Saturday, April 25, 2009

Ring the Bell

Last night I was privileged to attend a graduation for a guy in our church who has just completed Teen Challenge. It was about a year ago that I spoke to him, and said in passing "If you are ever ready to get help let me know." I didn't expect to hear from this guy, but sure enough I get a call as I am on the Oregon Coast with a member from the church. It sounds something like this. "Pastor John, I called and I am planning to go to Teen Challenge Monday." Talk about shocked, I didn' t think he would follow through and make the phone call; let alone spend the next 11 months of his life at Teen Challenge. Well he did, and he made it.

Let me describe to you the atmosphere. The chapel was packed, and it was full of energy. Not like a typical church service. These guys were excited about the work that God was doing in their lives, and they were not afraid to show it! Before the certificates of completion were given out, everyone including the graduate was asked to share something. The guy from our church wrote several poems, I never knew he could write so well! The other guys were telling everyone else how much they appreciated these graduates. Finally, the director presented the certificates and I looked over and noticed that my wife was crying. This was an emotional moment. This was a time in our ministry where we could say we were a part of something big. You couldn't help but cry, here were two men who were changed by the power of Jesus Christ. They were no longer addicts; but they were followers of Jesus Christ. I was glad that we were at the service.

The men circled around these two graduates and "prayed them out". The director said "we prayed you in, and now we are going to pray you out." The prayers that bombarded Heaven were incredible, at the very least I was wishing I had the passion they had in their prayers. Finally there was one last thing. They had to ring the bell. I asked the men around me what this meant, this is what they said. "We pull on this rope to ring the bell, when something good happens." I would say that what happened last night was worthy of ringing the bell.

I challenge you to find a reason to "ring the bell" in your life, and tell others what good thing has taken place because of Jesus Christ.

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