2 11 2013

Last Monday night, I had the privilege of seeing the movie “Home Run” with the Men’s Ministry here at The Lighthouse Church. You can actually purchase this film at Wal-Mart. It is a powerful story about personal redemption, second chances, and finding freedom from parental abuse, addiction and inner anger. It is also a reminder of the words of our Lord when he told us that a bruised reed he would not break and a smoldering wick he would not snuff out!

The main character is Cory Brand, a professional baseball player struggling with anger and alcoholism resulting from the childhood abuse he received at the hands of his father. After an embarrassing display of Brand’s shenanigans that included an overblown temper tantrum over an umpire’s call on the ball field in which he actually knocked over the ten year old bat boy resulting in giving him a bloody nose- Brand is forced to return to his Oklahoma childhood home and enter a 12-step program called Celebrate Recovery. Even on the way home Brand almost kills himself and his brother by driving way too fast and driving while intoxicated! Back home, away from the crowds and the spotlight, Brand is forced to confront his personal demons and find meaning in his life and for himself and also for those he loves.

For those unfamiliar with Celebrate Recovery, it is a biblical and balanced program that helps men and women overcome hurts, hang-ups, and habits. It is based on the actual words of Jesus rather than psychological theory. 20 years ago, Saddle Back Church where Rick Warren pastors, launched this ministry with 43 people. It was designed as an outreach to practically help those being suffocated by their addictions by simply showing those attending the loving power of Jesus Christ through a recovery process. Since then, Celebrate Recovery has helped more than 17,000 people at Saddleback, attracting over 70% of its members from outside the church. 85% of the people who go through the program stay with the church and nearly half serve as church volunteers. I know many of you in Cape May County are very familiar with this wonderful vehicle of healing and hope! Celebrate Recovery is currently in over 19,000 churches worldwide including The Lighthouse Church.

Speaking in the Light today, I want to share some simple truths and principles from this amazing film that I pray will encourage and challenge someone today!
1. The Power of a Father’s Influence – All Dads knowingly or unknowingly provide influence and direction for their children. Corey’s abusive father greatly determined his son’s self-worth and behavioral patterns and not for the better!
2. Fathers Often Determine Their Children’s Level of Confidence – Fathers have the ability to make their children feel like they can accomplish anything or do absolutely nothing. They can make the kids feel like pure gold or do things that result in making them feel utterly worthless. Hey Dad, what direction are you pointing your children towards today?
3. Every One of Our Actions Have Consequences – Even with his status as a professional athlete, Brand could not escape the consequences of his actions and the same is true for all of us. Always remember that every one of our choices we make to act will have consequences that go way beyond just us! This life is not a solo performance and no matter what the poets’ say- no man is an island unto himself!
4. “Why don’t you just shoot Bambi next time?” – Sometimes our behavior gets so ridiculous and out of control that it reaches a point of being laughable even though it is a tragic comedy of errors. The sight of one of God’s creation spiraling into a pit of despair out of control is never really very funny at all! Today’s media has made a circus act out of so many of our celebrities!
5. “I still can’t believe they talk like that in church.” – During Cory’s first counseling session, a gentleman discussed the challenges he faced with an addiction to pornography. If you can’t bring your brokenness and sin to the church- then where are you supposed to go? No perfect people allowed! Only those who admit they are sick and need repentance and redemption will ever find Jesus! The most effective churches are the ones where people can be real and authentic about the struggles they face. To simply put on a happy face keeps the soul sick and depressed!
6. “Nothing great happens when you hold back.” – A tree’s fruit is out on the limb, not near the trunk. The best leaders know nothing great happens without a pioneering sense of adventure and bravery. They used to tell me that a ship is safe in the harbor but life has taught me that when storms and hurricanes come- the harbor is the last place a ship wants to be! It literally has no chance of survival because it has become dormant and basically a sitting duck! Ships have a better chance out in the storm being available to move and dodge and even be driven by the wind. I have never looked to just play it safe; and in those adventures I have come to know that I must always depend on God. You never want to be where you don’t need him because if you don’t need him- you won’t ever get to know him.
7. “It takes courage to be a parent. It takes bravery to lead our children. Parenting is not for cowards.” – Enough said! It is time for us to grow up and take on the responsibilities that are right there before us looking for love, guidance, affection, security and stability!
8. “The hurt inside of you is going to hurt others.”- Face it Family, we pass along what it is in our own hearts and if our souls are chock full of bitterness and anger and resentment and abuse- well guess what will be spilling out of us whether we want it to or not. This is why we all need redemption and we all need God to heal what we have been bruised and broken from! To do nothing is to do more harm than good. The best step any of us can take is to admit our need for a Savior and then let Him save us through and through! No matter what it takes- it will keep the poison from taking us!

There is always hope to change. Your past does not have to determine your future. When an individual experiences the deep, transformational love of Jesus Christ, anything is possible. And here is the best news of all! God really does exist and he can be the Father you have always been longing for! Perhaps you suffered from a father who was abusive, hurtful, demeaning, showed conditional love, or even abandoned you. This is something that will be with you for your entire life. But a reality exists that you also have access to a Heavenly Father who deeply loves you, will never forsake you, thinks the world of you, is crazy about you, and died for you so that the two of you can spend every moment for eternity together. His name is Jesus Christ. Do you know him? Will you?



One response

10 11 2013

my own challenge in todays church ! where must i turn to with my weakness? your message atrue inspiration. but god gies hope!!! great piece!!!

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