FIRED UP!

When I was 6 years old, my younger brother started a fire in the bedroom we shared. He was messing around with some matches, striking them against the wheel of a Tonka truck. Much to his surprise, it worked! But his delight quickly turned to fear and he tossed the flame into a trashcan beneath our coat rack. I still remember the shiny red fire trucks that visited our house that night and the talking to we got from the fire chief once the fire was put out!

There is an old African proverb that says, “If you don’t initiate the young, they will burn down the village to feel the heat.” Isn’t it true, when lacking boundaries and direction, many of us, regardless of our age or gender, have started “fires” just to feel the rush?

This seems to be especially true for boys who have an innate thirst for adventure, a wild side. There is a fire that burns in every boy. The question is will it be contained and used wisely, bringing light and warmth?  Or will it burn down the house, raging without boundaries and destroying everything in its path?

Young Knights is committed to initiating young men into biblical manhood. Boys are born but men are made. Turning boys into great men is an intentional process not meant to extinguish the flame that burns in every boy. Instead, we want to see these young men become FIRED UP for Jesus!

Next month, on June 17th, we will celebrate our very first Manhood Ceremony! 8th grade boys who have completed the program will experience a rite of passage, something painfully missing in our culture. It is not the end of the journey but a significant marker – a stake in the ground affirming and celebrating who they are and who they can become!

We want young men growing up on Chicago’s South Side to step into something rather than just away from something - to experience a life of hope, joy and purpose! We want them to live lives of integrity and influence – not to add to the violence and destruction but to shine as lights in the midst of a dark world.

We are excited to recognize and celebrate these young men! If you would like to attend the Manhood Ceremony, you can register here.

Thanks for your continued support and prayers,

Rob Bloss, Executive Director

The Power to Change

Have you ever felt powerless? Like you couldn’t do anything about the situation you were in? Like when my phone crashed yesterday or when I held the hand of a two year-old dying of cancer. At one time or another, I suspect we have all felt powerless. But growing up as a young black man on the south side of Chicago this can easily be accepted as an every day reality.

When recently asked where most young black men who live in the hood end up, the boys all said, “Dead or in prison.” Is this just the way it is?

The Psalmist asks, “Who executes justice for the oppressed and gives food to the hungry?” And then he declares, “The Lord sets the prisoners free; the Lord opens the eyes of the blind. The Lord lifts of those who are bowed down…he upholds the widow and the fatherless…”! (Ps. 146:7-9)

Mentoring isn’t the answer, but it is a means. It is a means to expressing and experiencing the power of the gospel; the power of Christ who died, was buried, and who rose from the grave! I’ve come to realize the power of perspective, the power of seeing things not through eyes of fear but with eyes of faith, the power of seeing things as they can be not as they appear to be!

This Sunday we celebrate Easter. I’m praying Ephesians 1:19-20 for our boys and for each of you supporting the mission of Young Knights:

“I pray that you will understand the incredible greatness of God’s power for us who believe him. This is the same mighty power that raised Christ from the dead….”

  • Resurrection power can bring power to the powerless, hope to the hopeless, and healing to the hurting!
  • Resurrection power means prayers can be answered, sins can be forgiven, and death is defeated!
  • Resurrection power means real and lasting change is possible!

Because He lives!

Rob

P.S. I want to invite you to join us for a two-hour tour of some of the roughest neighborhoods in Chicago. You will see the neglect and poverty and hear stories and statistics of gang violence, addiction, and brokenness. But you will also see God’s heart for these neighborhoods as you meet some of the boys who call this place home.

en·vi·sion is an opportunity to see the hope of a future that is found in Jesus – the hope of real and lasting change through God’s mighty power!

en·vi·sion

Saturday, May 6 from 9-11am

Register at https://envisionyk.eventbrite.com

Our Identity is found IN Christ

What boy doesn’t long for greatness? Whether on the basketball court draining a three, or on a stage delivering a killer performance, every boy dreams of doing something great, of being somebody. While very few boys will ever live out their fantasies of fame and fortune, the gospel truth is that every boy is somebody, somebody designed and destined for greatness!

Young Knights is committed to Turning Boys into Great Men! In last month’s blog I shared three simple statements in an effort to define what it means to be a great man:

  • IDENTITY in Christ
  • INTEGRITY through Christ
  • INFLUENCE for Christ

We are praying for boys, boys growing up in some of the roughest neighborhoods in our country, to experience true greatness – to discover who they are and can be in, through and for Christ!

We’ve all looked into the mirror and wrestled with the question, “Who am I?” For boys growing up in the hood, the reflection in the mirror is clouded by images of violence, poverty, addiction, injustice, sex, and neglect.  So where, or to whom, do they, or any of us for that matter, turn for an answer to that most basic of human questions?

It took me nearly 43 years to get this truth, the kind of truth that sets us free and holds us firm, from my head into my heart: We are who Christ says we are! We are defined not by our past, by our circumstances, or by the opinions of others. Our identity is IN Christ! 2 Corinthians 2:17 tells us that “if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come.” 

The key phrase in the passage is two little words, ‘in Christ’. That’s Paul’s favorite term for a Christian. It’s used 164 times in the NT.  It’s a powerful phrase. If you are in Christ, your identity is found in Christ, your purpose is found in Christ, your hope is found in Christ, and your life is found in Christ!

One of my favorite passages of scripture is Romans 8. In this chapter we see seven awesome truths about life IN Christ! In Christ we receive a great life, a life without…

  1. Condemnation. (v.1)
  2. Domination. (vv.2-17)
  3. Desperation. (vv.18-27)
  4. Miscalculation. (vv. 28-30)
  5. Intimidation. (vv. 31,33,34)
  6. Limitation. (v. 32)
  7. Separation. (vv. 35-39)

Take the time to read the text and soak in these seven promises and privileges that we have in Christ. We were made in His image so that we might reflect His image.  The Christian life is about more than being forgiven, more even than making it to heaven. The heart of Christianity is about transformation – about God who wants to make ALL things new! It’s about Turning Boys into Great Men!

Grateful for your prayers and partnership, 

Rob