>I am now involved in Kairos Prison Ministry.
Is it Baptist? Pentencostal? Methodist? etc.
Yes, and no.
It is designed to be focused on the essentials of the Christian faith, and thus I spent the weekend with a bunch of men with whom I could debate a lot of secondary theological issues.
But I don’t have time for that.
Neither does Kairos.
The goal is to demonstrate and share Jesus with inmates in an intense, strategic, focused four-day-weekend.
As I shared my story of Christ’s invasion into my life (I wasn’t looking for Him, but I’m grateful He looked for me) it reminded me of an editorial I wrote for “The Family Life Journal” in 1997.
Oddly, I still have it, so I republish it here (with no changes….
Having just celebrated my 23rd spiritual birthday, I reflect on the goodness of God that first drew me to Himself and has more than sustained me since conversion.
Very often Christians speak of “when I found Christ.” The intent is good, the theology is not. Christ finds us! I certainly was not looking for Him, or for salvation, or even for hope in 1973. I had just been arrested and was awaiting extradition. Drugs were found in our cell, the Texas authorities removed everything except the religious material. After a few days of boredom I picked up a paperback book simply because it had the word “Prison” in the title.
As a 26-year old college-educated, alcoholic, drug selling Vietnam Vet I was introduced to the love of God as demonstrated in the sacrifice of His Son Jesus Christ. No human being was directly involved; I simply read the book. I had no idea there even was a Holy Spirit, but He was doing His work of conviction and drawing. I knew nothing of a trinity, nothing of the “infallibility of Scripture,” zero about predestination, and “secondary separation” would have sounded like a terrible body wound. (Which, on reflection, it is if one capitalizes the “b” in Body). All I know is that on January 30, 1974, I confessed my sins, and turned to God. Though I did not break out in a cold sweat, nor had any outward manifestation, nor tears, I simply knew that Jesus was real, that I was His, and that He was truth.
Subsequently, I was sentenced to prison, did my time, got out and went to Bible school. On this journey, I became painfully familiar with the fact many Christians seem to exist for one purpose…to argue with other Christians.
In the two decades plus of striving to walk with Christ, I’ve not seen any improvement in the infighting. I am known to be opinionated and vocal. Too often I spill my thoughts before I think them through1 but as I reflect, I am sure there are only a few things for which I’ll go to the proverbial wall.
Paramount is the deity of Jesus. He was, is, and always has been God. You don’t believe that , I don’t call upon you for silent prayer, much less have religious fellowship with you. The fact that the death for Christ has paid in full for my redemption is non-negotiable. The physical resurrection of Jesus can not be denied.
The necessity of repentance and faith in the completed work of Jesus for salvation is etched in stone (Acts 26:17-18; 26:20). The reality of heaven and hell are based on the clear words of Christ (Matt. 25:46). The return of Christ is not only a glorious hope, but part and parcel to the gospel.
Well, what about 24 hour days of creation? Are you pre-post-a millennial? What about tongues? Can you lose it? What about Christian rock? Which version is trustworthy?
Folks, when the Vietcong were trying to kill me, I didn’t care a bit about the muzzle velocity of my M16 or 50 caliber, nor did I care about the relative merits of each. I just kept my head down and shot at the enemy. I sure didn’t shoot at another GI who preferred to use a captured AK! I just wanted to stay alive and negatively impact the enemy. Maybe that’s an apropos parallel to spiritual warfare?
What spawned this thought process? I am blessed to have a perpetual calendar of Max Lucado’s writings, and the one I just read is from this book, Six Hours One Friday. I have placed it on my desk and on my bathroom mirror to be a vital reminder:
Seek the simple faith. Major on the majors. Focus on the critical. Long for God.
Though too wordy for a Lucadoism, I add, “Although you may not always see eye to eye, walk hand in hand with others saved by grace.”