It was an amazing evening
The old hymn says, “I stand amazed in the presence of Jesus the Nazarene.”
I was amazed as I stood and took in the majesty of God as I listened to testimony after testimony and announcement after announcement at our annual volunteer appreciation banquet last month at First Baptist Church, Moore, Oklahoma.
United States Senator James Lankford led off the evening by reminding us that OJPM volunteers are the ones that make a difference in the Kingdom and in our country and not the politicians in Washington.
Senator Lankford joined Board President Bill Farley and me in presenting outgoing Board President Joe Williams with a plaque recognizing his 17 years of service to OJPM. Joe is “stepping back a bit” as he continues serving the Lord as a board member and transitional pastor at Lake Center Baptist Church, Monkey Island, Oklahoma.
Board President Farley reminded us that God brings together many different types of people for various responsibilities to make OJPM work. There are prayer warriors, volunteer chaplains, financial supporters and just plain ole friends that OJPM would be bankrupt without. Farley took the time to introduce many of the guests that made time out of a Friday night and a weekend to come and either find out more of what OJPM is doing or to celebrate what they already know is happening.
Oklahoma County Sheriff’s Chaplain Don Duncan and Oklahoma County Sheriff John Whetsel continued the amazement by sharing how the gospel of Jesus Christ is the only hope for reconciliation for inmates with God, with their families, with their victims and with society.
Kathy Jones, volunteer from Cleveland County’s Beggs Detention Center, touched every heart with her story of how Jesus Christ delivered her from her meth addiction and how He has given her strength for today and hope for tomorrow. Jones’ story was especially pointed when she shared how her incarcerated daughter discovered that a fellow inmate had been ministered to by Kathy at the Beggs Detention Center. The air was thick and the eyes were wet with the grace of God as a proud mother told how her prodigal daughter was coming to her senses.
I did not think the evening could get any better until our keynote speaker, Pastor Eric Pope, former All-American lineman at the University of Oklahoma, started challenging us to step up to the line and be counted for Jesus Christ. Pastor Pope shared from his heart and his own personal incarceration about the trials we face today and the responsibility we have of serving Jesus Christ in our county jails.
It was truly a joy to stand back with Diana Chambers, my ministry assistant who did much of the work to make the evening possible, and celebrate the mercy, grace and love of our Lord Jesus Christ.
Those of you who were at the banquet; would you agree with me that Jesus Christ was lifted up in a special way? Those of you who were not at the banquet; does it sound like Jesus Christ was lifted up in a special way?
I am proud to be a part of OJPM and how God is using us to set the captives free. I can only imagine what can be greater than what we experienced last month at our banquet. I believe the greater thing will be God’s continued hand of favor upon OJPM and ultimately, the Lord and heaven itself.
It is how the composer finishes the hymn I began with. “When with the ransomed in glory His face I at last shall see.”
Unleashing the captives,