Larger than life character and Christian evangelist Reggie Dabbs wowed my Sunshine Coast school today with an incredible mix of humour, rockin' soprano sax that had the middle and senior school jumping in their seats and the teachers grooving at the back (Pharrell William's song "Happy" never sounded so good!!), and a message that challenged and changed lives.
The students could not contain themselves with laughter as they were taught to speak like an American, listened to Reggie's stories of school life and his mishaps and misdeeds on a roller coaster.
Dabbs transitioned beautifully and tellingly from his roller coaster story to the story of his roller coaster life. Students went from raucous laughter to silence in a matter of seconds such was the grip Dabbs had on his audience. His is a story that has been heard by many round the world, but more need to hear his story of overcoming pain, hurt, rejection and disappointment.
As an eight year old boy, to question his parents after a parent-teacher interview as to why they were so old and his friends' parents were so young speaks volumes about the way Dabbs confronts and challenges those around him.
You can't help but like the guy though. He confronts and challenges, but he speaks to the heart and only accepts the truth of the matter. His parents told him the truth. Reggie Dabbs is the son borne after his biological mother accepted $20 to sleep with the father he never knew. The parents he lived with for his short life were in fact foster parents.
The audience begins to realise the shock he must have felt when told his biological mother asked her favourite teacher to bring up her son and be his new mum. He even took a moment to encourage the staff present, "A teacher saved my life. Teachers save lives every day. Never stop saving lives."
Reggie was ready to give up. His foster mum prayed every night for him. His prayer every night to Jesus was, "If you're real Jesus, then take my life."
John 16 verse 33 became the Bible verse that changed his life. "These things I have spoken to you, so that in Me you may have peace. In the world you have tribulation, but take courage; I have overcome the world."
God helped Reggie overcome the world and the pain it threw at him. His roller coaster existence and emotional ride was a realisation of God's plan and purpose for his life.
Reggie Dabbs kept his message brief and simple for the staff and students assembled. If you "confess with your mouth Jesus as Lord, and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you will be saved" (Romans 10 verse 9).
Dabbs spoke honestly and forthright. Look for his messages online. He wasn't selling anything to my school but a chance to change the path we were on. No rules, regulations, courses or hoops to jump through. Just a message that:
"Your past is your history. Your future is your destiny. Never give up."
A hope and a future I pray you search for and find.
Russell Modlin teaches English and Physical Education at a Christian School on the Sunshine Coast. He is married to Belinda and they have three children.
Russell Modlin's archive of previous article can be found at