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.