So on this 15th anniversary, as we have done each year, we invite you to share how SOUND BITES has ministered to you and how you have used SOUND BITES to minister to others. Since SOUND BITES is now available via e-mail, blog, Facebook, and Twitter, you are welcome to respond through any of those means.
THE LEAST CAPABLE SPOKESMAN
I think often of a young man in his early teens whom Dr. Tony Campolo described in one of his messages. This boy was named Jerry, and he had been afflicted from birth with cerebral palsy. Jerry walked and talked with great difficulty, yet he came to a Christian summer camp where Dr. Campolo was the principal speaker. It was apparent from the first day that Jerry would be rejected by the other junior highers who immediately set about establishing a hierarchy of social power. An "in group" emerged, as it always does, composed mostly of the good-looking guys and the cute girls. They were far too sophisticated and selfish to mess around with a "cripple" -- a "loser" like Jerry. They were also rude to the other outcasts -- the kids who had been hurt and those who lacked confidence. They didn't stand a chance.
All week Dr. Campolo watched Jerry struggle to find his place. It was brutal to witness. The popular kids mocked the way he walked and talked. They would imitate his labored speech, saying "Whaaaaaaaat . . . tiiiimmmme . . . issssssss . . . ccrrrraaaaafffftttss . . . cclllaaaaasssss?" Then they would all laugh hysterically as though Jerry were deaf. At other times, they avoided him like a plague. Dr. Camplolo said he has never hated anyone in his life, but he came close to it in that instance -- seeing what those insensitive and cruel teenagers were doing to the spirit of one who had already suffered more than his share.
A service was held the final morning of the camp, during which the students were invited to give their testimonies about what Jesus Christ meant to them. One by one, the superstars came to the microphone -- the athletes, the cheerleaders, and the [other] popular kids. They delivered their little canned speeches, but there was no power in their witness. Their words were empty.
Then, as Dr. Campolo sat on the platform, he was startled to see Jerry making his way down the aisle from the back of the auditorium. The other students saw him too, and they began to whisper and point. Then a ripple of laughter passed over the crow. Ever so slowly, Jerry came to the platform and then carefully and painfully climbed the three stairs at the side. Finally, he reached the microphone. He stood for a moment looking at his peers, and then said with great effort, "I . . . looooovvvve . . . Jeeeeesssssuuuusss . . . aaannnndddddddd . . . Jeeeeeeeessssuuusssss . . . loooooovvvvvvesssssss . . . mmeeeeeeeeeee!" Then Jerry turned to make his long journey back to his seat.
Campolo said Jerry's simple testimony went through that crowd of teenagers like a bolt of lightning. His expression of love for God, despite the physical disability and the ridicule he had taken, exposed the sin and selfishness in their lives. They began streaming into the aisles and down to a place of prayer at the front. The Lord had used the least capable spokesman among all those teenagers to accomplish His purposes.
-- Dr. James Dobson in When God Doesn't Make Sense