Harbor Light 2.0 - RECOVER

Pastor Terry Inman

1-15-12

 

Hi, I’m Pastor Terry Inman and I am a recovering Pastor. I’m not just talking about my recent heart by-pass. I have been in recovery all my life. It’s not a chemical dependency or some other form of common addiction but sometimes I battle with the need for acceptance or approval.

Partly due to my personality and party due to some childhood experiences I sometimes feel alone, isolated and un-supported. I really love people but occasionally I may seem to be aloof and a bit introverted.

I am the son of a Pastor. I had a great and godly Dad. But he was not perfect and had a lot of pain in his life from childhood. His Mother died when he was only about 18 months old. He was raised by uncles until he was eight then suffered some abuse by his new stepmother. I remember hearing the painful account of my Dad’s life every Mother’s Day and it was emotionally overwhelming for me. I think I picked up some abandonment.

Dad left school in the eighth grade to help work the family farm in Iowa. Following the accidental death of a co-worker he moved to California.

In 1948 he was a “lineman for the county” and raised turkeys near Lancaster California. That’s when I was born and he was born-again. His life-style radically changed. In a couple years we were on our way to Japan as missionaries.  My Christmas present this year was a DVD conversion of the old 8-millimeter film taken in Japan when I was three years old.

After returning from Japan my Father was an itinerate evangelist. Then in my school years he was the Pastor of five different churches in Northern California. We were not at any one location more than four years.

My transient childhood forced me to often say good-by to very close and nurturing friendships. I began to struggle with a deep need for closeness but probably resisted relationships out of the fear of abandonment.

A couple times in childhood I was sexually abused. I was also a victim of a lot of bulling on the playground because I was a “preachers kid” and was not all that interested in the typical completive and aggressive guy stuff.

I also grew up seeing a lot of conflict in the churches my father Pastored. That also contributed to moving a lot. Even though I always loved God I made an inner vow that I would totally avoid that kind religion and culture.  

In college God gave me an incredible mate and clearly called me to ministry. I will never forget the verse that got my attention. Psa. 45.7 “You love righteousness and hate wickedness; therefore God, your God, has set you above your companions by anointing you with the oil of joy.”

The original context of this scripture was King David’s coronation and wedding. It is also applied to Christ in the book of Hebrews. God was calling me to be a shepherd.

This “oil of joy” is a reference to the “anointing oil” that was poured over Israel’s leaders. Isaiah mentions it in his description of the Messiah.  

The Spirit of the Sovereign LORD is on me, because the LORD has anointed me to preach good news to the poor. He has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim freedom for the captives and release from darkness for the prisoners, to proclaim the year of the LORD’s favor and the day of vengeance of our God, to comfort all who mourn, and provide for those who grieve in Zion — to bestow on them a crown of beauty instead of ashes, the oil of gladness instead of mourning, and a garment of praise instead of a spirit of despair. Is. 61.1-3 (NIV)

Today we are talking about the second of our four purposes. Harbor Light is here to help people Recover by embracing God’s healing presence. Through Christ we help heal the broken, and free the bound.

Christian Psychologist Dr. Richard Dobbins says, “The Church is called to save the lost and heal the saved”. Early in my ministry I read, “The Wounded Healer”, a classic written by catholic theologian Henri Nouwen.   

He talks about being an agent of healing from the places of woundedness and brokenness within our own stories. He said, “We are called to offer to others the comfort we have received from God and in doing so we allow our lives to be poured out like a drink offering for another.”

The Apostle Paul put it this way. “Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves have received from God. 2 Corinthians 1.3 (NIV)

The comforted become the comforters!

“Nobody escapes being wounded.” Nouwen says, We all are wounded, whether physically, emotionally, mentally, or spiritually. The question is not "How can we hide our wounds?" so we aren’t embarrassed, but, "How can we turn our wounds into the service of others?"

When our wounds are no longer a source of shame, we become a source of healing. We become wounded healers.

 Jesus is God's wounded healer.

The bible says, He himself bore our sins in his body on the tree, so that we might die to sins and live for righteousness; by hiswounds you have been healed.” 1Pet. 2.24 (NIV)

Jesus' suffering and death brought us joy and life. His shame brought us glory. His rejection brought us love, forgiveness and acceptance. As followers of Jesus our wounds can also bring recovery to others.

There have been times in my life when my wounds wounded others. Over twenty-five years ago I was in the challenge of my life trying to bring healing to a flock of wounded sheep. Some hurting sheep can bite.

I was trying desperately to bring resolution and stability to an inherited crisis in the church. People commended me for my problem solving skills and my commitment to turn things around. But I was burning out!

Inside I was hurting deeply and my emotional boundaries were vulnerable.  The crisis exposed my weakness.  An unhealthy attachment formed that nearly destroyed my marriage and ministry. But God is so gracious!

A staff Pastor helped me out of the emotional trap I was in. I submitted to my spiritual authorities. Mary and I received Godly professional counsel and our marriage and ministry recovered. I developed healthy boundaries.

God turned my weakness and wounding into a source of healing strength. God encouraged the Apostle Paul. “Mygrace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” 2 Cor. 12.9(NIV) Now God has equipped us and graciously allowed us to help so many hurting people!   

A passage that articulates this so well is what Jesus said to Peter prior to his failure. “Simon, Simon, Satan has asked to sift you as wheat. But I have prayed for you, Simon, that your faith may not fail. And when you have turned back, strengthen your brothers.” Luke 22.31-32 (NIV)

Recovery is like a sifting. They would toss the harvested wheat into the air and the wind would filter out the debris. God allows our brokenness to be exposed so he can produce all he has purposed in our lives!    

After Peter’s recovery, and the empowering of the Holy Spirit he became the head of the Jerusalem Church. Recovery is not just about feeling a little better about ourselves it living up to everything God has intended! 

God has given this church this powerful healing gift, especially in the area of emotional and spiritual freedom and recovery. It is the result of pursuing His presence. I have heard so many people say that when they first came here they found themselves absorbing the worship and the word, often with tears of healing.

That’s why every week somewhere in our worship service we make time for personal prayer ministry. Our prayer teams receive healing themselves. They also build character and their gifts are developed in small groups.  

God is not content with Band-Aids for our brokenness. He desires that we experience deep healing for our wounds. Several years ago I was impressed with this correction to prophet and priests of Israel.

“They have healed the hurt (brokenness) of My people slightly, Saying, ‘Peace, peace!’ When there is no peace” (Jeremiah 6:14, NKJV).

“Peace” here means harmony, integrity or wellbeing. God doesn’t want us to accept partial wholeness. He wants to do deep healing in our lives.

Paul writes, May God himself, the God of peace, sanctify (purify) you through and through. May your whole spirit, soul and body be kept blameless at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ. The one who calls you is faithful and he will do it.”  1Thess 5.23-24 (NIV)

Churches have not always been the safest place to disclose the real issues in our lives. However the scriptures encourage us to seek recovery. James the brother of Jesus says, “Confess your sins (faults) to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed.” James 5:16 (NIV)  

We confess our sins or shortcomings to Jesus and receive forgiveness but we confess them to each other for healing from the residual effects of sin. Healing is the result of our openness, their forgiveness and accountability.  

After my heart-by pass a few years ago, I was wheeled into a recovery room. That’s a very vulnerable time when you are regaining consciousness under intensive care. My son Sam was one of the first family members that I could recognize.

I muttered something as the affects of anesthesia began to wear off. “Sam run a marathon, ride a bike, swim in the ocean, do what ever you have to do but don’t do this.”

Barbara, my daughter in law, took hold of my hand. It was so comforting. Recovery is not easy. It can be scary. You feel very vulnerable. But God has ahold of your hand.

King David who understood recovery wrote these words. “If the LORD delights in a man’s way, he makes his steps firm; though he stumble, he will not fall, for the LORD upholds him with his hand. Psa. 37.23 (NIV)

At Harbor Light there are many ways He holds our hand.

God has given us some wonderful recovery tools like Cleansing Streams. It is our basic discipleship seminar with an in-house retreat. It helps people trade brokenness bondage and hopelessness for power, love and freedom.

We also have certified teams that lead participants in restorative prayer and counseling. IFM or issue focused ministry is an extended session that brings greater healing and freedom to issues in our lives. It is done in a confidential and structured setting that is guided by the Holy Spirit.

Finally, Celebrate Recovery is a weekly Friday night program designed to help those struggling with hurts, hang-ups, and habits by showing them the loving power of Jesus Christ through the recovery process. There are step-studies based on the recovery bible and special support groups for men and women focusing on various issues in recovery.