Proverbs 22:6 King James Version (KJV) “Train up a child in the way he should go: and when he is old, he will not depart from it.”
This past year I have been teaching bible studies in our local County Jail. I open my bible study each time with the question; “Tell me about your church background and how familiar you are with the bible?” The number one answer is, “I used to go to church when I was younger, but haven’t been in awhile.” A few even have some knowledge of the bible; yet they are still sitting in jail – as law breakers of our society.
I am convinced that whatever their exposure to church was when they were younger, these girls received the motivation to check out bible study in jail; when God plants the there, to get their attention and reveals to them a better way of life. He chose not to reach them on the streets, instead he uses the streets to capture their hearts and put them in a place where they have to stand face to face with the bad choices that they have made with their lives
It takes courage to sign up and have your named announced on a loud (and I mean loud) speaker and then to visibly line up to be escorted through the whinding hallways of spectators before arriving at the bible study room. Yet they come.
I’m always surprised and amazed who enters the room. I’m not able to ask what they’ve done or get overly personal, I’m just there to bring the message of hope of Jesus Christ, no matter what they have done. To love them, accept them and show them that God has a better way, a better plan and a brighter, hope-filled future. I feel a frog in my throat and tear up realizing how profoundly blessed I am to be able to minister to them in this way.
My main message today is to say… whether you are mom, dad, grandma, grandpa, foster parent, aunt, uncle or neighbor, thank you for bringing the children in your life to church. I passionately teach 3rd graders on Sunday mornings about having a relationship with Jesus and in many ways, it’s in the hope that they find Jesus and commit their lives to him while they are young in an effort to prevent them from having end up as societies
I realize that the world (TV, friends, social media, teachers, etc…) tell them a whole different message; a confusing message. I have my own teenagers to know that. Here is my petition… don’t quit.
Even if your child rebels and walks away from their faith later in life, even to the point of being put in jail, God can use your faithful commitment to draw them back to himself. I seriously can’t thank you enough for doing whatever it is that you have to do to get them here – weekly.
The other day I sat with a beautiful young girl who requested a 1:1 because she realized that she messed up her life and needed to get right with God. She prayed to accept Jesus as her Lord and Savior and in tears she replied, “Thank you, I have lost everything, my job, my house, my car, my marriage, my kids and everything that I own, but I now have Jesus. I’m ready to start building my life over again, but this time with Him in charge.” How did she know that she needed Jesus? She said her Grandmother took her to church when she was younger and she has an Aunt who is “very religious” and prays for her. I was blessed to witness a transformed heart, right before my eyes, and if I could meet her Grandmother or Aunt I would say, “Well done good and faithful servants!”