Sabbatical 2017

Sabbatical 2017
Mt 11:28

Monday, August 6, 2007

Angels Among Us

You never know who might be sitting in the pew next to you! Here's an opportunity to peek into what God is doing in the lives of the folks we worship with on Sunday mornings.

For the past 16 years John Woodward has spent most Sundays in the Fauquier County jail, not serving time but serving Jesus. "It's difficult to get into the jails to minister," he explained, "in the past I used to be able to spend nearly the whole day there but now I'm limited to about an hour and a half." .

John is allowed to walk though the cell blocks and share the gospel with anyone who wants to hear it. There are usually 10 to 15 inmates in a cell block and John will go from cell to cell and ask them some simple questions and, if they are receptive, he'll read some scripture to them and offer them an opportunity to accept Jesus as their savior. "Sometimes I'll only be able to pray with two or three," he said, "but sometimes there have been more." When an inmate accepts Jesus, John encourages them to participate in the weekly Bible study conducted by some of the other
inmates. WBF has also been providing him with "A Christian Survival Kit" by Ralph Neighbours, Jr. in English and Spanish that he gives out to inmates who will use them. "I know that if they don't get into God's Word right away, Satan will try to steal the Word from their heart as soon as I leave."

At 71, you might think that John might be taking it easy, enjoying his retirement but for this member of the Gideons, that means sharing the Gospel everywhere he can. "It's what gets me up in the morning and what keeps me going every day." John shares the Gospel with folks on the street, at Home Depot and anywhere else he can. "I've even witnessed to a couple of UPS delivery people who came by his house to drop something off. He said that he usually carries a case holding six Bibles in English and Spanish and gives them out to folks who need a copy. John is quick to point out that he doesn't feel that he is doing anything extraordinary. He believes that this is part of following Jesus. "I'm just the messenger," he explained, "God does all the work."

Matt 7:20 says, “So then, you will know them by their fruits." It's not just knowing who He is that will have an impact on our world but it is how we, as a body, working together within and without the church, take the gospel out into the world. This will bring about change in our neighborhoods and our town. We're not all evangelists but we all have a part in supporting the outreach effort. Maybe your part might be a word of encouragement or prayer towards someone who is out there on the front line. Maybe you bless the ambassadors to the community by teaching their kids on Sunday morning. Maybe your part is to demonstrate love and care for the person sitting next to you, portraying Christ to him or her and providing a refreshing taste of living water just when they need it most. None of us are strangers to each other. We are brothers and sisters in Christ. We are called together to be a body and to work with each other for His glory.

The next time you see John, let him know you appreciate his heart for God's word. Let's pray for him and the people he reaches out to.

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