In the fall of 2011 a friend shared with me a dream she had in which she saw a young man standing next to a crushed motorcycle. As she looked at him, he began to fade, and she realized that unless God saved him, he would die. This dream served as my inspiration for The Warrior. As I developed the character of James Goodwin, the young man in the dream, I knew that he needed a lot of motivation if he were to give his life to Christ.
As I began to consider how James would break free from his personal demons, I naturally, turned for inspiration to the Celebrate Recovery (CR) program in my church that has helped so many people overcome the addictions and personal problems that were destroying their lives. As the story began to unfold, I incorporated Celebrate Recovery into the lives and personal testimonies of four of my characters.
Celebrate Recovery was begun in 1991 by John Baker, a pastor at Saddleback Church where Rick Warren is the senior pastor. Baker modeled Celebrate Recovery after the twelve-step recovery program that Alcoholics Anonymous developed, but it’s not affiliated with AA. Celebrate Recovery deals with every sort of addiction including alcohol, drugs, gambling, pornography, overeating, shopping, and hoarding. The purpose is to help people break free of their “hurts, hang-ups, and habits.”
“CR is based on the eight principles of the Beatitudes—also known as the Sermon on the Mount—found in Matthew 5:3-10. These are as follows:
First, I realize that I am not God. I am powerless to control my tendency to do the wrong things.
Second, I earnestly believe that God exists and that I matter to Him. I believe that He has the power to help me recover.
Third, I consciously choose to commit all my life and will to Jesus Christ’s care and control.
Fourth, I openly examine and confess my faults to God, to myself, and to someone I trust.
Fifth, I voluntarily submit to every change God wants to make in my life, and I ask Him to remove my character defects.
Sixth, I evaluate all my relationships. I forgive all those who have hurt me, and I make amends for harm I’ve done to others—except when to do so would harm them or others.
Seventh, I reserve a time with God each day for self-examination, Bible reading, and prayer.
Eighth, I yield myself to God to be used to bring His Good News to others, both by my example and my words.
While The Warrior is a fictional work, Celebrate Recovery is a real program available to churches everywhere. The testimonies in the book are inspired by real testimonies from real people who have completed the Celebrate Recovery program and broken free from the hurts, hang-ups, and habits that were separating them from the love of Jesus Christ and destroying their lives.
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Joyce Swann is a nationally-known author and speaker. Her own story of teaching her ten children from the first grade through master’s degrees before their seventeenth birthdays is retold in her book, Looking Backward: My Twenty-Five Years as a Homeschooling Mother Her newest novel, The Warrior is available on Kindle or in paperback. For more information visit her website at http://www.frontier2000.net or like her on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/frontier2000mediagroup