Saturday, May 26, 2012

Winding roads to His incredible grace

Kent...Olympia...Hoquiam...and OCC outside Forks
Gary Rice and I trekked to Olympic Corrections Center in Forks along with Bird House, a Christian band from the Tri-cities, for our monthly Prisoners for Christ Outreach Ministries concert on May 19.

Gary and I plan to go again on June 16.

Gary is a fairly new PFC volunteer.  We have met several times and I invited him on this trip to Forks. He shared an unvarnished, real account of his life path and how the Lord drew him to His  incredible grace for the rapt attention of the 26 men who attended.  The Lord continues to walk with Gary down a winding road, indeed. What a journey!

Brian received Christ during our service!

Along the way, we ventured into Quinalt, just a short hop off 101, to enjoy their museum. After Bird House led in worship and Gary shared, I preached from 1 Corinthians 6:7-10:

 Or do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived: neither the sexually immoral, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor men who practice homosexuality, nor thieves, nor the greedy, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor swindlers will inherit the kingdom of God. And such were some of you. But you were washed, you were sanctified, you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and by the Spirit of our God.  ESV

Serving at the Maleng Regional Justice Center
My jail chaplain service with male inmates at the Maleng Regional Justice Center in Kent through PFC faithfully continues. Just this past week, I had 20 one-to-one visits.  Here are a couple of highlights with Jean and Omar.

Growing strength for Jean
Jean continues to make strides to strengthen his faith in our interactions.  He also meets very productively with fellow PFC Chaplain Dick Rothlisberger.  When he first joined with me in with a small group study several weeks ago, Jean quietly admitted he was searching but was having a hard time taking a step to believe.

He kept meeting with Dick and me and attended a Thursday night study with Dick where he took a big step and prayed "the sinners prayer" to receive Christ.  He was moving ahead with quantum leap steps. John continued to meet with us individually and I walked him through the Romans Road and select verses on salvation coming through Christ alone.  

He came back after finishing the study on his own just glowing saying "I got it, now.  I really believe."  I had him write his own letter to the Lord thanking him for forgiving his sins and saving his soul. I really want him to engage and own the work the Lord continues to do in his life. 

I often share these words with men from Charles Spurgeon because these things keep me focused on what is really most important:

Charles Spurgeon
"I have to go through this story almost every day of the year, and sometimes half a dozen times in a day. I have no medicine to prescribe except "Christ, Christ, Christ; Jesus Christ and him crucified. Look away from yourselves, and trust in him." I go over and over and over with this, and never get one jot further. Because I find that this medicine cures all soul sicknesses, while human quackery cures none. Christ alone is the one remedy for sin-sick souls. Receive him; believe on his name. We keep hammering at this." 

Relating to Abraham for Omar
Near the end of last week,  Omar approached me for a meeting asking for a book on prayer.  He shared he is married to a Baptist who witnesses to him.  He grew up in a Muslim family but is not actively practicing.  His wife clearly speaks to him about faith in Jesus.  I shared a Bible study worksheet on "steps to salvation," and emphasized salvation is through Christ alone and not by works. That got his attention. We read Romans 4:1-5 together:
What then shall we say was gained by Abraham, our forefather according to the flesh? For if Abraham was justified by works, he has something to boast about, but not before God. For what does the Scripture say? “Abraham believed God, and it was counted to him as righteousness.” Now to the one who works, his wages are not counted as a gift but as his due. And to the one who does not work but believes in him who justifies the ungodly, his faith is counted as righteousness,
Our time was about to conclude when we began to discuss several of his honest questions.
  • Is the God of the Quran and the Bible the same? 
  • If Abraham lived 3,000 years before Jesus, how could Jesus be God? 
I took him to John 1:1 right before he racked back for the afternoon.  He has a Gideon Pocket New Testament.  I am praying for Omar and his journey of faith.  I won't push or force him and hope to share with him again early next week.


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