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Thursday, March 20, 2014

Transform

Several years ago I had the opportunity to return to a former ministry where I had served to officiate a wedding for two students that "grew up" in my youth ministry.

Besides the privilege of leading someone to Jesus and baptizing my children, there is no greater joy for me as a Pastor than to officiate a wedding for a couple that I've had the opportunity to minister to through their formative years.

It was an awesome weekend as I was able to re-connect with lots of people that I had the honor of working with over the years.

It was very interesting as I rubbed shoulders with student after student and got caught up in the stories of mutual experiences we had together, that a common theme kept coming back to me. The theme was basically, that life is tough, life is full of choices, and if we choose to live our lives God's way we can avoid alot of pain.


That theme came screaming loud and clear to me as I ran into a student that I hadn't seen in a few years. In fact the last time I saw him he was about to be sent away to some juvenile detention center because of bad choices he'd made.

I was so glad to see him, I actually didn't recognize him at first as alot can change over the course of a few years, but one thing I noticed immediately was how happy he looked!

He was a kid that was always in trouble for stealing, or fights, or gang involvement or drugs or you name it, and there he was standing there in a pin striped suit at his cousins wedding...beaming from ear to ear because finally he was "clean".

I talked to him for quite a while and got to the bottom of why he was transformed. The bottom line was that he started choosing to live life God's way, and he realized he had been surrounded by a group of loving family members that never gave up praying for him. It was awesome to see him "get it".

His Grandma came up to me at the reception and gave me some more details on the amazing transformation in his life, and it reminded me again how important prayer is, as she told me that not a day went by that she hadn't prayed for him. She went on to thank me for the part I played in being his Youth Pastor, and I was just so thankful in that moment that God has directed my path as He has.

That student and I have alot in common as we both had opportunities to choose the wrong crowd, wrong direction, and wrong things but God sent people into our lives who prayed for us, never gave up on us and fought for us.

As I stood there rejoicing with him at the changes I was moved to remember and thank God that Jesus never gives up, in fact never stops fighting for me because he has an incredible plan just for me.

My prayer is that you realize that Jesus never gives up on you and is always there fighting for you because He loves you and has a much better plan than the hollow lies of the enemy!

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