Every year as we hold our teen outreach at a local community center, kids from the different corners from the reservation come out to spend their days with us. Our program is pretty simple, shoot some hoop, play some dodgeball, sing some songs, and have a time of Bible teaching and prayer, followed by pizza. Later we take a field trip into the mountains and enjoy God’s creation.
Although we have gotten to know and love many of the youth through the years, we are blessed to meet new kids all the time. During one of our trips on the Blue Ridge Parkway, I asked a couple of the new kids about their exposure to Christianity. I learned that one them went to church when she was three-years-old, while the other one had never stepped foot in a church his whole life. I was all the more eager to tell them about Jesus.
As we continued to drive through the mountains, I asked them to tell me who they thought Jesus was. If you recall, Jesus asked Peter the same question in Matthew 16:15. Our new friends reluctant to answer, so I carefully explained that there was no wrong answer. I made it clear that I was not asking them to tell me who He was, but rather, I wanted to know what idea they had of Him with what little exposure that they had to biblical teaching. One of them dared an answer. In that guessing kind of way, she said, “I don’t know, was he a really good Christian who fought for freedom?” I said, “Ya know, I like that answer.” As much as a guess as it was, I liked it because of the truth in that assessment (yes, of course I gently clarified the fact that Jesus is the Son of God and Christians are the ones follow Him). I like it because Jesus did fight for freedom – freedom from sin, freedom from death and God’s wrath, freedom from the world, the flesh, and the devil. Yes, Jesus did fight for freedom, and he who the Son sets free is free indeed.
We are praying for more occasions to disciple the youth of Cherokee. We want to see them set free. We are praying for a day when they share in Peter’s confession to Jesus, “You are the Christ, Son of the Living God” (Matt 16:16).