Hello – My name is Mike, and I am a recovering alcoholic. For 42 years I wandered through this world angry, dishonest, ashamed, and afraid. I placed my faith in material things, but nothing ever seemed to satisfy. I mistreated those who loved me, and I lived with a self-serving attitude. I hated myself and did not feel like I deserved to be loved...
Hello – My name is Mike, and I am a recovering alcoholic. For 42 years I wandered through this world angry, dishonest, ashamed, and afraid. I placed my faith in material things, but nothing ever seemed to satisfy. I mistreated those who loved me, and I lived with a self-serving attitude. I hated myself and did not feel like I deserved to be loved. When my alcoholism forced the end of my 22-year relationship, I was lost. I was defeated, broken, and desperate.
In the rooms of Alcoholics Anonymous I learned that I had to place my faith in a power greater than myself if I were to survive my addiction to alcohol. It was there that I met a man named Adam. With Adam’s help as my sponsor, I set out on my journey to find a higher power and be free of alcohol and the anguish that came with it. I learned that my entire way of thinking needed to be changed. I could not depend on my own willpower to get me through this life. That self-will only left a trail of pain and destruction everywhere I went. I learned that I could not do this alone.
After working some of the AA steps with Adam, I began to receive what AAs refer to as “gifts”. The gift of clarity came relatively quickly. I started to see that how I had treated people was wrong. I started to see that the entire world had not been against me, but I had been against the entire world. I started to see that I had lived my life with a skewed sense of reality, with fear driving all my actions and reactions. I learned to see how my behavior affected others instead of thinking about myself all the time.
While this program was extremely rewarding, there was still something missing. I started attending Mountain Christian Church not knowing what I was searching for but hoping to find what I needed to feel whole. I met a bunch of great people, and I met Pastor Frank. After talking to Pastor Frank one evening about salvation and Christ, I knew I had found what was always missing. I needed Jesus. I had been living with what I’ve heard referred to in AA as a “god-sized hole” in my heart. I heard someone in an AA meeting once say, “God brought me to AA and through AA I found God”. I love that.
Throughout this journey I have learned the importance of repenting for my sin and asking for salvation, and I have been rewarded every day since. Be it the wonderful people He has put in my life, or the wonderful opportunities He has blessed me with. The Lord has given me the gift of sobriety and clarity. He has restored my sanity. He has given me love when I needed it most, and even when I did not. He has relieved me of the burden of self, and He has removed the mental obsession that led me to take that first drink. Most importantly, He has taught me what it means to genuinely love others. My life is not exactly the way I want it to be, but through the blood of Christ, I have been set free. Despite my troubles, I can honestly say that I am happier now than I have ever been. As the Lord said in Isaiah 30:15, “In repentance and rest is your salvation, in quietness and trust is your strength.”
Today I declare to this church and the whole world that Jesus Christ is my Lord and Savior. I testify before you so if you have any doubt about your faith, or you have struggles of your own, you may know that with His grace and His love, you too can be free. I’d like to close with Romans 13:8, “Owe nothing to anyone except to love one another; for the one who loves his neighbor has fulfilled the Law.”
I grew up in Iowa. I met Cathy in 1969, we started dating, fell in love, and began planning marriage. I left to go to school in Colorado in September 1970, and Cathy broke the relationship in December. I prayed fervently God would change her heart, but He said NO. In June 1971 I met Julie, and we fell in love and went steady. That fall I left permanently for Colorado, and in December....
I grew up in Iowa. I met Cathy in 1969, we started dating, fell in love, and began planning marriage. I left to go to school in Colorado in September 1970, and Cathy broke the relationship in December. I prayed fervently God would change her heart, but He said NO. In June 1971 I met Julie, and we fell in love and went steady. That fall I left permanently for Colorado, and in December Julie broke up with me. Again I prayed, and again God said NO. Then I met Judith. We ministered together, eventually dated, slowly fell in love, and were married in 1975. I later learned both Cathy and Julie had married, been divorced, and remarried. Last May Judith and I celebrated our 46th wedding anniversary. Judith has been a perfect wife, mother, business partner, and ministry support. We have served together in Campus Crusade for Christ (now CRU), First Baptist Church Golden Colorado, Mountain Christian Church, Gideons International and other ministries. Although I didn’t know this at the time I was praying for Cathy and Julie, God knew all of this when he told me NO. He gave me the perfect wife for me, and kept me from making a big mistake for my life. Often, God’s NO is not rejection but redirection into a much better path.
Romans 8:26-27 says we don’t really know how to pray, so the Holy Spirit intercedes for us, and sometimes God says no to us but is saying yes to the Holy Spirit. God knows what we need and what we really want, even though we don’t always pray specifically to that end.
There is a saying, “be careful what you ask for – you might get it”. The Bible gives examples of when God relented and said YES when He wanted to say NO. The consequences were always severe. In Numbers 11:18-20 the people were tired of God’s provision of manna and prayed for meat. God said YES and the people suffered a terrible plague as a result. In I Samuel 8 the people rejected God as their King and prayed for a human king. God warned them of the consequences of that in I Samuel 8:11-19, but they persisted. So God said YES in I Samuel 8:22, and the eventual result was destruction of their country, captivity, and enslavement. So God’s NO can be a great blessing in disguise.
We often forget God even said NO to His own Son’s prayer in Matthew 26:39. But Jesus left the door open for the Father’s more perfect plan. And because the answer to Jesus prayer was NO, we can all be saved. Jesus gave us the example of allowing for God’s NO and redirection to a better path, and we would be wise to do the same.
I went shopping last weekend for the perfect centerpiece to display on my kitchen island. Previously I had carelessly thrown apples and bananas and other semi ripe fruit into a bowl and called it art or practicality. As I was browsing, I determined I would find fake fruit to put in the bowl instead to give off a more Martha Stewart vibe and less of an exhausted mom vibe.
I went shopping last weekend for the perfect centerpiece to display on my kitchen island. Previously I had carelessly thrown apples and bananas and other semi ripe fruit into a bowl and called it art or practicality. As I was browsing, I determined I would find fake fruit to put in the bowl instead to give off a more Martha Stewart vibe and less of an exhausted mom vibe. Something changed in me as I looked at the bags filled with decorative fruit.
I quickly began to realize the fake fruit would not work because it was too perfect and each piece was exactly the same. It was obvious the fruit was faking it. It may have looked perfect on the outside but fake fruit lacks everything that makes fruit, well, fruit. There is no gorgeous smell of fresh nectarines, crispy crunch of a perfect apple, unique stages and flavors of the ripening banana, and most importantly there is no sustenance. Isn’t it often like this in our lives when we try to fake the fruit of the Spirit? It may look beautiful on the outside but in time it will become obvious that it is purely decorative.
When we allow God to transform our hearts the result is beautiful, unique Fruit.
“The Spirit-fueled development of Christ-like character is liberating, because it brings us closer to being the people we were designed to be, the people our Spirit-renewed hearts want us to be.”
– Tim Keller
In a self-help world, it is freeing to know that I cannot become who God wants me to become by myself, by trying harder. I cannot simply decide one day to become a decorative fruit bowl and beat myself up until I am patient and kind and full of joy.
The original Greek word for “Fruit” in Galatians 5 is karpos, and one definition means “a result of something.” When the Fruit of the Spirit is displayed in our lives, it is a sign, or result, that we are being led by the Spirit of God. This is the best news! We can literally stop faking it or using willpower to try and possess all of traits we are “supposed” to have. God sent the Holy Spirit to transform us and the result will be far better than anything you or I could manufacture on our strength. My prayer for you today is that you will let go of the burden to try and fit into what you think you should be like and that you will be reminded to allow our Heavenly Father to transform your life and heart.
"But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law." Galatians 5:22-23
On the eve of many seniors graduating and moving forward through life’s challenges, I can't help but to think back on one such challenge I faced after coming to Christ in my senior year. Even though the Bible promises lifestyle change as a result of the indwelling Holy Spirit, some changes didn’t come fast enough for me.
On the eve of many seniors graduating and moving forward through life’s challenges, I can't help but to think back on one such challenge I faced after coming to Christ in my senior year. Even though the Bible promises lifestyle change as a result of the indwelling Holy Spirit, some changes didn’t come fast enough for me. I remained a slave to the “in crowd” mentality and commonly judged people based on superficial reasons.
The crowd I hung out with was neither popular nor un-popular, we were just a bunch of in-betweeners lacking social grace. One of the members of our group was a guy named Jeff. Jeff had a sister named Laura. Laura was really a nice person but had a very innocent demeanor that made her a target for our bullying. Even Jeff made fun of her. Laura had a friend named Robin who was very protective of her and so we made fun of her also. I don't remember suffering from much guilt over those high school wrongs afterall it was just high school. Plus it happened in Los Angeles. No one was ever going to see me again after I left and what are the odds of me ever running into anyone from the old days. Only God and I would know the truth.
After I graduated I became very involved in the church I was saved at. I was drawn to the evangelism outreach ministry. Their job was to follow up with first time visitors to the church. This was a big church in Los Angeles and there were many people that visited and many to follow up on so I eagerly jumped right in.
Our first contact brought us to the house of a young woman who had recently visited the church. There were three of us standing on her porch as we knocked on the door. As the door opened, my heart dropped to my stomach. It was Laura’s friend Robin. The two people I was with noticed my reaction and asked if I knew her. As a matter of fact, I did. They immediately prayed asking God to get us in while I quietly begged God for a way out.
We didn’t go inside but we were able to talk to her a bit while on the front porch. Every word of her life made me cringe with shame. She had spent many years of her life taking care of her grandmother while she lived away from home due to poverty issues with her family. They were unable to care for her. This also led to her inability to finish school. During our conversation, she admitted to being a Christian and despite the difficulties she faced in life she was gracious to me and never reviled me for my past treatment of her.
Needless to say, this is one of the times of my life I deeply regret. I’ve seen so many people exclude others or bully them and chalk it up to being young and stupid and treat the memory as if it was acceptable. Sometimes they even brag about it to friends at their high school reunion. Some people never grow up. For me, I grew up quite a bit when Robin answered that door. It’s ironic, but our purpose in visiting her was to present the Gospel and minister to her yet she wound up being such a great blessing to me. One that I will carry with me forever.
On Sundays, we have three options for Worship & Praise! Please join us:
- Outdoors at 8:30 & Indoors 10:30am
- Via live-stream at 10:30am on Facebook
Please read the Guidelines for Gathering to Worship Together at MCC in its entirety so that you know what to expect when you come to our outdoor service. This will help you and those around you navigate a very new situation, hopefully in a way that is as seamless as possible. We believe that our unity will be expressed and strengthened as we serve one another in Christ this week so join us in extending grace to each other, amid our differing perspectives, and different views about how to live in this time.
“... submit to one another out of reverence for Christ.”
“Outdo one another in showing honor.”
“By this all men will know that you are My disciples,
if you have love for one another.”
Please know that we are making every effort for this gathering to be in full compliance with the protocols given by authorities. No single plan for our meeting will ever be the perfect solution in any one person’s eyes. We will all be making compromises. But as we defer to these guidelines set up by our elders and leadership, we will be serving our fellow believers, honoring Christ as best we can, and providing for a beautiful expression of worship to happen together.
Please stay home if any of the following apply to you:
- You are immunocompromised.
- You are feeling ill (running a fever, coughing, or showing other signs of sickness)
Please don’t put yourself or others at risk. Thank you for staying home and staying safe, because we love you!