Sunday, February 12, 2017

RE·CID·I·VISM - "HOW TO REDUCE IT" Part One

   
     All across America, young people are arrested, put in jail, are released, rearrested and then sent back to jail. This cycle is called recidivism.
   Youth With A Purpose Inc (YWAP) is a ministry that believes all children are gifted and deserve to be valued. It hurts when a young person goes to jail or dies from violence. Poverty is a prison unto itself that helps feed the prison pipeline. When a young person goes to jail, we attempt to maintain contact, sometimes battling prison policies to do so. When a young person is released from jail, we try and help them in their reentry into society. Many times they go back to family, friends and the rest of their old way of life.
     Science will tell us that the human brain does not fully mature until we are in our early twenties. The last part of our brains to fully mature is the frontal lobe and that's where decision making takes place. Sometimes we are holding young people accountable for understanding what they are not capable of understanding.
The frontal lobes, home to key components of the neural circuitry underlying “executive functions” such as planning, working memory, and impulse control, are among the last areas of the brain to mature; they may not be fully developed until halfway through the third decade of life. {1}
     Recidivism reduction begins in elementary school. The longer we can keep kids in school and help them embrace the struggle for an education, the more likely they will be able to avoid "street-life." Gangs prey on struggling kids. School makes them feel inferior and inadequate. The gang grooms kids with money, praise and influence - making them feel empowered. Eventually the see no need for school and quit. Making money on the streets is easy - until you get killed or arrested.
    YWAP (with God's guidance) developed a unique program that trained 18-30 yr. old young men as mentors who would go into schools and mentor the younger generation. Many of them had been victims of gang enticements and spent time in jail. Unfortunately, schools do not welcome guys with arrest records into their buildings. The good news is that some schools are sending guys to our BWAP - Brothers With A Purpose Program.    
     BWAP "Helps 16-30 yr. old young men become Christ-centered role models who mentor the next generation." We don't force religion on anybody and we accept everybody, but we use the Bible as a Game Plan for Life. We teach character using Bible verses about "doing to others as you would have them do to you."
     We have found that most young people want to do what's right and just, but they lack the maturity to understand their own actions. Imagine a group of young people being lead by their own selfish ambitions without understanding the outcome of their actions. Recidivism is a lot like Romans 7:15,
"For I do not understand my own actions
[I am baffled and bewildered by them].
I do not practice what I want to do,
but I am doing the very thing I hate
[and yielding to my human nature,
my worldliness—my sinful capacity].
     BWAP is currently operating in Buffalo, NY and planning on three more locations there in 2017. We are also exploring and praying over opportunities in Arizona. If you have a passion to help young people pursue their potential in God's purpose for their lives, please contact us. We pray that the Holy Spirit ignites a heart-spark in your spirit.

Thanks for your time. Go do something nice for somebody.
Jesus loves you and so do we.
YWAP Directors
Bob & Linda Kuebler
716-830-8240
ywapbuffalo@yahoo.com
"to be fair, just, merciful,
and to walk humbly with your God."
Micah 6:8
[1] Sowell ER, Thompson PM, Holmes CJ, et al. In vivo evidence for post-adolescent brain maturation in frontal and striatal regions. Nature Neurosci. 1999;2:859–61. [PubMed]
   
   

Monday, January 2, 2017

THE YWAP FAST - 21 DAYS OF SEEKING ANSWERS FROM GOD - DAY ONE

 
     The beginning of a New Year is a great time to plan. God is "Plan A" at YWAP. We look to Him for direction in our Ministry. Our desire is know His will in growing the Ministry and help young people become Christ-centered role models who mentor the younger generation. We begin each year with a 21 Day Fast. Today (1-2-17) is Day One of our Fast. We invite you to join us in our journey to greater intimacy with God.
     The picture above shows a Gila Woodpecker perched outside a nest in a Saguaro Cactus. The Saguaro Cactus only grows about one inch per year. They can grow up to sixty feet tall and live up to 200 years. There was one cactus that lived to be approximately 300 years old and was nicknamed "Grandpa." The cactus can grow many arms or remain as a "spear." They will grow flowers in the spring that may produce seeds. The flowers have to be pollinated before the seeds can reproduce more cacti.
     Woodpeckers will peck a hole in the Saguaro and excavate a deep cavity as it takes the flesh right out of the cactus. The Saguaro then secretes a resinous sap called lignin. The wound in the cactus becomes calloused and hardens into a smooth, waterproof boot. The process takes about a year to complete and the bird returns to raise a young family.
     Life is like a Saguaro. Wounds come from people. Sometimes we're used for their personal gain. Where we live can be like a dry desert, all heat and no rain. Needles or thorns in our sides never seem to stop piercing our best intentions. God knows about pain, loneliness and abuse. He let His son be wounded on a cross and his blood flowed freely like the resinous sap of the Saguaro. Brokenness removes the flesh of the world and creates a greater capacity to love.
     Fasting is a way to get closer to God.  My hunger and thirst for God causes me to ignore the hunger and thirst in my body. I'm basically saying that I don't need anything but God for my sustenance. Yes, you eventually do need to eat. Our bodies are not meant to do without fuel for extended periods of time. But to take time out, and focus on God is spiritually nourishing. I want the full measure of God within my spirit. For everything there is a season;
A time for loss and a time for gain
A time to eat and a time to refrain. 
A time for pleasure and a time to abstain.
A time for drought and a time for spiritual rain. 

DAY ONE WORD

​Daniel 10 The Message
​In the third year of the reign of King Cyrus of Persia, a message was made plain to Daniel, whose Babylonian name was Belteshazzar. The message was true. It dealt with a big war. He understood the message, the understanding coming by revelation:
2-3 “During those days, I, Daniel, went into mourning over Jerusalem for three weeks. I ate only plain and simple food, no seasoning or meat or wine. I neither bathed nor shaved until the three weeks were up.
4-6 “On the twenty-fourth day of the first month I was standing on the bank of the great river, the Tigris. I looked up and to my surprise saw a man dressed in linen with a belt of pure gold around his waist. His body was hard and glistening, as if sculpted from a precious stone, his face radiant, his eyes bright and penetrating like torches, his arms and feet glistening like polished bronze, and his voice, deep and resonant, sounded like a huge choir of voices.
7-8 “I, Daniel, was the only one to see this. The men who were with me, although they didn’t see it, were overcome with fear and ran off and hid, fearing the worst. Left alone after the appearance, abandoned by my friends, I went weak in the knees, the blood drained from my face.
9-10 “I heard his voice. At the sound of it I fainted, fell flat on the ground, face in the dirt. A hand touched me and pulled me to my hands and knees.
11 “‘Daniel,’ he said, ‘man of quality, listen carefully to my message. And get up on your feet. Stand at attention. I’ve been sent to bring you news.’
“When he had said this, I stood up, but I was still shaking.
12-14 “‘Relax, Daniel,’ he continued, ‘don’t be afraid. From the moment you decided to humble yourself to receive understanding, your prayer was heard, and I set out to come to you. But I was waylaid by the angel-prince of the kingdom of Persia and was delayed for a good three weeks. But then Michael, one of the chief angel-princes, intervened to help me. I left him there with the prince of the kingdom of Persia. And now I’m here to help you understand what will eventually happen to your people. The vision has to do with what’s ahead.’
15-17 “While he was saying all this, I looked at the ground and said nothing. Then I was surprised by something like a human hand that touched my lips. I opened my mouth and started talking to the messenger: ‘When I saw you, master, I was terror-stricken. My knees turned to water. I couldn’t move. How can I, a lowly servant, speak to you, my master? I’m paralyzed. I can hardly breathe!’
18-19 “Then this humanlike figure touched me again and gave me strength. He said, ‘Don’t be afraid, friend. Peace. Everything is going to be all right. Take courage. Be strong.’
“Even as he spoke, courage surged up within me. I said, ‘Go ahead, let my master speak. You’ve given me courage.’
20-21 “He said, ‘Do you know why I’ve come here to you? I now have to go back to fight against the angel-prince of Persia, and when I get him out of the way, the angel-prince of Greece will arrive. But first let me tell you what’s written in The True Book. No one helps me in my fight against these beings except Michael, your angel-prince.’”

DAY ONE PRAYER

God, we thank you for a New Year. We know that we can begin everyday with You as Your mercies are new each morning. Give us our daily bread as we cut back on our food in search of more of You. Our desire is to follow Your way without losing time or lives to destruction. Bring us unity in doing what is right, being compassionate and walking humbly before You. Help us to focus on kindness and mercy in teaching children about loving their neighbors. There are too many loudmouths claiming superiority without becoming servants. Give us a word for the year that will define our "Plan A." In Jesus name. Amen.

DAY ONE DEEP THOUGHTS

  • Have you asked God for direction in your business or personal life?
  • What are you willing to sacrifice for a greater gain?
  • Have you asked God to help you let go of old wounds and secrete forgiveness?
  • Recall to mind a victory that God has given you and express gratitude to Him.
Thanks for your time. Go do something nice for somebody.
​Jesus loves you and so do we. (See you tomorrow!) 

Friday, December 30, 2016

I'VE BEEN A DENIER

I have to admit I've been a denier.


Yes, even a complainer and a crier.



O woe is me, my straits are dire.



Wandering away from Whom I admire.



My heart sank in the world's quagmire.



Burned away Truth in a lie of hellfire.



Bring me back
 Lord, 
be my One desire.



You did on a Cross, 
ALL 
that You require,



Help me spread 
Truth 
as Your amplifier.

CHRISTMAS AND FOLKS ON DEATH ROW

And so this is Christmas and there's folks on death row,
Away in a jail cell, they'll never play in the snow.

Glad tidings of joy won't dance in their heads.
Peace on earth means being asleep in their beds.

Guilty and innocent awash in the same hopeless sea,
It ain't the season for gifts and a Christmas tree.

They'll soon be wiped from the face of the earth,
May the day perish when their mother's gave birth.

Twas the night before death, last day on their beds
While visions of hooker slums danced in their heads.

Memories of childhood, brought up without dad,
Momma angry, her only son was a punching bag.

Bruised and battered he took life to the streets,
A headphone zombie, listening, to angry beats.

He found heaven in a weed inhaled among friends,
The hurt of his lonely-pain would soon be cleansed.

Courage was his drink, a message in a bottle,
Whiskey was his fuel, doin' life at full throttle.

Gettin' high all day, gettin' drunk all night,
Stealin' purses,  -  under the stars so bright.

The boy was a man and money was god,
Mean and nasty, his gang would applaud.

Now feelin' empty,  -  like a bottle gone dry
Giving up dead friends in their final goodbye.

Volcanoes in his chest, anger buildin' up pressure,
Bitter heart-beats, irritation,  -  he's a mad agressor.

His deep heart-wounds grew foul and began to fester,
And then one Christmas he met a street corner Quester.

Preacher man speakin' God began messin' with his block,
The dude yelled "Here's my god!" and pulled out his glock.

The preacher smiled and said "It's good to see you son!"
Filled with rage he couldn't stop, the boy pointed his gun.

"Shoot me full of holes, but it won't fill the hole in your heart."
"Jesus loves you and so do we, His love will give you a fresh start."

Written by Bob Kuebler on December 25, 2016 at 10:00 AM.

Thanks for your time. Go do something nice for somebody.
Jesus loves you and so do we.

Bob Kuebler is the Founder & Director of Youth With A Purpose. Bob has spent the last 15 yrs. learning about pain and perseverance from inner city young people and their families. Healing starts with love and encompasses compassion and empathy. Our mission at YWAP is to inspire inner city young people to develop as God's leaders who overcome the mindset of poverty and gang violence. Bob is the Author of five books, several magazine articles and blogs including The Bright Spot Report. He regularly shares with audiences about how God is redeeming our cities through young people.
Bob can be reached at 716-830-8240, ywapbuffalo@yahoo.com. www.youthwithapurpose.org

Monday, September 26, 2016

"Have You Noticed That Girls Are Nastier Lately?"

    
   Young men speak freely about almost any subject under the sun after you've built a relationship with them. Talking about the ladies is something they love to do. Several weeks ago a young man, with a smile in his face, asked me this question: "Have you noticed that girls are nastier lately?" I smiled and said, "Yes, I've seen a lot of angry ladies lately, and they seem to be getting angrier."
     When I told the young man that I know why young women are angry, he was all ears. I've been to courtrooms where young girls are charged with assaulting one another. This might lead you to believe that the anger is between the ladies, but that's only a symptom of a greater problem. Judges will sentence young people to anger management counseling as a band-aid that never heals deep wounds.
     Abuse is something that happens to one out of every three women.[1] If you study history or work with young people, you will know that violence against women keeps increasing. You can only beat somebody down for so long until they erupt like a volcano. Fatherlessness has been a contributing factor to the increasing number of young men who end up dead or in jail. Guys get girls pregnant and then show the ultimate disrespect by abandoning them.
     Putting young men in prison further solidifies the abandonment process. Poverty is related to fatherlessness and young women bear the physical and emotional weight of raising fatherless children. Behavior problems with children are magnified when there's only a Mom in the home. Suicide, along with drug and alcohol abuse are higher in homes without fathers.[2]
     Ladies are fed up with being treated like throw away trash. Teaching young men how to honor and respect young women has to be a priority. It is a priority at Youth With A Purpose. but we need help. Our numbers are growing. Each month we have several activities that serve guys and girls. We are targeting those who are 18-30 yrs. old because they can learn respect and then teach the younger boys and girls.
     There are may ways to get involved. Please call us if you're interested. 716-830-8240. Thanks for your time. Go do something nice for somebody. Jesus loves you and so do we.
#RespectTheLadies #YWAP #LIFETICKET #JLYASDW




[1] World Health Organization Violence Against Women
[2] Consequences of Fatherlessness

Thursday, September 8, 2016

He's In Jail & There's One Thing I Can't Do

         

          There is one thing that a Father cannot do. It might be the greatest desire of his heart, but God will never grant a Dad this one desire. It's a thorn that will never be removed. Mom's share this desire. Ministry Directors who act as parents to thousands of young people have this one desire enlarged immeasurably. This morning I sat face to face with a young man in jail and told him about the one thing I cannot do.
          Visiting young people in jail is one of the most exhausting and draining responsibilities of our ministry at Youth With A Purpose. My mood starts to sink when I think about my upcoming visit. Even some of the guards at the jail are depressed by their surroundings. For a Youth Director and Father-figure, a guy in jail represents several things. Failure to help somebody stay on the narrow path in the hood that leads away from incarceration is probably number one. But, there is a worse  and more depressing thought and it centers around prevention.
          As I sat across from the young man clad in his orange jumpsuit, my eyes started to tear up. He asked me how many children I had. I started giving him the names of all the young people who have become children to me and I named him. Here are the words that I said to him in that moment.
"As a Dad, there is one thing I cannot do no matter how much I desire it and ask God for it. He will not allow me to have it. My desire is to carry all of your pain so you don't have to. If I could take all of the rejection and abandonment in your life and carry it on my heart, I gladly would. The one thing that a Dad cannot do is remove your suffering. Your pain is your road."

         
       After a moment of silence, I spoke to the young man about a story in the Bible. Abraham as a very old man with a very old wife who was beyond child bearing age. God told Abe that he would have a child and in fact, many offspring would come through him. God made a promise to Abraham.  Time went by as Abe and his wife grew even older.
          Growing impatient, Sarah told her husband to go and have sex with her maid so he could at least have a child through her. Abe listened to his wife's voice borne of fleshly impulse and impregnated Hagar who subsequently gave birth to Ishmael. God had other plans and eventually the one too old to get pregnant gave birth to Isaac. If you study your Bible, you will find that there are parallels between Isaac and Christ. Ishmael was a son borne of impatience and fleshly impulse. Isaac was a son borne of God's promise.
          I told the young man that there were parallels between his story and Abraham's story. He was doing good things with his life; he was working several jobs and making good money. He worked hard and even paid attention to God. Suddenly the bottom dropped out. He lost his jobs and turned away from God's promise.
          God will test us to see what is on our hearts. As a Dad, I can't take the tests away no matter how painful. I can only pray. All I can do is demonstrate through my love; "I will never leave you or forsake you."



Thanks for your time. Go do something nice for somebody.
Jesus loves you and so do we.

Bob Kuebler is the Founder & Director of Youth With A Purpose. Bob has spent the last 15 yrs. learning about pain and perseverance from inner city young people and their families. Healing starts with love and encompasses compassion and empathy. Our mission at YWAP is to inspire inner city young people to develop as God's leaders who overcome the mindset of poverty and gang violence. Bob is the Author of five books, several magazine articles and blogs including The Bright Spot Report. He regularly shares with audiences about how God is redeeming our cities through young people.
Bob can be reached at 716-830-8240, ywapbuffalo@yahoo.com. www.youthwithapurpose.org

Wednesday, January 28, 2015

What Does A City Youth Director Pray About?

     Life in the city is vastly different from life in the country. There are more police, larger jails and overflowing cemeteries. Porn shops spring up like weeds. Drug dealers are mobile and set up shop on any street corner. Homeless folks hang out like pigeons under city bridges. Other folks stand on street corners with cardboard signs that say: "Please help, homeless, need money for food." Gangs recruit immature kids looking to feel wanted. Girls give their bodies away in return for shelter and food. Kids are kidnapped or run away into the arms of child traffickers. Gunshots take the lives of both the innocent and the wannabe innocents. Some kids sleep on a different couch every night, Sometimes they have to give themselves away to earn a spot on a couch.
     With an enormity of things to pray for, where would you begin? I'm just going to start and pour out my heart. I'm going to do it today.

Dear God,
I know you're listening. I know you feel. I know you care. I know you see all that's happening here in the city. Thank you for the lives of children. They're full of potential. Thank you for the potential that you have given all of us. Lord help us to protect that potential. Make me into a guy that children can believe in and trust. Cause me to always keep my word. Help me to teach them how much you love them. Help me to teach them how to be as compassionate as you are.


Today Father, 
give a boy the courage to say no to joining a gang.
Today Father,
 help a young girl to know a Father's love so she doesn't end up looking for love in a cheap sexual act.
Today Father,
 save the life of a child whose mother is headed for an abortion.
Today Father,
 give a mother and father the courage to work out their problems and save their family from the destruction of divorce.
Today Father, 
lock the bedroom door of a young girl who's pleading to let the night pass without someone forcing her to feel dirty.
Today Father,
 open the eyes of a teenager who thinks they have to steal to survive.
Today Father,
 bring the homeless into a shelter where love is taught as a way of life that provides sustenance.
Today Father,
 cause a drug dealer to flush their cache of drugs down the toilet.
Today Father,
 jam the gun before it fires and save the young man's life.
Today Father, 
open a cell door to a new beginning for a prisoner who has been chained to his past.
Today Father,
 bring fresh new people into the city who have your compassion to teach your style of leadership to children.
Today Father,
let the rejuvenating flow of your spirit bring new adrenalin to city youth leaders.
Today Father,
give city school teachers the strength to continue and love children who only know hate.
Today Father, 
infuse city leaders with your wisdom to make decisions based on love and compassion.
Today Father, 
Amen.