Wednesday, June 10, 2015

Letting God Work

This story came to mind.

Two alcoholics in Britain attended a revival meeting and committed their lives to Jesus. Years later they met. The first said, "Since that night, praise God, I have never wanted a drink." The other said, "Since that night I have wanted a drink every single day but, praise God, He has given me the strength to resist every time."

This story may be apocryphal, but I do know people have given very similar testimonies. It shows how God works differently with each person.

Then I remembered this old story from the youth conferene I voluneer for (now called CYC.) It shows how God can work through love and acceptance to change a life -- and was just one example of this at the conference. It was described by Rev. John Douhan, quoted in Christian Youth Conference: A History.

Where else does a young man appear on his first day of camp, draped over the fence at the girls' camp, with cigarettes in each hand and puffing so much that he appears to be in a cloud? The staff did not admonish, did not scold, and gave no lectures on the health benefits of quitting. By the third day he was down to one cigarette and by the fourth day there were none! Following his three years at the Conference, he entered the service of his country and served as a Chaplain's assistent. 

Then I started reading the book The Core Realities of Youth Ministry by Mike Yaconelli and came across this quote from youth worker Heather Flies:

    During our end-end-of-junior-high trip, all the students are required to give testimonies of their faith. We encourage them to be authentic and specific. Typically, the testimonies begin, "I grew up in a Christian home and accepted Christ when I was 3 1/2 years old..." One year though, toward the end of the testimonies, Ted stood to give his. In about six minutes he genuinely explained that he had not yet put his faith in Christ and wasn't sure if he would do it. at this points looks of shock and anxiety spread across the faces of my other students. Immediately following our session, many came up to me and said, "We have to do something! Should we all write him notes?" They wanted so much to fix Ted.      Instead of starting a letter-writing campaign, I encouraged them to do what they were already doing --loving and accepting Ted and letting Christ's light shine through them, to be present for him so he could experience God's presence. "That's it?" they asked. "Yep."    God is still working on Ted and my kids are still working to let God work on Ted. 

I sense a theme here.. a message from God to me, perhaps. "Love." "Be present so others can sense my presence." "Let me work." 

Time for some meditaton, some self-evaluation, some prayer.

What messages has God been sending you?

CYC, the Christian Youth Conference at Ocean Park, provides a safe place and loving, accepting community for teens to meet God and experience Christian community. Check it out!

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