Thursday, April 14, 2011

The Real Picture of Christian Recovery Work in California

The difficulty with the foregoing article is not its theme of Christian recovery in the "South Bay." It is that it scarecely touches the surface of the vast number of Bible based Christian recovery activities in Orange County and in the Southern California area. We devoted some 25 conferences and visits to the organizations and areas I am about to mention. And we now know there is a growing Christian recovery movement under way. It is not just about Celebrate Recovery. Nor is it just about Teen Challenge and Salvation Army ARCs. And the reader will do well to get in tune with what is really happening and has been prompted by the last two years of growth since a large Christian recovery leader and worker conference at Mariners Church in Irvine, California. Out of that large assemblage of Christian recovery leaders and workers from all over the United States and Canada came a new and different approach. Call it A.A. friendly, Bible friendly, History Friendly, and Christian friendly friendly. It seeks to learn and disseminate not some particular Christian approach, but rather to encourage individuals, fellowships, groups, recovery groups, treatment programs, counselors, sober living facilities, clergy and churches to learn and embrace the real theme that put early A.A.'s Christian fellowship on the map. That is the role that God, His Son Jesus Christ, and the Bible played in the origin, history, founding, original program, and astonishing successes of the 1935 A.A. Christian Fellowship in Akron. The progression of this massive Christian recovery backdrop deals with far more than A.A. And let's look at the progression. In the 1850's, five strong groups set the pace for successful Christian recovery by alcoholics and addicts. They were: (1) Evangelists like Moody, Sankey, Meyer, and Folger and later Billy Sunday. (2) Gospel and Rescue Missions founded by Jerry Mc Auley and his Water Street Mission. (3) The Salvation Army. (4) YMCA lay workers and their revivals and conversions throughout New England. (5) The Young People's Christian Endeavor Society - in which A.A.'s cofounder Dr. Bob and his family were active in St. Johnsbury, Vermont. The next step had to do with the Christian upbringing of both A.A. cofounders when they were youngsters in Vermont. See Dr. Bob of Alcoholics Anonymous and The Conversion of Bill W. Both young men went to Congregational churches and Sunday schools. Both were involved with the YMCA. Both had intensive Bible study experience. Both saw and knew the stories of the conversions that cured alcoholics. Both attended Academies (St. Johnsbury Academy and Burr and Burton Academy, respectively) which were dominated by the influence of Congregational Church leaders and daily chapel. The next step was the experience of Bill Wilson that few know: (1) Bill's grandfather Willie had been cured of alcoholism in a conversion experience in East Dorset, Vermont. (2) At his third hospitalization, Bill was told by his physician William D. Silkworth, M.D., that Jesus Christ could cure him. (3) Almost immediately Bill was witnessed to by his old drinking friend Ebby Thacher who had been born again at Calvary Mission in New York and gotten sober - to Bill's amazement. (4) Bill himself then went to the altar at Calvary Mission, gave his life to Jesus Christ, and wrote that he had been born again. (5) Bill then decided to call on Jesus Christ for help. (6) Bill cried out to God, had a white light experience, was healed, and never drank again. (7) Bill's message became: "The Lord has cured me of this terrible disease and I just want to keep talking about it and telling people (Big Book page 191). There is much much more: How the first three AAs got sober as Christians, Bible students, and believers in God before there was a fellowship. How early A.A.'s Christian fellowship in Akron required belief in God, acceptance of Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior, daily Bible study, daily old fashioned prayer meetings, and Quiet Time with God. We have covered this in a four hour (4 DVD) series "Introductory Foundations for Christian Recovery", and in our The Dick B. Christian Recovery Guide Also in brief form in "Real Twelve Step Fellowship History" The groups we have visited in California and which have heard and embraced the foregoing information or been willing to incorporate it into their programs are these: Rock Recovery Ministries, San Diego Calvary Ranch, Lakeside Neighborhood Alcoholics for Christ, Escondido Celebrate a New Life at San Juan Capistrano Pacific Hills Treatment Centers, San Juan Capistrano Several James Clubs (BigBook Bible Study Christian groups) in Norco, Glendora, Covina His Place Church, Hungtington Beach New Life Spirit Recovery, Inc., Huntington Beach, Lifelines at The Crossing Church, Costa Mesa Steppin Out, Glendora Overcomers Outreach, Inc., Whittier CityTeam Ministries, San Jose and up and down the Coast Golden Hills Community Church, Antioch Cornerstone Fellowship, Turning Point Group, Livermore Oroville Church of the Nazarene, Serenity Group, Oroville Auburn Church of the Nazarene, Men's Group, Auburn Association of Christian Alcohol and Drug Counselors Institute, Redlands And a host of individual Christian recovery leaders located in San Diego, Lakeside, Carlsbad, Sunset Beach, Rancho Santa Margarita, Venice, Claremont, and elsewhere in the Southern California area. The point here is that 12 Step Fellowships contain tens of thousands, if not hundreds of thousands, of Christian leaders and Christians in recovery who want God's help and are gathering together for fellowships, prayer, music, Bible study, Big Book study, Step study, Quiet Time, and other successful recovery efforts of the Akron Christian Fellowship of 1935. The next point is that these participants in the new Christian recovery movment are banding together worldwide to foster the principles just mentioned. Their movement is International Christian Recovery Coalition www.ChristianRecoveryCoalition. And is has already established a speaker's bureau and 22 Christian Recovery Resource Centers to meet the growing need for information, direction, and referral to Christian recovery facilities. The aim is not to splinter and go their own way. The aim has been to unite in supporting the single Christian idea of helping alcoholics and addicts get well in whatever situation they begin or find themselves - prison, treatment, hospitals, mental wards, A.A., N.A., VA, military, counseling, sober living, church or Christian recovery fellowships and Christ-centered recovery fellowships. See the mission statement and details: In His Service, Richard G. Burns, J.D., CDAAC, Executive Director, International Christian Recovery Coalition, Kihei, HI

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