Recommend to a Friend

  How to Use This Site

  Family Articles
  Homeschool Articles
  Devotional Articles
  Books, Movies, TV
  Curriculum, Software
  & Product Reviews
  Not Just For Kids:
  Mini Unit Studies

  Books & Resources
  Articles & Reviews
  Lists & Outlines
  Freebies & Printables
  Money-Saving Tips
  Homeschool News
  Famous People
  Homeschool Patriots
  Homeschooling in AZ

  First Grade
  Second Grade
  Third Grade
  Fourth Grade
  Fifth Grade
  Sixth Grade
  Seventh Grade
  Eighth Grade
  High School

  Art & Music
  Language Arts
  Social Studies
  World History
  American History
  General Science
  Earth Science
  Life Science
  Astronomy & Space
  Foreign Languages
  Health & P.E.
  Other Subjects

  Education & Learning
  Computers & Software
  Online Courses
  Kids Links
  Teen Links
  Home & Family
  Patriotic Links
  Christian Sites
  Ministries & Charities

  Author Bio
  Order Form

  Citizens Rule Book
  Learning for Life
  God Created You
  Captain Dad
  Abraham Lincoln:
  The Boy, The Man
  The Nativity Story
  Ebooks & Downloads

  Family Mission
  Homeschool Mission
  Statement of Faith
  Children & The Internet
  Review Guidelines
  Favored Merchants
  Awards & Praises
  Web Rings


Made with Notepad

Do not steal content from this page. Plagiarism detected by Copyscape.

"By wisdom a house is built, and by understanding it is established; and by knowledge
the rooms are filled with all precious and pleasant riches." ~Proverbs 24:3-4

The Cross and the Switchblade

When I heard that Rev. David Wilkerson, founder of the Teen Challenge ministry and Times Square Church, had died on April 27, 2011, I realized that I’d never read his book The Cross and the Switchblade. It was one of those books that had been in our bookcase for years, and which I always meant to “get around to.” So finally as my own personal tribute in memory of Rev. Wilkerson, I decided to take a look his book. I’m just sorry that it took me so long.

Once I started reading, Wilkerson’s narrative drew me in and wouldn’t let me go. I read half of it in one night and finished the rest the next afternoon. The fact that it’s a true story makes it all the more compelling. The book is a great testimony to what untold miracles can happen when we step out of our comfort zones and go out on a limb for God. Although Wilkerson must have been in danger at times while walking the inner-city streets at night, God was obviously watching out for him.

Rev. Wilkerson had been serving as a pastor at a small church in Pennsylvania, when during his daily prayer time he happened to glance at a photograph in LIFE magazine of seven New York City teenagers charged with murder. He felt the Holy Spirit move him with compassion, and he was drawn to go to New York in February 1958. The Cross and the Switchblade tells the true story of Wilkerson's first five years in New York City, where he began a street ministry for disillusioned youth while encouraging them to turn away from drugs and gang violence.

It’s amazing to see how a leader of one of the more notorious gangs converted to Christianity, turned in his weapons, and went off to Bible College. Nicky Cruz is now a world-renowned Christian evangelist and the founder of Nicky Cruz Outreach. At one time he also served as the director of Teen Challenge under David Wilkerson. In the forty years that have passed since coming to Christ, Nicky Cruz has ministered around the world, reaching thousands of inner-city gang members by relating to them from his own experience. He also speaks to hurting people in all walks of life.

The Cross and the Switchblade shows how Jesus can transform anyone, even a hardened gang member. It's easy to pass judgment on street teens, gang-bangers, and drug addicts when you're on the outside looking at them from a distance. But Wilkerson provides the inside details that explain the family backgrounds and what drives teens to live on the streets. As a result, this book broadened my insight, giving me a whole new perspective on troubled teens. They really do long for a fresh start, hoping for a u-turn in their lives, but they have become trapped in the error of their ways. They need someone to help break them out from the grip of sin they’re in so they can see the light of Jesus Christ.

As the events unfold in The Cross and the Switchblade, it becomes clear that Rev. Wilkerson was mightily used by the Lord because he sought to live a life of obedience and humility. The same can be said for each one of us, if we are patient enough to pray for His guidance and take heed to listen. It’s no accident that you’re in the situation you’re in; God puts you there for a purpose. Even Rev. Wilkerson didn’t always realize it at the time, but what appeared to be a wrong turn always ended up working toward the greater glory of God – all in His timing.

It seems fitting that Rev. Wilkerson's last blog post, written just before he was killed in a car crash, stated the following: "To those going through the valley and shadow of death, hear this word: Weeping will last through some dark, awful nights," he wrote, "and in that darkness you will soon hear the Father whisper, 'I am with you. I cannot tell you why right now, but one day it will all make sense. You will see it was all part of my plan. It was no accident.'"

The story of how David Wilkerson came to found Teen Challenge, the most successful recovery program of its kind, should be a must read if you’re a Christian. A great companion book to this one would be Ray Comfort’s Out of the Comfort Zone. In the 1980’s, Ray Comfort preached on the streets in Los Angeles’ MacArthur Park which at that time was a notorious hangout for drug addicts, thieves, prostitutes, murderers, and the homeless. In fact, Comfort credits Wilkerson as one who greatly inspired him. Both books will challenge you to step out of your own personal comfort zone and make you look at unsaved people in a different way, while giving you a bolder sense of evangelism and inspiring you to go out and witness to them wherever they are.

SEE ALSO: Out of the Comfort Zone Review


These pages are a continuous work in progress.
Copyright © 2000- by Teri Ann Berg Olsen
All rights reserved.

WWW Search This Site

Visit my other website - - click here to explore Arizona!

Homeschool Top Sites

Homeschool Gold

Homeschool Top 500
Look for us in the Top 50 -
Thanks for your votes!

Homeschool Directory

Help Support this Site

Please visit our fine sponsors
and purchase items via our
affiliate links. Thank you!

Learning for Life Book

Citizens Rule Book

Advertisers, Publishers,
Site Owners,
and Home Businesses!
Place Your
Ad Here

Want to see
YOUR ad here?

Click for details

Google ad content
may not necessarily
represent the views
or endorsement of
Knowledge House.