By Vance Drum
We had a special guest preacher on Sunday at Sunset. Our good friend John Morgan, retired school teacher from Kennard, brought a message about trees called “Taprooting,” from Psalm 1:3: The blessed man “is like a tree planted by streams of water, which yields its fruit in season and whose leaf does not wither.” It was a great message which all enjoyed.
One point John made was from Psalm 92:12-14: “The righteous will flourish like a palm tree, they will grow like a cedar of Lebanon… They will still bear fruit in old age, they will stay fresh and green….”
May all who live for the Lord enjoy such a blessed life!
The Sunset pastor on Sunday was in prison at the Eastham Unit near Lovelady. He was part of a Kairos prison ministry team which went in on Thursday, and ministered until Sunday evening. This weekend was the Eastham Kairos #35 weekend. Here’s some background, and what happened.
Kairos (Greek word meaning “God’s special time”) is a worldwide prison ministry. It is an outgrowth of a God-blessed Christian renewal movement which began in Spain in the 1940s and has gone all over the world, and in many churches.
The ministry happens on a weekend—Thursday through Sunday—in the free world or in prison, and is a “short course in Christianity.” However, it’s not like any education course you might take. It’s more of an experience than it is any academic course.
You may have heard of Tres Dias (“three days,” East Texas Tres Dias, which meets at Houston County’s Frontier Camp)—part of the same movement. Or, Walk to Emmaus, in the Methodist church. Or Cursillo (means “short course”), in the Catholic and Episcopal churches. Or, Epiphany, in the youth detention centers.
Kairos prison ministry is in most U.S. states and 10 foreign countries. Kairos is in nearly 50 prisons in Texas.
Kairos exposes prisoners to a new way of thinking about their lives—the Christian way. The weekend utilizes short talks by lay and clergy men (in men’s prisons), worship, and fellowship over food.
The weekend always has a powerful effect on all who participate. Inmate participants number no more than 42 for a weekend, plus about a dozen inmate servers. The weekend (whether in prison or free world) normally happens two times annually.
Cookies! One of the great things that happens on a Kairos weekend is cookies. The Team (35 men inside the prison, and normally about 10 women outside at the Weldon Baptist Church) brings in cookies. The team brought 3,000 DOZEN cookies into the prison! The cookies represent God’s grace, which never runs out. Although only 42 are in the program, the cookies are distributed throughout the prison—all inmates (2500) and staff (300) in the prison receive a package of cookies—both homemade (before the weekend) and store-bought chocolate chip. Everybody anticipates the cookies!
On this weekend at Eastham, many prisoners gave their lives to the Lord Jesus Christ—taking a new life direction, and committing themselves to making godly choices in their future. May God’s Holy Spirit empower them to do just that.
Greg Kazmierczak of East Texas Tres Dias was the Kairos weekend Leader. He did a great job, as did all the team.
Prisons are a great mission field in America. So many prisoners are there (146,000 in the Texas Department of Criminal Justice), mainly because of bad choices they’ve made.
One thing we heard on the weekend which resonated with me: “Prisons are full of good people who’ve made bad choices.” What does this statement mean? We’re all sinners. In that sense, there is none of us who is good.
Nowadays, however, there are so many in prison who are there because they did not have good parental training. In modern America, so many families have disintegrated or are dysfunctional. Parental guidance, love, nurture and discipline is hard to find. Fathers (and sometimes mothers) are absent more than ever before.
All of us—prisoners included—must be responsible for our choices. But a massive spiritual revival of faith in God , repentance and trusting in Christ is needed to turn our nation around.
May the Lord bless and save!