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Hope and Encouragement For Teenagers!
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The Firefly Effect

By Ken Pierpont

My sweetest childhood memories are of simple things like the tire swing in the big oak out front, playing catch with my Dad, and swimming in the creek.  Another of those simple things was chasing fireflies on the lawn as night fell on a summer evening.  The bugs only had a small light but they were especially brilliant because of the dark backdrop of the night sky. 

Some lights guide us to safety like lights on a runway or lighthouses.  Lights can stir up feelings of warm security like the soft light falling out of your window at home reminding you that someone you love is waiting for you.  Lights can even have healing power, like the beam of light used in laser surgical operations.  When a ray of light is focused it can warm and heal or start a destroying fire.  There is an indescribable value to the light of a wood fire whether outdoors or burning on your own hearth.  Who doesn't love peering into the light of a campfire on a cool evening outdoors?

The culture in which we are raising our families is morally and spiritually very dark. We live in a time when the new lows of human depravity are being graphically displayed in media.  This is true all over the world and in almost every community on earth.  Not even isolated rural communities are exempt. 

The ways of God are ignored and the laws of God are violated by millions.   Morally and spiritually, we live in a dark hour.  We wrestle against the "rulers of the darkness of this age."  Spiritual light is as rare as it is beautiful.  Jesus told his followers to let their light so shine that men will see their good works and glorify their Father in heaven.  Paul said that those who do all things without complaining are blameless and harmless, children of God without fault in the midst of a crooked and perverse generation, among whom we shine as lights in the world, holding fast the word of life.

There is a principle, though, that warms the heart and gives hope to those who feel overwhelmed by the dark hour in which we live.  One way to state the principle is like this: "The darker the night the brighter the light shines."  Even the smallest light is noticeable if it is dark enough outside. That is what I like to call that "The Firefly Effect."  It makes me hopeful.

The spring of my seventeenth year I heard that there was a preacher at Immanuel Baptist Church in Arcanum, Ohio.  I got my Dad's powder blue VW Superbeetle and drove to the service.  I was hungry for truth and I wasn't turned away empty.  I don't remember the name of the guest preacher.  I do remember a number of the things he said.

One thing he said was, "The flower of youth never appears more beautiful than when it bends toward the Sun of Righteousness."

I have remembered that all my life.  I wish I remembered the name of the preacher who said it.  I just did a quick search on the wonderful internet and discovered that the quote was originally the work of Matthew Henry, an English divine who lived from 1662 to 1714.  So people have noticed outstanding young people throughout time.

I was interested to discover that I had remembered it exactly word-for-word even though that was nearly thirty years ago.  I still remember it and it is a timeless truth.  I have rarely spoken to a group of young people without reminding them of the truth.

When I was at Moody Bible Institute studying in the Graduate School, I heard   a story that touched my heart.  Mayor Daley once made this comment to Joe Stowell, the president of Moody, "In August, when the Moody students return to Chicago, its like the lights come on in the city."  That night, back in my room alone, I looked out over the great city all alight and considered the beauty of the analogy.

Once in conversation with Flint's Mayor James Rutherford he made a similar comment to me about the ministry of the Character Inn. He said, "We see your organization like the crown jewel of the downtown."  Imagine that, the Firefly Effect at work in Chicago and even in downtown Flint, Michigan.  Wherever on earth even the smallest light of faith exists, the deepest darkness cannot overcome it.  Darkness only serve the amplify the beauty of the light.

1 Peter 2:9  But you are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, His own special people, that you may proclaim the praises of Him who called you out of darkness into His marvelous light

Ken Pierpont

Write Ken and let him know your thoughts on his story!

Ken Pierpont is the Director of the Riverfront Character Inn and International Conference Center in Flint, Michgian.  He and his wife Lois have four sons and four daughters.  Ken sends the Stonebridge Newsletter, a free weekly electronic newsletter, to almost 5,000 subscribers every Monday morning.  You can visit his site or e-mail Ken at


Thought For The Day:

"The first rule of holes: When you're in one, stop digging ." --Molly Ivins

Verse for the Day:

"He lifted me out of the slimy pit...he set my feet on a rock and gave me a firm place to stand. he put a new song in my mouth, a hymn of praise to our God."--Psalm 40:2,3

Kid's Thought For The Day:

"You feel a lot braver the second time you jump out of the tree."

Parent's Thought For The Day

"Don't tell your two year old she's driving you nuts. She just might say, 'Mama nuts', to everyone she meets."--Jan Blaustone

Coach's Thought For The Day

"Coaches try to beat each other from the ears up."--George Allen, former NFL coach

Writer's Thought For The Day:

"The end result for a writer may be finding a publisher, but publishing is not anywhere near the beginning or the middle of this process. So when we advise young people about writing, it would be best if we could move students away from that kind of thinking and say, 'Write because you're passionate about it. Think of yourself as a glass blower. You don't blow your first glass and take it to Tiffany's. You blow your first glass, and you smash it. You blow it again, and you smash it.'" --Ann Patchett

Deep Thought For The Day:

"Old" is when your doctor doesn't give you x-rays anymore but just holds you up to the light.


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Video Imagery --Michael's Video Production Business

Dear Michael,

I just wanted to take a minute to thank you for the beautiful video you made for me! It was so special to see both of my parents in tears as they watched their children grow up in pictures before their eyes! I loved the way you made Estania's part set aside from the rest--that was the part that really got them! The music was beautiful. My mom kept blubbering, "What song is that?" I don't know how you did such a beautiful job with the video in such a short time. I really appreciate your doing it so quickly. You have a wonderful gift, and I thank God that you are using it to create such sentimental memories. I hope that I can find my niche like that in an area that I love. Your video gave us one of our most lasting Christmas memories! I hope yours was filled with moments to be treasured forever!
Silverhill, AL

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