Once cleared and checked in to our next venue, we have a typical prison service with good attendance. Once again Bill opens and then introduces Becka, who honors us with a selection of very touching and appropriate songs. She is not only a skilled musician but she also is led of God in the selection of her songs. This evening it seems like God is reinforcing a theme and so we enter into worship. After she has concluded her leading, Bill introduces Doc who once again skillfully relates the role of love, and how he had been led by God to enter into Prison Ministry. From his conviction it was easy to see his compassion and passion for the incarcerated. God calls in many fashions, for Doc it was a recurring thought of a man that had been incarcerated that compelled him to visit a man who he did not know. What does that do to a person? It is the presence of God’s conviction and the abiding love of Christ. Doc went on to encourage the men to allow God to mold them and draw them by His presence. He explained that we need to see the correlation between love and hate. Describing it with his arms out stretched saying that God’s love and our anger were on opposite ends of the spectrum using his right and left hands as visual representation. That recovery can only start with love and continue only with forgiveness as our motivation. The men were silent, he had their attention, God’s presence was palpable.
When he concluded, Bill spoke. He continued in the same theme, taking up where Doc had left off. Bill explained how in his early life he had no relationships that were of any significance to him, it wasn’t until a fast paced life of drug and alcohol abuse nearly took his sanity and health that God got his attention. Bill explained the concept of sheep and shepherd. Sheep are designed for a shepherd and the shepherd is designed for the sheep, neither are complete without the other. They are able to relate to each other, so relationship is involved. He discussed the concept of the staff and rod. The staff was for rescuing the sheep, and the rod for defending them, not beating them. He went on to further illustrate that sheep can be cast down. This is a condition when they get on their backs and they can’t get up. Unless they can get up they will die, so the shepherd uses his staff to help them get up. Bill finished by illustrating the cross as a depiction of the heavenly and earthly relationships we have as believers. The vertical post is our heavenly relationship and the horizontal beam is our earthly relationship with others. Take either support away and there is no cross! That relationship with each other is so necessary because in our lives the staff of the Lord may be the person(s) who He sends to help us in our cast down condition. As he spoke there were tears. As Bill concluded, Becka was inspired to play a song regarding the Lord and his staff and rod and the comfort they bring. Then before we knew it, it was time to go. The men did not want to leave nor did we but we had a long drive back home.
Perhaps you are cast down and need a “living staff” to help you up. Or maybe you have sensed somewhere in these words a tugging at your heart to volunteer. Please contact us at our Web address:prisonchristianministries.com or call Brent Bishop at: 506-461-7528, or Rosemary Blair at: 506-472-7022. Blessings…Bill