Aug 12, 2008

The Body of Christ... in Prison

Ever wondered if God can use you?

On Saturday, Studly and I will be leading a team into the juvenile prison about 20 miles north of here. It fascinates me to consider the individuals who make up our team. They're of all shapes and sizes, colors and creeds, backgrounds and industries. Of course each event has a slightly different make up of teammates depending on who is able to go each time. It is always fun to see who God brings together.

On Saturday, our team will include:

  • a single, working grandmother of four and mother of eight
  • a tax accountant
  • an electrician
  • a 30-year-old personal trainer and his wife who are the proud new parents of a 10-month-old daughter
  • a career air force pilot who now works in the financial industry
  • an out-of-work mortgage broker who is currently going through a family crisis
  • a mechanic who has only a third grade education
  • a former "1%-er" outlaw motorcycle gang member who was diagnosed with liver cancer last week
  • a federal agent who is elbow-deep in preparation for the trial of corrupt government officials
  • a 36-year-old single elementary school teacher who will drive over three hours one way to join us. She usually brings her 81-year-old grandmother who is a mighty woman of God, but Grandma recently broke her hip in three places and can't make it this time.
  • a couple in their 70s whose son spent years in and out of prison and recently died from a drug overdose
  • a 26-year-old US Navy recruiter
  • a commercial aircraft mechanic
  • a graphic artist and print shop manager

Studly makes a fine leader and head of ministry, but his bullet point on that list would say:

  • a 54-year-old entrepreneur who allowed God to use his broken heart and his dog to tell others about Jesus.

And then there's me... a scared, broken little girl whose paralyzing panic attacks are incongruent with flourishing in a ministry inside prison walls, but by God's grace can testify of His power to transform.

On Saturday, 150 incarcerated kids will hear about Jesus for the first time or will be encouraged toward getting to know Him personally. They'll hear how Jesus changed the lives of all those folks in that list above. They'll hear that God loves them and has a plan for their lives. They'll be told that God doesn't make junk and that they are precious to Him. They'll hear the words "I love you" possibly for the first time in their lives. And they'll get to pet a big dog who is undoubtedly directed by angels.

If God can use all of these for His purpose, can't He use you, too? Wounded, broken, hurting, failing but still trying, and never forgetting His grace... those are who He can use.

Get off the bench. Get into the game. Wherever you are. However you're called. Don't miss the blessing of being part of the body of Christ.


Suzanne said...

Wow! What an amazing Spirit filled post! That gave me chills girl! I think what you guys do is one of the coolest things on the planet! :)

DidiLyn said...

Oh my gosh, I loved this post! I wish I could be there to hear you all. Maybe someday, we'll sit a spell and tell the stories, okay?
Jenn, You have to give me your email address, because I always want to comment back to you and I have no stinkin' email address! So send it!
My counters are actually Formica.
Yes, they have updated Formica with tries to look like natural stone.
I'm down with that and very happy with the results.
Thanks for all you do for the kingdom, sistah-friend

Anonymous said...

We are so proud of you BOTH! And, I know that the LORD is even prouder!
Our prayers will be that HIS WILL will be experienced this weekend!

Mom & Dad

Paula (SweetPea) said...

Wow, Jenn. That's awesome. What's up with the lady using a broken hip as an excuse. Haha. I can just hear the lady probably saying how she could still make it, or it's not that bad, or let me see if my doc will let me know down playing it because her heart is so sold out for God and this cause.

Absolutely outstanding!!! You've blessed my heart and made me want to get off the bench. If I lived near you, I'd go.

Sheryl said...

Okay, not that I don't enjoy coming over here and reading all the time. But this is THE best post you have ever written. Fabulous! Spirit filled! Amazing! Alright, enough of that. What your team does is just such great work for the Lord. We can all do something huge for HIM, no matter our circumstance.

Praying that God will bless you this weekend and more importantly that those kids will truly understand HIS love.


Anonymous said...

Awesome Post...and a great reminder! Thank you for all you do!
Love you guys!
Ruby's Fairy Godmother

Van said...

I absolutely love the way God brings His children together to work in His kingdom- what a fabulous description of a group of people. Quiero ir contigo la proxima vez...

Van said...

I am back! Just returned to your "about me" info. Besides our Spanish, we have our dogs in common. I actually wrote a book for children telling the story of the little dog we rescued from the pound. The story parallels our dogs obedience to follow his master with our choice to obey Jesus. Your shepherd is gorgeous. Reminds me of the one who was my constant companion from birth through about 12years. Regresare a visitarte...