Freedom!

Over the past several weeks, I have been contemplating “freedom.” With Memorial Day, we remembered those who died in military service for our freedom.  As I walked on the streets of Cuba, this month, I couldn’t help but think of the lack of freedom in the lives of the good people that lived there.  When we watch the news and hear about the oppressed around the world, a voice rises up in us and calls out to the captives, “Fight!  Fight for your freedom!”  It is a longing in every one of us, in every aspect of life- to always be free.

It is interesting that the opposite of free is exactly what it is- costly.  Every time an individual enjoys the luxury of freedom, the mind must go back. There was a cost somewhere; a payment made, along the way, to purchase that freedom- a transaction that would catapult into the future lives of others- affecting them on a daily basis.  Someone, at some point, paid for each freedom that is possessed.

We see that in our own country.  The cost of freedom has been high.  The Memorial Foundation reports that, “Since 1776, over one million Americans have secured the blessing of liberty through their lives.”  They also point out that 42 million Americans have served their country in time of war.  Freedom is costly.

Webster defines freedom as a noun:  “The state of not being imprisoned or enslaved.”  In the movie Braveheart, William Wallace is fighting for the freedom of his country, Scotland.  At the end of the movie, he has been captured by England and is being tortured to death.  Legend says that in the last agonizing moments of his life, he, ironically, cries out, “Freedom!!!” for all to hear.  He is shackled and imprisoned but his heart is free because he has lived honorably.  As a result of his sacrifice, his countrymen are inspired and fight to eventually take their country back from England’s “enslavement” of them.

Take a moment to watch this scene: Braveheart – FREEDOM – Y#3299DC

In our contemplation of freedom, there is One that trumps them all- the ultimate and final freedom.  The eternal freedom that Christ gave to us through dying on the cross,

It is for freedom that Christ has set us free.  Stand firm, then, and do not let yourselves be burdened again by a yoke of slavery. Galatians 5:1

God recognized that no matter how hard we were to fight for physical freedom, we would never truly experience spiritual freedom from sin without His sacrifice.  Even in the days of Christ, the throngs were so focused on freedom from Rome that they didn’t see the One, before their very eyes, that could grant them freedom from every kingdom and dominion.

Christ recognized that physical freedom was temporary but spiritual freedom was eternal.  We need to remember that too as we share the Good News of the Gospel- the news that brings freedom to every facet of a person’s life, despite the physical strongholds they may find themselves in- whether it is a communist country, a prison cell, a wall street desk or a down town park bench- each one of us is invited to receive and experience the ultimate freedom that only Christ can give.

Jesus declared the war to be over when He said from the cross, It is finished.

Freedom is now at hand,

Brice Maddock, COO Teen Challenge Southeast

 

Leaders develop leaders

It takes a leader to develop a leader – leaders learn best from other leaders. Emerging leaders want to be around leaders who have battle scars; who have actually been in the game and have a few blood stains on their uniforms. For emerging leaders to be seasoned, wise, and effective leaders, they need proximity to, and interaction with veteran leaders.

How do we do this?

  1. In Jesus’ day, it was common for leaders-in-training to simply follow the veteran leader around. They would walk together, talk together, eat their meals together, sleep in neighboring tents – they spent months and years living life with Jesus. The Scene_from_passion_of_the_christdisciples internalize the vision and values of the veteran leader in ways that served them the rest of their lives.  Although this sounds simple and time-sensitive, it was effective then, and can be effective now – there is no substitute for personal investment. Those of us who are more seasoned in leadership should order our lives in such a way that we can carve out time to invest in Gen-next.
  2. Mentor and coach small groups of young leaders. Mentoring and coaching curriculum like Start Right Mentoring are available to help in any situation. It is the responsibility of veterans to provide the necessary opportunities so the next generation of leaders will be trained and ready to meet the challenges of the future.

What is the best catalyst for a leader’s growth?

Make him or her lead something. After Jesus identified and invested in his disciples, the moment came when He said “Pack your bags, it’s show time!” It’s make-it or break-it time! It’s swim or sink time. He didn’t minimize the challenge; He sent them out like sheep among wolves. This is the real deal. The stakes are high, the possibility of failure is real and I’m not going to protect you from all risks. You’ve got to step out and go lead! We must hand emerging leaders an important kingdom baton, not a little make-believe job or a low-stakes challenge. Something that will make them feel believed in, valued, and held in high esteem. Something that will make them fall on their knees and cry out for God’s help; something that will demand the best they have to offer. Leaders live for high-stakes challenges; kingdom goals that make them gasp and gulp.

What am I advocating for?

High stakes leadership and Kingdom challenges. Provide opportunities, stand by our emerging leaders, cheer them on, help them solve problems, pray for them and coach them to higher effectiveness. Help them find their niche and reach their full potential. Whatever challenges Teen Challenge face in the years ahead, I hope we can face them with confidence knowing that we were wise enough to invest in Gen-next.

Article by: Andree Aiken, ELP Leader/Coach

Excerpts from the book Courageous Leadership by Bill Hybels

ELP Highlight – Feb 2016

Name: Zac GarmonZach Garmon

Age: 28

Teen Challenge Center: Teen Challenge Middle Georgia

My testimony in brief: I first came to Teen Challenge Christmas Eve 2013 weighing 127 lbs and had been out of control for a long time. After being sober for about 30 days I figured I already knew God and now that my withdrawals were over I’d be ok—so I left. Just two days later I was in a coma from a heroin overdose and also had a minor stroke 11 days later. I got out of the hospital and never slowed down, and after 6 months and 3 more overdoses and thoughts of suicide, God brought me back to Teen Challenge.

Now I am up to 200 lbs, very happy and I have a boldness I’ve never had and also I’m able to give back to the ministry God used to bring me back to him.

The purpose and calling God has given me: My purpose and God’s calling has been to use my compassion and be an open ear for those who struggle the way I have, and to help wherever I am needed.

ELP’s impact on my leadership: ELP has helped my leadership by helping me realize who I am in God’s kingdom and how he wants to use me.

 

 

Knowing What to Do and Doing It are Two Different Things

Knowing What to Do and Doing It are Two Different Things:Bringing your goals from “the Heavens” to “the Earth”

Please read the following excerpt from Lee Cockerell’s book, Time Management Magic:

How do you feel at the end of a day when you had ten things to get done and you didn’t do any of them, or most of them?  Not very good, right? And how do you feel if you continue to not get important things done day after day and week after week?  This is not a trick question. The answer is simple. You feel depressed, distressed and just plain awful.  And as we know from medical experiments, those feelings are very bad for your health.

Now ask yourself this: How do you feel on a day when you have a lot to do and you do it all?  When you get done all the things that need to be done? Again, this is not a trick question. You feel great, don’t you?  You feel happy.  You feel confident. And perhaps most importantly of all, you feel ready and able to take on more.

Those last four, underlined sentences- look at them again.  That is my prayer for each one of you- to feel great, happy, confident and ready.  You are saying to yourself, “Yes, but he doesn’t know my typical day and my typical to-do list!”  Just read on, my friend.

Cockerell goes on to say this: Knowing what to do and doing it are two different things.  That may sound obvious, but you’d be surprised how many people don’t live as though it’s obvious.  They know what they should be doing, but they don’t have a system, a set of habits or a solid routine for getting those things done…

Do you have a system set in place to make the most of your time? What system are you using to accomplish your professional and personal goals? Here are some suggestions:time_management_intro_diagram

  1. Ever-Present. Have your goals always before you (3-5 goals)
  2. Plan. Every day, etch out some time to plan your next day.
  3. Be purposeful. In your planning for the day, look at your goals carefully, and write micro-goals that get you a step closer to your big goals. For example, if your goal is to have twenty new donors by the end of the year, your day should have at least one call to a potential donor or a coffee meeting with them or a packet of information sent in the mail to them.
  4. Process. Every day, look at how you did. Celebrate or re-evaluate.
  5. Re-Play. Hit the re-play button every day and do it again.

It’s not very glamorous or cutting edge but it really works. You have 24 hours in a day.  Be consistent and intentional.  Those days will turn into weeks, the weeks into months and the months into years.  If you have lived your days consistent and intentional, you will be amazed at all you will accomplish for God’s Kingdom- it will happen one day at a time.

Article by: Brice Maddock – COO, Teen Challenge Southeast

 

Level II Link – Nov 2015

Welcome!

This month we welcome Brett Cooper, Bryan Sampson and Chris Thomas (Central Florida) and Lyle Copenhaver (Jacksonville) to the Level II! Welcome guys! We look forward to see how God will grow you as a leader and give you greater responsibility.

Core Courses

Those of you who are finishing up your final course for People First, remember to mail or fax (706-534-0462) your Personal Action Plans (PAP) at the end of each chapter. I’ll grade these and send back to you.

Our core course this month is Strategic Planning and Decision-making and our text: Executive Values by Kurt Senske. In this course you will leave with a game plan for Exec Values PICChrist-centered leadership that stresses the development of a healthy organizational culture, values-based strategic planning, mentoring, and balancing professional and personal lives.

Your first post will be up on the forum Monday, November 16th. You’ll make an initial post and respond to someone’s post.

Elective Track

Congratulations Becca Price (Women at the Well, PA) for moving on to your electives!

A Culture Rich in Honor

honor_fullA culture rich in honor considers others better than themselves. Recently I was in Tallahassee coaching the emerging leaders on How to Create a Personal Life Plan. God has placed so much treasures in these men’s lives and such great callings that if we help each one fulfill their purpose they will in return help many others fulfill their purpose. The end result – a rippling effect of sons who are fitted with their sandals ready to go to work in God’s harvest.  At the end of our session we had a time of ministry anointing the feet of each emerging leader and praying for them that they would live their purpose and walk out their destinies. It doesn’t matter where you have been or where the other person have been, we honor those we serve above ourselves. Honor is defined as “to esteem, to admire, to look up to, to defer.”

Humility-is-the-Christian-27s-greatest-honor-3B-tattoo

Jesus addresses a culture of honor in the story of the Pharisee and the tax collector in Luke 18. They both went to the temple to pray; the Pharisee practiced religion thanking God he didn’t have all the sins the tax collector had while the tax collector was beating his breast “God, be merciful to me, the sinner!” The Pharisee probably with his nose turned up was saying “thank God I’m not like him!,” while the tax collector humbly bowed his knees and prayed “Lord, have mercy on me!” As the body of Christ we are not self-focused or internally focused, we consider the higher call and greater good of others.  When we esteem, admire, look up to others as more honorable than ourselves it keeps us humble. “A striking thing about actual honor cultures is people will regard as honorable what they honor, and dishonorable what they despise, irrespective of what moral and political leaders tell them they ought to honor or despise” (James Bowman). We all want to be honored, yet the paradox is, when we are humble and honor others, then we are exalted. In the kingdom of God a culture of honor is permeated through humble souls, devoted to one another in love.

Who can you intentionally honor this week?

What are some things you can do to show this person you prefer them above yourself?

You can develop a healthy, robust community that lives right with God and enjoy its results only if you do the hard work of getting along with each other, treating each other with dignity and honor.~ James 3:18 (TM)

“Be devoted to one another in brotherly love; give preference to one another in honor.” ~ Rom 12:10 (NASB)