Harvest Prison Ministry

C. S. Lewis wrote in Mere Christianity, "God cannot give us a happiness and peace apart from Himself, because it is not there. There is no such thing."  If there is one thing we see in the lives of the men in the Church Behind the Walls, it is just that: men finding out the hard way that their happiness and peace can only be found in the living Christ.  And when they discover that it was God's providence and mercy that put them there lest they continue on the path that leads to eternal destruction, they are overwhelmed by His love and grace -- that God would love them enough to break into their lives with His chastening rod and righteous right hand.

We have the privilege to meet these men where they live, in a pod of fifty inmates, two to a cell, which is about the size of the average walk-in closet. What we find there is a lot of honesty and very little pride. They have been stripped down to their souls, both literally and spiritually; pretense is torn away and each man becomes a clone of the system. Every man has what every other man has, not like a form of communism, but as reflected in their pale blue shirts and dark blue pants, a uniformity that is designed to remind them of their need to submit to authority and get in line with society. Rebellion is not permitted because that's what put them there to begin with--it's non-productive.

 

That's why the Gospel is the only thing big enough to break through the sin-baked crust of men who have emerged from broken and often violent homes, their relationships in shambles without any clue of how to fix them.  A relationship with God? What would that look like? "I never had a dad in my home." "I was beaten time and again for no reason." "My parents prostituted me to the highest bidder."  We hear this a lot from broken men with broken hearts from broken homes. They're not making excuses, they're explaining what their lives are like, and it's ugly and it's messy, like most of us in the free world.

 

But praise God, Jesus meets us right where we are, even if He has to get down in the gutter with us. Like the woman caught in adultery, Jesus stoops down and raises us out of the dirt and tells us He doesn't condemn us (we're already condemned by the law), but whispers, "Go and sin no more." All the men we work with have the same problem that woman had -- a bad heart. And what a joy it is to tell them that it's the love of God that regenerates us and leads us to repentance. Then the Lord does what He promised -- He sanctifies them and "leads them in the paths of righteousness for His name's sake." Seeing these men put their faith in Christ is what charges our batteries. 

 

Prayer. Prayer. Prayer. Mr. Spurgeon wrote, "The same God that ordains to give a certain blessing has also ordained that we shall pray for it. We do not expect to change the will of God, but we believe our prayer to be a part of his will." 

 

Thank you so much for your continued support for HPM.  We are your hands and feet, sent by God to do the work of the Gospel.

 

May God be glorified and the Church edified.

 

Rick Allen

Richard Jennings

Philippians1:6

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