Casting the vision!
“Where there is no vision, the people perish” (Provers 29:18a).
The OJPM Spring Luncheon held last month at The Petroleum Club atop the 38th floor of Cotter Ranch Tower in downtown Oklahoma City was all about vision.
From our height, you could see for miles in any direction. With the clarity of a windy Oklahoma day, the visibility was amazing. The testimonies and presentations in the room voiced a clear blessing of God on our past and a strong vision for the future of OJPM.
Reflecting over the past, Tom Hill, who along with his wife, Kay, received the Spirit Award declared that “OJPM is the most effective ministry that I know of in presenting the gospel.”
Argyl Dick, who along with his wife, Janel, received the Sower Award shared that “we have such fond memories of our twelve years with OJPM. Our service and sacrifice to the Lord through OJPM was worth every moment of the effort.”
Looking toward the future the OJPM vision of “providing passionate, trained chaplains and volunteers to every county jail in Oklahoma” was highlighted with the revealing of an Oklahoma County Map (see box below) showing where OJPM has ministry currently and where we are still praying and seeking opportunities.
Bill Farley, whose vision birthed this luncheon three years ago, has recently changed hats to help put legs on this dream. Bill has resigned as board member to become development director to work with me in enlisting new county jails across the state. As I write this article Bill is finishing a tour of northeastern Oklahoma where he is meeting with legislators, sheriffs and jail administrators.
Throughout the Old Testament you see God reminding the Israelites (through festivals, prophecies, the Word of God, etc.) that His faithfulness in the past was proof of His faithfulness for the future. The Spring Luncheon was just such an event of reminding and confirming.
Each year that we honor the heroes of our ministry with the Spirit Award and the Sower Award I wonder who we will be able to honor in the future. Steve Trice, Jay Tompkins, Anthony Jordan, Joe Williams, Tom and Kay Hill and Argyl and Janel Dick; these are giants of the faith.
Because we serve a great God, I know that He will continue to raise up faithful men and women to serve Him through OJPM. Be sure to note the pictures from the luncheon on the back page of this newsletter.
God is using OJPM to reach the men and women behind bars across this state with the gospel of Jesus Christ. Do you see it!
Unleashing the captives,
OJPM currently has work in ten facilities in nine counties. We have 68 counties to go!
There is power in a name!
“Your attitude should be the same as that of Christ Jesus: Who, being in very nature God, did not consider equality with God something to be grasped, but made himself nothing, taking the very nature of a servant, being made in human likeness. And being found in appearance as a man, he humbled himself and became obedient to death—even death on a cross! Therefore God exalted him to the highest place and gave him the name that is above every name, that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father” (New International Version 198, Philippians 2:5-11).
Last Sunday was the Oklahoma Memorial Marathon. Seeing all the news coverage brought back a lot of memories from the nine marathons (including three Boston’s) that I have run.
At my first Boston Marathon I was amazed at the number of people along most of the 26.2 mile route. The crowd was calling out names; it was exciting. Needing all the energy I could summon, I wished they would call out my name. Suddenly I heard “Go Tim!” People were calling out my name; it was startling. However, they were not yelling at me, but to another runner named Tim. He had his name written on the front of his singlet.
At my second Boston Marathon I decided to put my name on the front of my singlet so that people would yell for me. Hundreds of people called out my name and encouraged me to run. It was amazing how much energy that gave me.
There is great power, encouragement, excitement, connection, emotion in a name. And in the most beautiful name in the world it is even more so. There is power in the name of Jesus!
What does your name mean? You might find a definition in a book, but who are you?
Your parents might have told you why they chose your name, they might have told you that you were named after someone, or that they hoped it would describe your character, or that they just thought it sounded nice.
In seventeenth-century Europe people made anagrams from names and believed these words formed from rearranging the letters would give a clue to a person’s characteristics. Teresa is a teaser, Pat is apt, Greta is great and Dora travels on the road.
Who does God want you to be? You have been created for a purpose, but you have rebelled and become selfish. God changed the name of several people because of His purpose for their lives.
One example is in Genesis 17:5 where God said, “No longer will you be called Abram; your name will be Abraham, for I have made you a father of many nations.”
Your name can be changed by recognizing the authority of God in the name of Jesus. But remember the power is not in saying the name but in submitting to the Name.
Jesus clearly stated this in Matthew 7:21-23, “Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only he who does the will of my Father who is in heaven. Many will say to me on that day, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name, and in your name drive out demons and perform many miracles?’ Then I will tell them plainly, ‘I never knew you. Away from me, you evildoers!’”
Take Christ’s name. Find your identity.
Unleashing the captives,
Going after the lost sheep
Then Jesus told them this parable: “Suppose one of you has a hundred sheep and loses one of them. Doesn’t he leave the ninety-nine in the open country and go after the lost sheep until he finds it? And when he finds it, he joyfully puts it on his shoulders and goes home. Then he calls his friends and neighbors together and says, ‘Rejoice with me; I have found my lost sheep.’ I tell you that in the same way there will be more rejoicing in heaven over one sinner who repents than over ninety-nine righteous persons who do not need to repent” (New International Version 1984, Luke 15:3-7).
My wife, Mary, and I attended church in Ada with my mother for Easter. On the way down and back I noticed several pastures with sheep. Mary and I immediately recalled the little lamb that she got to hold a few years ago and how precious it was (see picture).
It is no wonder Jesus used the picture of a lost sheep to emphasize His love for the lost and our responsibility to go after the lost sheep until we find him or her. For OJPM, Jesus has challenged us to leave the open country and go after the lost sheep in county jails.
I have shared the first part of OJPM’s vision statement before. “We envision a ministry providing passionate, trained chaplains and volunteers to every county jail in Oklahoma.”
The second part of that vision statement is, “We envision chaplains and volunteers sharing the gospel with inmates and challenging them to turn from their self-destructive ways and to follow Jesus Christ as Lord.” This is why we want to bring our ministry to every county jail in Oklahoma; so that the gospel can be shared with every lost sheep.
Just as Christ challenged the people in the parable of the lost sheep to “Rejoice with me; I have found my lost sheep,” I want you to rejoice with the Lord over the opening of OJPM ministry in the Logan County jail.
Sheriff Damon Devereaux and the Logan County officials have approved a memorandum of understanding with OJPM and Lincoln Kosa has been selected to be our OJPM site chaplain for the Logan County jail. Kosa and new site chaplains Kevin Martin from Lincoln County and Jesse West from Bryan County all were introduced and gave their testimonies at our recent spring training mentioned in last month’s newsletter.
You can also rejoice with the Lord over each man and woman represented in the reports on the back page of this newsletter. Those reports show the far country that our chaplains and volunteers go to in search of the lost sheep. Those reports also show how many of these lost sheep are being found!
One more item that you can rejoice about is our upcoming spring luncheon on Tuesday, May 8th (see box for more details). Tom and Kay Hill will be honored with our Spirit Award and Argyl and Janel Dick will be honored with our Sower Award. I hope that if you are able you will choose to attend this special time of recognition for two couples who have been so instrumental in going after the lost sheep!
Unleashing the captives,
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,