"Keep alert. Be firm in your faith. Stay brave and strong. Show love in everything you do." 1 Corinthians 16:13-14 (CEV)

In the early Fifth-century, Telemachus, a young monk from Asia Minor (modern day Turkey) heard an "inner voice" beckoning him on mission. Telemachus traveled alone to Rome, one of the largest and busiest cities in the world. Upon his arrival, Telemachus noticed and followed the crowds to the Roman coliseum where he witnessed a horrific sight.

Two Gladiators were fiercely engaged in a battle to the death. Appalled by the cruelty and senselessness of this popular form of entertainment, Telemachus boldly walked out into their midst to separate them. Telemachus' size and stature paled in comparison to these ferocious warriors.

"In the name of Christ, stop!" he yelled. The fighting paused briefly. Telemachus screamed, "In the NAME of Christ, STOP!" Stunned, with weapons slightly lowered, the Gladiators paused in disbelief. A third and final time Telemachus lifted his arms and proclaimed at the top of his voice, "IN THE NAME OF CHRIST, STOP!"

History tells us Telemachus was martyred that day; either at the hand of the Gladiators or by an angry crowd. When Emperor Honorius heard of this noble sacrifice by a humble monk, he decreed that all such gladiatorial combat would cease immediately and permanently. Telemachus' story of personal courage and sacrifice reveals how God uses even a single individual to make such a profound difference.

Wherever young people are, whenever injury occurs, Youth for Christ leaders bring hope. We gather with individuals, families and communities as peacemakers and facilitators of communication. Regardless of language, culture or economics, every young person is precious, each one valued. Change is possible because of the Lord we serve.

We often find ourselves in the middle of situations requiring such courage. Many young people live in emotional war zones. Here we proclaim: "In the name of Christ, stop!" Healing cannot begin until injury ceases. We come alongside them in a court of law, or a hospital maternity ward, in a juvenile detention center, a rough neighborhood or on a school campus. Someone has to stand in the gap for them. Someone must rise up in response. Sin is never a victimless crime.

So, pray for the personal valor of a Telemachus when confronting that which is wrong. Be of good courage! Our words and actions proclaim a better way, full of grace and truth. God sends us into arenas of brokenness with compassion and strength as the Holy Spirit works in and through us. Paul reminds us: "Keep alert. Be firm in your faith. Stay brave and strong. Show love in everything you do." God's presence is certainly stronger than any challenge we face, even our own fear.

Jesus changes everything.

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