Truth Teaching on Step 5:

Our trusted servant Chris S., gave a learned and enlightened witness to the power of releasing Christ’s Holy Spirit power to overcome the disease of alcoholism and addiction.  Listen here as he shares about how it works when we:

Admitted to God, ourselves and to another human being the exact nature of our wrongs.

Here is the accompanying powerpoint presentation:

Step 5 May 1 2017

Thank you Sir Sullie for speaking to our fellowship and reminding us that nature of reality is this;  The Truth is not the problem…

If you missed our Truth Teaching please add a JOTL calendar event for the 1st Monday of every month.  Next month we’ll here from Chris on Step 6!

 


To prepare for Good Friday… pray and ask:

CrossLogoPsalm 139:

23 Search me, O God, and know my heart!
    Try me and know my thoughts!
24 And see if there be any grievous way in me,
    and lead me in the way everlasting!


Happy Easter from JOTL!

     Happy Easter! I had a couple of inquiries as to where the blog was about ‘Celebrate a Murder Friday’ more commonly known to America as Good Friday, but I really like the Hispanic name of Holy Friday a bit more. As I prayed about putting some thoughts together for the family on the Joy of the Lord email list I kept sensing something about the ‘Breath of Easter’…
     John the lovingly sensitive one of the original 12 disciples penned the following hope-filled and very inclusive words of Jesus as He spoke with a member of a very religious sect of Jesus’ day: “God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world, but that the world might be saved through Him.”
     With this universal thought in mind, let me say Happy Anniversary world, as today we celebrated the anniversary of the Son of God (fully man and fully God) Jesus Christ who rose from the dead! I sense that most of my brothers and sisters in Christ think that Easter may be just for those who already believe and follow Jesus, but if we use the recovery phrase of the 7 T’s (Take The Time To Think This Through), and reflect on what Jesus meant when he said what He did, then it truly is the world’s anniversary, and not just those who are ‘in Christ’. God sent His Son to save the world, and to my family in Christ, we all were in the world at one point in time until the Whisper broke through our shell…
     By doing so in supernatural fashion God, defeated death and sin for those in this world who choose to ‘come to believe’ this supernatural message. Come on now, let’s party it up as we are going to heaven when we die and that takes away a pretty big chunk of tension off of the shoulders!
     But in the here and now, here is the real heart pounding truth for those who believe in Jesus rising from the dead; we have gone from being spiritually dead creations of God to spiritually alive children of His. It’s back to the Adam and Eve thing with original sin – every person ever born on the planet is born spiritually dead from our earthly lineage. Dead people don’t need forgiveness they need life!
     The spirit that raised Christ from the dead comes to take up residence in our lives the nano second we say, “Yes Lord I believe this message of Christ rising from the dead and ask you to please come and live inside of me and make me the person You want me to be”. With this prayer of accepting Christ we become spiritually alive for all of eternity! The unbelievable bonus of being absolutely and perfectly acceptable to our Father in heaven (because of our faith in Christ – it is a total grace thing – we have been set up)! is that we are forgiven for all past, present and future sin in our life. Can you say freedom – how about woohoo – Happy Easter! There are some folks out there who love to dance and this truth should let you boogie down without looking at your feet!
    We just ate the desert first. I love eating the desert first because I can! But a great meal requires much preparation and work to put it together, and let me humbly explain the metaphor by saying that Holy Friday and Easter are God’s idea. A sacrifice and an example of unconditional love such as will never be seen again – nor thankfully never needs to be.
     A common and horrific tactic by a brutal Roman government that occupied Jerusalem in the time of Christ was crucifixion. 7 inch spikes driven through the wrist bones, and through the feet of those convicted of not paying taxes or other crimes while the prisoner lay on a roughly hewn cross. The instant that the cross was stood up vertically it became impossible for the person on the cross to catch their breath as they pushed up from their nail bound feet gasping for air and pulling up on the hands fastened to the horizontal beam of wood. The cause of death was suffocation from not being able to grab a breath…
     Falsely accused, misunderstood (even by those He had been with for the three years of His ministry), abandoned, beaten, betrayed, and hated, the Son of God had one thought in mind which the author of the book of Hebrews writes, “Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy set before him, endured the cross, scorning its shame….” That unbelievable thought, was a thought of joy. That joy Jesus had was about you and I as He writhed in pain on the cross, trying to catch His breath
      One of the saddest times of reflection for me was just before His last breath. Jesus had to carry the weight of every sin that mankind ever committed, every curse was put on Him and as I understand it, His fellowship with the Father for an instant was broken as our perfect heavenly Father could not be in the presence of sin. The ultimate loneliness and abandonment was Jesus’ experience as Mark records that He cried out, “My God, my God why have you forsaken me?” and then Mark writes, “With a loud cry, Jesus breathed his last.” 
 
     Again, this kind of love of God could not fathom doing eternal life without you or I in His presence. So He made a way. This was God reaching down from heaven so we could stop the attempts of man to reach up to God. Easter is God’s idea.
     Can you imagine the Lord’s triumphant breath of Easter, the gift that gives, when He suddenly appeared to the two Mary’s who were running from the empty tomb to tell the other followers? What a tremendous sigh of love and life it must have been when He said in Matthew 28: 9&10, “Greetings,” he said. They came to him clasped his feet and worshiped him. Then Jesus said to them, “Do not be afraid. Go and tell my brothers to go to Galilee; there they will see me.” 
 
     Imagine the smile on His face as he did this, the joy in his heart as he reunited with the first of HIs followers and exhaled that first breath of Easter, the gift that gives. Praise God for Easter!
PS The anniversary of Easter is every day – go and share this great love with someone today!
Don Zonic
May God’s infinite wisdom cure us of the madness of self-confidence.
Charles Spurgeon

Do I want to be right, or do I want to be happy?

The significance of my grasping the entire implications of Step 1 is directly proportionate to my serenity level…

What does that mean?  It means that if I remember, more than forget, that I am powerless over another person, situation or circumstance in my life then I actually have a chance at a serene today regardless of what that person, situation or circumstance may bring my way.

Take a quick look at the concept of Step 1 of the 12 Steps of Recovery and see how this principle is the jumping off point to a happy and productive life.  Please be open minded (if you are in recovery or not) as life is hard and all people can use tools to successfully negotiate our world today.  The application of these life changing principles of the recovery movement brought to mankind in their inception of 1935 (the anniversary year of the birth of Alcoholics Anonymous, the first of all 12 steps programs) has allowed those lost in their various addictions to successfully face life when it shows up.  In the case of this recovering alcoholic I used to drink my way through life’s issues (e.g., employers, significant others not doing it my way, vehicle breakdowns, illnesses, etc.).  As I embrace the mental life saving principle of powerlessness I have an attitude adjustment.  However to the first sentence of this blog what value is ‘the entire implication’ of powerlessness?  The key to it is found in the second half of the first step, in the un-manageability of our life which makes the powerless pill much easier to swallow…

An unappreciative employer, a dispute with your significant other that lands you on the couch, the heartbreak of children not doing it correctly, long term chronic pain or illness, or making a monumental mistake that is pain producing are consequences that all mankind faces, not just those in recovery.  I was blown away after 23 years of being a blackout party animal to learn that my alcohol (drugs, sexually acting out, overeating, gambling, etc. – insert your drug of choice or escape behavior here) was a symptom of my problem(s) and that intact I suffered from a living problem…

We of Joy of the Lord Ministries (JOTL) have a format now to help ease human suffering through the principles of recovery that we call Truth Teaching.  The audio format on the website will allow you to go to any of the 12 steps and hear a brilliant teaching on the principles to serenity pertaining to that particular step.  The teacher, Chris S. is a man with more than 30 years of continuous sobriety.  We meet every Monday night in Cupertino, and the first Monday of the month is our Truth Teaching. Come join us as we share and enjoy the new freedom we have found hidden in the scriptural truth of “God has chosen the foolish things of the world to shame the wise…”  If it doesn’t work (oh yeah – it is on you to do the footwork) your misery will accompany you wherever you go!  Just my experience… which brings me to my title line of these thoughts… Do I want to be right, or do I want to be happy?


Todd and Cati Share their Testimony on God’s healing grace!

God has certain privileges doesn’t He?  Nice of me to acknowledge that isn’t it?  I met Todd maybe 15 years ago as a casual acquaintance at church.  One can never have too many eternal brothers.  I never knew until last night the powerful testimony he has about God’s life changing power.  The lesson there is talk to the people God puts in the path!
He and his lovely bride Cati came and shared their incredible testimony of an encounter with death and Jesus last night at our weekly Joy of the Lord meeting.  I must admit listening in person was more powerful than this video, but my life was changed last night.  My walk with God (after 25+ years) changed as Cati described her experience in the presence of the Lord.  The love and emotion of her husband validated every sentence.  Most importantly God’s Spirit brought home the fact that a relationship with Him is what all of this time on earth is about.  Check it out – maybe He will do the same for you… dz.

Community – get in on the life!

The word, concept and importance of community continues to cross my mind. Growing up in Chicago in spite of different ethnicities, if you were part of a community defined by certain street boundaries (nowadays known as the hood), it was understood by everybody who lived there that you were entitled to a type of security and respect just because you lived there. It really was safe; you could take risks you would not take on your own if it were not for that sense of community, even if it was for the most part an invisible sensation. It was home, part of family.
Relocating to New Jersey as a 9-year old was traumatic, as the 900 miles seemed like the other side of the world. I began my lying career at this point in time and was quite surprised at some of the tales that came out of my mouth! When we come into recovery and find that the alcohol, food, drugs, shopping, etc. are all symptoms of our problem(s), I can look back and see that I was a pathological liar at age nine! It made me feel
better. I was trying to fit in, but little did I know that I was actually driving people away from me. Another symptom I had as a budding, young, malcontent was that I was resentful and ungrateful for what I had. Today I love that anger and danger are separated by one letter! Enter alcohol and drugs and I was destined to wreak havoc!
I will not forget the desperate loneliness I experienced when I hit my bottom. There was zero security, I had lost all self respect, and my sense of belonging was with the studs on the framing of my garage wall, as I spent many waking hours there, paranoid in the grips of my disease. I didn’t know it but I was not alone at the time, just desperately lonely for someone to understand the mess I worked my way into.
So what happened? What changed my life so that today I’m a joy-filled member of society, living to help the next person that is in my path? Besides Jesus, the one word to sum it up is “community” (which is, by the way, God’s idea).
I was fooled into finding the heart-pounding life of community. As a blackout, “more” guy who hit a bottom, and having only the arms of Alcoholic Anonymous open to hug me, all I could do for some time was just be there and listen. My large and thriving home group of AA and the sponsor I worked with for the first year of my sobriety did not assign newcomer, “celebrity” status to me. I was directed to the solution for my living problem, the 12 Steps of recovery. I was introduced to Jesus, and the church family I found myself in was predominantly elderly grandparent types, and I didn’t feel like I fit in there. I just knew I liked what was happening to me. I was free, and becoming a joyfilled man, in spite of some horrific consequences to choices I made before I got sober. At 14 months sober I, and a man and a woman from my home AA group, met together in my home to talk about Jesus and recovery. We got into a huge argument, and another type of community was born, namely what 24 years later is known as Joy of the Lord Ministries.
Little did I know, but upon reflecting on these precious 24 years of weekly Christcentered recovery meetings, meeting and talking with thousands of alcoholics and others in recovery, God did for me what I could not do for myself – again. He raised upa community! There He goes being God again! So to my point about community, we are paying it forward and having a monthly community night meeting…
The last Monday of every month in 2015 we are going to be enjoying a dinner together, worshipping in song, celebrating milestones in recovery, and hearing a bit of great news from a leader in Christ-centered recovery from somewhere within the greater San Francisco Bay Area. We want to hear the powerful things that God is doing amongst the other recovery groups in Northern California. Please come on by – we start at 7:00 PM. We will also use this community night to fill up the “Jesus tub” and baptize new members of the family of Christ, share communion periodically, and just plain old love on each other.
If you have yet to be “fooled” into the value of community as I have, you will flat out have to give this valuable resource an intentional try. Dr. Luke in the book of Acts talks about how the family of believers devoted themselves to each other in all of the many variables of life. First of all, it is Christ as the common denominator, and then it is the new eternal family.
Wherever it is, don’t rip yourself off by not trying out your new spiritual family! I am praying you will find new meaning and purpose to recovery life as you follow Jesus’s example and direction. Heck, if it worked for me, and since God loves you more than He loves me (hee!), let’s do this thing together!
Because of Jesus… Don Z.

What is Joy of the Lord (JOTL)?

Thank you for logging into Joy of the Lord Ministries (JOTL) website to take a peek at what we are about. When people venture to a website that is recovery based it is our experience that you may be hurting from the ravages of an addictive lifestyle. Or you may have a friend or a loved one that is suffering from any sort of addictive/compulsive behavior that is making their life unmanageable (and probably yours also). We have ‘been there and done that’ and God has specially prepared us to share the hope of a new life which is based on what we call G.O.D., an acronym standing for the gift of despair. At JOTL most of our ‘members’ participate in outside 12 step meetings and the JOTL fellowship is not intended to be the sole source of our recovery.  
If our weekly meeting and fellowship is not exactly what you are looking for we have a vast array of resources; we have been in service to the Lord since February of 1991. Hopefully we can point you in a direction to get you back on track to experience life the way God intended life to be. 
What a great bumper sticker that reads, “God allows U­turns”!  
The hope is that if you are in recovery and are in search of the great ‘anonymous’ God of the rooms of recovery we can surely help you out. If you are a member of a church body, or are ‘in Christ’ already or any other type of community of faith or spiritual search we can help you out also. One of our specialties if you will is to help those in church leadership positions to understand what is going on in the ‘secular’ 12 step recovery world. This is a mystery to many who have committed their lives to serving God and we can help you understand if a ‘program’ might be right for your particular congregation. I have counseled with pastors, ministers (or whatever your title may be) or regular folks who are baffled beyond measure at the behaviors and attitudes of those in need of recovery, and it defies their spiritual logic. It is supposed to! That is why God has us around.
Please contact us and we will be prompt to respond to you, or better yet if you are in the South Bay on a Monday night come and visit with us and hopefully you to can begin to experience that the Joy of the Lord is your strength!
Don Zonic
Founder and Director