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Dead Ends and Closed Doors: Trusting in God

May 4th, 2016

Dead Ends and Closed Doors

Dead Ends and Closed Doors

By Pastor Mike Eleveld

It seems that our lives are an endless series of dead ends and closed doors. The twist and turns and troubles of life can overwhelm us. Our reactions to these troubles often result in a sense of hopelessness and futility. In fact, that is our default setting as human beings….the worse that can happen is often anticipated. While trying to remain positive can be a struggle for the best of us, the addict or alcoholic will often try to self-medicate in order to ease their pain.

That is why Steps One through Three are so important in Recovery. We begin to cultivate a Hope and Faith that God will be with us to help and guide us through the maze of trials, trauma, and trouble. When life presents a Dead End or a Closed Door we begin to understand that God has options that we cannot see that He will guide us toward and reveal to us.

The story of Stephen in the Bible illustrates this point. In Acts 6 & 7 we have the story of Stephen. He was selected as one of the seven men to assist the Apostles in caring for the needs of widows and orphans in the Church. He was young, energetic, and full of zeal for the Lord. He was possibly seen as the future for the early church….the man God could use to lead the church once the Apostles passed away.

Yet, the Story of Stephen takes a nasty turn. One day, while preaching about Jesus on the streets of Jerusalem, he was confronted and arrested for blasphemy. Stephen gave an impassioned defense of his beliefs and turned the tables on his accusers. The religious leaders wanted none of his teaching so they dragged him outside to stone him to death. Note with me that the Sanhedrin is so deep in the pockets of Rome that they no longer need permission to kill the opposition like they did with Jesus. Summary execution is now the rule of the day.

The Bible says, “…and they cast him out of the city and stoned him. And the witnesses laid down their clothes at the feet of a young man named Saul.” Acts 7:58

A pile of clothes guarded by Saul of Tarsus…while they did their work of stoning Stephen to death. Can you imagine the reaction of the early church? Steven was their future! He was going to provide leadership after the Apostles were gone. The Romans and Jewish Leadership can execute our best and our brightest! What are we going to do?

A dead end for the church…a closed door. And yet, the early church had no idea that the man who would turn the world upside down for Jesus Christ and end up writing half of the New Testament….was standing twenty-fine feet away guarding a pile of clothes. Saul of Tarsus would later be converted to Christianity and become St Paul the Apostle.

There are no such things as dead ends and closed doors for God. He has ways when we see no way. That is what our Faith and our Hope teaches us. And that is what we will experience if God is the object of our Hope and Faith.

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Converting Liabilities into Assets (Part 4) | Video Series

April 27th, 2016

Converting Liabilities into Assets

Converting Liabilities into Assets

In his lecture “Converting Liabilities into Assets” at the Leadership and Recovery: A Winning the Battle over Addiction Conference, Dr. Bianchini, Director of Medicine at Road to Freedom, addresses employers and examines the impact of addiction in the workplace and on our society at large.

In this video series, Dr. Bianchini emphasizes how the disease of addiction greatly impacts all aspects of our nation, including the workplace and the economy. He argues that denial and ignorance of the devastating impact of addiction affects our entire country, including the Church and medical communities. Utilizing research statistics and the Big Book of Alcoholics Anonymous as resources, Dr. Bianchini addresses business owners, leaders, and employers, and emphasizes that, as a society, we must recognize that addiction does exist, even if we do not necessarily see it.

To find out more about the impact of addiction on our economy, our communities, and our country, watch Dr. Bianchini’s full talk here. To hear more from Dr. Bianchini and our pastors, subscribe to our YouTube channel.

If you or a loved one is struggling with addiction, help is available at Road to Freedom, a Christ-centered addiction treatment center. For more information on our faith-based treatment program, call us today at 877-443-7342.

Converting Liabilities into Assets (Part 3) | Video Series

April 21st, 2016

Converting Liabilities into Assets

Converting Liabilities into Assets

In his lecture “Converting Liabilities into Assets” at the Leadership and Recovery: A Winning the Battle over Addiction Conference, Dr. Bianchini, Director of Medicine at Road to Freedom, addresses employers and examines the impact of addiction in the workplace and on our society at large.

In this video series, Dr. Bianchini emphasizes how the disease of addiction greatly impacts all aspects of our nation, including the workplace and the economy. He argues that denial and ignorance of the devastating impact of addiction affects our entire country, including the Church and medical communities. Utilizing research statistics and the Big Book of Alcoholics Anonymous as resources, Dr. Bianchini addresses business owners, leaders, and employers, and emphasizes that, as a society, we must recognize that addiction does exist, even if we do not necessarily see it.

 

To find out more about the impact of addiction on our economy, our communities, and our country, watch Dr. Bianchini’s full talk here. To hear more from Dr. Bianchini and our pastors, subscribe to our YouTube channel.

If you or a loved one is struggling with addiction, help is available at Road to Freedom, a Christ-centered addiction treatment center. For more information on our faith-based treatment program, call us today at 877-443-7342.

Converting Liabilities into Assets (Part 2): Video Series

April 13th, 2016

Converting Liabilities into Assets (Part 2) | Video Series

Converting Liabilities into Assets

In his lecture “Converting Liabilities into Assets” at the Leadership and Recovery: A Winning the Battle over Addiction Conference, Dr. Bianchini, Director of Medicine at Road to Freedom, addresses employers and examines the impact of addiction in the workplace and on our society at large.

In this video series, Dr. Bianchini emphasizes how the disease of addiction greatly impacts all aspects of our nation, including the workplace and the economy. He argues that denial and ignorance of the devastating impact of addiction affects our entire country, including the Church and medical communities. Utilizing research statistics and the Big Book of Alcoholics Anonymous as resources, Dr. Bianchini addresses business owners, leaders, and employers, and emphasizes that, as a society, we must recognize that addiction does exist, even if we do not necessarily see it.

To find out more about the impact of addiction on our economy, our communities, and our country, watch Dr. Bianchini’s full talk here. To hear more from Dr. Bianchini and our pastors, subscribe to our YouTube channel.

If you or a loved one is struggling with addiction, help is available at Road to Freedom, a Christ-centered addiction treatment center. For more information on our faith-based treatment program, call us today at 877-448-5513.

Converting Liabilities into Assets (Part 1): The Impact of Addiction in the Workplace

April 6th, 2016

The Impact of Addiction in the Workplace | Video Series Part 1

Impact of Addiction in the Workplace

In his lecture “Converting Liabilities into Assets” at the Leadership and Recovery: A Winning the Battle over Addiction Conference, Dr. Bianchini, Director of Medicine at Road to Freedom, addresses employers and examines the impact of addiction in the workplace and on our society at large. In this video series, Dr. Bianchini emphasizes how the disease of addiction greatly impacts all aspects of our nation, including the workplace and the economy. He argues that denial and ignorance of the devastating impact of addiction affects our entire country, including the Church and medical communities. Utilizing research statistics and the Big Book of Alcoholics Anonymous as resources, Dr. Bianchini addresses business owners, leaders and employers, and emphasizes that, as a society, we must recognize that addiction does exist, even if we do not necessarily see it.

Watch the video here:


To find out more about the impact of addiction on our economy, our communities, and our country, watch Dr. Bianchini’s full talk here. To hear more from Dr. Bianchini and our pastors, subscribe to our YouTube channel.

If you or a loved one is struggling with addiction, help is available at Road to Freedom, a Christ-centered addiction treatment center. For more information on our faith-based treatment program, call us today at 877-448-5513.

The Bible and the 12 Steps of Alcoholics Anonymous

March 30th, 2016

The Relationship Between the Bible and the 12 Steps

The Bible and The 12 Steps

Are the 12 steps of Alcoholics Anonymous related to the Bible? If so, what is the relationship between the Bible and the 12 Steps? Fundamentally, the 12 Steps of Alcoholics Anonymous encompass the Scripture’s core teachings regarding God’s loving relationship with humanity. The steps begin with an admission of powerlessness and a declaration of faith in God’s power. After this, the steps suggest continual reflection on our actions, turning over our will to God and service to others. Finally, the steps encourage conscious contact with God through prayer and meditation.

The 12 Steps not only guide us through an ongoing process of reflection, confession and forgiveness, but they also ask us to guide others through this process. This concept is akin to discipleship in the Scripture; discipleship, referred to in the Big Book as “sharing one’s experience, strength, and hope” is one of the primary purposes of the 12 Steps. Although the 12 Steps are not intended as a pathway to salvation, countless people have encountered God and had a spiritual experience as a result of working the steps.

In establishing the foundation of Alcoholics Anonymous, Bill Wilson borrowed material from numerous sources, including the Bible, and translated them into language easier for the alcoholic to accept. Instead of the term “salvation,” A.A. speaks of sobriety and a spiritual experience. A.A. uses “carrying the message” instead of “evangelization,” and speaks of spirituality rather than religion. A.A. often uses the term “Higher Power“ instead of God, in order to reach more suffering alcoholics who may struggle with the concept of God. In fact, in four of the 12 Steps, God is referenced directly as the “Higher Power.” Despite these shifts in verbiage, the 12 Steps of A.A. are rooted in Christian theology and values.

Two of the central concepts to A.A. are reliance on God and service to others, both of which are at the core of the Bible’s teaching. In the chapter entitled, “We Agnostics,” the authors of the Big Book write, “either God is everything or else He is nothing. God either is or He isn’t” (Alcoholics Anonymous, p. 53). At this point in the Big Book, the authors address those who struggle with the concept of God. They suggest that alcoholics must make a decision to believe in a Power greater than themselves in order to maintain sobriety and to change their lives for the better. This is where reliance on God comes into play. Throughout the 12 Steps and A.A. literature, the founders of A.A. stress the importance of relying on a Higher Power, often referenced directly as God.

A second important pillar of A.A. is service to others. In the fifth appendix of the Big Book titled “The Religious View on A.A.,” the authors quote a Christian magazine, The Living Church: “The basis of the technique of Alcoholics Anonymous is the truly Christian principle that a man cannot help himself except by helping others.” Service to others and spreading the message are at the root of both the Bible and Alcoholics Anonymous. Despite the lack of explicit Christian references, the 12 Steps of A.A. trace their roots to many of the essential core principles of the Bible, but remain open to people of all faiths.

Road to Freedom

Road to Freedom is a Christ-centered drug and alcohol treatment program. At Road to Freedom, we restore lives through the power of the gospel. Our treatment program combines evidence-based treatments with biblically based beliefs. Our licensed Christian counselors, pastors, and physicians are dedicated to helping individuals suffering from the devastating effects of drugs and alcohol. If you or a loved one is struggling with addiction, call us now at 877.443.7342.

No Respecter of Persons

March 15th, 2016

No Respecter of Persons | Road to Freedom

By Pastor Mike Elevald

This disease of addiction is not a respecter of persons. I have come into contact with this truth over and over again in our ministry at The Treatment Center. Good people, normal people, become addicts. People that love God and people that hate God become addicts. This disease has penetrated every strata of society. We have to get the image out of our minds that addiction only affects criminals and homeless people.

This was driven home to me a number of years ago. My first ministry at TTC was “Outreach Pastor.” My job was to meet with churches throughout South Florida and explain to them the mission and purpose of The Treatment Center and our Road to Freedom program. I drove into a small church parking lot. I won’t say where. The church Pastor was not in the office but the sweet, elderly, church secretary patiently listened to my spiel and agreed to pass on my literature to the Pastor. She reminded me of Aunt Bee from Mayberry R.F.D. As I was leaving, she suddenly blurted out, “I am in recovery myself.” I chuckled within myself thinking she had misunderstood the meaning of “recovery” … as though she had a hip surgery and was recovering from that surgery, but I was wrong. She responded, “I have been an alcoholic for over 40 years.” Now she had my attention. I sat down and encouraged her to share her story with me.

And I left that afternoon thinking that this disease is no respecter of persons, and that is true. Without making you overly suspicious or paranoid, I want you to be aware of this truth. Next time you are in church remember that the person sitting 7 seats down from you might be struggling with an addiction and they are scared to death to seek help. Churches across our country are just now starting to wake up to the fact that more and more of our good church people are becoming addicted to opiates and opioids following surgical procedures. And those Pastors that are charged with shepherding their flocks would be wise to equip themselves and be prepared for the inevitability of helping an addict in their care.

Addiction Recovery: Are You Willing To Climb A Tree?

February 11th, 2016

Addiction recovery can be like climbing a tree.

By Pastor James Exline

Addiction is a disease. Addiction is a deadly disease. Addiction kills. How ironic—as I write this, I just received notification of another death due to overdose!

A disease this deadly and relentless requires drastic measures to overcome; it takes whatever it takes!

In the Bible, in Luke 19, we learn about a man named Zacchaeus who knew he had a need, and was willing to do whatever it took to find the solution to his problem. He was a tax collector, collecting taxes from the local Jewish people, the Pharisees. Tax collectors were the most despised of all people, considered the scourge of society. The last thing he would have wanted to do was to draw attention to himself, especially around the very people they collected taxes from.

Yet, this is exactly what Zacchaeus did. One day, in the middle of a crowd of Pharisees, he climbed a tree. Why would he do such a crazy thing? Why would he do something that was certain to draw attention to himself? Jesus was walking by, and he wanted to meet with Jesus. He had a need, and he knew Jesus was able to meet that need.

Finding a Solution

As an addict or alcoholic, you have a need — a need to be sober, to overcome the bondage of addiction. You need positive outcome in your battle to stay sober. The solution is walking by, what will your reaction be?

What is that solution? Here are a few:

  • Get a sponsor
  • Work the steps with your sponsor
  • Go to meetings
  • Get involved in a local church
  • And above all else, surrender your will to God and allow him to be the master crafter and planner of your life.

All of that seems simple enough, yet it is often met with resistance and excuses as to why people won’t do what is necessary to stay sober, why they won’t “climb the tree.”

Some of those excuses are:

  • I had a sponsor once; it didn’t work out.
  • I’m here to help other people.
  • I have my willpower.
  • God is all I need.
  • I have been healed; I’m not an addict anymore.

The list goes on and on. Either you are doing what is necessary, whatever it takes, or you are making excuses and are most likely not staying sober. You are either, “climbing the tree” or you are doing your own thing. You are either, finding the solution to your problem or you are finding more of your problem.

Zacchaeus had a need, and was willing to do whatever it took. At the end of the story, Jesus states this about Zacchaeus, “Salvation has come to this home today.” By climbing the tree, by being willing to do whatever it took, Zacchaeus obtained the solution he needed.

How will your story read? Will you find the solution? Are you willing to climb a tree?

Road to Freedom Partners with 2016 World Leaders Conference 

January 20th, 2016

Road to Freedom Partners with 2016 World Leaders Conference

 

Road to Freedom, The Treatment Center’s Christ-centered treatment program, will host Leadership & Recovery, A Winning the Battle Over Addiction conference in partnership with the World LEADERS Group, World LEADERS Conference.

The Winning the Battle Over Addiction conference will be held on March 1, 2016 from 9:00 am to 4:00 pm; and the World LEADERS Conference will be held on March 2-3, 2016 at the Palm Beach County Convention Center in West Palm Beach, Florida.

Why Attend the Conference

At the 2016 Winning the Battle Over Addiction conference, industry leaders will learn about emerging trends in addiction, how to optimize the value of recovery in the workplace, the power of spiritual growth, and how to improve wellness in recovery.

Attendees will hear from five prominent speakers:

  • Dr. Henry Cloud, Phd – an acclaimed leadership expert, psychologist, and New York Times best-selling author, selling more than 10 million copies. His consulting imparts practical and effective advice for improving leadership skills and business performance.
  • Jack Alan Levine – a nationally known author, speaker & addiction expert, who has spoken to thousands of people over the last 20 years on dealing with and successfully overcoming addiction to find “Freedom for Life”.
  • Dr. Mark Laaser – the Director of Faithful & True, a leading Christian counseling center specializing in sexual health and addiction. He lectures around the world and teaches at religious organizations, colleges, universities and treatment centers.
  • Pastor Phil Dvorak, LMHC – the Director of the Road to Freedom program at The Treatment Center, is a licensed and ordained minister with the Christian Missionary Alliance and a licensed mental health counselor specializing in Christ-centered treatment.
  • Dr. Adam Bianchini, MD – the Director of Medicine for Road to Freedom with over 20 years’ experience in the medical field, has facilitated successful Christian recovery groups including “A Vision for You”, “Sons of Abraham”, and “Free Indeed”.

We encourage anyone working or interested in the recovery field to attend. Business owners, corporate executives, pastors and ministry leaders, counselors, therapists, group leaders, sponsors, friends and family members of addicts are all encouraged to attend.

More About Winning the Battle & World Leaders Conference

The Winning the Battle Over Addiction conference educates those that may be unfamiliar with the disease of addiction on how to treat and support those currently suffering on the road to recovery and freedom.

The World LEADERS Group brings the principles of servant leadership to leaders worldwide. World LEADERS Group uses several modes of training including newsletters, webcasts and the World LEADERS Conference to train and enlighten leaders.

For additional information about the Winning the Battle Over Addiction conference, please visit www.wtboa.org or contact Edwin Arocho at (561) 214-9388. To learn more about the World LEADERS Conference, please visit www.worldleadersconference.com.

The Wise Men Worship | Road to Freedom

December 30th, 2015

Wise Men Worship and Recovery

The Wise Men Worship

by Pastor Mike Eleveld

When they saw the star, they rejoiced with exceedingly great joy.  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 2:10-11

It’s Christmas time! I love it! I have such fond memories of Christmas, both of my childhood and with my wife and our own children. Now God has blessed me with, wait for it… grandchildren!

The stories of Christmas stir our hearts and yet they are more than cute children’s stories; they reveal a lot of truth about God, His love, and our response to Him. The passage above is about the wise men who came from the East to find the One born King of the Jews. They were not kings that are from the Christmas song, “We Three Kings.”  The Bible doesn’t say that there were three of them. They were probably descendants of an ancient median tribe known for their astrology, dedication to science, and fascination with ancient prophecies. There were probably a lot of them traveling together for safety from bandits and thieves. These men traveled far, met with Herod, and now we see them come before Mary, Joseph, and the toddler, Jesus. He would have been approximately two years old at the time.

What is fascinating is their response. They fell down and worshiped Him. The text says, “fell down,” which implies a spontaneous act as opposed to a formal, calculated move. Once they saw Jesus, they found it difficult to remain standing. They fell before Him and worshiped. Jesus had not demanded their worship; the worship came spontaneously simply because of who Jesus was.

This is even more startling when we consider that these wise men were used to people paying them respect and giving way to them. People bowed in their presence because they were stately men; however, they themselves fell before Jesus and worshiped Him.   

May I suggest that this is always a proper response from humans toward Jesus, to bow, to fall down, to submit to Him in worship and adoration.

This becomes even more poignant and important to addicts and alcoholics. We are used to puffing our egos and wills up, and yet the course of our recovery requires that we submit. So this Christmas, let us focus on this beautiful picture of submission and fall down in worship to our King.

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