Ray McDonald's Blog

Thoughts and Reflections

My KAIROS Experience – Part 4

Matthew 25:39

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

Life Change(The opening may 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 – with only a few guards giving us space.

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 late 20’s) – I’ll call him Sam. Sam has been in prison since his youth (a common theme as I’ve mentioned earlier). Sam is very sullen and has a mean demeanor or appearance. He seems to be the enforcer type. Strong and with the look of someone who could hurt you and not think about it. I’m not trying to judge Sam – but rather give you my first thoughts about him – from his appearance.

It was very obvious to me that Sam was a member of one of the social groups in the prison. The people he talked with during breaks – his ink – his demeanor – his presentation of himself – confirmed to me that he was in a social group.

One session – on the third day I believe – the inside residents were given an open mic time. Some were so thankful for the outsiders – taking time away from work and family to visit with them. They acknowledged that they didn’t have many visitors. Some began to share some of their story. One young man spoke about abuse in his life – from family members. Another talked about how touched he was that others would care enough to come and visit. Still another mentioned how he was going to make better life choices. Sam got up and shared – with tears – how he had accepted Jesus Christ as his Lord and Savior. He became very emotional – this stoic enforcer type. Others around the room responded in similar fashion. Members of his social group gathered around him at one point. Inside and outside persons were in tears. God was at work! God’s Holy Spirit was heavy on that prison and on that person. It was a moment I will always remember. It was one of those moments that can give one focus and meaning. To that point – I hadn’t decided if this was my first or last KAIROS experience. This movement of the Holy Spirit made me realize that I need to return.

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 last story in this series – and talk about Mark – an inmate who acknowledged he was an atheist when he arrived for the weekend. His story brought cheers and tears. 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.

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May 2, 2019 - Posted by | Bring, Build, Church, Community, Daily Devotion, Daily Prayer, Discipleship, Encouragement, Evangelism, Faith Journey, Family, From the Pastor, Holy Spirit, Leadership, Missions, Outreach, Personal, Prayer, Theology, Vision | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

1 Comment »

  1. We will pray for “Sam” and thank you for sharing about him, too. Excellent blogpost. Thanks, Ray!

    Like

    Comment by Favorite Son | May 2, 2019 | Reply


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