• Stefan Youngblood

Trading Cards and Trading Places


My son found a huge collection of his old basketball trading cards in our shed the other day. He had them catalogued in mint condition. His fiancé jokingly suggested he sell the book for $25 to help pay for their wedding. He’s smart, so my offer of $50 didn’t fly. He wanted to see what they were worth…so he Googled a few. First card, $20. I raised my offer to $100 for the whole collection. Then $500. I wasn’t serious of course, because if he did say yes I was prepared to ask him if I could borrow $500.

I can’t say exactly what my “worst” was, as at times I seem to outdo myself, but certainly a few days in 2004 were a low point. My value never changed, but my understanding of His love did…dramatically. Exactly 10 years ago today:

~ March 12th 2004 – Final Evening concert following a week of teaching at Emmaus University in Romania.

~ March 13th 2004 – Return to Raleigh with one book in my hand. “Next Door Savior” by Max Lucado. Through many tears I finished it on the plane. The chapter called “The Trashman” described me.  One day later, I was to board a plane to a detox hospital in Tampa Florida in hopes of dealing with a dependency on pain meds.

~ March 14th 2004 – Arrived with friend and accountability partner Gavin Murray (he flew from Alaska to meet me), at Florida Detox in Tampa Florida. Hopelessness, despair and condemnation my other 3 companions. Hospital chaplain Dr Butz, (can’t forget that name) looks me in the eyes and says, “Stefan, there is now no condemnation for those in Christ Jesus.”

~ March 15th 2004 – A complete miraculous healing and 100% deliverance from this chemical dependency (From 21 pills a day to 0…in  24 hours). Gavin and I go out to the parking lot and and smash under our feet every last pill I had left. Victory in Jesus! I’ll never forget the sight of bondage broken, sin conquered as we saw those pills crushed.

Today, 10 years later I can only say, “Praise God” for second chances and new beginnings, and “Thank You Jesus” for those who never gave up on me. They’ve shown me that there is more power in sharing our weakness than in sharing our strengths. The forgiveness and love of God is gratuitous and unconditional, offering freedom from the domination of guilt. One writer states, “the sinful and repentant prodigal son experienced in intimacy and joy with his Father in his brokenness that the sinless self-righteous brother would never know.”

I saw a sign recently that read, “God will not look you over for medals, diplomas, or honors, but for scars.” I have a few scars and I don’t mind showing them if they help someone see the love of God in Jesus Christ. We are so “worth it all” that His thoughts toward us outnumber the stars.

Oh, the basketball cards. Justin’s keeping those. As for you and I, maybe reading the Gospel of John again this Easter season will remind us of God’s sacrificial love. To God alone be the glory! I can’t say exactly what my “worst” was, as at times I seem to outdo myself, but certainly a few days in 2004 were a low point. My value never changed, but my understanding of His love did…dramatically. Exactly 10 years ago today: ~ March 12th 2004 – Final Evening concert following a week of teaching at Emmaus University in Romania.

~ March 13th 2004 – Return to Raleigh with one book in my hand. “Next Door Savior” by Max Lucado. Through many tears I finished it on the plane. The chapter called “The Trashman” described me.  One day later, I was to board a plane to a detox hospital in Tampa Florida in hopes of dealing with a dependency on pain meds.

~ March 14th 2004 – Arrived with friend and accountability partner Gavin Murray (he flew from Alaska to meet me), at Florida Detox in Tampa Florida. Hopelessness, despair and condemnation my other 3 companions. Hospital chaplain Dr Butz, (can’t forget that name) looks me in the eyes and says, “Stefan, there is now no condemnation for those in Christ Jesus.”

~ March 15th 2004 – A complete miraculous healing and 100% deliverance from this chemical dependency (From 21 pills a day to 0…in  24 hours). Gavin and I go out to the parking lot and and smash under our feet every last pill I had left. Victory in Jesus! I’ll never forget the sight of bondage broken, sin conquered as we saw those pills crushed.

Today, 10 years later I can only say, “Praise God” for second chances and new beginnings, and “Thank You Jesus” for those who never gave up on me. They’ve shown me that there is more power in sharing our weakness than in sharing our strengths. The forgiveness and love of God is gratuitous and unconditional, offering freedom from the domination of guilt. One writer states, “the sinful and repentant prodigal son experienced in intimacy and joy with his Father in his brokenness that the sinless self-righteous brother would never know.”

I saw a sign recently that read, “God will not look you over for medals, diplomas, or honors, but for scars.” I have a few scars and I don’t mind showing them if they help someone see the love of God in Jesus Christ. We are so “worth it all” that His thoughts toward us outnumber the stars.

Oh, the basketball cards. Justin’s keeping those. As for you and I, maybe reading the Gospel of John again this Easter season will remind us of God’s sacrificial love. To God alone be the glory! ~ March 12th 2004 – Final Evening concert following a week of teaching at Emmaus University in Romania. ~ March 13th 2004 – Return to Raleigh with one book in my hand. “Next Door Savior” by Max Lucado. Through many tears I finished it on the plane. The chapter called “The Trashman” described me.  One day later, I was to board a plane to a detox hospital in Tampa Florida in hopes of dealing with a dependency on pain meds.

~ March 14th 2004 – Arrived with friend and accountability partner Gavin Murray (he flew from Alaska to meet me), at Florida Detox in Tampa Florida. Hopelessness, despair and condemnation my other 3 companions. Hospital chaplain Dr Butz, (can’t forget that name) looks me in the eyes and says, “Stefan, there is now no condemnation for those in Christ Jesus.”

~ March 15th 2004 – A complete miraculous healing and 100% deliverance from this chemical dependency (From 21 pills a day to 0…in  24 hours). Gavin and I go out to the parking lot and and smash under our feet every last pill I had left. Victory in Jesus! I’ll never forget the sight of bondage broken, sin conquered as we saw those pills crushed.

Today, 10 years later I can only say, “Praise God” for second chances and new beginnings, and “Thank You Jesus” for those who never gave up on me. They’ve shown me that there is more power in sharing our weakness than in sharing our strengths. The forgiveness and love of God is gratuitous and unconditional, offering freedom from the domination of guilt. One writer states, “the sinful and repentant prodigal son experienced in intimacy and joy with his Father in his brokenness that the sinless self-righteous brother would never know.”

I saw a sign recently that read, “God will not look you over for medals, diplomas, or honors, but for scars.” I have a few scars and I don’t mind showing them if they help someone see the love of God in Jesus Christ. We are so “worth it all” that His thoughts toward us outnumber the stars.

Oh, the basketball cards. Justin’s keeping those. As for you and I, maybe reading the Gospel of John again this Easter season will remind us of God’s sacrificial love. To God alone be the glory! ~ March 13th 2004 – Return to Raleigh with one book in my hand. “Next Door Savior” by Max Lucado. Through many tears I finished it on the plane. The chapter called “The Trashman” described me.  One day later, I was to board a plane to a detox hospital in Tampa Florida in hopes of dealing with a dependency on pain meds. ~ March 14th 2004 – Arrived with friend and accountability partner Gavin Murray (he flew from Alaska to meet me), at Florida Detox in Tampa Florida. Hopelessness, despair and condemnation my other 3 companions. Hospital chaplain Dr Butz, (can’t forget that name) looks me in the eyes and says, “Stefan, there is now no condemnation for those in Christ Jesus.”

~ March 15th 2004 – A complete miraculous healing and 100% deliverance from this chemical dependency (From 21 pills a day to 0…in  24 hours). Gavin and I go out to the parking lot and and smash under our feet every last pill I had left. Victory in Jesus! I’ll never forget the sight of bondage broken, sin conquered as we saw those pills crushed.

Today, 10 years later I can only say, “Praise God” for second chances and new beginnings, and “Thank You Jesus” for those who never gave up on me. They’ve shown me that there is more power in sharing our weakness than in sharing our strengths. The forgiveness and love of God is gratuitous and unconditional, offering freedom from the domination of guilt. One writer states, “the sinful and repentant prodigal son experienced in intimacy and joy with his Father in his brokenness that the sinless self-righteous brother would never know.”

I saw a sign recently that read, “God will not look you over for medals, diplomas, or honors, but for scars.” I have a few scars and I don’t mind showing them if they help someone see the love of God in Jesus Christ. We are so “worth it all” that His thoughts toward us outnumber the stars.

Oh, the basketball cards. Justin’s keeping those. As for you and I, maybe reading the Gospel of John again this Easter season will remind us of God’s sacrificial love. To God alone be the glory! ~ March 14th 2004 – Arrived with friend and accountability partner Gavin Murray (he flew from Alaska to meet me), at Florida Detox in Tampa Florida. Hopelessness, despair and condemnation my other 3 companions. Hospital chaplain Dr Butz, (can’t forget that name) looks me in the eyes and says, “Stefan, there is now no condemnation for those in Christ Jesus.” ~ March 15th 2004 – A complete miraculous healing and 100% deliverance from this chemical dependency (From 21 pills a day to 0…in  24 hours). Gavin and I go out to the parking lot and and smash under our feet every last pill I had left. Victory in Jesus! I’ll never forget the sight of bondage broken, sin conquered as we saw those pills crushed.

Today, 10 years later I can only say, “Praise God” for second chances and new beginnings, and “Thank You Jesus” for those who never gave up on me. They’ve shown me that there is more power in sharing our weakness than in sharing our strengths. The forgiveness and love of God is gratuitous and unconditional, offering freedom from the domination of guilt. One writer states, “the sinful and repentant prodigal son experienced in intimacy and joy with his Father in his brokenness that the sinless self-righteous brother would never know.”

I saw a sign recently that read, “God will not look you over for medals, diplomas, or honors, but for scars.” I have a few scars and I don’t mind showing them if they help someone see the love of God in Jesus Christ. We are so “worth it all” that His thoughts toward us outnumber the stars.

Oh, the basketball cards. Justin’s keeping those. As for you and I, maybe reading the Gospel of John again this Easter season will remind us of God’s sacrificial love. To God alone be the glory! ~ March 15th 2004 – A complete miraculous healing and 100% deliverance from this chemical dependency (From 21 pills a day to 0…in  24 hours). Gavin and I go out to the parking lot and and smash under our feet every last pill I had left. Victory in Jesus! I’ll never forget the sight of bondage broken, sin conquered as we saw those pills crushed. Today, 10 years later I can only say, “Praise God” for second chances and new beginnings, and “Thank You Jesus” for those who never gave up on me. They’ve shown me that there is more power in sharing our weakness than in sharing our strengths. The forgiveness and love of God is gratuitous and unconditional, offering freedom from the domination of guilt. One writer states, “the sinful and repentant prodigal son experienced in intimacy and joy with his Father in his brokenness that the sinless self-righteous brother would never know.”

I saw a sign recently that read, “God will not look you over for medals, diplomas, or honors, but for scars.” I have a few scars and I don’t mind showing them if they help someone see the love of God in Jesus Christ. We are so “worth it all” that His thoughts toward us outnumber the stars.

Oh, the basketball cards. Justin’s keeping those. As for you and I, maybe reading the Gospel of John again this Easter season will remind us of God’s sacrificial love. To God alone be the glory! Today, 10 years later I can only say, “Praise God” for second chances and new beginnings, and “Thank You Jesus” for those who never gave up on me. They’ve shown me that there is more power in sharing our weakness than in sharing our strengths. The forgiveness and love of God is gratuitous and unconditional, offering freedom from the domination of guilt. One writer states, “the sinful and repentant prodigal son experienced in intimacy and joy with his Father in his brokenness that the sinless self-righteous brother would never know.” I saw a sign recently that read, “God will not look you over for medals, diplomas, or honors, but for scars.” I have a few scars and I don’t mind showing them if they help someone see the love of God in Jesus Christ. We are so “worth it all” that His thoughts toward us outnumber the stars.

Oh, the basketball cards. Justin’s keeping those. As for you and I, maybe reading the Gospel of John again this Easter season will remind us of God’s sacrificial love. To God alone be the glory! I saw a sign recently that read, “God will not look you over for medals, diplomas, or honors, but for scars.” I have a few scars and I don’t mind showing them if they help someone see the love of God in Jesus Christ. We are so “worth it all” that His thoughts toward us outnumber the stars. Oh, the basketball cards. Justin’s keeping those. As for you and I, maybe reading the Gospel of John again this Easter season will remind us of God’s sacrificial love. To God alone be the glory! Oh, the basketball cards. Justin’s keeping those. As for you and I, maybe reading the Gospel of John again this Easter season will remind us of God’s sacrificial love. To God alone be the glory!

Google and Ebay may work for trading cards, but what about us? What’s a life worth? If we were to consider the Bible the finite resource in determining our value, we would find in it that God considered us so “valuable” that He paid the highest price…His Son Jesus. In fact, at your worst, Christ loved you…infinitely. While we were yet sinners Christ died for us.

There’s no place like HOPE,

Stefan

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