I am in my office in West Michigan. The trees are beginning to change up here, and it feels like fall.
I have a couple of days to catch up on some writing, emails, and study as I prepare to preach this weekend at Ridge Point. In the next couple of weeks, I will be talking to Prison Fellowship partners in Pittsburgh, New York, Boston, Dallas, Oklahoma City, Minneapolis, and Chicago. We are covering the country with the news that Prison Fellowship desires to empower the local church to plant the church of Jesus Christ inside the walls of America’s prisons!
On Tuesday, God provided me the opportunity to speak on two separate radio interviews – one on each coast. The first interview with the largest Christian radio station in New York City was great! The host gave me the opportunity to tell the story of those neglected individuals who languish behind the walls of prisons and jails. He also allowed me to talk about those who suffer another type of incarceration – when a parent, child, or spouse goes to prison or jail. We ended the interview with a clear opportunity to ask people to join us. We pointed listeners to the Prison Fellowship website, the Angel Tree website, to the help line, and to the re-entry conference we are doing in Manhattan at the end of this month. We were able to “lay down” a challenge of action!
Later that day we were on at “drive time” in Los Angeles with Frank Pastore, the popular talk show host on the largest Christian radio station in the city. Being on at drive time is huge because it is the time when the listenership is the highest. Frank is a great friend of Prison Fellowship, and did a masterful job asking questions. When he asked people to call in to tell how Angel Tree and Prison Fellowship had touched their lives, the lines lit up.
Unfortunately only had time for a few calls. Those who were able to talk on the radio, however, were a thrill! One man had been in jail for nine years and was not able to talk to or see his son. Angel Tree gave him an opportunity to send him a gift and a message. Another man shared how Prison Fellowship staff and volunteers introduced him to Jesus while he was still in prison. He was so choked up we had to go to commercial to give him a chance to rein in his emotions. The final caller said that Angel Tree had provided gifts for his three kids while he served his time. Now he and his family – including the three kids – are leaders in their churches efforts with Angel Tree. How cool is that?
God is telling the story. Churches are rising up. God keeps giving us opportunities to serve and speak boldly. Volunteers are finding us. God is concerned about those who are far from Him. God is sending more and more people into jails and churches to teach and love. God will give us all we need to do all He has called us to do. He promises that and always keeps his promise!
I praise God for all who keep Prison Fellowship in your prayers. Thanks for being part of the movement!