Many have asked about Living Free’s online groups and often the questions are the same, is this really a group? Are group members really connecting? Are most group members consistent in meeting together on Zoom?
It was easy to be skeptical until we had no choice. Because of COVID, we started offering online groups to meet the need during the pandemic. Would people be just going through the motions on a screen, with no real connection?
Kristina, a facilitator of the online Understanding Depression group had this to say; “You know I’m not a fan of Zoom, and it does present a couple of challenges but I’m a fan of embracing the challenges and difficulties and making the best of them! It required a little extra work, but that’s ok.” Kristina provided additional visuals with YouTube, sent encouraging worship songs via e-mail, and offered diagrams to help the group.
It is exciting to offer our newest publication to all of our Living Free family here in the United States and around the world; Road to Freedom! It’s not really all that new, as we have been using parts of this booklet in our corrections ministries and the Living Free Plan has been offered to group members as a tool to help set goals and to know the Lord has a purpose for each life and to know the purpose of our Living Free groups.
Our leadership team decided it was time to officially offer Road to Freedom to everyone, as many of our teams are working with inmates in corrections, new Christians, and those dealing with substance abuse.
In 2019 Dan Strickland, President of Living Free had the vision to offer the Living Free seminar in a format that would be more comprehensive,
more opportunity for interaction among participants, and long enough to absorb the vast amount of information compacted into just one 6 hour session presented in a live event. With the help of Barbara Dodridge, online training was developed and introduced in February of 2019 called Living Free Academy.
About 12 months later, all live training came to a halt due to COVID 19.
Do you know when and where the very first Living Free group took place? You might say in Chattanooga, TN in 1988. That was when Dr. Jimmy Lee was invited by the pastor of a large church to start a “Sunday School Class” for people in his congregation that were dealing with alcohol addiction, drug use, and many more life-controlling issues. And in one way, you would be right.
I contend, however, that the first Living Free Group took place in Palestine, in the New Testament, during the ministry of Jesus!
Samson Chelliah along with his wife Sabanaaz lead a campus ministry on the campus of the university in Chandigarh, India. They use Living Free to help students from many countries to overcome problems in their lives. This is a testimony from Matoli, who is from the Kingdom of Lesotho, a small country in Southern Africa. Her testimony is an example of how many types of problems other than addictions can hold us back from being the person God designed us to be.
Please click HERE to view the video.
Living Free Community Growing During the Pandemic
Dian and Ed Davis have been facilitating Carroll County Living Free Community in rural Delphi, IN now for nearly 10 years. They have been facilitating multiple groups weekly, along with court-mandated groups for people in their county who are dealing with substance abuse.
Their goal has been to expand their ministry to neighboring White County, Indiana. Nortie Estes and Robert “J” Mackenzie stepped down as facilitators in Carroll County to go north to White County and start Living Free Community in early 2020. Little did they know that Nortie's daughter would need her mother in Sturgis, KY as the pandemic arrived.
One of the many important aspects of love is forgiveness. In any relationship, if forgiveness is not given and received, the chance of it surviving diminishes. Unforgiveness begins to creep in and bitterness takes hold. What is forgiveness? Wikipedia defines forgiveness as the intentional and voluntary process by which one who may initially feel victimized, undergoes a change in feelings and attitude regarding a given offense, and overcomes negative emotions such as resentment and vengeance (however justified it might be). Forgiveness is a voluntary decision, not a feeling. If we go by our feelings, then forgiveness may not be possible.
February brings thoughts of love to mind for most people. This year, we would like to challenge you to look at it from a different perspective. Instead of traditional ‘couples’ love, let's consider Agape love. This is Godly love. It’s perfect and unconditional among other things.
1 Corinthians 13:4-7 tells us what Godly love looks like. It is patient, kind, not envious, not proud or arrogant, doesn’t act unbecomingly, doesn’t seek its own, is not easily provoked, doesn’t count wrongs suffered, rejoices in truth and righteousness, bears all things, believes all things, endures and hopes for all things. Christ is the ultimate display of Godly love in action.
A Quick Update on Living Free Ministry Progress So many words have been used to describe the times in which we find ourselves. However you describe it, lives and routines have been disrupted and many have been overwhelmed by the chaos.
Living Free has had to make uncomfortable changes, but the present situation has provided many more opportunities for ministry.
Here are a few of the opportunities that God has given us
We would like to introduce the Living Free Podcast. Come join us as we embark on a new aspect of Living Free.
We're on a journey to showcase the heart of Living Free, and the stories of those who have been called to serve.
From its humble beginnings to ministry in the trenches, click the link below to access our first three episodes, and follow to be updated about future episodes!
Vernon E. Johnson, founder and president emeritus of the Johnson Institute in Minneapolis, observed (without trying to prove any theory) literally thousands of alcoholics, their families, and other people surrounding them. He writes, “We came up with the discovery that alcoholics showed certain specific conditions with a remarkable consistency” (8).
These devotions are provided at no charge.
Click here to view a sample Daily Devotion.