Open hearts, open doors, bright shining light
“In the same way, let your light shine before men, that they may see your good deeds and praise your Father in heaven” (New International Version 1984, Matthew 5:16).
The light was bright at our 2017 OJPM spring banquet. Truly, the glory of the Lord shone bright in the testimonies given about Joe Williams and Anthony Jordan and by Iris Horne. The room was also bright with the glorious spring sunshine coming through the floor to ceiling windows of the Petroleum Club on the 34th floor of the Cotter Ranch Tower in downtown Oklahoma City.
It was a gorgeous view to behold. From the windows or even close to the windows you could see to the north, west and south for miles across greater Oklahoma City.
Around the tables you could see OJPM volunteers and chaplains, supporting churches, friends of OJPM, staff from the Baptist General Convention of Oklahoma and local officials like Oklahoma County Acting Sheriff P. D. Taylor, Oklahoma State Representative Anastasia Pittman and Oklahoma City Councilman John Pettis.
There are times I can flip flop between what I understand as God’s admonition in Matthew 6:5 to not showboat when Jesus says, “And when you pray, do not be like the hypocrites, for they love to pray standing in the synagogues and on the street corners to be seen by men” and His challenge in Matthew 5:16 to “let our light shine before men.” God reminds me that it is the attitude in these actions that is important to Him. I believe the attitude held by all at our spring luncheon was one of thankfulness, excitement and determination.
There is much to be thankful for as the Lord has strengthened our financial condition. We have moved from planning to cut staff and services in October of 2015 to having money now to expand into other county jails and add chaplain positions. In addition, Sheriff Taylor, with Don Duncan returning, has reestablished the Oklahoma County sheriff’s chaplain position.
There is much to be excited about as God answered many prayers and I was able to announce at the spring luncheon that we were at $51,000 in donations toward the Open Hearts, Open Doors JASCO Giving Hope Foundation Matching Fund Campaign goal of $100,000.
Since this campaign started on March 1st, it is amazing how the hand of God has touched donor hearts to open financially so that more physical doors of opportunity can be opened so that in turn more inmate hearts can be opened spiritually to the transforming power of the gospel.
There is a new determination in our focus as we move forward with the
opportunity God has placed before us. Two items come to mind as I think about how we move forward.
First, small gifts are just as important as large gifts. Ten individuals giving $25 a month is as impactful as one individual giving $250 a month. Both are needed. More people giving brings more prayer support, more word of mouth telling of the OJPM story, a greater pool to draw volunteer chaplains from and more churches that can endorse our ministry. Second, decisions on where to spend money can be just as challenging as decisions where not to spend money.
Your light is shining. Praise our Father in heaven!
Unleashing the captives,