UpBuilding Men, Women, and Children in Practical Christianity

August 2006 Monthly Letter

Dear Partner in Ministry,

Justin is a long haired, lanky, ache pox-face teenager. He shuffled into the fellowship hall with that "why do I have to be here" look on his face. Ruth his mom is bubbly, John his dad deep in thought, Barb his sister coy. They came for the Family Night. Though Justin obviously didn't want to be there, God made it clear that HE WANTED him there!

No one except this family knew that at 2:30 pm Justin verbally attacked one of his teachers and was expelled from his school for a week!

Justin reluctantly participated in the first three of ten exercises, mocked the fourth in body language, but was visibly struck by the fifth. It's theme was the restoring power of a confession. The Lord led me to focus on Luke 15 and the story of the prodigal son. The words that engaged Justin described the defining moment of the prodigal's change…"When he came to his senses he went to his father and said, 'Father, I have sinned against heaven and against you.'"

The Holy Spirit lit up Justin's face upon seeing these words on the screen. It was that transformational. He sat up from his slouch, unfolded his cross-the-chest arms, brushed back the bangs from his face, and leaned forward with his eyes wide open! (A great sight to see from a speaker's perspective!)

In a hallway after the event, Justin told me about his day and how the Lord had spoken to him in 3 distinct ways. First, he was filled with natural shame. He knew what he had done was wrong but his pride and stubbornness kept him from admitting it. He blamed the teacher. The Holy Spirit was "bringing him to his senses of what was right." Secondly, he now knew what to do. The Spirit told him through this Scripture "to go to his teacher and to confess his error. " And thirdly, the Spirit gave him the words to say, "Sir, I was disrespectful of you and your position in my 'liping off" to you. What I said and did was wrong. I know the rules of this school and how a student should respect a teacher. I am fully prepared to receive whatever punishment I deserve."

I was so blessed by what I was hearing, especially after seeing such a change in Justin. After saying several times "Thank you, Lord." I asked Justin, "How do you explain that this incident happened just a few hours before you came here tonight? Was it by coincidence or do you think God wanted you here?

With a big grin he said, "He wanted me here!" and positioned his right hand for a "high five!" His unique way of giving God the glory for His divine revelation! I mentioned that his name sounds like "justification" defined as 'just-as-if-I-have-never-sinned.' And said, "I don't know how your teacher will respond, but I do know that the moment you confess this sin to the Heavenly Father, He forgives you and treats you just like the prodigal son's father did…just-as-if-you'd-never-spoken a word." He responded, 'Thanks for saying that. "That's really heavy!"

I don't know "the rest of Justin's story." I probably should call him to find out. But "I am sure that He who began a good work in Justin will bring it to com-pletion " Philippians 1:6 Thank you for your part in God's work in Justin's life.

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