In Exodus chapter 8, God instructed Moses to tell Pharaoh, “Let my people go … if you refuse, I will plague your whole country with frogs.” Pharaoh refused and, as promised, God covered the land with frogs. I can envision Pharaoh complaining to his magicians, “There are frogs everywhere, what are you going to do about it?” Imagine how Pharaoh felt when his magicians came back and reported, “You’re going to be so proud of us, we made more frogs!” Eventually, the frog weary Pharaoh summoned Moses and said “Pray to the Lord to take the frogs away and I will let your people go …"

Moses basically responded, “Ok, when?” Then, in Exodus 8:10, Pharaoh utters one of the most stubborn comments in the entire Bible. “Tomorrow,” Pharaoh said. Incredible! God was willing, ready and able to rid the land of frogs today, but Pharaoh said “tomorrow.” So, by his own choice, it was one more night with the frogs.

What are the frogs in your life? What are the hurts, hang-ups and habits that have been plaguing you, stealing your joy, hurting your relationships, diminishing your health and keeping you in bondage?

The Bible is clear, God is willing, ready and able to set you free. However, one of the great tragedies is that so many people think, “I really want and need to be liberated from my hurts, hang-ups and habits, so how about tomorrow?” In other words, “how about one more night with the frogs.”

With this in mind, let me introduce you to Celebrate Recovery. Celebrate Recovery is a Biblically-based, Christ-centered recovery program that will help you deal with your hurts, habits and hang-ups.

I was recently blessed to become the ministry leader for Celebrate Recovery in Destin and have found that this recovery program is more effective in helping hurting people and changing lives than anything else I’ve ever seen or heard of.

This program was started in 1991 by John Baker at the Saddleback Church in Lake Forest, California. The first night 43 people attended. Today, more than 35,000 churches host Celebrate Recovery and over 5 million people have completed the program’s step studies. This program is made up of regular people like you and me, who are on a journey toward peace, healing, wholeness and freedom.

Here are seven reasons why you should come and check it out:

1. Celebrate Recovery is based on God’s word.

2. Celebrate Recovery focuses on future victory rather than what has already happened in the past.

3. Celebrate Recovery emphasizes personal responsibility. When we get real with our own character defects and stop blaming others for our issues, then the healing power of Christ can begin working in our lives.

4. Celebrate Recovery emphasizes commitment to Jesus Christ and his teachings. The enormous success of Celebrate Recovery is grounded in a Christ-like approach to ministering to broken and hurting people.

5. Celebrate Recovery is built on the New Testament principle that we don’t get well by ourselves. We need each other and a caring, prayerful community to grow spiritually and emotionally.

6. Celebrate Recovery addresses all types of habits, hurts, and hang-ups. This program is for everyone ... not just for people with addictions. It is a “large umbrella” ministry under which a limitless number of issues can be addressed. Two-thirds of the people who come are dealing with issues other than alcohol or drugs. It is a safe and confidential environment. In other words, “what is said here and who you saw here, stays here.”

7. Celebrate Recovery moves members into ministry.

Celebrate Recovery is church-based, thus, it produces a continuous stream of people moving into ministry, leadership positions and service opportunities after they have found recovery in Christ.

Jesus once asked a very profound question, “Do you want to get well?” (John 5:6) If you are ready to say “yes” to this question, please come and check us out. There are now Celebrate Recovery groups in just about every city in the country. To find the group nearest you, please see www.celebraterecovery.com. The Celebrate Recovery program I help lead meets every Monday at Destin United Methodist Church, 200 Beach Drive. There is an optional meal at 6 p.m., then the worship begins at 6:45 p.m. Child care is available.

If you come, you will find a prayerful, caring community, great food, fun fellowship, wonderful worship music, life-changing teaching and caring people whose lives have been changed in dramatic ways. You will meet people who have been set free from all kinds of habits, hang-ups, and hurts as they practice the Lordship of Jesus.

Russ Whitten preaches every Sunday at the 9:30 a.m. Harbor Worship Service at Brotula’s Restaurant, 210 US 98 in Destin and then at the 11:30 a.m. service at The Downtown Church, meeting at Enlightened Studios, 144 Miracle Strip Parkway SE in Fort Walton Beach. He can be reached at russwhitten@gmail.com.