Thursday, July 20, 2006

Charlie's an angel? (Part 2)

I had been sharing the good news of Jesus with Matt yesterday. Just at the point when he was considering a decision to accept Christ, the warning came that it was time for all the inmates to go back to their cells.

"Brian, I'll ask the deputy if we can continue our conversation in the conference room. I still have a few questions and concerns. I'm really weighing this decision and I want to do so in a private place."

I was encouraged that Matt took the initiative to ask the deputy's permission to continue talking. The deputy graciously granted Matt's request.

When we got to the conference room, Matt shared the heart of his concerns. "My biggest fear is that I won't be able to follow through on my commitment to Christ. When I get out, I'm going to see a lot of the people who were bad influences on me. What if I fall back into old habits?"

I had already told him that every Christian continues to struggle against sin, and that we need God's forgiveness and the support/prayers of other Christians to follow Christ. We discussed this some more. Finally, I told him, "Matt, when you get out, temptations are going to come. That's guaranteed. If you turn your life over to Christ, you will have the power of the Holy Spirit available to you to resist. If you don't accept Christ, you won't have any power to resist."

After considering everything, he said, "I'm really ready to do this now. What do I do?" "Tell God you're sorry for your sins, that you believe Jesus died and rose again for you, and that you want Jesus to be the leader of your life." Matt did so, and it was my joy to see a new birth into the Kingdom of God. I gave Matt some Bible studies produced by Good News Jail & Prison Ministry, and I also encouraged him to get involved in a Life Transformation Group with another Christian inmate. Pray that Matt would grow in his new faith. I encouraged him to come to my church when he got out early next year.


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