Yesterday we had a team practice and started the on-the-field preparation for the 2017 Season Opener at Pontiac Correctional Center. We spent time working on infield practice, hitting cut-off men, and hitting some batting practice home runs. The physical preparation is always good, but the real preparation for the season will have to be spent on our knees in prayer as we prepare to share the Gospel in a very unique mission field this summer.
We will spend the first part of the day in battle on the field at Pontiac. As the coach of our team, I love to win. Whether it is Monopoly, Mario Kart, or Fantasy Football, I REALLY want to win! Before you label me as an over-competitive jerk, I’ll share that all of my teammates and all of the inmate teams that I have run across are wired the same way! This has led to some of the most competitive games on a baseball diamond that I have ever been part of in my life. Our guys will dive for balls and slide into bases thinking about the play at hand before thinking about what their insurance deductible will be on a twisted knee or broken rib! The inmates always leave it all on the field during each pitch wanting to prove that they can beat this outside team of “church boys.” Ultimately winning these games does not matter as neither our record nor boxscores show up on the crawl of the bottom of the screen on ESPN. It does matter that we are competitive because this engages the inmates and helps bridge the softball game to our ministry time. If we stink (and we have on occasion), the inmates become disinterested in our visit and won’t engage as well during our ministry time. The second part of the day is spent sharing the Gospel with the men there. We will have one Saint sharing the Gospel with our sound system in the middle of the softball diamond while the rest of the team is handing out Gospels of John and engaging in one on one conversations. This is the softball and ministry gameplan we are hoping to follow when we travel to Pontiac in three weeks. Before we face Pontiac, however, we have to be ready to face the Lions.
In 1 Peter 5, Peter tells his audience to watch out for the devil who is like a roaring lion, just waiting to devour someone. Satan hates that we share the Gospel in prison and will look for any opportunity to tempt our team and the inmates with what the world has to offer. For us, this may look like choosing to spend time playing video games or hunting when we should be praying or sharing God’s Word with our family. It may look like making unwise decisions with our internet and television viewing before thinking about what pleases God instead. For the men at the prison it will be tempting to not follow Jesus to avoid losing friends and facing persecution from other religious groups in the prison. It might look like an inmate claiming to be a Christian but ultimately trusting in the prison “religion” of being hard and maintaining respect instead of dying to themselves and surrendering to Jesus. Satan is willing to use temptation and complacency to prevent us and the inmates from following Jesus. In Matthew 13:44, Jesus compares His Kingdom to a great treasure that a man found in a field. The man went and happily sold everything to obtain that field. Please pray that we have the same attitude when following Him and pray that the inmates will see Him as that valuable and will follow Him, too!
- We are three weeks away from our Pontiac visit. Robert Cook and I will be sharing the Gospel.
- Thank you to all who have supported me this year! My personal season and Crusade financial goal is almost at 100%. Our team is currently at 67% of our support goal of $14,000. This money covers items such as: literature we hand out to the inmates, softball equipment, and
maintenance on our bus. Please email me or click here if you are interested in giving online towards our team goal.
- Softball season is not only getting ready to start here but in other regions of the country as well. Please visit www.saintsprisonminstry.org or www.facebook.com/saintsprison to stay up-to-date with where the ministry will be traveling this summer!