THE ACTS OF AN APOSTLE (or...My January Schedule)

For the last 15 years, every January we go to Sarasota to sing at the Christian Fellowship Mission Haiti Fund Raiser Concert with The Inspirations- of Bryson City, NC. It is an honor and a pleasure to be a part of this vital ministry and to become friends with such a well known and 'real' quartet. (Not all well known groups are “real.”) This concert blew my theory of how to book a concert. I never liked going to the same place two years in a row because I thought the people would get tired of me. For the last 15 years we have gone to the same church with the same singing group, singing the same songs to the same people. And every year the same people pack the place out! (Where in the world do I get my theories?!) The concert raises much needed funds for the CFM orphanage in Haiti.

It takes me about ten days to get restless and want to come back to snowy Ohio (the real world) before I turn around and head to Alabama for the We Care Prison Crusade (now called “ReNew Hope”). Four hundred volunteers, 29 prisons, thousands of prisoners... It's an intense, glorious week of singing, preaching, fellowship and not much sleep. The chaplains tell us how much the inmates look forward to this week, which has been going on for 39 years! And this year was extra glorious (at least for me) since Ohio State won the National Football Championship. OSU fans have taken some verbal abuse the last six years from these former National Champs (three times since 2009... give 'em credit!). Because I am so humble, I never brought it up to my Alabama friends until they criticized my beautiful OSU Sugarbowl hat (reminder: OSU 42, Alabama 35- in the Sugarbowl). When the Crimson Tide loses, not many folks in Alabama maintain a sense of humor.

THEN back to Ohio so we can get ready to go back to Florida for our Annual Sarasota CGM Fund Raiser Banquet in Feb. (17th this year). I know, this schedule is not the most efficient use of vehicles, but it just seems to have worked out that way. When we are old enough, we may just stay in Florida the month of January until it's time to go to Alabama.

This March I will have the privilege of traveling with The We Care Fund Raiser Banquet Tour (see schedule). What a worthy cause! “We Care” is the granddaddy of most of the prison ministries that I deal with. When Martin Weber wanted to bring “civilians” into the prisons to minister, the officials thought he was crazy. Now they come from ten different states to blitz almost 30 Alabama prisons for a week with the love of Christ!

Think of it... When a prisoner gets saved and turns his life around, not only does he become a responsible citizen, but as ex-inmate Arcella said, “Just think how many robberies won't occur now that I'm following Christ. I used to pull off two or three robberies a day to get enough money to support my drug habit!” Hmmm... between 750 and 1000 robberies will not occur this year because this lady is now a Christian!

92% of all inmates currently incarcerated will be released someday. How would you like them to return?: More bitter and angry than when they went in? More cunning and “professional” in their pursuit of crime? Or changed; wanting to serve God and man and be productive citizens in society? Fact: They will be in our communities. Let's reach them with the Gospel before they get there.

Common Ground Ministries

John was singing in a country western band at the time of his conversion in 1972. God changed his desire for stardom in Nashville to minitstry.

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