Why do we share?
“The Spirit of the Sovereign Lord is on me, because the Lord has anointed me to preach good news to the poor. He has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim freedom for the captives and release from darkness for the prisoners” (New International Version 1984, Isaiah 61:1).
Most OJPM chaplains are volunteers who understand that the indwelling of the Spirit of the Lord compels them to share the good news of Jesus Christ with others.
Some OJPM chaplains raise their own financial support and/or receive stipends from our ministry. There are four chaplains that are on a salary that make up our administrative staff.
No matter the compensation, each of our chaplains has discovered the opportunity to live out Isaiah 61:1 each week through our ministry. Each of them has been anointed by the Lord to step out of his or her comfort zone to go where He leads to proclaim freedom for the captives.
Our chaplains share whenever an opportunity arises; they have found that there are numerous opportunities to open the Word of God with the men and women who find themselves in one of our county jails. These men and women are in a desperate situation and are open to hearing the hope of how they can be released from darkness.
Isaiah writes of being sent and foretells Jesus’ own ministry of doing the will of the Father over His own will. OJPM chaplains are individuals who have surrendered to the Lordship of Jesus Christ. That means they follow Christ’s teachings and have Christ living in them.
Embracing the “sentness” of Isaiah and of Jesus is a clear marker of a Christ-like life. The Apostle Paul, under the same anointing of the Holy Spirit, described it this way. “How, then, can they call on the one they have not believed in? And how can they believe in the one of whom they have not heard? And how can they hear without someone preaching to them? And how can they preach unless they are sent? As it is written, “How beautiful are the feet of those who bring good news” Romans 10:14–15!
Allow me to riff as the Apostle Paul did. OJPM chaplains share because they have the living gospel story indwelling within them. OJPM chaplains have the living gospel indwelling within them because they have repented of their sins and surrendered to the Lord. OJPM chaplains have surrendered to the Lord because they have heard the message of hope through the gospel of Jesus Christ. OJPM chaplains have heard the message of hope through the gospel of Jesus Christ because someone shared with them.
Do you see the circle of life that God has designed into the Christian life? There is a time and place to focus on each portion of the circle, but the focus today is – OJPM chaplains share because someone shared with them. When you have heard the truth, you have to speak up.
Is the Spirit of the Sovereign Lord on you?
Unleashing the captives,
Transforming people on both sides of the bars – the proof
“And we, who with unveiled faces all reflect the Lord’s glory, are being transformed into his likeness with ever-increasing glory, which comes from the Lord, who is the Spirit” (New International Version 1984, 2 Corinthians 3:18).
Our 2019 Spring Luncheon was a time of celebrating God’s faithful and fruitful work in our ministry through the many prayer warriors, volunteer chaplains and financial supporters that make up the OJPM family.
Our mission statement speaks to the fact that not only are the men and women jailed in the many county detention centers across our state transformed with the life-changing gospel of Jesus Christ, but also the volunteer chaplains who step out of their comfort zone to follow the Lord’s leadership are impacted.
Three testimonies at our luncheon spoke to this transformation. Bill Farley, OJPM development director and Canadian County chaplain, George Rennix, OJPM board president and Oklahoma County chaplain and Tammy Franklin, Prison Fellowship academy program manager.
Farley, by way of introducing 2019 Sower Award recipient Rennix, spoke of how uncomfortable he was the first time Rennix spoke to him about visiting the Oklahoma County jail to share the gospel with the men there.
Farley had several job opportunities available, but after much prayer, felt like the Lord wanted him to become a volunteer chaplain and eventually assume a key leadership position with OJPM. Farley could have made more money elsewhere; he knew the cost of following the Lord was steep, but he also knew that he needed nothing more than the security of being in God’s perfect will.
Rennix, shared how the Lord had delivered him from a tough youth and given him great joy in sharing with incarcerated men in both state prisons and the
Oklahoma County jail. Rennix related that he is more comfortable being in the background and does not like to draw attention to himself. However, he said that when the Lord opens doors, he tries to always be obedient and walk through them.
Farley, as presenter and Rennix as receiver, both acknowledge how their lives had been transformed through their faithfulness to the Lord and through service in our ministry.
Franklin shared her testimony of deliverance from drugs through the ministry of OJPM in our sixth-floor female chaplain’s office in the Oklahoma County jail. Edna Keith, long-time OJPM volunteer chaplain who passed away last year, led Franklin to a commitment to the Lord.
Franklin shared, “I always felt that Edna refused to judge me by what I’d done and always viewed me through the eyes of her Savior.” Franklin’s testimony of transformation through Christ was the highlight of the luncheon. Several commented that you could sense the moving of the Holy Spirit in a powerful way because of Franklin’s openness and honesty of where she had been and Who had touched her heart and her mind.
Jason Trice, co-president & CEO of Jasco Products Company, gracefully accepted our 2019 Spirit Award on behalf of the Jasco Giving Hope Foundation and the employees of Jasco. He expressed his excitement to be able to support a ministry that is making such an impact in our state for the kingdom of God.
We did not have any dessert at our luncheon (I heard from one close confidant that we better have some next year), but there was proof in the pudding that OJPM is transforming people on both sides of the bars!
Unleashing the captives,
“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 25:23).
Sometimes it is hard for Christians to accept praise and recognition.
The passage in Matthew 6:1 comes to mind that clearly points to the displeasure God has with pride. Jesus Himself was speaking when Matthew wrote, “Be careful not to do your ‘acts of righteousness’ before men, to be seen by them. If you do, you will have no reward from your Father in heaven.”
Yet we are encouraged as Christians to share appreciation and thankfulness.
Paul expressed his appreciation to specific individuals who helped him when he wrote, “I was glad when Stephanas, Fortunatus and Achaicus arrived, because they have supplied what was lacking from you. For they refreshed my spirit and yours also. Such men deserve recognition” (1 Corinthians 16:17–18).
Which is it to be? To give recognition or not?
The answer is, it depends. It depends on the heart and motivation of the one giving and the one receiving. As it is with all things of God, the heart is the key to the matter. Two people can approach God in prayer and one will be heard and one will not (Luke 18:9-14). The attitude of the heart is the focus as Jesus stated in verse 14, “For everyone who exalts himself will be humbled, and he who humbles himself will be exalted.”
Our Spring Luncheon is approaching on Tuesday, May 14th from 11:30 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. at The Petroleum Club, 100 N. Broadway, Oklahoma City (See box on back for details). OJPM has two awards that it gives out at this luncheon. The Spirit Award for a faithful supporter and the Sower Award for a faithful volunteer.
Jason Trice, CEO of Jasco Products, will received our Spirit Award and George Rennix, president of our OJPM Board of Directors and a long-time OJPM volunteer, will receive our Sower Award. These men have given and served with no desire for recognition and with humble hearts. We honor them to show our appreciation to them for putting their faith into action by serving our wonderful Savior.
This luncheon will be an application of what Paul wrote when he directed the early church to “therefore encourage one another and build each other up, just as in fact you are doing” (1 Thessalonians 5:11).
At this year’s luncheon the Joe Williams Endowment Fund will be launched with a seed gift of $25,000 already planted. Over the last few years OJPM has moved from reinforcing its financial foundation to expanding ministry across the state.
With the average cost of $6,000 per state-wide county, each $120,000 goal reached will endow a county. In addition to the state-wide county goals, reaching $4,000,000 in the endowment will fund our base ministry in Oklahoma County.
Join with me in regularly checking your own heart and motivation by spending time with God in His Word and making a list of all that you have to be thankful for.
Even today, wherever you are, if your heart is humble toward God, your ear can hear a soft and still voice say, “Well done!” When you hear appreciation from the Lord or anyone else just say, ‘thank you.”
Unleashing the captives,
God controls your world
“But Joseph said to [his brothers], ‘Don’t be afraid. Am I in the place of God? You intended to harm me, but God intended it for good to accomplish what is now being done, the saving of many lives’” (New International Version, 1984, Genesis 50:19–20).
The Old Testament Joseph learned to face victory and defeat because he knew that God was in control.
This is not a lesson you learn once and then have it down for the rest of your life. Trusting that God is in control of your world is a truth that one has to revisit regularly and wrestle with continuously.
You know it so well one day and then the next you begin to wonder. You experience its reality in one area of your life and then struggle to live it out in another area of your life.
This truth applies to individuals like you and me and it applies to ministries like OJPM. A door opens in one county and a door shuts in another county. It is easy to say that God is on His throne when the door opens. It is hard to say that God is on His throne when the door shuts.
OJPM has seen ministry opportunities open in various counties and it has seen opportunities close. During the first months of 2019 we have seen ministry open in McIntosh and Mayes Counties. During 2018 we opened new work in Bryan, Lincoln and Logan Counties. Yet we have had to pause our ministries in Canadian and Logan Counties. Thankfully, Canadian County has just opened back up.
God is control but He has chosen to involve us in the spiritual battle. Paul tells us that “the weapons we fight with are not the weapons of the world. On the contrary, they have divine power to demolish strongholds. We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ” (2 Corinthians 10:4–5).
On any day we can receive a phone call or email telling us that our ministry is no longer allowed in a county. Those are sad days, but God is still on His throne. God’s ways are not our ways and Satan is a powerful adversary. Thankfully, God is more powerful!
Joe Williams, long-time leader of OJPM, used to say regularly, “The Lord willing.” I have to admit that this would irritate me from time to time. Of course, the Lord is willing! Yet it is in this complete surrender to God’s will and timing that we find true strength and peace.
I read a lot of retirement blogs and Bogleheads is a common term for people that follow John Bogle’s investment philosophy of avoiding fees and using indexes. Bogle founded Vanguard in 1974 and passed away in January. He was famous for saying, “Stay the course.”
OJPM needs Williamsheads, people who follow Williams’ spiritual philosophy of obeying God no matter what. People who trust that God is in control of each day and of each situation and that the “it” will happen “if He wills.”
God controls your world! Does God control you?
Unleashing the captives,