Monday, July 23, 2012

You're the only Bible

I heard a country gospel song the other day that may not make it to the top of the charts, but had a profound message. Here's the opening line, as I remember it:
"You're the only Bible a lotta folks are gonna read."

As a musician, I couldn't imagine how they were going to fit this into the metric structure of a tune and how they were going to fit the statement into lyrics that would rhyme. But I quickly abandoned those thoughts to consider those words again.

That's a pretty profound statement.

Reminds me of the old saying, "Your actions are so loud I can't hear your words."

A friend told me the other day that she was driving down the highway and apparently did something to enrage another motorist. The driver passed her and gave her the finger. As the car got ahead of her, she saw a bumper sticker that said, "Honk if you love Jesus."

Which message was loudest: the action or the words?

All of this leads me to the prison work of HUMANITY FOR PRISONERS.

I think that some evangelicals are dismayed that we do not make a specific point of trying to save souls when we go into the prisons.

Well, there are plenty of groups that do that, and we have no argument with them. In fact, we ask God to bless all efforts on behalf of prisoners. But here's the thing. I purposely do NOT carry a Bible with me when I go into the prisons, because I don't want inmates to think that we will not help them unless they have similar beliefs.

A prison chaplain recently commended us for helping all prisoners with specific needs, regardless of their religious beliefs.

I'm pleased to report that a couple of our best friends and our strongest supporters in prison are Muslims.

Let me be clear. Every prisoner knows, without question, that I take my marching orders from Jesus. They respect that, and this has prompted prisoners to rethink their spiritual ideas. I'm pleased to report that some have bought into my beliefs and today are serving their Lord in beautiful ways.

But it's our job to go about doing the work of Matthew 25. Jesus didn't say "You visited me because I was white," or, "You visited me because we shared a similar faith," or, "You visited me because I was innocent."

I won't say it, either.

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