Preach the Gospel … In season & out of season…

Last night at the Pontiac Correction Facility in Pontiac, IL, my fellow preacher John Henderson and I passed

Pontiac, IL, Correctional Facility

through 3 gates before entering the yard.  We walked by a 20×20-foot flower garden and a 20×30-foot vegetable garden.  100 yards off in the distance was a soccer field with inmates playing a match.

We entered the cafeteria, where our Wednesday evening service was held.

40 inmates were ushered in.  Most carried a Bible.  They all were dressed in navy work pants and short-sleeved light-blue button-up work shirts.

“How are you?” John and I asked as they entered the cafeteria.

“Blessed.  Very blessed.  Jesus is good to me.”

We hugged.  We made small talk.  One man asked me a question about his study from the book of James. 

Then for an hour John and I each taught on the miracle of being a Jesus follower.

I followed John.  When I rose to speak I started out with this statement: “The most amazing thing about following Jesus is that He lives inside of us.”

Pointing to my heart I said, “Is that amazing or what?  If you are a Jesus follower, Jesus lives inside of you by his Spirit.  Yes, right inside there,” I said, continuing to point at my heart.

“And I ain’t letting him out,” one man shouted.

“Me neither,” I said.

As I preached the sun was beginning to set over the prison yard.  In the tower near the cafeteria a guard sat 100 feet above the yard watching inmates walking across the yard.

Next to the tower sits a landing pad for helicopters.  A white 3X5-foot sign with red letters next to the landing pad reads: “Inmates approaching incoming aircraft WILL BE SHOT.”

As the service concluded one man surrendered his life to Jesus.  We all gathered around him, asking God to protect him and lead him along the right path.

More hugging as we said our good byes.

The guard escorting the men back to the rooms asked John and me, “Did you fellas have a good night?”

“A very good night,” we said almost in unison.

We both walked into the cool evening, past the sign next to the landing pad and back through 3 electronic gates leading into the visitor’s center.  We returned our visitor tags and signed out in exchange for our driver’s licenses and keys.

“Drive safely,” said the guard.

“Thanks, pal,” I said.  “See you later.”

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