Dear Catch Community,

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Today’s Catch is more of a letter than a Catch. We have a little family business to take care of. So far almost all of our feedback on this 12-Step series has been from people who have been in AA for some time, and have already had the 12 Steps affect them in a major way. We are hearing some wonderful life-changing stories, not just in terms of power over addiction, but in terms of coming to a deeper knowledge and relationship with God through the 12-Step experience.

However, I’m assuming that the bulk of you don’t consider yourselves alcoholics and you may not be very familiar with the 12-Step program, and it would be easy to see how you would agree that this is a good thing, but not necessarily for you. To the extent that the goal of the program is sobriety, that might be true, but to the extent that it’s end is a greater understanding of yourself and others, and a deeper, more intimate relationship with God, then it’s for everybody. And that greater understanding is what we are seeking.

To that end we here at the Catch need to know how this is working. We need to hear from some of you who aren’t alcoholics, what, if anything, you have gotten out of this study so far. I may be making the wrong assumptions here. So please consider commenting, even briefly — publicly, by clicking on the comment link below, or privately by responding to this email. Let us know what’s connecting, and what’s not.

I also can’t overemphasize the value of listening carefully to the last few BlogTalkRadio interviews (links below). Each one has been with a pastor or counselor with extensive experience with the 12-Step recovery model and you will find them full of insights that will help open up your thinking on this whole process.

Secondly, I want to call your attention to our prayer ministry. I think we have a tendency to forget from time to time that the Catch Ministry is much more than a blog. A big part of that “much more” is a prayer ministry with a dozen Prayer Warriors praying around the clock and over 300 PrayerPartners who have been touched by this ministry and want to be included in all the prayer needs as they come in. We have noticed, however, that if we don’t remind you, the requests can start to drop off. The prayer button and the encouragement to use it kind of falls off the bottom of the Catch and no one sees it anymore. The fact that fewer requests come in can’t be that there are just no new needs for prayer. We can only assume you forget we’re here for this. Hopefully you haven’t lost faith that prayer makes a difference. Those 300 PrayerPartners? They stay on as partners because they have had prayer answered and they want to pray for your needs now. I have been taking care of an 82-year-old lifelong atheist who in the last few weeks has been opening up to God like a flower in springtime. To what can you attribute that except that we have been praying. Prayer changes things. We are wasting valuable resources if we are not making use of this incredible team. So I am just assuming that you forgot and need a little push. We’re here and we’re waiting.

Looking forward to hearing from you on both these things.

Grace Turned Outward to you for the Journey,

John & Marti

DAVE CARDER: Counseling Ministries, Evangelical Free Church
BRETT SCHROCK: Celebrate Recovery
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29 Responses to Dear Catch Community,

  1. Trust is hard enough to give to others in a private setting let alone an open forum – especially where that forum can be viewed by prying – sometimes nefarious – eyes in a medium that is forever etched in “the cloud” of cyberspace.

    • Jesus Aguilar says:

      My name is Jesus A. This is how we of A A identify at the beginning of our sharing. So here we go. We do not share in a group our most darkest secrets (sins) we do this with a person that has gained our trust in private. If you are not an alcoholic,or neither an drug addict it is Ok to share in the generalities and it is Ok for you to follow. Bill W. one of the founders of A A at the beginning made Wednesday a day when the meeting place will be open not only for the alcoholic, but also included the family. Bill W. wrote: “The program is not only for alcoholics, but for people in general” You will be surprise to know that the little group that I have attended for 28 years, has been visited by students that want to know, why we have a better living today. The twelve steps of alcoholics anonymous are for every body. They are principles that help us to surrender the false self and search our shortcomings to discover our True Self, the one that God created. Thanks be to God for this and for all. We learn to live with difficulties, illnesses, loss of family and friends, getting back in our bills, through all we give thanks to God and only pray for the knowledge of his precious will for us and the power to carry that out. Believe it or not many of us go to Bible studies and participate in church services. Our book says if you were a drunk christian, you will become a sober christian that surrenders completely and becomes a model citizen. You do not need to an alcoholic or an addict to participate, just open your mind and your heart. May God richly bless you

  2. Janet says:

    This 12 step program series resonates with me even though my addictions are not necessarily alcohol or drugs. I have found it very helpful!

    • Jesus Aguilar says:

      This is what I am sharing about our program is helpful for those who want help, and I am so grateful that you have found out to be helpful for you. If you are interested, and only if you are. Give the Big Book a reading, very slowly and the when the word alcohol comes up substitute it with something that you do not want to do anymore, but you cannot stop.
      You will find out that it works, it really does.

  3. Gregory Engelman says:

    I have been involved with a 12 step program for almost 12 years now, the Celebrate Recover from Saddleback Church. We tell everyone that what ever hurt, habit or hangup you have, Christ is the way out.We have had somewhere around 6000 men and woman come thru our program in that time. The steps never get old, they need to be done for the rest of our lives, to keeps on the path set before us from the Lord.

    • Jesus Aguilar says:

      Oh! How true this is. We cannot become complacent, because satan never does. Thank you for sharing, brought me back 28 years when I first came in we were taken to the Saddleback Church to hear about how the twelve steps open a door to a relationship with our Lord and Savior Christ Jesus and to him be the Glory

  4. Margaret says:

    I can relate. If we consider “sin” that thing over which “we are powerless” then
    the 12-step model fits everybody. I’m getting a lot out os this series.

  5. Andrew P. says:

    I am a sinaholic. I have no use for alcohol, but way too much use for certain other vices. Thank you for the series.

    • Jesus Aguilar says:

      Thank you for your sharing hope that you get involved. What happens is that we look at life in a very different way. We come to realize that is by God’s Grace that we are breathing and we learn to praise and glorify God with every breath

  6. John A Fagliano says:

    I’ve never had any drug or alcohol addictions, and I’m glad you’re going over the 12 steps and hope you continue to do so. Since there are no meetings for people like me to attend, this is as close as I’ll ever get to being a part of a program like this and I’m finding it useful.

    By the way where can I find the “prayer button” you mentioned? I will certainly use it when needs arise.

    • Jesus Aguilar says:

      John you do not need to wait for the need to arrive, we can pray in thanks giving to God all day long.

    • jwfisch says:

      Here’s the link: https://catchjohnfischer.wordpress.com/5635-2/
      Right hand column of this page third square down from the top.

      • Jesus Aguilar says:

        This morning was brought to my attention the importance of “T-R-U-S-T” indeed trust is the first ingredient in a relationship, a relationship that can bear fruits of love. So how do we thru this blogs can win the trust of others? Then we can put our thoughts to the open forum, without the fear that whatever we write is going to be misused or misinterpreted. I believe that starts with the person that puts his thoughts down. The truth will set you free. I am writing the truth about my experience from life to A A and from A A back to life and then through the twelve steps of A A back to God the Father, through his only Son Jesus Christ our LORD. Thanks be to God.
        I am a man that lives on this world, and I am not of this world, my true home is yet to come, and God has giving me the opportunity to find my way, by enlarging my spiritual condition simply by helping another person to do what I have been indicated to do. Sit down, listen, understand, validate and empathize, then I can gain the trust needed to start. I pray that everyone finds his man and gets the opportunity to do the same. Remember that the relationship starts with TRUST in a person and ends with TRUST in God

  7. Lisa in Sunland says:

    As with Gregory, I’ve spent some time in Celebrate Recovery (CR) that is now in thousands of churches throughout the country. I’ve never been addicted to a substance, but CR has tried to make their version of the 12 steps useful for any of our “hurts, habits and hang-ups” and to help find a way to open up, work on the past, and recover from what is not useful today. It’s really a form of church, with worship songs at the beginning of each meeting and lots of praise of our Lord, and allowing Him and His word to sooth and bolster us.

    I so identify with the upstairs/downstairs comments early in this series, how those of us in “regular” church try to put on masks showing how wonderful our lives are and how “good” we all are, while “downstairs” at the AA/CR meeting they are admitting their struggles to each other, and holding each other up as we learn to lean on God. It’s sad, the differences, and I hope those who have only experienced “regular” church can learn to be open with each other and supportive of each others’ struggles (this does often happen in small groups, at least!).

    I’ve never been in AA, so hopefully this will count as the type of comment you hoped for.

    • Jesus Aguilar says:

      Of course it counts and it is refreshing to hear from people like you. You have notice the differences. Perhaps you can use this experience to witness to others and encourage them to find a partner to be accountable to. In A A we call them “sponsors”

  8. Susan says:

    I think it is a wonderful series and would encourage you to continue. I am not an alcoholic, but identify with where you are going.

  9. Jay says:

    John, I was not familiar with the specifics of the 12 Step program, so for me going over the program has been both interesting and helpful. However, with maybe one Catch for an introduction and one Catch for a recap or conclusion, I would have preferred only one catch for each step, even if they were somewhat longer. That still would have meant three weeks of Catches on the topic, which seems sufficient.

  10. Gary Mintchell says:

    John, I think I see where you are going. Dallas Willard once said the hardest place to confess your sins is in church. The 12 steps works best in smaller groups. It is most likely out of place in the large worship settings–even 50 people let alone 1,000 or 10,000. Churches could (and should) encourage small groups where trust is built and friendships made. Some do, many (most?) don’t.

    But keep it up. I’m learning much. Maybe if I get involved in a church again I can use it.

    • Jesus Aguilar says:

      Gary of course you can. I will pray that you find your way to a Church that helps you to find how important you are to God. Do not let it go to waste. Blessings. For your knowledge we have retreats of about 120 people and what we do we brake it into small groups of 10 and it works wonderful.

  11. Bill says:

    Hey John – Didn’t the Apostle Paul do something like the 12-step program a long time ago; in step 4, didn’t he summarize by saying ” Oh wretched man that I am… ” Sounds like he did a searching self- review. I too am a wretched man, naturally. We all are; it’s just that some of us don’t know it ( or won’t acknowledge it). For me, it wasn’t alcohol; me, I just wanted to be happy without God; looked for it in a lot of other ways. Never found that kind of happiness. Tried. Failed. Kept trying. Kept failing. Changed. Thanks, this is good. Bill

    • Jesus Aguilar says:

      The man will be known for how it handles that hard trails ahead.
      Be joyful and give thanks to God
      The testing of our faith is hard and hurts but when we come to the other side and we go to a place to worship God and you find yourself crying rivers of tears. Nothing, absolutely nothing will make you happier.

  12. Sandie says:

    John – Do I find this journey you are taking me (us) on beneficial and pertinent in my life? A resounding YES! I have never been substance- addicted; reason being I never wanted to be in a position where anyone else could have control over me. So…my addiction has been ME, in the beginning of my relationship with Jesus up til the present. The reason I got saved? I knew rationally that I was a sinner (but not as bad as some people!). Because I loved ME, of course I didn’t want to go to hell. So I prayed the sinner’s prayer,and I couldn’t grasp why others were so excited about my conversion – to me it was just a logical step. Because of this though, it was almost 10 years til I realized I had to make Jesus my Lord, not just my Savior. And that will be a continual battle and choice I have to make until I die or Jesus comes back. To that point – relating the 12 Steps to my life is an affirmation of what I have been trying to do since I made Him my Lord…just not necessarily in the same order. Keep on following where the Spirit leads – not everyone will ‘get’ it, but that’s God’s business, not ours. Also, who knows when the Spirit knows the time to bring this knowledge back into someone’s heart and mind. Again, God’s business. Blessings!

    • Jesus Aguilar says:

      Sandie, thank you for sharing. (ME – ME – I – I – and – MYSELF — Selfishness – self-center – this is the root of our disconnection with God. The mind, yes this powerful mind God given tells us that we do not need God. After all we do not have the addiction problem on any way. But can we really manage our life and preform the purpose that God created us for?
      Or we need His direction, his help to find how wrong we are by adopting (Do not need help I can manage). Well at the age of 82 I share with you. In my third step – I surrender my life and my will to God. In my seven step. I pray: “My Creator I am now willing for you to have all of me – good and bad — I pray that you remove from me all the character defects that stand in the way of my usefulness to you and to the people about you. Give me strength to do your bidding. and then My relationship with my Creator improves thru my 11th step. Where I pray only for the knowledge of His Will for me and the Power to carry this out.
      Hope you stay and keep sharing. I look forward to hear

    • Lisa in Sunland says:

      That making Him “Lord” and not only “Savior” – SO well said! Thank you!

  13. Loreta says:

    I am loving it. I see the church as one of the scariest places on earth to be. AA creates a safe environment where honesty rules. There are no masks. If only the church could see the depth of healing and restoration that comes in a no judgement zone like AA. My only negative with AA is that some (not all) members seem to be in love with a program not a person. (Jesus).

    • Jesus Aguilar says:

      LOL O yes, I can relate to you Loreta, totally, but easy does it and you can lead the horse to the river, but you cannot make it drink. If we can be converted from drunks to sober people, certainly we can go thru other conversions, wit the help of a loving Christian sponsor. There you have problem solved LOL keep coming back

  14. Colleen says:

    The 12 Steps are applicable to every life–not just an alcoholic’s life. They bring the message to us in a whole different way. Those who have been to AA might feel like they are coming home, and the rest of us are seeing a new perspective. This is a GREAT series! Thank you!

  15. Rick Gillespie says:

    As to your concern that this topic is not resonating, I thank you for the AA reference to our salvation and our “changing”. I have been going to an AA meeting weekly with a friend who unfortunately after 16 months is still stuck on step one and not really even ready for change-he doesn’t think anything needs to change even though everyone around him does, and they are worried about him.
    I attend Mass weekly, but the meetings are “Church” for me many times in that there are gut wrenching confessions, personal sacrifice of time and effort by many for their fellow man (woman), deep personal reflection, and opportunities to humbly be servants as Jesus asked.
    I thank you for the series and I enjoy it. I also am learning more about the steps.

  16. Elizabeth says:

    Yes, you are spot-on with the AA analogy and 12-step process for introspection, reflection, confession, all those things. For those of us who observe a liturgical church year, and for whom it is now the season of Lent, this is perfectly timed to be a Lenten journey and discipline. But shame on me if I think I can limit it to a Lenten practice. I need to do this journey any time of year.

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