Blessing Those Who Have Taught You or Your Child
The year is 1967. I’m a freshman in high school. This tall guy is Doug Barram. He shows up at our football PRACTICES. No one ever comes to freshman practices except coaches and a few cheerleaders who are paid. Except Young Life leaders. Doug is a former offensive tackle at Chico State. I find out he’s the local Young Life leader. I’ve never heard of Young Life. But what I soon learn is that this “old” guy (in his 30's then) was called to share with high school kids like me, the fact that Jesus was crazy about them. Even angry kids like me. Hurt from my father leaving years before. Kids headed exactly nowhere, except into more trouble, like I was.
The person I picked to write a blessing letter to this month – someone who blessed me as a teacher of God's word - but most of all what it means to really live out Jesus’ love - is Doug Barram. He was the first grown man I ever prayed with. (That was at Doug’s house, where you prayed for the food when you shared a meal with the Barram family – saying grace also being a first for me). He was a man who placed high value on kids like me – second string freshman football players from a single-parent home – as well as all the cool varsity football players he hung out with.
Doug shared each week at club about this guy named Jesus. Someone who had changed his life. Someone who could change our life as well - if we made that choice. It was Doug's amazing, Jesus-inspired love for kids - for ME - that led me to accept Jesus into my heart. And it was Doug who led my twin brother, Jeff, to Jesus, and who led my older brother, Joe, to the Lord, and who even led my mom to Christ. I think our cat may have even snuck into heaven! (Even though theologically there’s no evidence for that).
Every single person in our family came to a personal, saving, restoring, life-changing, this-life-and-beyond faith in Jesus because of the most relational, loving, encouraging, 6ft 4inch reflection of Jesus on the planet. At least in my mind and heart. Even after all these years, I’m picking Doug as the “teacher” who I’d like to honor with a blessing letter.
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