We began as a fellowship of family members and friends of alcoholics who gathered together for mutual support and encouragement. Those who suffer from other forms of abusive family relationships have also been drawn to our fellowship. We are grateful to have them join us. Our experience is that in God’s grace and truth, there is all the power we need for healing and recovery. We have found through Jesus Christ God made accessible and understandable to us. We recognize God’s generosity to us by gratefully extending to others the 12 keys to healing recovery we know to be true in our own lives.
Our Organizing Principle
The central organizing principal of our meetings is the living presence of our Lord Jesus Christ ministering in us and through us. It is He who said, “Where two or three are gathered in My name so am I in the midst of them” (Matthew 18:20). The words of Jesus Christ are filled with the Holy Spirit; and in His healing presence we gather. This is the one who said, “My words are spirit and are life” (John 6:63). We believe as we meditate, live and minister Jesus words there is no wound or problem too great for God to heal or solve. In Christ our experience is that those who honestly seek Him will find all the love, wisdom and power needed to lead clear-minded, tranquil lives.
One of the first things we learn in La Casa de La Paz is that we are not alone. There are many others who have suffered the same things we have. We see in others, a presence of mind and wisdom, a courage and serenity that is an example to us all. Their stories are calling us out of the shadow lands, to be released from our darkness and shame. Our secrets no longer imprison us. Through those who have gone before us we hear the call, “Arise, shine; for your light has come, and the glory of the Lord has risen upon you. For behold, darkness will cover the earth and deep darkness the peoples; But the Lord will rise upon you and His glory will appear upon you” (Isaiah 60:1-2, NASB).
Peace of mind is one of God’s greatest gifts for us. “These things I have spoken to you, so that in Me you might find peace. In the world you have tribulation, but take courage; I have overcome the world” (John 16:33). Life lived in the conscious presence of our Lord Jesus Christ is authentic peace and healing. This is the key to our house.
The Model for La Casa de La Paz
The first casas de la paz can be seen in the New Testament in the book of Acts: “Day by day continuing with one mind in the temple and breaking bread from house to house, they were taking their meals together with gladness and simplicity of heart, praising God and having favor with all the people. And the Lord was adding to their number day by day those who were being saved” (Acts 2:46-47). They didn’t think worship was a public display only for Sundays at a special place and time. Nor, did they think that the creator of all things needed a house here on earth. What they seemed to realize was that the holiness and joy of the divine presence had called them to something greater than scheduled public worship. They even saw themselves as houses of God. “Do you not know that you are a temple of God and the Spirit of God lives in you?” (1 Corinthians 3:16). In reading this passage it’s hard to separate their own meals from the Lord’s Supper. What is clear is that there was an attitude of gratitude in their hearts and homes to God. They understood through Jesus teaching the presence of God was everywhere all the time. It was only natural for their home to be a house of the presence of God. Here is the model for our La Casa de la Paz. Our house is a place of celebration, of food and drink for those who hunger and thirst for things the world can never give.
Fellowship and Therapy
The focus of our meetings is a simple group fellowship or therapy organized around a biblically based Twelve Step Program. We don’t teach, we share. In our stories is living proof that God is alive and God cares. In the life challenges we all face, we begin to see woven into the fabric of our personal stories, lessons of life the Holy Spirit and the word of God are showing us. At La Casa de La Paz we share our stories for the mutual edification, exhortation, and consolation of those we gather with. Jesus said, “Don’t be called teacher for One is your teacher and you are all brothers” (Matthew 23:8). We are not a professional program nor are we led by experts or professionals. In our stories we share two things: 1. We share our faith in Christ in the context of our healing process. 2. We share to be a comfort, to encourage and console other member’s faith in Christ. The things we share are not complicated. Jesus said, “I praise you O Father of heaven and earth, that you have hidden these things from the wise and intelligent and revealed to the infants. Yes Father for this was well pleasing in your sight” (Luke 10:21). Every voice is important. To the extent our stories reveal God’s love and faithfulness do we open up doors for the wounded and afflicted to be healed and set free – free to be loved in Christ and free to have the courage to love fearlessly. Amen.
While we are not a professional program, we are by the grace of God a gifted fellowship called to “serve one another as good stewards of the manifold grace of God” (1 Peter 4:10). “Now there are varieties of gifts but the same Spirit. And there are varieties of ministries but the same Lord. There are varieties of effects but the same God who works all things in all persons. But to each one is given the manifestation of the Spirit for the common good” (Reference 1 Corinthians 12:4-26). Our leaders are but trusted servants, they don’t govern but serve in moderating our meetings and keeping our program organized and focused. “Do not call anyone on earth your father; for One is your Father, He who is in heaven” (Matthew 23:9, NASB). In all simplicity we see ourselves as children of God, nothing more and nothing less. In our unique fellowship we have no need for those in special places. When the group grows to the point where this are no longer possible it’s time to start a new group. How we are known is by our fruits (Reference Matthew 7:16 and Galatians 5:22-23). Our only authority is to build one another up not tear one another down. “Don’t be called teachers; for one is your Leader, that is Christ. But the greatest among you shall be called servant. Whoever exalts himself shall be humbled, and whoever humbles himself shall be exalted” (Matthew 23:10-12, NASB).
The power and authority of our program is that it really works. The words of Christ when honestly sought work with amazing supernatural results. There is no need for anyone to pressure anyone else, or lord it over anyone else. Everything we do is done freely and voluntarily, “Now the Lord is the Spirit, and where the Spirit of the Lord is there is liberty” (2 Corinthians 3:17).
At our meetings we often include the serenity prayer, “God grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, the courage to change the things I can, and the wisdom to know the difference. Amen.” We believe authentic peace is a gift that only God can give and a wonderful part of our inheritance in Christ as God’s children. The gift of God’s peace to us personally is at the heart of Jesus’ message. “These things I have spoken to you, so that in Me you may have peace. In the world you have tribulation, but take courage; I have overcome the world” (John 16:33). In the Holy Spirit we know have an oasis of God’s untroubled peace and calm living inside of us. The peace of Christ comes into our hearts with a powerful clarity and calmness that the world cannot touch or disturb unless we let them. Serenity and tranquility are promises that are real and wonderful to behold. They come to the humble and spring from the grace of a moral honesty and clarity that come to us from the presence of our holy and loving Lord alone. (1 Timothy 1:5 reference).
The more intimate our relationship with Christ grows, the more we see our insecurities and gnawing fears, the more clear we become that things are not a part of the normal Christian life. Peace of mind is a part of grace filled life. The first words of Christ on the kingdom of heaven are on our moral and spiritual poverty not our talents and abilities but on our profound sense of powerlessness, Lord I can’t possibly do this. When we can honestly confess this then Jesus says – Blessed are you. Only then can God have the room to move in, operate and transform us. “Blessed are the poor in Spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven” (Matthew 5:3, NASB). The first Step of our program is to admit our utter lack, that we are powerless and our lives are out of control. We must come to the place of knowing Jesus Christ as more than our teacher. First in our thinking must be Christ as our savior, the one who deliverers us and empowers us, in every circumstance and from our fears and restlessness.
True security and contentment are moral and spiritual first, not outward and material. Serenity is not the absence of fear and want but the presence of God. We are most satisfied and content when God is most glorified in our lives. It is true, “For man is born for trouble, As sparks fly upward” (Job 5:7, NASB). But the gift of God’s peace is the heritage of His children both here, now, and for all eternity. True peace is a grace only our God (the one who will never leave us or forsake us) gives, and is a gift no man can take away unless we allow them to take it away, true serenity and peace of mind come with the moral certainty that our clear relationship with God, (and to the best of our ability with our fellows) is by far the most treasured thing we can have. It is the pearl of great price and nothing else compares to it. “Let us jealously guard over our hearts with all diligence for from it flow the wellsprings of life” (Proverbs 4:23).
The great question of true serenity is this: “Is my salvation in God alone, or is it in God plus other things?” We always want to add something else, and when we do we’re saying God you’re not enough. The more things we demand to be in control of the less serenity we will know. God is not calling us to a philosophy but to a love relationship with himself. Does anyone know a little child who could explain the trinity or the great theologies of the church? faith works through love and what little children know is that they are loved and in love they belong and are safe and secure, Jesus says: “Truly I say to you, unless you are converted and become like children, you will not enter the kingdom of heaven” (Matthew 18:3, NASB). Our ever present peace is in the presence of our heavenly Father.
Gossip and Unity
The quality and effectiveness of our program depends on group unity. Gossip breaks that unity and greatly affects our freedom to be open in sharing with one another. While our sharing is open and honest we keep away from specific details of any kind. “What we say here stays here.”
The Narrow Gate
We carefully have no opinions on issues outside our fellowship, about politics, money, religious doctrines or any other thing. The single requirement of our fellowship is a desire to be set free from every form of abuse experienced in a family setting. Our ministry speaks to a very specific need and there are a multitude of issues our fellowship does not address. Beyond the ministry of La Casa de La Paz, we encourage our members to be actively engaged in their local church. “The goal of our instruction is love from a pure heart, a good conscience, and a sincere faith” (1 Timothy 1:5).
Our outreach is to those who have suffered in similar ways we have. It is based upon personal conversation, not media promotion. Word of mouth is our most effective form of outreach. “Out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaks” (Matthew 12: 34). As the Spirit leads, we’re learning to share our stories of how God is setting us free. Every person is different. We humbly ask God to give us the wisdom and sensitivity to know what and how much to say, to say enough without saying too much.
Our Unfinished Work – To the Voiceless Poor We Go
“Peace be with you; as the Father has sent Me, I also send you” (John 20:21, NASB).
“The Spirit of the Lord God is upon me,
Because the Lord has anointed me
To bring good news to the afflicted;
He has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted,
To proclaim liberty to captives
And freedom to prisoners;
To proclaim the favorable year of the Lord
And the day of vengeance of our God;
To comfort all who mourn,
To grant those who mourn in Zion,
Giving them a garland instead of ashes,
The oil of gladness instead of mourning,
The mantle of praise instead of a spirit of fainting”
(Isaiah 61:1-3, NASB).
“Truly, truly, I say to you, he who believes in Me, the works that I do he will do also; and greater works than these he will do; because I go to the Father” (John 14:12, NASB).
“All authority has been given Me in heaven and on earth. Go therefore and make disciples… teaching them to observe all that I command you; and Io, I am with you always, even to the end of the age”
(Matthew 28:18-20, NASB).