The Day Jesus Came to Youth Group (Part 1)

The worship set wouldn’t start for another fifteen minutes and the teens were eating the snack set up in the back of the youth room and standing around talking. Their youth pastor was telling his usual, not so funny jokes to a group of new freshman, the only ones who hadn’t yet heard his comedic charm.  As the talking began to die down and the countdown on the screen showed only three minutes till service would start, a large crowd of adult men walked in.

The youth pastor grew a bit nervous as he counted to himself , 1,2,3…11,12,13. Now he hadn’t recognized the first 12 who had walked in and headed straight for the snack table, but the 13th was unmistakable, it was Jesus! And the other 12 where of course his disciples. Before the youth pastor had a chance to get over his awe and walk over to greet him, Jesus came straight over and began to speak.

“Hello, John. How are you this evening?”

“Well, uhhhh, ummm, I’m fine.”

“That’s good. I was wondering if you wouldn’t mind giving me just a moment to speak to the teens in your youth group. I will keep it very short.”

“Well of course Jesus. Do you want to talk before or after we worship?”

“What do you mean?” Jesus asked. “Does worship ever end? Is it not within our hearts to constantly adore the Father who has given us life and everlasting love?”
Feeling quite chided, the youth pastor’s cheeks grew red as he answered, “I mean, I meant…before or after the praise songs.”
“Oh,” Jesus replied with a smirk on his face. “After will be fine. Nothing better than singing to my Dad.” Jesus’ eyes scanned toward the back of the room where the disciples were still greedily devouring the few remaining snacks. Jesus sighed and began to walk toward them. “I just can’t take these guys anywhere.”

After the praise songs had been sung, Pastor John got up and said, “Well guys, I don’t quite know how to make this introduction. But, the Lord of Lords, the King of Kings, Jesus Christ himself is here with us today! And he has asked to say a few words to you.”

Jesus walked up to the old music stand that served as a pulpit. He did not put down any notes, but began to quote from memory Matthew 7:1-5, “Do not judge or you to will be judged. For in the same way you judge others, you will be judged, and with the measure you use, it will be measured to you. Why do you look at the speck of sawdust in your brother’s eye and pay no attention to the plank in your own eye? How can you say to your brother, ‘Let me take the speck out of your eye,’ when all the time there is a plank in your own eye? You hypocrite, first take the plank out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to remove the speck from your brother’s eye.”

He continued, “You come here on Sunday mornings, Sunday evenings, and Wednesday. You read the Gospels that tell you of my words. You talk about love, love, love. Yet, the only ones you seem to love are those who are just like you, and this is only in small proportion to how much you love yourselves. How can you read my words time and again and not see that I loved the tax collectors, the lepers, the sinners, the promiscuous, the outcasts.”

With that, Jesus went and took a seat in the first row of chairs, took out his iPhone and began texting. All eyes were on him, waiting for him to say something more. But he just sat. Pastor John knew he had to do something. He couldn’t allow Jesus to only say such scathing remarks to his teens. They would be offended.

He went and sat in an empty seat next to Jesus and whispered, “Um, Jesus. I’m not trying to tell you what to do here. I mean, I get the whole Son of God thing and all, and I know you know better than me. But, um, well you were really hard on these guys. I mean they are just teens and all. Do you think, just maybe, you could say a few uplifting words to them before you go?”

Jesus looked up at the youth pastor. He saw into his heart. He knew he meant well and he spoke to Jesus out of genuine love for his flock. Jesus set down his cell phone and walked back to the front.

“Let me tell you a story,” Jesus began.

 

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Courtney pulled on her black leggings and then put on a gray sweater, turned around and looked in the mirror. Nope, not long enough. She took it off and tried on a pink one. She tugged at the bottom a bit. At least an inch or two past her butt, should do. She knew it first had to pass the inspection of her mother as she left the house and then any of the teachers who actually cared about the new dress code policy the school had initiated that year.

She went down to the kitchen and grabbed a granola bar, a banana and a bottle of water and started to head out the door.

“Is that all you’re gonna eat for breakfast, honey,” her mom asked as she fixed pancakes for Courtney’s younger brother and sister.

“Yeah, mom. I’m in a hurry. I need to be to school early for a study session in History class. It seems to be Mr. Jones’ mission in life to destroy as many students’ GPAs as possible before he retires.”

“Okay, well just wait to eat that till you get there. I don’t like you eating and driving.”

“Yes mom,” answered Courtney with mock concern. “And I will make sure my hands are at 10 and 2 the whole way there.”

Mom chuckled and then added, “And isn’t that sweater a bit short to be wearing with those leggings?”

“It covers my butt. I checked it.”
“Yeah, as long as you don’t bend down, walk quickly or happen to be outside when there is a gentle breeze.”

“Ha ha, mom. The new rule clearly states that if a student wears leggings he/she must wear a shirt that completely covers his/her bottom. My bottom is completely covered.”

“You know what. You are a junior in high school. You drive yourself to school. You have a job. I guess you are old enough to figure out if your clothes are in dress code or not. But, if there is a consequence at school, you’re on your own.”

It seemed her mom had finished and Courtney started to head back to the door, but just as she opened it her mom added, “I mean, I’m not so sure you’d wear that outfit if Jesus were in the room. I’m just sayin.”

Mom’s favorite, Courtney thought to herself. The catch all. Would you do, say, watch, act like, treat your brother and sister that way, and now of course, wear that, if Jesus were in the room.

Not to be deterred, Courtney answered over her shoulder as she walked out the door, “Jesus is okay with my outfit. I asked him this morning while I was upstairs. Love you mom, see you after school.”  

 

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As Courtney parked her car in the student parking lot she saw her friend Ashley pulling up. She waited for her to park and the two girls walked in together.

“Mr. Jones is just ridiculous,” complained Ashley as the two girls walked toward the building. “All this, ‘I’m just trying to prepare you for college’ crap. Give me a break. His wife left him last year and now he is bitter and has way too much time on his hand. A bad combination.”

“Seriously,” Courtney agreed. “Get a life. Go to the movies. Go on a date. Do something other than stay up all night dreaming up ways to make your students’ lives miserable creating more unnecessary work.”

As they neared the door, a boy came racing past them and opened the door. “Let me get that for you,” Donald said, clearly nervous and almost dropping the large pile of books he now tried to balance in one hand while opening the door with the other. “Two lovely ladies like yourselves should always have the door held for them.”

“Yeah, okay, thanks Donald,” Ashley said not hiding her irritation.

“Ya know, Donald, it is 2015, most girls really don’t mind pulling the handle of the big heavy door and walking through it them self,” added Courtney.

The girls walked quickly through the door and headed toward Mr. Jones’ room.  Donald, who struggled more than a bit in taking social cues, quickened his step to keep up with the girls.

“Ummm, sorry, I just thought…” Donald’s apology trailed off and he decided to give it another try. “So, Mr. Jones sure is laying it on thick this year. These study sessions are the only way I can keep up.”
“Really, Donald give me a break,” answered Courtney. “What’s your GPA, like a 5.9?”

Ashley decided the subtle hints weren’t worked with Donald and said, “We’re gonna stop in the restroom on the way to class, can you maybe not follow us into there.”

Donald’s head dropped as he slowed his pace to continue down the hall. “Yeah, sorry. Didn’t mean to bother you. Sees ya in class.”

As the two girls entered the restroom, Ashley continued the verbal assault. “Seriously, that guy is something. He could get straight A’s in his sleep. His in #1 in our class. I think the only reason he is here for the study session is because he actually likes to be in this building and wanted to get in as early as he could. And you know the only reason that dork held the door for us was so he could look at our asses while we walked by.”

“Butts, Ashley, butts,” corrected Courtney. “You know I don’t like the foul language.”

“Whatever, Ms. Church Girl.”

“Well,” Courtney added laughing. “At least he got a nice view, because I know my back side looks good in these leggings.”

The girls were still having a good laugh at Donald’s expense as they left the restroom and walked down the hall to the study session.

 

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Courtney sat alone picking at a salad in the lunchroom and waiting for her boyfriend Derek to come in. The lettuce in the salad was on the verge of turning brown and she counted a grand total of three pieces of chicken, but out of the options the cafeteria offered, it was the best she could do.  As she sat there lost in her own thoughts, a commotion from the corner of the cafeteria nearest where she sat startled her.

“We’re gonna crush ‘em tonight!” yelled Brad, the running back and team captain of the football team.

“We’re gonna hit ‘em so hard they are gonna wish the game only had two quarters,” Marcus, a lineman, chimed in oh so intelligently.

Sounds that were somewhere between grunting and barking could now be clearly heard from the huddle of barbarian football players getting themselves amped up for tonight’s game.

What idiots, Courtney thought to herself. God I know you are a lot smarter than me, but it seems like the world would be a little bit better place if you hadn’t allowed those guys to be created.

“And what do you say Bo!” Brad screamed trying to draw in the star quarterback; who seemed to be trying to keep just enough distance to not be a part of the commotion, but not too much distance to offend his teammates.

“I’m sure we’ll win tonight, Brad,” answered Bo in a voice much quieter than the other players.

And there is the worst of all, humble, quiet Bo. Courtney’s thoughts continuing to throw daggers at the group of jocks, but now specifically honing in on Bo. Gets all the glory of being the quarterback. But, stays just to the edge of all the other players. I can see right through his pious act. It’s just his way of bragging. Look at me, not only am I a the best quarterback in the conference, but I’m just a quiet, down to Earth guy. Yeah right!

“That better not be all you got!” Brad fired back.

Bo sighed, and raised his voice just slightly, and without much conviction said, “We’re gonna destroy them tonight!”

“Yeah, that’s right!” all the guys screamed and their voices turned into a loud chorus of “Whose house? Bear’s house!” The Brawling Bears being the high school’s mascot.

As the yelling grew louder Courtney noticed Bo slowly backing away from the group. Good grief, she thought. None of these guys will ever amount to anything more than a bunch of townies. I can just see them now. All in their mid 40s, sitting around at a the run-down diner talking about their “glory days.” And look, there’s Bo. He’s the one serving the coffee!

The thought of Bo in an apron handing out mugs of coffee to pot bellied, balding, former football players made Courtney chuckle to herself.

 

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“What ya laughing at babe?” Derek asked as he gave Courtney a kiss on the cheek and sat down beside her.

“Oh nothing, just thinking about the wonderful future those buffoons in the corner are going to have once they are no longer star high school athletes.

“And look who’s joining them now,” Derek said.

Over to the chanting, grunting, screaming crowd of players, strutted Cassie. Being gameday she was of course dressed in her cheerleading uniform with a skirt that showed just how long her legs were.

Courtney snorted, “Yeah, I have to wear a shirt that covers my butt completely when I wear leggings, but she can wear a skirt that hardly covers her.”

“Yeah,” agreed Derek. “If you are in any way a part of the athletic program here at the amazing intellectual intuition of Morrisville High you can pretty much get away with murder.”

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“Wow, Cass, I can’t get over how good you look in your uniform,” one of the not so subtle jocks told her.

Cassie giggled and rubbed her hand over his chest, “And you look so strong in your jersey, Tyler. You gonna catch a touchdown for me tonight?”

“I’ll catch two,” he answered grinning.

“That’s cool, you go ahead and score for her. I’m trying to score with her,” another player threw in, laughing loudly at his own joke.

Cassie didn’t even seem to blush at the comment, but just giggled and flipped her hair.

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“She is such a slut,” Courtney told Derek.

“They say she spends more time on her back than Michelangelo painting the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel,” Derek added.
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“Come on, show us some of that Brawlin’ Bear pride, Cass. You know it’s our good luck charm,” Brad coaxed.

Cassie giggled again, flipped up her skirt in back, and sure enough there on the spankies, right on Cassie’s derriere, was the picture of a bear in boxing gloves. The players performed their weekly ritual, each either giving Cassie’s backside a little slap or pinch. And although, her giggles continued throughout the ceremony, they seemed to grow a little more forced with each groping from the jocks.

 

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“Whore,” Courtney’s hissed.

“Oh, forget about her. Let’s talk about something else,” Derek said.

“Okay, what do you want to talk about?”
As Derek began to speak, his hand began to slowly run up from where it had been sitting on Courtney’s knee to her thigh. “Well, like, what we are going to do after the football game.”

“What did you have in mind?”

“Well, my parents are out of town this weekend. So, I thought maybe after we go to the football game, you might want to come over and hang out.

“Derek,” Courtney replied grabbing his hand that was getting dangerously close to an area past her leg completely. “You know I am waiting till I get married to have sex.”

“I know,” said Derek sliding his hand out of Cassie’s and continuing his attempt upward. “But, we could do some of the stuff we did that night in your basement when your parents had fallen asleep upstairs watching a movie. And maybe try a few new things. There are lots of things besides sex, you know.”

Courtney giggled as Derek’s hand finally reached its destination and she answered, “Sounds good to me. I will just tell my mom I am going over to Ashley’s after the game.”

With their plans set, the bell rang. Derek walked Courtney to class and Bo, the only player to not have his hands on her Brawling Bear emblem, walked Cassie to class.

 

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Courtney went into her last class of the day, Biology. She hated biology. The only thing that made the class bearable was that Ashley was in there with her. She slumped down in a seat near the back with Ashley to her right. To her left sat Allison. Allison wore all black, sported hot pink hair and had more piercings in her ears, nose, eyebrows and tongue than seemed humanly possible.

The bell rang and Mr. Becket, always prompt, began his lecture immediately. “Today, class, we will be looking at how both dominant traits and recessive traits are contributing factors in offspring.”

Ashley and Courtney looked at each other and rolled her eyes.  Ashley shot a glance at Allison, who seemed to be genuinely interested in Mr. Becket, and smirked. She took out a piece of paper, wrote a note and passed it to Courtney.

Courtney opened the note and read it, Do you think it was the dominant or recessive trait that gave Allison pink hair.

Courtney wrote back, I’m not sure, but with Halloween coming up it must be nice not to have to buy a costume.

Both girls laughed at this. And while stifled enough not to catch Mr. Becket’s attention, it was loud enough to draw a glance from Allison. And when Ashley passed back a note back that said FREAK in large, squiggly red letters and pictured Allison riding a witch’s broom, Allison was watching. She shot Courtney and Ashley both a piercing look, but somewhere just behind the death stare their seemed to be a trace of moisture.

 

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Courtney got home two minutes before curfew that night, feeling pretty lousy. She had taken things even a step further than last time with Derek and wasn’t feeling particularly great about it. Not to mention that she had lied to her mom and told her she was at Ashley’s. With all this on her mind, and a terrible headache, she was really not in the mood to make small talk.

Courtney took off her shoes as she as she came through the door and attempted to tip toe her way through the living room, where her ever devoted mother slept. She would never go up to bed until Courtney was home safe and sound. But, she never could actually quite keep awake, so it made her feel better to at least be downstairs when Courtney got home, even if she was off in dream land.

As Courtney carefully tiptoed past the couch and was nearly to the stairs, she

happened upon a squeaky floor board. Her mom sat up and rubbed her eyes, looked down at her watch and smiled, “Just in the nick of time, huh honey.  How was Ashley’s.”

“Good mom. But, my head is really hurting. I am going to take some Tylenol and get to bed.”

“Okay, sweetie. Maybe we can eat breakfast together in the morning and I can get a little more detail than ‘good.’”

“Sure, mom. Sounds great.”

“Hope your head feel better Courtney. Love you honey.”

“Love you mom. Good night.”

Courtney went upstairs and took some Tylenol and got in her pajamas. As she laid down her head was still pounding. She tossed and turned trying to find a position where her head would feel a little bit better, but it was no use. Finally, exhausted, head still throbbing, she fell asleep.

As Courtney lay sleeping, she woke suddenly in a fright. She thought she heard something that sounded like lots of people talking at once. So many that it was impossible to hear what they were saying. She looked around her room. She was alone. All was okay. Must have been a nightmare. But, man, did her head still ache.

She laid her head gingerly back onto the pillow. And even with the pain, she quickly fell back to sleep.

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