Make A New Ending

We have a picture on our wall at home.  It is a hand-stitched bird, seemingly without a care Everydayopptomakenewendingin the world, sitting on a branch. This quote is stitched beside it, “Every day is an opportunity to make a new ending.”  The quote puzzled me at first.  Isn’t the focus usually “new beginnings?”

I saw a show the other day called Undercover Boss.  The Chief Development Officer of the Subway chain, Don Fertman, was the episode’s “boss in disguise.”  Mr. Fertman was raised by an alcoholic father and chose that life for himself as a teenager, using both alcohol and drugs.  When he was 19, he was involved in a promotional tour for Subway with his rock band, The Crayons.  Shortly after, he began working an office position for Subway but lost his job due to his addictions.  He decided to get help, and after he did, he went back to Subway asking for his previous job. Amazingly, he was hired again and has been there for the last 30 years.  He had a chance to “make a new ending” for his life. Do you think people will remember Don Fertman, for his beginnings, as a drug addict and alcoholic who couldn’t keep a job?  No.  Don Fertman will be remembered as a devoted husband and father and the CDO of a successful company with over 41,000 locations worldwide.

Changes. What changes do you want to make in your life?  What strategy for change do you have so, at the end of the day, you know you made the most of that day’s opportunities?  In all strategies, we need to know our enemy.  I would like to suggest to you the three biggest enemies of change:

  1. Fear. “The fears you don’t own will own you.” -Author Unknown

If the changes that you know you need to make are being blocked because of fear, it’s time to take God at His Word.

So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand. Isaiah 41:10

  1. Failure. “The only failure in life is the failure to try.” -Chuck Swindoll

Maybe someone significant in your life has called you a failure or looked at you as such.  Maybe you tried something and were sorely disappointed at the outcome. It is time that you believe what God says about you and put the roadblock of failure behind you.

Be determined and confident. Do not be afraid of them. Your God, the Lord himself, will be with you. He will not fail you or abandon you. Dt. 31:6

  1. Forgetting. “If we forget the past, we have no faith for the future.”

Forgetting can be a hindrance to change too. Author, Lori Stewart, in her article, The Problem of Forgetting, explains that forgetting what God has done for you, can lead to unbelief, rebellion, participating in foolish behavior and even angering God.

Praise the Lord, I tell myself, and never forget the good things He does for me. Ps. 102:3

What can combat these three enemies of change?  One word- faith.  It is sometimes hard, in the world that we live in, to keep our faith- when people we love are not healed, when people we care about fall back into addictions, when we are faced with broken promises and disappointment from people that we admire.  Jesus said, in I John 5:4, there is a faith that could overcome ALL of that, For whatever is born of God overcomes the world; and this is the victory that has overcome the world– our faith.

We can be victorious to make the needed changes in the coming year.  One day at a time, we need to say “no” to thoughts of fear and failure and “yes” to remembering all that God has done for us. He does give us an opportunity each and every day to make a new ending!

Book of the month: You Haven’t Taught Until They Have Learned: John Wooden’s Teaching Principles and Practices

Article by: Brice Maddock – COO, Teen Challenge of the Southeast Region

Freedom Costs a Price

Richard Henry Lee oilA Leader who sets a Nation Free

Great Leaders set others free. On June 7th 1775, Richard Henry Lee of Virgina presented a resolution for the united colonies to be free from British rule. “Let it be resolved that these united colonies are, and of right ought to be, free and independent States that they are absolved from all allegiance to the British Crown, and that all political connection between them and the State of Great Britain is, and ought to be, totally dissolved “http://www.military.com/independence-day/history-of-independence-day.html. Lee’s words set the flywheels turning for a series of events that led to the drafting of a formal Declaration of Independence and on July 4, 1776, the thirteen colonies claimed their independence from England – an event which eventually led to the formation of the United States. Each year on July 4th, also known as Independence Day, Americans celebrate this historic event.  These few words and a series of action, set in motion that which would change the history of this great nation and its people forever. Last week we celebrating over 200 years of independence, but it took one leader who considered the welfare of the people above his; one leader who sought the good of the people and acted to bring about change. Freedom cost a price, oftentimes not to the one who enjoys its, but to the one who gave his life for it. Thank you to our forefathers who paved the way for our independence.

A Leader who sets Addicts Free

Another great leader got his call in 1958 to go and help those boys in New York City. Davida_David_Wilkerson Wilkerson was a 26 year-old Pentecostal preacher from Pennsylvania who answered the call to go to New York. After a series of encounters with God first, and then with addicts and gang members, the Teen Challenge ministry was started.  David had a clear vision for the addict “they could begin life all over again, with the fresh and innocent personalities of newborn children.” This time they would grow up in an environment surrounded by love. “A house where these new kids could come – a really nice house where they are welcomed and loved, the door would always be open; there would always be lots and lots of beds, clothes to wear and a great big kitchen for meals.” Today, there are over 1200 Teen Challenge homes like this in 102 countries of the world. It all started with one leader leaving his family in Pennsylvania to go and help those boys. In Teen Challenge, being set free is no small task. Our students walk in with years and years of lies, generational curses, hurts and other issues embedded deep into their hearts and minds. They enter as slaves – trapped in a dead-end life of sin. A slave is a transient, who can’t come and go at will. They enter Teen Challenge where Jesus steps in and break their chains of sin and shame and cover them with grace; He reaches out a hand to save and set them free. He transforms slaves into sons, who have an established position in the house (the Kingdom) and who can run around it with glee. Teen Challenge is where life-transformation happens – people encounter God and are born again into a new life. We are establishing sons and daughters to enjoy their freedom in Christ – serving the Lord with gladness. No more legalism and religion, they have experienced Love which motivates them to freely give to the One who paid the price for them.

A Greater Leader who sets the World Free

Over 2000 years ago another great leader, in an expression of love for people, gave a Jesus 10155746_678591885530960_857185614685534700_nmost precious gift – His Son who stood in our place to set us free. “This is how much God loved the world; He gave His Son, His one and only Son.” Why? “So that no one need be destroyed; by believing in Him, anyone can have a whole and lasting life; those who trust in Him is acquitted.” (John 3:16-18, TM).  He gives us new desires and a new heart altogether that would want to follow Him. So if the Son sets you free, you are free through and through.(John 8:34-38, TM). Jesus says “if you stick with this, living out what I tell you, then you will experience for yourselves the truth, and the truth will free you” (John 8:31-32, TM). This truth is the Word of God which expels darkness and help us to walk in the Light.  To walk in the Light means to be free from darkness. The ultimate sacrifice for your life was paid by one man who gave His life – Jesus Christ.

As a leader, what are you willing to sacrifice so that others are set free and experience New Beginnings?

“Hope lives here. Freedom is found here. Changed lives leave here.”

– Don Wilkerson (Teen Challenge)