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

Insights from the Reps

There is no orientation course for servant leadership. John 10:7 says, “Truly. Truly, I say to you, I am the door of the sheep.” The only true way to lead our students is through good-shepherd-jesus-christ-the-i-43875Jesus in our personal lives. We must have our own salvation worked out daily if we ever will learn how to lead others. This is the only model of leadership that brings about true
discipleship. This is what truly separates the hired hand from the shepherd.

John 10:12-13 says, “He who is a hired hand and not a shepherd, who does not own the sheep, sees the wolf coming and leaves the sheep, and flees, and the wolf snatches them and scatters them. He flees because he is a hired hand and cares nothing for the sheep,”

Many who are called into this ministry fall upon fatigue and warfare due to the inconsistency of the first principle mentioned above. If we are not receiving Jesus for ourselves, how do we possibly stand to be surprised by the warfare we entangle ourselves in? I don’t want to be the hired hand that seeks a position or visibility, only to abandon the sheep. I desire more than that. I want to be like the Good Shepherd, going before the sheep and laying down my life like Jesus. We all have to avoid self-preservation, like the hired hand that soon flees when the warfare comes.

If we ever want to truly raise up spiritual sons and daughters in Teen Challenge, we must learn the methods of the Good Shepherd. We must go before our students and exemplify servant leadership. I pray that we will come together with a desire to awaken the sons and daughters of God within this ministry. Through this, will we will form a radical band of disciples, called Gen Next.

Written by Brittany Hughes (ELP REP Southwest FL Women’s)

 

Enriched Culture – Accurately Acknowledge Who People Are

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“Catherine Lawes was a young mother with three children when her husband became warden at Sing Sing prison. When the first prison basketball game was held, she attended with her three young kids and sat in the stands with the inmates. She insisted on getting to know them and their records.She discovered one convicted murderer was blind so she visited him over the next several months and taught him how to read Braille. Later, Catherine found a deaf-mute in prison. She went to school to learn how to use sign language so they could talk. Many said that Catherine was like having Jesus visiting Sing Sing prison from 1921 – 1937” (Habitudes 4).  After Catherine was killed suddenly in a car accident in 1937, all the inmates were allowed to walk to her home unsupervised to pay their respects and every one of them returned to the prison that night.

Danny Silk describes in his book A Culture of Honor one of the principles of this culture as “accurately acknowledging who people are will position us to give them what they deserve, and to receive the gift of who they are in our lives.”

A culture of honor starts with us accurately acknowledging the person God has brought to us; we can only do this when we recognize their God-given identities and roles. Sometimes because of what we see when a student enters our program, it takes a bit of Diamond in the Roughmining to find the diamond in the rough, the pearl in the oyster – but it’s there.

And coming to Him as to a living stone which has been rejected by men, but is choice and precious in the sight of God, you also, as living stones, are being built up as a spiritual house for a holy priesthood, to offer up spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ.  But you are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for God’s own possession, so that you may proclaim the excellencies of Him who has called you out of darkness into His marvelous light” ~ 1 Peter 2:4-5, 9.

“In a culture of honor leaders lead with honor by courageously treating people in their God-given identity and not according to the aliases they receive from others” ~ Silk.  Ever wondered why God changed Abram’s name to Abraham and Sarai’s name to Sarah, and many others who received name changes in the Bible? It was usually to establish their new identity. Names speak destiny over the person. Imagine when God said ‘Abraham,’ each time He spoke ‘father of a multitude.’ He was actively speaking over Abraham his destiny. “Father, Mother, son, daughter, pastor, apostle, prophet, Christian, human being – defines a person’s role and identity and when used correctly, establish God-designed relationships in which specific rewards are given and received to build and strengthen us” ~ Silk. A son will always be a son, a daughter will always be a daughter, a pastor will always have a shepherd’s heart.

Application

What would happen if we started accurately acknowledging the new identities of each person that walks through our TC doors? Ask yourself, “what is special, unique, and wonderful about this person? Then share what you see with the person and with others. Speak their life-purpose and destinies over them.

Those who come to us as students should leave as sons and daughters as well.