The gift for the One who has everything

God is hard to shop for. After all, “He is the One who has all power” (Big Book How It Works), and “Through Him all things were made; without Him nothing was made that has been made.” (John 1:3) . In the majesty of all creation, the seemingly infinite cosmos in it’s awesome grandeur, He chose to withhold one thing from Himself. He chose to give man free will.

As I contemplate my blessings, and I want to praise Him and give some good gift to Him in gratitude, there is only one thing that I have that He does not, my will. Each day I can start things off in the only way that makes sense, by making a decision to turn over to Him that single possession that is the key to everything:

Step Three….“Made a decision to turn our will and our lives over to the care of God as we understood Him”.

A Living Sacrifice: Therefore, I urge you, brothers and sisters, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God—this is your true and proper worship. 2 Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will.
Romans 12:1-2

God, I offer myself to Thee — to build with me and to do with me as Thou wilt. Relieve me of the bondage of self, that I may better do Thy will. Take away my difficulties, that victory over them may bear witness to those I would help of Thy Power, Thy Love, and Thy Way of life. May I do Thy will always! Big Book p63

Amen

Born to Follow

I saw a 3 year old boy at the grocery store the other day. He had on a black T-shirt with a white skull across the front. He was wearing an all white flat bill over sized baseball cap, on backwards and to the side, baggy jeans, hanging halfway down, big over-sized high top tennis shoes….you get the picture. I was thinking, wow, that’s quite a get up for such a little guy! Then his dad came around the corner. They were spitting images. The youngster was a “mini me” twin of his dad, spot on in every detail!

It got me thinking about our innate tendency to imitate and emulate those around us. It seems to be more that the effects of our environmental influences. I think this character trait falls under the category of God given instincts, which can be channeled in negative or positive ways. The Big Book suggests the following as a way to choose a positivepath, ” We are in the world to play the role He assigns. Just to the extent that we do as we think He would have us, and humbly rely on Him, does He enable us to match calamity with serenity.” (BB page 68)

I think God made us with a integral built-in GPS dialed in to seek Him. We were quite literally born to follow Him. The steps and principles and every good thing in our recovery fellowship came from the mouth of the One that has all power, Bill’s friend on page 13 of the BB, Jesus Christ. He is our ultimate role model, our ultimate sponsor. If we “practice these principle in all our affairs” were are following Him. Oh that I might be a “mini me ” of Christ!

“I am the way the truth and the life, no man comes to the Father but by me.” (John 14:16)

“My sheep listen to my voice; I know them, and they follow me.” (John 10:27)

“Whoever serves me must follow me; and where I am, my servant also will be. My Father will honor the one who serves me.” (John 12:26)

My Spiritual Fireman

Many come to 12 step fellowships as an alternative to organized religion, seeking freedom from condemnation to the fires of hell. I myself came as a certain version of that scenario. But as it says in the Big Book p 164, “God will reveal more to you and to us”, and through the steps and the Bible, the Truth was revealed to me. It was me that was volunteering for the fire and me that was “blazing ” the trail to that final destination. What I had wrong was Christ’s role. He was not the arsonist I was! He was not condemning me, I was condemned to begin with .
“God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world but to save the world through Him.” John 3:17.

I ran from Christ, only to find Him waiting for me in our fellowship. The One who has all power. I am over his shoulders and out of the fires. He is my Spiritual Fireman.

Good question!!

Good question: I heard a spot on Christian radio about an atheist that asked a good question, which was, “Do Christians REALLY believe in Heaven and Hell?” He said he did not think so. His comment was that if HE believed in Hell, and that Heaven (as described by Christians) was an actual alternative, that he would be willing to crawl coast to coast on his hands and knees over broken shards of glass to save even one person from Hell and help them get to Heaven.

If I get complacent and forget what is at stake and I miss even one opportunity to share the Truth with someone, anyone, then the consequences are more than I can bare. We have an unlimited supply of winning spiritual lottery tickets, and have been encouraged by “the House” to give them away for free! Some will take them and cash them, some will accept but never cash them, some won’t even take them. That’s between them and God, I am just a messenger, a delivery boy, but what a great job that is!

Whats the Point?

Whats the Point? BB How it Works…”The point is that we were willing to GROW along spiritual lines.” This line is read at nearly every 12 step meeting, probably 100,000 times a day to millions of people. So is the line ” there is One who has all power, that One is God may you find Him now.” I pray for my brothers and sisters in 12 step fellowships all over the world that they will heard these words and take them to heart. It also says in BB p 161 “We are restored and united under one God with hearts and minds attuned to the welfare of others.” I also hear it read in many meetings “no one person speaks for the fellowship.” I disagree. The principles, steps and all good things in the fellowship come straight from One and only One source. As Dr Bob says in AA Co Founders brochure regarding the principles ” we had them, ….as I said we got them from the Good Book…some of us older ones focused on Sermon on the Mount, Book of James and First Corinthians Chapter 13.” Christ speaks the principles of the fellowship in His Word, and when we practice those principles we are following Him whether we acknowledge Him or not. I pray that I can help some people realize who is the One that has all power. It is everything to know Him, and “without Him I was lost” as Bill W says in his story in BB page 13.

2 Corinthians 3:17 -Fellowship of the Spirit

Hey, another post . Just saw this scripture chiseled in marble in temple court Salt Lake City .

4) Fellowship of the Spirit: the end of the Big Book names our fellowship: “We shall be with you in the Fellowship of the Spirit.,,” BB page 164

2 Corinthians 3:17-18
Explains it further. As a member of our fellowship, I love this verse:

17 Now the Lord is the Spirit, and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom.
18 And we all, who with unveiled faces contemplate [fn] the Lord’s glory, are being transformed into his image with ever-increasing glory, which comes from the Lord, who is the Spirit.

Couple that with the AA Golden text BB p191 quote from Bill W…..his “message”

“The Lord has been so wonderful to me curing me of this terrible disease, I just want to keep telling people about it.”

Where the Spirit is, there is freedom indeed!

Transformed into His image, ….that is the result of practicing His principles in all our affairs, we become like Him. The Spirit sponsor of us all.

Founders Day

Interestingly, AA Founders Day, June 7th,  falls on Pentecost weekend this year. Since Pentecost celebrates the coming of the Holy Spirit and the birth of Christ’s Church, and the BB refers to the fellowship on p 164 with it’s closing message as “The Fellowship of the Spirit” , this is quite cool.

I have a new (to me) CD of a Bill W talk at an AA meeting…… in which he describes the creation of the fellowship, indicates that it started with Carl Yung telling Rolland that his only hope was a “religious conversion experience” and Rolland went back to US joined The Oxford Group, accepted Christ, and met Ebby who also had a conversion experience through Oxford, which led to Ebby taking “The Message”…Christ’s message… to Bill…and in this CD Bill refers to Ebby as his sponsor. In the CD Bill states that the AA message is both religious and an active fellowship of one drunk helping another. He then uses the analogy of a seed , soil and light all being required for growth. The Christian analogy to Christ’s   parables about seeds are obvious.

So finally, Bill says in the CD, the fellowship started in Yung’s office during that meeting with Rolland….but then he says plainly….”although it REALLY started 2000 years ago”…..

Based upon this CD of a AA talk by it’s founder, it must be OK to talk about religious matters, Christianity, and the Christian Foundation of our fellowship at an AA meeting , regardless of present day claims to the contrary. Apparently Bill was not concerned that such discussion would cause newcomers to burst into flames, or run screaming from the building, or harm AA or any of it’s members in any other way. Seems like Bill was telling the un-filtered Truth, employing …”rigorous honesty”. I will try to make an electronic copy of the CD and send out or post on Archbuilders.org

The Archbuilders meeting on Saturday mornings at 8:00am at Pantano Church at Houghton and 29th is growing. The AB pamphlet will be available on Amazon soon. We are having 5-7 people most days and the meetings are very powerful. We are reading Oxford group “”Eight Points” , and other foundational materials, and of course, lots of Christ’s Words from the Bible and AB. Please keep that meeting in your thoughts and prayers, and share my cell # with anyone you think might have an interest  520-444-7997

Here is a link to Founder’s day info for Tucson. There is mention of Oxford Group on the site. I have to go to a funeral that day, but if anyone can make it, let me know your thoughts on the event.

The Promises

“The Promises” on page 83&84 of the BB are the Founder’s observations regarding the aspects of the changed lives of the AA program. The Founders made no promises. They could not. The BB says ” If we are painstaking about this phase of our development, we will be amazed before we are halfway through.”

Then a description follows about the reborn lives that resulted from this “painstaking development” . What is the stated goal of the steps, which is what they are talking about as their development? As per last page of the step 3 chapter of the 12X12, it is to “align our will with God’s Will”. Therefore by practicing the steps “painstakingly” , we align our will with God’s will for us as alcoholics. This right alignment results in a changed life – a life which demonstrates the characteristics described on page 83&84 of the BB commonly referred to as “The Promises” . If my life does not demonstrate “The Promises”, then I need to be more “painstaking” about my practicing the steps and aligning myself with God’s Will.

Another helpful self check in addition to confirming the presence of the characteristics of the “Promises” in my life, is to verify the absence of the “Bedevilment’s” listed on page 52 of the BB.

Here is the big takeaway – people make promises to other people. The AA promises are some but not all of the benefits of doing His (God’s) Will. There are lots of promises in the Good Book (which the founder’s based the Big Book on) - hundreds, if not thousands. The Good Book is full of God’s promises,and God keeps His promises….if we are painstaking about following His will. That’s our part of the bargain.

It is not only a bargain, it’s the deal of a lifetime.

A Letter From God

Imagine the proposition that there exists an actual letter from God himself to us personally and individually explaining His heart and mind and providing specific instructions for us to find him,  become one with him,  and possess all the most important things that he alone can provide.   If we in fact knew  that such a letter existed or there was even a possibility that such a letter existed,   would we not go to any lengths  to find that letter?  Would  that letter not be of more value than the objects of all the treasure hunts in all the history of man?  Jesus Christ claims that his teachings which are described in the Holy Bible,  are exactly that; …  a spiritual treasure map of sorts,  leading to our Heavenly Father and the ability to reside with Him in Heaven,  right now.
 If Christ is who he said he is,  then the things he said describe the heart and mind of God the Creator of all things. Therefore,  those words would be  the most important thing in the world and the most important thing in any and every man’s life.   If Christ is not who he said he is then one must concede that he was hopelessly insane, or worse,  and anything he said should be disregarded.
 Since the authors of the primary text of the 12 step recovery community the book titled Alcoholics Anonymous,  clearly state that the principles of the fellowship came primarily from sections of the Bible that are the teachings of Jesus Christ (Mathew: 5-7, James, 1 Corinthians :13) and also that the fellowship literature and structure was closely modeled after a previous fellowship known as the Oxford Group which openly confessed Jesus Christ as God Incarnate and as the focus of their fellowship.  If these things are true then the validity of the principles of 12 step recovery and the fellowship itself literally  hinge on this question:  Is Jesus Christ the One who has all power?  Is He the One God under which we were restored and united  with hearts and minds attuned to the welfare of others? Or was he some insane imposter fooling billions of people, the most colossal fraud imaginable?  This is a question it seems that every open minded member of the 12 step recovery community should want to explore by examining for themselves exactly what Jesus Christ said and how it relates to the fellowship.  Since Christ’s teachings are the foundation of the principles of the fellowship, perhaps the search for God should start with the object of the founders phrase “God as we understood Him”.  A wise man once said “if you hear hoofs at the door, look for a Horse first, not a Zebra”. Perhaps God is and has always been  hiding in plain sight.
Why is it so important  for every man to explore this issue?  Why does it matter who it is that is the focus of our spiritual life and worship, our Higher Power, God? Can’t  we get benefits from practicing the principles even if we don’t know  or acknowledge the true  source of those principles?  Yes of course we can and many have and many   do.  But it is like traveling to a wonderful foreign land, and  as a visitor there,  we can enjoy the benefits of that place but we can’t stay there forever. We are visitors not residents.   By accepting Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior, the One’s whose principles we practice anyway,  he tells us that we will remain with him forever,  not just enjoy the worldly benefits of using his principles during the short time that we are a living physical being as part of his creation.
There is nothing more important or urgent than establishing eternal residency in Heaven with our Creator through Christ.  We can immediately become a resident of Heaven,  it is free for the asking.  We need only ask the One who has all power to grant that request.  Only he can do so.  That is the Good News for all mankind.

The Essence Of Our Program

I was at a fellowship meeting last night and I had the great blessing of attending that meeting with my wife and her mother who was visiting from out-of-town. The meeting speaker was my daughter. All told, we had three generations present in the room, three generations that God has blessed up with a combined total of 86 years of sobriety.

The topic my daughter chose for her talk was fear. It was as if she had put her finger on the issue that involves the real essence of our program. She quoted the section of the book the big book of Alcoholics Anonymous that talks about fear, how we write those fears down, that the solution to those fears is putting God at the center of our life. The truth of her words struck me profoundly.

The keystone of the spiritual arch we build in our fellowship is having God in the center of our life, it’s the focus of everything that we do. This was the spiritual inspiration for the writing of the book of Alcoholics Anonymous and for the creation of our fellowship. The co-founders pamphlet quotes Dr. Bob on P 52 saying that the spiritual principles of our fellowship came from the Bible – specifically three sections – The Sermon on the Mount (Matthew chapters 5 through 7) , first Corinthians Chapter 13 which is the Apostle Paul’s dissertation on love (commonly read at weddings) and the entire book of James.

In contemplating the topic of fear, I’m also reminded of the emphasis on Psalm 91 which was also a mainstay of the early fellowship. I believe that there are two very powerful tools to be used in conjunction with the working of a thorough written fourth step and the steps that follow are careful study of study of Psalm 91 and of first Corinthians chapter 13.

The indisputable fact is that fear cannot inhabit the heart of a person if the center of  person’s heart is God and God’s love for them. One cannot serve two masters. Therefore, whenever fear grips me it is a self-centered fear. This fear is often summed up in the phrase we hear in meetings “losing something I’ve got or not getting something I want”. If I’m acting in love towards others from practicing the principle of service to my fellow-man and I’m loving them as Christ loves all of us beyond our comprehension, then I am immediately relieved of my self-centered fear because I’m focusing on the love of another person. God is love and God’s love dispels all fear.

The Big Book that says on page 62 that the keystone of our recovery is placing God at the center of our lives. It is only by having this God and love centered attitude towards life that  He removes our fears at once.

That has been true for me and will remain true as long as I’m willing to practice that love towards others in and out of our fellowship.