John Schmid Music

Author: johnschmidcommonground

What Will It Take?

I sang in three “lock up” dorms in a maximum security prison in northern Florida at the annual “We Care” Prison Ministries Week in January. I set up a small speaker and sang in the hallway between the two rows of solitary confinement-type cells. The cell doors are thick steel with bullet proof glass windows and a small opening to shove the food through to the inmate.

I could hear the applause, but also the banging, kicking and yelling of disapproval coming from within the cells. (Not everybody appreciates country/gospel music.) I could see faces in the windows. My singing echoed and bounced back and forth off the bare concrete walls and steel cell doors.

In each dorm, after I sang for close to an hour, we went cell to cell to hand out little booklets and try to communicate through the crack at the edge of the door. We asked how we could pray for them. I was not supposed to “preach” because since the men did not come to our service voluntarily (we were “invading” their space), federal law prohibits religious “indoctrination.”  But I could sing the gospel. Even though most were appreciative, several refused our offer to pray for them.
“I’m fine…” 
“I don’t need that…”  
“I’m an atheist…”

It got me to thinking about atheists. Maybe this isn’t a foxhole in the war, or a near death experience, but I had a hard time trying to figure out this kind of hard heartedness in what I consider a desparate situation. What will it take to get their attention?

Since I had just read a tract telling the last words of five famous atheists, I’ll print them here:

Thomas Paine, atheist and author of two of the most influencial pamplets (Common Sense and The American Crisis) at the start of the American Revolution – “Stay with me, for God’s sake; I cannot bear to be left alone, O Lord, help me! O God, what have I done to suffer so much? What will become of me hereafter?… O Lord, help me! Christ, help me! For I am on the edge of Hell here alone. If ever the Devil had an agent, I have been that one.”

Sir Thomas Scott, a member of the British House of Lords around 1572-“Until this moment I thought there was neither a God nor Hell. Now I know and feel that there are both, and I am doomed to perdition by the just judgment of the Almighty.”

David Hume, Scottish philosopher (1711-1776)- “I am in flames!”

Sir Francis Newport– the first Earl of Bradford (England), 1694- “You need not tell me there is no God for I now know there is one, and that I am in His presence! You need not tell me there is no Hell. I feel myself already slipping… I know I am lost forever! Oh, the fire! Oh, the insufferable pangs of Hell!” A fellow atheist companion tried to dispel his thoughts, but he had nothing to offer.

Anton LeVey, founder of The Church of Satan-“Oh my, oh my, what have I done?! There is something very wrong… there is something very wrong…”

Voltaire, (1694-1778) Anti-Christian French Enlightenment philosopher, famous for his wit and his criticism of Christianity- “…I am abandoned by God and man.” He said to his physician, Dr. Fochin: “I will give you half of what I am worth if you will give me six months of life.” When he was told this was impossible, he said, “Then I shall die and go to hell!” His nurse said: “For all the money in Europe I wouldn’t want to see another unbeliever die! All night long he cried for forgiveness.”

Steve Jobs, (not necessarily an atheist)- “Oh, wow… Oh wow… Oh wow…”

Chuck Wilson, an ex-convict friend who spent 30 years in London (Ohio) prison. Everytime he goes past a graveyard he says, “There is still time.”

Folks, there is still time. Give your heart to Jesus. Don’t end up in a tract about atheists.

Ray Comfort: “God doesn’t believe in atheists.”


Day and night the four living creatures never stopped saying,

“Holy, holy, holy is the Lord God Almighty, who was and is, and is to come.” Rev. 4:8

As much as I look forward to Heaven, the assignment of saying, “Holy, holy, holy…” day and night, 24/7, in Heaven did not look very exciting to me. Then I heard E. V. Hill explain: “The reason the four living creatures are praising God day and night is because every time they bow and say ‘Holy, holy, holy’ they lift up their heads and look, and God has done something new AGAIN(!), so they bow down and praise Him again! He never stops doing something new!”

The people of God are marked by the set of their face. They look to the future, and they look with anticipation. Implicit in fellowship with God is the promise that the best is yet to be. Of course, there are those in the Old Testament who did not see this. The writer of Ecclesiastes says there is nothing new under the sun, that what has been will always be, that all things are more wearisome than one can express. (Ecc. 1:8-10) But this is a minority voice in the Old Testament.

-The psalmist tells us of a new song the Lord has given him. (Ps. 42:8)

-Isaiah writes of new things to be learned and a new name (Isa. 42:9, 62:2) and of a new heaven and a new earth (Isa. 65:17; 66:26).

-Jeremiah proclaims a new covenant and new mercies every morning (Jer. 31:31; Lam. 3:22,23).

-Ezekeiel tells of a new spirit and a new heart (Ezek. 11:19; 18:31; 36:26)

The New Testament picks up this theme and promises:

-a new birth (I Per. 1:3)
-a new life (Rom. 6:23)
-a new self (Eph. 4:24; Col. 3:10)
-a new attitude (Eph. 4:23)
-a new commandment (John 13:34)
-a new and living way (Heb. 10:20)
-a new creation (2 Cor. 5:17; Gal. 6:15)
-a new heaven and a new earth (2 Pet. 3:13; Rev. 2:1)

It should be no surprise to us, after we have considered all of the above, to find the concluding word coming from God Himself: “See, I have made all things new.” (Rev. 21:5) Apparently God never quits making things better because His word comes as the last word in human history. He is the God of the eternal renewal.

But what about the doleful words from the author of Eccesiastes? He may be a keener observer than we thought. He says there is nothing new under the sun, and he is right! The true newness never comes from us, from the natural. It comes from beyond us, from the God with whom we have the privilege of walking. Our response has to be: Everything is new under the Son, for it is He who makes all things new.

As I look at these last days of 2022 and into the future of 2023, my thoughts here are mixed with Dr. Dennis Kinlaw’s entry from his Jan. 2 meditation in the book, This Day with the Master. Dr. Robert Coleman, Professor of Evangelism at Asbury Theological Seminay, often said, “The best is yet to be!” In this crazy world of conflict and evil, Isaac Watts said, “He rules the world with truth and grace, and He makes the nations prove the glories of His righteousness and wonders of His love.”


The Name of Jesus

Dennis Kinlaw was the president of Asbury College. He is probably the most brilliant man I ever knew personally. He was a true scholar. He read the Bible in the original languages (Greek and Hebrew), but when he preached, a six year old (and I) could understand him. He had the gift of bringing complex thoughts to the level of the common man. Here is one of his meditations on the Christmas season:

In a few days the world will pause to acknowledge the birth of Jesus. How many world leaders will see a relation between the One whose birth is celebrated and the events that take place in our world? Most of the Western world will again hear Handel’s Messiah, but few will think that the “Hallelujah Chorus” has anything to do with actual world events and history. The reality is that those lines- “King of kings and Lord of lords, and He shall reign forever and ever” -are not just music. They are truth. Jesus will reign. Better still, He does reign. It is He who presides over world history, even though the media and the politicians do not know it. Jesus is Lord.

Sam Kamaleson was preaching in an evangelistic crusade in Romania just as the Communist world of Eastern Europe was collapsing. His audience, so long deprived of God and His Word, was large and attentive. One night as he preached, Sam became conscious of an unexpected sound that swept across his audience. Slowly he recognized that the wave of sound came every time he used the name of Jesus. Then he realized that it was the women in the audience weeping. The sound increased, and he realized that the men were weeping as well. Sam said that soon, he found himself weeping everytime he mentioned the name of Jesus. He explained, “You know, when the last alternative option to Jesus has been exhausted and shown for its true bankruptcy, the name of Jesus takes on great power and allure.”

Sam’s statement is the best expression of the biblical philosophy of history that I have ever heard. When we choose to go our own way, God does not stop us. He lets us go until our lives collapse around us. Then in the chaos and hurt we become open again to the One from whom we have turned, and we find hope in His name. This is true for institutions, movements, countries, and cultures as well as individuals like you and me. We may reject Him for a long time, but at the end of every road will be the ultimately inescapable Christ. Ezekiel has a word for this, recurrent through his prophecy: “You shall know that I am the LORD.” (Ezek. 13:23)                                                            
– Dennis Kinlaw, This Day with the Master, pg. Dec. 2

Merry Christmas! May the Christ become more real to you this Christmas season!

The Gates of Hell and Pan-demic

At the table of knowledge and wisdom at Boyd Wurthmann Restaurant one morning, we were talking about the pandemic. I was reminded of what I was told in Israel about 15 years ago.

At the time of Jesus, the most important god in Caesarea Philippi was Pan, the Greek god of shepherds, music and fertility. Pan is half-goat, half-man. The Greeks believed that Pan was born in the cave that we were looking at off to the left from where we were standing.

Our guide told us that every once and awhile Pan and all the false gods would come screaming down the hill, terrifying the people of the town. This wild commotion was called “Pan-ic,” or “Pan-demonium.” Pandemoniaum was “the capital of Hell in Milton’s Paridise Lost.” This word is made up of two words: “pan” meaning, “all,” and “demon” meaning, “all the demonsFrom this crazy screaming frenzy of “all the demons” we get the words panic, pandemonium, panorama,  pantheism, pandemic…

As our Holy Land group looked over toward the cave in the huge rock mountainside, we were told that there is a hole in the floor of the cave which opens to an underground river. The pagans believed that the cave and spring water at Caesarea Philippi created a gate to the underworld.

One of the evil customs of the day was to drop a baby down the hole into the stream of water below to appease the god of fertility (Pan). If the baby lived, the sacrifice was rejected and the baby was killed. If he died, the gods were satisfied. Either way, the baby died. As in any dealings with Satan, you can’t win. The hole in the cave floor was called, “The Gate of Hell.”

When Jesus brought his disciples to this area, they must have been shocked. Caesarea Philippi was like the red-light district and devout Jews would have avoided this area and any contact with the despicable acts committed there. This was an evil city.

But right here, in the heart of paganism and evil god worship, Jesus asked one of the most important questions ever asked on planet earth: “Who do men say that the Son of Man is?” They replied, “Some say John the Baptist; others say Elijah; and still others, Jeremiah or one of the prophets.”

Then Jesus asked THE most important question anyone will ever be asked:

“But who do you say I am?”

Peter answered, “You are the Christ, the Son of the living God.” (emphasis added)

Jesus said, “…I tell you that you are Peter, and on this rock I will build my church, and the Gates of Hell shall not overcome it.”

“This rock…” has a double or even a triple meaning: What is “this rock?” Was Jesus talking Peter, whose name means, “rock?” Or Peter’s confession?  OR… did He mean that the church of Jesus Christ would be built right here in Caesarea Philipi, on this rock where the “Gate of Hell” receives baby sacrifices to appease Satan?

Ray Vander Laan says Jesus didn’t want His followers hiding from evil. He wanted them to storm the gates of Hell. Gates do not attack. Gates are defensive. STORM them! (Go into all the world…) The gates of hell will not prevail against the Church of Jesus Christ.

Folks, our whole country has become a Caesarea Philipi, a place of evil practices. May we be a participant in storming the gates and building the church of Jesus Christ ON THIS ROCK!

Greater is He that in you than he who is in the world. I John 4:4

Jesus is the Son of the Living God. -Peter


Ex-marine, Chuck Swindoll, told this story:

Two California Highway Patrol Officers were conducting speeding enforcement on I-15, just north of the Marine Corps Air Station at Miramar Naval Air Station. One of the officers was
using a hand held radar gun to check speeding vehicles approaching the crest of a hill.

The officers were suddenly surprised when the radar gun began reading 300 miles per hour. The officer attempted to reset the radar gun, but it would not reset and then turned off.

Just then a deafening roar over the tree tops revealed that the radar had in fact locked on to a USMC F/A-18 Hornet which was engaged in a low flying exercise near the location.

Back at the CHP Headquarters the Patrol Captain fired off a complaint to the USMC Base Commander.

The reply came back in true USMC style:

Dear Sir

Thank you for your letter. We can now complete the file on this incident. You may be interested to know that the tactical computer in the F-18 Hornet had detected the presence of, and subsequently locked on to, your hostile radar equipment. The Hornet automatically sent a jamming signal back to your radar gun, which is why it shut down.

Furthermore, an Air-to-Ground missile aboard the fully armed aircraft had also automatically locked on to your equipment location.

Fortunately, the Marine Pilot flying the Hornet recognized the situation for what it was, quickly responded to the missile system alert status and was able to override the automated defense system before the missile was launched to destroy the perceived hostile radar position.

Our pilot suggests you cover your mouths when cussing at them, since the video systems on these jets are very high tech. Sergeant Johnson, the officer holding the radar gun, should get his dentist to check his left rear molar. It appears the filling is loose. Also, the snap is broken on his holster.You may want to look into this.

Thank you for your concern.

Semper Fideles

It’s easy for those in authority on earth to forget that there is a higher authority that hovers above them. There is a sovereign God, who presides over out times and our seasons…who does whatever He pleases…whose authority is supreme. He answers to no one. We answer to Him.

“The king’s heart is in the hand of the LORD, Like the rivers of water; He turns it wherever He wishes.”   –Proverbs 21:1

The Bubonic Plague and The Passion Play


An outbreak of the Bubonic Plague devastated Bavaria in the 1630’s. The plague took the lives of several hundred thousand people in Europe during this time.  From September 1632 to March 1633, a total of 81 people died in the little German village of Oberammergau.

In October 1633, the villagers got together and vowed that if God spared them from the plague, they would perform a play every ten years depicting the life and death of Jesus. After that vow was made, not one person in Oberammergau died of the plague(!) and the villagers kept their word and have performed the passion play every ten years since 1634.

I first heard of the play in 1976 while visiting Oberammergau and I have wanted to attend ever since, but… life kept happening and I continued to be either busy or negligent and I never went.

THEN… This year, which is an off year because of another plague, COVID, I had several friends and friends of friends come back and tell how good the play was. Long story, but I got two tickets online (not cheap) on August 3rd and one week later my daughter, Amelia, and I were in Oberammergau!

Even though our seats were in the very back row and the play is in German and we had jet lag and my hearing is not good… it was an amazing experience to be part of an almost 400 year tradition of honoring Jesus by performing a play of his life, death and resurrection. 2000 village folks are involved in the production; actors, sound techs, props, tickets, etc. There will be 109 performances this summer with 5000 people in each audience. (109 X 5000= 545,000 viewers!)

The play is five hours long with a three hour break for supper. On the morning of the play an orientation about the play is given in English. Here are a few facts from that orientation:

-The actors are not professionals. They are residents of Oberammergau.

-You must live in the village for 20 years to be a part of the play.

-The play was exclusively Catholic. Then Protestants were allowed. Now, any 20 year resident can participate.

-There are many children in the play. The children have two rules:

            1. Do not look at the audience.

            2. Look at Jesus when he is speaking.

I wonder if that isn’t the most profound lesson of our week long historic Passion Play trip:

            1. Don’t look at the audience.

            2. Look at Jesus when He is speaking.

A great conductor once said, “To lead the orchestra, you must turn your back on the crowd.” These are great lessons for life.

One last thought: What great long lasting, historic tradition might come from the tragic COVID pandemic? Will our culture turn to God for relief from the plague like the citizens of Oberammergau did in 1633? Will we make a vow? A commitment? A promise?

If our culture will not turn to God, we can individually turn to Him. “…today is the day of salvation.” 2 Cor. 6:2    “Come unto me and I will give you rest…” Matt. 11:28

The Depth Of Your Ministry

Missionary David Seamands had a very exciting and productive ministry in India. He was born there to missionary parents. He went to college in the States and returned to India and become a missionary himself. After about three years he was assigned to the little village of Yadgiri, a remote and difficult assignment. This area was mostly Hindu or Muslim. It had a Christian population of just over 1%.

He was not looking forward to this assignment and was even advised by friends to resign rather than to “lower himself” by being removed from a vibrant ministry, but he heeded the wishes (orders) of the higher ups in the mission, packed up his family and went to Yadgiri.

Their move into a little bungalow coincided with the beginning of the monsoon season, when the streets turn to mud and even become small rivers. But this year (1957) the monsoon was unusually long and strong. It became a flood and the Seamands were basically trapped in their little hut. It rained for 40 days! (Sound Biblical?)

David was frustrated and stressed. Had God called him here, with all of his knowledge of the culture and education and his experience in missions, to sit in a small little bunagalow and do nothing? “God, why did you bring me here? Did I miss your call? Was I disobedient? So many people need to hear the Gospel and I am stuck in this little hut.” 

During this 40 day period of isolation David read the Bible, prayed, prepared sermons… complained to his wife and to God, paced the floor…

According to David’s son, Steve, (I called him to refresh my memory) it was right about this time that David “heard” the voice of God:

You take care of the depth of your ministry and I’ll take care of the breadth.”

From that point on, Seamands immersed himself in reading, praying and trying to stay positive. He even read a couple of novels, including, Atlas Shrugged by Ayn Rand.  The rains ended, the streets dried up, and ministry began again for David and his team.

Many years later (neither his son nor I could remember how many) David was counselling a student who was no admirer of Christianity or the Bible. In the course of the conversation the fairly brilliant student challenged this pastor that he considered out of touch with the real world: “You’ve probably never read Atlas Shrugged, by Ayn Rand,” the student spouted out confidently.

“As a matter of fact, I have,” David countered, and went on to give the shocked student a summary of the book that he had read during a monsoon. The student was so stunned that he actually listened to an explanation of the gospel. He didn’t commit his life to Jesus at that session, but his mind was opened because years before a discouraged young missionary began to “…take care of the depth of his ministry…” 

Before I called David Seamands’ son, I texted Florida pastor, Rural Ausley, my college roommate, to see if he remembered that quote. Here is part of his response: “.Yes, I remember… he told me that he developed material during that time that he was still using years later. That quote has haunted me my entire ministry! In a good way, mostly.”

Take care of the depth of your relationship with the Lord. He will take care of the breadth.

Give Me One Divine Moment

“Give me one divine moment when God acts and I say that moment is far superior to all the human efforts of man throughout the centuries.” -Dennis Kinlaw, commenting on the Asbury Revival, 1970

David Stutzman is recovering from a paralyzing accident. While visiting him at the rehab section of Walnut Hills, he told this story: His father, Andy Stutzman, lived to be a hundred years old. Andy was known as a man of God in our community. He was a minister who had touched many lives over the decades and had a very unique and effective preaching style. A faithful man.

Two days after Andy’s 100th birthday, he confessed to David that he felt that he had not fulfilled the calling of God on his life. He felt that God had called him to the mission field to places like China, India or Africa, but because of helping his father on the farm, and lack of finances, and then marriage and being called by lot into the ministry, he never left this area. He wondered if he had missed God’s calling.

Three days after his 100th birthday, David got a call from a Chinese National TV crew who wanted to do a documentary on Amish culture. The man indicated that in China virtually every person, from the richest to the poorest, has a TV.  Apparently, there is not much available to watch on TV, but the Chinese love to watch documentaries. He asked David to be their guide in Amish country.

When the film crew arrived, David took them to places like the Amish & Mennonite Heritage Center in Berlin; several Amish businesses; a cheese house… Then the Chinese man in charge said he wanted to film a real Amish Farm and Homestead, so David took them to a relative’s farm, a perfect place to film, except that “order” of Amish does not allow filming. However, after David told the story of what was happening, and how many people it would influence, and the fact that the documentary would not be shown in the U.S., the Amish cousin relented (cautiously). Go ahead and film.

The crew had a wonderful time there; they got to see the basement of this large Amish home with artesian well water flowing through it to keep the food cold. All the walls were loaded with shelves of canned goods and preserved food-stuffs in jars. They filmed in the barn full of hay and big Percheron horses—the Chinese love horses! They filmed the windmill, the barnyard, the fields, the state-of-the-art kitchen in the shop where the Amish church meets when it is this family’s turn to hold services…

Then the Chinese man in charge (only 2 of the entourage spoke English) asked to meet “a real Amish/Mennonite Minister.” So David took them to his home to meet his father, Andy. The crew set up cameras in 3 places (or angles). The Chinese man asked David’s father Andy- sitting in his rocking chair-

“Sir, what is that in your lap?”

Andy said, “It’s my Bible; the roadmap to Heaven!”

The interviewer asked, “Would you read something from it to us?

So, Andy proceeded to quote Psalm 37 (by heart!), several other scriptures, some hymns and a poem. He then gave his testimony and explained the plan of salvation in a very simple, understandable way.

The interview was over, the crew left, and several months later this documentary was viewed in China by 1.3 billion (BILLION!) people! It was voted the best documentary of that year and possibly of all time! A week later Andy would have been too sick to film. He died 2 months after that.

This man who wanted to reach the world, but never lived anywhere but Holmes County, Ohio, reached one seventh of the population of the world just 80 days before the end of his 100 year life! He explained the gospel to more people in a half hour interview than he had reached in his 80 years of fruitful ministry in the local church! God is faithful.  Give me one divine moment…

“The gifts and calling of God are irrevocable.” Romans 11:29 

“If you sow and don’t reap, someone else will reap; be faithful. If you reap, having not sown, someone else sowed; be humble.” -Steve Wingfield


I like to have our newsletter in your hands by the first of the month. As I write this, it’s June 9th! I’m slightly late. I could use the excuse that I’m busy (which is true). I could tell you of the many interruptions (also true). I could tell you how sick I was (a lie). The reality is- I couldn’t think of a thing to say.  So… I procrastinated. But… finally… I decided to print some quotes about TIME (not the magazine) and its use. Mainly for me, but hopefully for you, too. I hope these are helpful:

Lost, yesterday, somewhere between sunrise and sunset, two golden hours, each set with sixty diamond minutes. No reward is offered, for they are gone forever. – Horace Mann

Our greatest danger in life is in permitting the urgent things to crowd out the important.  -Charles Hummel

God has not bowed to our nervous haste nor embraced the methods of our machine age. The man who would know God must give time to Him. -A.W. Tozer

Asked what he would do if he knew Christ would return in three days, George Whitfield replied:

“I would do just what I have scheduled to do.”

The chief value of an anniversary is to call us to greater faithfulness in the time that is left.

-William Manning

A converted Hindu was given a Bible and a clock. “The clock will tell me how time goes; the Bible will tell me how to spend it.”

                                                             Don’t Tell Me

                                    Don’t tell me what you will do When you have time to spare;

                                    Tell me what you did today To ease a load of care.

                                    Don’t tell me what you will give When your ship comes in from sea,

                                    Tell me what you gave today, A fettered soul to free.

                                                         -Greenville Kleiser

Time. This summer will be my 55th high school reunion! It seems like I graduated just a couple of years ago. I am on the reunion committee, so in looking up “lost” alumni, I “found” one my classmates, Connie Hoy, whose great-grandmother lived across the road from us when I was a boy. Great-grandma was 96 years old the year Connie and I were in first grade. She was born in 1859. In 1861 President elect Abraham Lincoln traveled from Springfield, IL to Washington. D.C. on a whistlestop train tour on his way to his inauguration in March of that year. At one of these stops, probably Coshochton, two year old Kate Hoy was lifted up by her father and Abe Lincoln reached over the traincar platform guardrail and patted her on the head. When I was very young, visiting the Hoys, Kate Hoy patted me on the head!

Did you get that?! I was touched by a person who touched Abe Lincoln!! Abe died in 1865! One hundred and fifty seven years ago! Yes, I knew someone who met Abe Lincoln in person! Maybe ancient history isn’t so ancient! Maybe “long ago” is not all that long ago. Is time relative, like Einstein said?

Time. Redeem it. The days are evil. (Eph. 5:16) And the days are short. History may not be as long ago as we may think. We should use time wisely.

When the trumpet of the Lord shall sound and time shall be no more… I’ll be there.

Until the next time

Nick The Greek

I had heard of Nick the Greek ever since I started in prison ministry (32 years ago), but I had never met him. He was a gang leader, a drug addict, a hit man, a thief, an all-around thug who got radically saved not long after he started his 20 year sentence at Mansfield prison. I met him last Fall at, of all places, an Amish funeral! He came to funeral of Dan Schlabach, a supporter of the Greek’s Inside Out Ministries. Dan’s son, Dwain, was a CGM board member.

Nick gave me his book, Too Mean To Die. What a story! I want to share two of the craziest witnessing events I have ever heard. It could only work in prison and only with a newly saved former corrupt, vulgar gang member. Let me summarize from Nick’s book:

“You really believe that stuff, Greek?”

“Yeah, I believe it,” I said, and I tried to show him some verses to back up what I was saying.

But he just brushed me off and started cursing and using God’s name in vain.

“You keep talking like that, and you’re going to have to deal with me,” I said.

Now, it’s not that I used the best language myself. It was taking me a while to clean up my foul mouth. The first English words I learned when I came to this country were curse words. But I couldn’t stand this man cursing the God who had just saved me from a life of destruction.

He kept on spewing forth this nonsense, so I reverted back to the old Nick. I held my Bible up like I was reading it, and when he was distracted I hit him- pow!- right on the nose with my Bible. His nose collapsed, his eyes closed up and they had to take him to the prison hospital.

A day or so later I walked up to my cell and this same guy was lying on my bunk with his head all bandaged up. He looked like a dead man. I feared big trouble, but when I walked in ready to fight, he said, “Greek, if you believe in God that much – to do this to me- I want to know your God!”  Long story short: I led this bandaged former enemy to Jesus!

Not long after this, I was assigned to a cell with a man who was not too sympathetic to any religion, especially Christianity. “No problem. You leave me alone and I’ll leave you alone.”

But this guy was on my back from the moment he started bunking with me. I think he assumed that anybody who was into Christianity was a weakling. He kept riding me, making fun of my Bible reading and of my belief in God. I tried to ignore him, but it got harder and harder. I didn’t want another situation like the broken nose, but one day he finally went too far. I grabbed him around the neck and stuck his head in the toilet in our cell and started flushing away. Everytime the guy came up for air, I’d push him back down in the water. When I saw he had enough, I stood up and said, “Now, you ready to listen to God’s word?”

He said, Yeah, he would like to know more. I couldn’t believe my ears!

The whole social setup and “street” rules in prison present problems for a Christian inmate. Jesus taught that we should turn the other cheek. It’s a fine line to walk…

Folks, I love these stories, but please do not use these methods in your local church. I recommend The Four Spiritual Laws or The Roman Road. Be passionate to win people to Christ, but broken noses and swirlies may only work in prison. And then, only on special occasions.

                                    He who is wise wins souls. Prov. 11:30