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Thursday, September 1, 2016

The Early Years

I know this may shock some of you, but I was a really good kid.  My parents often talk about how tender hearted I was as a child.  Where that went in adulthood is beyond me.  Seriously, I can remember always being the kid who had the best manners and truly respected my teachers.  I always sought to please the adults in my life for many years.

It wasn't until the 8th grade that I got off path.  I can tell you the first mistake that led me down a road of mischief and sin.  That first mistake was making friends with a kid named Robby.  Robby rode my bus in 8th grade, and for some strange reason I wanted to be just like him.  I am not entirely sure what drew me to him, but I was.  He was the bad boy of the 8th grade.  He intimated everyone, and no one messed with him.  We, seemingly polar opposites, quickly became friends.  We were inseparable during school and on the bus.  He was my best friend, and no one dared to even look at me the wrong way or you would face the wrath of Robby.

Lest you think I am blaming Robby for all my moral failures, let me assure you it was not his fault.  I completely understand that my actions were my doings.  It was however, that one decision that started the whirlwind of sin.  This is why I always stress to the teenagers I interact with to choose their friends wisely.  One friend of mine put it this way, "Show me your friends, and I will show you your future."  He was dead on.

During my high school days I was obsessed with being popular.  This desire drove everything I did.  I went from being a follower of people who were doing bad things, to the one leading others into doing bad things.  My goal was to make sure everyone knew who I was.  How I accomplished that was by being as unforgettable as possible.

I was the prototypical jock.  I did just enough in school to make good grades, but I never really applied myself.  I would lie to be able to go to a party.  I was engage in all sorts of immoral behavior. All of this while walking in to the church my dad pastored every Sunday and Wednesday acting like a saint.  I was a professional church player.  I was proficient at church talk, church walk, church dress, and all the rest.  The person I was at church was unrecognizable to the person I was all the other times.

This was my behavior until the Fall of 2001.  It was in the Fall that God sovereignly and graciously took me to the woodshed.  I am looking forward to telling that story next week.  When people hear my story they often ask if I wished I could go back and live those days differently.  Absolutely I wish I could take those years back now, but I can't.  There is nothing I can do about that however, I can use my past experiences to help others.  My past has made me who I am.  I would change my past if I could, but if I live in my past, I will be no good now.  As I have said on many occasions, don't let your past dictate your future.

Until Next Time,
JCH

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