What's up? How're things on the inside? Everything out here is the same as always, nothing ever really changes. You're right though, taking Mom and Dad out for lunch was good, we had a great time; even paid for the bill. We also bought them each a $25 iTunes card for their birthday presents, we ended up spending quite a bit overall, but it was all worth it.
I've been serving up at Lifepoint quite a bit lately, Monday through Thursday, from about 10am to 5pm or so. They don't really have any opening at the moment, but it feels good to get out of the house and go help out. It feels good to be a part of something that matters, like what I'm doing is important. They've had me doing all kinds of stuff, life: taking out all the trash, configuring/wiping computers, stocking, inventory, cleaning up around the building, running errands, and a lot more.
I talked to the care pastor there, about communicating with God, he hooked me up with a link to some really awesome sermon videos (Gateway Freedom Ministries). I've watched four out of the five main ones and they're really good, the guy covers things I've never thought of before. For instance, the truth will set you free, when Paul was imprisoned for a few years, he was just as free as anyone else on the outside of the prison. He was so intimate and involved with his relationship with God that he would have been happy anywhere he was, regardless of the situation.
The pastor also talks about the Gospel not being mainly what we've always thought, which is the death, burial, and resurrection; it's part of the truth, but not all of it. Jesus didn't come to teach about that, it hadn't happened yet, how could He? No, He came to teach that the Kingdom of Heaven is at hand, meaning that what we had lost with God through Adam and Eave was now available to us again; life in abundance.
It's hard to explain it all, I only watched them once, you'll have to listen to them sometime when you get home. I'm not sure what to say when people don't believe what you say when you're witnessing to them, I struggle with that question too. To show them them that God really exists, the best way you can, they have to see Him 'through' you; meaning that you have to change. I think the best way to share God with them would be with your own personal life and through your testimony.
I'm sure that at some point in there you've either lost your temper with someone, fought, said or done something which you shouldn't have. If you go back and talk those problems out and tell people that God's power is changing your life and that the same gift is available to them, you'll begin to affect people a lot differently. You have to strive to become like Jesus: passive, loving, caring, understanding, and patient. Just because someone may not accept Him the first time, they'll see you as an example and see God living through you.
You have to desire to be like that though, work at it and pray for it daily. It's easy to talk about and do in 'theory', but much harder to follow through with. Treat everyone equally, don't play favorites, regardless of sexual orientation, attitude, size, appearance, or anything. Jesus came as a servant to the world, spending time with the lost and wicked (tax collectors and prostitutes), living as an example and impacting lives not only through His words, but also through his actions.
The more time you spend analyzing who Jesus was and still is, the more you'll see how much you need to change. I seek this on a daily basis, to grow as close to God, and be as ready as I can be when Jesus returns. God created us to be a 'bride' for His Son, I may not fully comprehend that, but I want to be as close to perfect as I can be for Him. Don't worry so much about what you say to people as much as how you treat them and how you act.
You should put a lot of thought and consideration on what you do with your life when you get out. What you choose to take part in, what you do, who you see; focus on your relationship with God first and everything else will come together around you. I love you man, stay strong, and stay faithful; pursue God!
I wanted everyone to see the kind of life and example I'm trying to set for my little brother, who is obviously currently in prison for the time being. He's struggled quite a bit with theft, alcohol, drug abuse, and many other things, but all of this can be changed by the power of God. It's sometimes harder for us to witness to those who are closest to us, but it is better to begin with them and move on to those whom you don't know; start in a small circle and work your way out to a larger one. This same theory began in the book of Acts when Jesus told them to start spreading the Gospel from the town they were in and extending outward to the farthest reaches of the world.
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Now consider reading my last article, called, From Sheep to Shepherd.
Thanks for reading and God Bless!