Stewart James figured his was a blessed life, always moving around and traveling to different places. Steward knew early on that he was called to preach the gospel. When he was a little boy, a traveling evangelist, the Reverend Ron Roy came to their little church in Manitoba, Canada. The Reverend was quite a character and Steward was mesmerized by the preacher’s eloquent way with words and the fire in which he delivered them. Not a fire and brimstone message, but a message so forceful, it came across like he actually believed what he was teaching.
“Mom, Dad, I know what I want to be when I grow up” Stewart had told his parents some thirty odd years ago. He chuckled to himself remembering their expressions when he had told them an evangelist. His dad Joe was confused and disappointed, he had wanted Stewart to follow in his footsteps as a farmer.
“Why evangelism son?” Joe had asked.
“When I was listening to Rev. Roy, it was if a voice said to me, ’that’s what I’ve called you to do’”
“Really, a voice?” asked his Mom.
“Yep a voice.”
Smiling at the memory, Stewart’s parents to their credit never laughed or tried to hinder him when he started reading the scriptures everyday. Nor when he was older, he informed them he was not to going to the local University but to a Bible College in the United States.
It was there he met his bride Joanna, and two kids and many travel miles later, here he was. Here, was a church that had a large membership with a lot of young people. Stewart had become known as the “Evangelist for the teens”. His itinerary was full of speaking engagements for youth groups. His message was always fresh and timely and he would try to use language that the kids could relate to. Which was not an easy thing to do since their slang changed almost daily.
The youth pastor had told him that most of the kids were in the twelve to sixteen year old age range. They were in this meeting today because although smart they were students from an alternative school for trouble youth. Trouble at home and their previous schools had labeled them troublemakers.
It was sometimes Stewart’s practice to have an open forum when his audience was mostly kids instead of just standing in the pulpit.
After his usual request for guidance Stewart took the stage, he began by asking, “Who wishes they had been born someone else? Maybe someone famous like a rock star, or a sports figure?” Several hands shot up.
“Why is that?” asked Stewart, looking around at the group. He pointed to a Britney Spears look-alike in the front row that had raise her hand.
“Because they have everything, and even when they mess up they’re forgiven.” the young lady said.
“Do you think Britney Spears has it made?”
“Britney? No, not really. I just mean famous people in general.” said the young lady.
“Okay, Let’s just say that’s true for a moment. What makes your life less “made” than a famous person’s?”
“I can’t speak for all, but most of us our lives have been turned upside down by just one stupid mistake. I mean I wish I could go back and take back what I did.” said a young man in the back of the room.
“That sounds like remorse, doesn’t it? Steward asked the group.
“Yeah” he heard from several corners of the room.
“Well, let me share something with you. I know this bunch knows computers, am I right?
Another “Yeah” from the group.
“Think of your computer when it sometimes goes all wacky, when all else fails you turn it off right? The same with life, when chaos seems to reign shut it down. Reflect on what you are doing right then and there, if it is not productive in a good way, repent ask for forgiveness. Talk it over with your heavenly Father let him show you the right way. That is turn on to his way of doing things, that’s the rebooting. And guess what? Order returns. The famous aren’t anymore equipped than you in knowing this life’s lesson. They may have more money to hide their problems but they have to eventually deal with them, same as you. ”
The collective “Oh” was what he wanted to hear. Stewart knew he had connected so the rest of his message would go down easily.
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