… His Glory
When rejec4on becomes a tool in the hand of God
Michael R. Fister
! ! ! !
In 1986 the Lord blessed, and provided from His own hand, my very special and precious wife, Nancy. On October 25, 1986 I promised to cherish and love her forever. I wish to thank her for her faithful support, and for the many hours and late nights (and early mornings) spent at the computer. Her skills in communicaGon and ediGng have enabled me to speak in a different venue to another generaGon of youth.
For their abiding, and consistent love and example I am eternally grateful to my most beloved Dad and Mom, Ron and Marie Fister.
To my brother Richard, who I have grown to love and appreciate for who he is, his wife Lori, and their children, Jacob and Kaitlyn, thanks for your commitment to be a godly ChrisGan family.
My graGtude also to my youngest brother Mark, whom I love for being a true friend. He has shared my vision in media, and helped to carry the vision by volunteering his giRs in television producGon. Mark is presently waiGng faithfully to discover God’s choice for a lifeGme partner.
To Nancy’s parents, Rev. William and Virginia DeMent, and all our relaGves, thanks for the encouragement you have been to us through the years.
To dear friends and faithful supporters who have shared in our vision from tl1e beginning, many thanks for tl1e giRs of your prayers, your substance, and your friendship in the faith.
His Glory PublicaGons,
An outreach of His Glory Ministries is designed for educaGon, evangelizaGon, and edificaGon. If we may assist you in knowing more about Christ and the ChrisGan life, please write us without obligaGon:
His Glory Publica=ons P O Box 125
Pearl City, Hawaii, 96782
! ! ! !
To the youth of this generaGon, I dedicate my story. May you be challenged and encouraged to love and serve the Lord, and live for Him daily. May you remain faithful to him. For as you do, you will enter into his rest. You will find peace from the stress of daily difficulGes and pressures of this life. Faithfulness in your youth builds a stable foundaGon for what the future holds. Be confident that God will honor your faithfulness.
“Know therefore that the Lord your God is God; he is the faithful God, keeping his covenant of love to a thousand generaGons of those who love him and keep his commands.” (Deuteronomy 7:9)
To parents, guardians, pastors, leaders, educators, teachers and other who may have forgocen what it was like to be a teenager, may this tesGmony be a fresh reminder. May God grant you the love, wisdom, paGence and great grace to reach out to a young person that is in your circle of life, and realm of influence.
Michael R. Fister
The following is a true and factual account of my personal tesGmony. It has taken Gme and healing to share publicly what I have carried in my heart I have recorded here only a few incidents from my youth. My prayer is that my story will encourage the reader to believe, and have faith that God has a plan beyond our understanding, and that there is an ulGmate purpose for everything we go through as we abandon our fears to totally trust in Him.
“Let no one look down on your youthfulness, but rather in speech, conduct, love, faith and purity, show yourself an example of those who believe.”
1 Timothy 4:12 NASB
Anxiously watching the clock on the wall, I waited for the dismissal bell to ring. I had survived another day at school. But as usual, I am warned, “Fister, we’re going to beat you up!” The bell rings. I dart out the door, down the hall and into the street, running for home as fast as I can. Pursuing me are several bullies shouGng, “Fister, you’re dead!” My heart and feet pump rapidly with great stress as I ask God, “Why me? What have I done to deserve all this rejecGon? What’s your purpose?”
Somehow, I make it home without someone catching up with me to pick a fight. I stumble into my room, hit the bed with a thud, and look up at the ceiling. I ask God, “Why do they push me into the lockers? Why do I always have to avoid certain students at school?” Because I didn’t swear, and seemed “square” to most, I believe they despised my innocence and naivete. It isn’t that I necessarily aimed at being innocent. But by God’s grace, He kept me protected from the temptaGons that face many youth. I desired very much to be accepted, and many Gmes tried to fit in, to my humiliaGon.
I am the oldest of three sons. I was brought up in a strong ChrisGan home with a heritage in the Faith. My parent’s love and nurture provided security, stabilizing and anchoring me in the turbulent years to come. Their lives were a Godly example of faithfulness in a commiced relaGonship to Christ, and to each other. Their consistency enabled me to develop a trust in God that prevails to this day.
A tender heart is one trained in compassion. For compassion is the one virtue that makes the remainder of your ChrisGan living effecGve. From my earliest memory, I have had a tender heart for the Lord. It was the emerging heart of an evangelist, with a love for people. “For the eyes of the Lord range throughout the earth to strengthen those whose hearts are fully commi6ed to him.” (2 Chronicles 16:9)
As a child, upon hearing a missionary message, I was sGrred to do my part. There was an appeal at the end of the service for a pledge offering, and I began to think of ways I could raise money to help the missionaries tell others about Jesus’ love. I decided to gather some pecans my parents had stored in the garage. “These would bring a good price.”, I figured. But their shells looked so faded and unappealing. I felt if I made them more acracGve, I could sell even more! Taking out my crayons, I colored each one with a different decoraGon. The garage was my work-staGon. And I was on a mission for the Lord.
Bagging up the decorated pecans, I went door-to-door. Proudly I stepped up to the first neighbor’s house. “Would you like to buy some pecans?”, I asked. “Well, sure!” they replied. I was so happy. When I opened the bag to display my wares, they saw the pecans had been colored, and politely declined my offer. But I was persistent. Finally, aRer going down my street, and everyone turning me down, I became discouraged. No one would buy my decorated pecans. One neighbor kindly explained that they would’ve been interested if only they had not been “decorated” (tampered with). Head hanging low, I dejectedly started for home.
On another occasion, my heart was again sGrred for others when a visiGng evangelist spoke to our church about reaching out to our neighbors. Even as a child I felt the responsibility to let others know about Jesus. Leaving the church aRer service, I grabbed a handful of literature from the rack in the foyer. I was on another mission.
Up and down my street I went again, stopping at each house to distribute the ChrisGan literature and a gospel tract. I made sure that the literature was well marked with our church’s name, address and phone number. I was so excited to be a part of evangelizing my neighborhood. I rushed home and excitedly shared with Mom what I had done for Jesus. She shared in my joy, and was very proud of me. Then the phone rang. It was a neighbor asking Mom if she was aware that I had been doing
￼something illegal. She did not know that I had placed the literature in everyone’s mailbox! And I certainly had no knowledge that I was breaking the law. But Mom never discouraged me, or dampened my passion to serve the Lord.
I have always loved and enjoyed animals. They were not a source of rejecGon. SomeGmes on the way home from school I would jump the fence in a neighbor’s yard and wrestle their large friendly Alaskan Husky. I arrived home many Gmes covered in dog slobbers, with my shirt ripped and torn from our raucous sessions of rolling and playing together.
One of our neighbors owned a Shetland pony, and was kind enough to permit my brothers and me to visit the pony. We grew very acached to it, spending occasional days aRer school sharing rides. One day we went to visit the pony, and were surprised to discover that our neighbor had sold it. I was heartsick. I didn’t feel up to going to school the next day, but went anyway. The more the day wore on, the more I grieved. Finally, struggling with this great loss, I called Mom at home. She wisely understood that I was indeed having a difficult Gme coping. She decided to pick me up, so I could process the mourning in the privacy and comfort of home.
We had a pet hamster that became sick and was near death. Dad was compassionate and understanding of how we three boys felt about our pet hamster. For several days he worked diligently treaGng the hamster with an eyedropper, and nurtured it back to health. We were grateful for Dad’s sensiGvity to us, and concern for our pet.
Growing up, my interests were different from those I tried to be friends with. The long-term rejecGon from other youth at school and church caused me to tum inward. Lack of confidence academically and socially, caused me to become reserved and withdrawn. I found great interest, and hours of enjoyment playing alone with a cassece recorder my parents had given me for Christmas. I began to dream of being a radio announcer.
As a 10, 11 and 12-year old, I pretended to be a radio deejay. I would record ChrisGan songs and read news reports from the newspaper between the songs, as I “broadcast” onto a tape. It’s amazing that I would have any interest in radio broadcasGng and media, as I had great difficulty speaking in front of anyone. English was one of my most difficult classes in school.
School was painful in itself. Each day brought new academic and social challenges. I was weary of all the putdowns and teasing from my peers, calling me “stupid”, “dumb”, “retard” and other unkind names. One day my elementary school teacher informed our class that everyone must read aloud or take an ‘F’. I was petrified. I kept my head down on the desk, hoping the teacher would forget about me and pass me by. When she called on me, the fear of public humiliaGon overtook the fear of failing, and I bolted out the classroom door. Running home, I never stopped to look back once!
Because of misguided counsel, my young parents were encouraged to place me in special-ed during elementary school. They held me back two grades. It was not unGl my Dad was transferred to another city, and I changed schools, that my new teacher discovered the wrongful misplacement. She began to discover and assess some innate learning challenges. Certain observaGons were made before educators and parents had any kind of ADD (AcenGon Deficit Disorder) awareness.
ARer having taken all those “special” classes, I should have felt precy “special” by this Gme. Quite the contrary. Most of the Gme I felt like a failure. Throughout my school years, the word “tests” brought overwhelming fear and dread. Going to school was a daily nightmare.
While in junior high, my parents took me to a clinic specializing in reading disorders. ARer several months, the doctor told Mom and Dad that because of my difficulGes with pronunciaGon, reading and spelling, whatever I did in life would never involve public speaking. He also prepared them, with
￼his professional opinion, that I would most likely never graduate from high school. So, during high school, summers were spent in summer school.
InteresGngly enough, my Student Behavior and Conduct grades in all my classes, were always straight A’s. I was Royal Ranger of the Month, in a Boy Scout-type program at my church. And once I even won the First Place trophy in a Bible Quiz Contest among my peers!
At 12 years of age, I had an opportunity to visit the ChrisGan radio staGon I had been listening to for several years. It was just down the street from my home. With anGcipaGon and excitement in my heart, I walked down the long hall to the studio. I had finally arrived at my dream. My first experience to see inside a real radio staGon… I marveled at all the gadgets, bucons, and switches. It looked to a 12-year old like the control panel in the cockpit of a Boeing 747 airplane. I was instantly overwhelmed.
Curiously scanning the studio, my eyes followed the announcer’s orchestrated moves. He simultaneously answered the phone with one hand, queued up a record on the turntable with the other, paused to look over the newscast he was about to do at the top of the hour, then quickly grabbed an audio cart and loaded it into the cart machine with one hand, while flipping on the mic with the other. “What coordinaGon!”, I thought. So many things happening at the same Gme. I had no idea it would take all that Gming and skill to be a radio deejay.
I stayed a few minutes more, and then my dreams and visions of becoming a radio announcer quickly began to fade. My heart sank as familiar feelings of inadequacy rushed in to remind me I could never pursue this dream I had cherished from childhood of becoming a deejay. With my head hung low, and my hopes dashed, I leR the radio staGon downcast and discouraged. Arriving home I knew what I had to do. Resignedly, I went to my beloved cassece player, and put it high away in the closet. There was no more need to ever play deejay again. I must try to forget broadcasGng.
For the next four years I tried to find other things to do. But nothing else seemed to interest me. I conGnued to desire to be in radio broadcasGng. Ever aware of my inabiliGes, I would not allow myself to take seriously the dream of becoming a deejay.
At one point, I even tried Band. The trombone sounded interesGng. For a brief Gme I played in the church orchestra. The moment I realized that playing the trombone would not be my life’s calling came at the close of one service. The pastor asked the orchestra to come and play soRly. I gathered with the other musicians and was seated on the front row next to the steps which lead from the plasorm to the altar area. During the song my fingers slipped, and the trombone slide clunked its way noisily down each step unGl it crashed into the foot of the altar. Needless to say, the muted laughter that followed killed any desire to ever play in church again. My insecuriGes were reinforced.
One thing eventually caught my interest. Pastor Tommy Barnec, an internaGonal speaker on church growth, spoke to our church. He shared how a bus ministry could help us reach our community for Christ During the meeGng, my heart was sGrred, and I received a great vision to reach out into neighborhoods where no one wanted to go.
I did not yet have my driver’s license, so I arranged with the Pastor that if I could get someone to drive one of the church buses and some adults to help me, I would begin an outreach. So at 14 1⁄2 years of age, I became a volunteer Bus Captain. I began not far from the church, in a gang infested area, going door-to-door inviGng people to Sunday School. In the months to follow, I saw the Lord do an awesome work in many lives. Our church grew while busing children to and from that rough neighborhood.
￼One Sunday, the Pastor called me into his office. He explained that the teachers were already stretched to the limits with “these street-wise kids”, and that if I was to conGnue to bring “all those children to Sunday School”, the teachers were going to need more help. So I went back into the housing project and recruited parents to help supervise. Some of them began riding the bus to church with their children. In turn, they also received Christ Years later, I ran into several of those bus children, now adults. They shared how their life was changed through that bus ministry.
This was a special season of my life. I was oRen unaware of real and present dangers. On one occasion, I was surrounded by a gang. Unaware of the church bus down the street, they began to harass me for being in their territory. They were subtly closing in on me. When an adult waiGng in the bus noGced one of the gang members pulling out a knife, she began to intercede in prayer for my protecGon. Then, for no apparent reason, and without saying a word, they turned and walked away. There were other such points of God’s protecGon during those days as I was a teenage Bus Captain. God desires to use us, no macer what age or background, if we will make ourselves available.
During this fulfilling Gme of personal evangelism my parents, Pastor, Sunday School teacher, and other adults in the church were a regular encouragement. But sGll I yearned and needed the friendship and acceptance of my peers. Even now, some of them feel they did accept me, but it was never communicated. There were no genuine friendships. Later, there would be a bicer season of rejecGon from my church youth group.
Once a group of boys gathered for an informal football game. The two athleGc types became the two team captains. The rest of us were all lined up, each hoping to be one of the first chosen to be a teammate. For sure, no one wanted to be chosen last “I’ll take John,” the first team captain called out “I’ll take Rick”, shouted the other. John and Rick sighed. They were wanted. One by one, the players were picked, each one relieved that he was not the last one leR standing. Finally, I stood alone. There was silence. One captain generously offered, “Uh, you can have Mike.” The other captain responded, “No thanks. You can have him. We don’t want to lose.” Now, I knew I wasn’t coordinated and athleGc ability was not my strong giR, but I hoped, “Give me a break.” I sank into humiliaGon.
RejecGon became my constant companion. God was real to me, but the loneliness among my peers overwhelmed me. My parents grew increasingly concerned, and outside of their love and paGence, had no more answers. Dad and Mom even went to the school in an effort to deal with the boys who kept antagonizing me. Their visit with school officials brought temporary relief.
Many Gmes during my junior high years, as I would come home from the rouGne confusion of school, I acempted to hide my loneliness upon entering the door to the house. I didn’t want to show my true feelings of frustraGon and inner pain. As the screen door closed behind me, I could hear Mom in the background. She would call out, “How was school today?” “Fine.”, was my usual response. But Mom silently observed my downcast spirit, even through the pretense. Because of her sensiGve ways, and personal walk with Christ, she could discern, even though I said everything was okay, when everything was all right or not. When she discerned a conflict between what I said, and what she sensed in her heart, she gently pursued me with tenderness and care.
I headed straight for my room, dropped my books, and crumbled into a heap upon my bed. Mom allowed me space for a few moments. I stared up at the ceiling with quesGons about my difficulGes in life, trying to sort through the feelings of frustraGon. Then I would hear a gentle knocking at the door. “God, did you tell her again?” It seemed Mom would always know when I was unusually troubled. And Mom and God worked as a team. He would circumvent me, and go straight to Mom. And she was always listening. Mom asked if she could come in.
￼As I invited her in, she sat near me on the bed and began to minister with the bed-side manner of a most skillful and caring physician. She would say how much she and Dad loved us three boys and how much we meant to them. We had each heard these words oRen over the years. Her voice was so soR and gentle, and her spirit was firm but tender and my mind and my spirit would begin to be comforted. She told me again of Jesus’ love for me, and that He had not forgocen about me. She assured me that His plan for my life would come to pass as He had ordered. I would roll over, and conGnuing to speak into my life, she rubbed my back unGl I floated off to sleep, as momentarily my troubles liRed and my mind was eased. When I roused sleepily, to my surprise she was sGll talking! She was sGll affirming her and Dad’s love and care for me.
I am grateful for her consistency. For there were Gmes I felt it would be uncool to open up and talk to my parents. Her strength nurtured me, and her love was a buffer protecGng me from the unnecessary harshness that life and living can bring. Her consistent affirmaGon and availability brought comfort, and created an atmosphere for me to unload my daily difficulGes and stress. I would then begin to open up and pour out of my heart all the confusion. What a relief. This scene was repeated through-out a period of parGcular intensity in my struggles, and provided a security that I carry in my heart to this day.
Mom was an example of true ChrisGan love. She loved her three sons equally and treated us imparGally. Mom made being a mother her life’s calling, and took it very seriously. She lived with the convicGon, before the Lord, that if we didn’t grow up to love and serve God, somehow she had failed us. She was a commiced wife, and a faithful servant of the Lord’s work , but she made the conscious choice, and took the Gme to invest in our lives physically and spiritually. Mom and Dad agreed together that, for a season, they would sacrifice the added financial benefit of Mom’s working outside the home in order to make an eternal investment in the family.
Her selfless giving to her family also cost her hours of sleep, for oRen she could be found in the middle of the night huddled under a blanket and on her knees in silent prayer, crying out for the spiritual concerns of her family. Her prayers were oRen accompanied by tears and weeping. I am sure that many an evil circumstance was turned back because of the power of her faith-filled praying, and her righteous living.
Dad has always been commiced to true ChrisGan lifestyle and character. He passed along a great heritage to his three sons. Dad is tender-hearted and modest, a man of simple tastes. His pure heart and mind provide an example and a challenge to any man. In a Gme when so many fathers and husbands are leaving their wives, and/or being unfaithful to their marriage vows, he remains with faithful eyes kept only for Mom, faithful thoughts only for the woman he has chosen to love for a lifeGme, and was faithful in honoring his family by providing for our needs, and someGmes our wants! He is a real man, commiced to the vows and values of ChrisGan marriage, even though he did not have an example in his own childhood. To my parents joy, each of us boys love the Lord Jesus and live for Him.
Summer youth camp was coming up, and my parents were encouraged that this would be a good experience for me, and could possibly be just the right answer to my needs. While I was at camp, Mom and Dad prayed diligently that God would strengthen me and help me during this loneliest of Gmes. God gloriously answered their prayers.
One evening during an altar service, my wounded heart trusted enough to open up to the Lord and respond to His touch. I remained in the altar for a long Gme, weeping out all of my troubles. I got up with a load liRed, and hope in my heart But mere moments ahead would challenge everything God had just done.
￼I walked back to my cabin alone. Everyone was already in their bunks. I quietly crawled into my sleeping bag. Instantly I knew something was wrong. My sleeping bag had been filled with shaving cream. I heard the cruel laughter and snickering in the background. They had been laying in wait for my arrival. My easy-going personality and peaceable nature oRen made me easy prey for jokers and pracGcal jokes. They were not aware of the tremendous pain it caused. In an instant, all the love and peace I had just found in the Lord’s presence was snuffed out, and in its place rushed deep resentment, bicerness and anger. My wounded spirit was now shut Gghter than ever. To my parents dismay, I returned home worse off than before I leR. They were perplexed and discouraged. They had prayed hopefully that God would help me. He did, but one insensiGve and thoughtless joke was the catalyst which plunged me into the spiritual struggle of my life.
Over the next several months, my parents literally fought the realms of darkness for my soul. My spiritual survival hinged on their faithfulness to pray, and God’s ability to prevail against the enemy who had set his sights on my very life. The painful awareness that I was not wanted by my peers became the reality that directed my thoughts to plans of suicide. At one low point, I wrote a final note. Mom, who had always respected my privacy, was this Gme impressed of the Lord to look in a parGcular area of my room. She found the lecer I had wricen to God. The note implied that if something did not change by a certain day and Gme, it would all be over once and for all. To her horror, she discovered today was the day. Mom and Dad pressed in with affirmaGons of their love and support for me. Their prayers intensified.
Returning to school in the Fall, a couple groups of youth began reaching out to me and invited me to join them. No, it was not my church youth group. It certainly wasn’t the academia. Nor, was it the athletes. One group was the “druggies”, while the other group dabbled in the occult and sported satanic emblems. Sadly, the second group included two former members of my church youth group who had struggled in their spiritual walk. Both groups were so accepGng of me, just the way I was. Some of them felt like “rejects”, too. What more did they have to lose? They never rejected me, and at last I belonged.
My parents were unaware of my new-found friendships. But the influence of these relaGonships soon began to be obvious to my parents. They knew the bacle for their son was raging. They sensed the waves of temptaGon seeking to overtake me, and determined to take drasGc acGon. They immediately took me out of school. Away from the influences and oppression, I was able to feel some relief. I conGnued my educaGon by home schooling. It was during this semester, away from school, that Mom began to encourage me again about broadcasGng.
In spite of the rejecGon I was experiencing, God’s love and grace burst through to my breaking heart. During New Year’s Eve, as fireworks were going off outside, I was in a life changing service at my church. I rededicated my life to God, and renewed my commitment to serve the Lord forever. He spoke soRly to my spirit, saying, “Michael, I have called you even as a child to broadcasGng.1 Don’t fear your inabiliGes. I will make a way, if you trust me, and I will use you and take you places unknown to you.”
I had an immediate conflict with God. “You’ve got the wrong person!”, I said to God. “What a mean joke, to speak such a word to a vessel like me. I don’t dare get my hopes up I, who have everything against me that I need to have for me to make it in broadcasGng.” For the next several weeks I wrestled with the thoughts and words the Lord had spoken to me that New Year’s Eve night I did
1 Jeremiah 1:4-9
￼need His direcGon. I sGll had such a vision for broadcasGng, in spite of my overwhelming feelings of inadequacy and fear.2
TrusGng in God’s words to me, one month later I dedicated my heart and voice to the Lord. In my bedroom, as I laid my hands upon my throat in a spirit of consecraGon, the Holy Spirit descended upon me. I lay under His power for several hours. His touch was healing me, transforming me and speaking to me all at the same Gme. He said, “Michael, give me your burdens. Give me your true cares.3 And I will give you My burden. I will make a trade with you. As you can bear My burden, I will increase in you my burden of compassion for people.”4 I prayed, “Lord, this voice is Yours to use for Your glory only. I humbly accept Your call, and look to You for daily strength and guidance.”
As I yielded to the Lord, the healing processes began. He counseled, “Don’t look to people, or their inconsistencies. Let your expectaGons be upon Me.5 I will always affirm you through My word, and by My friendship to you. If affirmaGon and encouragement does not come your way, look to Me and Me alone.6 I will be all you allow Me to be in your life. I will forever be your faithful friend.7 You be My hand extended.”
He took my bicerness, and replaced it with His compassion. As deeply as the bicerness had wounded, the compassion began to run as deep. I was amazed that God would truly smile on me, and commit Himself to help me do what He called me to do. The Lord had given me purpose and vision. My expectaGon was now upon Him. This purpose kept me focused on the goal when Gmes of discouragement would eventually come. Man had overlooked me, and had nothing to do with me, but God who created all of us looked beyond the exterior and saw my heart. “The Lord does not look at the things man looks at. Man looks at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the
heart.” (I Samuel 16:7 NIV)
From that Gme on, the Lord conGnued to reveal Himself to me. I would arise one hour early each morning before school for prayer and devoGons. My heart was tender toward the Lord. But this task and call to broadcasGng was overwhelming, to someone who felt so unqualified in his natural abiliGes. Mom conGnued encouraging my call to broadcasGng. The months to follow were unbelievable as God opened doors no man could shut. As He led me to broadcasGng school, my parents appealed to the instructor to let me enroll before I graduated from high school. They knew I needed something to give me purpose and self-worth. Miraculously, he made a single excepGon for me. At sixteen years old, I became the youngest member of the class.
As I went through the school, there were Gmes of great stress and anxiety. I am so grateful for a mother’s heart of paGence and understanding. She was a constant encouragement, as she literally studied the course with me in order to help me understand certain material that I needed to memorize. There were to be some grueling Federal CommunicaGons tests ahead, and I would need to pass them all to receive my license and become a cerGfied radio announcer.
2 Proverbs 3:5-6, Isaiah 41:9-10 3 I Peter 5:7
4 Machew 11:30
5 Psalm 37:1-11
6 Isaiah 26:3-4 7 Psalm 62
￼I took the tests twice. The first Gme I failed by just a few points. Overwhelmed, I despaired. During the four hour drive home I had a lot of Gme to think. I cried, “God, I thought you called me. Why did you bring me this far to let me crash and burn” He replied, “Michael, do you trust Me? I want you to be totally dependent upon Me and never take things into your own flesh. I want you to understand and always remember, that this is truly My giR through you.”8
Several weeks later, my family went with me to the federal building once again to take the exams. This Gme, God helped me to pass. I will never forget that happy day. I sGll have the shirt my Mother bought new for me for that occasion. I keep it as a reminder of God’s love, grace and faithfulness.
The other students, much older than I, humored me when I shared with them my commitment to work only in ChrisGan radio. They quesGoned, “Why would you limit yourself like that?” I explained to them my personal convicGon. With many secular radio staGons in that large Midwestern city, and only two ChrisGan staGons, they were amazed when I found work as quickly as I did. I became the first student in my class to become a radio announcer.
I began working part-Gme at one staGon across town, playing blocks of preaching and teaching programs. There was very licle music, or opportunity in between to share words of encouragement to the listeners. I also applied at the second staGon which played more music. This was the staGon I had first visited as a child. The program director said he appreciated my enthusiasm, but felt like it would be a long shot for me to ever get in, being I was so young and lacking in experience. I was willing to do anything at all. I asked if I could come up and help put records away, or do whatever I could just to be around the staGon. He appreciated my interest, and agreed. The staGon was within walking distance from my home. As I had the Gme between school work and church I spent Gme learning about broadcasGng. The other announcers became my friends.
One day while I was helping out at the staGon, one of the announcers called in sick. They could not find a replacement for his shiR The program director came to me and said, “Now, please, do not get your hopes up. This is for one Gme. only, unGl we can find a replacement. But for a few hours, if you would like, we will let you go on the air.” I exclaimed, “Wow!”
I began to share over the air, and the phones began to ring. Listeners were calling to encourage me. The program director was receiving similar phone calls in appreciaGon of my child like faith. He came to me and said I could work maybe one more day, but that they were sGll trying to find a replacement. The announcer who was sick at home, called in himself to encourage me, sharing that he appreciated my youthful sincerity. He in turn urged the program director to allow me to work part-Gme on the week-ends as the doors would open. In God’s Gme, the doors did open, and I walked through. This was my entry into radio broadcasGng at 16 years of age.
Over the next several years, the Lord showed me great favor. The staGon me permiced to establish a radio talk-show with live counselors. We would pray with people on the phones, and I would interview guests over the air. This creaGve idea of evangelism and outreach was dropped into my heart before I had any knowledge of what was happening on the East Coast with Pat Robertson and the 700 Club. Back in those days, neither the 700 Club, nor any other ChrisGan talk-shows were broadcasGng into our area of the Mid-West. Thus, we were one of the first, to my knowledge, and very well Gmed, as it met a great need in our metro-plex city.
As a result of this radio outreach, I was thrust into public speaking in churches to share what God was accomplishing through my young life. Because I was staGon personnel, I began to help emcee ChrisGan concerts at the Civic Center. People were shocked when they saw how young I was. They
8 2 Corinthians 4:7- 18
￼had no idea that this person on the radio was a teenager. Grown men and women had called in to share their burdens with someone they assumed was an adult.
ARer a Gme, I produced another “live” program. For six hours on Saturday nights, people called in and shared praise reports of God’s touch in their lives. Many Gmes they would need counsel about some personal concern, or prayer for physical healing. As I would pray with them, or counsel with them on the air between music sets, God was doing a miraculous work.
We saw God’s favor and anoinGng as one listener literally took off their back brace free of pain. Another listener received healing who had been bound to a wheel chair, and yet another coughed up a cancerous tumor following prayer. Lecers accounGng other miracles of God’s grace and healing began to come in. It was unbelievable, as we would meet those people personally and the healings were verified.
Many received salvaGon through Jesus Christ. Others made rededicaGons as they were moved by what they heard. Listeners began calling me in my home, and the load of phone calls made it necessary to put in a second line just for prayer calls. I turned the female counseling calls over to Mom. In my wildest dreams, I would never have imagined that God would release His power through a teenager who made himself available.
Being in radio broadcasGng gave exposure which allowed me opportuniGes to speak in churches and youth groups. I carried a true burden and care for people. The Lord has conGnued to use me in broadcasGng while reaching teens naGonally and internaGonally. May God renew my faith to be as it was then, and to see afresh what He can do. He will work through us, if we abandon ourselves in faith to believe for the impossible.
Simultaneous with the call to broadcasGng, I felt led to carry my Bible to school during my sophomore year. Weary of all the previous teasing, I carried it between my school books to avoid unnecessary acenGon, but I did bring it.
One day during free study Gme in class, I took out the Bible to read. The teacher had stepped out, and a student from across the room noGced me hunched over my Bible. “Fister, what are you reading?”, he yelled. I was shocked that anyone noGced me reading anything, let alone a Bible. I looked up shyly, and turning to him, I answered quietly, “A Bible.” “What?”, he inquired. “A Bible.”, speaking loudly enough for him to hear me this Gme. “A Bible?”, he scoffed. “Let me see it. I heard they talk about monsters in the back of the Book” Inside my heart I knew I was in trouble. He was thinking of the vision John had in the RevelaGon about dragons and beasts. He seemed interested, but how could I explain all that?
The student’s eyes were riveted on me. How would I respond? Praying in my heart, I sought God, “Help me quickly, before I sink into total humiliaGon.” Very quietly and simply the Holy Spirit spoke to me what I was to do. “Read Machew 24.”, I suggested to him. It spoke of the end Gmes and the return of Christ. To my surprise, he did. And he began to read out loud! I was extremely embarrassed, and my thoughts were only on what I was going to do next.
I became aware again that the enGre class was watching and listening to this conversaGon. I took a deep breath, and began to explain that we needed to be ready for Christ’s return, because Machew 24 was a propheGc warning of what was to take place in the future. I couldn’t believe my ears. God had helped me to break out of my natural abiliGes, and out of my comfort zone. He spoke through me to my generaGon.
That day I took small steps, and my character was strengthened. Students were visibly moved, as their thoughts had turned to the end Gmes. Various individuals began to seek me out during school. I
￼would meet them in the library during lunch Gme and respond to their quesGons the best I could. Many seeds of faith were planted. I was labeled “religious” by my peers, but it didn’t affect me the same way anymore. I had come to accept that rejecGon must be a part of life for me. What an honor now, to be rejected for Christ’s sake.
I began to wear many different “Jesus” bucons as a witnessing tool. One bucon in parGcular caught the acenGon of several students, and I was thereaRer labeled by the slogan on that bucon. It said, “One Way!”. My nick name would be “One Way !” I was now labeled for His sake.
Over the months since my new dedicaGon and commitment to Jesus Christ, He was supernaturally helping me to take small steps sharing my faith. As He touched me daily in my devoGonal Gmes, I felt the compassion that the Holy Spirit said He would increase in me. I was experiencing His strength, His power, and His boldness to reach out with compassion to other students who were struggling. I became their friend. I started reaching out instead of turning inward. I became friends to the ones everyone else rejected.
I am grateful that Christ’s love broke through, empowering me to make the right choice. I chose to look beyond the inconsistency, and the negaGve peer pressure. Many are poisoned to see only the now.9 Many find the now more alluring, more enGcing, less confining. I chose to look to the future, recognizing that the now definitely influences the future. We are on this earth but one minute, in comparison to the hours of eternity. Yet while we’re here in this life, in this one brief moment, we decide where we’re going to spend eternity, either in heaven or hell. We decide in the now whether to receive Christ or reject Him.10
Every human being was divinely created with an eternal soul hunger. Soul hunger will send us looking for love and true acceptance, leaving us unfulfilled in the truest sense. This hunger was designed to be righteously fulfilled only by deep relaGonship to Jesus Christ. Only He can saGsfy that need. You may go from one relaGonship to another, and try many different things, acempGng to meet that longing, that deep need.11 But you will bring much unnecessary hurt and pain to your own soul and body by refusing to surrender to Christ’s Lordship. You were made for relaGonship with the One who created you. Stop now, and find your soul’s rest in Him. You will discover security, and inner peace. “For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you , plans to give you hope and a future. Then you will call upon me and come and pray to me, and I will listen to you. You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart.” (Jeremiah 29:11-13 NIV)
As I grew in my spiritual walk, some of the youth in my church conGnued in their cliques. Some never made the decision to grow in their daily walk, or to discover God’s plan for their life. Regrecably, out of those teens in my church youth group, only a few conGnued in the Faith.12
A few months later, God was to manifest a powerful demonstraGon of His grace and favor in the high school. In one class, we were assigned to read an auto biography, and make a report. I chose a contemporary ChrisGan leader, and his tesGmony of God’s love through severe trials and encounters with a demonic presence. This was to be an oral report. On the day the reports were due, I began to
9 Romans 12:1-2, 2 Corinthians 6:14-18
10 2 Corinthians 6:14-18
11 Machew 6:33
12 1 John 1:5-10, 1 John 2:15-17, 1 John 3
￼panic. Old anxieGes returned to inGmidate me. “This is crazy! They will throw me out, and I will forever be labeled radical, or weird!”, I reasoned.
The first day passed without the instructor calling on me. I sighed with relief. That aRernoon and evening I sought the Lord in prayer as to how to deliver the report. Over and over, I pracGced in front of a mirror. Gewng up in front of people was sGll extremely difficult The teacher instructed us that we had four minutes in which to give the report. There would be no grace. It was to be no less than two minutes, and the penalty for going over would be a major deducGon in points. I figured, “Four minutes is no problem for me.” I would get in just at the two minute level! I didn’t want to be up there any longer than necessary.
The next morning my turn came to face the class and share my report. My hands were sweaty with nervous anxiety. I knew in my heart the Lord wanted to do something through me to touch this class. But sGll my heart pounded. At this point in my walk with the Lord, I knew both fear and faith at the same Gme. I was walking on the water. God reminded me to keep my eyes on Him.
I began fearfully and nervously. With quivering voice, I started to speak. A few boys in the back of the class looked at each other and snickered. A couple girls rolled their eyes. The class had never heard a book report like this one. I was sharing about the struggles and difficulGes in this one man’s life, and the spiritual powers that are beyond our fleshly understanding. As I stepped out on a limb, and shared my faith through this person’s tesGmony, each word brought new waves of boldness. The more I spoke, the more strength I received.
Before I knew it, I was no longer reading my report, but was sharing spontaneously about this man’s struggles and how he found a friend in God. When I looked at the clock, it was apparent I had passed two minutes, and was over seven minutes! I realized that I was in big trouble now. Fears rushed through my head, “God, why would you allow me to step out like this, and then aRer following the leading of your Spirit to endanger my grade by going over the Gme?”
My eyes scanned the classroom. I noGced that no one was shiRing in their seats, or making any funny gestures. I had everyone’s acenGon, and I sensed God’s awesome presence prevailing. I realized that I had gone past my Gme, and ruined my grade by now. So I stopped abruptly, and began slowly walking back to my desk. From the back of the room, the teacher stood and asked me to return to the front of the class. He said that I was known to be “kind of religious”, and asked me to tell how I “got that way”.
My mind raced, my heart skipped a beat. The moment had arrived. I began by explaining that I was not religious, but instead shared how God had become my friend. I told of the rejecGons, and how God did not reject me. The Gme sped by. The silence was loud. I finished. No one moved. I started back to my seat once again. As I passed the first desk, a girl looked up at me and whispered something. I couldn’t hear her, so I stopped and knelt down beside her desk. She said, “Michael, I go to the same denominaGonal church you go to. I’ve been raised like you. But I’ve never seen anyone our age talk like you just talked.” She began to cry, “Is it possible to know God like you talked about? I desire to have that kind of boldness. No one even knows that I go to church. ARer listening to you, I wonder if I ever have been a ChrisGan.” I invited her to pray. As we prayed, she repented of not being the ChrisGan God wanted her to be. She made a dedicaGon not to be a secret ChrisGan anymore. The class remained sGll and respecsul. They did not know how to discern what they were sensing in the room.
I conGnued walking to my seat at the back of the room. I passed several desks before another student stopped me. He told me that he went to a “religious” church all his life, but never heard God talked about, the way I had just talked about Him. I shared with him that knowing Jesus was more
￼than a religious experience, but was based on relaGonship. I asked him if he wanted to invite Jesus into his heart. He said, “Yes,” and began to cry. I led him in the sinner’s prayer.
I went on toward my desk. Before I could sit down, a girl siwng across from me, said she also felt rejected and could idenGfy with what I was talking about She asked me to pray with her. I asked her if she knew Jesus personally. She answered that she did not. I assured her that Jesus would be a friend to her, and sGck closer than a brother. Then I invited her to pray along with me. She accepted Christ.
At some point the teacher had stepped out of the room, and other students were at a loss. They had never seen or heard anything like this before. To this day, I believe that teacher was under convicGon, and he didn’t want to hinder what was happening. He just removed himself from the situaGon. Within seconds of praying with the last girl, the bell rang and we went to our second period class. The teacher graded me fairly.
Reports of what happened that first period class quickly circulated throughout the nearly 3,000 member student body. The school was packed to capacity. There were six lunch periods. I was in the second lunch period. Gewng in the lunch line, I looked around, and saw students whispering to each other and poinGng in my direcGon. I overheard one group of students say, “There he is!” “There’s ‘One Way!’”
I did not quite know what to make of the events of that morning. I had not seen anything like that before. God’s divine power and presence had visited that class in such a mighty way. It sent shock waves throughout the campus. The Lord used it to launch me into a whole new relaGonship with the student body. I was no longer rejected as I had been before. In the place of rejecGon, there was now a deep respect. When I took sides with God, and became a public witness, those who had openly rejected me because of my differences, now knew they were dealing with something more than just me. God was truly on my side, and the rejecGon subsided, never to return in the intensity I had always known.
They sGll considered me “different” and “religious”, but students began to search me out and want to talk about their problems. I led many students to the Lord over my remaining high school years. And others, though they never accepted Christ to my knowledge, knew that I cared. I listened to my peers without parGality or condemnaGon.
Many years later, while in a shopping mall, I met up with one of the students who had been in that parGcular class. They are now acending church, and commented how they were changed as a result of what happened the day I gave my oral book report. Years later, as I have met again other students from the high school, they remind me of conversaGons we had and how their lives were impacted by our Gme together. They were never the same again. The call to youth came as I saw my peers at school going through such hurt and pain from family difficulGes. My love and compassion for them was born out of my own teenage struggles.
As a teen myself, my heart was moved with compassion for my peers when I read in the newspaper of 14 and 15 year-olds who were in DetenGon Housing. I realized they were there because they had not discovered their real purpose in life, and were gewng into a lot of trouble for lack of direcGon.
Upon high school graduaGon, God sovereignly opened phenomenal doors of ministry, and I began to travel extensively speaking in churches. One pastor would call a pastor friend of his, and recommend that I come speak to their church. And so on. This began a chain reacGon. For the next several years, I traveled across the central and western United States speaking a message of hope and love to youth and churches. It became my life and my livelihood.
￼A speaking engagement in the Northwest led me to some families from Hawaii, and eventually on to the Hawaiian Islands. They felt my temperament and personality type would be compaGble in reaching and relaGng to the Island people. Soon arrangements were made for me to visit Hawaii and speak in churches. ARer meeGngs in Hawaii and receiving counsel from pastors there, I was encouraged to move to Hawaii for the purpose of establishing an outreach to the Island people through media and personal evangelism.
In Gme a ministry opportunity opened at a ChrisGan radio staGon in Honolulu. The management allowed me to share and pray for people between music during my radio shiR. Through this season, the Lord birthed in me a tremendous compassion for the Island and Asian people which remains. Over the years I have produced and hosted, or been a guest on a number of different programs reaching out through radio and television locally and internaGonally.
God has called me to broadcasGng and media, but for a season I served in pastoral youth ministry, and as a consultant to other youth ministries. Though I’ve seen the Lord do awesome things in my work with youth and media, my faith was stretched as my sweet wife Nancy encouraged me to go back to the public schools, this Gme as a subsGtute teacher.
With her help I became cerGfied to subsGtute teach in the public middle and high schools of Hawaii. As my schedule permits, I make myself available to serve the public schools as a subsGtute. I am now in my ninth year and have conGnual opportuniGes to impact teens and speak into their lives. I meet with students during school, lunch breaks and aRer hours to care and listen. It is God’s way of keeping me focused, and relevant to the daily changes and needs of this generaGon of youth, meeGng them in their element and sharing my story, for His glory.
God granted me much favor with school administrators, as well as the student bodies of two parGcular schools. I am privileged to serve on the Preferred Teacher’s List for Moanalua Middle and High School. I have known and loved these students since they were seventh graders. And now I was honored to learn that the Senior Class of Moanalua High School, a large and popular school in the State, was dedicaGng a full page of their 1998 School Annual to “Mr. Michael”, as they call me. I have shared encouragement from my school trials many Gmes with the students. At one point, they asked me to write an abbreviated “My Story, His Glory” version for their High School newspaper! Now God was being glorified to another generaGon and another Gme. My suffering had not been in vain.
Several years ago, I was back at my former high school speaking at a large Bible club. The school had changed so much. Entering the cafeteria with a group of teens from the Bible club, flash backs and memories flooded my mind. My eyes fell upon the spot where I had eaten alone and rejected so many Gmes. The Lord had set me up for that moment. I glanced across the cafeteria to see this new generaGon of teens enjoying themselves, talking, laughing, and teasing each other. Standing out from all the acGvity, was a young boy siwng alone. Things really hadn’t changed so much.
I was in line gewng my lunch, enjoying this Gme at my old high school. The students from the Bible club and a local youth pastor were with me. They were laughing and talking together, but I couldn’t get my mind off the young boy siwng all alone. I watched to see if anyone would go and join him. As we sat down to begin our lunch, I lost my appeGte. I tried to be a gracious guest, and enjoy myself, but tears filled my eyes and compassion began to flow. The boy looked so lonely. I asked some of the students if they noGced him, or knew who he was. Someone commented that he was real shy. Another said he was a loner. Someone else said that they didn’t think he took very many baths, and had a bad smell.
I told the group to enjoy their lunch, that I would join them later, and excused myself. I took my lunch to where the young man was, and asked if I could sit with him. He looked up at me with the most
￼hurGng eyes I had seen in a long Gme. He welcomed me very kindly, but nervously. I talked with him, and asked about his life. He had some serious family problems, and was going through a lot. His countenance showed what he was feeling in his heart. He was just waiGng for someone to care, and take the Gme to listen. The boy told me stories of rejecGon, and how he felt so misunderstood. I began to share with him what I went through when I was in junior high and high school. I told him that Jesus cared how he was feeling, and wanted to be his friend I asked if anyone had ever told him that. He said, “No.”
During our Gme together, most of the students had leR the cafeteria. I asked him if he would like to pray with me. He was very recepGve. He inquired, “How do I talk to God?” I shared with him my friendship with God. I told him to talk with God, as he would his best friend. “Tell Him everything. Let Him speak back to you through His Word, the Bible. If you do not hear anything, don’t worry. Wait paGently and trust Him. For we live by faith, and not by sight.13 He is your Lord, and will be faithful. He created you, and knows you becer than you know yourself.14 He loves you uncondiGonally.” I asked if he would like to visit a church youth group. (In my heart I secretly hoped and prayed, that when and if he connected with them, that someone there would reach out to him with sincere love and care.)
Leaving the cafeteria together, I introduced him to the youth pastor and several teens from the church youth group. They were kind and somewhat open. One boy acknowledged that he recognized him from one of his classes. When the lonely teen leR to go to class, I exhorted the ChrisGan student to reach out and befriend this young man. I reminded him that he was a soul, and that he was very important to the Lord. I shared that high school was new and overwhelming to him, and he simply needed a friend.
As the weeks passed, I returned to Hawaii. In a phone conversaGon with Mom, she told me the young man from the high school had been brought to church, gloriously born again and was now a part of the youth group. She added that he seemed extremely happy and content in his new found faith.
The Lord has divinely directed my footsteps literally into the paths of famous people, and most recently President Bill Clinton. Each Gme, I spoke to them of Christ’s love and desire for them. It has also been a blessing and privilege to meet and enjoy one-on-one Gmes of prayer and fellowship with several contemporary ChrisGan leaders. Each of them have influenced my life in parGcular ways.
Looking back, it is truly amazing to see God’s faithfulness. He has sent me not only throughout the United States, but also to the Philippines, Korea, China, Singapore, Micronesia, Guam and other parts of Asia with His message of hope to teens. For 26 years I have carried a vision to see teens sharing their hope in Christ with other teens by radio and television.
Nancy and I founded the InternaGonal Youth Network in 1992 to establish a media network based in Hawaii and extending out internaGonally, that specializes in producing wholesome youth programming with varying formats to meet the needs of this generaGon of teens at many levels.
From March 1992 through March 1994, IYN produced a series of local radio and television programs called, “Island Youth”. These shows aired throughout the Hawaiian Islands. In the summer of 1993, “Island Youth” was also shown in Oklahoma City.
13 2 Corinthians 5:7 14 Psalm 139:13- 18
￼IYN seeks to produce a series of 30-minute programs for teens called, “Youth Club InternaGonal”, featuring teens talking to teens. Each program addresses current teen issues with clear Biblical direcGves, and pracGcal ChrisGanity. We are mobilizing youth from around the world, and giving them opportunity to speak to their peers as they face and resolve conflicts in their lives through faith in Christ “YCI” draws from all parts of the Body of Christ, and features youth from various cultural and ethnic backgrounds.
Today, I would not change any of what I went through growing up. It was all working for my good,15 to develop in me a deep, true love and sensiGvity to others. It brought great understanding of shy and Gmid youth, and compassion for those who struggle academically, socially, culturally and for whatever reason never feel accepted or part of a group. Our experiences in growing up can help us be more sensiGve to others with great needs, if we will allow God to heal our hurts and restore our confidence in Him. Let your faith reach out to God.
Feelings and emoGons will come and go. In our pain and hurt, we can either tum inward and refuse to let God work through it, or look up and see Him work with it to bring Him glory, like Joseph.16 Don’t give up. God does have a plan, and we will see it if we can hold on through the struggles. Daily look to Him through His Word, and by His grace take one day at a Gme. He will use every circumstance to bring us in touch with someone else’s pain.
Those who refuse to deal honestly with life’s circumstances can become superficial and somewhat unreal. Their counsel may sound trite and triumphal, and they are unable to show empathy or caring. To those of us who have come through the bacle, and recognize our great, great need of Him, there is a very real awareness that we could never do anything without His grace and love. May we never forget where we have been.
The Lord will direct us to reach others who have suffered as we have suffered. We will be able to have compassion, and the ability to comfort because we have idenGfied with their pain. We will be able to give them hope.17 Don’t rule anyone out. God will use our different personaliGes, and differing giRs and abiliGes for His divine plans and purposes. I have found there to be many lonely and rejected people in our society who have withdrawn into themselves and become loners. Many Gmes, if people have not reached out to them with love and care along life’s way, their anger and frustraGon turns violent and becomes the substance of story lines in the nightly news.
The next Gme we hear that we must have a heart for souls, let us not be insensiGve when that soul walks into our church, and becomes an individual person. We must love people. Let us not love souls, and not like people. Let us not strive for crowds, and overlook the individual. But let us ever be aware that we owe a debt of love, and that He has equipped us with His own love and compassion for His children. “As you have done it unto the least of these my licle ones, you have done it unto Me.” (Machew 25:40)
When the Lord leads people into our lives and our church fellowships, we have a responsibility to reach out to them. What might happen if we would break out of our comfort zones and reach out to those who seem so different? May we see them as real people with pressing needs in their lives. Others will come with important and useful abiliGes and life experiences. Let us be a true friend to them, releasing them from our expectaGons, and responding to them uncondiGonally even as God has generously responded to us uncondiGonally.
15 Romans 8:28
16 Genesis 37:47
17 2 Corinthians 1:3- 11
￼He may call some to a place of popularity in school or other posiGons of influence giving them a plasorm to speak His truth with principle. They must walk humbly to be effecGve. Those who haven’t endured hardships, and refuse to humble themselves before the Lord, have licle compassion. I have noGced that those who strive for popularity, and become popular, or those who never struggle academically, tend to have licle sympathy or understanding for those who have great difficulGes.
One final note to those who are considered by this world’s standards as talented and giRed. I want to challenge you to search your own heart regarding the superior abiliGes you are privileged to have. Scripture tells us that “every good and perfect giR is from above”,18 and that we possess nothing that we have not been given. And it was given freely. Truthfully, it has nothing to do with us, and everything to do with Him. May I challenge you to look compassionately upon, and deal paGently and respecsully with those who are not like you academically, socially, or culturally.
To parents or guardians of youth who struggle as I did, I counsel you to walk in sensiGvity to the needs of your son or daughter. There is plenty of negaGve input from the outside world. There will always be someone to point out their differences. They need encouragement and support from you. They are weary of the put-downs. They need to feel emoGonally safe and secure in the home. Without it, they will become vulnerable and may search outside the home, gewng into wrong relaGonships. Your child lives in a world where peer pressure is an unspoken expectaGon to parGcipate in behaviors that are oRen seen as normal. Being alienated from the peer group is almost too much for them to handle. Social acceptance is of the utmost importance. They do many things trying to be “cool”, or trying to “fit in”. This element of emoGonal security falls to the parents or guardians to provide. They need to feel your uncondiGonal love and acceptance. They need your maturity, and the strength that comes from it. As you make the sacrifice to do what needs to be done you will live with the blessing.
There may be seasons in your child’s life during which they are unable to respond appropriately to you, or they may even rebel against your authority. Guard against your own feelings of insecurity, and try not to overreact in the flesh. They will come around as you conGnue, with restraint, in the spirit of Christlikeness, maintaining Godly standards for your family. Remain consistent in your daily walk with Christ He will give you the wisdom and love you need as you seek Him first in your life. This will require a real commitment of the heart Then, everything must be submiced to God by prayer and fasGng. This brings a sensiGvity to the Lord’s leading, which will humble your human spirit to see the situaGon from His perspecGve. Then, as you feel you have failed your child in some way, by falling short of being that living example, be willing to repent and humble yourself before them. As you become open and transparent with your child, let them know that which they know already, that you too have weaknesses, and that even parents make mistakes. Be willing to admit when you are wrong. I’ve known many a youth to respond compassionately and with understanding to a parent’s openness, as the parent was able to share from his own weaknesses. As you would become honest and real with them, I’ve seen many a teen and parent restored in a loving relaGonship, with mutual respect.
Your child needs to know that you have faith in them, and that you believe in them no macer what This gives them value, which leads to the will to try. Once they have given up the will to try, their human spirit begins to shut down. No one can break a child’s spirit quicker than a parent. You can either be the source of your child’s deepest pain, or their greatest joy. Love them with all that is in you, unGl they are convinced you do! They will do great exploits!
18 James 1:17
￼These are only a few incidents from my teen years. Time and space do not permit me to share all the experiences I have known along this journey. My prayer is that someday this booklet will be formaced into a book describing my teen years and adult life working with youth and media covering the past twenty-six years. There have been many miracles and divine appointments confirming God’s purposes along the way, including the powerful story of God’s faithfulness to honor my commitment to wait upon His Gming in bringing the woman of His choice into my life. Indeed it is all to His glory!
“Let no one look down on your youthfulness, but rather in speech, conduct, love, faith and purity, show yourself an example of those who believe.”
1 Timothy 4:12 NASB