#39 Northstar Community Recovery

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Who would have thunk that one of my absolute favorite church experiences so far would have been at a 12-step addiction recovery service?  Well, not this gal.

A few Saturday’s back I made my way to prayer #39, Northstar Recovery held in the Bon Air Baptist church on Buford Road.  Before making my way into the sanctuary, I passed several folks sitting outside on the concrete steps, hurrying to finish their last few drags of cigarettes before entering.  I was warmly greeted with an accepting smile by everyone who I managed to make eye contact with.   It appeared the members of the congregation knew eacher because they gathered in groups and greeted one another by name.  By the way I was welcomed; I suspected I must have reeked of “newcomer.”

Within moments, I was immediately brought back to an image of a rather low place in my life. I pictured myself, age 20, standing in line at my court appointed Alcoholics Anonymous meeting waiting to refill my 4th cup of coffee in my way too small Styrofoam cup.  Coffee seems to be a big hit among the addicted. At Northstar, many refused to settle in to listen to the sermon until they had their coffee in hand.  It’s almost like in order to admit you’re chemically dependant; you must do so while holding this incredibly addictive yet socially acceptable drink.

Northstar’s motto is:  Recovery.  It’s a God thing.  And let me tell you; it most certainly is.  Pastor Teresa McBean promises to educate her members on their ability to tap into the transforming power of Jesus, and she does just that.  A dynamic speaker, McBean manages to provide hope to the hopeless.  I sat almost star struck as I watched her proclaim the Gospel to the broken-hearted while videographers taped her message to later air on local television.  She spoke in such a warm, compassionate, and empathetic way while simultaneously revealing the biblical requirement that God’s children live in obedience and complete submission to Christ.  Not once did she sugar-coat the Word to fit her audience.  This year I’ve listened to many pastors play Churchianity in an attempt to tickle the ears of the people in their congregation.  Not so with McBean.  I suspect she never waters down God's Word or fails to lift up His promises.   At one point in her sermon she said, “I hesitate to tell you that God needs you to trust in Him enough in order to completely turn from your addiction so you may walk with Him, but that’s the type of obedience He requires from us.  I hesitate because I know that this seems like an impossible task at the moment and I don’t want to overwhelm you with such a thought, but by keeping an abiding connection with Jesus Christ, He, and He alone can do the impossible so this daunting task is not yours to overcome.”

While preaching from the Message Bible, a modern day paraphrase, she urged the congregation to leave their excuses for not living Christian lives at the foot of the cross.  She reminded them of the painful reality that everyone has experienced some type of hardship.  McBean challenged them to move past the self-pity and hurt and claim the healing that Christ provides.  I wanted to give her a standing ovation.  I’ll even admit that I experienced a tinge of jealousy when thinking about how incredibly awesome this woman was.  To say that she was inspiring is an understatement.  I appreciated Northstar, because like these chemically addicted folk, I realize, I am that broken.  I’ve experienced first hand and so greatly appreciate the healing power of God.  This year, on several occasions, I’ve told my husband how inadequate my words are at describing the peace and strength God has offered me.  I marveled at Theresa McBean because of her ability to verbally communicate God’s restoring power in a way I didn’t think was possible. 

I left Northstar that night thinking about a concept I hadn’t given much thought to prior.  The message is highlighted in the Gospel of Luke when the unamed woman pours expensive perfume on Jesus’s feet and He reassures Simon that it was okay to do so.  Jesus tells Simon that since the woman had a lot of sins to be forgiven for, she loves greatly.  He goes on to say that in the same manner those who have little sins to be forgiven, loves little.

While I’m sure it doesn’t seem to be the case to most of them, there is a blessing in having an obvious affliction like the folks at Northstar.  It’s only through our humility and acknowledgement of sin that we are able to submit ourselves to God.  What’s more humbling than being powerless over drugs or alcohol, unable to stop giving into our desire?  Until one recognizes their need for a Savior, there’s really no reason to be saved. 

I suspect every one of us lacks control over something.  Drug addict or not, I would highly recommend checking out a Northstar Recovery service if you’re looking to tap into the strength that only He can offer.  Check ‘em out on the web at http://www.northstarcommunity.com

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3 Comments

  • Scott

    Scott November 11, 2010

    Not to be picky, but Luke chapter 7 does not name the woman that anointed Jesus Christ’s feet. We do not know that it is Mary Magdalene or Mary, sister of Lazarus. That passage in Luke is wonderful and is a blessing.

  • Jessica

    Jessica November 11, 2010

    Not picky AT ALL.  I would always hope you do that.  I’m glad you pointed that out!  I’ll fix it right now.  Thanks, Scott!!!

  • Nicole Unice

    Nicole Unice November 12, 2010

    Jessica,
    I’ve heard such good things about Northstar, and I was glad to hear you confirm it. I knew you would shoot straight. I actually forwarded your post on to someone who’s been associated there before—-I’m sure Theresa McBean would love the encouragement! Great post.

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