Executive Chaplain’s Corner

OJPM volunteers move from success to significance

“His master replied, ‘Well done, good and faithful servant! You have been faithful with a few things; I will put you in charge of many things. Come and share your master’s happiness!’” (New International Version 1984, Matthew 25:21).

Bob Bufford’s book named, Halftime: Moving from Success to Significance, was recommended to me last month by a wise, godly man.

As I read through this book I began to see a familiar pattern develop.  People who had success in life but were looking for something more.  People looking to be used by God to impact His kingdom and their world.  I saw OJPM volunteers!

Bufford came to a point in his life where he began asking himself afresh “What is my passion? How am I wired? Where do I belong? What do I believe? What will I do about what I believe?”  As I have gotten to know our volunteers over the last two and one-half years I can see that they have asked themselves the same questions.

OJPM volunteers and also our extended family of prayer warriors and financial supporters have moved beyond just the illusion of success to the reality of significance; Godly significance.  The type of kingdom impact that further develops their own spiritual transformation into the image of Christ and that overflows to impact others.

I preached just this last Sunday at one of our supporting churches,
Metropolitan Baptist, Oklahoma City.  The title of my message was,
Transforming People On Both Sides of the Bars.  This is a common theme that I have focused on for the last six months and it speaks to the fact that our volunteers are transformed as much as the inmates to which we minister.

Spiritual transformation comes through saying yes to God and no to self.  To the churches I speak at I relate it to taking an international missions trip.  People come back from mission trips transformed because of the discomfort they have yielded themselves to in order to say yes to God and no to themselves.

For the average church member, venturing to the bowels of a county jail is a trip that crosses many points of discomfort.  Our OJPM volunteers make this journey gladly because they have discovered the joy of walking with Christ and the excitement of touching the life of another.

Bufford could be talking about our volunteers when he describes what he means by using halftime to make a course correction for your life.  He wrote, “For the second half of life to be better than the first, you must make the choice to step outside of the safety of living on autopilot. You must wrestle with who you are, why you believe what you profess to believe about your life, and what you do to provide meaning and structure to your daily activities and relationships.”

I always appreciate it when someone recommends a good book for me to read.  I added my book recommends to our newsletter because of the example of Tom Pace, local author and our upcoming fall banquet keynote speaker.  Bert Simmons, one of our volunteers, even challenged me to study through John Maxwell’s Everyone Communicates, Few Connect with him.

Here are a couple of items that you can add to your prayer/praise list:

  • Bryan County Sheriff Johnny Christian has invited OJPM to oversee chaplain services in his jail.  Pray for God’s guidance as we enlist a site chaplain for that facility
  • Steven Lewis has been added to the OJPM Board of Directors.  Steve has a heart for jail ministry and is an attorney who specializes in religious non-profits
  • Tom Pace, author of “Mentor: The Kid & The CEO”, will be the keynote speaker for our fall volunteer recognition banquet, Friday, September 29th at 6:00 p.m. at First Baptist Church, Moore

For those involved in Oklahoma Jail & Prison Ministries as a volunteer, prayer warrior or donor; your Master is happy!

Unleashing the captives,

Tim Gentry
Executive Chaplain

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