UpBuilding Men, Women, and Children in Practical Christianity

March 2007 Monthly Letter

Dear Partners in Building Up Families in Personal Faith,

"...not as unwise men but as wise, making the most of the time." Ephesians 5:15-16

Churches sometimes choose their own format for an UpBuilding Weekend. A church recently decided to have a session for the youth from 4:00 to 5:30 on a Saturday.

My wise question (I thought) to the pastor was, "Do you think that the youth will come at that time on a Saturday?" I had hoped he would say, "No" and decide upon another more appropriate hour. But he didn't. I knew the attendance would be small in number.

Sure enough, only 8 youth showed up with 3 adult advisors. Together I taught the A. B. C.'s of the Gospel. We had fun practicing each group of letters. The letter "Y" stands for "You" and the closing question is whether the "V"-verse "Whosoever believes in Jesus as the Christ is born of the Spirit-describes "You?"

I then proceed to ask the youth to bow their heads, close their eyes, and silently pray with me an A. B. C. prayer if prompted by the leading of the Holy Spirit: "Father, I Admit I am a sinner. Jesus, I put my Belief in You and in Your shed Blood to cleanse me from my sins; Holy Spirit, I ask You to Come into my heart and cause me to be born of Your Spirit."

Each youth praying that prayer is asked to raise a hand as an outward sign of their inward response to the Holy Spirit. The hands of 6 out of the 8 were raised! The 3 advisors also note with me those who raised a hand. They meet with me after the session is over and I instruct them to make personal contact with each youth. One advisor said, "That won't be hard for me since 4 of the 6 belong to me! In fact, 3 are my children, and one is a niece!"

On Sunday, the Leaders met during the lunch hour. I got my food, set it down on a table, and went to get some ice tea. In the line were 2 of the youth. I approached a 16 year-old boy and asked him, "Was that the first time you prayed to receive Jesus?" "Yes," he barked out loudly. "What was happening for you when you prayed," I asked next. "I felt forgiven!" was his response, again delivered in a strong voice.

Next, I asked his 14 year-old sister the same two questions. She responded in the affirmative to the first but pulled me aside for the answer to the second. In a quiet voice she related that there were some things in her life that she was ashamed of, but now "felt a wonderful feeling of being cleansed!"

When I returned to my table, a man approached me with his dinner plate, shaking his head but with a big glowing smile on his face. He introduced himself as the father of the 3 youth who had prayed. He said, "Since my children came home from the youth meeting, I have been trying to find words to express my thanksgiving for what the Lord did through you. My wife and I bring our children to Sunday school and have them attend fine Christian camps. We have simply assumed that because they are exposed to Christian teaching they know Jesus personally. As parents, we are so grateful for your ministry!"

And I am so grateful for you and for the wisdom of the Holy Spirit who makes the most of the time even if there is few in number. Just think if the pastor had responded differently and no time was found for the youth! He was the "wise" guy!

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