Tuesday, February 2, 2010

meeting andrew young!

how appropriate to follow up my post about MLK with a post from ambassador andrew young! i had the pleasure of meeting him last week. what an honor and a joy. here is the link to the article that my boss wrote about 4 ways to change the world by andrew young! or you can just read it here:

Last Wednesday, our staff gathered for an extraordinary opportunity to learn from former Ambassador and Atlanta Mayor Andrew Young. I have been a long-time admirer of Ambassador Young’s ever since my father asked me to read a book on the civil rights movement when I was a teen-ager.
{thats me on the right in the picture in the front standing RIGHT NEXT TO HIM, i have on the pink shirt!!}
As you know, Andy Young was a key aide to Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. and helped usher in America’s greatest change in social justice from the previous century. So, for 90 minutes, our staff had an opportunity to hear Ambassador Young speak and ask him questions. It was a day I will never forget. There are so many lessons to share, but here are the top four takeaways I learned on how to change the world.
1. Change Jericho Road.
I asked Ambassador Young to tell us what Dr. King was like. He said that Dr. King was a very funny person, when he wasn’t weighed down by the burden of the movement. He said Dr. King was a really good basketball player who could shoot with both hands. (I never knew that.) And then he told us something that will forever change how I view the story of the Good Samaritan. “Martin told me, “Andy, I admire the Good Samaritan but I don’t want to be the Good Samaritan. I want to change Jericho Road. I want to put streetlights on it and create a wonderful city so that people aren’t beaten up and taken advantage of. That’s what I want to do.”
Think of the possibilities. At Buckhead Church, we should be about changing Jericho Road. Creating a world where marriages are healthy, families are whole, financial freedom is a reality and people love others. It’s called “The Kingdom of God.” And it’s how you change the world.
2. “People don’t change. They grow.”
If we’re going to change the world, it comes down to changing people. Ambassador Young went on to say, “People grow faster when we are patient with them, kind of like how God is patient and kind with us.” This is an extraordinary statement from a man who marched against hatred and injustice. Instead of getting mad, he looked for opportunities to help people grow. I asked him about this and his ability to not become bitter in the face of racial hatred, violence and injustice. “You don’t get mad at people who are sick. You help them. A dentist doesn’t get mad at a patient with a cavity. The dentist deals with the situation and helps the patient.”
You don’t change the world by getting mad at people. You change the world by dealing with the issues that are preventing their growth.
3. “Leave room for the Holy Spirit.”
This one might seem obvious but it hit me hard. I’m admittedly a rather self-disciplined person, and I think that can be good. But Ambassador Young reminded me of the danger of becoming too disciplined and self-reliant.
“Some people are so self-disciplined,” he said, “that they don’t leave any room for the Holy Spirit. I never really knew what was coming next in my life. I simply tried to follow where God was leading me.”
This requires that you pay attention. You listen. You reflect on the “fires in your bones” as he called it. In other words, ask the question, “What is setting me on fire these days? What am I passionate about? What do I want to change?”
Bill Hybels calls this a “Holy Discontent.” What is yours?
4. “To whom much is given, much is required.”
This is the defining verse in his life. Ambassador Young told the story of a childhood friend who didn’t get to go to college, and wasn’t given the opportunities like he was given. His friend told him, “You have the opportunity to do things that I’ll never have.” That statement propelled him forward. It left no room for idleness, excuses or self-pity, even if he did grow up in a country that prevented him from voting because of the color of his skin.
He became, as Andy Stanley said, “response – able.”
As a result, he helped change the world.
Finally, as our time came to a close, Ambassador Young said this about our staff. I share this with you just because I am so proud of the people I work with each day. Here are his words about your staff at Buckhead Church:
“I really like what I see here. There isn’t any pretension. You look like ordinary people. You’re not trying to hide behind religious titles. And yet, there is an energy and enthusiasm that is very refreshing. I want to encourage you that I like what I am seeing here today.”
And then he added, “What times are your services on Sunday?”

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