Guest post by Mary Shaw

The Refuge & The Cellar

More than just a Coffee Shop…Meet an Ordinary Couple God is Using in Extraordinary Ways, for His Glory

 “It’s not easy. It takes commitment. But men come [to us] from all over the U.S. …and God has been extremely faithful…”

-CJ McMurry of The Refuge, Winterset, Iowa.

When the typical person hears Winterset, Iowa, they might think of John Wayne and one of his adage’s: “Talk low, talk slow, and don’t talk too much.”

But, in TAC circles, we don’t usually think about the birthplace of The Duke, we smile and immediately think of Redeemer Church, The Refuge, and The Cellar.

Here’s why.

Misty and CJ McMurry, who serve as Regional Directors of The Addiction Connection, serve God’s Kingdom through the ministry to men struggling with addictions.

CJ is a a Commissioned Addictions Biblical Counselor with The Addiction Connection and serves on TAC’s Board of Directors. At the same time, he is the Program Director of The Refuge. Misty, his wife of 12 years now, serves as the Manager of The Cellar, a coffee house that’s more than just a place to grab coffee or a lunch with friends. When you visit The Cellar, you are supporting the Madison County (Iowa) community by helping The Refuge offer the hope of the Gospel for the heart of addiction. In essence, you are helping rebuild hurting families with the ripple effects into eternity.

As you read below, listen to our latest podcast to hear all the details about how Misty serves alongside her husband.

 Mark sat down to chat with Misty and CJ and they opened their conversation in typical TAC manner, with scripture reading.

Psalm 23:1-6

The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want.
    He makes me lie down in green pastures.
He leads me beside still waters.
    He restores my soul.
He leads me in paths of righteousness
for his name’s sake.

Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death,
I will fear no evil,
for you are with me;
your rod and your staff,
they comfort me.

You prepare a table before me
in the presence of my enemies;
you anoint my head with oil;
my cup overflows.
Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me
all the days of my life,
and I shall dwell in the house of the Lord
forever. (ESV)*

“The 23rd psalm is for everyday,” Misty says. She highlights several phrases in the verses for the moment-by-moment real personal relationship that Christians have with the Lord Jesus Christ. CJ adds the shepherding care of our Lord as we are sheep that go astray.

CJ talks about the various serving roles they have in their local church, Redeemer Church.

Misty adds the ways in which she complements her husband CJ administratively.

What is the relationship between Redeemer Church, The Refuge, and The Cellar?

CJ and Misty were part of the planting of Redeemer Church, and CJ serves as an elder there. GCR (Gospel Centered Recovery) was started there early on. Outreach to men and women in the local community has been a vital part of the church’s programming because of the need in the area.

That led to them at one point taking men into their own home even, planting Gospel seeds in men’s lives.

Ben Funkhouser leads as Executive Director and CJ is so thankful for his administrative leadership and organization of the details of the ministry.

About leading a residential program, CJ says,

“It’s not easy. It takes commitment. Men come [to us] from all over the U.S…and God has been extremely faithful…”

About a recent graduate who is doing really well in his walk with the Lord, CJ expresses,

“It was just so neat to see him standing up there teaching the Word of God…before, he was defiant to it…seeing these men’s lives changed by the power of the Gospel.”

The Families are Impacted, Too

Pouring into the family that is left behind at home with bills, and everyday life while the man is getting poured into in the program, is something Misty is passionate about. She helps them get good books, good teaching, connection to the loving community of the local church, and preparation for their loved one returning home.

Dr. Mark E. Shaw calls The Refuge one of the top residential addiction programs in the world today. Because they are caring for the men and the families in a loving caring shepherding way.

The Cellar, More Than Just a Coffee Shop

A local coffee shop with a breakfast and lunch menu… not new to the community but now with new leadership, new mission and passion.

Listen to this podcast to hear Misty tell the FULL STORY of how God kept the doors of The Cellar open even during a pandemic with all the same staff!

The opportunities abound there as casual conversations about who The Cellar is lead to open doors to talking about the hard topics like addiction and family issues… that hope and practical help that God has to offer. They intentionally keep resources there on location as well.

Mark explains, that in Luke 5, Jesus tells Simon to “let down your nets for a catch.”

They were astonished at the catch of fish, but Jesus told them from now on they would catching men!

“At The Addiction Connection we are excited about the opportunity to let our nets out and trust God and see, you know, how many fish He is going to bring in!” – Quote from Dr. Mark E. Shaw

When it comes to the hope of the Lord Jesus Christ, CJ and Misty aren’t talking low and slow (as John Wayne advised); they’re talking loud and proud about the power of Jesus Christ to transform lives. Yes, the hope of the Gospel is real. The leadership of The Refuge is seeing evidence every day they go to work. They are busy “taking the light of the Gospel into the darkness of addiction,” and you can find out all the details at

The “Connection” of The Addiction Connection is multi-faceted because we get to see so many connections made all the time! It truly is a relationally-based ministry.

By God’s grace, The Addiction Connection is Connecting the Hope of the Gospel with the Heart of Addiction.

In addition, the leadership team and participants in our network get the privilege of:

  • Connecting the fellow workers in biblical addictions ministry to one another in a mutually encouraging way
  • Connecting people who need residential and non-residential programs with those who offer them
  • Connecting addiction ministry in a practical way to the local church
  • Connecting people who need biblical addiction resources with solid books, videos, curriculum, and in-person speakers
  • Connecting those who desire additional training in addiction biblical counseling with those who offer our personal and relational commissioning process

We encourage you to listen to the podcast and then connect with Misty and CJ! Go grab lunch or a coffee and pastry and get to know this called and passionate couple who are laying down their lives to help families in Madison County. You could always pay a visit to the John Wayne museum and visitor’s center right down the street also if you wanted to.

Find out more at or


*Scripture quotations are from the ESV® Bible (The Holy Bible, English Standard Version®), copyright © 2001 by Crossway, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers. Used by permission. All rights reserved. May not copy or download more than 500 consecutive verses of the ESV Bible or more than one half of any book of the ESV Bible.*

About The Addiction Connection

The Addiction Connection is a network of ministries who offer hope and healing for those struggling with addiction of any kind. Our network of encouraging resources and biblical programs that stretch across America and the world exist to point people to Jesus Christ for answers.  Members of our team are available for direction and wisdom for any of your addiction-related questions and needs. 

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