By Jamie Warner –
The Mighty Oaks Men’s Legacy Program for March brought its own kind of madness to the ranch called SkyRose in San Miguel, California. Not the madness of countless cars streaming into an enormous parking lot. Not the madness of streams of humanity crowding forward to find seats that cost more than a month’s wages, or throngs of fans screaming and cheering on their teams to victory over their adversary. No, that’s not the March Madness experienced at last week’s Mighty Oaks Legacy Program.
The madness we experienced during our week of Legacy was divinely created. Warriors traveled from all corners of our beloved country to face their adversaries head-on in raw authenticity, and it was the madness of like-minded men, brothers, continually giving of their time, talent, and treasure to lead those Warriors into a life of fullness, purpose, and hope.
And this Legacy Program was no exception as it was a packed house with twenty-two first-time attendees of varying backgrounds: veteran, active duty, first responders; four Leaders-in-Training, and ten staff. As with every Program, we shared with our Warriors that all our staff and instructors are first Alumni of the Legacy Program. We are strictly a peer-to-peer program that is built up from within: Pay it forward. We alumni work to get ourselves into a position where we can reach back and help the next guy. It’s like what the Apostle Paul says in 1 Corinthians 11:1, “Imitate me, just as I also imitate Christ.” All throughout the week, the staff and instructors modeled lives of transformation. Lives of purpose. Lives of hope. Breakthroughs happened as the Warriors worked to the point of sharing their own stories, unloading the burdens that have been plaguing them for however long. This happened in great part to the leaders paving the way by unashamedly sharing their testimonies in the classes they taught and the Breakout Sessions they led and the conversation they had. Thursday night, each Warrior was given the opportunity to share his story. And as they shed light on the dark events of their pasts, freedom was found.
And then on Friday night during the graduation, MOF Executive Director Jeremy Stalnecker gave a Final Challenge to the Warriors. He urged them to keep pressing forward after they get home returning face-to-face with the problems they left to attend the program. Because our graduation this month landed on Good Friday, Jeremy issued his challenges in light of Jesus’s crucifixion and resurrection.
“When you are looking for an example to follow, when you find yourself in a situation or a conversation, a relationship, or something else confronts you that you don’t exactly understand how to deal with, I want you to look to the example Jesus Christ gave to you. The best example that you can, and should, follow.” Jeremy challenged them to follow Christ’s example in four specific areas.
First, live a sacrificial life. Do what you do, not for your benefit but for the benefit of others. “Stop looking at the world in terms of yourself.”
Second, accept initial rejection for eventual acceptance. The problems and the messes you left at home weren’t created in a just a few days, so it stands to reason it will take time to correct them; but we can endure initial rejection if we know there will be eventual acceptance.
Third, build a life that demonstrates authenticity. An authentic life will be a life that is a Legacy worth leaving. Actions speak louder than words, so do what is right and just and selfless day after day after day. Leave an authentic Legacy.
Last, live with eternity in mind. Look at your situation, the people you can influence, and understand that the decisions you make are not temporal, they don’t end with you, rather they can have an eternal impact, so choose accordingly.
The Warriors left SkyRose Ranch armed with tools, purpose, and hope, ready to face the challenges that lie ahead. Anything less may just be madness.
Thank you all for your faithful prayers and support. YOU are making an eternal impact through Mighty Oaks!