• Allah or Jesus
  • Justice
  • Gabriel & Michael
  • Tom & Jerry
  • I Found Him in Hell
  • Why Me Lord?
  • More Than A Man
  • Black and White
  • Condemned
  • I’m not ready yet!
  • Kentucky Fried Christianity
  • Meet Father Lucifer
  • God’s Dirty Dozen
  • Barney the Bear
  • My Dog Buffy
  • A Judas Goat 



I attended my annual training session that’s required for maintaining my state prison security clearance. During the training session there was a presentation by three speakers who represented the Roman Catholic, Protestant and Muslim faiths who explained their belief systems. I was particularly interested in what the Islamic Imam had to say.

The Imam gave a great presentation of the basics of Islam complete with a video. After the presentations time was provided for questions and answers. When it was my turn I directed my question to the Imam and asked: “Please, correct me if I’m wrong, but I understand that all of the Imams and clerics of Islam have declared a holy jihad [Holy war] against the infidels of the world. And, that by killing an infidel, which is a command to all Muslims, they are assured of a place in heaven. If that’s the case, can you give me the definition of an infidel?”

There was no disagreement with my statements and without hesitation he replied, “Non-believers!”

I responded, “So, let me make sure I have this straight. All followers of Allah have been commanded to kill everyone who is not of your faith so they can go to heaven. Is that correct?”

The expression on his face changed from one of authority and command to that of a little boy who had just gotten caught with his hand in the cookie jar. He sheepishly replied, “Yes.”

I then said, “Well, sir, I have a real problem trying to imagine the Pope commanding all Catholics to kill those of your faith or Pat Robertson or Dr. Stanley ordering Protestants to do the same in order to go to heaven.”

The Imam was speechless.

I continued, “I also have problem with being your friend when you and your brother clerics are telling your followers to kill me. Let me ask you a question…would you rather have your Allah who tell you to kill me in order to go to heaven or my Jesus who tells me to love you because I am going to heaven and wants you to be with me?”

You could have heard a pin drop as the Imam hung his head in shame.

Chuck Colson once told me something that has sustained me these 20 years of prison ministry. He said to me, “Rick, remember that the truth will prevail.” And it will!



There I stood in a chapel packed out with death row inmates. To the novice this can be very disconcerting. And I admit I still get nervous to this day because any one of them can do harm to you and what does it matter to his sentence of death?


Looking over this unusual congregation I could hardly notice any difference from a normal church service except for the drab uniforms they are required to wear. It was and has been since a blessed event to bring the good news to the last, lost and least which I have been committed to these last 20 years.


As the inmates are dismissed they return to their regular activities such as watching a big screen television with a bowl of popcorn at their side. Or they resume playing fooz-ball or ping-pong while they wait for their craft classes to start.


You will notice that they are all well shaven and fed and have a wonderful fellowship that for most is the best life they have ever had.


Contract this to the dead victims and their families which essentially had no part of the judicial process and no restitution has been made. They are dead or grieving and in many instances falling out of society and away from the God that permitted this dastardly event in their lives.


Now I am all for justice and mercy but something is wrong with this picture.


Numbers 35:30 If anyone kills a person, the murderer shall be put to death…..


Capital punishment is meted out for punishment and their life is required as restitution to the life they so wantonly took. They deserve their punishment to the full measure not to have mercy this side of glory.


I once discipled a death row inmate scheduled to be executed and he told me that it was like peeling an onion; He kept taking off layers such as wife, kids, friends, minister, etc and crying until he got down to just him and Jesus. He said, “You know Rick there is really some humor in this execution.” I was aghast at his comment and asked him to explain further. He replied, “They are punishing me by sending me straight into the arms of Jesus!”


For those on death row, this side of glory should be hell itself and the other side mercy in the presence of our Lord.




t was a gray, drizzly daybreak as I drove my car within sight of the cold and foreboding walls of the double-fenced penitentiary. The guards were cautiously stirring about in the look-out towers with their high-powered rifles plainly in sight. The razor wire was twisted over what seemed to be an illimitable perimeter around this bizarre city, a community of captives. The human garbage of society had been dumped on this sight.


I parked in a visitor designated lot and felt a thousand eyes upon me as I briskly walked to the main gate. The noises that only prisoners make were bouncing off of the stone walls as I caught glimpses of convicts spying out between the steel bars. They had already begun the news broadcasting by word of mouth and runners, that general population would be permitted to attend my chapel service. I had no idea that within a few hours a surge of inmates would be gathering to join me. I just walked in forced boldness to cover up my fears and apprehensions. I knew the Lord was with me and that this was going to be one of those times when I would need to step out of the boat and not hold on to the sides.


Once cleared at the electric eye and after a very thorough search by a stoic matter-of-fact officer, I was taken into the cool morning air. That first deep breath freed my lungs of the stale prison pungency of the central control quarters. A world within but without the real world. A society of degenerates that only an ex-convict can truly comprehend and yet fail to explain to outsiders.


Across the metal walkway, down the loose clanking steps and through the yard to my assigned housing unit. A muscular, tall C.O. with a disgusted look on his face was my pathfinder through the shadowy passageways to the prison chapel. Needless to say, I was quite dependent upon him and noticeably astonished that he had no weapon whatsoever. The meaning of vulnerability was taking on a whole new dimension for me. I discovered I could walk and pray at the same time!


My first scheduled stopover was a dormitory housing fifty prisoners in an open security area. Each cubical had three waist high walls in open sight to those officers securing the area. A space with a sense of property; home. They were mostly all still asleep with only a few shuffling about. A coffee aroma sweetened the otherwise rancid air. I surveyed the challenge that lay before me. It was my dubious blessing to go from bed to bed and tell them about Jesus while they were still asleep on a Saturday morning. I was permitted only two hours to circulate the room and then move on to the next clearance area, the hole. I felt like David when he first faced Goliath.


Two correctional officers with short clubs hanging from their belts greeted me with broad smiles. “So you’re the one that’s going in there to talk religion, are you?” The tall skinny one taunted. “Yes, I am,” I replied. “Well, let me remind you that you will be entering at your own risk and the waiver you signed releases us from any personal liability that may occur.” “I understand perfectly,” I replied nervously. I continued, “But let me ask you a very obvious question. What happens if I go in there and a serious problem should develop?” They both laughed out loud and when they regained their composure, the inconsiderate obese guard responded, “You see, it’s like this. We secure the gate from the outside and when the clamor dies down, we go in to see what happened and the medics tend to the injured! There are only two of us and neither of us wants to go home on a stretcher!”


My heart sank to my socks. I had imaginations of brutal beatings, gang rape, torture and maybe a violent death racing through my brain all at the same time. My body, not just my hands, but my whole body began to visibly tremble. I though of the fiery furnace, the den of lions, then dropped to my knees. They turned their heads as I cried out to the Lord. “Oh, Jesus, you got me into this and you’re going to have to get me out of this!”


After a moment of prayer, a peace flooded my soul and I knew it would be OK. I deliberately rose to my feet and clutching my well-worn Bible, I stepped through the open gate. The two CO’s didn’t say another word but the clank of the key and the squeaking of the hinges triggered my adrenaline. With a pounding heart, I walked into the dormitory and was greeted by a nerve shattering crash behind me as the steel gate slammed shut and was bolted!


At once my eyes were drawn to two powerfully build inmates that were quickly approaching me! Both topped six feet and I’m sure tipped the scales at a muscular 250 pounds each!  One was black and the other white. I stopped breathing as they reached out for me!


“Praise the Lord! Glory! Hallelujah!,” the black convict bellowed as the other gave me a bone crushing bear hug and said, “You just stick with us and we’ll tell these clowns about Jesus together! And don’t worry. Nobody is going to mess with you unless they come through us first! You can take that to the bank.”


Jesus Himself had sent Gabriel and Michael to lift my arms. Over twenty first time decisions resulted from the three of us witnessing the Gospel according to Jesus.         Word Count 953



The penitentiary mess hall was tidy but colorless and institutional; that is, void of any warmth or contrasts. Barred windows and sulky workers. Inmates shuffling past counters of tasteless, stench-filled food that fell barely within government nutritional guidelines of minimum vitamins. I suffered through lunch in the Officer’s quarters and was astonished at how they managed to eat this unappetizing menu with such relish and enthusiasm. I had lost my appetite for this torture when I was informed that the green baby lima beans were really creamed corn! And a fish head was floating around and looking up at me from the sea-food soup! It was a blessing to escape from this noxious event and begin the lengthy walk to the Chapel.


An unpretentious Asian guard or as they prefer to be addressed, Correctional Officer or C.O. for short, began escorting me out of the cafeteria into the dimly lit hallway, down some metal steps and then through a labyrinth of twisting and turning, often loud catwalks past bad-tempered prisoners on lock-down.


In one particular corridor, our gait has hasty but my eyes were drawn to the darkened prison cells in a blurred kaleidoscope of unshaven faces and slumped or sleeping bodies. All at once I stopped in my tracks and turned back to the cell I had just passed by. I had seen an attractive woman stretched out on the bunk in a very alluring pose!


Now wait a minute, wasn’t this an all male maximum security prison? What was a seductive woman doing here? I had turned so abruptly that the Officer did not think to respond before I looked again into this cell to ascertain that it wasn’t a female but rather a transvestite with long silky hair, a smooth shapely body and very obvious breasts. Horrified is an understatement!


Our eyes met in an uneasy brotherhood as I asked, “Would you like to receive Jesus Christ as your Saviour and be born again?” He leisurely got up and off his bunk, then glided in a seductive manner to the bars in front of which I was standing. As he drew nearer and I was able to scrutinize him more he said to me, “How can I change what I’ve done to myself.” His masculine voice startled me. I responded, “You must be born again. You need to change on the inside first and that begins with permitting Jesus to be your Lord. He is the God of miracles and you will become a walking trophy of His grace if only you will become willing and believe.” He looked me in the eyes and whispered, “I want to do that very dearly,” and began to sob uncontrollably.


We slipped to our knees right there on the cold concrete and tenderly held hands through the bars. A woman with man’s hands asking God for a spiritual healing. We prayed a heart-felt prayer and he sincerely asked that he would be delivered from homosexuality and become the man that God had created him to be. Just then the C.O. took my arm securely and said sharply, “We have to keep moving.”


I learned months later that he was severely beaten by his “husband” and repeatedly raped by homosexual “gang-bangers.” The prison administrators had learned of a contract on his life so they transferred him to a single cell in protective custody. The last word I received is that he is remaining steadfast in the Word of God and his family has raised the money for cosmetic surgery to physically reconstruct his manliness.




The joy of birthing was a double blessing to the exhausted mother, having given birth to two healthy sons. Identical twins! They were so similar that a ribbon was placed around little Jerry’s wrist so that his daddy could tell which one Tom was.


In time they were snuggled in at home and differing characteristics began to be obvious. Jerry was always happy, ate well and slept through the night, while Tome was cranky, had colic and cried all through the night. As years passed by and kindergarten began, Jerry was buddies with everyone and happily shared his toys while Tom was constantly fighting and hitting his playmates with anything handy. Soon the pre-teen time arrived with Jerry attending Bible studies and praying for Tom. Meanwhile, Tom had lost his virginity, was stealing and smoking crack. Well into the young adult years, Jerry became a church youth leader while Tom was selling drugs, pimping for whores and carrying a pistol. Jerry soon graduated from college, started a family and was a respected deacon in his church, still continuing to pray daily for Tom to be born again.


The contrast in their lives grew even sharper as Tom’s drug addiction caused him to begin a crime spree of robbing and killing innocent bystanders.


One night the police received a tip that Tom was planning to hold up a crack house so they sent two armed policemen to apprehend him while the crime was in progress. Tom crashed through the door, shot the drug dealer dead and filled his pockets with all the dope and cash he could carry. But as he turned to leave the two cops burst through the doorway with pistols drawn. Tom shot them both dead and escaped on a motorcycle he had parked nearby. He was not a cop-killer!


The syndicate and police were both after him dead or alive, either one would do. He had made the top tem most wanted list! Tom robbed, shot and killed his way across the country with nowhere to go, not even to his heroin sources. Exhausted, yellow eyed, shaking and deathly sick, lost in the swampy woods, he put the barrel of his gun into his mouth. “I’ll never hear the bang,” he thought. At that moment he remembered his only friend in the whole world, his brother Jerry.


Determined to see his brother one last time, he found renewed strength to sleep by day and hitchhike by nightfall, finally reaching his brothers home late one evening.


Jerry was startled by the midnight knocking on his back door. Cautiously, he looked out and faintly saw his long lost brother Tom! He threw open the door to greet what was left of the twin brother he once knew. Tom had become almost toothless, skin and bone, vomiting blood. Jerry helped him to the shower, scrubbed him down and then led him back to the kitchen in fresh pajamas, to a hot meal his wife had prepared and then slipped away so they could be alone together.


There they sat at the kitchen table. Tom and Jerry. Darkness and light. Identical twins.


Tom poured out his heart as Jerry intently listened and silently prayed for Tom’s salvation as he had done so countless times over the years. Meal completed and in a flood of tears, the brothers knelt on that had wood floor and Tom asked Jesus to be the Lord of his life. True, heartfelt repentance. The Angels were rejoicing at this extraordinary trophy for the Lord.


Jerry made a bed for Tom on the living room couch and Tom settled down to the first good nights sleep he had had in months. As the morning dawned, Tom awoke and panic stricken could not find his brother Jerry anywhere in the house. Jerry’s wife said, “He went to see your judge.”


The judge! Tom’s mind went ballistic. The judge was the last human on earth that he would ever want to meet up with. The “Hanging Judge” had vowed not to retire until he convicted Tom and personally watched him die by hanging! No one on earth hated Tom more than the Judge. And Jerry, his twin brother, had gone to see him. Blind with confusion and terror, Tom quickly dressed and drove their second car to the courthouse. The last place on earth Tom could ever dream of going was into the private chambers of the judge. A nightmare come true. But that was exactly what he did as he pushed the secretary aside and burst his way through the thick oak double doors.


The silver haired Magistrate was seated at his large imposing hand carved desk, head on arms as Tom shrieked, “Where is my brother?” He continued, “I’m finally here. I’m Tom, the cop-killer you vowed to hang!” All the slump shouldered old judge could manage to say at this point was, “Oh, my God. Oh, my God no!” Tom shook the judge as he demanded, “Where is my brother Jerry? Tell me right now!”


The judge began calmly, “Around 3am I was summoned to the court room because your brother Jerry had surrendered himself to the authorities. You both are perfectly identical twins, you know. I convened court, found him guilty of first degree murder as charged and he was executed by hanging less than an hour ago.”


Tom broke down screaming and crying, “You’ve killed an innocent man for my crimes! I’m the one you want! Hang me!”


The judge replied, “We’ve completely destroyed all of your records. You don’t even have a parking ticket.”


Tom, still dazed replied, “What an I going to do now?”


The haggard old judge thought for a moment and then wisely suggested, “An innocent man was executed in your place. He paid in full for the punishment that you deserve.” He went on, “I would suggest that you live out the rest of your life as Jerry would have lived his life. He died so that you might live. Live you life in memory of him.”




Mr. Carnal was a professing Christian that lived an exemplary life. He was a deacon in his church and taught Sunday school Bible study. All the congregation looked up to him and the pattern he set for others to follow. On the outside, the side all could see, he was the husband and father that all the women wished that their man would become. Unknown to everyone was the real truth that on the inside he confessed that Jesus is Lord but never became obedient to His lordship. He was living a lie that finally caught up with him in a sudden and unexpected death!


He died and went straight to hell.


As he looked out over the glowing lake of liquid flames, the abhorrence and inexpressible torture he witnessed was more than his damned soul could bear. As far as he could see was a holocaust of screaming human beings thrashing about in the white blistering conflagration, begging to die and escape this deathless tribulation.


Silently, Satan himself slithered up and rasped, “I have you!” He responded, “I know. I never confessed Jesus AS my Lord,” and began to sob. Through tears he pleaded, “I beg you, give me 24 hours more before you throw me into that lake of fire.” Satan smiled a toothless smirk and growled, “Granted!”


He hesitated and then began trudging along the steamy shoreline while flames licked at his exposed carcass. Reaching down from time to time to hoist up to eye level one wretched body after another, he looked them full in the face and cursed with all his pent up venom of loathing. Again and again he would choose and grip an anguished cadaver to curse as he eventually found his way around the smoking abyss, counterclockwise to where he began his twenty-four tedious hours before. He was totally spent and lacking the strength left to stand in front of the immoral one who had patiently waited for his prey to return.


As he collapsed on that smoldering shore, Lucifer quietly approached and hissed, “Your time is up! But before I cast your body and soul into the black inferno, I must ask you just one last question. Why were you doing that?”


The condemned looked up and gasped, “I was looking for that preacher that told me I was saved!”


Satan’s twisted features gleamed with pride as he snarled, “That was me who told you that you were saved!”


I love the outdoors! The fresh smell of a spring breeze, sunshine and lazy summer days, the gentle falling of autumn leafs, and the gusting winds of many winters past and yet to come. Oh, how I love life and the liberty to reach for the sky with all that is within me.

What a blessing to live in the midst of my ancestors and yet have the privilege of watching my families grow up around me, tall and strong. Rooted and settled in a land of flowers, sunshine and gentle rains, and God’s creation in its fullest.

It was a dismal day, my worst in memory when I was uprooted and taken to a foreign land on a hill that was so depressed and foreboding. I ached with pain and terror as this wretched group of carpenters fashioned me into something I never dreamed of becoming, a cross. As wooden as I am, I still marveled that man was taking me the good and changing me into bad, the cross that the Son of God would be nailed to. What greater horror could I possibly go through!

I was totally depressed and dismayed until I recalled the lessons that were passed on to me from tree to tree since the Garden: What man has made for bad, God will use for good. This comforted me that maybe there was a reason for me to be picked to be the death stake of Jesus the Christ.

I bore the body of the King as they nailed him to my arms. I felt His pain and wallowed in His sorrow. His blood streamed down to the ground that wept in agony. The King was crucified and I was what held him up. Wait a minute. I held Him up! He was the King! Then that made me the throne. I was blessed to hold the King of Kings in my arms and lift Him up to the Father as He became the salvation for mankind. What greater honor could any tree have but to have embraced Jesus for the last time before He slept in the ground and then raised Himself up to His former glory?

I just know that I will be remembered for all times: the symbol of His sacrifice. When others look at me the will think of Him. And when they look to you, will they see Him?



Maximum security penitentiary leaps off the screen of a James Cagney movie with long metal catwalks and tier after tier of cages holding the incorrigibles locked down 23 hours a day. The level 5 security risks are separated into four geographical quadrants so that even a chow or shower-time, the gangs cannot assemble together. Divide and conquer is particularly applicable to this bizarre nation of murderers and mutilators doing life without parole sentences.


Once a month, at my evangelistic service, the chapel is the place where all the campus general population is restricted to a central and presumed contained location; the chapel! As over four hundred inmates began filing in by group sections, I was painfully apprehensive that two high-powered rifles were being directed at them by sharp-shooters from the safe position overhead and behind my back. They assembled into their respective gangs; Chicago, East St. Louis, gang-bangers, black Muslims, white Aryans and of course the Christians.


The Warden came up to me and he said that he anticipated an insurrection to take place because he was compelled to allow sixty trouble makers and effeminate homosexuals from Protective Custody to join us from the balcony overlooking the auditorium. These infidels could not even live their own kind! The bottom of the barrel.


The balcony began to fill as they flexed their muscles, sneered and could he heard cursing the name of Jesus. The crowd was growing anxious and I sensed the presence of Satan. I signaled the praise team to begin singing and I dropped to my knees in foreboding desperation of the danger I had led my devoted volunteers into. I cried out to the Lord and began rebuking Satan with all the faith that was in me. A hollowed hush fell over the chapel and through tear blurred eyes, I looked out over the assembly and witnessed a modern day miracle.


About two hundred Christian prisoners had turned their backs to me and were standing upright, in the midst of this living hell. They lifted their holy hands to the balcony and began praying out loud in the Spirit of the Lord. Those few minutes seemed like an eternity as I observed the Spirit of God rush through that demon possessed gallery of incorrigibles. Behold, fourteen notorious gang leaders rose to their feet and cried out to Jesus for salvation! With tears streaming down their faces, the overwhelmed gang members on the ground floor began to stand with their leaders to do the same and I had yet to deliver a word of my sermon to any of them. I cried out, “There is a God!”


The service then began and at the completion I gave an alter call. The alter was flooded with a sea of repentant sinners. I was sobbing too hard to even recite a sinner’s prayer, so I handed the microphone to the black Pastor assisting me. He too was helpless to say a word. So a prisoner doing a double life sentence plus 50 years led them to the throne of grace; the old rugged Cross.


When the service had concluded and the men were led out cell block by cell block, I gathered uou team for praise and prayers of thanksgiving. I later learned that 23 shanks (weapons) were left on the stage! Faith coupled with fervent prayer had prevailed.



Mr. Carnal was a professing Christian that lived an exemplary life. He was a deacon in his church and taught Sunday school Bible study. All the congregation looked up to him and the pattern he set for others to follow. On the outside, the side all could see, he was the husband and father that all the women wished that their man would become. Unknown to everyone was the real truth that on the inside he confessed that Jesus is Lord but never became obedient to His lordship. He was living a lie that finally caught up with him in a sudden and unexpected death!

He died and went straight to hell.

As he looked out over the glowing lake of liquid flames, the abhorrence and inexpressible torture he witnessed was more than his damned soul could bear. As far as he could see was a holocaust of screaming human beings thrashing about in the white blistering conflagration, begging to die and escape this deathless tribulation.

Silently, Satan himself slithered up and rasped, “I have you!” He responded, “I know. I never confessed Jesus AS my Lord,” and began to sob. Through tears he pleaded, “I beg you, give me 24 hours more before you throw me into that lake of fire.” Satan smiled a toothless smirk and growled, “Granted! 

He hesitated and then began trudging along the steamy shoreline while flames licked at his exposed carcass. Reaching down from time to time to hoist up to eye level one wretched body after another, he looked them full in the face and cursed with all his pent up venom of loathing. Again and again he would choose and grip an anguished cadaver to curse as he eventually found his way around the smoking abyss, counterclockwise to where he began his twenty-four tedious hours before. He was totally spent and lacking the strength left to stand in front of the immoral one who had patiently waited for his prey to return.

As he collapsed on that smoldering shore, Lucifer quietly approached and hissed, “Your time is up! But before I cast your body and soul into the black inferno, I must ask you just one last question. Why were you doing that?”

The condemned looked up and gasped, “I was looking for that preacher that told me I was saved!”

Satan’s twisted features gleamed with pride as he snarled, “That was me who told you that you were saved!”

Two years of preaching and teaching every Friday night at this prison had developed a dependable and capable fellowship of believers. A small turnout was seventy attending, out of an inmate population of several hundred prisoners. Any praise band or female volunteers would swell the chapel attendance but I resisted that because I was resolved to disciple these inmates and solidly ground them in the Gospel according to Jesus Christ, without distraction.

I have memories of many exhilarating services where the altar was frequently flooded with repenting sinners. However, one particular evening stands out above the rest.

It was a chilly nightfall and more prisoners than usual had shown up. It seemed that they were up, positive and ready to worship and praise the Lord.

We began with a thoughtful prayer, sang a few old time hymns and as usual asked for testimonies before I got into God’s Word. It was at this time in the service that a big muscular inmate with a callous expression stood straight up. He was one of those athletes who pumps iron all day long and everyone fears his strength. He got up in the center of the men and spoke is a coarse gravel voice, “Hey Mr. Preacher man! I got something to say!” I relied in humor, “Anyone your size can say anything he wants! And take your time sir.”

Everyone had a good laugh at my feigned timidity and when the clamor had died down he continued, “I’m a two time loser. If I mess up again they are going to give me a life sentence. I’ve been a violent man all my life and it’s my fists and uncontrollable anger that has put me in the joint every time. I want to thank you for leading me to Christ last week but I’ve got to tell you about this crazy thing that happened to me the day after I gave my heart to Jesus for real.”

“Remember, you said that the Holy Spirit would come upon me, that I was a new creation? Well, the very next day I was in the day-room, just killing time and this big black dude come in and gets right in my face with an attitude. He was making fun of me being a Christian. He was doing this right in front of everyone. Well, Rick, to tell you the truth, I have killed men with my bare hands for less than that!”

“He kept on and on and all of a sudden, Bam! I was knocked to the floor. He blindsided me with a great left hook sucker punch. Down I went but I jumped right back up on my feet. It was then that something real strange happened to me.”

“My arms dropped to my sides, my hands went limp and ice water flowed through my veins and my mouth said, ‘Forgive me brother if I have offended you.’ I couldn’t believe it! He couldn’t either. He was all set to go at it but this took the fight out of him. He turned around and walked off real fast.”
v “About four hours later, he came to my cell and said he was sorry that he had picked a fight. We talked for a while and I told him that I was born again and that Jesus now lived through me. We got on our knees and he gave his heart to Jesus.”

At that moment, the black guy got to his feet. They both walked toward each other, hugged and wept for joy in front of everyone. A hush went over the inmates and one by one they headed for the altar. I led them all in the sinners prayer and I hadn’t even preached yet!

Jesus had become Saviour and Lord to these two brand new evangelists and the witness of their salvation was winning souls to Christ. I learned from this experience that men would rather see a sermon than hear one.

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Twenty-six weekend revivals in twenty-six prisons over two states simultaneously! It had never been done before. The logistics of this prison invasion boggled my mind, not to mention the trembling of my heart. Over a thousand volunteers would have to be instructed, assigned, security cleared and coordinated with musicians all at the same time. Well, this overwhelming task sure go my soul winning juices going as I sharpened my marketing skills and committed to this undertaking. Direct mail, church meetings and endless phone calls. A blur of apprehensive Christians caught up in the peer group pressure, contagious excitement, invading prisons for Christ. Setting the captives free!

As the December invasion drew nearer, I became disquieted and panicky of possible prison violence and danger. I had recruited these lambs and sent them to the slaughter. The prisoners would chew them up and spit them out. I was walking in fear and doubt. My spirit had weakened and at least I had enough discernment to press on in prayer an fasting in preparation for this spectacular event. While deeply into it, the Lord impressed me on the importance of spiritual combat.

The light turned green and the invasion was a go when I received an eleventh hour call from death row in the state maximum security prison over 100 miles from me. They wanted to participate and not be left out. I volunteered to do a Sunday morning service and the arrangements were made.

I arrived at the penitentiary earlier than the visitors and subsequent to a very meticulous search I was permitted to enter the confined security area clutching my Bible. I entered the walkway with ten thickly screened cages on both sides that were only three feet square and barely tall enough for a man to stand up in. Very comparable to a zoo. Extremely debasing and smothering. I made a stand at the gat and resolved to preach out and down the corridor. I wasn’t sure anyone would show up so I just paced the floor and prayed.

Three hours had passed before all the C. P. (capital punishment) inmates were positioned in these cramped cubicles. Each C.P. had to be brought out one man at a time, cuffed from behind and leg-shackled. A further obstacle was caused by the “No Physical Contact” rule in effect. The unbroken pathway caused much complaining and inconvenience for the other prisoners. One by on they stepped into these disgraceful cages and the cuffs and chains were removed. No physical contact whatsoever. They were phlegmatic and sulky and then it really hit me!

I was in an arena of death row prisoners that had committed crimes that were so unforgivable that civilized society required their lives as retribution. They had all been sentenced to die by lethal injection. Not competent to live. They would all eventually walk that last mile and return in a box. The awesome responsibility for their souls overwhelmed me and it was at that instant that I experienced a tremendous illustration from the Lord that has influenced my ministry to this day.

I opened us up in prayer and began turning to Psalm 51 when I noticed that I couldn’t see the print very well. I searched myself and realized that my glasses were missing and I would be helpless to read the text without them. Why would God do this to me? Didn’t he know how significant this service was? What did he expect me to do now? On my left was a murderous looking convict with a sneer across his disfigured and pock-marked face. Impulsively, I asked him if he could read this for me. He said he would.

I remembered a television service I had watched where the minister had someone read each line, and the preacher would preach. Seemed like a good idea to me, so I put the open Bible against the screen for him to read. And he began to read slowly and reverently, not however pausing for me to preach. Everyone hung on every word and the Spirit of God settled down on them in an incredible way.

When he was through, I couldn’t believe my eyes! One by one they dropped to their knees and began weeping. I hadn’t preached a singe word. Instinctively, I did a call to repentance and they responded as one. We then sang some praise songs to Jesus and the sentry ushered me out and on to the street. My head began to clear and the lesson sunk in.

Jesus Christ had done the service and what could I have possible have added to Psalm 51 but a death row convict to read it? My lesson? The Lord was with them before I got there and that He had remained after I left, still setting captives free 2,000 years later!

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Walking down a metal cat-walk past prison cells of convicts is an awesome experience that is novel and exhilarating every time. There is an electrifying adventure about it that cannot be adequately described. You never know which prisoner will reach out for Jesus and be saved. It is thrilling to look a prisoner in the eyes with love and encourage him to accept Jesus Christ as his Lord and Saviour. I can imagine that this feeling has similarities to a hunter in the midst of perilous jungles seeking the prey and being sought by the predator. The spiritual combat is indescribable in this heart of hell, called a cell-block. A locus, a concentration of evil. Satan’s turf.

It was in this sense of spiritual adventurism that I was followed by a blue uniformed guide to the prison chapel. We approached the stairwell, serpentine corridors and vacated court yards. Each lower floor level became darker, dirtier and more austere until we leveled off on a dingy walkway with the strongest aroma of stench I have ever smelled!

This was the dungeon within the dungeon for detention of the most evil offenders. A dimly illuminated community of “slickers.” A slicker is an incommodious drab cell with bricked-in windows, no cot, sink or toilet. Nothing but the pollution of an endless number of previous residents. No attempt whatsoever had been made to clean up. A hole in the floor dropped directly into the cesspool that was rumored to back up regularly in these cells. This was the home for those who were ill-suited to live with the other residents. Rejected by their own kind! The odor caused me to gag and gasp for air.

The officer was determined to hustle me out of this, “No Visitor” area. His stride picked up and I was close on his heels escaping this restricted zone. The wall shackles dated back to before the Civil War era of slavery. The men were strangely hushed, either seated on the floor or standing up with a drugged glaze in their eyes. No sound. Silence. No radio, televisions or even idle chatter. A thick dark cloud of oppression; Satan was there.

One of these pathetic captives caught my attention. What I saw and what he said to me has everlastingly cemented itself in my memory as though it just happened yesterday.

He was crouched like a creature on the cement floor. If you looked closely you could see the filth he sat in undulate with the vermin that lived in it. He wore only his grossly stained underwear and his hair was standing out in a frightful, wild fashion. He eyes were bulging and yellow. His fingernails long and his toenails curling under. His matted beard barely hid his rotted teeth and infected mouth.

I spoke out, “You need to accept Jesus Christ as both your Saviour and Lord!” He didn’t arouse. I cried out another time, “Jesus is your only salvation. It’s time to repent and receive Jesus!” He turned and looked me full in the face but gave no indication of reply. Finally, the guard angrily took my arm to keep me moving. I shouted behind me, “Why won’t you do this?” I will never forget his heart wrenching reply. “I’m not ready to give it all up yet.”

I was horrified as he left my sight but not my spirit. I still mourn over those who still repeat those words, “I’m not ready to give it all up yet.”

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“Step right up ladies and gentlemen! Come one come all and see for yourself the one and the only church, held in captivity since modern man began! One green dollar, folding cash, a silent offering will give you happiness, excitement and feelings you’ve never felt before! Step right up and hear from the books written by the experts that know better than the Bible!

“With your eyes you will see the fellowship of pretenders. They hug, they laugh and they cry as you want them to. They are at your beck and call. Trained and skilled in displays of affection and carnal love, so convincing, you’ll think that they are for real. Hurry, hurry, hurry! The show is about to begin!

“See them pray, hands lifted or eyes down; you have a choice. Guaranteed results or your money back! Step right up to a prayer booth and they will pray to the god of your choice. One day only, so don’t hold back. Visa and Mastercard are accepted.

“Don’t forget the relic display and authentic souvenirs marked down to half-price but full of indulgences. A piece of the cross and bones of the saints. Can you believe it! Of course you believe it. You’ll believe anything.

“Our goal is to give you anything you want at the price you are willing to pay! Look for our cross at the top of any one of our convenient outlets, or call our 24-hour hot-line and get saved. You will be healed when you write us a big fat check. But hurry, limited time only!”

(Oh, how I pray the time is limited.)

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“Just look at me. Recognize the dignity of my office. I publicize with a pomposity of arrogant authority. My stride is purposeful and brisk. My carriage erect and stately. My apparel is fashionable and professional to perfection, as is my Rolex watch, diamond ring and bright false teeth. I’m tailored to accommodate the image of calm assurance and confidence. I’m always conscious of admiring glances and I respond in due course with heightened self-image. I always appear to be as I must in the eyes of others.

“My reassuring manner is well practiced and my handshake firm and manly. Surely, I exude warmth, intelligence and reliability. The same phony impeccable smile, the same imperial posture, the selfsame charisma. Why change a deception that works!

“My words are invariably just inside or outside the truth. Moderation is best accomplished by compromising ambiguity; ill-defined positions established in a humanizing, solicitous fashion. I give the impression that I am piously contemplative, thoughtful and unprejudiced. None of which is true.

“I never take sides so that I can keep controversy alive, especially in Biblical doctrine and apologetics. I only side with the heavy hitter contributors. This approach is shrewd, forthright and politically correct.

“The misimpression of holiness is very material to my intentions. It’s all a matter of expression and demeanor. Stoic and unobtrusive. Quiet and restrained. The appearance of reflection more than the boredom it really is, but it suits my corrupted purposes. I am held in high esteem by fake Christians. I’m appointed not anointed. Don’t look for Him, just look at me!”

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If I were to get to know those who know you best and ask them all the questions I could think of about you, I would get to know you very well, wouldn’t I? Well, then it stands to reason that if we get to know God’s best friends real well, we will get to know a whole lot about God, won’t we? Let’s then make some observations of those that he used, each in a mighty way. I call them, “God’s Dirty Dozen.”

First, we have Abraham. His parents were idolaters and I’m sure as a young man, you could see him with his Watch Tower Magazine under one arm and the Pearl of Great Price book under the other, being chauffeured in his stretch limo to the nearest name-it claim-it, go-go cult of carnal hustlers in the name of Allah. And yet, god used him to emerge as the father of the chosen nation.

Now we know that Joseph didn’t do it. Potipher’s wife knows he didn’t do it. God knows he didn’t do it. And we all know he didn’t do it. But when Joseph filled out the application to be Prime Minister of Egypt it read, “Have you ever been convicted of a felony?” He was an ex-con with a record of being a sex offender and yet God used him in a mighty way.

Let’s also remember Moses. He looked both ways, killed the Egyptian with his bare hands and then had the audacity to dig a hole and bury him in broad daylight in front of witnesses. That is a classic, premeditated, first degree murder! If that happened today, he would be on death row awaiting execution. And yet, God used him in a mighty way.

And what about David? He didn’t have the guts to assassinate so he ordered a hit man to knock off Bathsheba’s husband so that they could keep their torrid love affair going. David should have had a jail cell next to Moses! And yet, God used him in a mighty way.

Do you really think the Priestess Rahab went around the temple genuflecting and lighting holy candles? Of course not! She was a temple prostitute that sold her body for dirty money just like any two-bit whore on the waterfront. And yet, God used her in a mighty way.

“If the children turn out bad, it must mean that the parents weren’t any good!” It ain’t necessarily so. There aren’t any fathers that raised their sons worse than Eli and Samuel and yet God used them both in a mighty way.

And have you ever heard the saying, “When the going gets tough, the touch get going?” Some Christians have turned tail and ran when the Lord needed them the most. Just like Mark did, so quickly that he left his clothing in the clutches of a cop and escaped naked.! And yet, God used him in a mighty way.

Can you imagine saying, “No, dammit! I have never known this criminal named Jesus!” God forbid, it would never leave my lips even in the torment of torture. But with the gentle pressure of a teenage servant girl, Peter the Rock, turned into a little pebble when he denied the Lord quicker than a New York heartbeat, not once but three times within a couple of hours. His eyes met those to his Lord and he realized the shallowness of his commitment. And yet, God used him in a mighty way.

I am blessed that Paul did not divulge to us the gruesome particulars of all the atrocities he inflicted on blameless Christians or I would be less given to read and study his Epistles. I suspect that I might forgive him but I would not forget. The captivity, injustice and even annihilation of these gentle souls might possibly raise a doubt about Paul’s conversion experience. Was he beyond being saved? And yet, God used him in a mighty way.

If you have been counting, that’s just ten. Including you and I, it makes an even dozen. My life was so depraved that I cursed God, shook my fist at heaven and demanded that if He existed, to kill me to end the nightmare I was living.

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Many years ago the City Council of a large metropolitan city was researching diverse options that would stretch out a hand of brotherhood to the impoverished shanty town across the railroad tracks. They were seeking some benevolent gesture they could make that would give them positive public relations.

One day a Councilman spoke up and suggested, “Let’s help them start a free public zoo. Everyone loves animals!” The proposal was passed unanimously and it was voted to donated a cub bear to begin it with.

A ten by thirty foot cage was constructed and a cub named “Barney” was delivered to a neighborhood that had much crime and brutality. And the people responded by being mean and heartless as their displaced aggression took focus on Barney.

They would poke fun at Barney and flick lit cigarettes at him. He growled his first mean growl, snarled his teeth and paced six steps to the right, and then six steps to the left. Months dragged by and Barney began growing larger and meaner. The town’s hoodlums had already set him on fire twice and some men kids had poked out one of his eyes. He was a prisoner in a cage. They were doing horrendous things to him. He couldn’t escape his captivity. Barney was the victim of society and totally at their mercy. He didn’t know hatred, distress or brutality until it was inflicted upon him.

So, he paced six steps to the right and then six steps to the left, growled and then paced six steps to the right, and the six steps to the left, then six steps ….. He was incarcerated with no means of escape. No future. No hope. No one who cared!

One day an anonymous phone call to the city’s news-desk alerted a reported of the atrocities big, mean and ugly Barney was suffering. Intolerable! The feature story was run front page and the public was outraged that someone had fed him meat mixed with ground glass! Unanimously they decided to rescue Barney and transport him to their multi-million dollar zoo that had acres for bears and the tender loving care of dedicated attendants.

The truck was dispatched and the cage with Barney in it was brought back to the City Zoo and lowered down into an absolute dream come true, “Bear Heaven.” It had everything and anything a bear could ever dream of. Rolling hills, cold, clear streams, spring fed lakes teaming with delicious fish and the companionship of loving, bear hugging and joyful fellow bears welcoming their new friend Barney.

All this attention had made Barney fearful and angry as he paced the only home he had ever known; six paces to the right, and six paces to the left, then six paces to the …..

Very carefully, they slid up and opened the gate to his life-long prison of bars. Open at last! His way of escape was finally staring him right in the face! He nervously stuck his head out and looked over the breathtaking beauty of the new life that was open to him. And guess what he did? You guessed it; six paces to the right, then six paces to the left, and …. He wouldn’t take that first step to freedom.

Perplexed, the attendants hurried off to prepare the most delectable and delicious bear food that money could buy and a chef could prepare. This banquet was laid out before him just outside the gate to his cage. All he had ever eaten was foul garbage. The irresistible aroma filled the air as he lifted his snout, sniffed and salivated in extreme hunger. His eyes scanned the full array of any delicacy a starving bear could ever imagine. Guess what he did? You guessed it; he paced six steps to the right, then six steps to the left, and then…. He still would not be enticed to leave his old life behind.

Freedom was staring him right in the face. The gate was wide open but he stubbornly refused to leave the life he had led. He was hardened and institutionalized; an incorrigible that just knew society would reject him. There just had to be a catch. A whole banquet of life giving food lay before him and yet he rejected even the multitude who had eaten the same food and had been nourished and saved.

Night had fallen and the City Zoo attendants knew that desperate measures had to be taken. They knew that this new home was Barney’s only salvation so they risked their relationship with him and determined that they must use a confrontational means of reaching him. So they found a torch and set it aflame! Poking it into the cage and threatening Barney with consuming fire was all it took. He felt the approaching flames and bolted through the one and only gate of salvation! Terrified but free of his prison at last!

Even though the banquet of the Word is laid before criminals, it sometimes takes fire and brimstone to bring them to the foot of the Cross.

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“My Dog Buffy”

I was preaching Romans 1 to a packed out chapel of primarily sex offenders and homosexuals and it went something like this:

“I have a dog named Buffy and she is a girl dog. She goes out and she finds a boy dog and they get it on and she has puppies. She knows she’s a girl and he knows he’s a boy. All you have to do is look down your pants to find out what God made you to be. If you can’t figure that out, you have less sense than my dog Buffy!”

I had been preaching against homosexuality for several weeks and from time to time had to have unruly inmates escorted out of the chapel. It was creating quite an uproar.

On one of those occasions, a big muscular man came crawling into the chapel crying his heart out and visibly bleeding on the back of his pants. He had been gang raped on the way to church!

This encouraged me to preach even harder on the deadly sins that are attendant to the heinous perversion that lost society calls “Gay.”

In time the “gay community” decided that they had had enough of me and they conspired against me preaching in their chapel. So on the next few scheduled chapel services, they circled the chapel and wouldn’t let the Christians in for my service. So there I sat all alone. And it got worse. They put out a contract on me to kill or badly hurt me so that I would not come back again.

One of theirs came in one day. He was the ugliest man I had ever seen. He was short, had a big nose, no teeth, scraggly beard and matted hair. He said to me, “I’m a cross dresser and the Bible says that Jesus will take me just as I am.” I was reasonably new to the ministry, so I naively asked, “What’s a cross dresser?” He responded, “I wear women’s dresses!” Well, picturing him in a dress was more than I could handle so I laughed so hard I had to lay on the floor to catch my breath. When I had regained my composure I said to him, “You will never get past St. Peter wearing a dress.

Well, the homosexuals won and I was banned from the prison for almost 7 years. The authorities said that they had to ban me for my protection. But I know the truth.

The homosexuals had banded together and because of their size and strength, they requested that a minister supportive of their gay lifestyle fill my spot for their services. And he did. He preached that the song was correct. That the Lord would take you “Just as I am.”

(Romans Chapter 1 clearly teaches that unrepentant homosexuals will burn in Hell. Anyone who teaches otherwise is refusing the truth taught in the Word of God: that’s called heresy)


Matthew 25:45 (NASB77)
45 "Then He will answer them, saying, 'Truly I say to you, to the extent that you did not do it to one of the least of these, you did not do it to Me.'

When you look carefully at the division of the sheep and the goats in chapter 25 of Matthew, you will notice that it wasn’t what the goats did that sent them to hell; it was what they didn’t do. They didn’t pursue holiness and the effects of genuine works that are not masks of self-gratification.


The evangelicals like to throw around the label “carnal Christians” to describe plastic believers that are attached to the world and measure their faith by what power, money, prestige and influence their church may have. I once preached, “Is Judas still treasurer of your church?” at a large Baptist church. Needless to say, they never invited me back!


Holiness and good works was in the air the Lord breathed. As St. Francis of Assisi once said, “All I want to do is go about the work of the Lord and not know it.” You can’t be a practical atheist for too long before true Christians take your mask off and uncover the horror of your twisted motives: a midnight of your soul in the abyss of endless shock and awe. The hell that is displayed will startle you into insanity if you look long and too hard at the truth of your depraved mind. If you really believed in Jesus, you wouldn’t embrace your favorite sin: it was the weapon that killed God’s only Son!


There was a time in Rome when the dead body was attached to the murderer, chest to chest until the corpse rotted off of him. Such is the sin you willfully acknowledge that you love more than the Savior. It would drive the Roman prisoner over the edge of rationality and you are also on your way to a chaos of mental confusion, such as you may never recover unless you’re repent.


The goat turned his life toward the wider road that led the sheep to slaughter. The Judas goat gets his name from the fact that he is trained to have the sheep follow him to the butcher block. They blindly line up behind him and he returns again for more that dutifully follow him to certain death. The Judas goat isn’t doing evil, he just isn’t doing anything but leading to a oblivion of endless torture without relief, ever!


And so it is also with you not what you are doing as much as what you have not done. No decision to repent is a vote to reject salvation. Following the goat soon transforms into being the Judas goat as others see and imitate your example by what you didn’t do.


When faced with sin, just stop, stand still, turn around and return to Him. No decision is a decision to be a Judas goat. How many souls have you sent to Hell? When is the time to stop? What or who is holding you back?


Slay the goat and line up with the sheep that the Good Shepherd has chosen for His today!