Friday, October 31, 2008


A Costume Party/Wedding Rehearsal found a "latino man" between "Bonnie and Clyde"


I must share a story I heard for the first time, yesterday. I fear I will be unable to do this particular story justice. Please understand that this is solely about how the Lord uses our obedience to move in the lives of others.

I have a friend in Georgia who has filled a calling to prison ministry for many years. His name is Eddie. The Lord has used him to impact the lives of many inmates, and he has been in the blessed position of leading many of them to a relationship with Christ!

In 2004, Eddie was in one of the toughest prisons in America. As he surveyed his surroundings, he saw a man bound with chains between his feet, his wrists, and those joined to each other, causing him to be bent over. He stood between two guards.

The Lord moved in Eddie's heart and he proceeded toward this man. Blanketed with tatoo's, one espousing hatred, he approached anyway.

He discovered that he was talking to a man named Earl, that had been transferred from prison to prison across the US, as he provoked fights and difficulty wherever he went. Each time, he landed in a more hardened environment with more stringent rules. He spent much time in solitary confinement. He was feared by most.

Eddie began to talk to this man, and a relationship began that would continue to the present.

Somewhere along the way, Eddie would stand before this man sharing Christ with him. He spoke to him in the yard between guards, in solitary, and through weekly letters.

Earl, a very hardened man who had been in prison for over 10 years, had done many horrific things. Eddie was warned to steer clear of him, as things would only end badly.

Eddie persisted, and one day in 2004 through the bars, Earl would surrender his life to Christ!!!

Earl was transformed! God was doing a work in his life. The system did not believe, as they had seen many hardened inmates espouse "born again" religion, and live to the contrary.

Earl developed a voracious appetite for the Lord. Eddie began to send him books to read. He watched through the tone and content of letters, a discipleship process begin that was difficult to believe.

Earl who formerly lived a life of hate crimes and drugs, was now reaching across racial boundaries, and the Lord began to impact the lives of others around him. He developed impossible friendships, and sought to serve those he formerly persecuted.

In the course of his reading, he was sent a book that would transform his way of thinking. He began to say, "nothing else matters" as he spoke of Christ. He would bring Him up in any conversation with anyone he encountered. He would encourage his mentor, Eddie to do likewise, saying, "in this life, we have no excuses for not bringing Jesus up at every opportunity! If we live our lives for Him, NOTHING ELSE MATTERS!"

Eddie watched from afar, as an amazing transformation took place. Most of it was documented in the many weekly letters traded by the men.

A couple of months ago, Earl was to be released. Eddie, went to bat for him, and met him at the gates to carry him first to a half way house, and later to a place even more personal.

When Earl met Eddie at the gate, he was carrying all that was important to him. The clothes on his back, his Bible, and his dog eared copy of "I Would Die for You." Eddie was moved by what he considered important.

He had supplied him with many other books which were left behind. The two books that the Lord used to change his life, and his way of thinking were carried out of his own "gates of hell."

When Earl's time at the half way house was coming to a close, Eddie was making arrangements to move Earl into his own family home. Eddie had shared many of their traded letters with his wife over the course of time, and she was ready to receive him as well, that is, until a parole officer came to call.

This man knew of Earl's past. He listed for them all of the hideous crimes he had committed. He tried hard to keep them from taking him in, insisting, he would only return to his former life, and possibly harm them along the way.

When the officer left, Eddie's wife despaired. How could her husband be willing to bring such a person into their home? Eddie implored, "please, just pray about this?!"

She did, and an amazing peace came over her. She once again stood in agreement that Earl was welcome.

Most doors before Earl were closed. No one wanted him around, not to work and not to live. Eddie persisted.

He took Earl onto his own payroll and began to work with him day and night.

Earl was truly a changed man. Eddie saw it, his wife saw it. Then the parole officer saw it.

She even told Eddie, "he is the son you never had isn't he?"

"He is!" Replied the father of three (now adult) women.

Earl now rides shotgun with Eddie during the workday. Just last week, Earl saw some folks living under a bridge. He asked Eddie to stop at a burger place where he bought a big box of burgers. He then requested they return to the bridge.

The next hour or so was spent handing out burgers and telling these 'discarded people of society' about Jesus Christ, the Saving One!

Earl's copy of "I Would Die for You" is tightly wedged into his back pocket, folded and dog eared. When he tells people about Jesus, he uses his Bible and this book, quoting from both. He has passed his copy to other inmates, and talks to those not incarcerated about a young man who gave his all for the Lord, and speaks to them about life, saying, "Nothing else matters!"

Earl gets it! He has learned to lay down his life for the Savior! There is so much more to this story. A testimony is a fluid parcel...too much to fit on a page. Earl will live and serve the Savior who gave His life for him. He has died to self, that Christ may be brought glory! Amen!

"NOTHING ELSE MATTERS"


dad

24 Comments:

At 10:56 AM, Blogger Marti said...

Earl gets it. He really gets it.
And so does Eddie!

AMEN and AMEN.

praying in pink
with tender love
and not a few tears,

Marti

 
At 11:13 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

What a great story! God finds his servants everywhere, from all walks of life and uses those who are willing to accept the call!

Thanks for sharing that, Brent.

Lisa Potter
Santa Cruz, CA

P.S. I have enjoyed seeing the wedding pics. Congratulations to all.

 
At 1:49 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Amen,
God Bless...
Greenfield, Indiana

 
At 2:31 PM, Anonymous Amanda L said...

wow. This story is incredible and my heart has been truly touched by it.

Nothing else matters.

 
At 3:51 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Wow! Ah-mazing!! I'm encouraged by this story, thanks so much for sharing!

 
At 2:39 PM, Blogger Mertin said...

Hi guys

Im am living in South Africa and just found the book of your son BJ... and wow it inspired me so much and just wanted to take the time and say thank you for writing it. I am also wanting to go to the mission fields and just by reading BJ story set my heart on fire. Wish with all my heat that God can use me in a mighty was as He used BJ.

Thanks again and you guys can be proud to call yourselves the parents of a true man of God.

Martin
Sout Africa

 
At 5:49 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Wow!!
That is another amazing life touched and changed by God! And through the influence of your book and the amazing life of your son.

I just finished reading the book this past week, and found the blog on Firday.
I am now reading it to the High School Sunday school class that I teach.

Your willingness to share your life and BJ's life with us all is truely changing, motivating, and challenging many! Thank you for a life of surrender and humility.

Shannon
Monmouth, OR

 
At 9:44 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

He is forgiveness, He is hope, He is a healer, He is everything that we need. When we finally realize NOTHING ELSE MATTERS, He steps in and works miraculous and AWESOME works through and IN believers. What a wonderful maker!

 
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