Saturday, February 18, 2006

The Lord is adding to the number

I sat down with a group of seven guys yesterday. We all held hands and opened with a time of prayer. The men are really growing in their walks with the Lord. Steve, who used to be very hesitant about praying out loud, really poured out his heart.

A young guy, who goes by the name "C," came next: "God, I've never prayed in public before, but I ask that..."

After the prayer time, C asked, "So what do we do during this time?"

"Well, we talk, pray, read the Bible, encourage each other," I answered him.

"OK, I have a question. I've never been to church in my life. I mean, I could tell you what the inside of a church looks like. But my family never went to church. I don't know anything about this stuff. About two months ago, when I was still out on the streets, I picked up a Bible and started reading in Genesis. I've always known there's a God. I mean, you look around and you see all these 'coincidences.' You know God has to exist. How do I know if I'm Christian or Catholic or what?"

I explained the gospel to C. "All of us are born separated from God because of our sin. We all deserved God's punishment: hell. But God loved the world so much that He sent Jesus to die for our sins. Jesus took the punishment that we deserved. He rose from the dead proving that He was God. Now we have to repent of our sins--be truly sorry and desire to change--and put our faith in Jesus as Lord."

"That makes sense to me," C said.

While C was talking, Mark approached the circle of guys and sat on the floor next to me. I encouraged him to join us.

"What did I do to deserve this trouble I'm in," Mark began. "I've got type-2 diabetes, and that's basically a death sentence. I finally found the woman that I want to marry. Neither one of us have ever been married. Now I've got this terrible disease. What did I do wrong?"

I had Mark open to John 9 where Jesus' disciples ask Jesus with regard to a man born blind: "Who sinned: this man or his parents that he was born blind?" The disciples thought that all sickness was directly related to sin. Jesus answered the disciples that no one had sinned in this case. The man was born blind so that God could be glorified in his life. Jesus healed the man.

"Mark, can we pray for you that God would heal your diabetes?" I asked him.

"Yeah, please."

We all joined hands around the circle and prayed for Mark. When we finished, I noticed tears running down his face as he thanked us. He was supposed to have a blood test later that day. Pray for total healing for Mark.

Robert began speaking words of encouragement to Mark based on the Scriptures. I was really impressed by how Robert was using the Word. (In my previous post, I mentioned that Robert was to be out of jail by now, but it looks like he'll be out in a few more weeks.) Robert later asked Mark if he was saved. Mark said he wasn't sure. Robert encouraged him to get saved. I asked him if he wanted to pray to receive Christ right now. He said that he did, so I led him in a prayer of repentance and faith in Jesus as Lord. Pray that Mark's faith is firmly rooted.

We asked C if he wanted to be saved, too. He said he wanted to take some time to think it over. Pray that the Holy Spirit would get a hold of C, and that he surrenders to Jesus.

Just after that, it was about time for lock up. We closed in prayer, and everybody began heading back to his own cell. Robert pulled me aside and told me he was now in a Life Transformation Group with a guy named Frank. I'm glad to see that he's taking accountability seriously. Pray that Robert continues to grow as a man of God.

"And the Lord added to their number day by day those who were being saved" (Acts 2:47).


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