Thursday, July 1, 2010

beloved brothers incarcerated

I came out of an incredible experience with in a message I gave in one of the units this morning at the Regional Justice Center in Kent.  The men were really hungry and receptive. 

They asked me to speak to them from James 1 where they were already engaged so we set up camp in James 1:18-21.  James is about walking in faith, its a textbook on Christian living.  James was a brother of Jesus and shares a great deal in common with what Jesus said in Matthew.  The theme is commonly presented as "working faith" or "faith that works."  Genuine faith is proven by how we really live.

These verses from James 1 teach about living as beloved brothers right in their unit.  It was God's will for them to be created to become firstfruits of His creatures.  We start loving each other by carefully listening to each other.  When anger stirs, all of the momentum toward walking as men of God gets derailed. In contrast, a spirit of godly meekness with one another and toward God's word builds us up as we live together in the body.  We listen, care, and love each other.

What became so awesome was how the men applied what I was speaking to them about.  Then, the Lord touched deep inside my heart about experiencing personal meekness at home and where we are members, Faith Baptist Church in Kent.  I felt the Lord's presence like He was sitting right beside me, with His arm around my shoulder.  "Mark, this is for you."

Robert started this study group when he entered this unit on June 10th.  We prayed about him faciltating a faithful group of church men, a gathered church in that unit.  Now, he meets daily with Gil, Luis, Lepo, Jim, Junior, and Rich.

Tyrone is doing exactly the same thing in another unit.  The groups change as men transfer to other units or are released.  Others join the group and drop off.  Tyrone's group is doing "Don't waste your life," by John Piper.

In another unit,  Eric meets with another group of beloved brethren.  He's not the facilitator there but is experiencing remarkable change.  He memorized Psalm 23 so we talked about Scripture meditation.  You should see the change in his demeanor.  He said, "memorizing Psalm 23 changed my life."

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