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Alive in Christ: Hope for the Rebellious Child

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(By Mark Fontecchio)

Our world is filled with young people who reject God.  What almost seems cruel at times is that it happens to some of the best Christian parents.  Is there any hope?  Will that person ever change?  Does God hear the prayers for those who seem to never see their need of a Savior?  My life and testimony are a shadow of hope that God can work in the heart of the most rebellious among us.

From an early age, I knew no sense of right or wrong.  To me, life was found in having fun.  Nothing really stood out in my life that made me different from the millions of kids who grow up in the United States.  I never excelled at anything because I was always trying to chase excitement.  That was my goal, to have fun and make people like me.  As I pursued these goals, throughout my teenage years, they led me down a dangerous path of crime and drugs.

This pattern continued in my life until I was twenty-one.  One warm summer night I looked at the stars while in a cornfield and prayed out loud.  I told God if He was really up there, I sure wished He would show me.  It wasn’t too much later that He answered my prayer.

A life of crime does not pay. Thankfully, God had other plans for me.  Finding myself in jail at twenty-one years old was alarming. The first night in jail a guard brought a book-cart to my cell.  The other inmates thought it was strange because they had not seen the book-cart in months, let alone at almost eleven o’clock at night.  I do not think that I had ever read an entire book before, but something was urging me to go look at those books.  On the top of the stack was a book I needed to read; it was about being born again. Once I started I could not stop.  I learned about my sin nature; I discovered my need for a Savior.  God had heard my prayer in that cornfield!  In my jail cell, in August of 1993, I trusted in Jesus Christ as my Savior.  My life would never be the same.

During those days in jail I began to appreciate the time I had to read and study the Bible, and the time I had to spend in prayer.  Sure, it was a scary place to be, but God gave me exactly what I needed.  He gave me two hundred and forty days to be alone with Him and His Word, so I could become firmly rooted in Christ before I went back into the world.

As the years passed I grew in my faith.  I faced some tough times, when people (especially Christians) judged me for my life before Christ.* In 1996 I met the wonderful woman who became my wife, and God has blessed us with three amazing children.  Since then God has used me to pastor several of His churches, teach at a seminary, and author several books.  By the time I was twenty-one most people had given up on me.  I thank God that He wasn’t done with me; He was just getting started.

To those parents who are concerned for their children, my message to you is one of hope.  Never give up.  Never tire of praying for them.  No matter what they do (even if they kill someone like Moses did) don’t quit on them.  God can change their life at any moment.  Continue to pray and trust in the Lord!

(Download Article Here)

*See, “Forgiven by the Blood of Christ?” for an excellent discussion about those convicted of crimes before coming to know the Lord for salvation. Should they be allowed to serve in the ministry? This question is answered from the Word of God.

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