• BOB SMILEY COMEDY SHOW - SATURDAY, AUGUST 1 - Get tickets at the Prodigal office, Monte Vista Chapel, New Life Christian Center, or the Bible Book Store
  • GET READY - The 2009 Prodigal Golf Tournament will be here before you know it. It will be held on October 9 at Stevenson Ranch Golf Course. This is an event you won't want to miss! Call the office today to register as an individual golfer. Gather some friends together and register for a foursome.
  • Become a corporate sponsor in a variety of forms:
  • Fleet Sponsorship: signage on every golf cart
  • Meal Sponsorship: Your banner at the meal!
  • Gold Sponsorship: Your business name on four holes!
  • Hole Sponsorship: Sponsor a single hole!

Breaking Chains

When we are under the influence of our addiction, it may seem to have a supernatural grip on us. This feeling of helplessness may lead us to give up on living or throw ourselves into self-destructive behaviors with no care about our future or well-being. People around us may even give up on us. They may distance themselves from us as if we are already dead. This was the story of one young man named Matt. He was a cage fighter. He was also in the 18th street gang of Los Angeles—one of the deadliest street gangs in the country. Because of the many acts of violence he had committed, Matt had trouble sleeping. It was only by drowning those thoughts in liquor that he could find any rest at night. Matt’s mother watched her son come home time and time again with blood on his fists and clothes. She finally had to ask him whether he wanted to be buried or cremated—she didn’t expect that he would survive much longer.

Let’s rewind the tape about two thousand years. Jesus helped a man who was acting insanely. “This man lived among the tombs and could not be restrained, even with a chain. Whenever he was put into chains and shackles—as he often was—he snapped the chains from his wrists and smashed the shackles. No one was strong enough to control him. All day long and throughout the night, he would wander among the tombs and in the hills, screaming and hitting himself with stones” (Mark 5:3-5). Jesus went into the graveyard and assessed the situation. He dealt with the forces of darkness that were afflicting the man and restored him to sanity. He then sent him home to his friends to tell them what God had done for him.

Back to Matt: he finally hit rock bottom. A prominent member of his gang had instructed him to initiate a retaliatory strike against a rival gang member’s family. As cold-blooded as Matt was in the ring, he wasn’t prepared for cold-blooded murder. He decided to take the shotgun he was supposed to use as a murder weapon and turn it on himself—he was ready to die. But before he did it, he decided to pray—he wanted to talk to the God he was about to meet. Fifteen minutes later with tears streaming down his face, he had a new supernatural confidence that the chains of his old life were broken. He stood to his feet and walked into a life that was never the same—he’s now a pastor.

We may have gone so far into our addiction that we have broken all restraints. We struggle to be free from the control of society and loved ones, only to discover that our bondage doesn’t come from outside sources. We are engaged in a battle of our minds and hearts. All hope seems lost, but where there is still life, there is still hope. God can touch our insanity and restore us to sanity.

Adapted from the Life Recovery Bible and Prodigal Sons & Daughters

Honest Confession

Have you ever experienced the healing power of confession? I (Zac) remember the first year after I gave my life to Christ--remaining abstinent from drugs and alcohol was extremely difficult. There were times when I stumbled and relapsed. After each event, I felt deep, intense shame and isolation--all I wanted to do was hide. But each time I would return to Prodigal Sons & Daughters and bear my soul; every time Ken, our director, along with the other Prodigals welcomed me back with open arms and gracious hearts. What I experienced was, on a human level, the kind of unconditional love God extends toward us.

These experiences taught me that confession (Step 5 of the 12-steps of Alcoholics Anonymous) is an important part of healing. So if you're tired of trying to alleviate your guilty conscience by rationalizing, minimizing, or ignoring your sinful behavior, try the healing power of honest confession.

Peer Pressure

One psychological phenomenon we capitalize on in the world of addiction recovery is peer pressure. We recently gained a new member at Prodigal Sons & Daughters who initially came through our doors with an emotional barrier intact--wearing a mask of confidence and self-reliance. As group members began to share openly about their struggles, the Spirit of God touched this individual in a powerful way. Within twenty minutes, our new friend was in tears openly confessing what was actually going on inside.

Why are instances like these so common in recovery meetings? In my view, it's the culture of transparency and acceptance. You see, whether we realize it or not, each one of us is dying to be real . . . to be known by others . . . and to be loved despite this knowledge. Remember--it is only when others truly know us to the core that they can fully love us for who we are.