Changing the Narrative for South Side Students by Creating Ladders to Economic Mobility

 

Statistics from Chicago Public Schools show that only 74% of high school students graduate and a smaller percent go on to college. These numbers add up to a heavy burden on the cultural and economic health of our society. Studies have shown that high school graduates are 5-8 times less likely to be incarcerated and accumulate 10 times more wealth than those headed by dropouts. College graduates earn 60% more than high school graduates; have increased personal/professional mobility and experience improved quality of life for their offspring. These numbers are the summation of thousands of tragic stories for which opportunities are few and hopes are diminished.

Most students have an inherent sense of optimism that they can accomplish any thing they want. Yet many from the south and west sides of Chicago don’t wake up with similar optimism. For some students, school is not valued because the messages they receive from culture, music, peer groups, celebrities and the media suggest sports and entertainment are the path to success. Showing students that there are many achievable alternative routes to success, provides them optimism and awakens hope as they walk out their destiny.

Students make thousands of decision and choices everyday, each having a cumulative affect on reaching their destiny (future). And while Freshman On-Track is a critical make or break academic measure; sophomore year is a critical make or break social measure. Sophomore year is when students begin to become comfortable in defining themselves. It’s the point in life when peer pressure is the driving force for all their decisions – those mundane, critical or life altering. Students call it “The fight to fit”. Our research of 1,500 students in rural, suburban and urban communities identified peer pressure as the top challenge students face. The Barna Research Group conducted a study in which 42% of parents choose peer pressure as the most challenging issues facing their teenagers. “The percentage of young people plagued by peer pressure issues more than doubles once a child reaches high school,” Barna revealed. “That pressure takes many forms: using drugs or alcohol, befriending certain groups of peers, owning specific media technologies, having sexual experiences, wearing particular types of clothing or brands, and possessing a certain attitude.”

Destination Destiny has seen that cultural exposures coupled with high-character mentoring enable students to put peer pressure in context and enables them to focus on a future larger than their block, community or city. A destination without a route leads to meandering and inefficiency.  Exposure and mentoring prepares students to take their intangible cause and build the personal infrastructure to give it life; to make their cause actionable and tangible; to take their vision and make it a reality. Personal infrastructure is made up of the systems and processes that are defined by their values and volitions.  Their decisions and choices are the actions they take to realize their vision. This process prepares them to remove some seemingly simple obstacles and mange the more difficult ones, so they have an opportunity to lift themselves up and reach their potential.

These opportunities drive Destination Destiny’s mission to inspire students to become responsible, high-character global citizens, mobilizing them for significant living as future leaders, husbands and wives. We prepare them to build resilient lives through relational, experiential and educational activities that enable them to realize their passion, potential and purpose. 100% of our students have graduated and gone on to attend college.

If you believe students can achieve an alternative path, join us in providing the skills, exposures, knowledge and the confidence to create ladders of economic mobility. Click this link to support our efforts: ImpactDestiny

5 Benefits of Educational Travel

International exposure is one of the most valuable experiences in which a high school student can participate. Eric Spina, President of @univofdayton says,”When you immerse yourself in another culture, you develop empathy, you learn to respect differences, you see your life from a different angle, and you confront your fears and inhibitions. These are life-shaping experiences that you just can’t pick up in other ways.” To that end, Former Secretary of Commerce, Penny Sue Pritzker encourages students “to travel and to deepen their cultural fluency, so they can better compete and succeed in the 21st century.”

Todays guest post from Jessica Miller details the benefits of such expereinces:

Anytime you can experience the richness of cultures different from your own — by talking with people of other nationalities, travelling internationally, trying foods from other countries and embracing other educational experiences that fall outside of your comfort zone — you grow and change in positive ways. And this is just the kind of personal development that can help you stand out in the eyes of college admissions counselors and future employers in a competitive field of other strong candidates.

For those who can physically get away, international travel, cultural immersion programs offer unparalleled exposure to the customs, language and everyday life of diverse communities. This experience is imperative for anyone who’s serious about pursuing public service or global relations work as part of a business or political career.

Specifically, here are five ways educational travel can improve your life:

  • Sharpens self-awareness: Gathering firsthand information about the world — seeing different landscapes, experiencing the challenges of certain cultures, listening to the opinions of people in other nations — provides a level of mindfulness that’s often tough to shake. Profound experiences give people a sense of place and purpose, and they establish lifelong values and priorities.

  • Enhances perspective: Exposure to the problems and perks of other lifestyles helps people break out of cultural-centric thinking. Having a broad awareness of how other people live and what other cultures prioritize can trigger solutions and ideas that don’t necessarily rely on familiar habits and comforts. Cultural immersion through travel and service programs can also help break down language barriers and open new channels of lifelong communication.

  • Fosters independence: Living and working for any amount of time in a culture that’s different from home can help in ways more profound than any sleep-away camp or vacation can. This enriching experience challenges students to open their minds regarding food, friends and basic needs. After all, it’s tougher to take things for granted in unfamiliar situations.

  • Strengthens leadership skills: A person who’s been there and done that simply has more credibility than those who rely on lip service. Instead of relying on others’ opinions, travelers establish perspective, confidence and conviction that make it easier to gain the respect of others. Plus, international travel, especially with a group or through a program, provides students with a global network of contacts and references.

  • Demonstrates courage: Travelling away from the comfort of friends, family and familiar surroundings is tough. But doing it shows that a person is interested enough in the rest of the world, and confident enough in him- or herself to venture out and discover other parts of the world. This is a character trait that’s very appealing to colleges and employers.

No matter what your life goals are, travel can provide important perspectives and help you discover what really makes you tick.

Special thank you to Jessica for your insight.  Visit The Young Leader at http://theyoungleader.experiencegla.com/about-the-young-leader/

Developing Student Leaders

Last week while conducting a youth leader training session, we spent considerable time on the topic of the challenges they were having with their student leaders and the training necessary for the students to effectively lead.    

The conversation reminded me of a post I saw from Doug Franklin, a long time student ministry leader who addresses this issue of preparing students to be leaders. Enjoy this thoughtful piece.

WHY YOUR STUDENT LEADERS AREN’T ACTUALLY LEADING

By Doug Franklin

March 22, 2017

Recently, I was visiting a youth ministry with a large student leadership team. The student leadership program looked awesome: there were over 20 student leaders managing several different teams (service teams, ministry teams, and others) with two students overseeing them all. It was impressive, almost like watching an assembly line on the show “How It’s Made.” Students were busy in meetings and planning sessions, making charts and casting vision.

But it was all for show. The students’ busyness looked exciting, but ultimately, nothing came from it. Balls were dropped, projects were never completed, and adult leaders swooped in to take over when the student leaders came up short.

I asked the youth worker how this student leadership team got started. What was its purpose? He explained that student leadership was important to him. So he identified all the ministry areas where students could lead and plopped talented students in charge of each area. I asked what kind of leadership training the students had received. His answer was exactly what I’d feared: none. This youth worker believed that a student leadership program meant putting the right students in charge. He was half right. He gave students the experience, but he didn’t balance it with training.

You can fill your student leadership with the best and the brightest—school newspaper editors, quarterbacks, class presidents, first chair violins—but if you don’t equip them, all of that potential will lead to nothing. A balanced student leadership program has both training and experience.

Placing students in leadership roles without training them is like giving kids a soccer ball but never teaching them the rules of the game. Sure, they’ll look active playing with the ball, but are they really playing soccer? Without expectations, rules, or goals, there’s nothing to measure their progress. Your student leadership team may look busy, but you have to ask yourself one simple question: are they really leading?

Student leadership training allows us to evaluate the experience based on the leadership principles learned in training. You’ll be able to see the growth in your students, and they’ll have tangible tools to get things done. Imagine the teachable moments you’ll have from this kind of evaluation.

It all comes back to the question I asked that youth worker: What is the purpose of your student leadership team? If you set up your leadership team just because it seems like a good idea, or because that’s just part of healthy youth ministries, then you’ll probably get the same results as my friend—all show and no substance. But if your vision is to see real growth and deep leadership development, take the time to equip your students for their leadership roles. Train them now so they can get the most of their leadership experience later.

Thank you Doug for your sound analysis. Visit Doug at LeaderTreks www.leadertrek.org

LeaderTreks offers a wide range of student leadership training resources to help your students reach their leadership potential.

Clarity Through The Spiritual Lens

“Our faith calls us to see civic and political responsibilities through the eyes of faith and to bring our moral convictions to public life.  As believers we are called to be a community of conscience within the larger society and to test public life by the values of scripture”

             Bishop Arthur M. Brazier,

                                     University of Illinois Facility Forum Series, 1960

 

September 25, 2016 as I watched the dedication and opening of the Smithsonian’s National Museum of African American History and Culture (NMAAHC).  Successful African American’s from the corporate, entertainment and political sectors one by one gave eloquent speeches as to the value this new building hold for future generations.  Near the end of the ceremony I begin driving from my first meeting to a second meeting.  As I was driving, the ceremony closed with the reenactment of the ringing of the bells that signified the freedom of African Americans during the period of Emancipation.  I felt proud and excited that our historical narrative would be available for generations to understand our true history and contribution to society.  I felt this would contribute to changing people’s view of him or her self and recreate a desire for the uplift.  As the bells rang I drove through one African American neighborhood and saw a man passed out at the bus stop; RING.  I saw several boarded up buildings; RING.  I saw trash all up and down the streets; RING.  I saw brothers hanging out on the corner shooting dice; RING. I saw little kids playing in an all dirt lot; RING.  I saw a prostitute try to flag me down; RING. I saw people hanging out in front of several liquor stores; RING. At the red light I saw a man coughing so badly that he was spitting up blood; RING.  I saw people standing and sitting with blank stares on their face as if they weren’t even there; RING.  That visual contradiction left an indelible mark on my heart.  Juxtaposing what I was hearing and what I was seeing brought me to the sad reality of the conditions of the African American neighborhoods that have failed to be addressed.  That if something is not done, the African American will become extinct and its history will be relegated to stories and pieces in a building.  But I will not allow my reality to bully my faith. 

The neighborhoods of Chicago that make up the African American Community are not participating in the region’s vibrancy and growth. Persistence measures continue to move in the wrong directions, preventing these geographies from being neighborhoods of choice for families and businesses.  To better understand these dynamics we have to go back a bit in history.  Unfortunately, we don’t have to go back too far.  By the year 2000, 189,000 African American had left the city of Chicago in hope of a better life in the suburbs or in other cities.  The wake left the neighborhoods with less talent, business and tax dollars for reinvestment.  Fifteen years later most African American owned businesses have either closed or left the neighborhoods.  We no longer own our gas stations, grocery stores, or dry cleaners.  African Americans do not own even the hair and nail businesses they frequent.

Over the last several year the city has torn down the CHA high rises and provided residents with vouchers to disperse and relocate to other neighborhoods which has created pockets of poverty and crime ridden areas. Landlords, usually those who do not live in the neighborhood, gladly began accepting the vouchers as the guaranteed rent was received directly from CHA.  This has led to massive destabilization and resettlement of neighborhoods. The traditional block clubs that provided the physiological or physical cohesiveness have been replaced with cliques of young unguided, uneducated individuals with little to no opportunity for employment or uplift.

It has been said that there is an absence of fathers in the home that has caused the decay of African American communities.  The reality of the problem is an absence of a father’s income, that can be attributed to the decay of the neighborhoods.  The Federal welfare program, CHA housing policies and the criminal justice system have had tremendous affect on the family structure or absence there of.   The breakup of the family and a lack of economic opportunity for African American men has sparked the rapid decline across the communities with the highest concentration of African Americans.  But we walk by faith and not by sight.

To be continued .  .  .

Out of Purpose Comes A Servant

Every day God gives to us should be seen as “An Opportunity for Service.” Often the adversary will cause us to put emphasis on “the woes of this life” or “what we don’t have.” His desire is for us to concentrate on the negative that then leads us to be bound in a state of depression & helplessness. But when God allows us life, with our hearts to keep pumping and our lungs to inhale & exhale precious oxygen…. We owe God praise! “Let every thing that hath breath praise the Lord.” (Psalm 150:6)

And with each new day comes an occasion (or opportunity) to minister (or serve others). True ministry is not what others do for you, it’s what you can do for someone else. Remember Jesus declared, “For even the Son of man came not to be ministered unto, but to minister…” (Mark 10:45) What have you done for someone today? What kind words of encouragement have you given? What good deed have you administered? Consider the words of an old Christian song:

“If I can help somebody, as I pass along,

If I can cheer somebody, with a word or song,

If I can show somebody, how they’re traveling wrong,

Then my living shall not be in vain.”

Study the lesson of ‘the good Samaritan’ in the 10th chapter of Luke. When a man was in distress and needed assistance, both a priest and a Levite (the religious ‘church folk’) passed him by and didn’t want to get involved! But when the Samaritan saw the man, the scriptures declared, “…he had compassion on him.” That compassion moved him to make the effort to get involved! The Samaritan saw the opportunity for service and made that his priority, even at his personal cost! At the conclusion of lesson, Jesus tells us, “Go and do likewise.” (Luke 10:37 NIV)

Today, understand you’ve been blessed to help someone else!

Thank you to Pastor A. Glenn Brady of The New Bethel Church for your inspiration.

Building Leadership with Thought-Provoking Questions

Today I read an article from Leadership That Creates the Future and want to share it with those of you who are engaging in Community Engagement, Revitalization or Restoration.  The environment you create as a leader is more important than the persona you want to project.  True leadership is about others, not yourself.  Enjoy reading:

 

Building Leadership with Thought-Provoking Questions

Posted on March 16, 2015

Leadership – there are likely few topics in the world about which more has been written. With so many resources and sometimes contradictory theories to consider (think “Servant Leadership” and “Machiavellian”), finding a personal leadership style that feels authentically “you” can sometimes seem like an unending quest. Establishing the leadership culture in an organization can be an equally challenging and continuously evolving process.

Leadership That Creates the Future reached out to experts in Creating the Future’s Facebook group for consultants to community benefit organizations and asked them –What compelling questions about leadership do you like to explore? Their questions provide a framework for discovering personal insights, values, and beliefs that can help anyone on a journey toward reaching their highest potential as a leader.

Consider the following:

• How do you approach conflict and confrontation?

• How do you identify what motivates your team – not just imposing what motivates you onto them – and how do you use that to inspire greatness?

• How do you identify and develop natural leaders in your community – those with no formal power but to whom people listen?

• How do you help develop everyone’s leadership abilities?

• How do you create an environment where others feel safe to fail?

• How do great system or network leaders differ, if at all, from great organizational leaders?

• How do we help our followers become great followers?

• What would be possible if we stopped talking about leaders and, instead, focused on leadership?

• What do we hope that leadership makes possible and how can everyone benefit as a result of it?

• How do we move away from “hero” leadership (focused on individual traits) to transformational leadership (focused on positive social change)?

• How do we make leadership more inclusive?

Through a thoughtful exploration of questions such as these, leaders, potential leaders, and followers can better identify the conditions through which leadership can make a positive difference in our organizations, communities, and the world.

What are some additional questions that are helping you to identify the principles and practices that shape you and your organization’s approach to leadership?

 

Thank you to Freya Bradford, Kimberly Diggs Lauth, Jane Garthson, Andrea John-Smith, Joyce Lee-Ibarra, Rhonda Lorch, Justin Pollock, and Kelly Trusty for contributing questions for this blog post.

Links:

Leadership That Creates the Future: http://blogs.creatingthefuture.org

Freya Bradford: LinkedIn

Kimberly Diggs Lauth: Kim Lauth Consulting

Jane Garthson: Garthson Leadership Centre

Andrea John-Smith: LinkedIn

Joyce Lee-Ibarra: JLI Consulting

Rhonda Lorch: Lorch and Associates

Justin Pollock: OrgForward

Kelly Trusty: LinkedIn

Get to know my mentor and inspiration Bishop Arthur M. Brazier

Today I honor one of my mentors who was a advocate for justice, a man of integrity and a spiritual leader who epitomizes community transformation through individual self-determination.  Bishop Brazier has gone on to be with The Lord; but his impact across the United States continues to be felt even today.  Those that knew Bishop Brazier will tell you that he was a very humble man whose life’s work was for the advancement of community, not for personal recognition and awards.  He believed for individuals to change their situations their mentality had to shift from victims to victors.
He was honored by Presidents, from Kennedy to Obama, worked tirelessly in Washington for the betterment of others and held local politicians accountable by measuring their actions through the lens of scripture.
Because he worked behind the scenes, most people don’t know his role in advocacy, about his fight to end school segregation, illegal housing practices and his role in bringing Dr. King to Chicago.  And that was just the beginning… Here is a look back at the early days of Bishop Arthur M. Brazier – The Activist.
Today the struggle has been redefined, but the fundamental issues of perceived privilege and injustice remain the same.  If we are training young people to understand their DESTINY, we can’t approach it from a victim mentality; teach them to be overcomes.  Scripture says – They can do all things through Christ which strengthens them.

Helping Young People To Boldly Proclaim Their Faith

 

 

I had an incredible session on Saturday with a group of young people from all over Illinois and Indiana.  These young people were from multiple denominations and multiple geographical areas(Rural, suburban and Urban).  One of the subjects they discussed that stood out to me was the challenge of being bold in their faith in school, home and in their community.  They felt that while youth workers in their various youth groups are great at leading them to Christ; they aren’t as effectively in equipping them to boldly proclaim their faith in school faced with the immense peer pressure to conform to the world.

After the session I began to wonder how many other young people are in this same boat?   My question to youth workers around the country is – what are your methods of internationally in teaching young people to walk broadly in their faith outside Youth Group?  What are they describing to you as the push back they get from friends or others in their school or community?

What are your young people saying, please have them complete the 3 question What Challenges You?  survey — http://www.cvent.com/d/jcq4wl , so you can compare their answers to those of the rest of the country.  The results are free and available under the Survey Results tab.  The Results are updated every Saturday.

One of the students shared the following website discussion on this topic from christianforum.com  and wanted to share it with you.  Below is a highlight of that Christianforum.com website conversation between 3 people:

 

New Believer

Does anyone else get convicted of this? Before I became a Christian, I would have never been seen telling others about God. I would have never been seen worshiping, praying, or reading the Bible. The day I got saved, I wanted to tell others about Christ. It’s a struggle that I have because I’m always worried that I’ll say the wrong thing. But I get convicted about it if I get the need to share Christ with others, and I don’t. When I do, I start to worry about what others think. Do people think I’m a hypocrite? Do other Christians think I’m weird? Should I be sharing this with others or keep it to myself? These thoughts continue to shut me down. 

I’m sometimes afraid to proclaim my faith because it’s so looked down on these days. Even some Christians aren’t doing it. It’s like they say they know Christ but they blend in with the rest of the world. It’s hard for me to do this because I don’t want to. 

All of my life, I’ve been a very closed and reserved person. Lately I’ve been wanting to open up to others. God has been telling me that I must come out of my shell. But I wonder why God would want me to do this because I have so much self-doubt. I feel like a person who has nothing to offer to others. It’s like I have this nagging doubt that’s telling me to shut up and give up; God would never have a purpose for me.  

I need advice from someone. Is it normal to want to boldly talk about God? Do you ever think people who always talk about God are fakes? Also did you ever get confused about what God wanted you to do? It seems like God wants me to try to learn to talk to others more, but I have this nagging doubt that is discouraging me.

I’m at the point where I’m generally comfortable with talking about God, it’s not all that different from talking about other things where I have a strong belief. If you’re a Christian, then God’s inside of you. You are not only legally aligned with Christ, but Christian beliefs are a major part of who you are. 

 

Sketcher

A trick I guess, to getting comfortable with it is to read the Bible every day, spending good time in thought and prayer about what you’ve read, and what God would have you do. If you immerse yourself in something, it will come out of your mouth. This isn’t to say that you don’t pray for boldness and depend on God for boldness, but you do consume his word on a regular basis so that you can hear him all the clearer. When you’re doing that, it’s amazing how the Holy Spirit can use you in ways that you would never expect.

Note that this isn’t speaking up out of guilt. I think this is a very common mistake among Christians. You probably know the drill by now – the Holy Spirit prompts you to speak to someone, you keep your mouth shut, and out of guilt you try to overcompensate. I believe we really need to accept the Lord’s forgiveness and move on rather than to try and force open windows which have long since closed. No, for those people, you should be moved to prayer – and maybe, God will open up another window. But you need to forgive yourself and move on, being ready but having no guilt. If that window doesn’t happen again in the next week, then God knows what he’s doing. He’s allowing you to grow before the next time with that person, if there is one – and growing always takes a while.

 

Emily

Dear New_Believer. In Matthew, chapter 22, verses 35-40, Jesus tells a Lawyer: ” The first and great Commandment is: Love thy God with all thy heart, with all thy soul, and with all thy mind. The second is like it: Love thy neighbour as thyself.” Then Jesus states this fact: ” On these two Commandments hang all the Law and the Prophets.” It is Love what God wants from us, selfless and beneficial. Instead of telling people about your faith, let them see your Love for God and for your neighbour, and only when you are being asked why, or told you are very kind, let your Love for God and for your neighbour become a talking-point. God will give you opportunities, and then your deeds speak for themselves. You will find in time, that being helpful and kind, and never use angry or hurtful words, will testify to your faith much more than ever words can do. When the Bible tells us to Repent, it is telling us to change from being selfish and unloving, to being loving and caring, to be a representative of our loving God. God is our Heavenly Father, and Jesus died that we might live, show your love to God and to your neighbour, ( all you know and all you meet) with following the two most important Commandments. God will see your efforts, and God will approve and bless you, New_Believer. You might stumble often, but get up and ask God`s forgiveness, and God will forgive you as you will forgive all who sin/transgress against you. You will find too, that by reading out of the Bible and asking Jesus to help and guide you, words will come quite easy to you. I say this with love and assurance. Greetings from Emmy, your sister in Christ.

 

 

How are you equipping young people to boldly proclaim their faith in your youth groups?  Share your methods with us by joining the conversation; you will be a blessing to the other readers.

Don’t Neglect Your First Ministry


 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

REVIVE, RENEW, REFRESH, RECONNECT

We in the ministry spend considerable time with young people or Youth Workers at the expense of our families.  This simple post is designed to remind you to not neglect taking time to get away with your family.  Take time to rev up your family relationship, read, rest and recharge.  (Oh yes, and let your wife shop)  Before you can be a blessing to anyone else, your own home must first be blessed.  Home ministry is the God-given requirement we have as husbands or wives to love our spouses as God loves us.  If we are parents, it includes our role to love and raise our children according to His truth.  The Bible commands us to invest in our spouse and children by nurturing them, helping them develop intellectually, physically, relationally, and spiritually.

A Husband is to love his wife as Christ loved the church (Ephesians 5:25)

Wives are to submit to their husbands “as to the Lord” (Ephesians 5:22)

Parents are to raise godly children to be the next generation of those who love the Lord with all their hearts (Proverbs 22:6Ephesians 6:4)

The scriptural order of priorities is God, spouse, children and then others.

 

Thanks for reading

 

Stay encouraged, stay engaged and don’t give up on our young people.  It’s not their desire to fall so hold them up.

Wilderness Journeys Perfect Your Faith To Move Forward

Thank you to those who have supported me during this time of silence and transition.  A good friend asked me “what did you do wrong to be silenced?”, to which I replied not that kind of silence.  It is the silence you experience when God is moving you to a new place and new assignment that causes you to stop, reflect on the past, review His promises for your life and recall the provisions He has provided when you were entering into other places that stretched you beyond your current situation.  When God instructs, prepare to move forward in a way that requires your faith to be strong.  I have been silent on this blog for the past four weeks out of obedience to the guiding of the Holy Spirit.  A preparation process for moving forward.  The New Urban is not about showing hopeless kids hope; it’s about changing attitudes of kingdom building among the adults and young adults charged with leading our youth through this transitional state to adulthood.  It’s about a collective vision of moving young people forward, not a siloed classification of young people.  The Bible teaches that all have sinned and come short of the glory.  All need him, not just the poor, not just those experiencing challenging circumstances but everyone.  I truly believe God is moving Youth Ministry to a new understanding of faith, vision and  equipping of young people.

Faith can be idle when circumstances are calm.  But, when adversity hits then our faith is exercised.  Like muscles, our faith grows stronger when exercised.  I have learned that faith states the dream, examines all options, uses all resources, removes all nonessentials and then moves forward.  I now understand what it means to say – “a man able to see in faith sees things that do not yet exist in the natural realm and sees the potential to bring to pass something marvelous.”

In the Bible, the Hebrew  word  forward is about taking a journey that has many stages to it.  In Exodus 14: 13 – 15 the people had to first stand still and then go forward.  This has been an incredible journey the Lord has me on to this point.  I walk in expectancy of all that He has for me going forward.

 

I invite you to also move forward in your relationship with Jesus Christ, in your ministry and in exalting God, engaging unbelievers and edifying the believers:

F – represents the future.  Things do not happen by chance, they happen according to His will.  Don’t be distracted by circumstances seen with the natural eye.   (Prov. 19:21)

O – signifies ordinary people. God uses ordinary people to accomplish His will.  Throughout history it wasn’t about titles, degrees or pedigree – just ordinary people.  In Romans 16 Paul mentions 24 people used,  Luke 10:1 speaks of 70 that went out 2 by 2.

R – stands for resiliency.  The Bible tells us that “a man who holds his ground can become strong like the oak” (Prov 24:10).  As Christian leaders we are to cultivate our ability to endure under pressure, rise after failure and push ahead when others quit.  Spurgeon said, “by perseverance, the snail reached the ark”.

W –  represents wholehearted prayer. Prayer is an intense dialogue with diety. It is your decision to personally pursue and seek guidance from the Lord.  It is an intense, continual, wholehearted seeking of relationship and conversation.

A – indicates the attitude of faith and courage that fuels your moving forward to fulfill the vision God gave you.   Courage is not the absence of fear, it is the mastery of it.  You must be able to see your vision, say it and seize it.  You must have faith to see what God is doing.

R – stands for remember. Looking back over your life, recall what God has done for you.  Even as you look back over your test and trials, you will see where God has brought you through.  That which seemed like there was no way out, no solution or now path forward . . . look at you now.  And if you are in the midst of a storm now, look around and remember – “you have been here before.”

D – signifies decisions.  Decisions determine your DESTINY. Every decision in your life has a consequence; some positive and some negative.  When we take matters into our own hands, that is when God allows us to struggle in the darkness created by our decisions.  To move forward, learn from wise men’s (and women’s) lifestyles and decision making processes.  Don’t be afraid to seek wise counsel. (This is the biggest mistake most young leaders make – The I Know It All Syndrome).  Don’t take my word, read Prov. 1:5; 8:33; 9:8,9.

 

Your path forward belongs to the Lord .  Be confident and stay conscience . . .