By Jason & Joy Huber
Since coming to Gateway, first in the pregnant teen Oak House, and subsequently in the co-ed Pine House, there has been a passage of Scripture that has served as the impetus for the ministry where God called us in March of 2012. It is found in 2 Corinthians 5:14-20.
"14 For the love of Christ constraineth (also translated “compels”) us; because we thus judge, that if one died for all, then were all dead: 15 And that he died for all, that they which live should not henceforth live unto themselves, but unto him which died for them, and rose again. 16 Wherefore henceforth know we no man after the flesh: yea, though we have known Christ after the flesh, yet now henceforth know we him no more. 17 Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new. 18 And all things are of God, who hath reconciled us to himself by Jesus Christ, and hath given to us the ministry of reconciliation; 19 To wit, that God was in Christ, reconciling the world unto himself, not imputing their trespasses unto them; and hath committed unto us the word of reconciliation. 20 Now then we are ambassadors for Christ, as though God did beseech you by us: we pray you in Christ’s stead, be ye reconciled to God."
Jesus’s love is what “compels” us (v. 14) to share the simple message of the Gospel, which is good news to the core. “Compels” can mean to guide, unify, or motivate – all essential ingredients for the mission field. Whether we are caught in the drama of a teen mom who so desperately wants to start a new life but feels a cemented bond to the father of her baby…or, we are trying to rescue a young man caught up in an inner city gang who knows no other escape than to drink alcohol and smoke marijuana to numb his pain– the Gospel is for “all” since “one died for all” (v. 15).
Teens are prone to orient their world view around “the self.” They are busy trying to figure out their own identity and what will make them happy in the moment. We urge them to focus on Christ’s love demonstrated by his death “for them” (v. 15) personally. This begs the question: Because of what God in His Son, Jesus, did for me, why would I ever want to live for myself? What often brings young men and women to Gateway are the catastrophic consequences of living to please self rather than their Creator who created them to live in His image, instead. Their life purpose is often distorted or misdirected.
The only way for a new start for these young men and women’s self-destructive lives is to believe the promise: “Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new” (v. 17). These teens don’t need greater self-esteem, or a new identity – they need a complete regeneration by the Holy Spirit so that all things, regardless of their struggle, become new.
The amazing thing about being called as missionaries is that God reconciled us to Christ so that He could not only save us, but also give us the ministry (or task) of reconciliation. It is astounding that God uses us, with all of our own struggles with sin and all of our flaws, to reach lost teens with His ministry of reconciliation.
The incredible truth about The Gospel is that, because God reconciled the world to Himself through Christ, He does not have to count these teens’ sins, or our sins, against us (v. 19). In fact, through simple faith, we don’t need to count our sins against ourselves or count the sins of the young men and women we work with. This is the Good News! Hallelujah! All the praise and glory belongs to Jesus! Please pray for all of us at Gateway that we would be committed to what Jesus has committed to us – the message (word, v. 19) and ministry of reconciliation to Christ (v. 18).
If we have been called to be disciples of Jesus Christ, we have all been summoned to be Christ’s ambassadors (v. 20) meaning that Jesus is making a strong appeal to us to beg those who are lost in the deadness of their sin to be reconciled (come into agreement) with God about their sin and trust Jesus as Savior and Lord. Our single mission as houseparents at Gateway Woods is to continually urge and beg young men and women to come into intimate fellowship with God the Father and be saved and sanctified by His grace.