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

Resurrection Stories

I still have Easter on my heart.  It is kind of like the after-glow that is left in the sky after alazaraus-tomb sun set.  God spent Easter weekend reminding me that He is a God of miraculous power- resurrection power.

Easter is a time of hope.  Not only the hope of the resurrection after we leave this earth, but the resurrection power that we see daily in the lives around us- lives that were “walking dead people” before they submitted to the Life Giver.  There are times when we even get to witness this miracle and it never gets old.

There are also times when we don’t witness it with our eyes but we get to hear about it with our ears.  I never tire of hearing peoples’ resurrection stories.  When you meet someone who loves and serves God, it is wonderful, but when you sit down with them and hear about where God has brought them from, it’s another level entirely.  You find yourself in utter disbelief, that the person before you was in the “mire” in such a way.  How can it be?  How did I not see any trace of that life when I met them?  Unlike the after-glow I spoke of earlier, there is no sign of their former life- no dragging grave clothes to give their prior sins away.  Only the mark of Christ on them that drops the mouth, widens the eyes and forces us to see the miraculous resurrection power of God.

In John 11, when Martha heard that Jesus was coming to their home, she went out to meet Him.  She said, “Lord, if you had been here, my brother wouldn’t have died. But I know that even now God will give you whatever you ask.” (John 11:21-22)

Is that the attitude that we have with Jesus?  No matter what situation we find another in, whether a family member, a student or a stranger, do we still say to Jesus, “Even now God will give you whatever you ask.”

When Mary and Martha lost Lazarus they were feeling hopeless.  At that time, they were not seeing it as an opportunity for God to receive glory.  Their hearts were broken and their worries for the future were real.  Martha said she believed Jesus could do anything.  She even said she believed He was “the Christ, the Son of God” but when Jesus asked for the stone to be rolled away, she immediately objected because of the humiliating stench that would besiege all who were there.

Take away the stone,” he said. “But, Lord,” said Martha, the sister of the dead man, “by this time there is a bad odor, for he has been there four days.” (John 11:39)

Do we come across situations that we feel like would even be too hard for Jesus to “fix.”  Are there times when you brush your palms together and say, “There’s nothing to be done.”  That just may be the time when Jesus resurrects a life; a life that has been dead so long, the stench is at the point of unbearable until…

“Did I not tell you that if you believed, you would see the glory of God?” (John 11:40)

Let’s Witness the Glory of God Together,

 Brice

Brice Maddock

COO, Teen Challenge Southeast

 

 

ELP Hightlight

Name: Baylee HeflinBaylee Heflin

Age: 24

Hometown: Palm Harbor, FL

Teen Challenge Center: Southwest Florida Teen Challenge Women’s Home

Which Center/What Year did you Graduate: Southwest Florida, 2013

My Testimony in Brief:

I originally graduated Teen Challenge in 2009. During my internship I met a man and we left prematurely to be together. We got married and fell back into a destructive lifestyle. After 3 years I came back to Teen Challenge and in that time my husband filed for divorce. I was crushed but learned to lean on Jesus. He mended my broken hearts and showed me who Baylee was in Christ. I am currently in an internship & my husband is back in Teen Challenge as well. God has completely restored our marriage and placed a calling on our lives to work in this ministry together. We are both enrolled in the ELP program and plan on continuing in the call he placed on our lives 5 years ago. I now walk everyday in His light and the promises he has for our lives!

The purpose and calling God has given me: To work in Teen Challenge, walking alongside broken individuals just like me & to be a Godly wife!

The ELP’s impact on my leadership: Wow! Since being in ELP this time around my whole perspective on leading has changed. God has birthed a burden in me to Shepherd women just as my leaders have done me. I have learned who I am in Christ and the authority and compassion I carry to build ladies up while allowing God to continuously grow me!

 

 

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).