The spiritual condition of America, politics, culture, and current events, analyzed through the lens of Scripture. Welcome to the Alex McFarland Show. The word sober. What do you think of when you think of S-O-B-E-R? Sober. Hi, Alex McFarland here.
Welcome to the program. And, you know, in the context of all of our shows, our Truth for a New Generation conferences, hundreds of radio and television programs and two dozen books, we talk about a lot of issues related to biblical worldview, the truth of the Christian message, and then what it means to live as a disciple. We talk a lot about what it means to be led by and controlled by the Holy Spirit of God. But today we're going to talk about sobriety, because, you know, the word, the Greek word translated in English Bibles as sober, like in First Peter 4-7, where the word of God says, be sober and be given to prayer. The word sober, it means several things.
It means responsible, among other things. The Greek word means circumspect and in all areas of your life to let God be in control. Did you know that word appears some nine times in the New Testament?
Isn't that amazing? You know, R.C. Sproul, the great Christian leader of times past, said God only has to say something once for it to be true.
But nearly 10 times in the New Testament, the word of God tells Christians to be sober. Well, we're going to talk about that. And we've got a very special guest with us right now, Roseanne Forte, who is a colleague.
And we'll talk about this. And the theme of this is going to be the plans he has for me. Roseanne is an alcohol free coach, a positive intelligence coach and the international best selling author of a devotional book called, The Plans He Has for Me.
And she has helped people really step away from alcohol abuse and pursue, as I believe the word of God calls us to, sobriety and just a joyful, empowered life that is free from the encumbrance of substance abuse. But Roseanne Forte, thank you for being with us on this edition of the program. Thank you so much for having me, Alex. I look forward to really talking about this subject. Well, indeed. And I want to thank you because I'm on the East Coast and you are near the West Coast. And so as you and I record, you've gotten up early to do this.
And so thanks very much. But how did God lead you to this type of ministry, helping people step away from alcohol and just such a positive message that I think is being used by God to set a lot of people free? How did the Lord lead you into this type of work, Roseanne?
Yeah, well, like all ministry and purpose driven life projects, it came from personal experience. And I believed the lies of this world from a very early age. I didn't start as a Christian. I didn't turn my life to God until about 33 years old. But I started drinking at 13 to be cool. And then I started drinking in college because I didn't really know anybody who didn't drink. I went into the workforce and it was ever present. I got married.
You know, it was a part of romanticism and a relationship. I became a Christian through a lot of turmoil in my marriage and I just loved God. I read the word of God. I became a Bible study leader. I became a Bible study teacher and speaker. I started ministries.
I love Jesus. Yet I had like one foot in and one foot out. I guess I didn't notice that be sober minded thing.
I don't mean to make light of it, but that's kind of the truth. I picked in Jews the parts that I was following him on. And it wasn't that I didn't love God, but I wanted to make my marriage work. And I was trying to have one foot in and one foot out.
And boy, that got me a little bit of trouble. How did God get your attention that this was an area of your life that even though you were a born again believer, but yet this was a part of your life that you needed to relinquish to Christ's lordship? How did God make you aware of this? I think through reading scripture.
I think Ephesians talks a lot about being sober minded and drunkenness. And I became convicted, but I didn't understand the path. I didn't understand the spiritual battle that was necessary to put this aside because it is an addiction. I was a very successful executive. And so I was a go getter. When I said I was going to do something, I'd get it done. And all of a sudden I was faced with this thing where like, wait, this is bad for me.
I need to stop it. And it's such a part of the culture. I will say this traveling and speaking as I do over the last 25 years, I've watched it sort of be like declassified as a taboo in the church. I mean, there was a time and not just, you know, in the south, I'm from the Bible Belt where, you know, it's kind of a thing to be a teetotaler. But, you know, West Coast all across America, it was kind of understood that if you were in church or certainly in church leadership, you abstained from alcohol. Well, over the last quarter century, that's really changed. I mean, I've I've been at Christian conferences where after the work day is done, you know, you go to the restaurants and the preachers and the the keynote speakers are having lots of alcohol in the restaurants. And have you seen that, too, that suddenly even in Christendom, alcohol is almost freely embraced these days? That was almost definitely my life.
I was in leadership and I was in leadership. My small group got together and we drank alcohol and we probably drank alcohol to success. And it definitely contributed to the problem. The problem is that the lies of the enemy, the lies of this world, that it calms you down and it creates romanticism and it allows you to have fun and it connects you better with people. Right. There's all of these things I thought, well, if I drank, I'm just a cool Christian. Oh, my God, what a lie. I wasn't showing too much light back then, you know, and I used to believe that God would never. I wasn't I wasn't an evangelist.
Right. And it's funny how God I can say I'm not an evangelist. Oh, no, God, that's not my gift.
And then here I am. This is helping people turn to Christ. You know, it's funny you would say that, you know, quote unquote, cool Christian. I will say that among Christians of a certain age, let's say like 45 and younger, suddenly hipness or a cool factor has become like a character trait to pursue. You know, but you read in Galatians five and the New Testament, the fruits of the spirit.
I don't read that cool or chic or hip is a spiritual gift that we're called to pursue. We've got to take a brief break. Roseanne Forte, our guest here on the program. She's the author of the plans he has for me, a daily devotional that focuses on other things.
Sobriety and for a born again believer leaving alcohol behind. Stay tuned. We're going to come back right after this brief break and continue this very relevant yet I fear neglected conversation.
Don't go away. Fox News and CNN call Alex McFarland, a religion and culture expert. Stay tuned for more of his teaching and commentary after this. So visit the Web site Alex McFarland dot com and look for the section that says Ask Alex online.
He's been called trusted, truthful and timely. Welcome back to the Alex McFarland show. Welcome back to the program. Alex McFarland here, along with Roseanne Forte. She's an alcohol free coach. She's the best selling author of a devotional called The Plans He Has for Me. And we're going to resume our conversation that is maybe a hard conversation for some people to hear, because, well, I'm going to talk about some of the objections that I can almost hear people raising.
But before we get too much further, Roseanne, again, thank you for being with us. Do you have a Web site or online presence where can people follow you? Yeah, I have www dot the plans he has for me dot com.
And actually, there's some resources there. One of the hardest things for people, Christians and non-Christians alike, is to figure out how to respond when you're choosing not to drink alcohol. So if you click the red button on my Web site, you actually get some flashcards to give you 20 different ideas for how to respond in social situations when you're choosing not to drink. I also am on Instagram at at Roseanne Forte Plans.
And also, I just started a podcast, Say Goodbye and Imagine. Well, this is great. This is great because, you know, I realize people will say, oh, I'm free in Christ. But, you know, Paul is very clear about not doing things that would make another brother stumble. You know, there are a lot of examples we could give. I think about in the life of Martin Luther during the Reformation.
I think about the life of Charles Spurgeon and other Christians that, yes, we're free in Christ, but we're not owners. We're stewards and we're stewards supposed to be stewards of our body and our mind, but also of our influence. And we can talk about that. But even before we go to the spiritual ramifications, I want to talk about physically. What about the body and the mind stepping away from alcohol? What does that do for your physically and intellectually and emotionally? What are the positive changes, Roseanne?
My goodness, thank you for asking that question, because the transformation was big. And the thing about alcohol or any substance abuse, I call it psychological slavery, by the way. You know, being a slave to sin, if we practice sin, we become slaves to it. And there is no better example than substance abuse. And I mentioned the battle, the psychological slavery, the desire to quit. Yet you're held by a ball and chain to it.
And so it is freeing in such a big way. I had gotten to a point where I was praying to God. My marriage had collapsed.
I was in a pretty toxic marriage, so my drinking further escalated. But I asked God, like I said, God, you know, I'm kind of done. I don't have much left here to give.
I'm OK if I get hit by the bus. I mean, I literally was OK with that. And then I had that.
Yeah. And then I read that verse, Jeremiah 29, 11. I know the plans they have for you, declares the Lord, plans to prosper you and not harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. And I kind of scoffed at it.
What plan could you possibly have for me here? But I did walk in faith. And Roseanne, for people that that want to become intoxicated, I mean, do you feel like it's a coping mechanism when people, I mean, even Christians, they're in a place where they feel like there just is no hope?
100 percent. As a coach, I just really recognize that, you know, the thing is, the substance really does depress the nervous system. And so we get that initial calming of our nerves. However, what I try and explain in my coaching is, OK, you may have calmed your nerves for a minute, but and that's what causes the addiction.
Like, oh, I like that calming of the nerves. However, then the next morning you wake up, you feel worse. You have to wonder what you said, wonder what you did, and you still wake up to the same problem that you were trying to cover. So you haven't solved the problem.
You've created a worse problem. You know, it's interesting not only psychologically, but in terms of working with people, very often toxic behaviors or toxic assumptions. They're like a two sided coin. Like I've often said, there's pride and insecurity. Oddly enough, pride and insecurity are kind of like the evil twins. But in terms of substance abuse, there's hopelessness and shame.
Would you agree? People feel, you know, I have no hope. I'm depressed. I really don't see a good outcome.
There's no way out. But then you do something very destructive to try and cope and you feel shame. Aren't those two very toxic feelings that people put themselves through? Thank you for mentioning shame, because that's a big one where this is concerned.
And my pastor, Jamie Rasmussen from Scottsdale Bible, he recently did a sermon that just captured me. And he was talking out of Second Corinthians about godly guilt and worldly guilt where Paul was. And so he was describing godly guilt as just understanding that you've done something wrong and you repent and you turn around from it. Versus worldly guilt is shame where you don't say I've done something wrong.
You say there's something wrong with me. And that's kind of the place that we go to with drinking because it's hard to stop because we live in shame and in secret. And that's what I'm trying to get conversations going about that this is happening to very highly productive, highly powerful people. This isn't like when we think about the alcoholic, we think about the guy on the street with the bottle in the bag. But the fact is, this is getting a grip on highly productive people.
We have this idea in our head about somebody who has an alcohol problem with the homeless person and the alcohol hidden in the bag. And that's not who it's affecting. It's affecting people around the world.
And according to the NIH, National Institutes of Health, 11.3% of the population in the United States have some form of alcohol use disorder, which is what they call it. That's what we know about. That doesn't include all the people who are hiding and not admitting it.
Right? And so I want to make it a bigger conversation that's kind of the same as, hey, I need to lose weight. We are just hiding in shame, as you say. This shame is what is breaking us. It's hiding the light that's available for us to show to others because we're just consumed. Our thoughts are being consumed by our inability to control something that's controlling us.
And folks, if you're just tuning in, Alex McFarland here. We're talking with Roseanne Forte. And maybe this thing of shame and hopelessness and a coping mechanism that deep in your soul you know is not right.
It's not helping you in your life, and it's certainly not helping you in your walk with Christ. We want to say this. We're going to come back. We're going to talk about Roseanne's devotional that is being used to just set so many people free.
But I want to say this right now. The Lord Jesus is as close by as a prayer, but we have to be honest with ourselves. And the Bible says in First Corinthians six, 19 and 20 that we are not our own. We're bought with a price, therefore glorify God in your mortal body. And so know that the Lord loves you and Jesus hasn't abandoned you.
But we have to be honest. We have to turn to Christ. And I believe you're hearing this program.
Many people are even hearing this right now because this is your moment to have a fresh start with Jesus Christ, who has such good things for you and loves you. So stay tuned, folks. We're going to take a brief break and come right back and resume this very important conversation.
Don't go away. The Alex McFarland program is back after this. Fox News and CNN call Alex McFarland a religion and culture expert. Stay tuned for more of his teaching and commentary after this. By collaborating with like minded organizations like the Family Research Council, the Family Policy Alliance and my faith votes, we mobilize by providing practical tools you can use to impact your local community.
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He's been called trusted, truthful and timely. Welcome back to the Alex McFarland show. Welcome back to the program. Alex McFarland here. By the way, as you are listening to this program, we are in the midst of seven summer youth camps.
And we'll have over twelve hundred teenagers in a number of states, Iowa, New Jersey, Indiana, Colorado, the Carolinas. And I ask for you to pray for us. And you can go to my Web site, which is Alex McFarland dot com. My speaking schedule is there. The Cove, the Billy Graham Training Center, we're there in July of twenty three. We'll be back in July of twenty four.
We're also working on a number of national events for the next six to 18 months. And so, folks, as we say, we're in it to win it. And I ask for your prayers. I ask for your financial support. By the way, your tax deductible contributions to Alex McFarland Ministries or Truth for a New Generation. We're using it to do events, publishing and broadcasting to bring people to Christ, especially young people. And as you may know, our viral truth clubs are growing across the country. We're equipping middle school and high schoolers to know truth, to stand for the biblical worldview, to love God and country. And I want to encourage you not only go to my own Web site, which is Alex McFarland dot com, but also viral truth dot com, viral truth dot com.
And let me just say we have incredible things God is doing to woke proof American teens. So thank you. You can give securely online and you can mail in a tax deductible contribution if you'd prefer to give by check to Alex McFarland Ministries, P.O. Box 485, Pleasant Garden, North Carolina.
Spelled just like it sounds. Pleasant Garden, North Carolina, two seven three one three. May God bless you. Our board, our growing staff, myself and the millions of people that hear the gospel on a weekly basis. We thank you. But also being used by God is our very special guest, Roseanne Forte.
And Roseanne, thank you for being with us. Before we go too much farther, I want people to know where they can find your devotional book. The plans he has for me. It's wonderful. Where can people find this devotional? Yeah, it's on Amazon and Barnes and Noble and I think most places where fine books are sold. Sure.
You should be able to do a search and find it pretty easily. The plans he has for me. What's unique about your devotional book, Roseanne? You know, what's unique, I think, is taking there's a lot of principles and this is I went into a secular program to solve for my alcohol problem, because I was very reluctant to do the 12 step approach, the AA approach, because I already had a very negative self worth issue and I didn't want to call myself a name. I eat alcoholic. I just didn't want that label. And I already looked to a higher power.
I love Jesus. And so I went to a secular program and it transformed me. I know I don't know if I finished the answer to that question, but I had lower blood pressure.
My weight was lower, my resting heart rate. I had more confidence in myself. I had more peace and joy.
It was a complete transformation. And I recognize God's principles being taught in that program. And I talked to my pastor and I'm like, wait, I love Jesus.
Why did I have to go outside the program to figure out how to do this, how to have this transformation? And I was listening to all of God's principles in this program. And my pastor said, you know, the world is good at teaching the kingdom without the king. And so I ended up working with that program and enrolling people. And so many Christians are coming in like I feel so much shame.
I don't know how to deal with this. Is it OK that this isn't a Christian program? And so I started matching up all the biblical concepts that I had learned and a daily devotional.
And I was giving them to the clients and they're like, oh, this is good. You have to continue. So anyway, what's different is it's a daily walk with God daily. Every day you get encouragement through scripture, a common explanation about how the scripture applies to your alcohol free walk and journey. And over this time, as you stay the path, you start understanding the lies of the enemy about the substance. You start feeling the power of the Holy Spirit.
You start gaining confidence and wisdom and you start knowing there are a few guarantees in life. Right. Alex guarantees. But I can guarantee that when you put alcohol to the side, you will recognize that God has a better plan.
Amen. It's a guarantee. And there aren't too many guarantees in life.
But I can guarantee that one. And let me say this, and I want to say this in the strongest possible terms, that when you really give your life to the Lord Jesus, not just to be saved and go to heaven when you die, although, of course, that's huge. But to really let the Lord Jesus be your your strength and your joy every day, we can move beyond our past. And don't you think a big reason that people stay in a dark spiral of depression is constantly beating themselves up about the past? But when you really let Jesus have control and you rise to what the Bible says about being of a sound mind, controlled by the Spirit of God, you can have present joy and be set free from a condemning past.
Isn't that true? Amen. Amen. And that's a big part of the program in the coaching sense is the forgiveness aspect, because there's two aspects of forgiveness that need to be processed when we're doing this. Like you said, people are living in the past, but God has wiped the slate clean when forgiveness is involved. So there's forgiveness of self for maybe the things that you have been involved in in the past. And even though we understand conceptually that God forgives us, we keep living in the past.
And only we can only understand his plan when we let it go and start looking at what's possible. And then the other thing that you mentioned earlier is people drinking to try and solve for the life's problems. And a lot of a lot of alcohol usage is because people have been wronged.
We live in a fallen world, right? There's a lot of people that have been hurt very severely and they're trying to deal with that pain by medicating it. And so this aspect of forgiveness of OK, you are owed a debt, but that debt is too heavy a burden to carry. So you have to get it's like making God the bank. You are asked to forgive. It's not like consider forgiveness. You are told to forgive.
And like you said, you have to be obedient. And when we forgive, we give the debt to God who's going to collect on it. And we can be unencumbered by our past and continue into our future.
Those are big concepts to try and process as we're going through this alcohol free walk. Very powerful, very powerful. We're almost out of time, I'm sorry to say. But if you're just tuning in, we're speaking with Roseanne Forte, who has written this wonderful book, The Plans He Has for Me. Because God does have plans for every life.
And what a joy to know. And here's the word that I think of, Roseanne, purpose. And the beautiful thing about the Lord Jesus, not only can he forgive our past, he can give us strength for the present moment. He gives us hope for the future. But we have purpose. And in the redemptive hands of Christ, even our past pain has purpose. And that purpose and that sense of context and the preservation of Jesus, that's available for every person, isn't it, Roseanne?
Every single one. Thank you, thank you, thank you, because my life had gotten to such a state of despair that I was ready to go be with Jesus. And here I am talking to you, writing a book, helping people understand that the other side of this is amazing. Amazing. I've never been more joyful ever. Amen. Well, give us a homework assignment for somebody listening who is saying, where do I start my journey of victory and my journey of joy with the Lord?
How do I begin? Roseanne, what do you say? I say this journey is a journey of truth, of fact finding. And you started this broadcast with talking about what sober-minded means. And I would challenge everybody, and this is in the front of the book, but to assess the real cost of alcohol in their life in all areas, whether it's relationships, productivity, mental health, spiritual health, relationships.
Oh, my gosh, how alcohol interferes with relationships. And when we start searching for the truth about what this is doing for us and wanting to head towards truth with Jesus, that's your great starting point. Wow.
Give us your website one more time. www.theplanshehasforme.com Theplanshehasforme.com Well, folks, thanks for listening. We're just about out of time. We often say this, and I want to say it again. Jesus is as close by as a prayer. He has good things for you. No matter where you've been, no matter what you think you've done or what's been done to you, you will find resolution, forgiveness, restoration, joy, purpose, empowerment, and strength for the journey. You'll find it in Jesus.
Turn to him today. Alex McFarland ministries are made possible through the prayers and financial support of partners like you. For over 20 years, this ministry has been bringing individuals into a personal relationship with Christ and has been equipping people to stand strong for truth. Learn more and donate securely online at alexmcfarland.com. You may also reach us at Alex McFarland, P.O. Box 10231, Greensboro, North Carolina 27404. Or by calling 1-877-Yes-God-1.
That's 1-877-Y-E-S-G-O-D-1. Thanks for joining us. We'll see you again on the next edition of the Alex McFarland Show. Over the last several decades, it's been my joy to travel the world talking with children, teens, adults, people of all ages about the questions they have related to God, the Bible, Christianity, and how to know Jesus personally.
Hi, Alex McFarland. I want to make you aware of my book, The 21 Toughest Questions Your Kids Will Ask About Christianity. We interviewed hundreds of children and parents and families to find out the questions that children and people of all ages are longing to find answers for. In the book, we've got practical, biblical, real-life answers that they have about how to be a Christian in this modern world. My book, The 21 Toughest Questions Your Kids Will Ask. You can find it wherever you buy books or at resources.afa.net.
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