Archive for the ‘Ministry’ Category

A few months ago, I joined a jail ministry team.  I really didn’t know for sure what to expect.  I guess I’ve always thought you would go in and try to convince a group of guys to believe or accept something they had no interest in. 

It has really been quite the opposite.  For the most part, the guys that come on Tuesday nights realize God has put them there to get their attention.  With few acceptions, they all believe, but realize their believing has not been sufficient enough to change the way they live. 

God knows how to get our attention doesn’t He.  Just this last Tuesday night, I told them that I may not have bottomed out in a way that landed me in jail, but I bottomed out in  my Christianity and He stopped me to get my attention.  Not to punish me, but because He had something good for me that He wanted me to find. 

I tell them that I am not a preacher, which I guess I really don’t have to mention.  (Some things go without saying)  We talk.  I tell them what has changed my life and the part writing has played in it.  Occasionally I leave a story or a poem with them. 

We have some good discussions.  They are honest and real.  A few weeks ago, one guy, who had a good way with words, expressed both belief and unbelief.  He believed but he was hesitant to just jump on the wagon.  Like all of us, he wanted it to be real.

Last week he came up to me afterwards and said he had written a couple of poems and wanted to know if I would read them and let him know what I thought.  I have decided to post one here today. 


My Cage

My addiction is a cage;
it wants my life.
It’s filled with confusion,
pain, guilt and strife.

It’s cold and it’s lonely,
regret my only friend.
Is this a life’s sentence?
When exactly will it end?

I weep for my family.
On this journey I’m lost.
I long for freedom;
can you tell me the cost?

I search for answers;
they must be the key.
My will is my bond;
my faith sets me free.

Yet I remain a prisoner
and console myself each night.
I’m still locked in this cage
but at least now it’s filled with light.


Read Full Post »

I had a piece I had written that I was looking forward to posting this morning. But that was before last night happened. Last night was jail ministry night; it went pretty well. I thought it would be better to describe the evening.

In my study of the writings of Luke I had written a couple of pieces, When Jesus Passes By, and Stopping to Even the Odds. In my preparation for the evening, I felt I was supposed to talk about those two stories. As I was reviewing them, something stood out about the pair – a distinction I had not previously noticed.

In When Jesus Passes By a blind beggar is sitting by the roadside when Jesus and the crowd that followed was passing by. When the blind beggar found out that it was Jesus, he called out. Because he called out and would not stop calling out, Jesus stopped. I emphasized the point that we all know Jesus is what we need . . . if He would just pass by – if He would just stop when He does.

But in the other story, Stopping to Even the Odds, Jesus stops to heal a man who was mute – a man who couldn’t call out. It says that Jesus drove out a demon that was mute. Though we may not be mute, our enemy can use things in life to keep us from calling out. Maybe we’ve called out before and He didn’t help.

In the same setting, Jesus talks about a man who was once strong who guarded and protected his house until one that was stronger attacked and overpowered him. I believe the man who was mute was once a strong man that was attacked and overpowered. Jesus stopped to even the odds.

I asked the guys how far back they had to go to remember a time when they were strong – before they were overpowered. I told them that Jesus wanted to stop and even the odds – that He wanted to open their eyes so they could see – that He wanted to drive out a few demons so they could call out to Him.

Several stood. One in particular told how the stories fit his situation perfectly. He said he felt like we had come just for him. Last night he was able to see. Last night he called out. He had never done that before. Another rededicated himself to God. I sensed many were encouraged.

Isn’t God just too cool?

Read Full Post »