Living 2 Timothy
When God called me to steward Soldier's of Christ He pointed me to 2 Timothy to be the scripture of foundation for SOCPM. And over the years I've seen how 2 Timothy cannot only be applied to how I'm to disciple the students, but in my own stewardship of SOCPM.
Terrance (not his real name) was a first time SOCPM student in 'A Soldier's Call to Renewing Fatherhood.' I'm always excited when a first time student attends a SOCPM class as my passion leads me to reach as many as I can. However, it became quite clear within a few minutes of Terrance's first class he was going to be a challenge.
After almost every statement I would make he would speak out and question what I had just said and proceed to give his opinion that was basically a theology of polytheism, which teaches there are many Gods. I would attempt to respond to his immediate question but it became clear he was not asking questions to learn but to simply be quarrelsome After about 15 minutes of Terrance's interruptions I could see the class overall was getting perturbed [2 Tim. 2:23-24].
I realized I needed to respond to his constant interruptions without 'breeding any more quarrels'. So I sought to correct him with gentleness [2 Tim. 2:26] 'Listen, you have to understand that the questions you are asking are not directly related to fatherhood, they are more related to topics we discuss in the discipleship classes. I would suggest you enroll a discipleship class where your questions would be more appropriate for the class' objective'. The objective of this class is fatherhood. Even though it is Christian based the primary focus is on fatherhood. So I ask if you would please limit your questions to fatherhood.' He responded with the 'I'm just simply... but if you don't want to that's cool just don't think you should keep referring to one type God just say a god'.
Patience is a fruit of the Spirit that is in need of much more ripening. In my heart I wanted to say 'why don't you just leave' but the Holy Spirit held my tongue towards him and I turned my attention back to the class [2 Tim. 2:24]. After a moment or two he got up and left the room. In my heart I was joyful saying 'did he leave, is he not coming back?' After his leaving a couple of students asked 'Do you want us to say something to him?' I said no I don't want to risk things escalating and it ends up going back to your unit where it could then escalate even more.' My heart was saddened when Terrance returned a few minutes later. He was more compliant during the remainder of the class but still made it clear on occasion he did not agree with me.
At the end of the class JD, another SOCPM student, who has been in several SOCPM classes, asked if I wanted to him say something to Terrance outside of class about his actions that they are not the way the things are done in this class. I thanked JD but said, 'No, I'm getting the feeling he is hoping I respond with an angry tone in order for him to make the statement I'm just like all Christians a hypocrite but I'll just have to do my best to remain calm and endure [2 Tim. 4:5].
The following week, with a heart mixed with joy and despair Terrance returned. As I started my teaching I heard some side chatter and saw that it was Terrance who had sat next to JD and JD was pointing things in the Bible out to Terrance. I tend to silence side chatter, but JD had Terrance's attention and was keeping him quiet so I said nothing.
After class JD apologized for the side chatter but said that Terrance started talking with him saying how the Bible is supportive of slavery. JD said it appeared to him that he definitely saw Terrance has an attitude towards the whole race thing. On my ride home God pointed out that Terrance was obviously not Christian but he was the type of student that I have prayed for, an unbeliever who could have his heart transformed and that all I could do is trust God.
The weeks progressed and Terrance, though less, still was speaking out but through the Holy Spirit I was able to endure and he indeed registered for a discipleship class. I am praying and trusting that God will use me to live 2 Timothy 2:24-26.
After the last day of class, I was leaving the lunch hall and was passing a long line. At the end of the line I met Terrance and a fellow inmate. He stopped me and said 'hey, preacher this guy is in need of prayer, pray for him?' The lunch line which was moving quickly and my holding it up by praying would not be well received by staff. But, stopped the line moving and put in my heart to indeed pray. Not only did the person I prayed for say thank you but Terrance did as well. Walking away God spoke to me saying my praying for the inmate went far in my prayer for Terrance to perhaps see Christianity is not how he perceives it to be and that God made indeed do transforming work in Terrance [2 Tim. 2:24-26].
Sweet Kid: Prison slang referring to an inmate who allies with an older, more experienced inmate, possibly for protection or knowledge. Inside Prison
In the Classroom
On April 29th and May 1st SOCPM launches a new quarter of classes at Dixon & Sheridan Correctional Centers. In the 'Christian Living' program SOCPM will be teaching the 20th and 21st classes of 'A Soldier's Call to Renewing Fatherhood'. The Discipleship program will be teaching 'A Soldier's Call to Unlocking the Bible's Story' the primary curriculum will be '10 Keys to Unlocking the Bible' by Colin S. Smith. Thanks to ministry friend Robert Wolfson who provided SOCPM with the course material including 100 copies of the participants guide.
Many thanks to SOCPM's ministry partners & Grace to You whose generous gifting allow SOCPM to give all last quarter Discipleship students a copy of 'Saved Without a Doubt' by John MacArthur. Additionally the gifting of ministry partners purchased 50 'InsideOut Dad Christian' workbooks for this quarter's 'A Soldier's Call to Renewing Fatherhood'
The Number is...
27 - The number of Illinois Department of Correction facilities SOCPM has served
SOLDIERS OF CHRIST IS DONOR SUPPORTED
I believe the Lord has many plans for SOCPM in 2015, but your financial and prayer support is a must. The expenses to accomplish the above will exceed SOCPM's current monthly giving. Additionally I've not paid myself any salary since SOCPM became my vocation in November 2009. I hope to begin to pay myself a minimal monthly salary in 2015.
If you are a current monthly financial partner or have given in the past, thank you! If you aren't currently a monthly partner or have given a one time gift before, would you please pray about becoming a monthly financial partner?
1125 Oak St.
St. Charles, IL 60174
Please note "Prison Ministry" in memo to direct the gift to Soldiers of Christ Prison Ministries
Soldiers of Christ Prison Ministries
P. O. Box 671
Cortland, IL 60112