Prayer, Evangelism & The Holy Spirit

This month was a time of thankfulness for our country and for those that helped establish it; we will always be grateful for our Founding Fathers and for the role that they played in making our country great.

Another great founder that we are all so thankful for is David Wilkerson. According to Merriam Webster, a founder is an originator of an institution or movement. I am grateful that God chose a man like Wilkerson to be the originator of Teen Challenge. It was God’s idea but He placed it in Wilkerson’s head and, thankfully, he was obedient to the call- the crazy, impractical, startling and even bewildering call. This was a call that could have very well led to death but God went before Wilkerson and gave him great favor…you know the rest of the story.

I am challenged today to heed to the foundational ideas that Wilkerson had when the ministry of Teen Challenge began. Wilkerson was walking in purity before God; he listened to God and obeyed and he depended on three things:

Evangelism. This is where Wilkerson started- sharing the Good News of the Gospel. He believed it was the only message that could make a difference in the lives of the gang members he was ministering to.

Prayer. It was the thing that Wilkerson depended on to hear God’s voice and to receive Praying Wilkersonthe strength he needed for obedience. It was also the only way that addicts and gang members were going to receive deliverance. There was no other way.

The Holy Spirit. Without the help and guidance of the Holy Spirit, the ministry that God called Wilkerson to would have been fruitless. Wilkerson needed the Holy Spirit to go before him, to work in the lives of the hurting and to permanently change the hearts of those he was ministering to.

After almost 60 years, nothing has changed. In order to have any degree of success in what we do, we need to continue to give the powerful Gospel message, we need to be people of prayer for strength, guidance and power and we need to depend on the Holy Spirit to change the hearts of men and women.

David Wilkerson was a great man but he would have been the first to admit that he was imperfect. He would point us directly to the One who is perfect- the one who gives us all that we need to do all that He calls us to do. As we share the Good News, bathe all that we do in prayer and depend on the Holy Spirit, God will continue to make this ministry fruitful for His glory!

The Best is Yet to Come, in Christ,

Brice Maddock, COO, Teen Challenge Southeast

Bridge Builders – Withstanding the Currents

Teen Challenge’s chances of dissolving and drifting from our mission is only to the degree that we hold fast to God and His Word.  If we forsake our commitment to Christ, and demote the Bible to just another book among many, our chances for straying will be great. The issues discussed here may not seem to be a huge threat right now, but that is because the cultural currents that can cause us to drift are subtle and take place over time, not quickly. But, when bridges collapse, casualties are extremely high. When floatingI-35W-rescue-Minneapolis-20070801 in the ocean, you never know how far you’ve drifted until you look up! We do not fight currents alone. God is fighting for us. We are not called to force others to believe what we believe. We are not called to be theological police to the World, and to try and even change the world through natural means. We are called to serve and obey God, and HE will open the doors of influence for us when He sees fit. We aren’t going to make every senator and government official a Christian and get them to implement Christian laws. Satan knows this. Win Souls not arguments! Help people think rightly but know that no one has ever been argued into the kingdom! Endurance will be key in withstanding the currents! There are 2 types of Currents: External and Internal. External currents from the world, when they infiltrate through the gates of the church, create an internal current that only leaders committed to true sound teaching can endure. The best way to withstand the current is to grow.

External Current

Post-modernism

Post-modernism says that truth is relative; what is true for me may not be true for you. We don’t fight a neutral enemy. We see today people killing Christians and Christians are targeted to conform. Postmodernism is seen anywhere where Christianity is subjectively judged and made to look ignorant and close-minded. As if no one who is intelligent would be a Christian.  The Satan-influenced world is on the offensive, not the neutral, make no mistake. Christian organizations like us have been and will continue to be intentionally targeted to conform, but we must not (Matt 10:16). This scripture will be key to navigating in our culture. We must ask for wisdom and bathe our leaders in prayer for the wisdom of God to guide them. Post-modernism says the human race is beyond the archaic age of Christianity but Paul encourages the Church against the post-modernism of the day “for the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men who suppress the truth in unrighteousness, because that which is known about God is evident within them; for God made it evident to them. For since the creation of the world His invisible attributes, His eternal power and divine nature have been clearly seen, being understood through what has been made, so that they are without excuse” Romans 1:18-20.

“We are facing a very real crisis of critical thought among today’s youth. Our secular culture increasingly favors a growing multiculturalism that affirms a uniform tolerance of all worldviews while simultaneously opposing a firm commitment to any one belief. Many young people believe that all religions are basically the same. Consequently, many young men and women cannot articulate their own faith.” ~ RZIM

Withstanding the current of post-modernism will take the absolute truth of Jesus Christ. Be careful of watching too much news which is designed to strike fear in the hearts of the believer. Is our stance on what the news say or what the Word says? We, Christians, know how the story ends. If you are consumed with the news you will end up going by Fox news and not the Good News. Guard your heart. The Gospel is the answer to the world and the Church; strength and grace to the Church and hope to the world.

Cheap Relationships due to hyper-socialization

We are managing and multi-tasking at a level of relationships we weren’t supposed to social-media-keeps-youngmanage. We were not created to manage these relationships with so many people. The current of cheap relationships that is facing us will make it very difficult to bestow the DNA of TC on Gen-next because of the technological age. Hyper-socialization will create cheap relationships. Weak relationships create weak conduits for influence. We must have stronger relationships. Time and effort is the only ways to create and sustain relationships. We live in a culture of short cut where we want everything fast and convenient. Teen Challenge must be a conduit of quality discipleship through quality relationships. If all we have is microwave-relationships and poor social skills we have microwave discipleship. The younger generation must humble ourselves to receive from the older generation. Discipline yourself to do face to face communication. Call instead of text, meet someone instead of texting.

Internal Current

Hyper-sensitivity

Our society have become excessively sensitive and as Christians we don’t want to offend people. From this hyper-sensitivity, sometimes we can pervert Christ into something that isn’t Christ to try and make Him “relevant”.  If we are afraid to tell people they are in sin then we give them a wrong impression of Jesus. Are we giving people Good News or just news? Hyper-sensitivity makes it difficult for evangelism to happen. We need to preach what the Word says not just the fluffy parts to make people feel good. Keep your eyes on Christ when you are made to look like an idiot and irrelevant as a Christian. Don’t change Jesus around to look good for everyone else.

Biblical Compromise

We compromise the truth of God’s Word because we want to be politically correct. We accept standards that are lower than what our Father desires. One sure way to be stronger and move forward is in the depths of God’s Word. How we minister God’s Word in mentoring, PSNC, GSNC – we must be experts on how people’s beliefs effect their behavior. Why do so many of our graduates relapse? They stop listening to the voice of the Holy Spirit. They lack understanding of spiritual authority; trying to do things in their own strength – operate in the flesh in a way that they can’t hear from anyone around them. If we do things as God wants us to, we’ll have God’s blessings in our lives. As Teen Challenge staff and students we must grow stronger in integrity; be people of the heart and of the head. If we are to withstand this current we must grow stronger in biblical integrity and sound theology 1John1:1-3. The gospel has been handed to us, and we must hand it down to our students in boldness and the Spirit’s power!

Religion (external and internal)

Become a passionate lover and worshipper of God. Do not lose your love and passion for Jesus. Keep it fresh. Spend time with Him in prayer. In the journey is where we thrive. Many times we retreat from our passion and intimacy when placed in leadership position. DO NOT LOSE YOUR PASSION AND EXCITEMENT FOR JESUS! Many times our graduates and leaders look at Christians whose love for Jesus has been replaced by religion; lists of do’s and don’ts. Satan would love nothing more than that you would exchange your true desire to know God and to seek Him (which is harder), and do the easier way – to try and be good. Try and do more good things than you do bad things. This is religion to a ‘T.’ We live in a passive culture where we stand out if we are passionate about something. Never lose your intimacy; becoming a spiritual oasis to others takes a thriving relationship with Jesus. The fear of God and Hope will be key in our witness 1 Peter 3:15. When we have a true love and hope in Christ, people will see it, they will rub up against it, and know something is different. We are the only true carriers of hope in the world.

Conclusion

As Christians and leaders, be vigilant to guard your heart against the effects of the cultural currents that we face! The enemy (world, flesh, devil) will try to take out your heart. If we drop like flies one-by-one, we cannot be united as a whole and withstand the cultural currents we face!

 

Excerpts from ELP Summit 2015 presented by Dan Williams – ELP Rep (Middle GA)

TC Mission Trips – Guatemala

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One of our ELP Rep’s from the Teen Challenge in Bonifay, FL wrote an amazing short article that we really wanted to share with everyone! Over the past few years we have seen a lot of our Emerging Leaders staff and students get the opportunity to serve at Teen Challenge programs overseas. Every single person that has had the opportunity has been dramatically impacted and blessed. We highly recommend taking students and staff on a mission trip each year to a Teen Challenge overseas!

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Here is what Chuck Odum wrote us: “Desafio Juvenil is the only Teen Challenge center in Guatemala City, Guatemala. I had the joy of spending the day with them while on a mission trip to their area with our center, West Florida Teen Challenge, Bonifay, FL. The directors, Richard and Janet Conti, were away from the center on other business. Jose Flores, who runs the center in their absence, was our host. He is an amazing young man with a God-sized vision for increasing the Teen Challenge presence in Guatemala City. They currently have a house full of men, 18 and older, who are finding freedom through their ministry. He shared the vision he has of seeing additional centers for women and also adolescent boys and girls. As, he walked me through the center showing me the many blessings that God has given them through the love and support of others, he shared with me that their greatest needs is for workers. Many have come to help in short-term ways but Jose said that they need people who are called of God to do ministry in their country and city who can commit to being part of the ministry and helping to reach the lives of those who they cannot currently reach. I was reminded of the scripture in Luke 10:2 “These were his instructions to them: “The harvest is great, but the workers are few. So pray to the Lord who is in charge of the harvest; ask him to send more workers into his fields.” Teen Challenge is very familiar with the amazing things God can do when His children will respond in simple obedience to the needs that are in front of them. Recently I heard Greg Hammond share a great thought with our staff. He said, “the need IS the call.” I frequently reminded our team of this quote while we were in Guatemala. The need is great, and so is the call. Hallelujah!”

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Have you been on a mission trip with your Teen Challenge program? If so, where have you been and how was your experience???

Mike Zello – A TC Pioneer

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Mike Zello - A TC Pioneer

Click the video link above to hear from Mike Zello about the early days of Teen Challenge and the future of the ministry!

Mike Zello is a pioneer of Teen Challenge who began working with David Wilkerson in 1958. In this video he shares about the early days and about the way he sees God raising up a new generation of leaders within Teen Challenge through the Emerging Leaders Program.

Responsibility – Love the Lost

Let’s recap, so far our acronym “Responsibility

Recruit
hunter.praying Equip and Train
Spirit-filled
Praying
Optimistic
Next-Generation Leaders
who lead Self well
Influence others
Buy into our vision
Invest time and resources
Love the Lost

God ignited a fire in our hearts last week, let’s keep that fire burning. How about starting your own ELP “Take the City” project or a “TC-HOP” (IHOP) with Harp and Bowl Worship and prayer at your Center?

When David Wilkerson ministered to the gangs on the streets of New York in 1958, he met Nicky Cruz, assistant to the president of the Mau Mau gang, who told him after a time of preaching and ministry “Go to Hell, Preacher.” But David’s response was “you don’t think much of me Nicky, but I feel different about you; I love you Nicky.” Nicky said ” you come near me Preacher and I’ll kill you.” David was moved with great compassion, gentleness and patience  and these words rolled off his tongue “you could cut me in a thousand pieces and lay them out in the street and every piece would love you” (C&S, p. 72). This is the depth of love our students need. Our students come to us because nobody loves them. Most of them did not experience unconditional love from their mother or father while they were growing up therefore they searched for love in all the wrong places. It is the unconditional love that we received through Jesus Christ that will make the difference in our students’ lives. Prior to their encounter with God, all they knew was conditional love but we can show them the unconditional love of God when they walk through our doors.

Last Saturday while we did our Take the City outreach, I realized how much the enemy is using drugs and lies to blind the eyes of people from receiving God’s love. When we invited one lady to leave her lifestyle and come with us to our Women’s Center, she said “I can’t do that to my “family” (other addicts). I confronted her with the question; “on a scale of 1 to 10 with 10 being the highest, how much do you love your friends? 10. When asked the same question about God she responded “I can’t say that, I don’t even want to say that.” Although she professed to know God and pray to Him every day, she realized she loved her friends more than she loved God.

As staff we have to model unconditional love for our students. As Christ has loved us, so also we must love one another (John 13:34, NIV). David Wilkerson came to the realization years ago that “they’ve (drug addicts) got to start over again, and they’ve got to be surrounded by love” (C&S, p. 60). Pray that God gives you a burden for the 250 million drug addicts all over the world and ask Him how we can bring hope within reach of every addict.

Blessings, Andree
ELP Training coach