A Powerful Experience of Grace

“Kairos” is a Greek word meaning God’s special time. It is the name of the ministry that goes into prisons with a short course on Christianity. The message of God’s unconditional love in Jesus Christ. Paul Aschenbrenner calls Kairos a front row seat on a miracle. It was my honor and privilege to be part of the team to put on a Kairos in Salinas Valley State Prison last weekend. There were 36 inmates in attendance. It was a beautiful experience. God’s spirit was in that place and many were touched by the experience. Many of you kept us in prayer. Thank you. You are a part of a very powerful ministry. Now the inmates who had a powerful experience of grace will be encouraged to follow up by being in prayer and share groups with each other. This is life changing stuff! This could be prison changing stuff! Thanks be to God!
This Sunday we will focus on two wonderful passages of scripture that speak to our ministry in prison and here at First UMC Salinas and our Neighborhood Services Center. They also speak to each one of us individually. Take a look ahead at 2 Corinthians 5: 16 – 21, and Luke 15: 1 – 3, 11 – 32. See you in worship. 

Do It for One of the Least

The founder of the Methodist movement, John Wesley, often visited inmates in the prisons of England. He also encouraged his leaders to do the same. Our current Bishop, Minerva Carcano, encourages the churches in our conference to be engaged in prison ministry. Jesus quoted the Prophet Isaiah by announcing that he had been anointed to proclaim good news to the poor and release to the captives. In Matthew’s gospel, Jesus says, “I was in prison and you visited me.” The people asked, “When did we visit you in prison.” The answer — “When you did it for one of the least of these brothers or sisters of mine, you did it to me.”
This weekend I will be involved in a Kairos event in the Salinas Valley State Prison. This is a retreat event held for about 40 inmates, focusing on the grace of God revealed in Jesus Christ. I will be a part of the team that goes into the prison in the morning and comes out in the evening. It starts on Thursday afternoon and ends on Sunday afternoon.
It is very simple really. Prayer, song, talks, discussion, and lots of cookies. This is a recipe for the miracle of God’s love and transformation. I ask for your prayers. I am very thankful for Paul and Jeannie Aschenbrenner for their commitment to this ministry and for getting many of us involved as well.
Your guest preacher this Sunday will be the Rev. Cynthia Montague, an Episcopalian Priest and retired chaplain of the Monterey County Jail. Cynthia has been with us before and is a wonderful person with a real appreciation for the work we do here. Blessings to you all!

Pastor Steve Lundin