The Twelve Steps – A Spiritual Journey: Step Twelve: Help Others

The Twelve Steps – a Spiritual Journey: Step Twelve: Help Others

step #12

We finally arrive at the twelfth step of our journey:

“Having had a spiritual awakening as the result of these steps, we tried to carry this message to others and to practice these principles in all our affairs.”

I remember when I first became a Christian. I received Jesus Christ as my Lord and Saviour at the age of 18, at the house of a friend one hot summer evening. On that day, when I was adopted into God’s family, and my sins were forgiven, my life was transformed. I couldn’t find enough people to tell the good news about Jesus! I would preach to a dog if it would stand still long enough.

In the same way, people who have gone through the 12-step program have experienced a spiritual awakening. Once we have experienced freedom in Christ through the discipleship process we call the twelve-step program, our natural response is to want to share this message with others.

The Biblical basis for this step is found in Galatians 6:1: “Dear brothers and sisters, if another believer is overcome by some sin, you who are godly should gently and humbly help that person back onto the right path. And be careful not to fall into the same temptation yourself.”

Whatever addiction, compulsion, sin or bad habit that we have found freedom from, we can now turn around and help others who are trapped in that same situation. Like the Apostle Paul wrote in Second Corinthians 1:4: “God comforts us in all our troubles so that we can comfort others. When they are troubled, we will be able to give them the same comfort God has given us.” Someone who has recovered from alcoholism is going to have great compassion and empathy for another alcoholic, and is ready to help them find freedom from their addiction.

What does this look like? Start sharing your story of freedom with others. Tell it to your 12-step group. Share it with your family and your friends. Write it out, possibly even publish it online. Maybe consider becoming a sponsor for someone else in the program. But do something, and start helping others today!

The final part of step #12 is to commit to practicing these principles in every area of our lives. The twelfth step isn’t the end of the journey, but the beginning of a new and exciting life of freedom, helping others, and making a difference in the world wherever we go!

Twelfth Step Prayer:

“Dear God, My spiritual awakening continues to unfold. The help I have received I shall pass on and give to others, both in and out of the fellowship. For this opportunity I am grateful. I pray most humbly to continue walking day by day on the road of spiritual progress. I pray for the inner strength and wisdom to practice the principles of this way of life in all I do and say. I need you, my friends, and the program every hour of every day. This is a better way to live.” Amen! (Prayers for the Twelve Steps – A Spiritual Journey).

Written by Chris Jordan, the President of Overcomers Outreach of Canada.

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The Twelve Steps – A Spiritual Journey: Step Eleven: Prayer and Meditation

The Twelve Steps – a Spiritual Journey: Step Eleven: Pray and Meditate

prayer and meditation

Step #11 of the Twelve Step Program reads thus:

“Sought through prayer and meditation to improve our conscious contact with God as we understood Him, praying only for knowledge of His will for us and the power to carry that out.”

Because prayer and meditation are such an important part of our spiritual journey towards wholeness – daily keeping in touch with God – I thought it would be helpful to look at what exactly is meant by prayer and meditation.

First of all, when we talk about prayer, we aren’t talking about going to God with our little wish list and saying, “My name’s Jimmy, so gimme gimme gimme!” No! We are talking about connecting in a meaningful two-way communication with a God who is a real person.

“Higher Power is more than a concept and more than a force. Our Higher Power is a personal and loving God who wants close intimate fellowship with his people.” (Meditations for the Twelve Steps – A Spiritual Journey).

So when we pray, we want to connect with God and spend time with him. To be still and know that he is God. When Jesus taught us to pray the Lord’s prayer, he told us to pray that God would give us each day our daily needs. He knows what’s best for us, and we can trust in his goodness as a loving and good Father. If you want to ask God for something, pray simply for him to reveal his will to you, and for the power to do what he wants you to do.

In addition to prayer, we also need to learn how to meditate. Now contrary to certain thought, meditation is not about emptying your mind and becoming one with the cosmic consciousness of the universe. No, true Biblical meditation means filling your heart and mind with God’s Word. Read through a short passage from the Scriptures over and over, and ask God how to apply what you’re reading to your life.

The Biblical basis for this step is found in Proverbs 2:3-5: “If you want better insight and discernment, and are searching for them as you would for lost money or hidden treasure, then wisdom will be given you, and knowledge of God himself; you will soon learn the importance of reverence for the Lord and of trusting Him.”

My prayer is that you would jump into a life of prayer and meditation, and embark on the greatest adventure of all – knowing and following Jesus Christ, the Son of the Living God!

Eleventh Step Prayer:

“Heavenly Father, I pray to keep my connection with you open and clear from the confusion of daily life. Through my prayers and meditations, I ask especially for freedom from self-will, rationalization, and wishful thinking. I pray for the guidance of correct thought and positive action. Your will, not mine, be done.” Amen! (Prayers for the Twelve Steps – A Spiritual Journey).

serenity prayer

Written by Chris Jordan, the President of Overcomers Outreach of Canada.

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Reflections on Killing Kryptonite by John Bevere – #bookreview

Killing Kryptonite BookKilling Kryptonite: Destroy What Steals Your Strength:

A Book by John Bevere:

Anyone who knows me knows that I’m one of the biggest Superman fans out there. From the comic books to the movies, to almost every incarnation on television (from Smallville to some recent cameos on Supergirl), I love to drink it all in. He is the world’s greatest superhero! Needless to say, I’m super pumped about the new Justice League movie hitting theatres this month!

As a pastor, preacher and teacher for almost 25 years, I have discovered many parallels between the fictional story of Superman and the true story of Jesus Christ. I wrote a booklet many years ago called “Son of God and Man of Steel” which details the similarities between Jesus and Superman (let me know if you would like a free copy of this ebook!). Using the Superman metaphor, I once preached a series on the book of Acts called: “Super: Naturally: How to Add God’s Super to Your Natural.”

And so, when I first heard about John Bevere’s new book, Killing Kryptonite, I was very excited to read it! Consider this blurb for the book from Messenger International’s website:

Just like Superman, who can leap over any hurdle and defeat every foe, followers of Christ have the supernatural ability to conquer the challenges we face. But the problem for both Superman and us is there’s a kryptonite that steals our strength.

Of course, both Superman and kryptonite are fictional. But spiritual kryptonite is not. This book offers answers to why so many of us are unable to experience the divine strength that was evident among first-century Christians.

In Killing Kryptonite, John Bevere reveals what this kryptonite is, why it’s compromising our communities, and how to break free from its bondage. Not for the faint of heart, Killing Kryptonite is anything but a spiritual sugar high. This is serious truth for any Christ-follower who longs to embrace the challenging but rewarding path of transformation.

I love the one line that says, “Not for the faint of heart, Killing Kryptonite is anything but a spiritual sugar high.” In a Christian publishing world overstuffed with an ever-increasing amount of candy-coated bubble-gum fluff, it was refreshing to read such a solid, Biblically based trumpet call to the church of Jesus Christ for such a time as this.

This is definitely not a book for the Christian who wants to settle for the so-called ‘best life now’ of mediocrity, compromise and lukewarmness, but for those who are dissatisfied with church-as-usual. Like John Bevere, my heart’s desire is to contend for signs and wonders to be restored to the church today!

John writes, “Are we as effective as the early church was in reaching their world? … Let’s be honest in our assessment. We’ve avoided the elephant in the room by saying, “God doesn’t move like this any longer.” It’s as if we’ve contoured the gospel to align with our condition. We seem to draw back from – at times even disdain – anything that promotes power, strength, success, abundance, fruitfulness, or health. We say such a message is extreme, unbalanced, and self-serving. In doing so, we actually protect ourselves from having to answer some hard questions and give ourselves an excuse for not impacting our world with the gospel.” 

Explaining the kryptonite metaphor that is the basis for this book, John Bevere writes, “Kryptonite not only neutralized Superman’s otherworldly abilities, but it also made him weaker than a mere human being. Our (spiritual) kryptonite does the same.” What is our spiritual kryptonite? SIN. “If sin is not dealt with,” Bevere writes, “it can do to the believer what kryptonite could do to Superman, even to the point of death.”

In true prophetic fashion, John Bevere shouts out a challenge to today’s church:

“We have to decide: Do we want kryptonite’s effects to hinder our strength as supernatural ambassadors for God? … Or do we want to see the kingdom advanced, fulfilling the vision of the glorious latter temple (church)? In embracing kryptonite, we give up our vigor, vitality, otherworldly powers, and ability to turn the world upside down.” 

“I’m not one for settling. I’m not for losing our God-given vitality, life, strength, health, and ability to show the lost world a living Savior and King. I believe there are many who are fed up with merely existing – with barely surviving.” I am one of them – are YOU?

Like I mentioned earlier, this is no soft little ear-tickling message. John boldly declares, “Sin is not something to mess with. It is very powerful and can change a heart quickly. The scary thing is that in a hardened state, our hearts and now deceived and we believe we are right when in reality we are not.”

In addition to a general challenging message to all Christians, Bevere also directly challenges the leaders of the Christian church – including pastors, teachers and ministers. He writes, “Many professing Christians only want to hear words that make them feel good, and because of covetousness and the fear of man, many ministers are willing to only speak words that encourage their followers. In these cases, all the sweet words sound wonderful, but they are lacking and will lead both leaders and followers to an undesirable place. We need to hear the truth, even if the truth hurts at first.”

“In neglecting to confront sin, we’ve weakened our churches and communities, and consequently, our towns, cities, and nations are not seeing God’s glory… Please join in and resolve to herald truth, whether it is popular or unpopular, whether welcomed or unwelcomed. Speak the Word of God that will bring change to lives, communities, cities and nations. Doing anything else is refusing to love our neighbours.”

Another one of the themes that John Bevere brings out loud and clear is the importance of Biblical repentance. “The New Testament presents a clear message: There is no salvation without repentance from sin. You cannot marry Jesus while still in relationship with the world. You have to die to your old life in order to begin your new one… repentance is essential to maintain intimate fellowship with God.”

In the closing chapter, Arise, John Bevere brings it all home with great inspiration:

“Why are the superhero movies the most popular of all time? … We know we were created for more, and our superheroes model our unspoken internal longings… Think of Superman. When the impossible looms, overwhelming adversity arises, and all seems hopeless, immediately Clark Kent slips out of the Daily Planet, enters a phone booth, and moments later, charges to the rescue. We love feeling the exhilarating sensation of him conquering enemies that seemed unstoppable. We’re ecstatic when injustice is brought to a halt, victims are liberated, and society is put back into its right order.”

“So there it is. You are called by God to be a hero, a champion, one who wins in life and makes a difference in your world of influence. Be strong, be courageous, draw close to the King, because He desires you. He longs to be close to and empower you. He is for you. He believes in you and, most importantly, He loves you with an everlasting love. You are one of the true superheroes of this earth… so kill kryptonite, annihilate it, and don’t give it any place – not even a slight opening – in your life. You were made for great glory and strength. Mighty one, you have a destiny, and this world needs you to fulfill it!”

If you are tired of the usual, and want to be challenged in your heart to go deeper in your personal relationship with Jesus, to walk in more freedom from sin, and impact your world with the power of Gospel of Jesus Christ, then this book will challenge you on that journey!

Killing Kryptonite 1

Killing Kryptonite

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The Twelve Steps – A Spiritual Journey: Step Ten: Daily Inventory

The Twelve Steps – a Spiritual Journey: Step Ten: Daily Inventory

Step 10

One of the things we have emphasized from the beginning of this series is that the twelve steps are about a journey and not a destination. It’s about our direction, not our perfection (because we will never be perfect). “The day we believe that we have recovered it the day denial recaptures our minds and hearts… Step Ten is a guide that aids us in our daily spiritual journey – a journey we have only just begun.” (Meditations for the Twelve Steps – A Spiritual Journey).

Therefore, step ten is the first of the final three maintenance steps that will help keep us from falling back into our old lives of addictions, compulsions and sins. The first nine steps contain what J. Keith Miller calls, “the behavioral and spiritual reformation process of the program.” However, this was only the beginning of our journey. Now we will learn how we can maintain this new life in Christ, starting with step ten:

“Continued to take personal inventory and, when we were wrong, promptly admitted it.”

There is a story in the Bible where Jesus was agonizing in prayer in the garden one evening, but his disciples had fallen asleep. He rebuked them, saying, “Keep watch and pray, so that you will not give in to temptation. For the spirit is willing, but the body is weak.” (Mark 14:38). A great prayer that we can pray to help us with this is found in Psalm 19:12: “How can I know all the sins lurking in my heart? Cleanse me from these hidden faults.”

In my personal life, I know that if I neglect my relationship with Jesus Christ; if I forsake my daily time in prayer and meditating on God’s Word; and forget to do a daily inventory, I find myself more easily tempted by the sins and bad habits that I hate. I find my joy, peace and hope slipping away. But if I am quick to repent and return to the Lord, I can experience His serenity once again.

No matter how long we have been on this journey, or how far we progress, we must always watch and pray, and be ever vigilant to be strong in the Lord, and in the power of His might.

Tenth Step Prayer:

“I pray I may continue:

  • To grow in understanding and effectiveness;
  • To take daily spot check inventories of myself;
  • To correct mistakes when I make them;
  • To take responsibility for my actions;
  • To be ever aware of my negative and self-defeating attitudes and behaviours;
  • To keep my willfulness in check;
  • To always remember I need your help;
  • To keep love and tolerance of others as my code;
  • and to consider in daily prayer how I can best serve you, my Heavenly Father.”
  • Amen! (Prayers for the Twelve Steps – A Spiritual Journey).

Written by Chris Jordan, the President of Overcomers Outreach of Canada.

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The Twelve Steps – A Spiritual Journey: Step Nine: Making Amends

The Twelve Steps – a Spiritual Journey: Step Nine: Making Amends

Written by Chris Jordan, the President of Overcomers Outreach of Canada.

Make Amends

As someone who has over 25 years experience in pastoral ministry, I can tell you first-hand how important and beneficial a Christian 12 step recovery group like Overcomers Outreach is to a church. Through the groups that we ran at a church that I pastored in Beausejour, Manitoba, I saw people find freedom from drugs, alcohol, pornography and more. But not only that, I have seen people grow deeper in their personal relationship with Jesus Christ. And why? Because Overcomers is a program that helps people progress on this spiritual journey we call discipleship.

In our last step, we were to make a list of all persons we had harmed, and became willing to make things right with them. Step #9 now calls us to:

“Made direct amends to such people wherever possible, except when to do so would injure them or others.”

Restoration – or making amends – is a deeply spiritual principle that Jesus promoted when He said: “Therefore if you bring your gift to the altar, and there remember that your brother has something against you, leave your gift there before the altar, and go your way. First be reconciled to your brother, and then come and offer your gift.” (Matt. 5:23-24).

Although this is a helpful step in our process towards healing, it is not easy! As Bob and Pauline Bartosch note, “Saying sorry is difficult enough with people we love; making amends with everyone we have harmed takes courage and God’s direction.” *

It’s important to note that some people may not accept your amends. They may choose to refuse to forgive you, but that’s their problem, not yours. When you do the right thing, and make amends in a relationship, you have done your part in the process of healing. In Romans 12:18, the Apostle Paul wrote: “If it is possible, as much as depends on you, live peaceably with all men.” I think this clearly means that there will be some people who we won’t be able to live in peace with. However, once you have done your part to reach out and make amends, you will then experience a new freedom from guilt, shame and pain.

Who do you need to make amends with in your life? Do it today!

Ninth Step Prayer:

“Heavenly Father, I pray for the right attitude to make my amends, being ever mindful not to harm others in the process. I ask for your guidance in making indirect amends. Most important, I will continue to make amends by staying abstinent, helping others, and growing in spiritual progress.” Amen! (Prayers for the Twelve Steps – A Spiritual Journey).

*Note: Bob and Pauline Bartosch are the founders of Overcomers Outreach. If you haven’t read their book Overcomers Outreach: A Bridge to Recovery, I encourage you to get a copy today. These can be ordered through Overcomers Canada or Overcomers US.

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The Twelve Steps – A Spiritual Journey: Step Eight: Became Willing

The Twelve Steps – a Spiritual Journey: Step Eight: Became Willing

Written by Chris Jordan, the President of Overcomers Outreach of Canada.

make a list

In Matthew 5:23-24, Jesus said: “Therefore if you bring your gift to the altar, and there remember that your brother has something against you, leave your gift there before the altar, and go your way. First be reconciled to your brother, and then come and offer your gift.” This Scripture – the Biblical basis for Step Eight – reveals to us something about the heart of God.

Here, Jesus tells us that making amends in our relationships with one another is more important even than worship! We can’t love God if we don’t love people. And that’s why a vital part of our spiritual journey is expressed in Step #8:

“Made a list of all persons we had harmed, and became willing to make amends to them all.”

This step involves a time of prayer and thoughtful reflection. In A Hunger for Healing, J. Keith Miller tells us that there are three parts to this step. First, he tells us that we need to embrace the hurts in our lives, instead of running from or denying them. I know that when I first came to Overcomers, one of my biggest character defects that I discovered was denial and blaming others. It was hard to admit where I had made mistakes! Secondly, Miller says we need to write down (beside the names of those with whom we have a broken relationship) our own part in what happened. Finally, we are ready to do what we need to do to let go of our pain.

Before we are ready to go out and make amends to these people, Miller adds, “we will need to gain humility and to release our pain and anger about what others have done to us. That comes through forgiving them.” I heard someone say once that unforgiveness is like drinking a bottle of poison and waiting for the other person to die. When you refuse to forgive someone, you aren’t hurting them, you are only hurting yourself. Forgiveness is not a feeling, it’s a choice to release someone from a debt and say, “You don’t owe me anything.” Once you have done that, it’s easier to go and make amends to that person for your part in the broken relationship.

Let’s be real here. Forgiveness is one of the hardest things we ever have to do in our lives! But it’s also one of the most important and helpful ones. If we won’t forgive others, the Bible says that God won’t forgive us. But when we choose to forgive those who have hurt us, God in turn forgives us of our many sins.

Eighth Step Prayer:

“Higher Power, I ask your help in making my list of all those I have harmed. I will take responsibility for my mistakes, and be forgiving to others as you are forgiving to me. Grant me the willingness to begin my restitution.” Amen! (Prayers for the Twelve Steps – A Spiritual Journey).

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Reflections on Live, Love, Lead by Brian Houston – #BookReview

Live Love LeadLive, Love, Lead – by Brian Houston:

Ever since the time I started attending church in the fall of 1990, I have always been a part of a church that sang worship songs that came out of Hillsong Church in Australia. From the classic Jesus, Lover of My Soul and Shout to the Lord, to the more recent Cornerstone and What a Beautiful Name, these songs have been the anthems of my journey with Jesus.

I have just finished reading the book Live, Love, Lead – written by Brian Houston, the senior pastor of Hillsong Church. And although I don’t agree with everything he teaches, I definitely found great encouragement from this book during my current season of life and ministry.

Rather than give you a book review, I am going to share with you some of my favourite quotes from this book, with the occasional commentary and thoughts on how his writing impacted me. Enjoy…

“The Christian life is a life of unexpected adventure. It’s as exotic as the Australian outback and as everyday as a cup of coffee.”

“It is my firm belief that following Jesus is the only journey in life worth taking. After seeing the way God changes hearts, meets impossible needs, heals incurable diseases, and restores people, I am convinced beyond a doubt that God didn’t create us to live mediocre, settle-for-less lives.”

“Church is not called to be an enforcer of rules but an outpost of grace. You and I are called to be dispensers of God’s grace.”

“Jesus consistently sought out people on the fringe of society, the individuals others dismissed.”

“The greater problem may be when we get stuck in our pain, when we can’t seem to find the strength to get back on our feet and continue our journey. Life is a difficult path, but it keeps going. If we stop just because we’re in pain and can’t imagine how to continue, then we will miss out on what God wants to do in our lives…” 

“I found myself in a download slide toward depression, traumatized by the experience years earlier and internally declining as I tried to look after everyone but myself.”

“A number of years later, I found I could no longer get any restful sleep without taking a sleeping pill. My family noticed and began to ask me if I was okay. I told them I was and tried to keep going as long as I could, preaching and speaking, traveling and leading… However, the physical toll of this period of unrest began to manifest as my mind became scattered, and I wasn’t speaking with the same confidence I had experienced in ministry years earlier… those closest to me knew all was not well with my soul.”

“Then one day something collapsed within me. It was as if all the emotional strength in my tank had suddenly been drained. My ship was sinking, weighed down by excess baggage and other issues of life, and I found myself shattered on a great reef of jagged pain, fear and sorrow… Although my God is all-powerful, I am not. My body, mind and spirit have limits.”

Note – this chapter “A Difficult Path” was very encouraging for me, reading it right on the heels of the long dark-night-of-the-soul wilderness season that I have just come through. It was encouraging to see and know that I wasn’t the only pastor who went through seasons of depression and discouragement! All Christians, pastors, preachers and teachers go through difficult seasons, and it’s okay to not be okay all the time!

“Isn’t this how you want to live your life? Filled with passion and excitement, with the confident knowledge that you’re making a difference in the lives of others, contributing your efforts to God’s kingdom for his eternal purposes.”

One of the final chapters was also very encouraging for me – “Don’t Stop.” I could relate to this chapter because of the current season of life and ministry that I’m in. After 24 years of full time pastoral ministry, I am one year into a transitional season where I’m working at a Christian school as a guidance counsellor and (starting this fall) high school Bible teacher. Consider this:

“There are times in our life when our momentum comes to an abrupt end. A season ends and catches us by surprise, and we’re left wondering how to take the next step… If you’re currently in transition, facing the end of something, perhaps the beginning of something else, you must look at this crossroads as a battlefront.”

“When we face the end of one chapter of our lives and before we begin the next, it’s often the catalyst for a battle. You see, our enemy the devil often tries to wedge a foot in the door and catch us off guard during these times of transition. He’s hoping we’ll feel disoriented and uncertain, afraid and a bit wary… But this process can be so hard. When things come to an unexpected end, for so many people it can just build regret, disillusionment, and confusion.” 

This chapter encouraged me to keep my eyes on Jesus during this transition, to bloom where I’m planted, and continue allowing the Holy Spirit to do a deep work in my heart as I am being prepared for the next season the Lord has for me. I don’t know what it’s going to be yet, but I do believe that the best is yet to come!

What a Beautiful Name – Hillsong Worship:

Death could not hold You, The veil tore before You, You silence the boast of sin and grave
The heavens are roaring, The praise of Your glory, For You are raised to life again

You have no rival, You have no equal, Now and forever God You reign
Yours is the kingdom, Yours is the glory, Yours is the Name above all names

What a powerful Name it is, What a powerful Name it is
The Name of Jesus Christ my King

Pastor Chris Jordan

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