After hearing the speaker give his story about Jesus in his life, the old man turned to me and, with a tear in his eye, said, “I want Jesus in my life too!” We prayed and he received Jesus as his Lord. We began to talk. I asked him if he had any children and he said, with some pride, that he had a son. I asked him where his son was and he pointed to a young man across the yard.
I was looking at a walking, talking generational curse. You see, Frank (not his real name) and his son were living in a prison in Missouri. Frank sleeps on the bottom bunk and his son is gracious and sleeps above him.
In my years of prison ministry I had never witnessed anything like this: the immediate visible evidence of a generational curse in action. This means that the father modeled a lifestyle and his son followed in his footsteps. It was heartbreaking to see how much they accepted their situation.
These two men were imprisoned long before they had handcuffs slapped on their wrists. They were trapped in styles of living that led to where they spend their days and nights and, if nothing changes in their lives, they will be back. Seventy-five percent of all prisoners return to prison. The reason is that even though they are released from the concrete and barbed wire enclosures we call prisons and jails, they remain imprisoned.
This is similar to the situation of an alcoholic who, still having unresolved core issues, might not be drinking but will still be trapped by those issues. These are referred to as being “dry drunks”.
A prisoner is a prisoner is a prisoner.
My friend Tony Knight was talking with Frank’s son when Frank pointed him out to me. It was Tony’s first time in a prison and it was exciting to be there with him as he learned to be a part of the solution to breaking the generational curse they are under. Earlier that week Tony and his wife Carol had allowed us to have our first official out of state Gathering in their home.
By opening their home to us, these friends are all participating in a different part of the solution. We have now have a conference that we have developed to present in homes, church buildings, meeting halls, etc. These are a part of the solution too, which is to teach people how to allow the Lord Jesus to rule in their lives.
Every single person I talked to in all the prisons and jails I’ve visited, every person I’ve counseled face-to-face as well as online and every person I’ve met who is struggling with their lives seem to be all in the same battle. They are locked into a life or death struggle for control in their lives…..with God. When I struggle, that’s what is happening in my life.
As a ministry, our single focus is that “We are to be so yielded to Jesus through the Holy Spirit that wherever we go we will give the people we meet a taste of what it is like to be in His presence…and a hunger to live the way we live in Christ.”
That is what we teach. I hope it is our lifestyle. Why?
We teach and try to model it because it is the Answer. In Mark 16: 20, we see that the disciples, having just witnessed Jesus’ ascension into heaven, “went out and preached everywhere, the Lord working with them and confirming the Word through the accompanying signs.”
The Lord was active in them… “working with them”, confirming the Word “through them”. They allowed Jesus to be Lord of their ministry.
In Galatians 2:20 the Apostle Paul says that he had “been crucified with Christ; it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me; and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself for me.”
Paul actively released himself to Jesus, through the Holy Spirit….the very same Spirit that indwells every Christian, so that Jesus could minister through Paul. He counsels us to “imitate” him
(1 Corinthians 4:16).
Then in 1 Corinthians 11:1, Paul shows us why he recommends this imitation technique for living the Christian life: “Imitate me, just as I also imitate Christ.”
He is an imitator too! Paul imitates Jesus which tells me that Jesus was an imitator too! Who did Jesus imitate while He was on the earth? HIS FATHER!
“Most assuredly, I say to you, the Son can do nothing of Himself, but what He sees the Father do; for whatever He does, the Son also does in like manner.” (John 5:19)
So, I’m going to do my best to imitate Christ…..and depend upon the Father (through Jesus by way of the Holy Spirit) in how I live as a Christian, as a husband, as a father, as a minister of the Gospel and as a friend. I want to be a part of the answer. Don’t you?