2009-04-05 John - Personal Testimony

Sunday April 5, 2009 – Rick opened the service asking his audience to think on the question; “what does Easter mean to you”?  His scripture passage was Matthew 27:11-26:

 Now Jesus was standing before Pilate, the Roman governor. “Are you the king of the Jews?” the governor asked him.

 Now Jesus was standing before Pilate, the Roman governor. “Are you the king of the Jews?” the governor asked him. Jesus replied, “You have said it.”

12 But when the leading priests and the elders made their accusations against him, Jesus remained silent. 13 “Don’t you hear all these charges they are bringing against you?” Pilate demanded. 14 But Jesus made no response to any of the charges, much to the governor’s surprise.

15 Now it was the governor’s custom each year during the Passover celebration to release one prisoner to the crowd—anyone they wanted. 16 This year there was a notorious prisoner, a man named Barabbas.  17 As the crowds gathered before Pilate’s house that morning, he asked them, “Which one do you want me to release to you—Barabbas, or Jesus who is called the Messiah?” 18 (He knew very well that the religious leaders had arrested Jesus out of envy.)

19 Just then, as Pilate was sitting on the judgment seat, his wife sent him this message: “Leave that innocent man alone. I suffered through a terrible nightmare about him last night.”

20 Meanwhile, the leading priests and the elders persuaded the crowd to ask for Barabbas to be released and for Jesus to be put to death. 21 So the governor asked again, “Which of these two do you want me to release to you?”

The crowd shouted back, “Barabbas!”

22 Pilate responded, “Then what should I do with Jesus who is called the Messiah?”

They shouted back, “Crucify him!”

23 “Why?” Pilate demanded. “What crime has he committed?”

 But the mob roared even louder, “Crucify him!”

24 Pilate saw that he wasn’t getting anywhere and that a riot was developing. So he sent for a bowl of water and washed his hands before the crowd, saying, “I am innocent of this man’s blood. The responsibility is yours!”

25 And all the people yelled back, “We will take responsibility for his death—we and our children!”

26 So Pilate released Barabbas to them. He ordered Jesus flogged with a lead-tipped whip, then turned him over to the Roman soldiers to be crucified.

After leading the boys in an opening prayer he introduced two young men, Robert and Malic who had successfully completed the Pegasus program and would be going home.  He encouraged the audience to pray for Robert and Malic and then asked Ken to come forward and bless them.

Ben came forward encouraging the boys to find out what their goals in life are and to make Jesus Christ the center of those goals.  After he sang; “Jesus Please Use Me”, “He is My Everything”, “I am crucified with Christ” and “The Old Rugged Cross”.

C.J. asked the boys to ponder what the future has to bring to their lives; will it be better or worse?  Without God I can guarantee it will be worse.  He introduced the guest speaker; John

John asked the boys to stand up and give God praise and to be thankful for the staff and those who minister to them.  After a word of prayer he talked of his own experience with sexual and physical abuse, feeling no one cared for him and there was no reason to go on living.  He spoke of living in the streets using, running and selling drugs, of sleeping under a tree every night, of the hatred he had for his parents. 

It was Jesus Christ that rescued him from sure destruction and changed the path he was walking on.  He learned to forgive others and himself.  He encouraged the boys to change their direction before it was too late.  To realize that now was the time; that their incarceration at Pegasus was a blessing and an opportunity to turn from their sin; to give reason and purpose to their future.  Don’t be anxious but learn to wait on God

He spoke of the Bible as “Basic Instruction before Leaving Earth” and our need to ground our lives its precepts. 

He closed with telling the boys of his dedication to their future and the promise that he would be there for them.

C.J. told the boys it does not matter what they look like or where they came from.  What matters is what choices they make today.  Change in each of their lives will come when change comes in each of their attitudes. 

Ken read a letter to the boys from Ms Pam and after, asked a young man to come forward and pray for Ms. Pam.  The service was closed with the Lord’s Prayer.