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Summary: How to find freedom in Christ from all sorts of addictions, bad habits and sins.

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OVERCOMER’S OUTREACH ADDICTION WORKSHOP

INTRO TO SPEAKER:

I grew up in a dysfunctional family. My father was an alcoholic, a womanizer, and a promise-breaker. He abandoned and rejected my mom, sisters and I before I was five years old. I grew up looking for love in all the wrong places. In high school, I turned to alcohol, parties and girls.

• Had it not been for God’s grace saving me at 18, I would have become just like my dad.

• I was a pastor for 24 years – 14 as youth pastor, 10 as lead pastor.

• I currently serve as the Executive Director of the Overcomers Outreach of Canada.

• I am also the Guidance Counsellor at Regent Christian Academy in Surrey, BC.

THE CHURCH: A MUSEUM FOR SAINTS:

I’ve been in a church where it wasn’t a safe place to admit your struggles with sin. You couldn’t be real, and when I struggled with sin, I couldn’t confess it to anyone. Then I read a book that revolutionized my Christianity: The Ragamuffin Gospel by Brennan Manning. One of the quotes from his book: “The church is not a museum for saints, but a hospital for sinners.” Isn’t that what Jesus said in Matthew 9? “Healthy people don’t need a doctor; sick people do!”

I. WHAT IS ADDICTION?

“the state of being enslaved to a habit or practice or to something that is psychologically or physically habit-forming, as narcotics, to such an extent that its cessation causes severe trauma.”

• Addiction is a mental obsession that controls the way people think and live.

• In the end, addicted people lose the ability reason like normal people.

SOME EXAMPLES OF ADDICTIONS:

1. Alcohol: The good feeling it gives us numbs our feeling or shuts out pain for a time.

2. Drugs: Gives a feeling of either an intense high, or that feeling of being totally relaxed.

3. Sex: The greatest of all the feel-good addictions. Sexual relationships to pornography.

4. Gambling: The dream that the next pull on the lever will win us the pot of gold.

5. Food: Oh the comfort we can find when we are stuffed with the food of our choice!

There are many more addictions we can talk about:

• Materialism, video games, TV, work – the list is almost endless.

• The bottom line in all of our lives: We want to feel good.

• How many here today like feeling good? That seems to be our #1 goal in life!

II. HOW DO WE KNOW WHEN WE ARE ADDICTED?

This is a question we are often asked in Overcomers Outreach.

• Do your actions interfere with your relationship with God, loved ones and yourself?

• Do you feel guilt and shame over your thoughts and actions?

• Have you tried to stop before – several times – but been unable to do so?

If so, you are addicted or on the road to addiction.

• All addictions are related in one way or another to our character defects and our failure to turn them over to God to help us deal with them and their negative effects in our lives.

• Breaking the first commandment: “You shall have no other gods before Me.” (Ex. 20:3).

• Let’s get real here today!

• Those in the fight of our lives need to break the silence and quit the lying or cover up.

III. H.O.W. TO FIND FREEDOM:

• Honesty: Learning to be honest with God, ourselves and other people is a very fearful thought. The fear of rejection can be almost overwhelming.

o PERSONAL TESTIMONY: Betrayed by a prayer partner, fear of rejection.

• Openness: Learning to share my hurts and defects of character, and to be open to the input of others who have come out of addictions.

o “You cannot heal or change what you don’t acknowledge.”

• Willingness: Am I willing to do whatever it takes to deal with my character defects?

o We have to stop blaming, avoiding, or rationalizing.

WHY WE MUST COME OUT OF HIDING:

QUOTE: “Sin demands to have a man by himself. It withdraws him from the community. The more isolated a person is, the more destructive will be the power of sin over him, and the more deeply he becomes involved in it, the more disastrous is his isolation. Sin wants to remain unknown. It shuns the light. In the darkness of the unexpressed it poisons the whole being of a person. This can happen even in the midst of a (church) community. In confession the light of the gospel breaks into the darkness and seclusion of the heart. The sin must be brought into the light. The unexpressed must be openly spoken and acknowledged. All that is secret and hidden is made manifest.” (Dietrich Bonhoeffer, Life Together).

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