by Pastor Tim Burt
An Inspirational Story: The Fall and Rise of Josh!
Josh was a charismatic high school senior, towering over his peers both in stature and confidence. With his strong build, handsome looks, and smooth words, he could talk his way into or out of almost anything. He had a penchant for adventure, sometimes for the right reasons and sometimes not. One fateful night, his thrill-seeking led him down a dangerous path as he and his friends were caught drinking and driving by an observant police officer.
Their recklessness led to their arrest and a visit to the police station, where the sweet-talking charm Josh was used to wielding fell flat. Their parents were called, and the consequences were severe. The once-revered star football player found himself expelled from the team, shattering his dreams and the community’s perception of him.
The coach’s tough decision was met with a mix of disappointment and shock from the town, causing Josh to plummet into a pit of despair. The weight of his actions bore down on him, and he began to consider ending his own life. What had once been a promising future was now tainted, and he saw no way out.
But a glimmer of hope came in the form of an unexpected call from the pastor of the church Josh sometimes attended. With humility replacing his former cockiness, Josh accepted the pastor’s invitation to talk. The pastor’s words were a lifeline, reminding Josh that even in his darkest moments, redemption was possible. “God can turn even our biggest mistakes into something good,” the pastor assured him.
Embracing his pastor’s wisdom, Josh started his journey in a new direction. He met again with the pastor, who asked Josh if he would consider and pray about working with the church’s high school youth group. Josh, though nervous about helping with something he knew little about, accepted the Pastor’s invitation. He quickly grew to love it. His great personality was intact but now graced with humility.
On Monday morning, the pastor called Josh early before he had left for school. “Josh’, the pastor began, ” I’d like you to share your story with the youth group at a special service this coming Sunday night! For a moment, Josh was petrified at the thought of speaking to a group but was comforted when pastor said, “Josh, this isn’t preparing a sermon. This is telling your story. You know it. You’ve lived it. It’s all there. You’ll do fine!”
They did not normally have Sunday night services. This was an idea the pastor had, and they weren’t sure how many would come. They had only set up 100 chairs, never thinking they’d get most all the group. As it turned out, anticipation ran high, and over 300 high schoolers gathered to hear Josh speak.
That night, Josh began his message talking about the apostle Peter. Prior to being an apostle, he was one of Jesus’s disciples. Peter was very strong-willed, opinionated, and kind of a reactionary type personality. Jesus had told Peter that he was like a rock, and that made Peter feel great. Peter saw himself as a strong leader and knew Jesus was grooming him that way. But one night, when they were in the garden of Gethsemane, the soldiers all came to take Jesus away. Peter, in reactionary mode, grabbed a sword and cut off a soldier‘s ear, which Jesus immediately healed. And then, along with all the other disciples, who were scared out of their minds, he also fled! Later someone spotted him and said, “He’s one of Jesus‘s disciples,” which Peter denied three times.
Peter was so ashamed of himself that he thought he could never live it down. But he did. With Jesus‘s help, he recovered and re-focused. And it wasn’t long after that he was preaching to thousands that had them come to Christ through the message he ministered.
Josh continued, I told you the story because it reminds me of my story. I pridefully thought I was something special. I thought I was invincible. I thought I was going to be a superstar. And then, because of my stupid choices, I got kicked off the football team. To be transparent with you all, I wasn’t even sure if I wanted to keep living. But then pastor called me and reminded me of the loving kindness of Jesus Christ. And he showed me through scripture that God has a plan for my life and would take what the devil meant for evil and for turn it for good. And God has surely done that because here I am honored with the privilege of standing before you and speaking to you tonight.
My life was not on a good path, and the only purpose of my life was to make myself happy and look great. Now my life has great purpose, and I am utterly fulfilled in serving others and helping them know our Lord Jesus Christ.
Now I would like to conclude this time with you by inviting anyone here tonight who might feel somewhat astray from God and not sure of the importance of your life to come forward so that I can pray with you and for you. God is about to do a great miracle in your life. I will stand here for 60 seconds, and we will wait for those of you who would like to come forward.
Sixty seconds later, without exception, every single high schooler that was in that crowd came forward to the altar for prayer. And Josh, with great alligator tears streaming down his face, began to pray for them all….
1 Peter 5:6 (NLT) “So humble yourselves under the mighty power of God, and at the right time, He will lift you up in honor.”
If today’s Fresh Manna was a blessing to you, please hit the “LIKE” button below! Thank you!
In His love,
Pastor Tim Burt
If Fresh Manna is a blessing to you, I’d love to know. Click here: FreshMannaFeedback