Acts 20:20 Vision
Acts 20:20-21 And how I kept back nothing that was
profitable unto you, but have shewed you, and have taught you publickly, and
from house to house, 21 Testifying both to the Jews, and also to the Greeks,
repentance toward God, and faith toward our Lord Jesus Christ. Prov 5:21-22 For
the ways of man are before the eyes of the LORD, and he pondereth all his
goings. 22 His own iniquities shall take the wicked himself, and he shall be
holden with the cords of his sins.
I struggle to keep these two great truths before me
regularly. Paul, by inspiration from God, teaches that practicing repentance
and faith is profitable. It is profitable for me to practice it daily, and to
teach others to do so as well as the Lord gives opportunity. Failure to
implement Paul’s teaching here is to fail miserably in vision. I must learn to
see like Paul saw, and you must do likewise, for Jesus is worthy of it. The
Proverbs passage teaches us that God sees all lost men as inmates; inmates in a prison of their own
making; a prison house of iniquity which binds men unto their own devices. Our
vision must be corrected to see like God sees. Let’s determine to see like God
sees, and go after “inmates” wherever we find them. By your help, Linda and I
go after inmates in brick-and-mortar prisons; be sure that you go after them
from house to house (we do also). We are blessed to have you help us in this
great matter. Thank you for your faithful prayer and financial support.
Please do pray for the Stinnett Ballew family. He
left this world at around 5:30pm on Friday, May 31st after 50 years
of faithful service to our Lord as pastor and evangelist. Only in heaven will
we fully know the extent of his great ministry. God greatly used him in
stirring up the saints for world evangelism. He was well known and loved for
his preaching on faith promise giving for missions. He will be sorely missed.
I’m better now, but I
hurt my back this month, and missed the Emanuel PDC prison revival in
Swainsboro, GA. However, God allowed me to participate in the Baldwin State
Prison revival and the Century CI revival, with a total of seven men saved.
The Contrast …
Jesus saw vastly different results to His ministry on different occasions. On one occasion, He could do no mighty works because of their unbelief. On other occasions, His ministry was received with open arms. We had vastly different results this month as we ministered in two different prisons in two different states this month.
Men’s prison in Florida
Women’s prison in Georgia
Six services in a three day revival
Three services in a three day revival
| 3 ROA missionaries and 1 volunteer each service ||
2 ROA missionaries for each service
Zero professions of faith
52 professions of faith
Same inmates year after year
Fast turnover of inmates (maximum sentence 6
Most all of the inmates at the Florida revival were
already professing Christians. No one made profession, but several of the
saints testified that they received much help from the services, and there was
a good spirit there. However, at the Women’s prison, there was a tremendous
spirit of repentance there, and much eagerness to hear the Word of God. One
lady testified to me that the church that regularly comes in to hold services
talks about the same thing every week – human trafficking and drug use. She
said it was so refreshing to hear preaching about Jesus!
On Tuesday, April 16th, at Haralson
County Jail, one of the young inmates gave a wonderful testimony. He put his
hand up while I was preaching, and I gave him permission to address the folks.
I normally never stop my preaching, but I felt led to do so, because the young
man had only been saved since our last meeting there. He said that he agreed
totally with what I was preaching about at the time, and said it proved true in
his own experience since he had been saved! It made me want to charge Hell with
a squirt gun!
We had another glorious 4-day prison revival in
Missouri, with around 20 hours of visitation, and eight preaching services. There
were three Rock of Ages missionaries, and at least two volunteers working each
day. We had a total of 190 men in the services, with two professions of faith.
We, by the grace of God, led 45 men to Christ during visitation. Only God can
do these things! Do pray for these brand new saints to grow in grace. Our Lord
is worthy of their worship, praise, and service!
Important Inmates …
Gen 39:20 And Joseph’s master took him, and put him
into the prison, a place where the king’s prisoners were bound: and he was
there in the prison.
Well, here we have a high-class prisoner, indeed,
being a wonderful type of Christ on so many fronts. Both Joseph and Jesus were
imprisoned, and neither were guilty. There were certainly men who were
imprisoned before Joseph, for the prison was already there awaiting him.
However, Joseph is the first man whose incarceration is mentioned in the Bible,
as far as I can see.
Tim, Matthew, Howard, and I conducted six services
over three days in Jackson CI’s Main Unit, in Florida this month. We had a
total of 397 men in the services with seven men making profession of faith in
Christ. Jackson Ci forbids us to visit inmates in their dorms, so we conduct
Character Under Construction classes in the mornings, instead. These are the
same lessons that Rock of Ages missionaries use in the public schools, except
we use much more Scripture while teaching them. On the final day, I was
teaching on the subject of God, when an inmate raised his hand, and asked, “How
can somebody know if he is saved or not?” What an open door! He then made
profession of faith in the Lord Jesus, and that’s what it’s all about. Only
later did I learn that he had been on the FBI’s most wanted list. I’m glad I
didn’t know that at the time – I might have had a heart attack!
We also held three evening services at Jackson CI’s
Work Camp. There were two professions of faith, one on Friday night and one on
Saturday night. The first convert sought out Tim afterward. He said he had been
waiting a whole year to apologize to him for causing disruption in a service he
had conducted! The second convert (that I had dealt with) was so glad he was
saved, he told one of the officers (guards) that he had just been born again.
While the officer was leaving the prison, she came over to us in the parking
lot while we were preparing to leave, and shared with us what the inmate had
said to her. She said, “We have a happy camper in there!” Wow. What a glorious
privilege to be a co-laborer with God! Please do pray for these new converts.
One final note: today is my 49th spiritual birthday!! We love you
all, and pray for you regularly.
Phil 4:11-13 Not that I speak in respect of want:
for I have learned, in whatsoever state I am, therewith to be content. 12 I
know both how to be abased, and I know how to abound: every where and in all
things I am instructed both to be full and to be hungry, both to abound and to
suffer need. 13 I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me.
Our text contains the missionary Paul’s prayer
letter sent to one of his supporting churches – the church at Philippi. Our
brother, in v. 11, speaks of “want,” or lack. He is not “crying poor,” although
in v. 10 he does mention their pause in financial support, but then commends
them for resuming it. How sweet it is when churches lend financial support to
their missionaries. This sent-love does not go unnoticed with our God, for He
puts fruit to the account of such churches, v. 17. We notice that contentment can
be had with or without adequate finances, bless His holy Name!
My car was packed, and I was five minutes into my
trip to Florida to help in a two-day revival at Graceville Correctional when I
received word that the revival had been canceled; the whole prison was on
lock-down. But still content, that opened the door to conduct a service at Haralson
County Jail, where Linda and I watched four lady inmates trust Christ as
personal Savior. All of the ladies were touched as Linda gave her conversion
One could not help but be content as Rock of Ages
conducted its annual Alabama Blitz in Montgomery, Alabama. With over 100 Rock
of Ages missionaries (including Linda and I) and volunteers working in nine
prisons and jails over a three day period, I report that there were 1682 men
and women inmates who attended our services, with 192 souls making profession
of faith in Christ as Savior. Only God can do these things, but He does it
through His children who surrender their bodies to Him. I dealt with Bill who
came forward at the invitation on the last night of the revival. After
questioning him carefully about his willingness to repent and trust Christ,
with tears in his eyes, on his knees, he began to pray, asking Christ to save
him. He walked away content, and so did I.
Acts 1:8 But ye shall receive power, after that the
Holy Ghost is come upon you: and ye shall be witnesses unto me both in
Jerusalem, and in all Judaea, and in Samaria, and unto the uttermost part of
The essence of this verse is that we are to be
witnesses at home and abroad. “Both” at the same time. Of course, we labor “abroad”
through support of our local church missions program.
Linda and I attended the annual Coordinator’s Meeting
in Commerce, Georgia from January 7-11. These were long days: 8am ‘til 3:30pm
with a break for lunch, followed by an evening service each night with two
speakers, except we finished up on Friday after lunch. I’m not a prophet, nor
the son of one, but I knew I was going to get sick, for lots of missionaries
were hacking and sneezing. But, on the next day, I left for a three-day revival
meeting in Snead, Florida at ACI, East. The meeting began on Sunday morning.
After I preached, I started getting sick. By Sunday night, I was dragging
myself around with severe body aches and dry cough. I was so sick on Monday
morning, I packed up and went home, missing the last two days of the revival.
By the next Sunday, I felt well enough to go our church. There is life after
“Man Colds”! It was worth going to the Coordinator’s meeting – we experienced a
wonderful time of refreshing and challenge from the Word of God. Linda and I
left with new grit in our souls to win souls through Christ.
Locally, I ministered at Haralson Country Jail
twice in January. Each night, we have four back-to-back preaching services.
This month there were seven men and women who made profession of faith.
In “Samaria” Linda
and I participated in a four day revival in Pearl, Mississippi, at Central MS
State Prison, with 63 men and women hopefully trusting Christ as Savior. We had
a team of around 22 Rock of Ages missionaries and volunteers. We witnessed in
the inmates’ dormitories, and held preaching services each day at three
different locations in the prison. It was sweet working with this team, and we
had great fellowship in between services. Only God can do these things, but
without your faithful support we would be greatly hampered. Thank you for
co-laboring with us!
Business and Pleasure
Mark 6:31-32 And he said unto them, Come ye
yourselves apart into a desert place, and rest a while: for there were many coming
and going, and they had no leisure so much as to eat. 32 And they departed into
a desert place by ship privately.
Our Lord admonishes His disciples to come apart
lest they come apart. For me, age brings with it certain baggage – what that
means is that I can’t do as much work as I used to! I’m grateful for the things
we are able to do, however. Linda and I had a few days after Christmas to “come
apart” spending with family. All four of our children came to Georgia for a
time of refreshing and fellowship, and we thoroughly enjoyed it.
Locally, we held two days of services at Haralson
County Jail, in Buchanan, Georgia. Each time I go there, we have four services
– one ladies’ service, followed by four men’s services. This month three ladies
received the Lord Jesus Christ as personal Savior. Inmate turnover has much to
do with the number of converts, and turn over has been slow at this jail of
On the prison scene, we held three prison revivals
in Georgia: Long State Prison, Georgia State Prison, and Paulding County RSAT.
Long State is a branch of Smith State Prison, and is reserved for Protective
Custody inmates (former prison officers, former police offices, former lawyers
and judges, etc.) who would not survive well in normal prison populations. There
were no professions of faith during this meeting, but several inmates received
spiritual help, and we received many good comments about the revival. At
Georgia SP, there were 13 men who trusted Christ as Savior. All of these
converts were made during cell-to-cell visitation; none were saved in the
preaching services. At Paulding RSAT, we held a one-day revival, with 14 men
professing Christ as Savior during an evangelistic preaching service; none were
saved during visitation. Please pray for these newborn babes in Christ that
they will grow in grace and wisdom.
May you have a blessed and safe Christmas and New
The Greatest Birth Announcement
Luke 2:9 And, lo, the angel of the Lord came upon them, and the glory of the Lord shone round about them: and they were sore afraid. 10 And the angel said unto them, Fear not: for, behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people. 11 For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Saviour, which is Christ the Lord.
What a glorious day it was when Almighty God birthed Himself into a world of His own making! Study will show that no angels were with the Angel of the Lord when He made his stunning announcement. He was the center of attention. It was Jesus (the angel of the Lord) that announced His own birth. He can do that because He is omnipresent (John 3:13). The host of angels only showed up in v. 13.
God made another great announcement in 1 Cor. 15:1-3. He orchestrated the death, burial, and resurrection of His Son, to redeem those who would believe Him, and believe on Him. We are blessed to deliver this great announcement over and over again to the incarcerated wherever we go, and we can do so because of your faithful financial care, and effectual prayer. We are honored to be part of your missionary family.
I was part of a Rock of Ages team that heralded out the Great Announcement of the Gospel in Bon Terre, Missouri this month at ERDCC prison. We conducted a four-day revival meeting with a total of 20 hours of visitation, and eight preaching services. Forty-two men said they received Christ into their hearts (John 1:12). As I remember, all of the men who trusted Christ did so during our visitation times. We are confident that the vast majority of inmates who attended our preaching services received much help from the Lord. Only God can do these things, but we get to participate with Him!
May you have a blessed and safe Christmas and New Year season.
Laboring with God in Prison Prevention
Prov 5:22 His own iniquities shall take the wicked himself, and he shall be holden with the cords of his sins.
Luke 13:3 I tell you, Nay: but, except ye repent, ye shall all likewise perish.
It would be safe to say that all soul-winning activity is prison prevention activity. All men either are or were bound up in a prison of their own making – the prison house of their sins. God’s justice requires the one who dies without repentance to pay that sin debt in eternal punishment in the Lake of Fire. The only release from this judgment is to be made free before dying by receiving the Lord Jesus Christ (John 1:12). Soul winning is co-laboring with God to spiritually birth the sinner into the family of God. Soul winning is prison prevention! We co-labor with the Lord by supplying Him a body through whom He can do His work. Some plant the Seed (with God’s enabling), some water the Seed (with God’s help), but God alone gives the increase (1 Cor. 3:6-9).
However, working the county jails is prison prevention as well. Those in jail have not yet been consigned to prison. Perhaps their crime was not sufficient to make prison time inevitable. If God saves them in jail, we have co-labored with the Lord in prison prevention. Carlos and I conducted 12 preaching services this month at Haralson County Jail in Georgia, with nine men and women responding by receiving Christ. Is this not prison prevention? Please take a moment to pray for these new converts to make themselves available for their Master to live through them.
Richard P. and Janna, along with Linda and I, conducted a three-day revival at the Women’s Probation Detention Center, in Claxton, GA. We were delighted to watch over 20 ladies profess faith in Christ for salvation. One of my favorite places to preach would have to be the Women’s PDC! The Spirit of God worked among the ladies wonderfully, and the altars were full during the invitations, and the attendance grew each night.
Tim M., Keith J., and I held a three-day revival at Century CI, in Florida. God poured Himself out during our six two-hour services there. We also had two local pastors who preached with anointing in two of the services, and many inmates received help.
We Know the Ending
Rev 22:1 And he shewed me a pure river of water of life, clear as crystal, proceeding out of the throne of God and of the Lamb. 2 In the midst of the street of it, and on either side of the river, was there the tree of life, which bare twelve manner of fruits, and yielded her fruit every month: and the leaves of the tree were for the healing of the nations. 3 And there shall be no more curse: but the throne of God and of the Lamb shall be in it; and his servants shall serve him: 4 And they shall see his face; and his name shall be in their foreheads. 5 And there shall be no night there; and they need no candle, neither light of the sun; for the Lord God giveth them light: and they shall reign for ever and ever. 6 And he said unto me, These sayings are faithful and true: and the Lord God of the holy prophets sent his angel to shew unto his servants the things which must shortly be done. 7 Behold, I come quickly: blessed is he that keepeth the sayings of the prophecy of this book. (Rev 22:1-7, KJV)
We were at Gulf Correctional Institution in Florida this month. I’m rifling through the “FREE BOOKS” shelf before the revival service begins. I picked one for my wife, Linda. It was one of Jeanette Oke’s books, Spanish Lace. I was so excited for Linda (and for me, because I would get onto her good side). She got interested in the book and was anxious to see how it ended. Lo, and behold, someone had cut out the very last page! I was back in the dog house. We are thrilled to know how God’s Book ends. In Christ, we win – big time.
The team (Tim, Keith, and I) preached three prison revival meetings in Florida with 10 men professing Christ as Savior. I conducted two revival meetings at Haralson County Jail in Georgia with one man trusting Christ. Prisoners misbehaving caused a total lockdown of Autry State Prison in Georgia which canceled our revival there.
Not in Vain …
(1Cor 15:58) Therefore, my beloved brethren, be ye stedfast, unmoveable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, forasmuch as ye know that your labour is not in vain in the Lord.
Given a chance, the evil one will put blinkers on our eyes to veil this great truth: our “labor is not in vain in the Lord.” Our Lord Jesus taught the parable of the Sower and the Seed in Matthew 13. Of the four types of soil spoken of, only one of them produced fruit. How discouraging! Has it ever seemed to you that much of your labor in your life is fruitless? Never let your train of thought take you down that slippery slope. Take God at His Word!
Thank you for praying for Linda. She had two major medical tests done this month, and neither one indicated anything serious. She was very relieved at this news. There are a few minor issues, but nothing to worry about, praise His holy Name!
Please do remember Rock of Ages missionary, Bro. Richard P., in your prayer time. He is undergoing chemotherapy treatment, and the side effects are hindering his ability to be as effective as he usually would be as our Georgia State coordinator.
Our labor was not in vain as we ministered in Whitworth Women’s Prison this month. Linda was not able to go because the paperwork for renewing her badge got hung up in the system. This was a big disappointment for us, but the Lord blessed in the services. Several of God’s children received help for their Christian walk, and 28 ladies made a profession of faith in the Lord Jesus Christ as Savior. In Florida, I labored with Bro. Tim M. at Northwest Florida Reception Center and Okaloosa Correctional Institution with three precious souls receiving Christ. Four men were saved at Haralson County Jail, also.
I preached a Wed-Sun revival meeting in Glennville, GA, this month at Lighthouse Baptist Church, where Bro. Rusty Wooten is the pastor. I believe many of God’s people got some help in their Christian walk. Linda and I thoroughly enjoyed it. Thank you, Bro. Wooten!