The Urge to Lead

I made a statement in the summer of 2001, before the start of 9th grade at Mustang Mid-High School. It was primarily a statement to myself more than anything. The statement was simple: I would not aim for any kind of leadership role or spotlight among my classmates; my goal was to remain an invisible student who just made it through the four years in the suburban Oklahoma City city. More than that, it was my goal to never become a leader of any kind. I simply did not see myself in that light at all; it was my goal to blend in the background.

That changed in a big way because of one of my favorite teachers, Mrs. Diane Cerny. I needed an elective, and I ended up signing up for a Marketing Fundamentals course. As I walked into what was the North building at Mustang High School in junior year, I had no idea what God would end up doing through one amazing teacher and a student organization. Because of her consistent urging, I gave in to running for a local chapter position, won and proceeded to be a state officer my senior year.

I will never forget the final assembly of the 2005 State DECA Conference at Union High School when my name was called as the 2005-06 Oklahoma DECA Reporter. As I recollect that day, I thought back to the time when I vowed to never push for a leadership role. As I walked to the stage of an auditorium of high school students from all over the state, I was amazed how God was not limited in how far He can take us, despite the limitations we place on ourselves.

Today I find myself in a very curious place, in a lead role with my local church and affiliated with several parachurch organizations in my community. I find myself in leadership roles for events I never dreamed I would be a part of back in 2001. I stand amazed every day at the journey God has put me on and the opportunities He has given me that I undoubtedly do not deserve. I continue to learn every single day that in leadership and life you never stop learning. Just when you think you’ve mastered something, you soon realize you’ve got a long way to go. Failure is that ever-present reminder that I still have a lot to learn.

I share this because there are those in our church community who are called to lead but who may not feel equipped and therefore will not step up when the time comes. I am a testimony of someone who God has blessed and used in ways I never expected to be used. Know that when you step out in faith when God calls you to lead in your local church, in your workplace or in your school, He will equip you and guide you for that season of life. But we must respond to the call and not cower in fear when we feel the call to lead.

Doubts and a lack of confidence will always come up and threaten to bring us down, but in those moments we must remind ourselves of the One who created and called us and who knows our beginning and end. Keep your eyes on your Creator, not your circumstances.

In those moments, the words from God to Israel’s new leader Joshua come to mind:

“Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be frightened, and do not be dismayed, for the LORD your God is with you wherever you go.” – Joshua 1:9, ESV

“Good people come and go”

Whether it’s work or school or your family life, one thing is always for sure, the best people come into your life, make an impact, then leave just when things get good and you’re used to them there.

Over the past year I’ve had the chance to become acquainted with Abel Musuka, a Zambian student at Rhema Bible Training Center in Broken Arrow, Okla. I had heard of him when he first led an original song, “Completely Anointed”, at a youth camp held in Texas. From that moment on, he became a part of the Pentecostal Malayalee community and a friend to many.

To know personally how amazing of a person he is and how he is used by God to make such a difference with his music is indeed a privilege.

In his own words, he saw a friend’s life changed when singing his song “Completely Anointed”.

The lyrics speak for themselves:
“When I look back at Life, To think of how we used to be
I can’t imagine Lord, of all the things you’ve done for me
How you picked me, how you washed, how you set me free
You sent your Son to set me free from my iniquities
Lord I love you, Lord I trust you, Lord I lift your name
As I sing this song to say what’s on my heart
Today
Today

–CHORUS
I am Anointed, Completely Anointed
I am Anointed, Completely Anointed
In Jesus Name
In Jesus Name

–BRIDGE (echo)
I’m on Fire (Im on Fire)
I’m on Fire (Im on Fire)”

This is just one of many songs that touched so many of the youth that have heard this beautifully written music. Other songs, such as “Fire Shut Up in My Soul” and “Overcomers” show how he has continued to let the Spirit lead him into writing impactful, life-changing songs.

Before he left, I had the privilege of helping him fix a small piece on his acoustic guitar. It took an hour or so of driving to and from the same places, but in the end I helped him get his guitar back to working order, and it was privilege to help such an anointed man of God and simply to be his acquaintance.

After his recent graduation, he is back in Zambia serving as a youth pastor. I will keep his ministry in prayer and encourage you to as well.

God bless!

Ending homelessness in OKC

On the drive back to the apartment, I heard a conversation on the radio about our city’s plan that is in effect to end homelessness.

In my purview of things, as is likely with many Oklahomans, when the government says they’re going to work to end homelessness, its just a gov’t PR person making promises that end up being just words.

But after examining the report, I found a different story: OKC has been on the attack against homelessness since 2004 when the city council adopted the “Homes for the Homeless – 10 Year Plan to Create Lasting Solutions.”

From the report (Found at http://www.homelessalliance.org/10YearPlanUpdateFinal.pdf):
“The plan, reviewed and updated annually, included the
following key goals:
-increase the supply of Permanent Supportive Housing; develop a centralized intake center (WestTown Resource Center)
-improve transportation for homeless persons
-develop and enforce minimum standards for all shelter and housing programs;
-create a database (Homeless Management Information System)
-implement performance-based funding and evaluation of service providers
-expedite benefits enrollment for all
eligible homeless persons.

All of the action steps outlined in the plan were undertaken
simultaneously and re-evaluated on an annual basis to maintain momentum and make adjustments.”

A few more highlights:
-“Improvement in discharge planning protocols at Griffin Memorial has led to fewer persons with serious mental illness being released to the street or shelters from the hospital.
-Heartline’s 2-1-1 service provides information to an average of 6,000 direct callers per month for referrals to needed services and shelter and also assists in emergency response to disasters.
-1,000 families at risk of losing their housing have been helped with utility assistance from the Salvation Army.
-The Oklahoma Department of Mental Health and Substance Abuse Services, in
conjunction with the Department of Corrections, created Mental Health Reentry Teams that have helped house and support 93 mentally ill individuals who were at great risk of homelessness after being released from prison. None
of the 93 have become homeless or had to return to prison and all were preapproved for federal benefits.”

The words “End homelessness” strike a tone of having a goal that is seemingly possible to accomplish, especially in a city that is growing as fast as OKC is. With a growing city comes a larger population and an even more desperate homeless situation.

But I am optimistic that the efforts of the city to “end homelessness” will at least put us in the right direction and help to ease the burden of many of the homeless persons in our city.

Kudos to Mayor Cornett and the City Council for striving to better our city.

Welcome!

So I’ve joined the WordPress blogging community and look forward to my experience here! From reading my future blogs, I’m sure you will discover what you need to really know about me.

But for now, I’m out!
-Peace & God bless!