Our revival in 2007 at Bethany Revival Center in Wichita, Kansas included a new experience. Bro. Charles Mitchel invited me to preach some chapel services at the Sedgwick County Jail. I had preached in a number of jails and prisons previously, even preaching at least one revival in a minimum security jail for Bro. Rickey Searcy in Oklahoma City.
However, I had never been able to preach in the Sedgwick County Jail. I had wanted to do so when we lived in Wichita years earlier, but the door was never opened to me. Bro. Charles opened the door wide and I was thrilled to walk through it with him. Praise God!
Preaching In The Sedgwick County Jail
The Sedgwick County Jail has chapel service and in-depth Bible studies several days each week and most years Bro. Charles has been able to schedule me to preach several days. The first time there I preached on "The Reach of the Savior" and the overwhelming response from the men touched my heart. I was hooked.
Each revival since then I have preached either two or three days in the jail. I used to do three days each year, but I asked to cut it down to two days a few years ago. My main responsibility in Wichita is to the church and I want to make sure I have enough strength and voice to fulfill that responsibility.
This week I preached Tuesday and Wednesday mornings. I love preaching to these guys so much. They pull the preaching out of me.
Most of the time the inmates have never seen me and they have nothing to go on except for what Bro. Charles has told them. They usually hold me at arms length for a few minutes and that is OK. I understand that. These guys can spot a phony a mile away.
I know better than try to impress them. They do not care how high and mighty I think I am. They do not care where I have been or what I have to say about anything until they know that I am the real deal.
I wade right into preaching and let the Word and God's anointing speak for me. Once the Holy Ghost begins to move, the walls come down and we are one. By the time we arrive at the altar service, we are all moving toward God and the victory He holds for us.
It is very similar to what happens when preaching the outreach service at Crosslight for Bro. Birdsong and in tent revivals across America. I never tire of watching the Gospel bring people to Him and toward each other!
The service always concludes with hugs, tears and prayers. It is amazing to see those big sin hardened guys respond to God with so much feeling. They are used to covering their hurts and fears with bluff and bravado, but the Spirit of the Lord humbles them down like gentle children.
I know that once these guys are in the system it is so hard to change their ways. The rate of re-offenders is super high, but a relationship with Christ gives them a chance. God can break the chains in the hearts of men and set them free even while in jail.
Praise God for the power of the gospel! That power is the reason I am willing to spend and be spent for the gospel. To touch a life with the message of hope in Jesus is to breathe life into soul that would otherwise die in hopelessness. What an amazing privilege I have been given.
Today I have been invited to preach in the chapel service for the Hope For The Hurting program here at Bethany Revival Center. I am looking forward to that too.
Thank you for stopping by today. Tomorrow I plan to post some pictures from revival.