The Contender
A Cry from Jack's Heart

January 2023

Matthew 4:16-22 “The people which sat in darkness saw great light; and to them which sat in the region and shadow of death light is sprung up. From that time Jesus began to preach, and to say, ‘Repent: for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.’ And Jesus, walking by the sea of Galilee, saw two brethren, Simon called Peter, and Andrew his brother, casting a net into the sea: for they were fishers. And he said unto them, ‘Follow me, and I will make you fishers of men.’ And they straightway left their nets, and followed him. And going on from thence, he saw other two brethren, James the son of Zebedee, and John his brother, in a ship with Zebedee their father, mending their nets; and he called them. And they immediately left the ship and their father, and followed him.”

Partnership

I’m sitting here in mid-January, prayerfully trying to commit the precious use of the Campus at Old Mill for 2023! One thing is certain, I am fully committed to those who have faithfully ‘partnered’ with us over these many years.

I’m in my 50th year at Chester County Prison as Chaplain, and God so wonderfully gave us access to this ‘sacred’ campus in 1992. We are therefore in our 31st year of stewardship of the former Old Mill Bible Conference campus which was originally established in 1933.

I would love to address you concerning this issue of ‘partnership,’ especially in the context of Matthew 4:16-22.

 

Working HIS Net

Working HIS Nethas become for me a very, very important expression that might best describe what I mean by ‘partnership.’

In the mid-1980’s, God mercifully blessed our entire family to minister several summers (2 full weeks, annually) in Spanish Wells, Bahamas. Elder/Pastor Willie Pinder (missionary to the Haitian refugees and retired lobster diver) was our primary host, supported by all of the ‘People’s Church’ of Spanish Wells.

Jonathan (age 12), Timothy (age 8) and Joshua (age 4) had the awesome blessing of learning how to fish in the great harvest of the Atlantic Ocean. One very memorable day, Pastor Willie and his sons took us out into the deep to experience the casting of a huge fishing net. It was one of those huge nets that piled up high in the center of our boat. As we approached the chosen location of the wise fisherman’s work, we began lifting (casting) the net into the deep waters and fastening it to a jagged reef of exposed, weathered rock. All who were able were commanded to jump into the rolling waters and to take our place around the heavy and extended fishing net. A firm, almost unkind command was then given to take up the net as the experienced fishermen slapped the waters and prepared for the harvest of fish.

I’ll never forget how important it was for us to stay on the net, to keep it tight and to work it towards the side of the boat to lift the great harvest to its captors. The work was hard, it demanded that no one leave the net and the rightful and timely directing of our captain made all the difference. I remember this day as though it were yesterday and I’ve long since seen so many of you as ‘precious partners’ who jumped into the deep, tossing waters with us to seize so precious a harvest of souls!

You, dearest ones, are those I consider fellow helpers to the truth and those with whom we… work HIS Net.

Drop Your Net

Looking back to the Matthew 4 passage noted above, does it hold any relevance to my memory from 1985? I wish I had the space to teach at this point because the applications are so vital to my heart’s appreciation of you. Here are a few takeaways to stir your further consideration:

  1. Jesus is the Lord of the Harvest (He knows when, where and how we need to operate).
  2. Those who followed Jesus, clearly dropped ‘their OWN nets’ (even left their OWN families) and quite symbolically took up HIS NET (that which saves souls from sin).
  3. These followers worked together, surrendered themselves to the same work and the same Master.
  4. Their passion was the same as that of their ‘captain’ …. Concern for the Harvest.
  5. Something wonderful happened when they TOGETHER ‘worked HIS net’!
  6. Finally, the opportunity of the harvest was cast before them, and they immediately responded with the offering of their entire lives.

Currently, I ache not being able to share this concept more fully! Let me finish by sharing a vital truth that we often warn about in one of our ministry partnerships (Pointman Leadership Institute). We believe that everyone of us is given ‘great opportunities’ for serving Christ. We also are warned that failure to ‘seize the opportunity’ may leave us sorrowful for all eternity!

So, thank you, most especially, to each of you who have long ‘worked HIS net’ with us! Thank you for risking, staying, and spending yourself, faithfully, alongside of us!

Through Thick and Thin

In my lifetime, I’ve lived to see those who ‘stay’ and those who ‘depart!’ I’ve seen overflowing grace from churches and an increasing coldness that marks the sad condition of the ‘last’ days.

Many of you reading this have ‘worked HIS net’ with us since as long ago as 1973 when I first entered the prison. Some of you were present on the day of my ordination into the Gospel Ministry in May of 1976. Many churches I knew in the 70’s are in this present hour no longer what they used to be. One thing is certain: things change!

Therefore, to you the faithful who have stood with us… God be praised!

New Laborers: The Mayo Family

Steve Mayo & Family
Steve & Morgan, Titus, Quincy and Max Mayo

This photo is intended for one purpose: to introduce you to The Mayo Family. Please begin to pray for Steve, Morgan and their three sons: Titus, Quincy and Max. A full biography and description of their specific calling to ‘CCGM’ will be featured in our February communications. Their expected time of arrival (from Florida) is June 2023.

Steve and Morgan are originally from the Coatesville Area, Steve being the son of one of our co-laborers, Valerie Mayo. Steve is a graduate of Word of Life Bible Institute and Liberty University and has served in primary roles of leadership in Calvary Chapel of Fort Lauderdale’s School and Church. He currently is an educator, administrator and serves as one of Calvary Chapel’s many pastors.

Steve has prayerfully embraced God’s calling to serve as ‘Critical Response Pastor’ for County Corrections Gospel Mission. We are trusting God for the miracle of full fiscal support and even more importantly, housing.

Please begin to pray and may God manifest the full power of Steve’s calling by meeting every need, according to His riches in glory by Christ Jesus!

If God speaks to your own heart in this matter, please never hesitate to write to me: jackccgm@aol.com

 

 

Perpetuity

When the hour comes when God clearly says to me: “You are finished,” I pray that the perpetuity of this mission will pursue an even greater commitment to the call of the Savior:

Follow me, and I will make you fishers of men!’ Jesus Christ, Himself, will know who ‘worked HIS net’ and who ‘worked while it was still day!’ The night cometh when no man can work!

Our greatest desire is to see the Christ-honoring, establishment of the Providence Church of Coatesville and I stand fully persuaded that the continued work within the prison and a timely response to its “urgent, reflected heart-cries”, must always direct the ‘casting of His net!’

Most Gratefully,

 Jack Crans, Debtor to Christ

Proverbs 24:11,12

PS  This hymn’s cry comes to mind: ‘Rescue the perishing, care for the dying. Jesus is merciful, Jesus will save!

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County Corrections Gospel Mission exists to biblically and effectively address the spiritual crisis as reflected through the urgencies and heart-cries of the Criminal Justice System.