Freedom we don’t have, From inside Prison Walls

Rock of Ages Minstry Team, Chaplin Edward Eisley and Me!

Spiritual Strongholds… seems to be a theme in my life recently. It was a theme in teen camp last week and as I walked out of the prison last night where I’d sang, I thought there was really little difference between myself and the inmates. Their prison bars were made of iron, mine were made of flesh. Both kept us from the people and things we love.

From the time I entered the sanctuary of the Salem Correctional Facility I could feel the Holy Spirit at work. The men were happy to be in that place, and had it not been for the uniforms it could have been any church in America. Actually, it was better than most churches in America, this one was filled with life! As I sang I watched several wipe tears from their eyes and a few others sat there cold and calloused to the Holy Spirit’s nudging. In all, twelve men have given their lives to Christ during the four day revival of the Rock of Age ministry.

They challenged the inmates to invite “their community’ to the services for the prize of a Bible and one man had invited 31 men from his unit. I tried to connect with as many eyes as I could when I sang, I wanted them to know that I had come to encourage them, that it wasn’t about me. Apostle Paul wrote pretty much the same thing from inside a jail cell to the Church of Corinth.

2nd Corinthians 10:1

Now I Paul myself beseech you by the meekness and gentleness of Christ, who in presence am base among you, but being absent am bold toward you:

Base and bold. In contrast to each other, but oh so very needful in the service of Christ. If I had gone into the prison with the attitude of the entertainment industry my portion of the service would have fallen as flat as a pancake. I wasn’t there to entertain or to show pity to the inmates. I was there to lift up the name of Christ and hopefully encourage brothers in Christ, my equals, to be bold in their temporary home.

Is that not what earth is? We’re here for just a short while. A prison sentence to a new inmate seems like an eternity, and yet it’s just a little while in the scope of actual eternity.

2nd Corinthians 10:2-4

But I beseech you, that I may not be bold when I am present with that confidence, wherewith I think to be bold against some, which think of us as if we walked according to the flesh. For though we walk in the flesh, we do not war after the flesh: (For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal, but mighty through God to the pulling down of strong holds;)

Strongholds. Those things that hold us back from sharing the goodness of God. Most of us are not behind steel bars, but there is still imprisoned. When I walked into that facility last night I was bold in the power of God, I had come to do what God has called me to do. But on the outside…it’s much harder to be bold. Ironic is it not? I felt more freedom inside a prison than outside. Outside is a scary place to me. Most don’t want to hear the gospel and they’re quite adamant, vocal and threatening about it. And I cower back into the shadows and my boldness is gone. Satan is good at what he does.

I left a little piece of my heart in the prison, I’ll have to go back and see if I can find it. I doubt I will, I’ll probably have to make several trips…

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