Sunday, August 16, 2009
The following dedicated volunteers were present: Francis W., Cheryl W.,(Our music Masters--singing and playing Worship Songs), Brad R., Craig S., Jim B. and Paul P.
67 smiling faces came down for Worship tonight....Correction--65 smiling faces, ready to praise Jesus, and 2 "frowner's" came with them. When I told the 2 that they would be in the presence of the King of Kings tonight, they "lit-up" and smiled brightly...!!
Of the 67 present, 12 men were down to the service for the very 1st time on a Monday-night. The message given tonight (which we call "The Word"), was on the Anti-Abortion Psalm. (My-o-my, is that going to bring up some raised eyebrows!!!) Psalm 139 states that ..."For You created my inmost being; You knit me together in my mother's womb. I praise You because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; Your works are wonderful....When I was woven together in the depths of the earth, Your eyes saw my unformed body...." (Ps.139:13-16a).
I don't see anything in Scripture about some questions that are often asked, ie., "What about Rape or Incest?" I only see that Our Holy God loves us (all) so much that HE personally watched (or watches) our development in the miracle of birth. Enough said.....
12 inmates in the 1st timers group--only 2 professed to be Christians. After the Gospel Message was given, ALL professed to now be a follower of Jesus Christ by saying the Salvation Prayer....Praise God!! Some admitted that they had been saved at a very early age (7-9 yrs.old), but that they had "back-slidden" so much that they thought they were now not worthy to be called a Christian. I then explained that what they really had done tonight was to re-dedicate" their lives' to the King !!! I explained that "once-saved--always saved"; you cannot lose your Salvation, but you can re-dedicate yourself.
The following are Prayer Requests for the Volunteers:
Brad R.-for Daughter
Jim B.-for Unity of our Team of Volunteers & his new job offer--direction from God.
Francis W.-Order in his life.
Craig S.-Patiences/ pray for a co-worker who has recently been diagnosed w/cancer. (Note:I personally appreciate Craigs' heart for praying for his neighbors and co-workers !)
Ed B.-Wife, Patricia, for her up-coming surgery.
Gaius C.-take time for rest and relaxation; spending quality time with wife and kids.
Paul P.-new business; needs direction and more customers.
Paul B.-organizing schedule(s) for school.
New Volunteers-learning the Gospel Message and how to deliver it.
In Christ, Brother Paul
Monday, August 10, 2009
February 2009, I receive a letter in the mailroom from Odi, not addressed to anyone in particular, but from a prison. Being the Adult Prison Pen Pal Coordinator, I handle those incoming letters. Many of them are requesting Bibles, Bible studies, or to be added to the pen pal list. This particular letter, as others have, tugged at my heart in a way I had to respond with more them just the general information.
One letter led to another, and without the man asking for me to be his pen pal, nor I saying I would be, we’ve continued to write. Each letter is filled with opportunities to mentor, praise, uplift, and give hope and love.
This mans heart was heavy with unforgiveness. I just happened to have not one, but two books I’d purchase sometime ago about forgiveness. I sent both, and he received much from reading them, and even went on to share them with others.
I can’t tell you how many times God has placed me in a Sunday service that’s helped me to speak much needed words to my pen pals. How many times a book crosses my path that later cries out to be sent to someone specifically I write to. Even in reading my daily devotional, I often run across one that fits the struggle one of my pen pals had just written me about.
This is what Odi recently wrote me:
“Thank you for blessing me with your friendship, your inspiration, and your mentorship. Because of people like you, it’s not hard to see just how good God is”.
Now that’s what serving the Lord is all about. Odie’s words spoke right to my heart, for its words like that, that reaffirms God’s hand in all of this. What a blessing it is to bless others.
This is just one of the reasons I share the love of Christ. I want everyone to feel the love one receives when serving the Lord. Instead of a vicious circle of serving oneself, it's an amazing circle of love and hope.
May all you who serve be blessed as you have blessed.
Wednesday, August 5, 2009
What the law does:
The law, called the Criminal Identification Act (20 ILCS 2630/5 et seq.), allows qualifying arrests, supervisions and convictions to be either expunged or sealed. Many people who have never been convicted can qualify to have their arrest record either expunged or sealed. Many misdemeanor, non-violent convictions can eventually be sealed. Two types of Class 4 felony convictions—possession of a controlled substance and prostitution—can be sealed 4 years after the sentence is completed. Only criminal records prosecuted and maintained by the State of Illinois are affected. Federal and out-of-state convictions do not fall under the new law.
Tuesday, August 4, 2009
Volunteers Present: Paul P., Bob V., Craig S., Craig D., Adam S.
With the absence of our current Music Men, Paul P. brought in his "boom-box" and provided a CD of the Cathedrals. Such songs as: Sinner Saved by Grace, Something About that Nome(Jesus) and Suppertime. It was interesting for the inmates, since none of them ever heard any of these songs!
65 men attended the services tonight, of which 11 were first timers. Of the 11, 9 were not sure as to whether they were Christians or not. One young man said that he thought he was a Christian, but declared that he was Catholic and that he wasn't about to change his religion. I then explained the difference between religion and being a Christian. I explained that religion was an organization and that Christianity was being a true follower of Jesus Christ. That the two can go hand-in-hand. He then said that since he was Catholic and he was a good person, God had to let him into heaven.
Since our time was running out, I tried, very quickly, to explain the difference between organized religion and being a follower of Christ. I told him that Catholics can be Christians if they have a personal relationship with Jesus (in their hearts'). He still didn't understand and thought that I was trying to change his religion. I told him to talk to other Christians on his floor and to please come back next week. After the evening was over, I went over to him to give him a hug, but he was NOT very huggable....Please pray that he will understand.
Of the 11--8 gave their lives' to Christ and 2 were already saved, but made a new commitment to Jesus. Praise God.!!!
In 3 of the small groups, run by Adam, Bob and Craig D....something interesting happened....without these 3 volunteers talking to each other, all three groups talked about PRAYER and how to pray....Quite interesting.
Volunteer Prayer Requests:
Ed B.--wife illness and up-coming brain surgery.
Ramiro M.--for his son and his family, (son very ill and still in the hospital).
Gaius--refreshing time spent with son Jesse at Church Camp for several days.
Paul P.--need more business in his new job as a Handyman.
Adam S.--needs a job....needs a job....needs a job....and NOW.
Bob V.--That his business will get a boost in this economy and get moving.
Craig D.--to learn how to give the Gospel Message in a clear and understandable way.