“Help Us Confront Addictions and Life-Controlling Problems” – A Message From The President of LF

lf-appeal-photo-1Dear Living Free Family,

This is a time when God has seen fit to bring rapid growth to the influence of Living Free. We find many Christians desiring to confront the serious problems in their communities–most of which are fueled by addictions and other life-controlling issues. A director of 911 services told our team the following: “80% of calls to our system are due to drug and alcohol use.”

Living Free (LF) is helping Christians from various congregations work together to provide a life-changing ministry in rural communities and urban neighborhoods. By 2024, we plan to train persons for such a ministry in 2,000 U.S. counties. In addition, the Living Free seminar has been taught in 89 countries and many of its graduates are moving toward establishing an LF ministry. (Living Free is scheduled to train 12,000 pastors in Tanzania next summer!)

Travel expenses, limited personnel, and time limitations make it impossible to keep up with the demand. That is why Living Free Academy is being developed to provide on-line courses that will be available to train persons anywhere in the world. The training and resources can be delivered to a computer, smart phone, or e-book reader.

I wanted to let you know about this project so you can help us pray for wisdom and provision. I’d also like to invite you to take part financially. Developing the first phase of the Living Free Academy along with improvements to our website will take about $30,000. The goal is to have the LF Academy functional by January 2017.

I deeply appreciate your participation in Living Free. Please prayerfully consider providing a donation to help fund the Living Free Academy project by visiting LivingFree.org and clicking the “Support Living Free” button.

Dan Strickland, President
Living Free

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Small Group Facilitators: How To Communicate In Your Group

Communication skills are extremely important in small-group interaction. Whether verbally or with silence, group members are always communicating in some manner. Effective communication requires active listening and having genuine concern for each group member. Since it is easy to develop poor patterns of interacting with people, communication skills require practice.

Open-ended questions help create discussion in the group. These types of questions cause the participants to have a better understanding of themselves. Repeating the content of the group member’s message helps individuals know that they are being heard and that you are with them. When confronting is needed, care-fronting skills should always be used.

As mentioned earlier, communications are enhanced by having people sit in a circle. Having the need for eye contact, all group participants should be able to see each other. Group members who sit across from each other tend to communicate better than those who sit next to each other. Group facilitators should sit across from each other and acknowledge all contributions to the group process. No one should ever be put down for a comment that is in error.

Group leaders should guard against the temptation to dominate the discussion. It is a common temptation to answer most of the questions, to be the super Christian, or to turn the group meeting into a platform for preaching. The leaders should give direction to the group process by starting the discussion then steering the conversation according to the curriculum being used. It is best to divert conversations on controversial subjects that may cause division among group members. Although the sharing of past experiences can be interesting and in some cases valuable, the focus of the small group should be on the present in the person’s life. Since conversation on intellectual levels often results in surface discussion, it tends to kill personal sharing. There is a difference between what persons may think versus what they feel.

A Letter From The President of Living Free

A Message from the President of Living Free

There are heroes in every community. Most are yet to be discovered. They want to do something significant in God’s service, but they don’t know how to begin. They need to be inspired, trained, equipped, and mentored. And when they are, those whose lives they touch are forever changed.

Most, but not all of these leaders, have faced difficult and painful struggles and trials with life’s problems, either personally or through helping a loved-one. And they have learned from experience what the Apostle Paul described in 2 Corinthians 1:4, He comforts us during all things that cause trouble and pain for us. So then, as a result, we ourselves can comfort other people who have any kind of trouble or pain. We can comfort them because God himself has comforted us. (EEV)

Kim Black, Living Free leader of Anderson County Recovery, is one of these leaders. Here’s her story:

I first became involved with Living Free in 2012. We here in Anderson County Kentucky had just started to feel the effects of the pain pill epidemic. Unfortunately, my husband and myself had been dealing with it for several years with our children. Three of our four children were addicted to pain pills. Two of our children could not really function, and the other was harder to spot because he was a functioning working addict.

At this time, it was a problem that was not talked about, and I found such little help. I became desperate because my kids’ addictions were tearing our marriage apart and in all that mess God seemed to be very far away. When I reached out and began to speak with others, I realized that there were many in our community with the same problem I had. Although it made me feel less alone, it didn’t do anything to equip me to handle my circumstances with any victory.

My pastor suggested that what we needed in Anderson County was Living Free Community. He referred me to Clayton Arp (LF Community National Director) and in January 2012 with his help, we began to follow the blueprint for building a Living Free Community. I spoke with pastors who told of their frustration in trying to help those they knew in their congregation who were suffering from the effects of a loved one’s addiction. Without a neutral safe place to be honest about their problems and get the help and support they needed, their needs remained hidden.

I followed the Living Free plan to build the ministry. I asked a friend to gather a prayer team to help prepare the way with petitions to God. I continued to meet with pastors to hear what their needs were and this built a relationship of trust with them that was important for the ministry to succeed.

Kim and her team have helped hundreds of people find hope and freedom. She is representative of over 200 other leaders in counties across America developing Living Free allied ministries.

It’s a fact that Living Free works! And it works because of your generosity.

A donation today will help make it possible to:

  • Establish Living Free ministry in 2,000 U.S. counties.
  • Provide online training and support for all levels of Living Free workers.
  • Network Living Free leaders worldwide.
  • Improve existing materials and develop new curriculums.
  • Provide content directly to smartphones, tablets, and e-book readers.
  • Empower like-minded ministries with Living Free materials.
  • Provide resources to those who cannot afford them otherwise.

There is much to be done.

Let’s not stop until every community has a ministry that shows people God’s path to hope, faith, and freedom from life-controlling problems through Christ.

Serving together with you,

Dan Strickland, President

P.S. Your generous gift this month will help us continue to move forward through the typically very lean summer months.  To make a secure gift, please go to www.livingfree.org and click on the red “Support Living Free” banner in the top right hand side.  

Meet Lisa Marshall

Tell us a little about yourself:

My name is Lisa Marshall and I am the Letcher County Lifeline Connection Coordinator.  I am privileged to work in this ministry and ministries in service to the Lord full time.  My husband and I have 3 kids.

When were you first introduced to Living Free?

The first I became aware of Living Free was about 5-6 years ago.  I was approached by a gentleman about becoming a Lifeline Facilitator.  I prayed about it and felt led to do so.  The material is great material and can be used in a variety of settings.

How has Living Free impacted your life?

When I introduce myself in a new Lifeline class, one comment I often make is that even though I am a facilitator, these classes still benefit me.  It’s truly not just for those with life controlling issues, it’s for those who want to prevent from having a life controlling issue.  Also, I have seen first hand how these materials have changed the lives of people and have aided greatly in the recovery of people’s lives.

Right now, there are hundreds of people using Living Free materials to lead small groups. What would you say to encourage the facilitators and participants?

The material is great and worth the time you need to put into it.  With that being said, you’ll get out of it what you put in to it.  What I mean by that is, the material is excellent and is a valuable asset in your road to recovering, however if you don’t put in to practice what it suggests, then it won’t be worth much to you.

Also, getting into the Word of God DAILY is a vital component.  We wouldn’t like eating food once a week, so reading God’s Word daily is equally important.  In our group we give them simple Bible studies to work on throughout the week along with them preparing for the next lesson. You CAN do this; others before you have.   As facilitators we naturally want to rescue them all, and that is a great attitude to have, however in reality we need to do our best to plant the right seeds in them knowing that it is God who truly reaps the Harvest.

The Living Free Community is wonderful.  The leadership is there to help your program to be successful.  And with the leadership and your valuable time and efforts, it will be just that, successful.  Don’t be afraid to dream big.  Some people think it is crazy to believe that we will have 14 Lifeline Classes in Letcher County.  Already in 2015 we have 2 new classes starting up.  Cast your vision and pray into it.  Prayer truly works.

Facing Fear, Finding Faith

Fear, worry, and anxiety are hallmarks of the human experience, yet our loving Father longs for us to be filled with His peace. God has given us numerous commands to “fear not” in the Bible and He has invited us to “cast all your anxiety on Him because He cares for you” (1 Peter 5:7).

But sometimes, fear can seem unescapable. Like a boa constrictor, it strikes and then coils itself around us, suffocating the very life out of our being. So many things can trigger crippling fear, such as:

  • Bills piling up with no way to pay them…
  • House headed for foreclosure and you have no place to go…
  • Your child strung out on drugs…
  • Hearing the dreaded news, “You have cancer”…
  • Receiving the phone call at 2:00am, “Your son was in a car accident”…

How do we escape the bondage of fear and walk in faith?

Facing Fear, Finding Faith is a 10-week study designed to introduce you to a biblical model for overcoming fear while increasing your faith. This model provides a practical, useful step-by-step process for moving beyond fear toward a trusting relationship with Jesus Christ.

For more information on this curriculum or to order it now, please visit our Online Store or call 800.879.4770.