If you played in the NFL and won a Super Bowl… then coached in the NFL and won a Super Bowl… then became a best selling author and NFL TV analyst among many other successes… how would you define the happiest moment of your life? While working as a co-author on the book “The Jersey Effect”, I had the opportunity to ask Tony Dungy the question, “What was one of the happiest moments of your life?” And for the next four minutes he answered. The answer he gave me had a lot less to do with football, success, money or fame.
It was revealing and it might help you understand why you are happy today… or why you are not. Listen here:
You can make a difference that will last for eternity by giving to bring the gospel to hundreds of youth.
90% of the youth we serve are fatherless.
70% of youth in juvenile detention have committed “crimes of survival” meaning they are in trouble for choosing to do something to help them survive. Things such as stealing food because they are hungry or skipping school to try to support their family in poverty are common.
Over 300 teens have accepted Christ as Savior since our ministry started.
Your gift will fund a gift of a student Bible and my spiritual journal which teaches teens how engage with God through His word and really develop a personal relationship with Him. Our goal is to provide the gospel to 29 youth facilities in Tennessee and in Indiana.
$15 provides 1 Bible and 1 Spiritual Journal.
$75 provides 5 teens with a Bible and Spiritual Journal.
$150 provides for 10 teens, $300 provides for 20 teens, $1500 funds an entire detention facility of 100 youth! Click here to make your tax deductible gift today. Click here to set up a monthly donation to provide the gospel month after month to fatherless youth and become a part of our ministry support team!
Last week I had the opportunity to take a trip to French Camp, Mississippi to speak to the students at French Camp Academy. This was my second trip in about six months to be with these amazing people. I first learned of French Camp Academy by plopping down at a breakfast table while attending a ministry conference last winter and meeting Todd Marion. We were all focused on our stomachs and talking around the table about who we are, where we are from and what we do. Todd asked me what I do in Tennessee and I told him I work with high-risk and fatherless youth. We talked briefly about teens and Todd said, “You would love our place and you should come visit.” I asked him what kind of place he was talking about and he went on to tell me about French Camp Academy, a Christian boarding school tucked away in this little town of French Camp, Mississippi. The boarding school ministry has been there since 1885! Following that conversation was an invitation to come speak in chapel at the school last spring and another invitation to come back last week to speak in the Wednesday evening service and Thursday morning chapel. I was able to bring a good friend with me on this trip to share the ministry with him. Hoss Johnson lives up to his name because he’s a “Hoss” of a guy who played football at Alabama from ’82-’86 and had a short NFL career. Just five weeks ago Hoss left his job to go in to full-time sports ministry. Hoss shared his heart with these students and how God has worked in his life through the unfortunate death of his wife ten years ago and how God has been so faithful as he raised his son and daughter as a single dad.
My time at French Camp was amazing and refreshing. If you can imagine immersing yourself in a ministry surrounded by hundreds of students who are coming from extremely difficult family situations. Some of them can’t go home… it’s just not possible because home has become French Camp. Not all students that attend French Camp Academy come from broken homes but the heart and purpose of their existence is to glorify God and impact young people while providing a safe, stable, Christ centered place to heal and grow.
Here are some things I observed while being immersed in the ministry of 200-300 students and staff at the French Camp Academy Boarding School.
God is good. I can only imagine the turmoil that could overtake a child’s emotions when the family falls apart but yet there is incredible hope in that God is good and He provided a new place and new people to provide love and care. One student told me with a huge smile that God is really good and he feels so incredibly blessed that God provided this family for him. Have you noticed that God often replaces things you’ve lost in life with something new? Have you thanked Him lately for that?
There is a tremendous joy in serving. The staff that serve the youth at French Camp have a joyful spirit… there is a sense of value in what they are investing in with their life and it shows. Have you noticed that when you invest in others, there is a renewed spirit of joy?
The harder things bring the greater rewards. I noticed the staff working long hours, the house parents that have chosen to live with 10-15 teenagers and be “mom and dad” and I imagined by interacting with the high-quality people that lead this ministry that they have made financial sacrifices to be there but they didn’t ever mention anything about sacrifice. There was much more of a spirit of reward. It struck me that there are great rewards that come in doing the hard things. Have you considered the rewards that are coming from something hard you are doing right now? Is there something you feel God leading you to do but you are holding back because it looks really hard?
I’d love to get hear from you. Take a minute and answer one of these questions. Your comments could have a big impact on our readers.
What have you lost but seen God replace in your life? Where have you served and found great joy in doing it? What hard thing do you feel you need to start and what is holding you back?
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After twenty-one years in church youth ministry I established an outreach ministry in 2008 with a key focus on reaching troubled youth in the community of Indianapolis, Indiana. Our ministry moved to Tennessee in July 2010 and I continue to minister to high-risk and fatherless youth.