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

The ELP is the K.E.Y to forging our future

The ELP is the K.E.Y to forging our future. The key to Teen Challenge’s future will be determined by the number of us who will be willing to follow the Lord and to be faithful to His call. If we would spend time with the Lord it’s amazing what we will see. Forge means “to move ahead steadily.” Towards what? Our future – “a time yet to come.” God is working on us for a time yet to come; a purpose yet to come.

Know God’s call

A Silversmith sticks metal into the fire, then they beat that piece of metal and forge it into whatever they want it to be. The process includes pain, it includes time and it includes silversmithheat. When we do our part, the Holy Spirit will do the hammering. We spend time in the Word and get to know God and He will tell us what’s the calling He has for us. It’s a process of heat, hammering, heat, hammering and all the while God is working on us until we emerge into who He wants us to be. If we are going to grow and if we are going to release, God has to knock some stuff off of us.  Let healing come because God has a purpose for your life and it’s bigger than you can imagine and it’s more than you can imagine. If we trust Him and get to know Him and get that fear out of us we will do more than we can ever imagine. We must have vision – see beyond the present.

Embody the Vision and Values 

The Big Hairy Audacious Goal (BHAG) for TCSE is to “become to life-transformation what Apple is to technology.” It’s expanding, being committed and having a spirit of excellence that delivers life-transformation across this region. The Global dream is “to put hope within reach of every addict.” Embody the vision and values of who we are, and these values will find their way into everything we do in the future. How do we know God’s will? The Lord usually doesn’t tell us the whole path and everything about it; generally it’s one or two steps – we see it, we see beyond where we are at now, God gives us a vision but we don’t see how we are going to do it all. We just say “yes, Lord” and allow Him to prepare us.

Yearning to Learn

We’ll never really get to where were want to be without studying. Proverbs 9:8 says “instruct a wise man, he’ll be wiser still, teach a righteous man and he will add to his learning.” Leaders are learners, leaders are listeners – we listen twice as much as we talk especially when we are developing relationships with others and winning people to Jesus. Listen with your eyes, listen with your ears, listen with your heart to what others are saying. Great leaders are always learning; seeking out new ways to benefit the organization, to better themselves and to move things down the path.  We have a vision to put Hope Outreaches across this region and with God’s help we’ll do it. We want to go in and impart hope and reach out to addicts and to really make a difference. God can use us to be a servant right where we are at and when He is ready for the next step He’ll make it known. It’s generally already observed by others and they are the ones who will say “hey, I have the next step for you and here it is.”

There is always purpose in timing, there is always purpose in the pain and God is working in you and in the people around you. Learn to submit to the authority over you. The spirit of a servant says where can I serve, how can I be in your presence Lord and know You and let my life count? Know God’s call for your life, Embody the values that God has put in your heart as a TC leader and have that “Yearning to learn.”

Excerpts from the 2105 ELP Summit presented by Dr. Jerry Nance.

 

ELP Highlight

My name is Monica Brown. I am an intern at The Bridge Teen Challenge and have been in ELP for several months. Since being in ELP, I have learned many things. It has helped meMonica Brown see where I am spiritually and how to grow in my relationship with God. I have learned many tools and ways to be a good leader and server of God. ELP has shown me the kind of person I want to be in my ministry and what areas I would best be able to serve as well. It has also given me motivation in my walk to know who I am as a leader in Christ and in Teen Challenge. I have learned how to have compassion and love for others in need and women who come into Teen Challenge. My love relationship I have been able to build with God has helped me love others. I have learned that God is number one no matter what. Being a leader in Teen Challenge you can’t be selfish, prideful, or have no fear. You must be willing to work together with others at being a team and having a vision to accomplish anything. ELP has helped me grow so much as a student, an intern, a woman of God, a mother, and in my life. My life now will be to lead like Jesus.

Enrich Culture – Building a Cohesive Team – More than Mediocre

A leader who is intentional about setting the culture, hiring people who fit the culture, and developing those people, now has the ingredients for an amazing team! In physics, cohesion is the force by which molecules in a substance are held together. In this article we’ll look at the factors by which team members come together to form a cohesive team. The book we’re drawing from this month is “The Five Dysfunctions of a Team” by Patrick Lencioni – in this book, Lencioni outlines 5 keys to creating a healthy high-performing team. Each principle builds on the former, so let’s begin with the end in mind. The ultimate footballteampurpose of a team is to get “Results”. A sports team wants to win the game, a military unit wants to achieve the tactical objective, a corporate team wants to see profits, a married couple wants to raise children who become healthy adults, and a Teen Challenge staff team wants to see lives transformed. I love how Lencioni recounts of hearing people say, “well we have a losing record this season, but we have a great team!” He’ll say “no, you don’t have a great team; you have a group of people who enjoy being together and are satisfied with mediocre results.” You might say that Teen Challenge is God’s business and we can’t measure everything – the results are up to Him. That’s partly true, but from well executed fundraising events to well-maintained buildings to changed lives…there are plenty of results we want to see in Teen Challenge.

Next, a team gets results because they are willing to embrace “Accountability”. Greg Hammond talks about this principle in creating a “peer culture” in the student body. He uses the example of a time when he constantly found old gum on the sidewalks of the campus. He could have added yet another rule to the policy manual and said, “No gum.” Instead he went to the student body and said, “You decide – if you want to keep chewing gum, keep it off the sidewalks.” The students took care of it themselves by holding one another accountable. And this is what makes accountability effective, when it operates with “Commitment” to agreed upon decisions, objectives or courses of action. With this kind of commitment the team member says, “I’m all in and I will do my best to support this decision and see it succeed.”

While the gum chewing example is a simple one, other decisions and courses of action are not so straightforward – should this student be dismissed? How can we improve our admissions process? Can we disciple our students more effectively? This is where cohesive teams learn to be comfortable with “Healthy Conflict”. This is nothing more than the pursuit of truth – what’s the very best decision? Is there a better idea? What will be the most effective solution? When team members are free to weigh in on the discussion, and are willing to do so, it’s more likely that the best decision will be made because everyone has brought their brains, experience and giftings to the table. Healthy conflict doesn’t necessarily lead to consensus – the leader will often have to make the call – but people can usually commit to decisions they’ve been allowed to give input on even if they disagree. This kind of honest discussion can only happen in a healthy culture, where there is the presence of “Trust” on a team. Lencioni calls this “vulnerability-based trust”, where people can speak up or admit they don’t have all the answers without fear of being judged or shot down. This kind of trust takes time and intentionality to cultivate on a team but everything else depends on this foundation.

Next month we’ll take a closer look at the role of the leader in these 5 areas. In the meantime, how are things on your team? Is it healthy and functional? Or is there sometimes an inattention to results, avoidance of accountability, lack of commitment, fear of conflict, or absence of trust?

WHAT COACHING HAS DONE FOR ME

Angela Hastings

“Nothing is more appropriate than getting excited when God does something in our lives.” ~ Beth Moore

I find it interesting that the last time I posted on my blog was in August. But I don’t find it coincidental. I won’t even blame it on the busyness. It has to do with the fact that God has been doing a major revamping in my life and in my heart. Most of you know that in August, I started life coach training. Part of that training was meeting with one of our instructors for personal coaching. For those of you who are unfamiliar with the concept of Christian life coaching, it’s helping someone discover what God is doing in their lives and helping them to cooperate with Him. What I realized personally, was coaching provided the optimal environment for change. I don’t think we ever really even talked about the big thing that I wanted/needed to change in my life more than once. But over the course of six sessions in 4 months, God changed my heart and my attitude about the thing that was giving me the most trouble. Having an open door to deep, meaningful, intentional conversation and relationship, without the fear of being judged, with the freedom to make mistakes, and with the accountability to take action on what God is telling me to do made a HUGE impact on my life.

You know how scientists tell us that the earth is exactly the right distance from the Sun, and it’s at the exact right tilt so that there can be be life on earth? The conditions are perfect, even though right now some of you would beg to differ because your weather is a little inclement. But ultimately we thrive because of our environment. Coaching is like that perfect environment for thriving. Even now God is giving me a reminder of the sweet babies in Romania that were left all alone in their cribs and failed to thrive. It’s because they lacked relationships. It’s because they didn’t have the love and support they needed to grow. Now, I know that meaningful relationships are not limited to the field of coaching, but I also know that in our chaotic, busy lives, we rarely take the time, energy, and effort to get real and to let others get real.

People, God is at work; He is speaking to us. But if we don’t wake up and do something about it, we are going to miss out. We are not intended to walk through this life alone. And we definitely do not grow best on our own. We are meant to share life together. We are meant to challenge one another. We are meant to confess our faults to one another and to say “This is where I’m really struggling. Please pray for me; I want to change.” We are meant to take what God is saying to us and do something about it. There’s nothing magical about coaching. But it forced me to ask the questions:

What is God doing in my life?
What is God saying to me?
And what am I going to do about it?

And then,  I did it! No, God did it! God did something in my life. And He wants to do something in yours also.

Written by Angela Hastings (ELP REP Hosanna House TC, Jacksonville, FL) 

 lovingjesusmore.blogspot.com

Enrich Culture – A Culture of Love

We continue to focus on our 2nd E in our EFive – Enrich Culture. We want to talk about establishing a culture of love. A culture rich in love is not sin-conscious but love-conscious.   What do the students in Teen Challenge fear the most? Another discipline, failure, punishment.

Love Transforms. A culture of love allows the Holy Spirit to do the work; not the rules. Teen Challenge and the Church, by nature, are very rules-driven. If a student breaks the rules they are punished with the expectation that it will yield a repentant heart. Therefore, our students get accustomed to disciplinary committees, disciplinary boards, disciplinary slips, 1000 lines of Psalm 1 (or whichever scripture speaks to their sins) type of Christianity. When we are so rules-driven (sin-conscious) we debilitate the power of their faith in Christ and the Holy Spirit to work to renew their minds and transform their hearts. Don’t get me wrong, rules are important to have order however, in disciplining students it should not be the first thing the staff runs to. The Apostle Paul in talking with the church in Corinth (who had similar problems of  immorality, idolatry, adultery and divisions) says “if I have all the gifts and do great works, but don’t have love I am nothing” (1 Cor 13, NASB). “Love never gives up, love cares more for others than for self, love doesn’t want what it doesn’t have, love doesn’t strut; doesn’t have a swelled head, doesn’t force itself on others, isn’t always “me first,” doesn’t fly off the handle, doesn’t keep score of the sins of others, takes pleasure in flowering of truth, puts up with anything, trusts God always, always looks for the best, never looks back, but keeps going to the end” (1 Cor 13:4-7, TM).  In a culture of love our students are transformed by sitting with Jesus and allowing Him (their true love) to speak to them and  transform their hearts. In this culture, our staff are love-conscious; their motivation in correcting a student is to get them back in relationship with Love (God).  The Holy Spirit does the convicting and we point them to Jesus Christ; the staff have no hidden agendas or selfish ambitions and students know they are loved and we are dedicated to their success.

Love casts out all fear. 1John 4:18 says “there is no fear in love; but perfect love casts 34Collage_PerfectLove1SMout all fear, for fear has to do with punishment and the one who fears is not made perfect in love” (NIV). Fear and the penalty of death (or in TC – dismissal, disgrace and shame) is removed because of their relationship with Love – the Lord Jesus Christ. “As our students grow in love for God and the ability to receive His love, this perfect love drives away and utterly banishes all fear – “fear they’ll not be accepted, fear of not measuring up; fear of being exposed in His presence – there is no fear, or shame in love” (Hughes, Songs of Songs Study, 2014). If we are going to establish a culture of love, we have to “know how to interact with each other in such a way that eliminates the punishment option and the need to control people when they fail” (Silk, 2009, p. 81). “We have to come to the realization He sees and knows all of us and yet loves us completely in spite of our failures and immaturity, for He sees us as perfect and complete through the blood of Jesus” (Hughes, 2014). Paul writes to the Galatians “I have been crucified with Christ; it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me; and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself for me.”  Teach your students to protect and preserve their relationship with Christ. In doing so, the Holy Spirit will do a greater work in their hearts than you or I could ever do. Since then there is therefore no more condemnation in Christ, our students will feel safe to come to us with any problem or sin without fear of being punished, dismissed or put to shame.

Love Liberates. “The New Covenant (NT) is an internal covenant for sons and daughters free_birdwho, because of their new nature, can be trusted with responsibility to govern themselves and have access to the power of self-control through the Holy Spirit” (Silk, 2009, p. 88). These are children of God who are dying to themselves and exercising self-control so that they stay connected to the flow of God’s grace that enables them to live sin-free lives” (Silk). Jesus captivates to liberate.

What is one thing you can change as a leader so you create a culture of love with those you lead? What can you do differently to create a culture of love in your organization?

“But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, self-control; against such things there is no law.”

~ Gal 5:22 (NASB).