Ray McDonald's Blog

Thoughts and Reflections

My KAIROS Experience – Part 1

Matthew 25:39

When did we see you sick or in prison and go to visit you?’

Life ChangeThis week I will be relating some of my experiences working with KAIROS over the last weekend in prison ministry at MCI-J. This was the 12th KAIROS event at MCI-J. It was a life transforming experience for the men in the prison and for the men who went into the prison to take Jesus to those inside. I was hesitant when I went – some of these men have murdered – have raped – have done armed robbery – been drug dealers and are some of them are in prison gangs. When I enter a room – especially when I enter a possible troubled room – I always make an exit plan – looking for the fastest way out. There were not escape routes when we were behind bars and barbed wire and such.

This week – I will write about some of the men I met and their story. I will not use their names – but believe me – these men are for real. I realize that I met these men in a very limited way – during our 4-day visit – albeit an intense 4-day visit – and I understand through 40+ years of ministry that people can learn what to say at the right time to fool people. Having said that – I believe I have a pretty good fake antenna – pretty good discernment. This ministry – KAIROS – is very Biblical and essential. It is one of the things Jesus called us to do and something we will be examined on when Jesus comes in His glory.

Today I want to talk about an elderly prisoner I’ll call Bill. Bill has been in prison since he was a teenager. He did some horrific things in his youth – we talked about them together. Today – he is a mellow senior man who simply wants to spend time with his family once he is released. He had a measure of faith before arriving at our KAIROS weekend but deepened his faith through the program. He was one of the wisemen on campus and many looked to him. He was a calming influence in the room – and I imagine in the prison too.

Bill and some of the other seniors in the prison and at our event – kept a gang response to something that happened during our event – calm. A number of gang members – who had made public acknowledgements for Christ – were targeted in a bathroom writing – and Bill helped keep things under control during our event. I watched him work the room talking with fellow inmates and helping to keep the calm. No response was made during our visit.

If I had met Bill on the outside – I would have thought that he was simply someone with a colorful story. We talked and found out we had crossed some similar communities over our years – attending the same Junior High School – albeit a few years a part. We knew some of the same landmarks and had some good conversations. I will remember Bill and will be keeping him in my thoughts and prayers. He was approved for parole recently but for some reason it was rejected at the last minute. He didn’t seem bitter about it and was looking forward to a new review in several months. I believe that Bill knows and loves Jesus and will be a good man when he returns home after serving his time.

This week’s passage can be found here in partial context. Matthew 25:31–46 – 31 “When the Son of Man comes in his glory, and all the angels with him, he will sit on his glorious throne. 32 All the nations will be gathered before him, and he will separate the people one from another as a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats. 33 He will put the sheep on his right and the goats on his left. 34 “Then the King will say to those on his right, ‘Come, you who are blessed by my Father; take your inheritance, the kingdom prepared for you since the creation of the world. 35 For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in, 36 I needed clothes and you clothed me, I was sick and you looked after me, I was in prison and you came to visit me.’ 37 Then the righteous will answer him, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you something to drink? 38 When did we see you a stranger and invite you in, or needing clothes and clothe you? 39 When did we see you sick or in prison and go to visit you?’ 40 “The King will reply, ‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.’ 41 “Then he will say to those on his left, ‘Depart from me, you who are cursed, into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels. 42 For I was hungry and you gave me nothing to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me nothing to drink, 43 I was a stranger and you did not invite me in, I needed clothes and you did not clothe me, I was sick and in prison and you did not look after me.’ 44 “They also will answer, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry or thirsty or a stranger or needing clothes or sick or in prison, and did not help you?’ 45 He will reply, ‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did not do for one of the least of these, you did not do for me.’ 46 “Then they will go away to eternal punishment, but the righteous to eternal life.”

Tomorrow – I will share the story of Rob – an inmate who was part of the 1st KAIROS at MCI-J a number of years ago – and worked the event as a servant volunteer. These stories are meant to share with you my experience and how my eyes were opened to the men incarcerated to whom we presented Jesus.

I pray for Bill and all of the inmates I met this past weekend. I pray that as they walk out their new found faith or newly focused faith when they returned to compound life this morning – they will stand strong and make good choices.

Just something for us to think about today as we go on our way.

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April 29, 2019 - Posted by | Build, Church, Community, Daily Devotion, Daily Prayer, Discipleship, Encouragement, Evangelism, Faith Journey, Family, From the Pastor, Holy Spirit, Leadership, Missions, Outreach, Personal, Prayer, Theology, Worship | , , , , , , , , , , , ,

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