Get Ready to Run the Race – #NewYear #Sermon

GET READY TO RUN THE RACE!

(Pastor Chris Jordan – New Year Sermon)

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To listen to or download the audio MP3 for this message, click HERE.

(Note – this is a New Year’s message I shared at Beausejour Community Church a couple of years ago).

INTRO: HAPPY NEW YEAR!

“Do not remember the former things, Nor consider the things of old. Behold, I will do a new thing, Now it shall spring forth; Shall you not know it? I will even make a road in the wilderness And rivers in the desert.” (Isaiah 43:18-19, NKJV).

  • God wants to do new things in our lives, our families, and our church. Forget the past!
  • Some of you feel like this past year has been as storm or a wilderness. God wants this year to be a season of blessing, refreshing, new things and new life. Get ready!

OPENING TEXT:

“24 Remember that in a race everyone runs, but only one person gets the prize. You also must run in such a way that you will win. 25 All athletes practice strict self-control. They do it to win a prize that will fade away, but we do it for an eternal prize. 26 So I run straight to the goal with purpose in every step. I am not like a boxer who misses his punches. 27 I discipline my body like an athlete, training it to do what it should. Otherwise, I fear that after preaching to others I myself might be disqualified.” (1 Cor. 9:24-27, NLT).

  • Discuss the racing and exercise illustrations in the Bible – metaphor for the Christian life.
  • Every Christian is a runner, but not everyone will finish well. Will you?
  • We need to run straight towards the goal with purpose: Be more like Jesus (loving, etc).

THE BIG IDEA: In the Bible, the Christian life is often compared to a race. If we want to finish well, we must exercise ourselves, feed on the right stuff, and run the race with endurance.

1. EXERCISE YOURSELF TOWARD GODLINESS:

“Exercise yourself toward godliness. For bodily exercise profits a little, but godliness is profitable for all things, having promise of the life that now is and of that which is to come.” (1 Tim. 4:7b-8, NKJV).

  • An athlete – if they want to be successful – must have a strict training program.
  • On average we spend in church only 1 ½ hours out of 168 hours a week.
  • The best spiritual exercise we can do is prayer – abiding in Jesus daily!
  • To do well, we need good coaching (pastor, home group leader, Christian book authors).
  • Further training: personal Bible study, prayer time, family devotions.
  • The Benefits: Physical exercise = get healthy, live longer, get fit, lose weight.
  • Discuss: Almost finished first month of my P90X workout – hard! But it’s a habit now.
  • The Benefits: Spiritual exercise = become like Jesus, glorify God, rewards in Heaven!

ILLUSTRATION: THE STORY OF MICKEY MANTLE:

Taken from Today Matters by John Maxwell, Chapter 8:

He may have been the most naturally gifted baseball player of all time. In the June 18, 1956 edition of Sports Illustrated, writer Robert W. Creamer called him the “new Ruth.” When he began his baseball career, he was probably the fastest man in the game. He was clocked making it to first base in 2.9 seconds… And he could run the bases in an incredible 13 seconds.

But his speed was nothing compared to the power of his hitting… The Guinness Book of World Records credits him with the longest home run ever measured at 643 feet.

The player I’m describing is, of course, Mickey Mantle of the New York Yankees… Mantle’s prowess on the baseball field was legendary. He seemed to be born for baseball. His father, a former semi-pro ballplayer and his grandfather began teaching him to hit when he was four years old…

Mantle had an incredible career before he retired in 1969… He was picked as the American League MVP three times. And in 1956, he won what’s called baseball’s triple crown: He finished the season with the league’s best batting average (.353), most home runs (52), and most runs batted in (130).

Despite a one-of-a-kind career, experts believe he never reached his potential… What most people didn’t know was that Mantle was a raging alcoholic…

Mantle had begun drinking during his second season with the Yankees after his father died of Hodgkin’s disease at age thirty-nine. As he was setting records on the baseball field, he seemed to be trying to set records for drinking with his buddies. He said that early in his career he would quit drinking during spring training, get into shape, and then begin drinking again once the season started. And he never even thought about baseball during the offseason…

It’s a tragedy anytime someone neglects his potential and misses many of the possibilities life has to offer. Sportswriter Tom Swift speculates that without the alcoholism, Mantle might have hit eight hundred home runs. Despite his great natural talent, Mickey Mantle never gave the commitment off the field that he displayed on it.

2. FEED ON THE RIGHT STUFF:

“As newborn babes, desire the pure milk of the word, that you may grow thereby, if indeed you have tasted that the Lord is gracious.” (1 Peter 2:2-3, NKJV).

Jesus said: “It is written, ‘Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceeds from the mouth of God.” (Matthew 4:4, NKJV).

  • Just as a good diet is necessary for a healthy body, a spiritual diet is necessary for a healthy spirit: Reading the Bible and feasting on the Word!

“Faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the Word of God.” (Romans 10:17).

“For whatever is born of God overcomes the world. And this is the victory that has overcome the world–our faith.” (1 John 5:4).

  • Victory comes from faith and that comes from getting into the Word!
  • The word victory in this passage is the Greek word nike – just do it!

3. RUN THE RACE WITH ENDURANCE:

“1 Therefore we also, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which so easily ensnares us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, 2 looking unto Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith, who for the joy that was set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. 3 For consider Him who endured such hostility from sinners against Himself, lest you become weary and discouraged in your souls.” (Heb. 12:1-3, NKJV).

  • Like in the story of Mickey Mantle – how far could he have gone if he had laid aside the weight of alcoholism and ran the race to the fullest?
  • The example of Jesus and other godly Christians.
  • Mentors and coaches – pastors, home group leaders, peer mentors, books!
  • Certain things in our lives are weights that slow us down and keep us from running well.

MICHAEL JORDAN PHILOSOPHY: “I play to win. And I will not let anything get in the way of me and my competitive enthusiasm to win.”

  • He led his team to 6 NBA championships (named our son Caleb after him), was named the finals’ MVP every time, in 2001 a panel of sports experts named him the greatest athlete of the 20th century. But… he was cut from his high school basketball team. How did he ever get past that? He shot 300 baskets a day. Exercise, discipline, endurance.

CLOSING CHALLENGE:

“I don’t mean to say that I have already achieved these things or that I have already reached perfection! But I keep working toward that day when I will finally be all that Christ Jesus saved me for and wants me to be. No, dear brothers and sisters, I am still not all I should be,  but I am focusing all my energies on this one thing: Forgetting the past and looking forward to what lies ahead, I strain to reach the end of the race and receive the prize for which God, through Christ Jesus, is calling us up to heaven.” (Phil. 3:12-14, NLT).

  • Forget the past, look forward, and work hard to reach the end of the race.
  • MAKE A PLAN: Bible reading plan, prayer, devotions – what are you going to do?

Blog: https://pastorchrisjordan.wordpress.com/

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The New Year Funnies – Calvin and Hobbes

To say that you don’t need to make any New Year’s Resolutions is to say, “I’m perfect! I don’t need to make any changes!” What a ridiculous thought. We all have …

Click on the link below to go to the original article:

Source: The New Year Funnies – Calvin and Hobbes

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My Personal Top 10 Posts of 2015-2016

As we come to the end of 2016, I thought I would share with you a list of my personal top 10 posts from the past two years on my New Life blog. If you’re new to the blog, I encourage you to check them out!

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2015:

2016:

RELATED POSTS:

2014: The Top 10 Most Popular Posts on New Life in the Past Year

2013: My Top 10 Personal Favourite Posts on New Life – 2013

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Experiencing the Joy of Jesus – A #Christmas #Sermon

EXPERIENCING THE JOY OF CELEBRATING JESUS

To listen to or download this audio Christmas MP3, click HERE.

Merry Christmas

HUMOUR: A politically correct holiday greeting

Best wishes for an environmentally conscious, socially responsible, low stress, non-addictive, gender-neutral, winter solstice holiday, practiced within the most joyous traditions of the religious persuasion of your choice, but with respect for the religious persuasion of others who choose to practice their own religion as well as those who choose not to practice a religion at all.

THE BIG IDEA: The traditional expression “Merry Christmas” reminds us that there is a joy that comes from experiencing the Christ of Christmas.

  • Merry – full of cheerfulness; joyous in disposition or spirit: laughingly happy; mirthful; festively joyous; hilarious. Christmas – Mass = a celebration; A celebration of Jesus!

OPENING: I love Christmas. To me, it really is, “The most wonderful time of the year!”

Share personal stories of being a child growing up in Saskatchewan, driving with my family to go spend Christmas with my grandparents. My desire to make Christmas special for my kids.

JOKE: I heard the story of a dad who wanted to try to be creative at disguising obvious gifts when wrapping Christmas presents. As he told the story, he said: One year I bought a video for my four-year-old son, and not wanting him to guess what it was, I put it in a cereal box, wrapped it and put it under the tree. Christmas morning he tore off the paper, let out a whoop and exclaimed, “Look, Mom, I got breakfast!”

 

1. CHRISTMAS IS ABOUT MIRACLES:

 

Background to the story –a young couple named Mary and Joseph who were engaged.

26 Now in the sixth month the angel Gabriel was sent by God to a city of Galilee named Nazareth, 27 to a virgin betrothed to a man whose name was Joseph, of the house of David. The virgin’s name was Mary. 28 And having come in, the angel said to her, “Rejoice, highly favored one, the Lord is with you; blessed are you among women!” 29 But when she saw him, she was troubled at his saying, and considered what manner of greeting this was. 30 Then the angel said to her, “Do not be afraid, Mary, for you have found favor with God. 31 And behold, you will conceive in your womb and bring forth a Son, and shall call His name Jesus. 32 He will be great, and will be called the Son of the Highest; and the Lord God will give Him the throne of His father David. 33 And He will reign over the house of Jacob forever, and of His kingdom there will be no end.” 34 Then Mary said to the angel, “How can this be, since I do not know a man?” 35 And the angel answered and said to her, “The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Highest will overshadow you; therefore, also, that Holy One who is to be born will be called the Son of God. 36 Now indeed, Elizabeth your relative has also conceived a son in her old age; and this is now the sixth month for her who was called barren. 37 For with God nothing will be impossible.” 38 Then Mary said, “Behold the maidservant of the Lord! Let it be to me according to your word.” And the angel departed from her.” (Luke 1:26-38, NKJV).

  • There is a joy that comes from knowing the Lord is with you.
  • Because God’s favour is upon us, we don’t have to be afraid.
  • Some of you are worried, fearful or depressed. Come to Jesus and receive His joy!
  • Our response to God? “We are your servants – do to us according to your word!”

 

2. CHRISTMAS IS ABOUT JESUS THE SAVIOUR:

 

18 Now the birth of Jesus Christ was as follows: After His mother Mary was betrothed to Joseph, before they came together, she was found with child of the Holy Spirit. 19 Then Joseph her husband, being a just man, and not wanting to make her a public example, was minded to put her away secretly. 20 But while he thought about these things, behold, an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream, saying, “Joseph, son of David, do not be afraid to take to you Mary your wife, for that which is conceived in her is of the Holy Spirit. 21 And she will bring forth a Son, and you shall call His name Jesus, for He will save His people from their sins.” 22 So all this was done that it might be fulfilled which was spoken by the Lord through the prophet, saying: 23 “Behold, the virgin shall be with child, and bear a Son, and they shall call His name Immanuel,” which is translated, “God with us.” 24 Then Joseph, being aroused from sleep, did as the angel of the Lord commanded him and took to him his wife, 25 and did not know her till she had brought forth her firstborn Son. e And he called His name Jesus.” (Matt. 1:18-25).

  • What joy there is to know that Jesus came to save us from our sins!
  • Jesus is called Immanuel – God with us. He is for us, not against us!

STORY: “Puppies for Sale” (Chicken Soup for the Soul).

A little boy appeared under the store owner’s sign, “Puppies for sale.”  “How much are you going to sell the puppies for?” he asked. The store owner replied, “Anywhere from $30 to $50.”  “I have $2.37,” the little boy said, “Can I please look at them?” The store owner smiled and whistled, and out of the kennel came five teeny, tiny balls of fur. One puppy was lagging considerably behind. Immediately, the little boy singled out the lagging, limping puppy and said, “What’s wrong with that little dog?” The owner explained that it had no hip socket; it would always be lame. The little boy became excited. “That is the little puppy that I want to buy.” The store owner said, “No, you don’t want to buy that little dog. If you really want him, I’ll just give him to you.” The little boy got quite upset. He looked straight into the store owner’s eyes, pointing his finger, and said, “I don’t want you to give him to me. That little dog is worth every bit as much as all the other dogs and I’ll pay the full price. In fact, I’ll give you $2.37 now, and 50 cents a month until I have him paid for.” The store owner countered, “You really don’t want to buy this little dog. He is never going to be able to run and jump and play with you like the other puppies.” To this, the little boy reached down and rolled up his pant leg to reveal a badly twisted, crippled left leg supported by a big metal brace. He looked up at the store owner and replied, “Well, I don’t run so well myself, and the little puppy will need someone who understands!”

  • What a great picture of what Jesus did for us by becoming a human!

 

3. CHRISTMAS IS ABOUT JOY AND PEACE:

 

1 And it came to pass in those days that a decree went out from Caesar Augustus that all the world should be registered. 2 This census first took place while Quirinius was governing Syria. 3 So all went to be registered, everyone to his own city. 4 Joseph also went up from Galilee, out of the city of Nazareth, into Judea, to the city of David, which is called Bethlehem, because he was of the house and lineage of David, 5 to be registered with Mary, his betrothed wife, who was with child. 6 So it was, that while they were there, the days were completed for her to be delivered. 7 And she brought forth her firstborn Son, and wrapped Him in swaddling cloths, and laid Him in a manger, because there was no room for them in the inn. 8 Now there were in the same country shepherds living out in the fields, keeping watch over their flock by night. 9 And behold, an angel of the Lord stood before them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were greatly afraid. 10 Then the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid, for behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy which will be to all people. 11 For there is born to you this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord. 12 And this will be the sign to you: You will find a Babe wrapped in swaddling cloths, lying in a manger.”

13 And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God and saying: 14 “Glory to God in the highest, And on earth peace, goodwill toward men!” 15 So it was, when the angels had gone away from them into heaven, that the shepherds said to one another, “Let us now go to Bethlehem and see this thing that has come to pass, which the Lord has made known to us.” 16 And they came with haste and found Mary and Joseph, and the Babe lying in a manger. 17 Now when they had seen Him, they made widely known the saying which was told them concerning this Child. 18 And all those who heard it marveled at those things which were told them by the shepherds. 19 But Mary kept all these things and pondered them in her heart. 20 Then the shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all the things that they had heard and seen, as it was told them.” (Luke 2:1-20).

  • The first thing the angel said Jesus came for was to bring good tidings of great joy.
  • Secondly, the angels declared peace on earth and goodwill toward men.
  • Because of Jesus, we can experience God’s peace and joy!
  • Our response to experiencing this should be to glorify and praise God, too.

 

4. CHRISTMAS IS ABOUT SEEKING AND WORSHIPPING THE KING:

 

1 Now after Jesus was born in Bethlehem of Judea in the days of Herod the king, behold, wise men from the East came to Jerusalem, 2 saying, “Where is He who has been born King of the Jews? For we have seen His star in the East and have come to worship Him.” 3 When Herod the king heard this, he was troubled, and all Jerusalem with him. 4 And when he had gathered all the chief priests and scribes of the people together, he inquired of them where the Christ was to be born. 5 So they said to him, “In Bethlehem of Judea, for thus it is written by the prophet: 6 ‘But you, Bethlehem, in the land of Judah, Are not the least among the rulers of Judah; For out of you shall come a Ruler Who will shepherd My people Israel.’ ”

7 Then Herod, when he had secretly called the wise men, determined from them what time the star appeared. 8 And he sent them to Bethlehem and said, “Go and search carefully for the young Child, and when you have found Him, bring back word to me, that I may come and worship Him also.” 9 When they heard the king, they departed; and behold, the star which they had seen in the East went before them, till it came and stood over where the young Child was. 10 When they saw the star, they rejoiced with exceedingly great joy. 11 And when they had come into the house, they saw the young Child with Mary His mother, and fell down and worshiped Him. And when they had opened their treasures, they presented gifts to Him: gold, frankincense, and myrrh.” (Matt. 2:1-11).

  • Wise men still seek the King and worship Jesus today!
  • We too should be generous in the giving of gifts – to God and one another.

CLOSING TEXT: “For unto us a Child is born, Unto us a Son is given; And the government will be upon His shoulder. And His name will be called Wonderful, Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.” (Isaiah 9:6).

My Blog: https://pastorchrisjordan.wordpress.com/

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Merry Christmas! (2016 Christmas Letter from the Jordan Family)

Dear friends and family,

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This past year has definitely been a year of big changes. From driving Caleb to Surrey in January to attend Pacific Life Bible College, and Tori graduating from high school and heading to university in Brandon, to our family moving back to Surrey in the fall, the whole year was a whirlwind of transitions.

For the past 24 years, Liza and I were involved in full time pastoral ministry. But all of that changed this year.

In May, Liza and I attended Focus on the Family’s sabbatical retreat centre for pastors. While we were there, we sought the Lord for direction for our lives and family. Even though we already both felt our time in Beausejour was coming to an end, we now had a clear sense of timing from the Lord: the end of summer.

We also felt like we were supposed to return to Surrey, where Liza and I met, got married and started our family.

And so on June 9th, Liza and I made the decision to get the family ready to move, even though we didn’t know what was next for us. We didn’t have a job lined up or any prospects in sight.

Because of some of the challenging trials that Liza and I went through, and the emotional impact it had on us, we felt like we needed a break from the burden and responsibility of pastoral ministry. I was willing to get a job doing whatever I needed to do to pay the bills and look after my family.

But less than 24 hours later, I was contacted by Paul Johnson, the principal of Regent Christian Academy. This school was connected to Horizon, the church we used to attend in Surrey, BC. He felt that the Lord might be calling us to return to BC as well.

The school had a position open up in the school for a guidance counsellor and academic advisor, which would include some teaching duties, and he offered the job to me. As Liza and I prayed about this, we really felt like this was what the Lord was calling us to do. When we shared this with Austin and Hannah, they too were very excited about the prospect of moving back to BC. And so in September, we left our home in small town Manitoba for the west coast of British Columbia!

For the past few months, we have all enjoyed reconnecting with our old church family. We are HOME!

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Left to Right: Austin, Liza, Tori, Me, Hannah and Caleb. From Tori’s Graduation.

OTHER HIGHLIGHTS OF THE YEAR IN BULLET POINTS:

  • In January, Caleb started the music ministry program at Pacific Life Bible College.
  • In February, Tori and Austin starred in local youth community production The Drowsy Chaperone.
  • From February – August, Tori, Austin and I worked at the Tim Horton’s in Beausejour.
  • In May, I became the Executive Coordinator for the Overcomers Outreach of Canada, a Christian 12-step addictions recovery program.
  • In May, Liza went on a trip to London, England with her mom, sister, aunt and cousin.
  • In June, Tori graduated from high school with honors with distinction.
  • In July, we went to Regina where I performed my sister Jodi’s wedding ceremony.
  • In the summer, Caleb interned in the youth ministry at Horizon Church.
  • In August, Austin got his full driver’s licence.
  • In the fall, we dropped Tori off at her music program at the University of Brandon on our way to BC.
  • In September, Austin and Hannah started attending Regent Christian Academy. Both of them made it on the B honour roll. They both lead worship in school chapels and with their youth group at church.
  • In October, Liza was hired full time working in the accounting department of our church and our   Christian school.
  • In November, after two months of staying with friends, we finally got into our own place, a two bedroom basement suite. It’s small, but it is temporary!
  • In December, the board of directors of Overcomers Outreach asked me to step into a new role as the President of the ministry. I accepted.

Right now we are working on selling our home in Beausejour. We are looking forward to buying a new home in the Surrey area in the New Year.

As we’re heading 2017, Liza and Hannah are gearing up for our school’s mission trip to Mexico. Austin is participating on the school’s mission trip to Uganda.

This Christmas season, we pray that you and your family would experience the thrill of hope, the weary world rejoicing, for yonder breaks a new and glorious morn – celebrating the birth of Jesus the Saviour of the world!

With love and prayers,

Chris, Liza, Caleb, Tori, Austin & Hannah

Through the Years:

You can read our previous years’ Christmas Letters here:

christmas-letter-2016

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Reflections with Calvin and Hobbes – Christmas is Coming!

They say it’s the most wonderful time of the year, and I would have to agree with them. This Christmas, I’m looking forward to having my daughter Tori come home from University in Brandon to spend three weeks with us here in Surrey, so we’ll have the whole family together again for the first time in almost four months! Add to that the celebration of the birth of Jesus, the Saviour of the world, and you have all the ingredients for a joyful holiday season!

And so in honour of this festive time of the year, here are some of my favourite Christmas Calvin and Hobbes comic strips!

Calvin & Hobbes - Commercialism of Christmas

Calvin & Hobbes - Christmas

Calvin & Hobbes - Santa

Calvin & Hobbes (c) 2016 Bill Waterson.

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On the Bookshelf – Overcomers Outreach by Bob and Pauline Bartosch

overcomers-outreach-bookIn addition to serving as a guidance counsellor and teacher at Regent Christian Academy, I also have the privilege of serving as the Executive Coordinator for a Christian 12 step recovery ministry called Overcomers Outreach of Canada. Earlier this fall, I had the opportunity to read through the book Overcomers Outreach: A Bridge to Recovery, written by Bob and Pauline Bartosch, the founders of our ministry.

As the back of the book blurb states, Overcomers Outreach is a network of Christ centered 12-step support groups. The vision that God put into the hearts of Bob and Pauline Bartosch has grown into a much-needed bridge that connects traditional 12 step groups and the church.

This book is an opportunity to explore new dimensions of personal healing as you take this life-changing journey of recovery. What follows are some of my favourite quotes from this book.

“The 12 steps… are based on biblically based principles like acceptance, confession, honesty, accountability and service. According to Dr. Bob S. and Bill W., founders of Alcoholics Anonymous, these principles were gleaned from the Sermon on the Mount, 1 Corinthians 13, and the book of James, among other passages. The principles were developed into 12 steps that have helped and offered hope to more addicted and abused people than any other program.”

“What was needed was God Himself, revealed in flesh and blood through caring arms wrapped around those in despair, helping them break free from the addiction trap.”

“Others, who were not alcoholics, but struggled with codependency, sexual abuse, depression, and eating disorders, came to discover the hope found in working the 12 steps and began attending recovery groups.”

“Those of us who overcame life-threatening addictions will be the first to say that it was pain that finally brought us to our knees.”

“Why did we compile this book? Its primary purpose is to serve as a strong scriptural support base and positive network for thousands of Overcomers all over the world who can identify with and profit from the miraculous stories recorded by other Overcomers.”

“Christians in recovery no longer desire to hide or cover up as they had before. We quit being people pleasers and began to experience new dimensions of healing by being honest with ourselves and with others.”

“Just for today we make the positive choice to live in serenity, sober and abstinent, with God’s help.”

“H.O.W. can we get well? Be becoming Honest, Open and Willing to surrender to God’s will for us.”

“Somehow, we didn’t fit in anymore with our church friends… Even if we did get honest, we got the feeling that the church had become a kind of country club for saints, and that the club members would just as soon as have people like ourselves either become invisible or find other places to worship. Though our search was largely unsuccessful, we were desperately looking for a hospital for sinners like ourselves.”

“An Overcomers Outreach 12-step support group is a supplementary Christian program designed to help bridge the gap between traditional 12-step recovery programs and Christian churches of all denominations.”

You can order your own copy of the book Overcomers Outreach from our Canada office HERE or our US office HERE.

Click HERE to see the 12 steps of Overcomers Outreach.

  • Chris Jordan
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