Presenting Teens Mature in Christ

Posted on by Reba Brookes

by Joel Fether

City Life East

 

“Joel, I’m not coming today.”

“Why?”

“Because I’m going to a birthday party.”

“Pete already bought the tickets!  You can’t back out four hours before we leave just because you’d rather do something else!  That is super selfish man!”

“I guess I’m selfish then.”

“What are we supposed to do with the extra tickets?!  It’s not like we can take them back!” 

This was a conversation that I had via text message with Juan about a month ago regarding him backing out of attending a sporting event.  As you can see, I was not pleased with some of his choices and felt the need to be direct with him. 

I first met Juan about four years ago and soon realized that He was facing some significant life hurdles. Juan’s father has been incarcerated for several years. His mother has a hard time maintaining stability in her own life and so Juan has ended up effectively homeless multiple times during the past few years.  He’s gotten through these times by “couch surfing” with various family and friends but this has been hard on him. 

Juan accepted Christ about four years ago, and we have been in a mentoring relationship for the last two years. He's made some deep and meaningful relationships in City Life which has given him the stability he lacks at home. He rarely misses school now, and has held the same job for more than a year. Now that he's a senior, he's even taking an interest in younger City Life kids and encouraging them to stay on God's path. 

Yes, Juan is still prone to things like selfishness as our recent text conversation highlights.  However, the next time I saw him I was impressed by his maturity when I brought up the incident in an effort to clear the air.  He said, “Saturday was a horrible night. I should have just gone to the game with you guys.  What’s Pete’s number so that I can apologize to him.” 

As God graciously gives us opportunities, we work hard to proclaim Christ, admonish, and teach students like Juan so that we can present them mature in Christ as the power of Christ works in them and us.  Praise God for His mighty power!  

“He [Christ] is the one we proclaim, admonishing and teaching everyone with all wisdom, so that we may present everyone fully mature in Christ.  To this end I strenuously contend with all the energy Christ so powerfully works in me.”  Colossians 1:28-29

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