We interrupt our Rogues Gallery of Pastors to bring you this important update. Last week, I asked for your prayers and donations for a rather difficult assignment for yours truly: going back to jail. I was asked to go with a group of guys from an organization called Bill Glass Ministries.
It was not without a certain degree of trepidation that I went back to prison to talk to 6,000 inmates at two maximum security prisons. I hesitantly entered, but by the time it was done, God had moved in such a majestic way that I didn’t want to leave.
Your prayers echoed in those steel corridors with such power that, out of the 6,000, 1175 decisions were made for Christ. 478 men accepted Christ for the first time and 697 rededicated their lives to Him.
One encounter in particular moved me to tears:
Shawn was a young, confused, goth guy I had the honor of sharing my story with in prison on Saturday. He said he worshiped Satan and mother earth. I explained that my god was money and pleasure and that ended me up right here in solitary confinement. But the real God of long lasting peace and hope drew me to Himself when I was about to give up.
He broke down and gave his life to Jesus Christ and experienced a freedom like no other. That was around 10:40. After the long and fruitful day at the prison (aka “the mission field”), as I walked in the parking lot of this massive city of hopelessness, Shawn ran up to me and said, “I know you, I know you, you told me about Jesus!”.
He said he was about to give up hope and was facing 9 years in prison, but accepted Jesus as his Savior and experienced the freedom I spoke about while I was in a very similar place almost 25 years ago.
Miraculously, at about 1 p.m., he was informed that he was going to be released! He had experienced God’s amazing freedom twice in one day. His mother was there and ran up to me asked, “What did you say to my son, he has never acted like this, he is changed!”. I told her the story.
I witnessed something that I have never seen before – in the words of Jesus quoting Isaiah, in Luke 4:18:
“The Spirit of the Lord is on me, because he has anointed me to proclaim good news to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim freedom for the prisoners and recovery of sight for the blind, to set the oppressed free…”