by John Woodward
Once, when our family was stranded along the side of the highway, I learned more about the art of towing. The first tow truck that arrived could not pull our van, since our rear wheel was broken. As we waited for the next one–a flat bed truck which literally carried the whole van to the repair shop–I had a chat with the first truck driver as he waited with us.
My curiosity couldn’t resist asking him, “Did you ever get stuck with your tow truck, and have to call for a tow yourself?”
“Almost never,” he said. “I can use the truck’s winch cable to pull myself out if I get stuck; or I can use the lift to push the truck forward.”
Imagine the frustration of a tow truck driver who would get stuck himself! Now imagine the plight of the mature Christian who is stuck with an addiction. This believer has a working knowledge of Scripture and wants to help others, yet is bound by besetting sins in his own life.
Many hurting people desperately need an effective Christ-centered, grace-oriented strategy to break addictions. For example, a study released in The Journal of Affective Disorders concluded that internet addictions are just as strong and destructive as addictions to alcohol, drugs, or gambling. Billions of dollars are lost to the gambling industry annually–a sobering testimony to the damaging effects of compulsive behavior. 
How can we say “no” to a pattern of besetting sin? How can we say get unstuck from a stubborn habit? How can we be set free from addictive behavior? Are there effective answers beyond what secular, psychological, and legalistic methods offer? Yes!
In their book, Freedom form Addiction, Mike and Julia Quarles share their saga of Mike’s alcohol addiction. Julia says her husband earned a D. D. (“Doctor of Drunkenness”) in his efforts to overcome drinking. Mike tried about 30 treatment strategies including: A. A., Christian 12 step groups, psychiatry, psychology, a secular treatment center, a Christian treatment center, willpower, Bible study, prayer, fasting, and the list goes on. After his stay at a residential Christian treatment center, Mike stayed sober for a while. He started counseling alcoholics, but eventually fell back into drinking. He ended up counseling people addicted to alcohol while he was still battling the same foe! As things went from bad to worse, Mike lost his job and his marriage was in jeopardy.
How did Mike finally get free from this addiction? The path to his freedom began when he hit rock bottom; he was disabled by depression, had no money for liquor, and gave up–on himself. He writes,
“I had finally exhausted all my resources and options. At my point of spiritual bankruptcy, I was finally ready to let God do what He wanted to do all along. 2 Corinthians 1:8,9 says ‘For we do not want you to be ignorant, brethren, of our trouble which came to us in Asia: that we were burdened beyond measure, above strength, so that we despaired even of life. Yes, we had the sentence of death in ourselves, that we should not trust in ourselves but in God who raises the dead.’ Is there a price for freedom? I, and many others, have found the price tag is to completely give up on myself and come to the end of my resources and find freedom in Christ.”
This reminds us of James 4:6,7: “But He gives more grace. Therefore He says: ‘God resists the proud, But gives grace to the humble.’ Therefore submit to God. Resist the devil and he will flee from you.” God promises the needed grace if we let go of our pride and self-sufficiency. The apostle Paul kept encouraging the church with God’s abundant grace: “And God is able to make all grace abound toward you, that you, always having all sufficiency in all things, may have an abundance for every good work” (2 Cor. 9:8).
So why were the many methods of breaking addictions ineffective for Mike? Looking back, he points to four basic reasons that they failed:
1) “I tried to change my behavior instead of the underlying belief that determined my behavior.
2) I focused on me and what I should do instead of focusing on God and what He had already done.
3) I relied on my own efforts instead of trusting God and living by the power of the Holy Spirit.
4) I accepted a failure identity instead of appropriating my true identity in Christ.” 
God set Mike free and equipped him for his present ministry as a spiritual counselor by leading him to the realization of the Exchanged Life. As he grasped his union with Christ, his new identity in Christ, and surrendered and rested in Him, Mike experienced Christ as His Life. The Lord set him free!
This deliverance is rarely a one time experience; the freedom needs to be maintained by abiding in Christ (John 15:5-8). Strongholds that rob the believer of freedom must be torn down and replaced with truth (John 8:31,32).
Here is Mike Quarles’ comparison of Man’s answer and God’s answer to addiction.
A PROGRAM–Designed to change the behavior of the person (Gal. 4:9)
RESULT–Self-improvement (Gal. 6:3)
NEED–To constantly work on doing the right behavior (Gal. 3:1-5)
DYNAMIC–Our commitment and performance (Col. 2:20-23)
MAN’S ANSWER SUMMARIZED:
COMMITMENT–To subject myself to a program of:
LAW–Rules, steps, concepts and principles through:
WORKS–Disciplined self-effort to:
STRENGTHEN THE FLESH–Improve self in order to produce
DEAD WORKS–Behavior change
THE CROSS–To put to death the person who does the behavior (Rom. 6:4)
RESULT–New person with a new identity who behaves differently (Gal. 2:20)
NEED–To understand who we are so our behavior will match up with our identity (2 Cor. 5:17)
DYNAMIC–The life of Christ (Col. 3:3)
GOD’S ANSWER SUMMARIZED
DEATH–I agree with God’s verdict on self and give up on myself and my resources by:
GRACE–Appropriate what God has done by:
FAITH–Appropriate my death and resurrection with Christ by the:
SPIRIT–Depend upon Christ’s life in me to meet all my needs in order to produce:
LIFE–Good works, the fruit of the Spirit.”
If you are stuck in a habit that grieves the Holy Spirit, hurts you, and hinders your potential to help others, may these insights be used of God to give you fresh hope and renewed confidence in your Liberator: “Now may the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, that you may abound in hope by the power of the Holy Spirit” (Rom. 15:13). God can pull you out of any rut!
Parts 2-4 are at GraceNotebook.com
May 20th OASIS Spring Celebration Recap
Celebrating 20 years of ministry!
Dear OASIS friends,
Singles from all over the tri-state area gathered together Saturday, May 20th for our OASIS Spring Celebration at Lefferts Park Church in Brooklyn. The topic was “The Overcoming Life.” The evening began with dinner and fellowship as singles connected with new friends and old. Every seat was filled in our fellowship hall! Our program included powerful worship and a *message about overcoming addiction or anything that keeps you from experiencing freedom in Christ. That included perfectionism, worry, smoking, overeating, drinking or OCD and on and on. The bottom line was that addiction is spiritual bondage and the way out is by knowing the truth. God’s word is clear that it is the truth that sets us free (John 8:32). We talked about our new identity in Christ and the freedom that is ours because of the finished work of the cross, not because of anything we can do. If you would like to view the webinar we showed visit: freenhim.org.
The Overcoming Life Action Plan that singles went home with is available at: CompleteinChrist.com. After the teaching a video that expresses how deeply God loves us was enjoyed. You can see it at Fathersloveletter.org. This special evening ended with dessert and more fellowship with games and giveaways. Did you know that we don’t have cliques at OASIS? Our greeters help to make it a very friendly place! Singles have the chance to meet every person at the event. A very special thank you to all the volunteers that did such a great job all night! What a blessing you are to all of us.
We hope you will plan now to join us for our next big event on Saturday, Oct. 21st at 6pm. Volunteers arrive at 4pm. There will be dinner, fellowship and worship. Did I mention dessert? The topic is “Called and Equipped.” There will be time for q and a. The Lefferts Park Church Dance Ministry will perform. Please help us get the word out about this event. Feel free to post it on FB, invite other churches or email it to your friends.
Did you know that we now have small fellowship groups monthly? Join us as we continue to discuss our freedom in Christ and learn how to live our new life in Him. This is a discussion group where singles have the opportunity to share what’s happening in their own lives. There is group prayer at the end. These meetings allow for a deeper level of connection with others. And they help you to learn how to apply God’s truth to your life! Come out and make some friends! These are free to attend. Saturday dates from 11am to 1pm are: Saturday June 24th, July 15th, August 12th. .Our Brunch with bagels and coffee is September 9th. This is a volunteer opportunity as we prepare our mailing for the Oct. event. Thursday Oct. 19th from 7pm to 8:30pm is our Prayer Meeting as a group of singles get together to pray in the sanctuary for our Oct. 21st Annul Fall Gathering.
Follow us on FB at OASIS Christian Singles Brooklyn.
Hope to see you soon,
Love in Christ,
On March 18th Cindy and Frank attended an Exchanged Life seminar hosted by Mountainview Bible Church in Pennsylvania. She gave a brief testimony of God’s grace in her spiritual journey. Here is the audio recording:
Thank you to everyone who braved the bad weather and came out to enjoy our Annual Valentine’s Event. I launched this ministry, under God’s leading, on Feb. 1, 1997, so this marked a very special occasion for us. Even though we have hosted these events for 20 years we have never once actually celebrated Valentine’s Day. My heart has always been to celebrate the One who is Himself the Author of Love. And what a wonderful time we had doing so–again!
The cozy evening began with a delicious catered hot Italian buffet dinner and warm friendly fellowship with singles that came from throughout the tri-state area and even Ohio! After uplifting praise and worship, Karen Orlando presented a couple of powerful songs and shared from her heart.
My message for the evening was testimony mixed with teaching and titled “How Perfect Love Casts Out All Fear.” The Action Plan I handed out is available below if you couldn’t attend. The encouraging evening ended with more fellowship and lots of hot chocolate/coffee/tea and scrumptious cake.
We are suggesting a wonderful free resource for you to grow in your faith. It is the “Treasures of Truth” teaching series available at www.Well-of-Life.org. On the homepage just click on Study Online and you will find it. I am enjoying watching it on video.
The flyer for our next event on the Oasis page. We will have two large events this year: Our Annual Spring Celebration is 6pm Saturday, May 20th. The topic is “The Overcoming Life.” Our Annual Fall Celebration is scheduled for 6pm Saturday, Oct. 21st. The topic is “Called and Equipped.”
Ready for something new? We will be hosting small group fellowship meetings in between the big celebrations! The dates are: Bible/Study Prayer: Sat. March 11th, 11am to 1pm. Our Mailing Brunch: Sat. April 8th, 11 am to 1pm; Prayer Meeting: Thurs. May 18th 7pm to 8:30 pm. We invite you to come out and grow in your faith as you build deeper connections with other like minded singles living in Christ. Look forward to seeing you soon!
In His Victory,
We highly recommend this free discipleship series!
Greg Burts and Janet Prince are the featured teachers of the 23 Treasures of Truth lessons that are available online in video or audio format. Please download the accompanying Study Guide in PDF to follow along. May God bless you as you grow in the knowledge of Him.
Did you know the original Greek word for fellowship is “Koinoni”? It means a deep level of meaningful fellowship that believers share with each other through their common bond in the Holy Spirit. Oasis events are designed and formatted with that concept in mind.
OASIS Event RECAP
What a wonderful time we had at our OASIS Singles Annual Fall Celebration a few weeks ago. Over 100 singles of all ages from all walks of life gathered together from throughout the tri-state area for a fun evening with Christ in the center!
We shared much needed fellowship and met new people over a delicious buffet dinner. The praise and worship was powerful and our guest soloist Deborah Antignano was a blessing. We prayed together, learned from the Word about “How To Transform Your Thought Life from Worry to Worship.” And even had Q and A after. Everyone took home a Daily Action Plan for “Learning to Live Your New Life in Christ.” One side has a “Reality Check–Truth To Meditate on Daily” and the other side has “The 4 W’s of Moving from Worry to Worship.” To download yours click here. I encourage you to read it daily to be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Remember we have the choice to walk in the Spirit, or to walk in the flesh (our own resources and strength). This is a moment by moment decision which determines whether we walk in victory or defeat.
An amazing praise dance was performed by Dawn Rowe. to the faith building song “He’s Bigger”. The evening was capped off by cake and more friendly fellowship with like minded believers.
Thank you to everyone who attended and everyone who helped out. Enjoy the pictures and plan to attend our next event, which is the most popular event of the year. The OASIS ANNUAL SINGLES VALENTINES EVENT will be Saturday, February 11, 2017 at 6PM. You can download a flyer here. Please help us get the word out. Feel free to post it on Facebook or anywhere else. Print it and hand them out when you go to singles events. If you want to help out at the next event as a volunteer by serving food or being a greeter, please arrive at 4pm. We have already started praying for the event and invite you to do so, too. God bless you and remember to choose God’s truth over the enemy’s deception and walk in your new identity in Christ daily. See you in February!
To God be the glory for what He is doing among us!
Love in Christ,