A Time To Celebrate
In all our lives there are seasons: seasons to work; to grow; to laugh; to cry; to sorrow; and, yes, even to celebrate. Yesterday, I had the privilege of assisting some very precious people celebrate the life of one of their loved ones. In the sanctuary there were balloons and butterflies; flowers and pictures of a life well lived. And even though the event was deemed a “celebration” there was sorrow, knowing they will not be able to be with their loved one again until they, too, go to meet their Lord. As I looked across the sanctuary, I saw many folks I knew – many from our Teen Challenge family. And I also took note of something I thought was incredibly special…
As I looked across the room, I saw a family that had been changed forever by the hand of God. I saw generations sitting together, knowing the truth of God’s unfathomable love. So how did it all start for this family? When and where did God enter the picture? To be candid, I am not quite sure who prayed the first prayer or who first acknowledged Christ as Savior, BUT, I do know some events that came into play that are still affecting each generation. The wonderful woman, whose life I had the privilege of celebrating, graduated Teen Challenge over thirty-eight years ago! She had some monumental struggles in her life; came into program and was able to surrender these issues unto the Lord. She even got to be a part of a ministry team that came along side our founder, David Wilkerson. She later married and gave birth to a beautiful daughter. Life was far from perfect, but she always knew where to turn in both the good times and the bad; and she never gave up on her faith.
Her daughter had her own share of struggles. At one point, her daughter became so desperate, she turned back to the source of help her mother found. She sought after a healing relationship with our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. Her daughter also entered Teen Challenge. When she entered Teen Challenge, she didn’t come alone. She brought her children in with her and began a life changing journey that affects them all to this day. The daughter, is now married, and a staff member at Teen Challenge! There on the front row, I saw the daughter’s daughter. She’s now grown and on her own journey. No matter where life takes her, she knows the truth and has a solid point of reference from which to guide her life choices- she is one who definitely knows where her help comes from!
As I pondered the family scene in front of me, it made me realize how our life choices affect not just our lives, but generations of lives. I know I am blessed as I get to pastor and minister to those God puts in my path at Teen Challenge, and I don’t ever want to take that for granted. I never want to take lightly any opportunity to share His love; His grace; His life transforming message – not just at Teen Challenge, but in my everyday life. It brought home a very important point to me: I, we, need to see that we will never know the ripple affect that one act of sharing may have. It is our responsibility to sow seeds of His love. The outcome is God’s responsibility. May I, we, be ever vigilant to do our part!
I love it when I get to minister at a “life celebration”; at a service where we see how a person embraced his or her faith. It is at these services I don’t have to search for words of comfort. It is at these services we can assure those left behind that they will see their loved one again. It is at these services we get to celebrate the generational impact of the life of one who served our Lord. As I finish preparing for my Sunday service this morning, may I be ever vigilant to seize any opportunity to be an instrument of His love – all for His glory! #celebratelife #mylifehisway