Spring training is a bucket list item
“Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has gone, the new has come! All this is from God, who reconciled us to himself through Christ and gave us the ministry of reconciliation: (New International Version 1984, 2 Corinthians 5:17-18).
No, not the spring training that baseball teams attend in Florida or Arizona, but the spring training we completed last Saturday in Moore, Oklahoma.
For you readers who were there, you will rejoice with me over this review. For you that were not able to attend or are not required to attend, you will rejoice with the Lord in all that He is doing through OJPM.
Here is the line-up card that I went with on Saturday.
Leading off was Board President and Cleveland County jail Site Chaplain Bill Farley. Bill was quick to get on base with updates for our spring luncheon on Tuesday, May 8th at the Oklahoma City Petroleum Club where we will honor Argyl Dick with our Sower Award and Tom and Kay Hill with our Spirit Award.
In the number two spot Oklahoma County Sheriff’s Chaplain Don Duncan advanced Farley with an update on conditions at the Oklahoma County jail. Duncan credited Sheriff P. D. Taylor for the changes he has instituted at the jail, but reminded the team that there are still great challenges. He specifically reminded the volunteers of the importance of following the security procedures.
OJPM Senior Chaplain Jorge Vara was in the three hole. With 29 years of service, no one knows the ins and outs of jail ministry like Vara. He handles the core of all our training and covered foundational principles of jail ministry, procedures and regulations, understanding the inmate, qualifications for counseling and guidelines.
Muskogee County jail Associate Chaplain Greg Fields batted cleanup. He cleared the bases with a powerful message on the biblical principle of reconciliation. Using 2 Corinthians 5:17-21 as his text, Fields challenged us that the basis of our reconciliation with God through Christ is the hope we share with others.
In the heart of the order we heard from our three new site chaplains. Kevin Martin, site chaplain for our new work in Lincoln County shared how his church’s heart for jail ministry opened up the doors for working with OJPM and Sheriff Charlie Dougherty.
From Bryan County, Site Chaplain Jessie West, shared how his hospital chaplaincy ministry opened a relationship with new Sheriff Johnny Christian and OJPM to restart jail ministry there.
Logan County jail Site Chaplain Lincoln Kosa shared how the Lord delivered him from years of abuse and jail time. Through his relationship with new Sheriff Damon Devereaux and support from OJPM, Kosa is excited about challenging others with the reconciliatory power he has experienced through Jesus Christ.
You could say that I was at the bottom of the order or you could say that I was the designated hitter. Either way, I trust I delivered by challenging our chaplains with the importance of prayer. My three points from Jeremiah 33:3 were:
Understanding the access God has provided to us . . . we must take advantage of the opportunity
Understanding the availability God has made for us . . . we must give attention to Him
Understanding the desire God has expressed to us . . . we must respond in commitment
It was a beautiful spring day for training. The season ahead is full of promise and opportunity.
Unleashing the captives,