleasure of leading six other CPR step groups and consider it one of the most significant parts of my service to God. Celebrating Pastors in Recovery has become a lifeline for wounded and broken pastors, many of whom were on my own staff.
One of the reasons pastors need their own CR is not because we’re special, but because we’re slow. That’s why I say that CPR really stands for Celebrate Pastors Remedial group. Can you imagine the cross-talk in a room full of pastors? Seriously! Another reason, however, is that sadly, many pastors are scared of what will happen if they get honest in their communities because many church communities aren’t safe places. I’ll never forget hearing one senior pastor in our CPR group who was going through ministry burnout say this: “My people told me they want me to get well, but they just don’t want to be the ones to walk with me through the journey of getting well.” I believe that Celebrate Recovery is changing the atmosphere of churches all around the world, making them refuges for healing and transformation for pastor and parishioner alike. It’s why pastors need the CR community to make church the safest and most radical place on the planet. Thank you.
4 Benefits That Come from Your Weaknesses
By Pastor Rick Warren
I’ve been a Christian for many years. I’ve been around thousands and thousands of believers and I would say most Christians have yet to experience the depth of Christ’s power. Why? Because they haven’t admitted their weaknesses and they haven’t expressed gratitude for them.
I love 2 Corinthians 12:9b in The Living Bible: “I’m glad to be a living demonstration of Christ’s power, instead of showing off my own power and abilities.” You may not realize it but your weaknesses are actually blessings in disguise.
Here are four ways that’s true:
1. Having weaknesses guarantees God’s help.
When you attempt to face a challenge or solve a problem in your own power, God says, “I’ll step back and watch. Be my guest. Go ahead and do it. If you think you can handle this on your own, great. If you think you can solve that problem at work, if you think you can make that marriage hang together, if you think you can turn that kid around in your own power, be my guest.”
But the moment you come to God and say, “God, I’m weak. I don’t have what it takes for all the pressures that are in my life. God, I need You.” God says, “I knew that. I just wanted you to realize it.” Then he plugs you into his limitless power supply and you experience peace and a deeper understanding of God’s love. You’ll find power you would never have on your own. A power to thrive and not merely survive.
When God is all you have, you turn to him and realize he’s all you needed in the first place.
2. Having weaknesses prevents arrogance.
Second Corinthians 12:7 says, “So to keep me from becoming conceited because of the surpassing greatness of the revelations, a thorn was given me in the flesh, a messenger of Satan to harass me, to keep me from becoming conceited” (ESV).
A thorn is a limitation I’ve inherited or cannot change, something that causes me pain and limits my ministry. Some thorns are temporary in our lives. Some thorns are removed gradually. Some you have for a lifetime, as with Paul.
What does a thorn do in my life? It’s that persistent problem that causes me pain, gets my attention, keeps me dependent upon God, and humble before him. It acts as a governor on my life. It guides and directs me, and it motivates me.
If God is ever going to use you in a great way, expect a thorn. He will do it to get your attention. It may be physical, relational, emotional, or some other kind of thorn, but it will come because it prevents arrogance and it guarantees God’s help.
3. Having weaknesses causes you to value others.
One of the dangers of strength is that it breeds an independent spirit. God made us to value each other, and our weaknesses keep us from being self-sufficient so that we lean into the support of other people.
You’re pretty weak, and I’m pretty weak, but together we can do things that nobody thought possible. That’s why it’s so vital for you to plug into a local church, get involved, develop relationships, and get in a small group, so that when a crisis hits your life there’s somebody there to support you. And you’re there to help others when they go through crisis.
4. Having weaknesses gives you a ministry.
God puts you on earth not just to live for yourself, but to help other people. Your greatest ministry will flow out of your weaknesses.
The greatest life message, the message that God wants to say to the world through you is going to come out of your deepest hurt. The very thing that causes you the most grief and pain, God can use in your ministry and can use it as a message to other people to encourage them.
The thing you’re most embarrassed about, the thing you’re most ashamed of, the thing you don’t want anybody else to know about, God wants to use to encourage other people. Pain sensitizes us to the hurts of others. If you want to have a Christlike ministry, that means sometimes other people are going to be helped, encouraged, and even healed by the wounds in your life.
God never wastes a hurt. God will use the thing in your life that you are most ashamed of, most embarrassed by, most heartbroken over, to encourage other people if you’ll learn to admit it, see what God wants to do in it, be healed through it, and begin to share it with others.