To top this fabulous weekend off I had a good present a message at his local church this evening.
I have known this person for over 10 years now and looking back at our history I have to admit that he rarely spoke about his past. It never bothered me, and I knew he never felt comfortable talking about it whenever a conversation turned to history.
Tonight though he invited me to come along and hear his message which I was glad to attend.
Initially his message was going to be about Jesus' first miracle: turning water into wine, however, before he started he got all the kids' attention when he tore a white pages telephone directory in half!! And no I'm not talking down the spine like anyone can do, I literally mean in half!!
By then he had everyone's attention... including me (I gave it a try at the end of his message but failed to even get through 250 pages!). And it was then that the topic changed to something he knew a lot about: his life story.
And what an interesting story he had to tell!
Everything about his past was now laid out before the congregation at church and everyone was on the edge of their seats.
He told everyone about his days as a "gangster", a drug user, a fighter, and the friends who ended up in prison, as well as the day he *almost* became a drug dealer.
I never knew his past was going to be as bad as he said it was, and I now understood why he never felt comfortable talking much about it.
"Eventually," he said as he reached the climax of his life, "I reached a point in my life where I was within minutes of being caught by a police raid, and I also found out one of my close mates was physically abusing his partner."
He stopped, "My friend would beat his partner up and then lock her in the CUPBOARD!"
He looked around and shook his head at the memories that were no doubt flooding back.
Women had always been this tough guy's weak spot. He continued by saying that he helped the woman leave her partner and when she did he set about changing his own life. He hated what he had become and he saw the bad influences his friends were having on him.
Interestingly he called to God for help. And interestingly God began putting new people into this man's life that DID help him. In due time he ended up marrying and as he neared the end of his personal testimony he thanked God for his wife.
Again, I was moved.
Now things began to make more sense in the conversations we had and the things that were done.
At the end of his message he came over and asked how it went, I told him the truth - "It was VERY good."
It was so good in fact that several youth were moved enough to accept Christ as their personal Saviour that night.
It's amazing how a life can never be too dark or too far away from Jesus that he cannot save.
I hope my friend continues to give more personal testimonies to kids and that he continues to work with the youth at that church.
And I also hope he doesn't break a wrist trying to rip up a yellow pages!
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