It would be standing room only with a line out the door... if church were illegal or forbidden in this country.
Recently, the inmates in Minnesota's Correctional Facilities felt this deprivation when the State Government shut down and closed all of it's religious programming. For weeks the inmates abruptly lost all contact with volunteers and outside church organizations.
Did they feel forgotten? I often found myself thinking of them wondering how they are doing. The day finally arrived and the government was up and running. Eager to start our service, we began with praise music followed by personal testimonies from the inmates. My curiosity was killing me and I couldn't wait to hear what they were experiencing while they were in isolation.
- "You take it for granted when church is always available. Thank you so much for coming."
- "I was so happy you were all back, no question I had to come."
- "I never realized how much I desperately depend on and need church while I'm in prison."
What the women discovered was...
- "At first it was weird spending time alone without church. But then I realized it depends on me to come to Him and I grew even closer to God because of it."
- "I realized I am never alone, God is here with me all along."
- "I drew even closer to God when I realized I had to take the initiative to praise God and open the Bible myself."
- "Praise Him, Praise Him, Praise Him - we are so glad you're back so we can worship all together again."
You could feel the presence of God's Spirit. Many women accepted Jesus Christ for the first time as their personal Savior. Several others joined in recommitting again their lives to Him.
It is so cool when the lightbulb goes off and we discover - WE ARE THE CHURCH.
It is NOT a program, a building or sermon. It is NOT a bunch of rules, regulations or legalism.
The church is a body of believers in Jesus Christ who support one another in faith. Who laugh together, cry together and love one other unconditionally - just like Christ first loved us - all because he first loved us...
My prayer is that there is standing room only... as we line up out the door...gathering to praise Jesus Christ.
"Let us not give up meeting together, as some others are in the habit of doing, but let us encourage one another - and all the more as you see the Day approaching." Hebrews 10:25
All for His Glory!