Celebrate Recovery Testimony
The bible tells us in 3 John: 13-14,
“I have much to write you, but I do not want to do so with pen and ink. I hope to see you soon, and we will talk face to face.”
Tonight, we are face to face.
Good evening, my name is Mark Gibson and I am a grateful believer in the Lord Jesus Christ.
Throughout my entire life, I have found that jealousy and envy have become my chief hurt, habit, and hangups. As a result, I have relied on abusing food as my drug of choice. Tonight, I wish to share with you about my struggles with fear and self-esteem, and how Celebrate Recovery and the 12-Step study helped me to overcome my troubles, and set me on the path of sanctification; that is, to be the person that Christ intended for me to be.
Now concerning my spiritual condition, I was baptized as a baby by my uncle Bob, who was a Methodist minister. I did attend church with the family on Sunday and participated in church activities. We did return to my fathers hometown (Rockingham) for visits and most every Christmas. It was required by my aunt Earline dad’s sister for the kids to recite the Christmas story in the Bible.
There were several conditions of my youth that would later become the catalyst for my troubles, as I was born with club feet and a disfigured lip. I had to have surgery on my feet which resulted in me wearing prescription shoes.as a baby until they were able to operate on my leg at age 16 and I was able to switch to regular shoes.
During the course of my youth, other kids made fun of me in school. One of the most prevalent episodes was during my time in elementary school, when a bully wanted to engage me in a physical altercation. I was able to talk the tyrant out of the fight by explaining to him about a certain cousin of mine, and evidently my relatives fame persuaded the youth to reconsider, and he discontinued his attempt to fight I am happy we did not fight as I was not skilled at fighting except with my sister and my cousin. Sometimes I wonder if I did fight what the outcome would be.
During my youth, I found ways to volunteer at my junior and high school at the library, which allowed me to become separate from what I considered “normal kids’” activities. Throughout this period, a neighbor with a telescope introduced me to astronomy. I then became very passionate about the hobby and formed an astronomy club at my high school. Indeed, I soon discovered that I did have a few friends with common interests.
I was a member of the scouts and We went camping with the scouts and my father was a leader and was the troops treasurer. We also went camping as a family and I remember we camped with another family that had a ski boat and I remember getting ready for my first skiing adventure and my mom said no. She was afraid of me getting injured. I am still waiting for that first ski adventure.
When I was attending community college I joined a multilevel marketing plan (Amway) and we had meetings out of town and in those meetings they had church on Sunday. These people were crazy. They talked about Jesus being real and prayed to God. The people from my group invited me to their local church in Virginia Beach, VA, The Rock Church. They were an independent pentecostal style church and the pastor was a recovered drug addict and gave the glory to God for his recovery.
ACTS 1:5 For John truly baptized with water; but ye shall be baptized with the Holy Ghost not many days hence.
In 1978 was baptized as an adult with water by my pastor but I was also later baptized by the Holy Ghost. I remember that day it happened and when I fell down, I came back singing unto the Lord. You can believe what you want but this happened to me.
I went to church every time the door opened and served in the ministry by taking turns recording the sermons in the back room. Old fashion tape recorder.
After I dropped out of college I got a job at a custom house broker in Norfolk working my way up from the mail room to manager of the airport office. One day I got an offer for a promotion with my company to move to Raleigh, NC. I accepted that offer and it took me to Raleigh, NC and I tried to find a new church home but strayed away for 30 years until I found The Passage Church in Knightdale, NC.
Proverbs 28 3 Whoever conceals their sins does not prosper, but the one who confesses and renounces them finds mercy.
A couple of years ago I first heard about church on a Friday night in Raleigh on the ham radio frequency. Last year God told me to attend. I said okay I wouldn’t know anyone there so I could go and sit in the back and learn about how I can control my eating habits. I was talking to the person at the registration table and heard across the room, hey Mark Gibson. So much for me being there in anonymity. Turned out it was Mike someone I had know for over 20 years as a result of my ham radio hobby. He remembers me discussing if the 21st century started in the year 2000 or 2001. It turns out he was the MC of the celebrate recovery service. Coincidence number two the step study program would be starting the next week. I registered for that.
When I first started the step study I felt I could do every one but Principle 4 Openly confess your faults to God and someone I trust. When I finally did that that October Tuesday night I felt like a huge load was lifted off my shoulders. In fact the next night at my home church small meeting group the host said asked i looked like I had lost some weight.
James 5:16 Therefore confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous person is powerful and effective.
Time passes on and my wife and I were looking for a bigger house either in Florida or the Sandhills. We found one we liked in the Sandhills and put in an offer that was accepted. The owner made an offer to allow us to rent until closing . They wanted a larger than normal earnest money so we wouldn’t pull out. On my way to take my check to the realtor satan was telling me that I just wanted to move so I could drop out of church and the step study program. Based on my original move to North Carolina I had dropped out of church. I decided to stop by my church and see if I could talk to my pastor. I was lucky he was there and available. I told him about my situation and he gave me some advice and said he could set up an accountability parter and make sure I would not drop out. I delivered the check to the realtor and told my step study about my moving plans. At first I prayed that if this was not God’s will to please take the move away from us. As things continued I prayed that God would allow it. I continued to the step study and preparing for our move. A couple of weeks later Mike told me that him and Vickie decided to invite me to stay with them on Tuesday nights so I wouldn’t drop out of the step study program. Coincidence four. Sometimes I wondered if God really cares about me being the evil person I am. I had several chances that could have turned over and gone a different direction. The greatest thing I learned is to accept the principles by faith. I never thought I would open up to another person the way I did.
My group pointed out to me I had the impression that the rest of the world had one set of rules for example I thought their sins were forgiven but somehow mine wasn’t. I also thought I had committed the unforgivable sin and I had committed my sin 491 times surprising God’s ability to forgive me.
14We know that the law is spiritual; but I am unspiritual, sold as a slave to sin. 15I do not understand what I do. For what I want to do I do not do, but what I hate I do. 16And if I do what I do not want to do, I agree that the law is good. 17As it is, it is no longer I myself who do it, but it is sin living in me. 18For I know that good itself does not dwell in me, that is, in my sinful nature. c For I have the desire to do what is good, but I cannot carry it out. 19For I do not do the good I want to do, but the evil I do not want to do—this I keep on doing. 20Now if I do what I do not want to do, it is no longer I who do it, but it is sin living in me that does it.
I visited several Rockingham churches one I had visited for three weeks and my sponsor suggested trying to find an Assemblies of God church and I did. I tried that one for several weeks and decided to join the Freedom Assembly the Possibility Church. The pastor asked to meet with him and I told him a little about my background and of course my actovity with celebrate recovery.
I encourage anyone struggling with drugs, alcohol, habits, hangups to join a step study program. It took me several weeks to get to the point accepting what the Bible says by faith. It really works.
The link to the video. Take 1