SPEAKING MINISTRY: EAST DAYTON CHRISTIAN SCHOOL- OCT 2021
This fall, I was invited to speak at two chapels for East Dayton Christian School. I had spoken at the school several times in the past, but due to the pandemic, had not been able to minister there for a couple of years. It was great to be back. One of the things I love about ministering at EDCS is that the faculty makes room for the Lord to do His work among the students. Many of those who attend the school are not from Christian homes, so I know that when I am speaking to the students, the students are at different places in their spiritual journeys. It is always a privilege for me to have the opportunity to share the love of Christ with the next generation.
I spoke at one chapel for the high school students and the other for the middle school students. As I prayed about the chapel services, I felt the Lord directing me to speak on the topic of forgiveness. I can only imagine the things that some of the students have walked through in their lives. When I think about my own life, I had carried around resentment and bitterness for years before finally releasing it. I shared a message based on what I wish someone would have told me when I was their age.
I used as an illustration some luggage which represented the emotional baggage that we carry around through our lives when we do not forgive. I shared personal testimony about my own struggle with forgiving my parents for their divorce, people who bullied me in school and a friend who betrayed me in high school. I explained to them how we can release hurts and offenses against us through choosing to forgive others. I then shared some thoughts about the Parable of the Unmerciful Servant and how the Lord expects those of us who have been forgiven of a lifetime of sin to freely forgive those who offend us (Matthew 18:21-35). I warned them of the danger of holding onto bitterness and unforgiveness and encouraged them to allow Jesus to help them forgive people in their lives who have hurt them in the past. I also told them that forgiving someone does not mean they allow people to abuse them and that they should tell a pastor or teacher if they are experiencing abuse from someone in their lives.
I closed with the story of Corrie Ten Boom and her encounter with a guard from the concentration camp where she had been terribly mistreated during World War II. She shares an incredible testimony of how the Lord did a work in her heart and enabled her to forgive one of her previous captors. If the Lord could help Corrie to forgive such an egregious offense, certainly He can help us to forgive those who have mistreated us.
In closing, I asked the students to close their eyes and bow their heads. I asked them to raise their hand if they knew in their hearts that they needed to forgive someone who had hurt them in some way. I was shocked at how many of the students in both chapels raised their hands. We prayed together and I believe the Lord did something special in the hearts of those precious young people. If they can learn to forgive as Jesus has forgiven them at this age, they will save themselves much of the pain and heartache that many of us go through when we carry around offense in our lives. The Lord ministered to the students and we had two great services together.
Thank you for your continued prayers as we minister the Word of God to all ages!
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DUSTIN RENZ is the President of Make Way Ministries, a non-profit organization that exists to see the world changed one Christian at a time. He has a passion to see the Body of Christ find rich intimacy in their relationship with Jesus and step out in faith to share the Gospel with the world around them. He is the author of Pile of Masks: Exposing Christian Hypocrisy and Something Better. He resides in Dayton, Ohio with his wife and three daughters.