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September 21, 2014

Lives changed through Celebrate Recovery program

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Posted: Saturday, August 20, 2011 12:00 am | Updated: 12:05 pm, Wed Jun 11, 2014.

Individuals who have hurts, habits and hang-ups can discuss their problems Wednesday nights at 6:30 at Harvest Assembly of God in Talladega. Through the church’s new Celebrate Recovery program, church leaders are saying lives have been changed.

“So far the feedback has been really positive,” said Rhonda Hardegree, a licensed professional counselor who leads the women’s group.

The 3-hour, 12 step program is designed to help those struggling with hurts, habits and hang-ups by showing them the loving power of Jesus Christ. After a 20-minute worship session there is a Bible lesson or testimony.

“Then we break into groups, men, women and youth,” Associate Pastor Wade Brasher said. “That lasts an hour. It’s an open group where people can open up their hearts. It’s all confidential. After that we break for fellowship, which is real important to build relationships.”

Senior Pastor Lee Frost said Talladega is economically challenged, one reason they decided to start the program.

“A lot of people need help and they may not be able to drive to Calhoun County or Sylacauga,” he said. “So we thought we would start a Celebrate Recovery here so that people in Talladega can come here without having to drive 30 minutes or an hour.”

The program is not limited to those who have alcohol or drug addictions. Hardegree said if someone is struggling with their marriage, they will be welcome. Frost said those who have sexual addictions and eating disorders will be welcome. He said if you’ve lost a loved one or are struggling with anxiety, you will be welcome.

“When Jesus came he didn’t come and go into the churches and talk to all the saved people,” Hardegree said. “He came to the people that were hurting who were prostitutes, who were thieves. He tried to reach out to those people. We’re trying to be Christ-like and reach out to those who really need it.”

Frost said he has heard church people described as “plastics.”

“They think we have it all together, that we’re perfect,” he said. “A lot of times in the church we want to act like it’s all good, dress up on Sunday and put our church mask on. At an average Sunday morning church service there’s not anywhere for people to share their hurts. We can pray for you around the altar, but that’s all. As far as really getting real and being a human, there’s not a place for that in any church structure on Sunday mornings. I would like to see people not in the church look at us and say, ‘Hey, they’re saved and born again but they still have problems, too so maybe there’s hope for me.’”

Brasher said that we’re all on life’s journey and although some are further along than others, we’re all ultimately trying to get to the same place.

“We’re a spiritual maturity program,” Hardegree said. “You can walk in here as baby Christian or walk in here not a Christian at all. Hopefully by the time the 12 steps are over, you will have grown some.”

Hardegree said if you come, you will be welcome.

The church is at 81 Old Shocco Road, at the corner of U.S. 275. A nursery is provided.

For more information, call 256-362-5973.

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