March 2007 Newsletter
"For Herod himself had sent forth and laid hold upon John,
and bound him in prison for Herodias’ sake,
his brother Philip’s wife: for he had married her."
If It Doesn’t Preach On Death Row...
One of my great pleasures in life is going to different prisons and preaching the
truth about Jesus. I have been able to go with a group called Champions For Life,
which is run by Bill Glass. You can find out more information about them at
They recently had a Birmingham weekend of champions, and I was excited about getting
to spend time in a prison talking with the men. But then I got a phone call. One of
the leaders of Champions for Life wanted me to be one of the main speakers at some of
the prisons. Now I was thinking this was a little bit out of my comfort zone. I am
used to going into the jails and speaking one on one with the inmates. Of course totally
forgetting that I am a speaker for a living, but let's not let that get in the way!
After thanking God for the opportunity to do something like this, I called them back
and told them I would do that. Then I began working on a talk that I wanted to give.
Twenty minutes isn’t a lot of time and can go by quickly when you are speaking. Isn’t
it funny that in high school those five minute speeches seemed so long, and now twenty
minutes seems so short?
As we got closer to the weekend, they let me know that I would speak to some inmates on
death row. Now everything got ratcheted up a notch. Just those words, Death Row, carry
a whole different connotation than just talking with prisoners. We know you just don’t
happen to get to death row. If you are guilty, you did something that society considers
very bad. So I had to come up with a talk for these guys.
Question for you: if you had twenty minutes to talk to someone on death row, what would
you talk about? Do you think you would share the Prosperity Gospel with them? 'Come to
Jesus and all your dreams will be met.' I was in a prison one time where a guy kept telling
the inmates about his airplanes and the landing strip he got after he got saved, and I was
wondering how much that would help the Lifers in that Federal Prison? They might be able
to use a helicopter to get out, but a plane wasn’t going to be much help! We see all of
this prosperity preaching on TV, and in some of the major Christian books out there, but
would it work on death row to these inmates? You can’t serve both God and mammon, so
which one should we really preach? As one preacher said, the Prosperity Gospel only
preaches in America. What an amazing statement. You can’t preach that in prison. How
do you preach the Prosperity Gospel to the rich young ruler? How can you preach the
Prosperity Gospel to Donald Trump when he seemingly has everything (in a worldly sense)?
You can’t preach that in the slums of Haiti. You can’t preach that in the desert region
of Africa. That might be the American Dream, but it can turn into a huge nightmare
without the right heart to handle the wealth that can come your way.
The sad thing is that it will preach here in America, but it won’t preach elsewhere.
Maybe there is a good reason for that.
The true Gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ should preach anywhere you will preach it. Here
is a good model to use when speaking for the Lord: If It Doesn’t Preach On Death Row,
It Doesn’t Preach. If what you want to say about Jesus won’t work on death row, it
probably doesn’t truly work anyway.
I read where someone said they walk up to people and say, "If I have three minutes to
live and then I will be dead, what must I do to be right with God?" I like that. I have
used it a couple of times. It is still stunning to me how some people talk about good
works when they are witnessing. How many good works can you do in three minutes?! What
would you tell someone if they asked you that question?
Quoting from a friend’s newsletter, a leader of a denomination said,
“It seems the American church says to those who pass through the doors, ‘You’re a good
person, and the church can give you added value to the temporal life.’ And it will.
But this is not the primary reason the church exists. The church exists to get people
ready for eternity, not for tomorrow. It is not a temporal gospel; it is an eternal gospel,
and at the heart of that gospel is the Cross and true repentance.”
I think this leader is on to something.
So I showed the men how to prove there is a God, how to prove the Bible true, that there
is a heaven and hell, and walked them through the Ten Commandments so they would know for
sure of their sin (it is not too difficult to show prisoners their sin since they are
surrounded by barbed wire). Then I let them know what repentance is, told them about
the sacrifice of Jesus as the substitution for their sins, talked about the resurrection,
and to make sure that they counted the cost before ever becoming a disciple of the Lord
Jesus Christ. Yes, that is a lot to cram into twenty minutes! Once they realized by
God’s Law that they looked just like all of us outside those four walls, that literally
there was no difference to a Holy God, you could see a different look on some of their
faces. We tend to look down on those in prison, yet we are all encircled by the walls
of sin. Letting them know that it is not how you start the race of life, but how you
finish it, was a big encouragement to them. Many who are first will be last, and some
who are last will be first. They do have a second chance to get right with God. They
need to take advantage of it.
John the Baptist was put into prison by Herod. What would you have said to John the Baptist
if you would have had the chance? Look what happened a few verses later:
"And immediately the king sent an executioner, and commanded his head to be brought: and
he went and beheaded him in the prison,"
John never made it out of prison. It wouldn’t have made much sense to preach to him the
Prosperity Gospel. He was going to a big feast, but it was just his head that was going
to arrive there!
Don’t forget: If It Doesn’t Preach On Death Row, It Doesn’t Preach.
Each in his own language
It really has been great to see One Thing You Can’t Do In Heaven
in Spanish! Hispanic
speaking people love it! I was in a restaurant the other day and they had ten Hispanics
working in the back. So I took ten copies of One Thing in Spanish, put a ten dollar bill
in each one, and had the manager give them to all the workers. She stated that they were
so glad to get something in their own language, and she told me that she told them they
had to read it! She wasn’t even a believer!
I stopped the other day where there were some day laborers. After giving each of them a
copy of One Thing in Spanish, I had them all come into a convenience store and bought
them each a drink. It was fun to drive away and see them reading the books.
Yesterday, as I was driving home, there were a bunch of Hispanics working on some sidewalks
and doing some painting. So I pulled my car over and gave them each a book. They were very
intrigued because they do not get a lot in their own language. One guy was just leaning
against a car reading away as I drove off.
One Thing in Spanish is not only great to get to your missionary friends, and to take with
you on your own missionary trips, or to give to prison chaplains and prisoners, but there
are plenty of opportunities to bless Hispanic people right where you live with some good
reading material in their own language. You can go to
and pick some up.
Until the nets are full,