In total transparency, I have always struggled with feeling valued. From an early age, my dad would constantly berate me with comments about being a loser or a waste of life. He would physically abuse me if I didn’t perform well in baseball. My mother was so young she didn’t know how to raise me, and was trapped in an abusive relationship.

One day my grandpa came and told me to quickly grab all of my belongings. I remember being excited knowing I was leaving this broken home and going to live with my grandparents.

I love my grandparents and I’m forever thankful for their impact on my life. That being said, I still searched for something. I tried to find the value I never experienced. I began searching in all the wrong places. I found myself drinking and doing drugs in the sixth grade. Things only progressed in junior high and reached their height in high school. I was a mess.

I kept blindly searching for value. Nothing changed until my high school history teacher shared Jesus with me. I became interested and eventually attended church. I remember sitting in the back and hearing the pastor preach the gospel. I began to cry and finally accepted everything I had been searching for is only found in Christ.

Read Luke‬ ‭15‬:‭4‬-‭7‬ ‭ESV‬‬

It seems crazy that the shepherd would be willing to leave 99 sheep to go search for just one. Yet the shepherd knew that the 99 would be safe in the sheepfold, whereas the lost sheep was in danger. The shepherd knew how valuable the sheep was, and God knows how valuable you are.

The beautiful truth is God loves each individual so much that he seeks out each one and rejoices when he or she is found. Our God tenderly searches for sinners and then joyfully forgives them because he loves them! This kind of love prompted Jesus to come to earth to search for lost people and save them. God wants to give this kind of extraordinary love to you.

Spend some time reflecting on the moment you accepted Christ as your Savior. How did you feel at that moment? What changed in your life?

Jesus left the 99 for the 1. Who is the “one” that you want to see accept Christ? Commit to praying the next six weeks for their softened heart!

J.T. Martinez
High School Pastor

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