Main Article – Clarity in times of Uncertainty

Article By: Bryan Sampson

Take a moment and imagine yourself being an Israelite. You just wandered the desert for 40 years. Your feet hurt, your lips are dry, and you long for the land of milk and honey you have heard so much about. Then you get word; it is time. It is time that for you, as a people to possess the promise land. Everything inside of you jumps with joy, as energy pulsates through your body, your heart starts pounding, your feet stop hurting and you run to your leader Moses and ask what are we going to do!? He explains to you that you are now the leader of the people as he goes off to die. Charged with the order to bring your people into the precious promise land you begin to wonder how you even begin this journey. What do you do? How do you begin? The LORD has commanded you to be strong and courageous, but what about all of the uncertainty?

These are questions we can find in our day-to-day lives frequently. How do we start…? What about…? If this happens then… It can go on and on. Uncertainty has the ability to paralyze a person. It can also shatter progress and growth, preventing essential changes from taking place. As a next generation leader, we cannot allow this to happen. In these times of uncertainty clarity is paramount. Stanley states, “If you are unable or unwilling to be clear when things are not certain, you are not ready to assume further leadership responsibilities” (Stanley, 2003, p.91).

So, how did Joshua respond with the uncertainties they faced? Joshua was clear “prepare provisions for yourselves, for within three days you are to cross this Jordan, to begin to possess the land which the Lord your God is giving you to possess.” (Josh 1:10-11).

            People – “But what about the river? How are we going to cross it?”

            Joshua – “I’m not sure, be ready to leave in three days.”

            People – “What are we going to do when we get across?”

            Joshua – “I’ll tell you when we get there, just be ready in three days to move out”

Today I challenge you to be crystal clear with the vision and purpose God has for your role and ministry with those you are leading. Communicate in a way that shows confidence. Don’t allow uncertainty to prevent you from being clear and taking a chance. Allow it to be the opportunity for greater levels of trust and commitment to form. Remember what Stanley (2003) says, “People will follow you if you’re wrong. They will not follow you if you’re unclear” (p.89).

Let us pray for the courage needed to communicate as precise and clear as possible, so those who follow will not be lead astray and we will achieve the purpose God has set out for us to possess.

TF Highlight – August

Name: Storm Williams

Age: 21

Hometown: Morristown, TN

Teen Challenge Center: Dublin Men in 2016

Brief Testimony: I was a very lost and hurting young man before I met Jesus I had no hope whatsoever. To cope with the pain and emptiness on the inside I would use whatever drugs I could get my hands on, and whenever I could get my hands on them. This destructive life style had me in and out of mental intuitions and group homes as an adolescent and when I became an adult I was immediately homeless. I was planning to take my life one morning but instead that very day I found my life forevermore.  I gave my life to Jesus and he made away for me to come to Teen Challenge were he radically changed my life and filled every void I had and even more filled me with life.

What do you enjoy most about your role? I love that I get to live out the great commission every day and make disciples who will eventually make disciples themselves. I think the most special part of this role is to be able to identify gifts and talents in the emerging leaders and to call those out of them and spur them in the direction to operate in those giftings.

Why do you feel that leadership and training are valuable? I believe it is a vital key in the gospel of Jesus Christ advancing to the nations. I believe God is sending men and women through our programs who will change the world and this will not happen if we don’t do our part in equipping them with the tools they need.

Participant Highlight – August

Name: Brent R. Herring

Age: 48

Hometown: Cove City, N.C

Graduated: Jacksonville Men’s Center, Fl. 2017

Brief Testimony: My first experience with painkillers came after I had my wisdom teeth surgically removed at age 17 and I received pain killers.  I remember wishing that I could feel like that forever, and from that time on I abused any form of narcotic I could get. I stole a prescription pad from one of the Physicians’ offices and was caught and charged with prescription forgery. I agreed to go to rehab in exchange for the State dropping all charges. That didn’t change my desire for narcotic painkillers and I began to raid family and friends medicine cabinets in their homes. My addiction got so bad that I took my mom’s Demerol capsules she needed after having back surgery. My addiction to painkillers continued to grow until I began overdosing because of the amounts it took to get me high. My tolerance had gotten dangerously high. After several overdoses which landed me in the hospital, I agreed to get help and enter Teen Challenge. I found out about Teen Challenge years earlier when I sent my Daughter through the program to overcome her addiction to Cocaine. After she graduated I remember feeling like I had my little girl back. I remember a definite transformation in her life that I remember wishing I had. I have now graduated, and have been free from addiction for over 6 months. I rely daily on my relationship with Christ to get me through struggles and hardships instead of relying on a pill. 

What is the vision God is calling you to? After being addicted for more than 25 years God has broken the chains of my addiction. In place of an externally poor self-image caused by rejection, loneliness, and self-hatred, God has renewed my spirit. I am now a child of God. Loved, accepted, and content with my life. God has placed the desire in my heart to serve others struggling with life controlling issues by loving them, respecting them and pointing them towards God for inner healing and restoration. 

How has the ELP program impacted your life? The ELP program is not only strengthening my relationship with God, but also giving me the tools to be a more effective leader.