Oh how far we’ve come!
Just eight short months ago, we started our Saturday night programming at Powderhorn Park with 12 boys...and this past Saturday we finished off the year with 24 boys!
It is so exciting to see what once was a fairly empty gym, now full of boys running around, playing basketball and having a blast! We love to see the boys who were too scared to touch the basketball in the beginning now confidently taking a shot and playing with their teammates. We love to see the boys who would choose to sit out now begging to get subbed in. And our level of basketball, though still not terrific, is MUCH more fun to watch…oh how far we’ve come!
But what may be most exciting and worthy of celebration is what has happened in the time we devote each Saturday night to spending time in God’s Word. This past Saturday, I challenged the boys with this passage of Scripture in Colossians;
“And you who were dead in your trespasses and the uncircumcision of your flesh. God made alive together with him, having forgiven us all our trespasses, by canceling the record of debt that stood against us with its legal demands. This he set aside, nailing it to the cross.”
We talked about who Jesus was. The Creator of everything, the Son of God who walked this earth in complete holiness and perfection, and the man who laid down His life for sinners. We spent time learning about the debt we owe because of our sin and how Jesus was the only who could have paid this debt when he took our place on the cross. What I wanted the boys to understand more than anything is that Jesus loved them enough and found them worth dying for, and ultimately when we trust in Him, each of our sins are nailed to the cross…
I asked each of the boys to literally nail these things to the cross…their shame, their guilt, their mistakes, their failings. I hoped they would come to know that in Christ alone is their hope and freedom from sin. That we are enslaved to these sins until we give it to Christ and let Him take it from us on the cross. So we made a cross. And each of the boys nailed a little slip of paper to it. And when I look at it, it shows me how far so many of these boys have come….
One young boy wrote these words, “I loved how you died for our sins and how you gave me my talent.”
Another wrote, “I am sorry for cussing and I want to spend more time learning about God.”
And another wrote, “Thank you for my life, I am sorry I don’t always listen to you.”
This is what we celebrate….though just little pieces of paper nailed to two small pieces of wood, it represents that these boys are gradually gaining an understanding and knowledge of who Christ is and what He has done. They are slowly beginning to learn that there is a God who created them, who loves them and wants to be in their life…could we ask for anything more than this? It is so evident that God is moving in the lives and hearts of these boys. And how incredible it was to watch 10 boy s on Saturday walk away with Bibles in their hands…eager to dive into the Word on their own. We have come so far…and we can’t wait to celebrate what a great year it has been at our end of the year party next Saturday night…but we are far from finished! With great anticipation we look forward to where God leads these relationships and this program in the years to come…one boy said it this way, “I am going to cry next week at the party…I want it to last 20 years!”
And by God’s grace and for His glory – we hope it does!