Thursday, July 20, 2006

Charlie's an angel?

"Hey, Brian, will you visit this guy named Matt?" Chaplain Lou asked. "He's been very depressed. A relative of his named Charlie asked me to visit him," he continued. "I saw Matt and I think he's sitting on the fence as far as salvation."

I had a lot of faith going up to talk to Matt because it was a specific request of the chaplain. When I got to the jail pod where Matt was, my faith increased because I noticed that the deputy on duty was someone I knew to be a strong Christian.

"Can you tell me where Matt C. is?" I asked the deputy. "He's walking around the gym area. I'll call him out for you.

I sat down with Matt, a young man not yet 20 years old. "Hi Matt, I'm Brian, and the chaplain asked me to stop by and see you because one of your relatives named Charlie was concerned about you."

"This is all so strange," Matt said. "I told the chaplain that I don't have any relatives named Charlie or Charles."

"Well, Charlie could be an angel for all we know. But I do know that God loves you and has a plan and purpose for your life. And that He sent me today to talk to you. Has anyone ever told you how you can be forgiven of your sins and have a personal relationship with God?"

"Someone said I need to be reborn, but I don't understand all that."

I then explained to him that sin separates us from God—both in the here-and-now and for all eternity—but that Jesus paid the price for sin. I told him what it means to repent of sin and to put ones faith in Christ. By this time, three other men gathered around the table. It was a diverse group of men, but they were all believers and the fellowship was great. We talked and prayed for a while. Another one of the guys was struggling with his temper and with trusting God, so we focused our prayers on him.

After sharing a little of my testimony of how I really started following Jesus, I told Matt, "Today could be your day of salvation. You can have your sins forgiven, be born again and be a brand new person today." Matt was really wrestling with this decision. The Holy Spirit was bringing conviction to him. It was just then that I could hear the cell doors beginning to unlock. It was time for the inmates to go lock in. All around me, the other men were starting to head back to their cells. Where did the time go? I thought to myself, Lord, is Matt going to miss another opportunity to turn his life over to You? Will he ignore Your conviction when he gets to his cell?...

(I'll finish this tomorrow. I'm getting tired.)


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