Wednesday, September 30, 2009

From East to West...

"The LORD is merciful and gracious, slow to anger and abounding in steadfast love.  He will not always accuse, nor will he keep his anger forever.  He does not deal with us according to our sins, nor repay us according to our iniquities... as far as the east is from the west, so far he removes our transgressions from us."
(Psalm 103:8-10, 12)

I'm going to prison today.  I'm starting a new once-a-month Bible study with some of the inmates at the Federal Detention Center in Honolulu.  We'll be journeying through Matthew together.  I'm both excited and a little nervous.  I'm not at all worried about the environment... but rather, will this study be "real" to the men who will come?  Will it make a difference in their lives?  If it was purely up to my "brilliance" (or lack thereof), then who knows.  But the true power of Bible Study comes from the Spirit of God that speaks through the pages of Scripture - not the qualification/preparation of the leader.

Today's passage from Psalm 103 is a great message to keep in mind as I engage in this new ministry: Mercy.  Forgiveness.  Grace.  I'm reminded that this is Good News for me!  God doesn't ultimately deal with me according to my sin.  My sin has been removed, hallelujah!  As I begin to work with the men at the Detention Center, I go as a fellow sinner.  I go as one who needs God's grace just as much as anyone inside the facility.  I don't go to "impart wisdom" or morality or even faith.  I go to help connect others to God in new ways.

There's power in Scripture.  I can't wait to see how God shows up in prison... and teaches me new things about His amazing grace!

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