February 21 – ReGen – Regenerate

Read 2 Corinthians 5:17-18

Something that amazes me is when people take old things and restore them back to their original or even better condition. It’s amazing to admire the work of someone who puts so much time into making something that was falling apart and turning it back into something beautiful. It’s a stunning and satisfying feeling to see something that once was old, beat-up, and beyond repair become something so beautiful, but even more awesome is that is exactly what God does with those who trust in Jesus as their Savior.

Second Corinthians 5:17-18 says:

“Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come: The old has gone, the new is here! All this is from God, who reconciled us to himself through Christ and gave us the ministry of reconciliation.”

Jesus is in the regeneration business. He takes broken, tattered, and imperfect creatures and regenerates us into something new. We no longer are the same person as before. He has given us a new nature and a new name. Our sin account was settled by Jesus on the cross and we are reconciled to the Father.

God no longer sees us by our sin but only sees His Son Jesus, who became sin for us so that we can be righteous.

So, when you look in the mirror, what do you see? Do you see a broken person? Do you see a person who is irredeemable? Do you see a person who can never change or be healed? Do you see a person who is too far gone? If that person is the one staring back at you in the mirror, you are not alone. Every person who has put their faith in Jesus and has decided to follow Him as leader of their life has seen that person in the mirror but is no longer that person.

They are a new creature, a new person because of Christ.

First, let me invite the person reading this who doesn’t know Christ as their Savior and leader of their life to confess their sins before God and to trust in Christ. He can and will make you a new person. You are not too far gone. You are redeemable. Jesus can turn your messed up life and make it into something purposeful.

Second, let me remind the Christ-follower reading this that perhaps you have forgotten what Christ has done for you in making you a new person. Maybe you still define yourself by your past. You are not that person any longer. Christ has forgiven you of your sins and has regenerated you into a new person. I challenge you to remind yourself of this truth and to embrace who you are in Christ!

Ethan Cline

ReGeneration is a ministry for people battling the storms of life. From emotional struggles to substance abuse, ReGen is a ministry for those who want to experience healing, recovery, community and accountability in the midst of their storms. Currently, ReGen meets on Tuesday nights (7p) at Grace Church in Wooster. We would LOVE to host you! Text “regen” to 3302649459 if you want more information or want to attend!

February 20 – ReGen – Intimacy

Read John 17:3

I love to read. Some of my favorite genres of books are historical fiction and non-fiction. I am especially fascinated with WW2. To better understand the history, I often google photographs from the 1940’s and map locations. But I only possess minimal knowledge of that era. My dad, on the other hand, when he was alive, could honestly say that he knew WW2 on a different level because he experienced it as a Marine.

Knowing about something and truly knowing something are two different realities. 

What did Jesus mean when He prayed for us to know God and know Him (Jesus)? Is it possible to have an intimate relationship with the God of the universe? Let’s take a look at what intimacy is and what it isn’t.

  1. Knowledge does not equal intimacy

I would not describe my husband as 5’10”, sandy blonde hair and brown eyes. All that is true, but after 33 years of marriage, he is more than just accumulated facts. The same with our connection with God. It’s based on a relationship.

J.I. Packer in his book Knowing God states, “To be preoccupied with getting theological knowledge as an end in itself to approach Bible study…is the direct route to a state of self-satisfied self-deception.”

Knowledge is important and valuable, but it is not equivalent to intimacy.

“This is what the LORD says: ‘Let not the wise boast of their wisdom or the strong boast of their strength or the rich boast of their riches, but let the one who boasts boast about this: that they have the understanding to know me.’”Jeremiah 9:23-24

2. Intimacy is a relationship initiated by God

So how do we move from facts to intimacy?

“But now that you know God- or rather are known by God.”Galatians 4:9

God makes friends with us! True intimacy with God is to reveal that God knows me- He chose to make me His friend. He is the initiator of this intimate relationship. My part of the relationship flows as a response to His incredible love and grace.

How do we respond? Which step do you need to focus on most?

  • Meditation- Soak up the Word of God

“Blessed is the one who meditates on his law day and night.”Psalm 1:2

  • Prayer- Talk to God and know His voice

“Pray continually”1 Thessalonians 5:17

“…the sheep follow him because they know his voice.”John 10:4

  • Praise- Give God glory due His name

“My mouth is filled with your praise and with your glory all day long.”Psalm 71:8

Those words do not reflect a check off list, the way we sometimes view our Christian life. Not a life of doing devotions, but a life of devotion. Not a life of having a quiet time, but a spirit that is sensitive to His still and quiet voice. Not a life that sings praises just on Sunday mornings, but a heart that praises Him continually.

That kind of life cultivates intimacy with the One who knows us best. Let’s be people who don’t just know about God, but know God!

Charline Engle

ReGeneration is a ministry for people battling the storms of life. From emotional struggles to substance abuse, ReGen is a ministry for those who want to experience healing, recovery, community and accountability in the midst of their storms. Currently, ReGen meets on Tuesday nights (7p) at Grace Church in Wooster. We would LOVE to host you! Text “regen” to 3302649459 if you want more information or want to attend!

February 19 – ReGen – Continue

Read Psalm 139:23-24

“Search me, God, and know my heart; test me and know my anxious thoughts.”

How does somebody live a tortuous life for 39 years, then have a spiritual experience and begin to recover from the sin struggle of alcoholism? And then continue to live a sober and honorable life for 32 years? By turning his life and his will over to the care of God through Jesus Christ and continuing it, Bill began to change.

It is pretty amazing that the 12 steps of Alcoholics Anonymous were written by an untrustworthy drunk who had created adversity in his life through his drinking choices.

Lois (co-founder of Al-Anon) Wilson’s devotion to Bill W never ended. But her anxious thoughts were probably constant. Her unending love for her husband became the trigger for one of the greatest movements of this past century – AA. Lois’ love and forgiveness of her husband is inspiring and a role-model for everyone.

To continue – means to take personal inventory every day. It means to ask God to search your life for anything that is offensive and to ask God to know your heart and anxious thoughts.

Do you ask God to help you with anxious thoughts?

“See if there is any offensive way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting.”Psalms 139:24

To continue – you are now at the point where you have made a moral inventory of yourself. You have admitted to God and others the nature of your sin struggle. Do you have the peace of God in your heart?

To continue – is to ask God to remove any character defects that you might be experiencing. You are willing to make amends to all the people you have harmed and you continue to take personal inventory. When you are wrong, you promptly admit it. You have asked God for forgiveness and you have forgiven yourself. You are living God’s way.

You are continuing.

Are you being led by God? Have you placed your faith in Christ?

“So letting your sinful nature control your mind leads to death. But letting the Spirit control your mind leads to life and peace.” Romans 8:6

In what way are you setting yourself up for continued success in your recovery journey? How are you going to continually grow closer to God?

Tom Weckesser

February 18 – ReGen – Amends

Read Romans 12:17-18

Step 8 – “Make a list of all persons we had harmed, and became willing to make amends to them all.”

In 1988, I was varsity golf coach at the high school where I taught. And we had a really good team that year. We were undefeated, 21-0 with one match to go. We had our eyes on the state tournament championship.

Or so I thought.

On Saturday morning, I got a call from our Athletic Director that 4 of my 5 varsity players were seen drinking beer at the football game the night before. He wanted to know how I wanted to handle it.

I prayed to God for guidance and ended up removing them from the team.

We then lost the last match which was played by mostly JV players and we were quickly eliminated in the tournament.

Our season ended 21-1.

Three years later, I received a letter from one of those four players. He apologized and said he realized the impact of his mistake and that he was the one who brought the beer to the football game that night.

He wanted to make amends. He was in AA and going through step 8. His drinking led to other problems and he asked for forgiveness. He had a drinking problem and he was now clean and sober.

One of the juniors on that team made amends with himself by being Player Of The Year his senior year. He went to Malone College and became an All-American. A few years later he was inducted into the Malone College Hall of Fame and invited my wife and I to the banquet to sit with his parents.

We were the only people he invited!

“If it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone.”

Doesn’t that include peace with yourself?

The idea of being honest with yourself regarding your behavior and mistakes is really important. Recognizing how your behavior may have harmed others is a big key in your growth.

That takes courage. Guts. Grit.

If you wrong someone, make amends. It will also help you. Tell them. Then back it up by living in peace with the person.   

Tom Weckesser

ReGeneration is a ministry for people battling the storms of life. From emotional struggles to substance abuse, ReGen is a ministry for those who want to experience healing, recovery, community and accountability in the midst of their storms. Currently, ReGen meets on Tuesday nights (7p) at Grace Church in Wooster. We would LOVE to host you! Text “regen” to 3302649459 if you want more information or want to attend!

February 17 – ReGen – Forgive

Read Ephesians 4:32 – 5:1

Regen – Step # 8 – Forgive: We forgive those who have harmed us and become willing to make amends to those we have harmed.

I was 13 years old and in 8th grade when I first walked into therapy. You see, I kept trying to feel anything but sadness and unworthiness and I didn’t know how to get out of it, so I chose to hurt myself on the outside, thinking that would kill whatever was happening on the inside.

It didn’t work, never does.

I sat on that couch for a few months going over why I felt what I felt until my therapist taught me to think of the root to all my thoughts and emotions. After many weeks of working through my short eleven years, we found it.

Just 4 years prior, I was on the phone with someone, having a conversation that would set the course of all my decisions and choices for years to come. I was asked, like most 9-year olds, what I wanted to be when I grew up and I purely stated “a singer”.

I was met with a simple reply of, “Well, you’ll want to look more like your sister if you want to do that.”

Later in life, after having a conversation with them about this phone call, I realized that they had no idea what their words did to me for so long. They never understood the pain and torment I put myself through, comparing myself to my sister.

I was met by the Lord at 21 years old, attempting to take my own life because I never allowed myself to forgive this person for the words they said to me. I was met by the Lord to learn what forgiveness meant after studying His Word. I was met by the Lord, in the love and fellowship I was called to have with this person because they are, above all, a fellow Christ follower.

Forgiveness is not an easy step.

Especially when someone or something someone does hurts deeply. However, forgiveness is a gift that we received from Christ. Forgiveness was a gift that I received from Christ and I was called to live out to those who harmed me.

It’s not easy and it takes a lot of work, practice, prayer, and surrender to get to that place, but I’m thankful that forgiveness is a part of my recovery!

I was able to not only forgive this person in my 20’s for what was said, but I was able to forgive them as that 9-year-old girl who dreamed only of using her voice to make people smile and feel joy.

There is a lot more to this step in our recovery than simply forgiving, but it is a step, nonetheless, which allows us to give up the control and surrender all that we are and all that we were and all that we have for the Lord to use us and our story.

I pray that, as you re-read Ephesians 4, the Lord prompts you to begin the steps to forgive those who have wronged you and think of those who you have wronged to prepare that process of mending.

Kelly Lawson

ReGeneration is a ministry for people battling the storms of life. From emotional struggles to substance abuse, ReGen is a ministry for those who want to experience healing, recovery, community and accountability in the midst of their storms. Currently, ReGen meets on Tuesday nights (7p) at Grace Church in Wooster. We would LOVE to host you! Text “regen” to 3302649459 if you want more information or want to attend!

February 16 – ReGen – Follow

Read Galatians 5:22-25

Step 7 – “We humbly ask God’s Spirit to change our hearts and minds in order to follow Christ fully. “

Our reading today says we need to keep in step with the Spirit. What does that look like to you?

When our son, Matt, spent a summer in the Philippines on a cross cultural experience for college, he would send us pictures of his activities.  One of my favorite pictures was of him walking along a dusty path with five little Filipino kids following behind him. The kids didn’t know where they were going, how long the journey, or how rocky the path, but they trusted in their leader and kept following him in his steps. 

The definition of follow is “to go or come after; to move behind in the same direction; to imitate or copy.”

For those whom He foreknew, He also predestined to become conformed to the image of His Son.”

Romans 8:29

If God plans to conform you to the image of Jesus and Jesus is the visible image of God, it means that God’s plan is for you to become His image bearer – to be like Him. But He didn’t leave us alone in this process of following Him.

Keep reading.

“And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another Helper, to be with you forever, even the Spirit of truth, whom the world cannot receive, because it neither sees him nor knows him. You know him, for he dwells with you and will bein you.”

John 14:16-17

When we’ve placed our faith in Christ, the Spirit lives in us.  Relying on the Holy Spirit is critical for our recovery from whatever sin struggle we are dealing with.

Maybe you’re struggling with your relationship with Jesus. Maybe you want to grow in your knowledge of Him. In Step 7, Re:generation provides these four ways to help you.

  1. Praying. God is personal. He wants you to communicate with Him.  Jesus made time for talking and listening to the Father.
  2. Reading and memorizing God’s word.  The Bible is God’s love letter. He wrote it through faithful men who preserved it for you to know God and His will.  It aligns your heart and mind with God.
  3. Spending time with God’s people. At Re:generation, you see people changed by a relationship with Jesus.  They try to live by the Spirit, walk by faith, serve sacrificially, love radically, and live in truth and grace. 
  4. Walking in step with God by His word and the Spirit. Each step of Re:generation is a step of faith to walk with God in His will, as revealed by His word through the power of the Spirit.  Thus, your understanding of God’s love and power has grown.

So today, how are you doing following Christ fully? Are you keeping in step with the Spirit or have you gotten off the path?

The choice is yours.

Cathy Simms – ReGen Leader

ReGeneration is a ministry for people battling the storms of life. From emotional struggles to substance abuse, ReGen is a ministry for those who want to experience healing, recovery, community and accountability in the midst of their storms. Currently, ReGen meets on Tuesday nights (7p) at Grace Church in Wooster. We would LOVE to host you! Text “regen” to 3302649459 if you want more information or want to attend!

February 15 – ReGen – Repent

Read 2 Timothy 2:22

Third grade teacher, Miss Ames, stood on the playground, arms folded and waiting patiently for Jonny to reply to her request. All he had to do was say he was sorry for pushing Sally down.  Begrudgingly, Jonny obliges with a halfhearted “Sorry” between his teeth.  He really wasn’t sorry and, in fact, was already planning his revenge!

We laugh at the scene, many books and movies have been made of the mischief of kids, but in reality, is it something to laugh at while as adults we do the same thing?  We do things we know we shouldn’t do, but, when it comes to confessing what we did to God, we just say a halfhearted “sorry” and then go on our merry little way, not sorry and possibly planning on doing it again.

Repent: a verb, to feel or express sincere regret or remorse about one’s wrongdoing or sin.  A change of heart and mind that brings one closer to God. It includes turning away from sin and turning to God for forgiveness, plus a sincere desire to obey His commandments.

Over and over in the Bible we are told to repent. Through the prophets, John the Baptist, Jesus and later the disciples, the plea is the same.

To receive all that God has in store for us, we need to repent. Turn from our ways and turn to God’s ways. But you might say, “I don’t disobey God!”  

Love your neighbor as yourself! Do you love your neighbor when you gossip about them?

Love the Lord God with all your heart, mind, and strength. Do you honor Him with your actions, your speech?  Do the people around you even know you are a Christian? Are they drawn to Jesus or pushed away through your example?

Do not steal! How about those taxes?

Do not covet.  Shall we check your Amazon account?

Greed, gluttony, promiscuity, pride…shall I go on? 

Just because other people might not see what you do in private, God does!  And every time you fall into temptation you take one step away from God. 

The good news is that:

NO MATTER HOW FAR YOU HAVE WALKED AWAY FROM GOD, THE RETURN TRIP IS ONLY ONE 180 DEGREE TURN AWAY!

You can’t change what you have already done, but you can let God direct your future path.  Repent and turn yourself around then “forgetting what is behind, and straining toward what is ahead,” that is how you win the race of life.  

“I am too far gone. My problem is too big,” you might say.  But remember the age-old question of “How do you eat an elephant?”  The answer is one bite at a time and you can tackle any problem that you SINCERELY want to change, one step at a time.  God will help you.  Through the Holy Spirit, He will give you the strength, knowledge and patience you need if you will repent and turn FROM sin and TOWARDS GOD!

What step do you need to take today? What problem do you want to take the first bite out of? Who’s going to keep you accountable in your repentance?

Pat Arnold

ReGeneration is a ministry for people battling the storms of life. From emotional struggles to substance abuse, ReGen is a ministry for those who want to experience healing, recovery, community and accountability in the midst of their storms. Currently, ReGen meets on Tuesday nights (7p) at Grace Church in Wooster. We would LOVE to host you! Text “regen” to 3302649459 if you want more information or want to attend!

February 14 – ReGen – Confess

Read 1 John 1:7-9

When I was about 8 years old, my mom spent hours painting their master bedroom set.  We were given one rule: Don’t Touch It!  There were 4 children and someone touched it. When my dad got home, we all stood before him and were asked the question: “Who touched the dresser?”  No one confessed to touching the dresser.  We all blamed each other.  With no one confessing, one of us was obviously lying to my parents (it wasn’t me, by the way). Now the issue is not so much about the dresser and who touched it but about lying to mom and dad.

This is how we cover up sins. We lie about them. We lie to impress others and to make them think that we are right.  But once you tell a lie to others, you begin to lie to yourself.  You justify it in your own mind, then you can always find others to help you justify your actions and words.

Sin takes you in a downward spiral.  In the garden, Adam and Eve disobeyed the one rule God gave them, not to eat from the tree of knowledge of good and evil.  When they disobeyed God, He came to look for them.  When questioned by God, there was no confession but, instead, blaming and, thus, lying to God.  As a result, every human born after Adam and Eve are born with a sinful nature.

In my example, if the one who touched the dresser would have confessed immediately, instead of playing the “blame game” the rest would not have been affected by the consequences.  But, because we all continued in our “belief” that we were innocent, the punishment continued for us all.

If we confess, we may still suffer consequences, but we may save others from the ripple effect of our sin.

Confession means to agree with a statement of another such as conceding to something before a judge. 

God has given us the law which reveals sin.  When we confess a sin, we are making a statement that agrees with God about the law and sin.  When we confess, we need to be honest about our sin and name it as God does: hatred, envy, deceit, etc. We are acknowledging that our actions or words have broken His holy law and that we have committed a sin against Him.  In Romans 6, we learn that the law can’t change us and it can’t make us do good, but it can reveal to us when we have fallen short (Romans 3:23). 

We see in 1 John 1:9 that forgiveness is conditional upon confession.  God says, “If we confess”.  Based on our confession, we learn that God is faithful and just to forgive us our sins.  God is faithful and just in forgiveness because He paid such a huge price. 

His Son, Jesus, died for our sins. 

God’s holy law was satisfied in Jesus’ death.  His blood covers our sin and removes the guilt of our sin, putting us in a right standing with God. We are justified.

What do you need to confess today? What are you holding onto? Who else, besides Jesus, do you need to confess your shortcomings to? 

P.S. To this day, I still don’t know who touched the dresser.

Janene Nagel

ReGeneration is a ministry for people battling the storms of life. From emotional struggles to substance abuse, ReGen is a ministry for those who want to experience healing, recovery, community and accountability in the midst of their storms. Currently, ReGen meets on Tuesday nights (7p) at Grace Church in Wooster. We would LOVE to host you! Text “regen” to 3302649459 if you want more information or want to attend!

February 13 – ReGen – Inventory

Read Psalm 51:3-6

I remember the day like it was yesterday.

I can take you to the exact spot where I pulled out the garbage from my emotional closet and brought it into the light.

Kelly and I were married for a few months at this point and I recall the sin that was present in my life weighing heavily on me throughout the day. My closet was stuffed full of things that I wouldn’t want anyone to know about and fought for many years to keep hidden.

Kelly and I’s conversation was hard. There were things in my life that she didn’t know about but should. I knew it would be hard for her to hear but I knew that, if we were going to be a married couple who would honor the Lord through their lives, we needed to have clear consciences.

Six and a half years later since that conversation, I’m in a much better spot. I still struggle but I don’t struggle alone. The steps of ReGen and the faithfulness of those around me have helped me gain victory over the sin in my life and even encourage those who are beginning their journey to recovery.

One of the most intense steps in the recovery process is called “inventory” which means that:

“We make a searching and fearless moral inventory of ourselves.”

It took me a very long time to open the deepest part of me and search for all the sin that sprouted behind the scenes and take immediate action to address them.

David’s words in today’s reading are intense:

“For I know my transgressions, and my sin is always before me.”

We know where we have fallen short and we all know the weight that comes from our sin always being visible to us. It’s hard to escape. Sometimes, it’s hard to breathe.

“Against you, you only, have I sinned and done what is evil in your sight; so you are right in your verdict and justified when you judge.”

Part of the inventory process is realizing who it is, ultimately, that we have wronged. At it’s very core, sins are transgressions against God Himself. The very person who was nailed to a tree in our place is the person that we continually sin against.

“Surely, I was sinful at first, sinful from the time my mother conceived me.

Because of the Fall of Man in Genesis 3, we are born sinners. Just ask any parent how long it takes for them to discover that their children are capable of sin. This is a problem that has existed since we were conceived in our mother’s womb.

However, the hope, the action comes from the next verse:

“Yet you desired faithfulness even in the womb; you taught me wisdom in that secret place.”

The Message Bible says:

“What you’re after is truth from the inside out. Enter me, then; conceive a new, true life.”

We should aspire to truthful lives. Even if it means pulling out the junk that has been hidden for so long and bringing it into the light.

I pray that you would be moved to take a searching and fearless moral inventory of your life. What is going on behind the scenes that select people should have unprecedented access to? Don’t parade your sin to the masses but find a couple of trusted people who could hold you accountable in your journey to recovery!

Jake Lawson – ReGen Leader

ReGeneration is a ministry for people battling the storms of life. From emotional struggles to substance abuse, ReGen is a ministry for those who want to experience healing, recovery, community and accountability in the midst of their storms. Currently, ReGen meets on Tuesday nights (7p) at Grace Church in Wooster. We would LOVE to host you! Text “regen” to 3302649459 if you want more information or want to attend!

February 12 – ReGen – Trust

Read Ephesians 2:4-5

One of the great disappointments in life is when you believe you can trust someone and then find out that they aren’t trustworthy. This happened to me many years ago and the reminder of that situation still stings. I thought I could trust a particular friend, but then found out they weren’t trustworthy after all.

God, on the other hand, IS trustworthy. We CAN trust Him. And we can trust Him because love is the foundation of trust and God is love. He loved us long before we loved Him. He showed His love for me and for you by sending His Son to die for our sins.

That’s incredible love!

Step #3 of the 12-step Regeneration program is TRUST:

“We decide to trust God with our lives and wills by accepting His grace through Jesus Christ.”

We trust God with our lives and, in doing so, we trust that, no matter what circumstances we face, God is worthy of our trust. Romans 8:28 says:

“God works all things together for good for those who trust Him and are called according to His purpose.”

No matter what struggles and heartache we have faced or are facing, God will ultimately use that for good. Not just for ok, but for good. In the midst of these heartaches, it is often hard to imagine how God could possibly do anything good with it, but I have seen Him do it time and again.

We trust God with our will. Back to Romans 8:28, when we submit our will to Him, we not only trust that God will do good, but, if we act as best we can to be in His will, that’s when we find the good that God is in the process of doing. Submitting to His will is, at times, incredibly hard. We all want WHAT we want, WHEN we want it and HOW we want it.

Letting go of how I would do things “if I was in charge of the world”, and trusting that God’s plan is always going to be better than mine, I can know with certainty that, as much as I want to hold onto my ways, they will always fall short.

His ways are best.

Have you decided to trust God by accepting His grace through Jesus Christ? Are you trusting Him with your life and your will? These are the best choices you’ll ever make!

Sharon Karhan – ReGen Leader

ReGeneration is a ministry for people battling the storms of life. From emotional struggles to substance abuse, ReGen is a ministry for those who want to experience healing, recovery, community and accountability in the midst of their storms. Currently, ReGen meets on Tuesday nights (7p) at Grace Church in Wooster. We would LOVE to host you! Text “regen” to 3302649459 if you want more information or want to attend!