Ray McDonald's Blog

Thoughts and Reflections

My KAIROS Experience – Part 3

Matthew 25:39

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

Life Change(The opening will be repeated – but it is a new devotional thought each day.) This week – I will be relating some of my experiences working with KAIROS over the last weekend in prison ministry 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 – have been drug dealers – and some of them are in prison social groups. 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 no 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 – I have pretty good discernment. I also realize that what is said at KAIROS should stay at KARIOS – so I will not reveal any personal information – just generalizations that will help others to know the power of this ministry. This ministry – KAIROS – is very Biblical and essential. It is one of the things Jesus called us to do (visit those in prison) and something we will be examined on when Jesus comes in His glory.

Today I want to talk about a young person (probably early 30’s) – I’ll call him Chuck. Chuck has been in prison since his youth (a common theme as I’ve mentioned). Chuck is very charismatic. He seems to be a natural leader and a deep thinker. He certainly said all the right things during the conversations we shared. I became curious as I saw him interacting with certain inside residents – residents that didn’t have his demeanor – residents that appeared to be of a rougher nature. I began to put two and two together. He was either a leader in their group or he was a person trying to influence them – hopefully for the better.

Chuck and I had several conversations. He seemed sincere in his desire to to better himself and to better others – especially younger persons inside and outside the prison system. He was respected and listened to because of his charisma – his maturity – and his wisdom (maturity and wisdom do not always go together). He wore a cross and seemed to have a measure of spirituality about him (not trying to judge – just an observation). Like most – he appreciated the outsiders taking time out of our lives to visit. He expressed his thanks to me for my letter – with a personal note. He was looking forward to being released soon but expressed that his choices – even while in the prison system – had delayed his release.

Chuck also worked hard – like Bill and Rob – to keep things under control. The inside leaders know if there is trouble – KAIROS might not be able to return. My initial concern with my safety was further relieved after conversations with Chuck. I began to observe much about him and how he carried himself. I heard there was a social group from the prison represented in the room and I began to think that Chuck was a member – maybe even a leader. Two of the young men who he often talked with had openly mentioned their affiliation with this social group. I asked Chuck if he were a member (I know – either brave or stupid). After questioning me on how I learned this – and telling him it was simply from observation – he said he was but wanted to reach all young people to improve their condition – inside and outside the prison. I believed his sincere desire. Like others – he didn’t seem bitter about his situation and knew he had made bad choices – and wanted to make good choices from now on. It was a refreshing time to get to know someone I would have never met before and heard some of his story.

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 Sam – an inmate who was a member of an inside social group who accepted Jesus as his Lord and Savior at our KAIROS weekend. His story made us all feel the emotions he expressed. It was a powerful experience. 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. It is to encourage others to attend – to financially support – and to pray for this ministry. If you’re looking for something to invest in that makes a difference – this is one area.

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

May 1, 2019 - Posted by | Bring, Build, Church, Community, Daily Devotion, Daily Prayer, Discipleship, Encouragement, Evangelism, Faith Journey, Family, From the Pastor, Leadership, Missions, Outreach, Personal, Prayer, Theology | , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

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