“You come near me and I’ll kill you!”
This past Sunday our church was blessed by the ministry, testimonies and fellowship of four representatives from Teen Challenge Atlantic.
Terry Branscombe, Development Officer of the Atlantic Men’s Centre shared with us the story of the ministry’s founder David Wilkerson.
Moved by a Life magazine image of seven New York gang members accused of murdering 16-yr-old, polio stricken Michael Farmer, Wilkerson drove eight hours to the courtroom in an attempt to speak with the boys.
Ousted by the judge, newspaper men lured Wilkerson into a pose they ravenously snapped up and spun to look sensational. But God turned their intentions inside out using their photo to launch the world-wide ministry that is Teen Challenge today.
“You come near me and I’ll kill you!” threatened Nicky Cruz, perhaps the toughest and bloodiest gang leader of his day.
“Yeah, you could do that,” the helpless Wilkerson replied. “You could cut me up into a thousand pieces and lay them in the street, and every piece will still love you.”*
Nicky had never encountered anything as powerful as such relentless love. Eventually he surrendered himself to Christ and experienced a marvelous transformation.
Love is like light. As light defeats darkness, so love triumphs over hate – every time. “Love never fails,” wrote Paul (1 Cor. 13:8). Nicky went on to surrender to Christ and founded Nicky Cruz Outreach.
His ministry website states this of his conversion,
… the love of God prevailed. It was stronger than any adversary Nicky had ever encountered. … Jesus Christ broke through the walls that surrounded Nicky’s heart. Nicky describes it as if he had been admitted to a Holy Ghost hospital. …Jesus walks to his side, opens Nicky’s chest, takes out his heart, and puts it to his lips to kiss it. The Lord then placed the transformed heart back into his chest and raises him up as a brand new creation.**
Never underestimate the Power and Penetration of God’s Love.
* David Wilkerson, The Cross and the Switchblade