What do you know about Teen Challenge? We know it is not an organization that is only for teens. It is about teaching the gospel of Jesus to broken people, people who felt hopeless and lost. In the San Diego chapter for the last twenty five years, over 6500 students have gotten a view of Jesus’ mercy. The students memorize Scripture and meet Jesus. They can have a brand new life in Christ, learn and experience unspeakable joy, hope and love. Teen Challenge’s goals are evangelism, outreach, and discipleship. Through the testimonies, songs and message, we saw life, “abundant life” like Jesus promised in John 10:10.

Several men spoke. The first was the director of the San Diego chapter. Mr. Salinas said that FC had a special place in his heart. Seven years ago, he suffered from liver cancer. Pastor asked us to pray for him, and six months later, he had a liver transplant. What a living miracle he is. Another man shared how his father died when he was young after which he started doing drugs, got addicted, was homeless, and finally was in court where he was given the option to go to prison or Teen Challenge. He chose Teen challenge and today was singing praises to our LORD. Also the choir leader shared how he was addicted, went to Teen Challenge and graduated from the program. Later he got a good paying job but got addicted again; he returned to Teen Challenge and is now serving the LORD and using his talents and skills to glorify Him.

Of the several songs that they sang, two stuck out. The first was “Great Are You, LORD.”

“You give life. You are love.

You bring light to the darkness

You give hope. You restore

Every heart that is broken

And great are You, Lord

It’s Your breath in our lungs

So we pour out our praise

We pour out our praise

It’s Your breath in our lungs

So we pour out our praise to You only.”

Some of the singers were visibly touched as they sang; some wiped their eyes and were crying. Others were comforting them. Such powerful testimony was given through their actions.

Another song was “Still Rolling Stones” by Lauren Daigle.

“Out of the shadows

Bound for the gallows

A dead man walking

’Til love came calling

Rise up (rise up)

Rise up (rise up)

Six feet under

I thought it was over

An answer to prayer

The voice of the Savior

Rise up (rise up)

Rise up (rise up)”

This song related to these men who could have been one of the 150-175 people who die of overdoses daily, but God… and “All at once, I came alive….” It also can relate to us who were empty shells of humans until we became Jesus followers. Hallelujah!

The final piece of the Teen Challenge service was the message from Mark 10:26-27. The passage deals with a rich, young man who came to Jesus to ask how he could have eternal life. Jesus told him to sell his goods and follow Him. The young man could not let go of his “stuff.” Jesus told His followers that it is harder for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter the kingdom of heaven.

“The disciples were even more amazed, and said to each other, ’Who then

can be saved?’

Jesus looked at them and said, ’With man this is impossible, but not with God;

all things are possible with God.’” (NIV)

The speaker emphasized two major points from Mark 10:26-27. The first is that Jesus looked at them and loved them. Jesus looks at you and loves you. He loves you. He loves you! Also, from Mark 10:27 he reiterated the sentence, “With man this is impossible….” Recovery, new life, hope are all impossible with Teen Challenge, impossible with FC, impossible with any earthly program or person. However, “all things are possible with God.” And the singers standing behind the speaker were evidence that God is in the business of doing miracles in His children’s lives. Just as the LORD wanted to be with these men, He wants to be with you. He wants to break the chains that bind you and me.

The speaker encouraged us to tell God, ”God, I can’t do it in my strength. But I choose You today. You are the only way.” Psalm 121:1-2 states,

I lift up my eyes to the mountains-

where does my help come from?

My help comes from the LORD,

the Maker of heaven and earth.” (NIV)

The speaker asked us, ”Are you with Him? He wants to be with you.” If you are with the LORD, let’s be salt and light to a chained up, dying culture and world.

Written by Larry and Annette Linthicum

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