Went to the jail again tonight, and I never get tired of it. The men in jail need the life of Christ just like all of us, and I see it as a privilege to be one that gets to share it with them.
Tracey goes to the jail every Thursday night and tonight was no different. She asked me “What are going to talk about tonight?” I said, “I don’t know” and she said, “Good!” That may seem strange to some but for us it is becoming more and more the case. It seems that anytime I prepare something I never end up using it but rather I am redirected to some other scripture or subject matter. That’s part of the adventure of walking by faith.
Jesus told Nicodemus “The wind blows where it wishes and you hear the sound of it, but do not know where it comes from and where it is going; so is everyone who is born of the Spirit.” I’m not saying to have no plan, but I am saying we have to be ready to blow where the Spirit blows when the time comes.
Tonight was the night my Pastor and some other men from our church goes to jail. Usually there are four or five of us and we each take turns sharing a testimony or some scriptures and then my pastor preaches. Most of the time I go just before my Pastor but tonight he asked me to go first so, not only did I not know what I was going to say, I had no time to think about it either. No worries though because the Spirit of God is always on time.
While most people think in terms of “good and evil” and believe being a Christian means to be a good person I shared tonight that our problem is deeper than that. From God’s perspective we are born in Adam spiritually dead. Ephesians says, “We were dead in our trespasses and sins.” I told the guys tonight everyone is born dead spiritually and separated from God. This is why Jesus said to Nicodemus “You must be born again.” Being born again is receiving the life of Christ into our dead human spirit. Upon receiving him we are resurrected and now walk in newness of life.
These guys were listening closely as I told them God saw them as dead in Adam and they needed to be placed in Christ. The method God uses to take someone out of Adam and place them into Christ is the cross. He takes us, dead in our trespasses and sins, and as Paul says, baptizes us into Christ. This means he places us in him and we are crucified with him, buried and raised again in him. In Galatians Paul said it like this: “I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ lives in me: and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave himself for me.” Christ gave himself for me on the cross to pay the price for sin and give me everlasting life.
The other guys stood and shared testimonies and then my Pastor sung a song and preached. He said, “I’m just going to continue on with what Louie started already and talk to you about death.” He’s been preaching for 40yrs and has buried many, many people including several of his own family members. He told of how you can tell someone is dead. He said, “The first thing you notice about a dead person is they are unresponsive. When someone checks to see if someone is still alive they feel for a pulse or breathing. If they’re unresponsive it’s because they’re dead! The next thing about a dead person is they will grow cold. If you’ve ever touched a dead body in a casket one thing’s for sure they’re cold because the life has gone out of them. Finally the last characteristic of a dead person is their flesh will start to stink.” After the last statement about stinking he asked them “Does your life stink? Are you ready to come to Christ for life?” An invitation to pray and receive Christ was given and ten or more came to pray with me. Most of the others prayed with my pastor. I don’t know what sort of transactions took place between each of those men and God tonight, but I do know God meets us where we are, even in jail.
We all made our way back to booking and out into the hallway. We gathered together and prayed for the men and thanked God for the work he’s doing in their lives and others at the jail. As we said “Amen” one of the guards came through the door and said, “Amen” shook our hands and thanked us for coming in tonight. We thanked him for letting us, and we made our way out the doors to our cars. What a privilege it is to share God’s Word with a roomful of men that are in need of the life only Christ can give them.