Archive for the ‘written by: RTaylor’ Category

How to Clean Burnt on Caked on Food from Cookware

There was a time when I’d sooner throw away a burnt pan then try to clean it. There were however, several occasions where I did try to scour and scrub a pot or skillet with little hope of it ever sparkling again. It may have been given a hiding place of shame in the back of a cupboard, but eventually if not immediately it would end up in the trash heap.

However, lately I have spent a lot more time in the kitchen, reacquainting myself with good home cooking, and in the process finding myself attached to some beautiful stainless steel skillets and pots that my husband brought into the marriage. Tossing them, or hiding them away is not an option I would consider, so I have found through trial and error how to actually clean them up with little or no “elbow grease”. So now when I discover that my unattended food is melting into a tarry black layer of crusty gunk at the bottom of my favorite skillet I don’t go into panic mode. I realized that the same principles for treating a burn your eyes, stinky, burning pot, applies to relationships.


The Inland Vineyard Fellowship’s Celebrate Recovery is right in step with God’s work of recovery!

As Vineyard culture thrives on Compassion and Mercy

Compassion and Mercy We accept into our fellowship any person moving towards Christ in their pursuit of genuine human life. We welcome “sinners”, trusting the Holy Spirit to draw anyone’s heart to Him through worship, the Word, and love. God’s mercy always triumphs over judgment (James 2:13; John 8:1-11).

…Celebrate Recovery recognize this sinful world for what it is, welcoming one another into a more conscious contact with God, restoring one another with the love and grace we ourselves have experienced.

As the Vineyard has a culture of Equipping believers… .

Equipping God calls and enables believers to express the talents, gifts, and ministries that He has set aside for them, therefore we integrate Biblical truth into everyday activities that impact our community (Eph. 4:11-13).

…Celebrate Recovery equips us with the tools to break free from the hurts, habits and hangup’s that keep us from experiencing our gifts and talents. Our journey in the 12 steps is only a small testimony of how God uses us to carry His message to others

As Vineyard has a culture of Caring for People… .

Relationships Caring for people is our highest priority after submission to God, because the purpose of the cross was the redemption of men and women. To the best of our ability we will treat each person with respect, dignity, and loving patience – always seeking what is best for their life and growth (Rom. 12:9-13; 1 Cor. 13:4-9; Col. 3:12-14).

…Celebrate Recovery recognises the one and only higher power, Jesus Christ has the power to transform our lives if we submit to His will. Celebrate recovery does not seek to “fix” people, but seeks to build relationships that encourage and support one another in confidence

AS Vineyard has a culture of Generosity

Generosity We are stewards of God’s gifts and resources (Matt. 10:8, 39; 13:45-46) which means that when God directs, we will be willing to give away what we have, to risk the security of current success in order to advance the Kingdom of God on earth in greater ways.

…Celebrate Recovery recognizes that in order to keep what God has given us we must give it away. It is in this that we share our experience, strength and hope with one another.

As the Vineyard has a culture of desiring to be naturally supernatural

Simplicity We want to be “naturally supernatural”, avoiding behavior that draws attention away from God and to ourselves. Simplicity affects our worship style, how we pray for the sick, minister to the poor, carry out discipleship, teach the Bible, and so on (1 Cor. 2:2-5; James 3:13; 1 Thess. 4:11-12).

…Celebrate recovery has a saying, “don’t quit until the miracle happens”. The miracle happens in the peace and serenity that comes as we draw near to God and experience his redemptive power.

As the Vineyard culture is willing to take risks

Risk-Taking and Mistakes We are willing to let people make mistakes as they grow in their gifting. We know that gifting develops in an environment of trial-and-error, so we are willing to be patient with people’s weaknesses and failures while they learn (John 21:15-19; Gal. 5:22-23)

.…Celebrate Recovery teaches us that “it is ok to be messy”, and that “our best today is good enough” Recovery is about progress, not perfection and we learn that our “failures” in God’s grace, our “failures” do not defeat us.

Our Sunday Celebration Services are held at 9am and 11am in the Sanctuary. We welcome you to come and join us! We are the Inland Vineyard – a Christian Church, California.
Service Times: 9am & 11am

Am I in Denial?  Signs you may be in Denial, the Deception and the Truth

We admitted that we were powerless over our addictions and compulsive behaviors and that our lives had become unmanageable.

“I can stop any time I want to.”  “I have it under control”  “I’m not hurting anyone.”  “I’m stronger than other people.”  “It really isn’t that bad.” “I don’t need to change”.   

In recovery we call this denial.  For me that was always one of the laughable insults.  

 Denial is far from laughable. It is by far one of  the biggest weapon the enemy uses weaken us.  Because as long as we keep silent about our doubts, fears,  hurts, and hang-ups and limitations, the harder it is for us be in a position to say yes to the life God has for us.   It is hard to accept that people of faith can be in denial,  but I find it easier to accept the phrase self-deception.  Even the Bible hall of Famers were deceived, and suffered the effects of denial.  For this lesson we will take a look at the life of one such Bible hero,  review some of the signs of denial, its toll on our lives, and how the bible addresses the deceptions.   (more…)

Does My “Ex” Want Me Back?


“Give and you will receive. Your gift will return to you in full–pressed down shaken together to make room for more, running over, and poured into your lap. The amount you give will determine the amount you get back.” Luke 6: 38

I had one of those “my ex-wants me back dreams” the other night. If you have not experienced one of these, I liken it to the dreams where I make a regrettable choice. I have one such dream where, being an ex smoker, I casually light up a cigarette. I feel at first, caught by the surprise of the feeling of satisfaction as I draw in a breath. But this is quickly disrupted by a sense of foreboding and instant remorse. All of the “ex wants me back dreams” are the same. Things seem casual and light, then my dream mind starts reeling knowing I am about to make bad choice.

That all said, this “ex-wants me back” dream was not like that at all. This dream was different. I did not have the predictable emotions: like the satisfaction “winning” my ex back or the confusion of making choices I was not given in real life. So, I woke up puzzled. I found that in the dream, I was just simply (more…)

Discoverying Your Purpose

Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for RIGHTEOUSNESS FOR they shall

be satisfied. –Matthew5:6

It is the spirit who gives life; flesh profits nothing. The words that I speak

to you are spirit, and they are life. –John 6:63

On the last day, the climax of holidays, Jesus shouted to the crowds, “If

anyone is THIRSTY; let him come to me and drink. For the Scriptures declare

that rivers of living water shall flow from the inmost being of anyone who

believes in me. John 7:37..

…”anyone who drinks this water will soon become thirsty again but those who drink the water I give will never be thirsty again. It becomes a fresh bubbling spring within them, giving them eternal life.” John 4:13

I can’t help but notice how many people have expressed the overwhelming excitement that god is doing something “big” in their lives. That something is often vague and unclear, but when they talk about it they light up with anticipation what our pastor calls “giddy”. Yet because of the enormity of the “something” there is an underlying sense of fear.

Interestingly, when I was in Indonesia, our team was asked to teach a group of young people on the wide open topic of “Maximum Satisfaction”. I noticed that in the first scripture I found on the subject, Jesus says that you are blessed if you hunger and thirst for righteousness, because you will be satisfied. It seemed that key to satisfaction was having a thirst and a hunger. (more…)

What mighty praise, O God, belongs to you in Zion.  
We will fulfill our vows to you. All of us must come to you.
Though we are overwhelmed by our sins, you forgive them all.
What joy for those you choose to bring near,  those who live in your holy courts
What festivities await us inside your holy Temple. 
You faithfully answer prayers with awesome deeds, O God our savior.  
You are the hope of everyone on earth, even those who sail on distant seas.
You formed the mountains by you power and armed yourself with mighty strength.
Psalm 65: 1-6

Spending time in prayer can be  a joy or a chore.  Today and yesterday, it seemed I was in a hurry to get my “daily time with God” checked off my list of things to do.  So for the last couple of days,  my attitude toward prayer was seeing it as  more like a chore. 

I’m not going to beat myself up about it.  There is a saying  that says “God’s word does not come up void.”  So  I know that whenever I am reading God’s word something will come of it.    So today as I dutifully read from the Bible, the passage took root.   After reading (the above scripture) I had to acknowledge that  I forgotten what it was like to “hear” from God.  I remember being eager to see how the scripture was going to fit into what was happening in my life.  As today,  ironically reminded me, though I was admonished for taking my daily time for granted, settling in to hear what God had to say to me  brought me such joy.   And so today I was reminded that God does have something to say to me.  And that intimacy with God is something so valuable that the enemy would use any device to de-value the few tools we have to bring us into that intimacy.

  step 10:  We sought through prayer and mediation
 to improve our conscious contact with God,
 praying only for knowledge of His will for us
and the power to carry that out.

   The action word in step 11 is  not “pray”, nor is it “meditate”;  The action word is “sought”.  (Praying and meditating are those  tools that I  can use to improve my conscious contact with God.     

I am  to seek to improve my conscious contact with God.  (No need to seek after Him, as he is in always in contact with me).

There are times when uninterrupted talking or sharing are beneficial; but wha joy  is there to be found when the creator of the universe acknowledges he has been listening and what more is; He loves me and cares for me anyway.

1John1:8-9 If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us.  If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sin, and cleans us from all unrighteousness.  1John1:8-9 KJV

I imagine disapproval at time when I chose to go out of my way to do get my son something he asks for.  Why does a young adult man who is marginally contributing to the family, get the same treatment that I would give someone as those who do more?   But the phrase that comes to mind for me is “unmerited favor.”    My kids know that they can ask.  I enjoy them and respect that they do not take advantage of my love and care for them.   I am pretty sure they know that I have no ledger of who “deserves what”.   This was something I was thinking about just last night.

  And today it so happened that my reading was 1John1:8—9 .    The picture that came to mind as I read this was changing diapers.   I changed my babies and cleaned them every time they dirtied their diapers.  No matter how many times a day, season after season, I changed them and cleaned them.  I didn’t keep track of how many times I had to change and clean them either.  I think by the third child I realized that learning to use the potty had more to do with how much they wanted to imitate me and their siblings than it did any disapproval or approval from me.   I am surely not using the fact that I changed and cleaned them as babies as a reason to call in favors or good behavior from them.

     In a small way that is how I see the unmerited favor in which God is faithful to forgive us our sin and cleans us from all unrighteousness.   Sin is something I am going to do, and it stinks who am I kidding?   But, no matter how many times I soil myself,   God is willing to clean me off and give me a kiss on the head and a pat on the bottom and send me on my way.   I can remember as a toddler, having an “accident” and being old enough to “know better” I tried to hide my soiled clothes…DISASTER.    What was different …shame.  Maybe that is a reason we are to be like little children…Willing to be washed clean!

 Lesson 20 is about our Daily Inventory.  I was thinking about how this reminded me assigning homework.  As adults I how much do we really write down?  I brought with me a remnant from my former career.  As a teacher I often asked students to journal each evening.   Here is a sample of what one of my students wrote:   Journal.1./ today is the first day I write in this agenda and well I was going to move tomorrow and then my uncle said six… 

    Our lesson today is called Daily Inventory However; notice that step 10 does not say how often we do our personal inventory:

Step 10 “We continued to take a personal inventory when we were, wrong promptly admitted it.   It does not say daily, but rather it says when we were wrong.  (We will talk more about that later) The principal however, Principle 7 says to reserve a daily time with God for self-examination, bible reading, and prayer in order to know God and His will for my life and to gain the power to follow His will.  So I consider of self examination that an inventory fits right in….more… (Click here for complete Lesson notes)


Celebrate recovery helped me to see that the biggest roadblock to healing is un-forgiveness.      Years ago whenever I heard teachings on forgiveness,  I  didn’t listen too closely because  I felt I was a very forgiving person.  But I was mistaking “write off” for forgiveness.   It went both ways: If I was accused I would deny the harm, or withdraw physically and or emotionally from that person. If I was wronged,  I likewise would deny that harm was done, and often withdraw  physically emotionally  from the wrong-doer. In both cases I found myself withdrawing mentally as well (mental withdrawal from me was when I would forget..the extent of a relationship, the existence of a relationship, or the situation in general) .   The harder it was to deny or withdraw the more likely I would act  on my addictive or compulsive behaviors.  In addition the relationships I had were  shallow or eventually abandoned.  And while I could walk around with a smile, the trap was in denying the hurt, I ultimately had to deny myself (a mere human), and others (also human).   And erring is human!

Celebrate recovery’s  Principle 1  says  that   pretending the hurt isn’t there or that it doesn’t bother you anymore won’t solve your problems.

Jeremiah 6:14 (TLB) reminds us that “You can’t heal a wound by saying it’s not there!”

This is key to why we look back in recovery

As I work through my regular inventory I realize the roots of my compulsive behaviors and addictive desires can be traced back to buried pain.  This is recovery up to this point:   realizing I am wounded,  know God can heal,  allowing him to heal,   open up the wound,  confess our wounded-ness,   allow God to clean it out,   and now be willing to make amends and offer forgiveness.. This is the lasting solution…..  more… (click here for complete lesson)

Did I do enough?

This was a question that many had as I surveyed and had conversations with the people of Ireland. This was a question they would ask Jesus. This was not a question I was asked to answer for them. I was there to encourage them to read the Bible & to share with them how God had touched my life.

In recovery,  one of the most empowering statements has been, “Your best today is good enough.” For me the power was in being able to use that statement to “let go” of that which might hinder me, so that could press on. Or, as Paul says, ‘ forgetting the past and looking forward to what lies ahead.”

But is that really so? Was my best good enough? How can it be when sometimes my best for the day may have harmed others, or myself?

Abel became a Shepard, while Cain became a farmer. At harvest time Cain brought the to the Lord a gift of his choice lambs from the best of his flock. The Lord accepted Abel and his offering, but he did not accept Cain and his offering. This made Cain very angry and dejected. Genesis 4:2

I have read and heard a lot about why God didn’t accept Cain and his offering. But in this passage I can see only that Cain realized he was not accepted.

Why are you so angry?’ the Lord asked him, “Why do you look so dejected? You will be accepted if you respond in the right way. But if you refuse to respond correctly then watch out! Sin is waiting to attack and destroy you, and you must subdue it.” Genesis 4:6

“Did I do enough?”

I am drawn again to Paul’s teaching in Philippians where he says:

I once thought all these things were so very important, but now I consider them worthless because of what Christ has done. Yes, everything else is worthless when compared with the priceless gain of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord. I have discarded everything else, counting it all as garbage so that I may have Christ and become one with him. I no longer count on my own goodness. or ability to obey God’s law, but I trust Christ to save me.

Did I accomplish what God wanted me to accomplish in Ireland? Did I do enough? Was I acceptable? These questions I recognize call me to compare, weigh, judge, evaluate, justify, blame, live in the past and doubt. Yet, I found myself asking myself these questions. Neither I, nor anyone else can give me the answer to these questions. But God can and he does so I searched his word. As I sought scripture I found a resounding


I will always fall short. BUT that would not change God’s love for me. It couldn’t change the fact that God’s intentions for me are good. I am worth enough to Jesus that he died for me. What else matters?  Your best today is good enough…Because Jesus tilts the scale in our favor.

This article first appeared in Crosstalker’s blog