I heard a message this past week by John Townsend. Wikipedia identifies him as a leadership coach, organizational consultant, psychologist and best-selling author. The online encyclopedia neglected to mention that he’s also a man of God.
In fact, Dr. Townsend is one of the nation’s foremost advocates of Christ-centered recovery from mental and emotional health issues. And he actually is a character in a new feel-good, faith-based motion picture, “Home Run,” which opened in theaters yesterday.
The faith-based production has been brought to the big screen by Provident Films, whose previous credits include “Fireproof,” the top-grossing independent film of 2008, and “Facing the Giants,” the surprise theatrical hit of 2006.
“Home Run” tells the fictional story of Cory Brand, a major league baseball All-Star, who’s off-the-field life is spiraling dangerously out of control.
After a DUI, and resultant suspension by his ball club, Cory reluctantly heeds his agent’s advice that he return to the small town where he grew up and enroll himself in an eight-week recovery program.
So Cory grudgingly enters the recovery program while also coaching the local youth baseball team (much against his will) to get the sign-off he needs – from Dr. Townsend – to be reinstated to his major league team.
To me, the most poignant scene in the movie is when Cory finds himself unable to beat his alcohol problem in his own strength. That’s when he surrenders himself to the Lord’s healing power.
In his message this past week, Dr. Townsend explained, “Will power is hugely over-rated.”
Our recovery truly begins, he continued, when we come to the end of ourselves (or “hit rock bottom,” or have a “moment of clarity” or however else we choose to describe it). What awaits us is God’s grace.
There was something else Dr. Townsend said that struck me. “Everyone needs recovery,” he said. Not just alcoholics. Not just drug addicts. But everyone. Because every one of us has been damaged in some way or another.
Indeed, that’s why Celebrate Recovery, the faith-based program that inspired the producers of “Home Run,” addresses a “wide variety of hurts, hang ups and harmful behaviors.”
That includes not only “dependency on alcohol or drugs,” but also “pornography, low self-esteem, need to control, depression, anger, co-dependency, depression, fear of rejection, fear of abandonment, perfectionism, broken relationships, and abuse.”
Celebrate Recovery was launched 20 years ago at Saddleback Church in Southern California and has since spread to some 19,000 churches.
There is no more effective recovery program in the world. And that is a testament, I believe, that our God truly is mighty to save.