Today was an interesting day but we were blessed today. Our original plan was to visit two different institutions but due to some administrative decisions, we only visited one but had a full day of ministry.
We had the opportunity to play two very packed wings of the facility 4 times. Our team went 3-1 on the field and engaged a very energetic and engaged crowd.
I also had the privilege to preach between the 3rd and 4th games. Often times when I get the opportunity to preach in prison, I will use some very key verses in Romans to describe that we all have a sin nature that separates us from God (Romans 3:23), God sent his son to die for us (Romans 5:8), and that we must confess and believe in Him for eternal life (Romans10:9). I also shared Matthew 16:24 which says:
“Then Jesus said to his disciples, “Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross and follow me.”
I always like to include that verse or ones like it to help guys to understand that Jesus isn’t just looking for a one time prayer, but an all in commitment.
We were also blessed to spend our lunch time in the chow hall with the inmates today. The meal wasn’t great but it was a blessing to eat with the inmate team and get to know them better. I got to sit with a gentleman from West Virginia who was going home next year. He is a professing believer and it was nice to share a meal and talk to him about his walk.
I met another young man who said he was a Christian but had lots of questions about discerning other religions. His cellmate is a Jehovah’s Witness and has him second guessing a lot of what he believes. I did my best to assure him that God’s Word is true and that man-made religions are not part of God’s plan. I had the opportunity to pray with him and encourage him.
“If it wasn’t getting locked up, I might have never met Jesus.” This is a statement that almost hear during every visit. I was blessed to hear that again today! I spent most of the 4th game of the day with a man named Paul. Paul had a pretty rough life that got him landed in prison for quite some time. Paul also went on to explain his life and that during his stay in prison, he was blessed to hear a message about salvation and that Jesus Christ died for his sins. He spent his time sharing about how the Saints Prison Ministry correspondence Bible study had made an impact on his life and how excited he was to receive the study and complete it. He even told me that he has passed ever paper and quiz without getting any questions wrong yet. One of his highlights was seeing “Awesome work” or “Good Job” handwritten on his graded assignments. He also talked about how excited he was to serve as a greeter for his chapel during their church services.
It was encouraging and a little convicting to see him so excited about Jesus did in his life. I found myself feeling a little guilty that I often times find myself busy in my own little world rather than focusing my attention on God.
Thank you to all of those who have been praying and I am looking forward to our visit tomorrow to Zephyrhills CI!