Addiction Is Not A Disease

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BBC News

If I hear someone else say they have the disease of alcoholism or drug addiction I will scream. Maybe not really scream out loud but internally I will be screaming. Addiction is not a disease. A disease is as described in Merriam Websters as

a condition of the living animal or plant body or of one of its parts that impairs normal functioning and is typically manifested by distinguishing signs and symptoms

Pregnancy is a nine month curable disease. It impairs normal functioning and is typically manifested by distinguishing signs and symptoms. Cancer is a disease, diabetes is a disease. You could not go up to a pregnant woman, a cancer patient, a kidney dialysis patient and say, “Well, there is this residential treatment facility and with a some counseling and a decision to quit this behavior, we can cure your disease.” It doesn’t work that way.

Addiction is a poorly made choice.

God gave you free will. Period. Read it. It’s found in Genesis, right in the beginning when he gives (man) you the world and everything in it and says, subdue it. That means you are in charge of everything. Dr. Myles Munroe says it best when he says if you were supposed to have dominion over the tobacco leaf then why does it have dominion over you? Why are you allowing it?

Addiction is a poorly made choice. I said that already I know but I want you to read it again. You have control over it. You decided to give your control over to a thing. The thing didn’t overtake you, you allowed it.

You have the power to change choices. I’ve never met anyone who chose to get cancer with the exception of those addicted to cigarettes and even they thought they were an exception to the rule.

You have the power over the addiction.

Choose wisely. It always starts with a choice.

A Mouse In The House

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I was typing out the church bulletin last night and watching TV. Out of the corner of my eye, I see something move. I look over and nothing is there. Okay, I’m seeing things only there it is again and I look over and it’s a mouse. I yell and it goes back behind the dresser where it was. Doug gets up and tries to find it and it runs into his closet while I yell again.

It was late and he was in bed but he put on his jeans and his shoes and stood up and pounded his chest.

“ME YOUR MAN!”
“I WILL BE YOUR WARRIOR”

He runs to the store for sticky traps and comes right back and sets up. Lulu the wonder dog, could care less. She is asleep at the foot of our bed wrapped up in her blanket. My yelling elicited a flicker of the ear and a deep sigh. This dog only works for treats. My deep fear of mice and things that scurry don’t phase her. I had no treat.

I LOVE fall. Really love fall, but every fall they plow the fields behind our houses and all the neighbors get mice. It’s the downside of fall.

Soul Esteem

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http://www.flickr.com/ photos/stephage/ 2825217494/

Mary Hollingsworth coined the phrase soul esteem and when I first read it I loved it. It spoke to me on so many levels. I believe that we as a society have put so much effort on self- esteem that we think it’s the end all to our exsitence. There are things that bring you so much more than the absorption of focus on self.

The word esteem means to regard with respect. How many of us respect our soul? If your soul is the core of your being then what are you doing to build it up and to fortify it? As a follower of Christ I fortify my soul through prayer, through the meditation of the word of God, through friendship with other believers, through books that provoke thought and through the media in various forms. I wade through vast amounts of information on what is happening in the world and how that affects us all and how it infringes or goes along with my thought process.

Let’s talk honestly though, how many have no time because other things take priority in their life? On-line gaming, television and the normal distractions of life keep us from taking care of our soul. What is more important than that though? The bible says;

1 John 1:2 – Beloved, I pray that you may prosper in all things and be in health, just as your soul prospers

So the principle here is that our body be in good health just as our soul be in good health. It means that there are certain things that make my soul weak, sick and poor just as there are things that make my health weak, sick and poor.

What are some things that make my soul healthy other than the things already mentioned above? Helping others makes my soul esteem rise. The feeling that I contributed in a small way to the world that I live in makes my soul prosper. It is not just about the things I do for myself but it’s in the reaching out to others that gives us a sense of purpose. At the core of our being we are relational. We are connected to each other and to deny that in our selfish actions is to deny a big part of who we were created to be. We’ve all heard the phrase, ‘it did my heart good’. Reaching out to help others actually helps us. I’ve seen depression cease as people reach out to others. They find a purpose other than a focus on their own lack is and it makes a transformation happen in their life.

Getting plenty of rest makes us less stressed out and they add the well being of our soul. Learning to be content in our lives and not always striving for that next best thing helps our soul. Getting out into nature for a walk and taking a look at God’s creation with a fresh perspective helps our soul stay healthy. Getting together with friends and laughing and talking makes you feel good. Learning to rejoice in other’s blessings are all things that help your soul esteem.

Don’t let your soul get weary and old. Revitalize, renew and refresh your soul as often as you can. You will be a better human being for it.

It’s Pastor’s Appreciation Month

Oasis has fun! We have this initiation that the youth group does. They put forks in the lawn of every new family and they put signs up with notes. Well, we woke up Sunday morning to this and pink silly string! Oh yeah, it must be Pastor’s Appreciation Month!

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And to all the V.I.P. Youth group: IT’S ON! And who wrote “bangin eye color”?

Why I Love Oasis

Our church is not a building, even though we seem to talk about our building often these days, following the fire. Our church is a people who gather together to learn about God, to pray, to lift one another up, to encourage each other to good works. Our church is generational where parents have brought their children and their children are now bringing their children and we are months away from one family having four generations worship together in the same row in our congregation.

Today blessed me and I wanted to share it with you. Vincent has just turned 3 years old a few weeks ago. He wants to be a guitar player. He got a guitar and he immediately came into the sanctuary and got up on the platform and took his place. He was very serious. His mom had to help him with his strap but then he got busy. In some churches the culture would make this inappropriate but we believe with all our heart that the children learn to lead this way.

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Matthew 11:25 At that time Jesus said, “I praise you, Father, Lord of heaven and earth, because you have hidden these things from the wise and learned, and revealed them to little children.

Vincent arrives with his mom and dad on prayer night and kneels at the altar in between his parents and begins to pray. He’s three, he gets bored after a while, so pretty soon he lifts his head but remains kneeling and pushes his trucks and cars quietly in his place while his parents continue to pray. Oh, how I wish I could show you a picture because this blesses me. Only I feel that I would be intrusive taking pictures during prayer so I refrain. Let me just tell you, it’s beyond a blessing to see and it touches your heart. I’m sure you can picture it.

Today though, when Vincent got up on that platform I couldn’t help but snap a few photos. I hope they make you smile like they did me. I pray that you are teaching your children to praise God, to worship him and to make him the priority of their lives.

Notice his pick!
Notice his pick!
In the middle of I Am Free he lifted his hand! Sooo cute!!!
In the middle of I Am Free he lifted his hand! Sooo cute!!!

Rebuilding The Church

I thought I’d post some pictures of how the rebuilding of the church is going!
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The first thing the city told us was that we needed to put up a fire wall between the sanctuary and the fellowship wall. In order to do this the bathrooms had to be moved a few feet. The city also required the plumbing be upgraded to today’s code so trenching and jackhammering 7″ of concrete flooring to get this done had to be completed first.

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Plumber Jerry Yanez puts in the parts that are required to pass code.

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At the same time the plumber is doing his thing the trusses are coming down to replace the burnt part of the ceiling.
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Don’t they make it all look so easy? It must have been because they seemed done in no time at all.

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Meeting with the general contractor, he shows us what is going on and what needs to happen next. It’s strange to see the church cut in two pieces but we know it will all be put back together again soon.

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Jody Jasso and Pastor Doug stop to pose for a picture.

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Walls are framed to hold things together until the new trusses arrive next week.

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That Is A She

aronil.com/.../ the-objectified-woman
aronil.com/.../ the-objectified-woman

I am reading Sex God by Rob Bell and it really put these thoughts in perspective for me. The thought of how we devalue people and treat them inhumanely by simple acts. I mean we don’t go around torturing people but we don’t have to torture to devalue.

Have you ever watched a man’s head turn, like he’s Linda Blair in the movie the Exorcist, when he sees a women he finds attractive walk by? Have you ever heard a man say to another man, “Wow! I’d love to have a piece of that!” Of course you have and you see it everyday.

The problem is that “that” is a “she”. When we dehumanize a person we are devaluing her, God and ourselves. If we believe the bible and it says we were created in the image of God then to call her a “that” is to be void of any recognition of God in her. God didn’t create “that” he created “she” and “he”.

And it doesn’t just happen in those moments. It happens all the time in all sorts of situations. When we see a person who is homeless and it makes us uncomfortable so we ignore them. When we see a woman who we think dresses immodestly and we label her a slut, we devalue who she is. When we see an alcoholic who is behaving obnoxiously and we are disgusted because of his lack of self-control and determine that we are better than that.

An incident happened in my life to really bring this home this week and I had to examine my own heart regarding this situation and really assess how I had devalued someone. I know a man who is not what we’d consider a nice man, he’s not breaking laws but his lifestyle leaves a lot to be desired. Anyway, you get the picture.

He came to me with a story that totally made him the victim of something bad and I didn’t want to believe him even though I had to because I could tell he was telling the truth. I wanted to say, “Well this is how you live your life so deal with it”, but that would have been wrong because I would never have told anyone else that. It also would have been a lie because he didn’t deserve to be treated that way no matter what he had done. I realized that in my mind because of his lifestyle I had devalued him as a person. The feelings I had towards this new situation in his life had more to say about me than it did about him. I had forgotten that he was person.

When I forgot that that he was human I didn’t just devalue him. I devalued his creator. My actions said God had made junk. It really hit me that I thought somehow I was better and I am not any better. My sin is no less than his. My actions are no better than his but somehow I had reconciled all of that in my brain. I had justified something false and fake all the while wanting to be authentic. Truly, it breaks my heart, as I am no one to stand in judgment of anyone. In fact, to question what God was doing was not even my right or my place. I had to repent and see him as God saw him. God saw him as broken, hurt and in need of help. That same creator, the one who also created me saw the weaknesses in me as well and it broke his heart just as much for both of us.

Let’s begin to see people as God’s creation. We are his masterpiece. I for one have learned a valuable lesson this week. I hope I’ve expressed it well for you. My prayer is that we all begin to see each other as human. Yes, we notice flaws but that we notice them with the understanding that we all have them. We need to understand that we all fall short. That we are all in this together and that we would do better to help each other rather than to judge one another.