Showing posts with label Community Freedom Ministry. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Community Freedom Ministry. Show all posts

Wednesday, November 15, 2023

Celebrate Freedom Discipleship Course Lesson 1 - The Kingdom

For the Next 7 weeks, we will be presenting the 7 Lessons of the Celebrate Freedom Discipleship Course instead of our regular “Purity” daily encouragements.

I developed the Celebrate Freedom Discipleship Course in 2020 as part of my master’s thesis in Christian Counseling to “fill in the gaps” of the Christian Twelve Step/ Celebrate Recovery – Teaching Curriculums by introducing concepts of Christian Discipleship that I found important in my walk of faith and in my recovery over alcohol, drugs, sex addiction, and food addiction. 

Listen to The Lesson at: The Kingdom - Podcast

Or watch the Video Zoom Session of our Study on YouTube: 


Celebrate Freedom Discipleship Course 

Lesson 1: The Kingdom

Discipleship Principle 1 – Our worldview, relationship with God, and our lives must be defined by and lived within the context of the kingdom of God.

Mark 1:14-15 (NKJV) 14  Now after John was put in prison, Jesus came to Galilee, preaching the gospel of the kingdom of God, 15  and saying, "The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand. Repent, and believe in the gospel."

The focus of “the gospel” of the latter 20th century and early 21st century has been the redemption of man. Modern messages focus on salvation and forgiveness as the means to fulfilling man’s pursuit of happiness on earth and his ultimate happiness in heaven. Christ, the suffering servant, relieves the guilt of sin and guarantees life after death so man can live the life he chooses.

Scripture however presents the gospel as God’s call to man to repentance and service to God’s kingdom. Christ brought the kingdom of God with His earthly ministry. It is here presently through His word, the church, and the Holy Spirit who lives in believers. It will be fully realized when Christ returns to rule and reign. So, the kingdom of God has come and is yet to come. The kingdom is both now and not yet.


What is the gospel of the kingdom of God and how can understanding it impact recovery?

The “good news” of the kingdom of God is that Jesus made a way for us to enter it! Through faith in Christ, we become members of the kingdom. In short, discovery of, entrance to, and participation in the kingdom of God is life itself. Becoming part of and serving the kingdom is life’s meaning and purpose.

For recovery, a revelation of the kingdom of God provides meaning and empowers you to repent of your sins and overcome any hurt, habit, or hang-up. A revelation of the kingdom infuses life with a purpose that establishes and maintains victorious living.

Covenant – The Key to the Kingdom

Step 3: We made a decision to turn our lives and our wills over to the care of God. 


CR Principle 3: Consciously choose to commit all my life and will to Christ’s care and control. 


What just happened? By making the conscious choice “to commit all my life and will to Christ’s care and control,” with a verbal proclamation that specifically names Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior, we enter a covenant with the Lord and become members of God’s Kingdom!

Galatians 3:17 (NKJV) 17  And this I say, that the law, which was four hundred and thirty years later, cannot annul the covenant that was confirmed before by God in Christ, that it should make the promise of no effect.

Our covenant with Christ reconciles our relationship with God which was broken by sin. When we come into covenant with God through faith in Jesus Christ, we receive the promises of God.

Galatians 3:29 (NKJV) 29 And if you are Christ's, then you are Abraham's seed, and heirs according to the promise.”                   God’s promises give us so much.


·       We are forgiven for sin.


Galatians 1:3-4 (NKJV) 3  Grace to you and peace from God the Father and our Lord Jesus Christ, 4  who gave Himself for our sins, that He might deliver us from this present evil age, according to the will of our God and Father,

·       We are given eternal life.


John 3:16 (NKJV) 16 For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life.


·       We become God’s children.


Galatians 3:26 (NKJV) 26 For you are all sons of God through faith in Christ Jesus.


·       We are given the Holy Spirit.


Galatians 4:6 (NKJV) 6 And because you are sons, God has sent forth the Spirit of His Son into your hearts, crying out, "Abba, Father!"

·       We are given power over sin. 

Galatians 5:16 (NKJV) 16 I say then: Walk in the Spirit, and you shall not fulfill the lust of the flesh.


·       We become members of the kingdom of God – royal priests and co-heirs with Christ.

1 Peter 2:9-10 (NKJV) 9  But you are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, His own special people, that you may proclaim the praises of Him who called you out of darkness into His marvelous light; 10  who once were not a people but are now the people of God, who had not obtained mercy but now have obtained mercy.



Our covenant with God not only establishes what we receive, it declares whose we are, which in turn defines who we are and what we are to do. Our covenant relationship gives us a new identity and purpose for life: to serve the kingdom.

What do we need to know about the Kingdom of God for Recovery?

1.    The kingdom is real! - Most Christians do not have a revelation of the kingdom. So, we first have to “know”: There is One! There is a kingdom over and above all creation and Christ is the King. He brought the kingdom to earth, and He will come again to rule and reign for all eternity.

Matthew 28:18 (NKJV) 18 And Jesus came and spoke to them, saying, "All authority has been given to Me in heaven and on earth.

Matthew 6:10 10 Your kingdom come. Your will be done On earth as it is in heaven.

God is in control and is working all things toward the culmination of His coming kingdom and for the good of those who love Him (Rom 8:28). We can be at peace knowing there is a higher meaning and purpose to life, and we are secure as kingdom members through our faith in Jesus.


2.    The kingdom of God is the gospel. The “gospel of the kingdom of God” is what Jesus taught and commanded His followers to teach.

Matthew 4:23 (NKJV) 23 And Jesus went about all Galilee, teaching in their synagogues, preaching the gospel of the kingdom, and healing all kinds of sickness and all kinds of disease among the people.

Luke 9:2 (NKJV). 2 He sent them to preach the kingdom of God

We may be saved from separation from God and delivered from our hurts, habits, and hang-ups but we are saved to represent and work for the kingdom and to assist in delivering others to the kingdom where they can find life, healing, and purpose.

3.    Heaven is temporary. The kingdom of God culminates in a new heaven and a new earth. The gospel of the kingdom aligns with scripture to dispel the common myth of an ethereal realm of the afterlife as our final destination.

Revelation 11:15 (NKJV) 15  Then the seventh angel sounded: And there were loud voices in heaven, saying, "The kingdoms of this world have become the kingdoms of our Lord and of His Christ, and He shall reign forever and ever!"

The kingdoms of the earth will pass away, but God’s kingdom is eternal. When we have a revelation of this, the things of God become more important than the things of this earth. When we have a revelation of the kingdom, our faith will endure to the end.

4.    As members of the kingdom of God, we are to use the King’s power to overcome our hurts, habits, and hang-ups, to give glory to God, and to better represent the kingdom. Sanctification is the “kingdom work” to be done on ourselves.

Romans 12:1 (NKJV) 1 I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that you present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable to God, which is your reasonable service.


Our recovery is “kingdom work” as we are doing God’s will for our lives to repent and to be healed. Our choice to overcome our hurts, habits, and hang-ups is to realize our purpose for a higher cause than our personal well-being. We are conforming ourselves to represent the kingdom through our transformed life and our testimony becomes evidence of the King’s power.

5.    The kingdom has an enemy who has enslaved us and seeks to destroy or disable us. He must be recognized, fought, and defeated for victory.

John 10:10 (NKJV) 10 The thief does not come except to steal, and to kill, and to destroy. I have come that they may have life, and that they may have it more abundantly.

Matthew 6:13 (NKJV) 13 And do not lead us into temptation, But deliver us from the evil one. For Yours is the kingdom and the power and the glory forever. Amen.

The kingdom of God recognizes there is a kingdom of darkness to be delivered from and continually fought until Christ returns and establishes His kingdom on earth fully.

Beyond our own fleshly desires and patterns of behavior, the enemy has been leading us into temptation and encouraging our destruction. In Christ, we have the power to be victorious over the enemy in spiritual warfare.


6.    Assisting others to join and participate in the kingdom of God is your calling from God as your testimony can be used to help others to be saved and set free.

Mark 16:15 (NKJV) 15 And He said to them, "Go into all the world and preach the gospel to every creature.

Our pain and struggles become a message of hope for others as we represent a transformed life that results from becoming a member of the kingdom of God through our faith in Jesus Christ.

Revelation 12:11 (NKJV) 11 And they overcame him by the blood of the Lamb and by the word of their testimony, and they did not love their lives to the death.

What the enemy meant for evil; God has turned for good. Our stories were of darkness but now are of light, life, and hope.

7.    The Kingdom is not for all.

Luke 13:24-28 (NKJV) 24 "Strive to enter through the narrow gate, for many, I say to you, will seek to enter and will not be able.

All will not enter the kingdom of God as Christ describes entry to be through a narrow gate. The narrow gate is entered through faith in Jesus Christ. Without faith in Christ, we are unforgiven and unacceptable to God.

John 14:6 (NKJV) 6 Jesus said to him, "I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me.

Those who have rejected Christ have refused entry into God’s kingdom. Sobriety without Christ is a good work but leads to eternal separation,  for salvation is through faith in Christ alone. 

Knowing this we must love our enemies and forgive them for they don’t realize the seriousness of their situation. We must be loving and patient for in a moment they could suddenly see the light and come to Christ. Our previous lives in darkness looked like we had no hope, so we of all Christians should know to keep those outside the faith in prayer and extend to them the hope of the gospel of the kingdom.


Wrap Up

Having a Revelation of the kingdom of God can be a key paradigm shift in our recovery and in our lives. Being aware of our place in God’s kingdom and the promises of God can motivate our success and maintain our recovery as we experience the difference of a life filled with God-given hope and purpose. Belonging to the kingdom, we know:

·       The kingdom is real, is here, and is yet to come.

·       Christ is King.

·       This world is temporary, and the kingdom is eternal.

·     The kingdom was Christ’s primary message and teaching that we should share.

·     Membership to the kingdom through faith in Jesus Christ gives us.

o  Eternal life from which we can live fearlessly.

o  Power to overcome and heal - to walk out of darkness into His light.

o  Authority over the enemy and the ability to recognize his role in our temptation.

o  A present and eternal purpose to represent and usher others into the kingdom.

Living in the context of the kingdom brings heaven to earth as we experience the peace that surpasses all understanding regardless of circumstances, knowing that our lives will continue into eternity and that God is present with us, is for us, and will never leave or forsake us. God has a plan for His creation that results in His followers living with Him in a new heaven and new earth. When we understand the kingdom, we are given a purpose and the power to overcome our struggles and to endure through trials.

Let’s close in prayer.

Lord God, Heavenly Father, 

Thank you for bringing us all together tonight to encourage and support one another in our walks of faith and for reminding us through your word that Jesus is the King and through him you have welcomed into an abundant new life in Your Kingdom. Lord, motivate us to represent your kingdom and to do the “kingdom work” or our personal repentance and sanctification through recovery and to share the gospel of the kingdom with the words of our testimonies and the evidence of our transformed lives. Thank you for giving us a new life and an eternal hope that we received when we came into your kingdom through our Lord, Savior, and King – Jesus Christ!

In Jesus’ Name,  




CFDC 1 – Kingdom Discussion Questions


Review and Examine.

1.    How can a revelation of the kingdom of God help in your recovery?

2.    What are the implications for those in recovery who have not named Christ as Lord and Savior regarding the kingdom of God and their ability to prevent relapse?

3.    What promises does one inherit as a member of the kingdom of God?

4.    How is the gospel of the kingdom of God different from other gospels taught in most modern American churches?

5.    Are there any inherent responsibilities as a member of the kingdom of God? If so, what are they? If not, explain your answer.

6.    How does the knowledge of the kingdom of darkness and the enemy impact your recovery?

7.    How does the knowledge of the kingdom of God affect the purpose for your life?


------Join us next week for the next Celebrate Freedom Discipleship Course Lesson----


Join our “Victory over the Darkness”, “The Bondage Breaker”, and "Freedom in Christ" series of Discipleship Classes via the mt4christ247 podcast!

at, You can also find it on Apple podcasts

( The mt4christ247 podcast is also available on Google Podcasts, Amazon Podcasts, Spotify, iHeartradio, and 

These teachings are also available on the MT4Christ247 YouTube Channel:

Email me at to receive the class materials, share your progress, and be encouraged.

My wife, TammyLyn, also offers Christian encouragement via her Ask Seek Knock blog ( ),  her Facebook Group: Ask, Seek, Knock ( ) and her podcast Ask, Seek, and Knock on Podbean (

“The views, opinions, and commentary of this publication are those of the author, M.T. Clark, only, and do not purport to reflect the opinions or views of any of the photographers, artists, ministries, or other authors of the other works that may be included in this publication, and do not necessarily reflect the views or positions of any entities the author may represent.”

Encouragement for the Path of Christian Discipleship

Thursday, December 22, 2022

Humble Pie – What to do when No One Shows Up - Purity 921

Humble Pie – What to do when No One Shows Up -   Purity 921

Purity 921 12/22/2022 Purity 921 Podcast

Purity 921 on YouTube: 

Good morning,

Today’s photo of the silhouette of a man with his hands open and turned to heaven under the red clouds of sunset comes to us from the furthest recesses of my phone’s photo archives and an unknown source.  I will gladly add a photo credit to this if I receive the source information but am using it today to set it “free” and to encourage people in need to surrender to the Lord and seek His wisdom and strength all the days of their lives.  So I am hopeful, and pray that the artist behind this image won’t object to its use.  

According to my phone, I saved this image back on December 23, 2011, 11 years ago in the very early days of my Christian walk and although much has changed between now and then, I am still repeatedly reminded to humbly surrender to the Lord’s will for my life and can relate to the sometime “desperate moments” where we suffer trials or take a misstep on the path of Christian Discipleship, when we “get a feeling” to do something for the Lord and we learn from the results that we may have intercepted an enemy message that was intended to deceive us and lead us into frustration or despair, or we may have heard rightly but the Lord decided to use our failure to teach us a lesson in humility and the need to depend on Him only.  

Yesterday, I hosted a Zoom meeting for an audience of one.  I invited Freedom in Christ course graduates from this year, on short notice, for an impromptu opportunity to “check in” and I implied that we could possibly meet monthly in 2023, and I added “unless no one shows up”.  And no one did. So although I had a sudden “feeling” to send out this invite a couple of days ago during prayer, because God is sovereign, we know that the “idea” to haphazardly plan this meeting was either “my idea”, the enemy’s, or God’s.   

Because no one attended besides, me, myself, and I it is pretty easy to credit the inspiration for this meeting, and possible monthly ministry, to me and my foolishness– I have a full plate already for 2023 and actually “hoped” after sending the impromptu invitiation that no one would show up because it might have stretched me beyond my limits – if that “hope” was a prayer, it was answered!  I would have loved to have seen some of the guys to check in but in retrospect, I think I was setting myself up to be stretched too thin, and surprisingly the Lord didn’t “bless” this mighty work that I had spontaneously planned to do for Him.  

The other possibility is that the spiritual forces of darkness, shot this “dart” of an idea into my head, hoping the lack luster results would discourage me or bring me to despair.  Let’s face it “throwing a party” and having no one show up, can be pretty depressing and the enemy loves to influence Christians to do things that may seem “good” – most sins start off with good, or at least “good for me” – intentions – but will result in shame, guilt, or other feelings that will lead us to condemn ourselves.  

The third possibility, which actually would encompass all of these possibilities, is that it was God’s idea to have me to set up this meeting to humble me.  Scripture and our life experience reveals that God will allow us to do things against His will and can even use bad things for good.  God is THE GOOD FATHER and He alone knows best and as confusing as life can be for us, He knows what will happen and He can use every aspect of our experience for His purposes.   

The story of Job teaches us that God will “allow it”. God will allow the enemy access to tempt us and to make us suffer. God will allow us to choose our path through life and suffer the negative consequences from doing things in our own strength or according to our limited knowledge.  In the story of Job, sure the enemy orchestrates the initial disasters that bring Job low but after that it is the “foolishness” of men’s wisdom that takes center stage as Job and his “friends” seek to make sense of it all. In their spiritual discussions there is a mixture of error and truth as we only know “in part” the wisdom of the Lord.  They yammer on for 37 chapters insulting and chastising one another about the ways of God until the Lord decides He has heard enough and wants to speak for Himself.  Possibly in response to Job’s friend Elihu’s statement that  “As for the Almighty, we cannot find Him…” , God comes on the scene.

Job 38:1-2 (NKJV)
1  Then the LORD answered Job out of the whirlwind, and said:
2  "Who is this who darkens counsel By words without knowledge?

God then proceeds to put Job and his friends in their place and affirms that Job is his faithful servant and He commands that Job’s friends repent sacrifices lest they suffer for their “folly”.  God then restores to Job everything that was taken from him.  

So what can we learn from Job’s story and the embarrassment of my unattended Zoom meeting?  

God is the only one who knows His ways perfectly and even though we may think we have a great idea of “something we can do for the Lord.”  It may not be according to His will, or it will not be according to His will “as we think it will be.”   

My old pastor told a story once about how in the early days of his church he was enjoying the success of a young thriving congregation that seemed to be “on fire” for the Lord. So he called an impromptu “prayer meeting” where he and his church could call on God, to do His will right, only to feel the sting of embarrassment and the bitter taste of humble pie, when not a single person from his church came out to pray.

I too in the past have gone to recovery ministry and discipleship ministry only to end up as the only person attending. 

So what do you do when “no one shows up”? When your “great idea” has zero results?  Do you give up?  Do you stop?

In some cases, YES! Some ministries just die. We can press on and keep on pressing in but after an extended period of decline and no one showing up it might be time to call  it quits.  

However, this is really up to God so we have to talk to Him about what He wants us to do and be open for His answers.

As for me, I guess I won’t be doing Zoom meetings on Wednesday nights in 2023.  That’s okay, Tuesdays and Thursdays will be full and I think I’ll use Wednesdays to rest or study, or to be available for whatever the Lord puts before me.  

But sometimes we have to stick with it and keep going. Many ministers have had “dry seasons” that they had to walk through before a surge of enthusiasm and success came to their doorstep.  

So in your individual walk, don’t be discouraged if “no one shows up”, because guess what? That’s just not true.  God is always there and He will use all the things we go through for the good of those who love Him and who are called according to His purpose. 

So keep walking and talking with God and be sure to LISTEN when you get negative feedback. The Lord may want you to stop, go in another direction, or simply to take a rest. Our lives are a gift from Him, so let’s listen to and follow Him and learn along the way.



As always, I invite all to go to where I always share insights from prominent Christian theologians and counselors to assist my brothers and sisters in Christ with their walk.

Today we continue sharing from Dietrich Bonhoeffer’s “Discipleship”, also known as “The Cost of Discipleship”

As always, I share this information for educational purposes and encourage all to purchase Bonhoeffer’s books for your own private study and to support his work.  This resource is available on many websites for less than $20.00.

The Church of Jesus Christ and Discipleship

Chapter Twelve

The Saints, continues


Sanctification is the fulfillment of the will of God, who says: “You shall be holy, for I am holy,” and “I, the Lord, I who sanctify you, am holy.” This fulfillment is brought about by God the Holy Spirit, and in it God’s work in us finds its completion. The work of the Holy Spirit is the “seal”[29] with which believers are being marked as God’s own possession until the day of salvation. Just as before they had been held in bondage under the law as in a locked prison (Gal. 3:23), so now the believers are locked “in Christ,” marked with God’s own seal, the Holy Spirit. No one may break this seal. It has been secured by God, and the key is in God’s hand. This means that God has now taken complete possession of those whom God has gained in Christ. The circle has been closed. In the Holy Spirit we have become God’s own. Secured from the world by an unbreakable seal, the community of saints awaits its final deliverance. The church-community moves through the world like a sealed train passing through foreign territory. Just as Noah’s ark had to be covered “inside and out with pitch” (Gen. 6:14) in order to be preserved throughout the flood, so does the journey of the sealed church-community resemble the passage of the ark through the floodwaters. The goal of this sealing-off is redemption, deliverance, salvation (Eph. 4:30; 1:14; 1 Thess. 5:23; 1 Peter 1:5 et passim) on the day of Christ’s second coming. Those who have been sealed are being assured of reaching their goal by a pledge, which is none other than the Holy Spirit, “… so that we, who were the first to set our hope on Christ, might live for the praise of his glory. In him you also, when you had heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation, and had believed in him, were marked with the seal of the promised Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit is the pledge of our inheritance toward redemption as God’s own people, to the praise of his glory” (Eph. 1:12–14).

The sanctification of the church-community consists in its being separated by God from that which is unholy, from sin. Its sanctification consists in having become God’s own chosen people through being sealed off, in having become God’s earthly dwelling place, the place from which judgment and reconciliation go forth to all the world. Sanctification means that Christians now are completely oriented toward and preserved unto the day of Christ’s future coming, toward which they travel.

For the community of saints this implies three things. First, its sanctification will manifest itself in a clear separation from the world. Its sanctification will, second, prove itself through conduct that is worthy of God’s realm of holiness. And, third, its sanctification will be hidden in waiting for the day of Jesus Christ.

Sanctification is therefore possible only within the visible church-community. That is the first point. The visibility of the church-community is a decisive characteristic of sanctification. The church-community’s claim to a space of its own within this world, and the concomitant separation from the space of the world, attests that the church-community is in the state of sanctification. For the seal of the Holy Spirit seals off the church-community from the world. By the power of this seal, God’s church-community must insist on God’s claim to the whole world. At the same time, it must claim a specific space for itself within the world, thus drawing a clear dividing line between itself and the world. Since the church-community is the city on the hill, the ‘polis’ (Matt. 5:14), established on this earth by God and marked with a seal as God’s own, its “political” character is an inseparable aspect of its sanctification. The “political ethics” of the church-community is grounded solely in its sanctification, the goal of which is that world be world and community be community, and that, nevertheless, God’s word goes out from the church-community to all the world, as the proclamation that the earth and all it contains is the Lord’s. That is the ‘political’ character of the church-community. A merely personal sanctification which seeks to bypass this openly visible separation of the church-community from the world confuses the pious desires of the religious flesh with the sanctification of the church-community, which has been accomplished in Christ’s death and is being actualized by the seal of God. It is the deceptive pride and the false spiritual desire of the old, sinful being that seeks to be holy apart from the visible community of Christians. Contempt for the body of Christ as the visible community of justified sinners is what is really hiding behind the apparent humility of this kind of inwardness. It is indeed contempt for the body of Christ, since Christ was pleased visibly to assume my flesh and to carry it to the cross. It is contempt for the community, since I seek to be holy apart from other Christians. It is contempt for sinners, since in self-bestowed holiness I withdraw from my church in its sinful form. Sanctification apart from the visible church-community is mere self-proclaimed holiness.[1]

---------------------------more tomorrow------------------------

Join our “Victory over the Darkness”, “The Bondage Breaker”, "Freedom in Christ" series of Discipleship Classes via the mt4christ247 podcast!

at, You can also find it on Apple podcasts

( The mt4christ247 podcast is also available on Google Podcasts, Amazon Podcasts, Spotify, iHeartradio, and 

These teachings are also available on the MT4Christ247 You Tube Channel:

Email me at to receive the class materials, share your progress, and to be encouraged.

My wife, TammyLyn, also offers Christian encouragement via her Facebook Group: Ask, Seek, Knock ( ) and her podcast Ask, Seek, and Knock on Podbean (

“The views, opinions, and commentary of this publication are those of the author, M.T. Clark, only, and do not purport to reflect the opinions or views of any of the photographers, artists, ministries, or other authors of the other works that may be included in this publication, and do not necessarily reflect the views or positions of any entities the author may represent.”

Encouragement for the Path of Christian Discipleship

[1] Dietrich Bonhoeffer, Discipleship, ed. Martin Kuske et al., trans. Barbara Green and Reinhard Krauss, vol. 4, Dietrich Bonhoeffer Works (Minneapolis, MN: Fortress Press, 2003), 260–262.