Dick B. interviews Christian Recovery leader Jeff M. on the March 26, 2013, episode of the "Christian Recovery Radio with Dick B." show
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Hear the Show Right Now if You Wish
You may listen to Dick B. interview Christian recovery leader Jeff M. of Overcomers Outreach, Inc., on the March 26, 2013, episode of the "Christian Recovery Radio with Dick B." show here:
Episodes of the "Christian Recovery Radio with Dick B." show are archived at:
Preliminary Comment by Dick B. about Bridges and Divisions
It is appropriate today to interject this comment on bridges and divisions because our guest is Executive Director of Overcomers Outreach, Inc.—a group offering a bridge between “Big Book and Bible” when it comes to recovery today.
Why should we have Christian recovery churches and organizations that ban 12 Step, A.A., and non-organization literature? Why should we have individual Christians and a few among clergy who urge drunks and addicts to stay away from A.A. and 12 Step fellowships “because none of these are Christian?” Why should we have A.A. meetings where a bleeding deacon insults a Christian AA and tries to suppress his sharing because he mentions Jesus or the Bible? And why should there be a growing consensus in the 12 Step community that you really don’t have to believe in anything at all to be an AA or to recover from alcoholism and addiction? Freedom of speech may be invoked as a reason. But what about love, kindness, gentleness, selflessness, avoiding unseemly, being not easily provoked, thinking no evil, and rejoicing in the truth?
Why! How does any of this disruptive behavior help the alcoholic or addict who still suffers? How does any of this square with well-documented history that early A.A. was a Christian Fellowship that held prayer meetings, studied the Bible, read Christian literature, and urged belief in God and coming to Him through Jesus? And succeeded! How does any of this fit with the much publicized A.A. ideas of “Unity” and “Service;” “Love and Tolerance;” and “Love and Service?” And how can one take these positions when some of the greatest charitable institutions like the American Red Cross disaster workers, Salvation Army relief volunteers, Army nurses, and the United Way impose no litmus test as to whom they can serve and help—regardless of the religious convictions of victims?
Introduction of Speaker
Our guest today is Jeff M., Executive Director of Overcomers Outreach, Inc.--a Christian Twelve Step Bridge Group with headquarters in Whittier, California. These are very exciting days for us at Christian Recovery Radio because--in addition to the many Christian recovery leaders and workers that we have interviewed up to this point--we are being deluged with new faces, new energies, and new growth in the International Christian Recovery Coalition. This includes the role of God, His Son Jesus Christ, and the Bible in recovery in all 50 states and in other countries. But our connection with Overcomers Outreach, Inc., is seasoned and long-standing. We're delighted to have Jeff here today.
Bob Bartosch and his wife Pauline organized Overcomers Outreach as a Christian recovery bridge group. They published a guidebook; they worked tirelessly to help alcoholics, addicts, and those with other life-controlling problems seek, find, and receive God's help. And I (Dick B.) was privileged to speak at one of their large conferences in Southern California. And then Bob passed away. However, Pauline was determined to keep the embers glowing.
In October 2008, she introduced Jeff to Ken and me at our conference in Pasadena, CA. Pauline reported that they had Jeff as a great, new director. And since then, we've seen nothing but vibrant service that glorifies God among the addicted and those affected by addiction.
Jeff will tell us about his upbringing, family, education, religious background, Twelve Step work, and activities in moving Overcomers Outreach back into a center place in the arena of the Christian Recovery Movement. Also a bit about his addiction experience. We hope to hear about the many new events and outreach efforts that are characterizing Overcomers Outreach today--including their new guidebook.
Take it away, Jeff
Synopsis of Jeff M.’s Interview by Dick B.
Jeff’s life began with a split family with three children—mother and father divorced. And Jeff decided his role was to make what he could of himself. He reflected: Your only relationship with God was to meet Him when you died!
Jeff attended Maritime Academy and spent 25 years on ships, oil tankers and tug boats. He thought his family were OK with his drinking. But he didn’t notice that their drinking was different from his. His next activity was crack. But by July 4, 2002, he realized he was alone in a small garage apartment. He was hopeless. He seized a bottle of cheap vodka. But he then cried out: “If you’re real now, God, I need your help now!” And his phone rang. It was Jeff’s estranged dad who wanted to help. He got Jeff into rehab and 12 Step recovery. But they were talking about a “power greater than yourself” which could be a tree or some “cosmic force.” But he had also connected with a church after rehab. He remembered how he had cried out to God for help. And, said Jeff, the Gospel made sense to him for the first time, when the pastor told him to “open your heart and say “yes” to Jesus Christ.” Jeff decided he then could work with the 12 Steps.
Jeff was laid off as a store manager. He had friends in different 12 Step programs. And he started reading the Bible. His sponsor said it was OK to go to church and to read the Bible. The sponsor noted that the 12 Steps once emerged from the Bible. And he told Jeff, “Try.” Then Jeff attended an Overcomers Outreach, Inc. meeting where there was discussion of the 12 Steps and the Bible. And members talked about the Holy Bible. Again, his sponsor said: “By all means, go!”
The Overcomers meeting enabled Jeff to build a support network; to see a little worship, prayer, reading of Scripture, and how it could be applied in this day. Members talked about God with other believers. After being laid off, Jeff attending an Overcomers meeting in San Luis Obispo where he met Pauline Bartosch and some of the Board members. They suggested he take on the job of Executive Director of Overcomers. He prayed, talked to his pastor, and then accepted.
Jeff became a great supporter of the recovery arena and International Christian Recovery Coalition. He felt that the divisions between AAs, churches, and atheists need not be. They should get over their differences; and build together. Jeff became a deacon in his church but began working mainly in the A.A. scene, and with homeless. He found many AAs with 10, 18, 20 years who were hungry for something else. They wanted to hear the Gospel. Some listened, and some walked away. But Jeff subscribed to the biblical phrase that his workers could plant and water, but it was God who would give the increase. There were to be no objections to talking about Jesus. No prohibitions. No restrictions on literature read. The group has now published Overcomers Outreach-A Bridge to Recovery (3rd ed.) which can be obtained online from www.overcomersoutreach.org.
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